Friday, January 17, 2020

Friday's Fave Five #567

Hi everyone and welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  We're intentionally practicing taking a pause and looking for blessings in our lives, developing gratefulness for the good things God blesses us with, both big and small.  Please join us.

~this post and this post by our blogging friends Faith and Barbara~  One encourages us to be in the Word daily as it is food for our souls and the other gives some great wisdom to read and study the bible.  Both came at just the right time for me and were confirmation to what God was nudging me towards.

~heaters~  Alberta has been sitting in the deep freeze this week with temps in my area falling into the -27*C (with a "feels like" making it -34*C) range at night.  That's -17*F (feeling like -29*F) for my American friends.  Bone chilling cold.  Where my son lives in the capital of Alberta it went to -40*C!!   I have been very grateful this week for all kinds of heating.  Our home furnace and kept the cold at bay, our electric fireplace in the living room has added extra toastiness to the frigid evenings.  My car's heater has kept us warm as we drive.  Very grateful for all the warmth these heaters provide.

~hot nourishing soups and crockpot meals~   when cold like this we crave warm, one pot nourishment.  Meatball soup, cream cheese chicken, stew are just a few of the things that have got on the supper table.  Love these kinds of comfort foods.

~ new brush ~ for years I've been looking for a certain kind of brush. I finally came across it quite by accident and it'exactly what I wanted.  Just a little thing, but a blessing nontheless.

~ unexpected day off ~ Wednesday I was handed a day off I was not expecting.  I was so nice to just take it easy and get caught up on some chores that kept getting put on the back burner.

What have been your blessings from the last week?

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

January - March 2020 Reading List

So here we go.  Finally decided on the books I want to get to over the next 3 months.  I think this will be good , this posting of my seasonal goal.  It will help me to focus more on reading trying to reach my goal rather than wasting time scrolling around on fb or playing the games on fb.  It's not that I don't want to get to my books, I LOVE to read, it's just that tv and fb just suck the time away without me even realizing how much time has passed.  The next thing I know what little spare time I have has slipped away and I haven't read.  So anyway, if you missed my reading goals for this year I have posted it here.  And these are the books I've chosen, minus a couple, for the winter months of January, February, and March.  If you'd lie to do a post of what you are reading or planning on reading for those months I'll leave a Linky at the bottom.  I always find it fun to see what other's are reading.

GOAL:  1 book a month from my longest owned and unread books
                From the oldest TBR box:  The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve
                                                                  The Victory Club by Robin Lee Hatcher
                                                                  Sins of the Fathers by James Scott Bell
               (these have been in my to read box for years!!)

  GOAL:   2 books per month from my owned  piles:       
                                                                 If I Run series by Terri Blackstock (3 books)
                                                                 The Secret Wife by Gil Paul
                                                                 A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin
                                                                 Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

GOAL:  1 book per month from my library list

                                                             Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
                                                             Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale
                                                             The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

GOAL:  for devotional type reading  1 novella/study per month from
                                                              A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers
                                                                      -Unveiled (Tamar)
                                                                      -Unashamed (Rahab)
                                                                      -Unshaken (Ruth)

Whew!  Looking forward to some good reading!  What are you planning on reading?  If you want to do a post on your plans, I don't care if it's a 3 month plan or a monthly plan, feel free to link it.  It must be some kind of reading goal/challenge plan though or the link will be deleted.  Happy Reading!

Monday, January 13, 2020

2020 Reading Challenge

Well last year wasn't the greatest of reading years for me if you look at final totals.  I'm quite a bit down from where I was in past years.  I didn't really have any kind of structured reading challenges.  I mainly just wanted to knock off some books that have been sitting around and piling up in my closet and I also wanted to get some books off of my massive to read list from the library.  And while I did do some of that the numbers were down the result of a busy year and because I allowed FB and Youtube and TV to steal my reading time.   And looking back I think that is because I didn't really have specific reading goals.   But all that said I still did manage to read a total of 29 books so I'm glad I was still reading at least.

For 2020 my main focus is still trying to read what I own.  I am on a book buying ban for the time being so I won't be bringing in anything brand new other than what I have on pre-order that was purchased with a gift card.  And I'm going to try and avoid the Little Library jaunts for a bit so no books come into the house that way.    We'll see how that all goes because yes, I have a bit of the Dory syndrome.

So broken down, my personal reading goal is going to look a bit like this:

- At least 3 books a month from my own piles

    -one of these books must be from my box that contains the books that have been sitting            around here the longest, the ones that keep getting pushed back because I keep bringing         in new ones.  Hopefully by the end of the year I'll have emptied this box. 

-At least 1 book per month from my library list because I just can't not go to the library

-At least 1 novella per month from A Lineage of Grace and Sons of Encouragement study books by Francine Rivers (for a total of 10)

-I'm going to shoot for the goal of reading 52 books this year.  This has always been my goal    but I have never quit reached it.  Maybe this is my year.

-Because of the success I used to have with the  "Spring Fling" and the "Fall Back into     Reading" challenges of the past, I am going to list the books I want to read for each quarter.   I'm going to put up a Linky in January, April, July, and October for those people that want to join in with me in posting their own reading pile for the quarter.  I remember loving looking at what everyone else was reading  (though if I recall correctly that helped add to my reading piles.  LOL.)  We'll see how it goes.

So what do you think?  Do you challenge yourself in the reading department?  What kind of challenges do you do?  How many books in your average reading year?

Friday, January 10, 2020

Friday's Fave Five #566

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  It's our little space on the internet we we gather with the goal of being more intentional in looking for blessings in our lives and sharing 5 of them with each other.  Please feel free to join in.

~ small group "Christmas" dinner ~  Tuesday evening the Ladies from my small group at church had our dinner out that we did not do in December.  Normally we do a Christmas party or dinner out in December but it just didn't work this year so we did it now instead.  It was so nice to get together outside of the small group study and just enjoy each other's company and have a lovely dinner out.  It's moments like these that move us beyond just a group of women that meet for bible study and prayer and moves us into friendship.  We did a lot of laughing and a lot of encouraging and it was great fun.

~ nice easy re-entry week into work ~ It has been a pretty simple laid back week getting back into work.  Which is a good thing because it's brutal getting back into it after my time off.  My body clock naturally gets back into it's natural rhythm of going to bed later and sleeping in a bit (though never past 8:30 am).  So trying to get back to routine has been a bit tough.  But the fact of  a short two day week last week and less kids this week has eased the tiredness a bit.

~ much needed gift ~ my friend gifted me with a salon quality shampoo and conditioner for my birthday.  If you remember reading about my little incident with hair straightener gone awry, my hair is still needing help.  So this gift was very much appreciated!

~ encouragement ~ an acquaintance from church sent me an unexpected and encouraging private message on facebook.  I very much appreciated it  and it made my day.  It really motivated me to keep my eyes open for those little things that I notice and encourage the people who do it.  It could be something big or something smaller, but if I notice I should take the time to encourage.  A little encouraging word goes a long way.

~ home made soup ~  the weather has been pretty mild this last bit though very windy.  That's what keeps the cold away around here.  But this week the temperature has been slipping down and we've got some really cold days arriving this weekend.  When this kind of weather moves in I always crave nice hot soup.  I love soup, always have, and can have it no matter the weather!   It was also a nice change from all the heavy eating we did over the holidays.  This week I made a soup with bone broth, ginger, stir fry veggies and Korean beef dumplings.  So good!

What have been your blessings from the last week?

Saturday, January 04, 2020

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner ~ A book review

Fourteen year old Elise lives in Iowa with her mom, dad and younger brother.  Her parents have been legal U.S. residents for almost 20 years.  Her mom is a homemaker and her father works in a chemical factory.  They have built a good life in the U.S. and loved it though they never got around to becoming official citizens.  The Pearl Harbour happens and the next thing they know Elise father is arrested on charges of being a Nazi sympathizer.  Though nothing of the kind, there is circumstantial evidence that seems to say otherwise.  After being gone from his family for sometime, they are all sent to an internment camp in Texas, along with other German and Japanese origin families.  Elise and her family have lost everything and must make a new life in this camp.  Elise goes through turmoil, not understanding why everything has been taken from them.  In her mind, her family is fully American.  In fact her father refuses to let her go to the German classes in the camp choosing instead to only let her attend the English speaking school.  There she meets Mariko, from the Japanese side of the camp, and they form a strong friendship. Neither knows how they would ever make it through the days without each other, but when news comes that each of their families is to be repatriated back to the respective countries of their origin they make a vow to meet in New York when they turn 18 after the war and renew their friendship and their American lives.  But when Elise and her family arrive back in Germany, they are faced with being right in the middle of the war.  It will be a miracle if they make it through and now her father is faced with having to work for the Nazi's.  Can Elise stay true to who she was in America or will the act of surviving through the devastation of the last year of the war change who she is and who she wants to be?

Susan Meissner once again writes a beautifully written dual time line of a young girl surviving in world war II.  She has taken a story of the war I had never even heard of, that of the U.S. trading American legal residents of German descent for American prisoners in Germany.  She brings all the struggle of not only being plonked into the middle of the bombing and takeover of Germany, but she shows how difficult it would have been to stay true to your identity and who you thought you were and who you wanted to be and not let the horrors and prejudice and hate overtake you.  It's well written and I really felt for the characters as the author developed them throughout the story.  I hoped and cheered on the relationship of the two friends even when that friendship faced it's hardest challenges.  The dual time line is subtle.  The story mostly focuses on what happens during the war but the beginning and the end deals with the current time line bringing it all together.

Highly recommend if you like World War II fiction. 

I rated it a 10/10

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Friday's Fave Five #565

Happy 2020!  Welcome to the first Friday's Fave Five of a new year and a new decade!  I'm so please you have joined me in starting our new year off with a step in the right of intentional gratefulness for the good blessings in our lives.

I missed the last FFF of 2019 and now I kind of regret it, it being the last FFF of a decade.  But I didn't think of that at the time, all I was thinking of was soaking up every second of my visiting kid's time that I could with nothing interfering with that.  So I missed it in favor of quality time with them.

But I'm starting the year off with a heart of gratefulness for God's goodness in my life.

~family togetherness~ this past couple of weeks I have been particularly grateful for that family together time.  While I am always extremely thankful for that, this year in particular it has hit me hard because of another family's very hard Christmas.  It's a family I have known since high school, the father I worked with when we worked for the school district in the same classroom and I have had the cousin's children in my dayhome and we bought our last vehicle from the uncle.  You see, the 26 year old son went missing at the end of November.  Headed back to school after visiting with his mom here.  A week later the police contacted the family saying his  very burnt out truck had been found by some hikers in another province at the beginning of a very remote trailhead.  At this point they reported him missing.  They had no idea he had not made it home.  He is still missing.  It's like he's vanished off the face of the earth in the midst of some very suspicious and weird findings.  No one knows a thing.  All this has grieved and broke my heart for him and his family.  I've been praying for them and his safe return every time I think of it during my day.  But it also made me especially aware this Christmas to be in the moment and of being mindful of cherishing my own family as I knew another family is living in fear and grief, trying to hold out hope that their loved one will be found and returned to them.  So I set the computer aside and enjoyed my adult children while they were here very aware of how precious that time is.

~winter light festival~  On Friday after Christmas we headed out to go see the movie "Jumanji 2"  but when we were 2 people away from the till it was announced that the show was sold out.  There was nothing else we all wanted to see, so we left the theatre kind of disappointed.  We tossed some suggestions around for another activity, but for one reason or another none of them were meeting our criteria.  And then I remembered the winter light festival at the Japanese Gardens.  It's only been going a couple of years here in our city but I've always wanted to go but never have.  So we grabbed a St*rbucks and headed over.  It turned out to be awesome.  We actually had lovely weather.  Wintery but not bitterly cold or windy.  The displays were lovely.  No Santa's or sleigh's or that kind of thing.  But they worked the lights beautifully into the serenity of a Japanese garden complete with waterfall and stream and Mount Fuji made out of the lights.  It even had a Dragon boat made of lights as our city always hosts Dragon Boat races in the summer.  There were fire pits at regular intervals to warm up and we all got a turn at "ringing" the huge bell.  It was beautiful and also meaningful as the gardens always remind us of my Hubby's uncle, who was the mayor of the city when the Japanese Gardens were imagined and built.  It was built to celebrate Canada's centennial in 1967 and recognized what Japanese families and culture had contributed to our city.  The Prince and Princess of the Japanese Imperial family came and opened the gardens.  It's a lovely, peaceful place and looked beautiful all decked out in her lights.  This may become a tradition, weather permitting.

~yummy Christmas meal~ This year I really had a hard time deciding what to make for our family Christmas meal.  It was a weird year where the kids were arriving on different days, those days being Christmas Day and Boxing Day, so I really tossed around just going super simple.  But the turkey dinner won out and I'm so thankful it did.  It's traditional for us.  And it turned out really good.  I finally figured out to rest the turkey for a full hour.  Not a drop of juice ran onto the cutting board and the turkey was super moist and tender.  And there is the turkey buns we get to eat for days, so a break from cooking!

~a very relaxed lovely birthday~  I got to do all my favorite, reading, shopping and sushi dinner.  Couldn't of been a nicer day.

~relaxed new year's~ New Year's is always a tough one for me.  By then I'm starting to feel the exhaustion of the holidays and I'm not much of a partier.  And this year especially I wasn't feeling it.  When the kids are here my sis usually has us all over for munchies and games or a movie.  But this year the oldest and her hubby had already gone home, our son was going to his friend's who he hadn't visited with yet and our youngest ended up staying at her home nursing a migraine.  So we just stayed home.  Hubby wasn't feeling 100% so he went to bed early and I got some precious down time to myself.  It was wonderful.

Thanks for joining me once again for FFF.  It wouldn't be the same without you!  What were your favorites from the last week?

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Happy New Year!

Wishing all my bloggy friends the very best for 2020.  May you have a wonderful year full of adventure, love, peace, health and God's promises!  I am so grateful for all of you who visit Living to Tell and for the blogging friendships we have formed!