Friday, January 22, 2021

Friday's Fave Five #618

Hi everyone and Happy Friday!  So glad this week is done.  It's been a toughie with my mom getting ill on the weekend and some behavior issues happening in dayhome that drained me.  But there is still blessings to find and be thankful for.  So why don't you join me in sharing 5 of them!

~ surprise me ~   Our library has been closed to the public since they tightened restrictions once again in December 2020.  They do however have curbside holds pick up.  But sometimes, especially with kid's books, it's hard to know what to put on hold and I can't just scroll forever looking.   Usually when I get kid's books I just browse and pull books that I think they would like to look at and books I know I would enjoy reading to them. I can't do that now.  But the library has made a feature during this time called "surprise me".  I just fill out an online form, tell them any themes I would like and for what age group and they put together 10 or so and I pick them up curbside once they inform me it's ready.  So thankful for this feature.  I can keep sharing my love of books and reading with the kids!

~insane wind, no damage ~ Tuesday we were hit with insane winds again.  This time we set a new record for my city:  130 km/hr.  That would be 80.78 mph!  Hurricane and tornado level 1.  Yup it was a bit breezy.  The power went out again on the northside.  We're on the south so weren't affected.  The blessing was there was no damage on our property and even the city trees on the boulevard out front fared ok.  Usually we see tons of broken and fallen limbs lying on the ground all down the street when we have a huge wind but nothing that I know of this time around.  

~ Faith's post on praying for our leaders ~ Faith wrote a very timely post this week on praying for your country's leaders.  It was a good reminder of something most Christians know in the back of their minds but how many actually practice it on a regular basis?  It was convicting and encouraging at the same time.  

~  speedy plumber ~  the other night our drain got clogged way down in the basement pipes where drain opener just wouldn't work on it.  It was a huge blessing to have a nephew in the business and after we called first thing in the morning he had someone here in short order to get us unclogged.  Thank God all the toilets and bathroom sinks were farther down the line from the clog so were still able to be used by the dayhome kids otherwise I would have had to close until it could be fixed.  But I'm thankful for such good and quick service.

~ new slippers ~  Funny how you don't notice how old and uncomfortable your slippers have gotten until you actually get new ones.  Feels so padded, comfortable and warm.  Why do I wait so long before replacing this kind of stuff?

What were your favorite blessings from the week?

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Relentless: Unleashing a Life of Purpose, Grit and Faith by John Tesh ~ Book Review

Publisher's Description: John Tesh has achieved more in life than he ever dreamed possible. But the road to success has been anything but easy—and those challenges have become the secret to his success. Through his story, we can learn how to be relentless, how to achieve what we didn’t think was possible, and how to handle our inevitable discouragements. 

My Thoughts:   I was excited to read this book because years ago John Tesh's "Worship at Red Rocks" was a major part of my life. I would listen to and watch that DVD over and over. This is John's memoir recounting the stories of what he has faced in life and what he has had to do and the miracles he encountered to get to where he is today. He has had quite the journey, everything from being kicked out of college and his family's home to homelessness to dizzying success with his NBA basketball theme song success, providing live commentary for two Olympic games, 10 years as co-host of Entertainment Tonight, producing a nationally syndicated radio program -Intelligence for Your Life-, to taking a huge step of faith to launch his music career through PBS. All that he faced in life caused him to learn how to persevere, take the lessons learned through hard times and how to have the courage to apply his faith. And he needed those to faces his biggest battle in his '60's when he was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. When it returned John and his wife Connie made the decision to stand on God's Word and apply that perseverance, settling in belief that what God says is true. 

 I was looking forward to reading this book when it came out and about John's journey with faith. At first I found the book more about perseverance and grit than anything to do with faith. But eventually John does get around to that too. His and his wife's journey of faith in God comes to play a major role in dealing with his cancer diagnosis and especially with the cancer's return. At times I found the way the story is laid out to be a bit confusing as to where it is in the time line as it jumps around a bit. And I found myself skimming a bit when it came to details of his career. But what I got most out John's memoir is seeing a pattern of how God moves in a person's life, how the more difficult things are training grounds for things to come and how being courageous enough to step through open doors as God presents them leads to good things. It also showed me how that hard work is not separate from God's will for your life. His deep love for his wife, family and God are apparent in his story. There are scripture references throughout though the part I wished he would have delved into with much more detail was how they came to settle within themselves to believe what God says about healing. It was so simply laid out and I'm sure it was more of a wrestling within and I would have liked to have read more on that.   At the same time though there is lots of "sound bite" takeaways and thoughts on healing that made me think.  I do like the quote from the book on the back cover:

"Mastery is hard work.  It is thousand of hours of practice.  There are no shortcuts.  You must believe that whatever challenges you face right now, on the other side of pain is greatness.  Mastery over your goals, over your circumstances, over a disease you never anticipated and that you cannot control requires not just hustle and grit and perseverance, it demands purpose and faith.  It requires a why and a how."
John Tesh

 As always I base a memoir's rating not on the story told but how the story was told.  I gave it an 8.5/10

Friday, January 15, 2021

Friday's Fave Five #617

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five!  Time to pause and reflect on the blessings in our lives the last week.  Are you ready to join in developing a life of noticing the good things and being thankful to God for them?  

~ books that I can't put down ~ I love when I hit upon a book that is so good I find it hard to put down, that I pick every time I have a spare minute just to get another page or chapter in, that I stay up past my bedtime because I just got read a bit more.  It's not often that I come upon stories that hit me like that but I have found one this week.  It's an older one but Winter Garden by Kristen Hanna has stole my heart and ripped it to shreds.  I'm still finishing it up so no spoilers please if you've read it!

~ gettin' 'er done ~ there has been some specific chores that have needed doing around the Living to Tell house that I have been avoiding for awhile.  I've been chipping away at them and I'm starting to see a bit of progress.  Which is encouraging and motivates me to keep at it.

~ hugs from little arms ~ one of the dayhome kids has been especially affectionate this week and has regularly run up to me and given me big hugs.  Don't know why it's happening but I'll take them.  There is something truly special when a child spontaneously gives you a piece of their affections.

~ finding a purchase I forgot about ~ I finished burning one of my favorite winter scents awhile back and until I went rooting thru the cupboard shelf that has my candles for something totally different,  I totally forgot I had purchased another at the end of the season last year.  I was a happy camper as there is none left of this  scent in the store until next season.  

~ great lotion at a great deal ~  On a trip to Winner's before Christmas I scored a favorite lotion in a scent I absolutely love for a great deal.  They are usually sold in salons for an arm and a leg but I got it for around half the price.  A couple days later I wished I would have bought another but of course they are out of them probably never to return.  I was sure kicking myself.  But when returning a sweater for my Mom to Marshalls this week, lo and behold, there they were.  Didn't hesitate whatsoever to grab another bottle. Great lotion with a great smell at a great deal.  Now that made me happy.

What were your 5 favorite blessings this week?

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst ~ Audiobook Review

Publisher's Description:

Do you ever feel like your emotions are working against you? Though we may find ourselves stuffing down emotions, exploding with emotions, or reacting somewhere in between, Lysa TerKeurst assures us it’s possible to make our emotions work for us. Lysa admits that she, like most women, has had experiences where others bump into her happy and she comes emotionally unglued. But the good news is, God gave us emotions to experience life, not destroy it. With gut-honest personal examples and biblical teaching, Lysa shows us how to use our emotions for good. 

 Unglued will equip you to: 

 Know with confidence how to resolve conflict in your important relationships

 Find peace in your most difficult relationships as you learn to be honest but kind when offended

 Identify what type of reactor you are and how to significantly improve your communication

 Respond with no regrets by managing your tendencies to stuff, explode, or react somewhere in between 

 Gain a deep sense of calm by responding to situations out of your control without acting out of control

I listened to this as an audiobook while doing my mandatory sanitizing of my childcare at the end of the day.  It was one of my first audiobook ever so it took awhile to get used to and to teach my mind to focus as I listened.  Once I got over that hurdle, I for the most part enjoyed the book.  The author narrates it herself.  It was very relatable and there were many times I kinda wished I had the book to notate and underline.  I may purchase the book and reread so that I can do that because I retain more when I write it and see it.  Lots of takeaways in this book but the biggest for me was her statement: 

 "Let your mind idle in truth rather than perception."  

That was a big eye opening statement for me in how I react when things happen.  This is a great book club or bible study resource.  

I rated it 8.5/10

Saturday, January 09, 2021

Reading Possibilites for January 2021

Well it's already January 8th and I've been so busy trying to catch up on book reviews I didn't get to in 2020 that this is a wee bit late.  But I guess even if no one is interested or reads it I have it for my own records.  Which I kinda like, this keeping of records of books I've read.

So here is my possibility pile for January:


January theme:  A book with a "home-ish" name in the title

And then just so these newer books don't languish away and become years old before I get to them:

What are you reading this month?

Friday, January 08, 2021

Friday's Fave Five # 616

Hi everyone and welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  I am so glad to have you join me in pausing and looking for blessings from God in our lives this week.  I am especially needing to take that pause.  I'm at the point of being over this whole COVID restriction stuff.  We've been on major restrictions since before Christmas looking for that January 11th date we thought they'd lift them.  And they've just extended them to the 21st.  It's pretty tense in Alberta right now as people are getting pretty frustrated with the restrictions some of which make absolutely no sense.  And after so many of us following rules, guidelines and giving up seeing families for Christmas it has come to light this week that all sorts of Alberta's politicians travelled for Christmas vacations and to visit relatives out of Canada.  It is beyond irritating and then days later announcing that restrictions were being extended.  I definitely need to get into a thankful and grateful headspace looking at the things that are good in my life right now.  So let's get to it!

~ beautiful weather ~  the weather this week has been absolutely glorious!  Warm and sunny, above freezing.  Me and the dayhome kids have been getting outside every single day to soak up that sunshine.  Sitting on the steps in the warmth of the sun's rays and reading my book, listening to them burning up some energy does my soul good.  Very thankful for this time outside.

~ blankets scarf ~  my sis got me a blanket scarf for my birthday.  I've never got one thinking they were so large and cumbersome.  I've been using it inside in the evenings while I'm watching tv or reading a book.  The nights still are cold and it is so cozy and just right as sometimes a blanket is just too much.  Thankful for this lovely gift.

~ gift cards ~ I'm one of those people who totally love getting gift cards as a gift.  I don't think they are impersonal gifts at all.  I love being able to go and choose something I know I'm going to use and enjoy.  Our son got us a gift card to a favorite local Mexican restaurant for Christmas.   He wasn't able to be here to celebrate with us  but he really wanted to support local business during this time so he phoned the restaurant and purchased the card and the owner actually delivered it to our mail box.  On the weekend we enjoyed a delicious meal with it and I know it really was a blessing to the restaurant.  They have all been suffering from the closures in these last restrictions.  I also got a gift card to another restaurant in town and one to a local coffee roasters from dayhome parents and one to a book store from Tamara and from hubby I got one to Marshalls and one to Starbucks.  I look forward to using those too in the coming weeks and I appreciate each one and the giver for thinking of me.

~ washer and dryer ~ a post about wringer washers came up in my news feed in facebook this week and it got me noticing how often I use my washer and dryer in a week.  I am so thankful for modern day appliances.  With my dayhome, I use my washer and dryer every day and I can't imagine having to use a wringer washer, even though that was a major work saver at one time.   And though I grew up with the wonderful smell of line dried bedding, I can't even fathom hanging all all my daily wash up, waiting for it to dry and then possibly having to iron it too.  My mom spent hours upon hours at these chores.  And this week I was reminded what a blessing it is to be able to have these appliances.  

~ instant pot ~ last month my handy, dandy crockpot went on the blink and hubby bought me an instant pot with air fryer.  At first I wasn't sure I wanted it, I wanted my crockpot.  But he was so excited because he'd heard such good things, I didn't have the heart to make him take it back and exchange it.  It took a few weeks before I used it, the thing intimidated me.  But I've now used it to cook roast from frozen, the most tender made from scratch butter chicken, and fall off the bone ribs that were awesome because of the browned and carmelized finish with the air fryer.  I still want a crockpot because apparently the slow cook feature is a whole other ball game with the instant pot but I've been enjoying the blessing of learning to use this and have super tender delicious meals so far in way less time.

What have been your blessings from the last week?

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Here's the Story by Maureen McCormick ~ Book Review

In the early '70's Marcia Brady was the ideal teenager, the one all the girls wanted to be and all the boys wanted to date.  But for Maureen McCormick life was anything but ideal.  In spite of playing Marcia on the hit sitcom, the Brady Bunch, and being one of the most recognized tv faces, real life for Maureen was anything but sunny.  In her memoir she honestly reveals what was really going on behind the sunny persona of Marcia Brady.  As she grew and Brady Bunch was cancelled, Maureen struggled with the perfect persona that was cast upon her and her life took a turn in parties and drugs as she tried to live up to the image the character of Marcia laid on her.  

This book really took an honest look at Maureen's life and what she became after the Brady Bunch.  From major family dysfunction, to cocaine addiction, to wild parties, Maureen came to fight a battle she almost lost.  Two things saved her from ultimate descruction:  her new found faith in Jesus and finding her husband who stuck by her even in her ugliest moments even after becoming a Christian.  This book is raw and not pretty, but it is very honest, heartbreaking, emotional and ultimately triumphant as Maureen struggles through her whole life to live up to the perfection of Marcia's character.  While I found some of the earlier tellings of the Brady Bunch years a bit teenage angsty, her struggles and story is one worth the read if only to understand the pressure that is on child stars, some of it their own making and some we, as a star crazed society, put upon them. 

I gave it a 6.5/10