Friday, April 19, 2024

Friday's Fave Five #782

Hello Friday and hello friends.  Welcome once again to Friday's Fave Fives.  It's our intentional place to practice taking note of the blessings God sends into our ordinary days and being grateful for each of them.  It's a funny thing about learning to be aware of the blessings in our lives.  The more we practice being grateful for them the more we notice the many blessings we do have.  And the more we notice our blessings the more fulfilled we feel.  Discontent is a peace robber and it is so evident in our society today.  Learning to notice all that we have, from the big blessings to the littlest of things helps us to be in a more fulfilled place.  And being grateful to God who gives them brings us a peace even when we are going through difficult times.  Please join in as we share 5 of our favorites from the past week.

~ celebrating life ~ one of the dayhome families welcomed a new babe this week.  It's always so fun to experience the older sibling wait with anticipation of becoming the big brother or sister and then to celebrate with them when they announce their sibling has arrived.  New babes are a miracle and worth celebrating!

~ found a favorite treat ~ haven't seen them in a while but I found the chocolate covered jubejubes that I love at the drugstore.  Of course I had to get a bag and have been enjoying the odd nibble here and there.  

~ sunshine warmth ~ Saturday and Sunday were absolutely beautiful with sunshine and warmth.  We fired up the bbq and grilled burgers.  I took my Mom outside for the first time in forever and it was a joy to watch her enjoy and soak in the lovely day.  I'm so thankful for that weekend of sunshine as Tuesday we were plunged back down to freezing temps for the rest of the week.  This weekend starts another upward trend of warm temps that are hopefully here to stay now. 

~ great reads ~ after setting aside a book that was just not capturing my attention (DNF'd at pg 75) I'm happy to say my next choice has drawn me right in.  I have got over feeling that I have to plug through a book I am not enjoying just to see if it gets better.  I mean by pg 75 it should have peaked my interest.  I don't think twice anymore about reaching for the next one.  Too many books, not enough time to just endure a book.  I want to be sucked into the story.   Reading and good books are a huge blessing in my life.  

~ these beauties ~  Well they certainly knew what they were doing setting out shelves of these flowers in various colors right as I walked into the grocery store.  I couldn't resist.  I've always loved ranunculas and this was the only one of this color.  Needless to say it was not left behind.  As soon as it warms up enough these spring beauties are going into the front flower bed.

What were your favorite blessings from the past week?


  • “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” – Thornton Wilder

Sunday, April 14, 2024

April 2024 Reading Picks

Oh my goodness.  How can it already be the middle of the month and I haven't even done my post for my reading possibilities for April.  Oh well.  Better late than never and I'll still have a record of it for my own amusement no matter the date.  

I'm quite enjoying this year of making my books that I have actually paid for a priority.  Working through the stack and mood reading them has been fun.  I haven't read quite as fast as hoped but that is okay.  The goal is enjoyment.  So my picks this month reflect that again.  Totally by mood.  I also threw in a book from my stacks of Little Free Library stacks as it was calling my name.  


          ~ The Little Old Lady Behaving Badly by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg  (DNF'd)
          ~ A Piece of the Moon by Chris Fabry
          ~ The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield
          ~ Something Worth Doing by Jane Kirkpatrick
          ~ The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain


          ~ When You Love a Prodigal by Judy Douglas (continuing from last month)
          ~ They Turned the World Upside Down by Charles Martin


          ~ The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick


          ~ The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom
          ~ In His Image by Jen Wilken
          ~ The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore

What interesting books are capturing your eye this month?

Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Last Exchange by Charles Martin ~ Book Review

MacThomas Pockets is part of the Scottish Special Forces and has been hired by a film director he met on a plane to help get some of the action scenes right.  Through this he meets Joe Sue, a recent Hollywood legend and her actor husband.  And from this he is hired to become Joe Sue's bodyguard.  As he gets to know Joe Sue, Pockets starts to see that the Joe Sue the public sees and the private Joe Sue are two very different people.  Discovered as a young woman, Joe Sue has come from a hard, traumatic childhood that didn't necessarily change when she became a star.  But her dream to have a child of her own is dwindling as she cannot carry a pregnancy to term. Trying to hide the past and present hurt she turns to pills to get her through the day.  After several stints in various rehabs, Joe Sue is still struggling with her hidden addiction.  As her husband's career is taking off, Joe Sue is left to deal with her present problems on her own.  But she isn't really alone.  Even after Pockets was no longer working for her, he kept up with what was going on with her and watched from afar.

This book asks the question "how far will you go in selfless acts to help someone you love?" and "are you willing to give up your own life to save that loved one?"    The story goes back and forth between Joe Sue's voice and Pockets' voice and between past and present.  At times I did have to reread a small portion when I wasn't paying attention.  It was a heart wrenching, tough story that presented a lot of moral implications in actions that were taken.  It definitely makes you think and there is a background thread of Christ sacrificing Himself for us woven into the story without it actually stating it outright but if you know, you know.  It's a story of deep friendship, of commitment even when one party no longer wants the relationship.  There is twists and turns that keep the story moving along.   Charles Martin is a favorite author and I rated this a 4/5 on Goodreads with their 5 star rating system but an 9/10 on my own.  What kept it from a 10 star read for me, was just the believability of some of the things that happened and a small, but still something that kept it from being that 10 star for me, was the odd names.  It took me a long time into the story to get used to all the odd names and that kept it from being enjoyable for me as I'd had to pause and think about who the character was again.  That's my own issue but it still detracted from the total enjoyment of the book for me.  But still a powerful story that, as is the norm for Charles Martin books, made it so I couldn't pick up another book for a few days as I pondered this one.

Rating 9/10

Friday, April 12, 2024

Friday's Fave Five #781

Hi everyone and welcome to Friday's Fave Five where we join in with others and share some of our favorite blessings from the past week. It helps us to develop a habit to look for the good things in our everday and be grateful for them so that even when tougher times come, and they do, we have already ingrained in ourselves to look for God's blessings. Please join in with us!

~ pickle pizza ~  I'm down to try new things and it sounds odd but it was actually very good.  Yes, it had actual sliced pickles on it with bacon bits on a yummy garlic sauce.  

~ spur of the moment lunch date ~ Sunday Hubby and I went on a lunch date to our favorite brunch place.  We hadn't been on a date to a sit down restaurant in a long time and it was nice just to have the two of us.  We enjoyed a delicious served brunch where instead of us going to get our food at a help yourself service, they bring the food to your table according to the number of people ordering.  There is a huge variety of yummy brunch items and tasters.  And real tiramisu for dessert!  

~ fresh haircut and color ~ it was time to freshen up the color this week and I went a little blonde again with the highlights.  I decided I just wasn't quite ready to let the natural grey in my hair to be the highlights.  She did a great job as usual.  I always love a good cut and color to perk me up.

~ bible study night ~ after a 3 week break it was nice to get back to our regularly scheduled Monday evening of study with 2 of my friends.  We're still plugging away through the book of Romans and Monday nights section brought some fresh insight into the chapter we were on.  I appreciate the 2 ladies I am blessed to share this night with.

~ some fun visitors ~ a small herd of deer visited our neighborhood front lawns much to the awe and amusement of the dayhome kids.  It was fun to watch them for the few minutes they graced us with their presence.  

What have been your favorite 5 blessings from the past week?

Friday, April 05, 2024

Friday's Fave Five #780

I was so torn which button to put up.  I wanted to pick this one:

but in reality this one reflects the scene around here more:

So I picked the birds on the wire as a happy medium.  We are in the midst of another spring snow.  It's wet and it's heavy and hopefully this will see the end of snow around here now.  So welcome to a wet and slushy Friday's Fave Five!  Time to reflect on the blessings God gives in our everyday lives.  Please join in as we share five of them from the last week.

~ Easter Sunday service ~ Resurrection Sunday is a pivotal date as we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead.  It is when we give glory and thanks to God for Jesus' victory over sin and death and gives us the hope of an eternal life with Him.  Sunday service was so good and it was a real blessing to gather with other believers to celebrate.  We can never take for granted that we have the freedom to do that.  So grateful.

~ Easter dinner ~ my son made it down for Easter Sunday dinner and my sis' family were to join us for turkey dinner but they ended up being sick so we invited a friend who was by herself that day.  It was nice to have her over helping us eat all that food and visiting with her for the afternoon. Monday we took dinner over Mom's supportive living home where we had booked the family dining room and my youngest daughter made it down for that lunch.  Though we missed my older daughter it was nice that my little family could have that meal with Mom.

~ good transitions ~ I had a new little fella start in dayhome today.  I was a bit worried, as always, when a new little starts.  You just never know how it will go.  He's almost 3 and the cutest little guy.  For the most part he eased in pretty well.  There were a few tears here and there but he was willing to take comfort from me for which I am thankful.  Very thankful the week went well for him.

~ hot tea on snowy nights ~ I'm a gal who loves her coffee but in order to sleep well I have to stop drinking it by mid afternoon.  Enter a nice hot, relaxing cup of herbal tea in the evenings.  My latest favorite is one my friend gave me for my birthday.  A blend of oat flower, limeflower and lavender. Very relaxing and soothing.

~ safe travels ~ with the back and forth weather, I am very thankful that both of my kids that came for Easter had safe journeys here and back again.  And I love that they txt when they arrive back home, even though they are adults, just because they know I would want to hear that they made it home safe and sound.  

What have been your blessings you are thankful for this week?

Monday, April 01, 2024

The Women by Kristen Hannah ~ Book Review

Frankie McGrath is a young woman barely out of her teens from a well to do California family where they live a typical all American lifestyle.  Image is everything in their circles and the men in the family serving their country are upheld highly.  Women go to school and then marry and become mothers.  That is the way of things. For various reason her father never did serve but has a family wall of heroes in his study of all the men in the family who served.  When her brother Finley gets drafted to the Vietnam war everyone is very proud and throws him a huge going away party.  But once he is gone, Frankie is at loose ends without her beloved brother and so she makes a rash decision to take her nursing degree and sign up with the Army Nurse Corp  hoping to see her brother in Vietnam.  Thinking her family would be proud, she is shocked when her father is angry and her mother is devastated.  When she arrives in Vietnam she is immediately thrown into the middle of the destruction and horror of what the war really is.  Nothing like the upbeat letters her brother had sent home.  When she finally comes home she does not find the rest and peace she hoped for or deserved for her 2 years of service on the front.  She comes home to a country divided, full of protests and is spat on when in uniform.  Her parents refuse to talk about Vietnam and what she experienced.  In fact, wherever she turns, people deny that women were even over in 'Nam.  As the anger in her builds, Frankie fights a whole other battle within herself away from Vietnam that has everything to do with being in Vietnam.

This is the most talked about book at the moment in any of the fb book groups that I am a part of.  The author first conceived of it more than 20 years ago but felt she wasn't, at that point in her writing, to do it justice.  She finally wrote it now.  It is intense.  Very, very intense.  So many trigger warnings but a story that must be told.  I was just a child when this war was being fought and I really had no idea. The story for me had 3 parts:  The first being the background of Frankie's life growing up in the idyllic American dream.  Then her two tours in Vietnam as a combat nurse.  And the last part being her experiences returning to a divided America who's government had been lying to them about the war.  The author does not hold back on the horrors experienced by the soldiers or the medical teams that tried to save their lives.  There is lots of descriptions of the combat and the injuries that came into medical units and what they had to do to save the men's lives.  The author did a good job in telling the story of the women who were over in Vietnam helping to save lives and the strong friendships that were formed amongst the nurses and the medical teams and other relationships that were formed.  She also did a really good job of relaying the experience of PTSD, from what I can tell as I've never had it or known anyone who did.  But she was able to bring in my emotions as the characters experienced it in the story.   It certainly opened my eyes to how easy it is to make wrong choices and decisions when experiencing and reliving the horrors that someone in combat does.  I learned a lot about a war I really knew nothing of.  The only thing that kept this from a 10 star read for me was I felt there was some repetition of things.  I especially remember one specific paragraph that jumped out at me because I felt it was literally copied and pasted from an earlier part in the story.  But that being said, it is an important book that finally tells the heartbreaking story of the women and and men who fought in an un-win-able, awful war and who for years to come were certainly not held as heroes.  

A note: if you want/need to know the trigger warnings before getting into this story email me as I didn't want to give spoilers in the review.

I gave it a 9/10 rating

Friday, March 29, 2024

Friday's Fave Five #779

Welcome this Good Friday to Friday's Fave Five.  Today is a very significant day in which we remember the death of Jesus on the cross, His ultimate sacrifice for us and culminates in Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday which is the cornerstone of Christianity.  I don't know who will be posting today but feel free to link anytime during the weekend.    This has been a bit of an up and down week for me as this week was the 2nd anniversary of my Dad's passing and it was also a very busy week with work because of Easter.  Holidays always bring on an extra business with kids, so I am glad to have this spot to remind me to stop, pause and remember the blessings from the past week and be thankful for them.  

~ snowfall ~ a weird thing to be grateful for the week after the 1st day of spring but I am happy it did snow.  We received a major dump of spring snow, I think around 15 inches.  It snowed for almost 4 days straight.  But it's been such as dry winter and last summer was also dry so this moisture is very much needed around here.  I would way rather have this snow now than to have major water restrictions in the summer or so much rain in the spring that water starts to find it's way into the basements. 

~ a new bud ~  remember the triple amaryllis plant my son gifted to me for Christmas?  Well all the blooms were spent and some of the leaves started to droop and turn yellow so I trimmed them back and was going to google to see how to preserve the bulbs for next season.  I moved them onto the counter to take downstairs and is the case around here it was sitting there almost a week waiting.  Lo and behold, one of the bulbs has shot up another bud!  Determined little plants they are.  Quite fascinating that because they are in a wax casing you never do anything with them, not even water them!  This fiesty little beauty brought a smile to me this week and is now back in her spot on the table.  

~ lovely card and gift ~ it was one of my little dayhome kid's last day this week as he is moving away.  The family gifted me a gift card and wrote me a lovely note.  The gift card was nice but it was the note that really touched me.  Sometimes in this business it's really easy to not feel appreciated and taken for granted but it's notes of thanks like this one that make it all worthwhile.  That and the feel of little arms giving you a big hug around your neck.  

~ when you know God has protected you ~ I can't go into details but sometimes a situation doesn't go your way or something doesn't pan out the way you wanted and you're left wondering why or sad or confused that it didn't.  But then later you find out that it would have been a hardship or not a good thing had it gone the way you had been hoping for and you just realize that it wasn't God withholding from you but actually protecting you.  Well that happened to me this week and I cannot express how thankful I am for that!  

~ spunky little spitfires ~ I have a little in my childcare that is just a spunky little thing.  She's so full of energy and love and laughter.  Every emotion is big with her, yes even the mad and sad, but the happiness and laughter and love and the naturally being funny that a two year old is capable of just makes up for it by the boatload.  This little has me in stitches daily and her leg and neck hugs are everything!  So thankful I get to enjoy her antics on a daily basis.

What blessings came your way this week that you are grateful for?


 I want to wish you a Happy Easter.  May you reflect on everything this Good Friday means and everything Christ has done.  May you know the love of God towards you and may Sunday find you celebrating the Risen Christ!