Friday, September 22, 2023

Friday's Fave Five #752

Hi everyone.  It's Friday and that's our day to intentionally slow ourselves enough to think about what was a blessing in our lives this week and that the time to be thankful and grateful.  We all lead busy lives.  Our culture not only encourages it but expects it.  In the running from one thing to another it can be so easy to lose sight of all the good blessings that actually make up our very ordinary days.  Even though all my "kids" are now adults, I find if I let myself, I can still get overly busy to the point of just existing on the merry go round.  I must push that "emergency stop button" and get off and intentionally looking for my blessings does just that.  It allows a pause in the busy, resets my focus and actually helps me to make decisions in line with my values.  But it has to be intentional as this world is only to glad to suck us into it's vortex of overly busy, always wanting, always searching for the next best thing craziness.  Looking for my blessings makes me see how much I really have to be thankful for.  Won't you join us as we develop the discipline of pausing to be grateful.

~ signs of fall ~ The signs of fall are definitely with us in my area.  One of my favorites is the leaves turning yellow against the gorgeous pure blue sky.  It just brings happiness looking at the lovely colors fall brings.  

~ new to me bird sighting ~ this was on a walk when we visited my daughter.  So technically not this week and not in my area but when I was looking through pics in my camera there it was.  I always get excited when I see a bird I haven't seen before out in the wild.  After putting the picture in Google it tells me they are Cormorants (probably the Double Crested Variety).  Spotting wildlife I've never seen before is always a blessing.  There is so much to this world God created. 

~ homemade salsa ~ I was gifted with a box of tomatoes from a Hutterite colony.  They were all pretty ripe so I had to use them right away.  A bunch has been giving us yummy toasted tomato sandwiches for lunch or sliced tomatoes for supper but a whole bunch went into making homemade salsa.  There is nothing like home made.  I don't can so I froze them into 2 cup containers and we'll enjoy lots of nachos with them through the winter.  This was just the first batch, I'll be making another this weekend.

~ Saturday matinee ~ Hubby and I have not been on a movie date, just the two of us since before covid.  This past Saturday we went to a noon showing of Mission Impossible:  Dead Reckoning pt 1.  Because it was noon the theatre only had a few other people there and the popcorn was fresh.  It was fun to have a date together at the movies after so long a hiatus.

~ open spot filled ~ a dayhome child graduating to kindergarten left an opening in my dayhome and this week it was filled.  I am thankful it was filled fairly quickly with not too much interviewing.  The interview process is always the most nerve wracking for me.  Most people only go through a few job interviews in their life time but as a home child care educator we are constantly in interviews with families.  It's not an easy process, I interview the families as much as they are interviewing me as we both try and determine if we are a good fit for each other.  But it's over and done and the spot is filled with a sweet 3 year old.  I can now breathe a bit easier again for a while.

What have been your favorite blessings from the last week?

Friday, September 15, 2023

Friday's Fave Five #751

Happy Friday!  Mid-September all ready.  We are having some lovely warm days, in fact this weekend is supposed to reach 30*C (86*F) but it's definitely transition time in Southern Alberta.  This morning was darn chilly at only 5*C (41*F) when I got up.  We are in run the heater some nights and ac in some days.  But one thing doesn't change and that's on Friday's we take a pause to intentionally take note of the blessings God has given us over the past week.  Please join in as we share five of our favorites.

~ new shampoo and conditioner ~ such a silly simple pleasure but I found a new shampoo and conditioner I really like.  I need to switch it up once in a while and I found a good quality salon brand at Marshalls for a super price.

~ spontaneous hugs of a child ~ I have a super affectionate 1 1/2 year old in my dayhome and I love it.  My cup of baby hugs gets filled by her on a daily basis all throughout our day together.

~ messaging with a friend ~  My friend had moved away last year to another province and I haven't seen her but once in real life since then so I'm very grateful for messaging, texting and phone calls.  We are going through some similar things in life and it's wonderful to have that ability to talk it out and ask advice and pray for one another.  She's a very smart and logical thinker with a calm personality who has a way of not being afraid to see where God leads and this more emotional, fiesty type personality finds her very comforting and inspirational to be around.  

~ watching trains cross the viaduct ~ my city has a beautiful, famous viaduct that goes across our river valley and coulees.  It's actually been in the tv series, the Last of Us, in episode 4, albeit broken and collapsed.  As a kid it was so exciting to watching the trains cross and try to see if we could count the cars.  Then it was fun to watch our kids have that same excitement when they were little.  Now I find it nostalgic and relaxing to be in the river bottom park when it goes rumbling across.  I'll admit I still try and count the cars once in awhile.  It's the little things!

~ Friday night takeout ~ Friday night is our night to get takeout.  Hubby insists so that I can have a break from cooking.  I not only have to think what to make us for dinners but I also have to plan 2 snacks and cook a lunch daily for the dayhome.  This small gift is a treasure that I never want to take for granted.

What were your favorite blessings this week?

Friday, September 08, 2023

Friday's Fave Five #750

Happy Friday, everyone!  I love these short work weeks.  Are you ready to look for your blessings from the last week?  I always like this intentional pause as it helps me to slow down a bit.  My life has been so chaotic the last couple of years and this exercise forces me to take a breath, regroup my thoughts and set my heart on being thankful.  I have found over the chaos, even in the midst of the hardest of days, there is always something I can be thankful for.  Thanks for joining in on this lifetime journey of building grateful hearts to God for all His blessings.

~ long weekend ~ I always look forward to the September long weekend.  In my mind, as I mentioned in last week's post, it's the final hurrah of summer.  But it's also the time to look forward to a new season, getting back into a routine after the lazier more spontaneous days of summer.  It also seems to be the weekend we end up going to see our oldest daughter.  It's nice to getaway and squeeze in that last road trip before the more winter type weather surprises us. 

~ spending relaxed time with our daughter ~ it somehow seems since covid we have seen a bit less of our oldest and it was nice to spend this time with her just relaxing.  It also seems the last few times we've seen her it's been so hectic.  But this weekend we just hung out together, walked the dogs on one of our favorite walks in her city, watched a movie, did a little shopping.  We don't know when we'll get to see her next so I'm glad we made the time and effort to go this last weekend.

~ safe travels ~ I'm always thankful and never take for granted getting to our destination and back again safely.

~ birthday celebrations ~ one of my former little dayhome kids turned 7 at the end of August.  Me and this little darling of a girl always had and still have a strong connection.  We celebrated her birthday with rainbow cake at a park/playground and then I took her to Walmart and let her pick something out for herself.  We have so much fun together and I'm so glad I was able to do something fun with her for her birthday.

~ new walking runners ~ With the help of my dog thinking they were a great chew toy, I have worn out my comfy sneakers that I wear in the summer for neighborhood walks.  During the weekend shopping with my daughter I found a pair that are both cute and  super comfortable and for a pretty good price.  

What have  been your favorite blessings this past week?

Wednesday, September 06, 2023

September Reading Possibilites

Well life happened and I did not get a reading possibilities post made for August so just kept with my July list.  As it turned out I only managed to get one book read, and it was a library hold that came in, and one audiobook.  Not a great reading month but things were just overwhelming.  And over the summer I noticed when reviewing what I've read that I failed in my goal to read the books I owned.  It seems all the books I had on hold at the library kept flooding in at the same time.  I might just have to stop putting things on hold at the library  for a couple months and catch up on getting my own pile of books.  I'm hoping September will be back to normal and some great reads I have piled up can get read and I can accomplish my 2023 reading goals! Unfortunately all the summer themed books I had on the list that I was hoping to get out of my closet will just have to be put away for next year.  Because I'm ready to move on to a fresh new list of possibilities.  My color choice for "Read What I Own" for September is going to be orange in any form.  And surprisingly a lot of books in my most recent purchases bag fit that prompt so hopefully I can get lots of those read!  But first I need to finish my book that carried over from August:  In This Moment by Gabrielle Meyer


          ~ Something Worth Doing by Jane Kirkpatrick
          ~ The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate
          ~ The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox
          ~This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
          ~ Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan
          ~ This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub
          ~ The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams


          ~ The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown


          ~ A Piece of the Moon by Chris Fabry


          ~ The Winners by Fredrik Backman
          ~ Jaqueline in Paris by Ann Mah
          ~ In This Moment by Gabrielle Meyer  (finished)


          ~ So Help Me God by Mike Pence  (finished)
          ~ The Love Stories of the Bible Speak by Shannon Bream

What are you reading in September?  

Friday, September 01, 2023

Friday's Fave Five #749

The end of summer 2023.  At least that is how I think of the beginning of September.  This weekend is Labor Day here in Canada, a long weekend, the last hurrah of the summer.  I know technically summer goes another 3 weeks but in my mind come Tuesday, the day after the long weekend we are now into autumn.  Though summer has gone much too quickly there are blessings in my days I want to take pause and make note of and be grateful for.  We don't need to Thanksgiving season to be thankful to God for the good things in our lives.  It should be an everyday occurrence.  Please join us as we practice this consistent and steady practice in our everyday lives.

~ Mom out of the hospital ~ It was a long haul, almost the whole month of August she spent in there.  But she is back at her supportive living facility.  I know this will be so much better for her mental health.  Praying that the decision is good for her physical health too.  I know she has sure enjoyed being able to go outside at will again.  I've caught her a few times catching a nap out in the sunshine in the courtyard.  

~ Pancake lunch ~ mom got back to her facility in time for us to be able to enjoy a pancake lunch that they put on for the residents and a couple of family members.  It was nice to be able to share that with her and I'm thankful she was feeling good to attend.

~ more garden gifts ~ I have continued to be blessed with gifts from dayhome parents and friends gardens.  We've enjoyed carrots and tomatoes and cucumbers the last couple of weeks. Nothing like a home grown carrot or tomato.  And I had a yellow cucumber for the first time ever, didn't even know there was such a thing, and it was delicious.

~ texts with friends ~ the last week I have received some encouraging texts from friends.  It's a blessing to have people who can give words that lift you up when you need it the most.

~ fun time spent with my sister ~ Saturday after lunch with Mom my sister and I took a little shopping time together and it was fun just to relax and share some laughter after all the stress and hard decision making of the last month.

What have been your favorite blessings from the past week?

Friday, August 25, 2023

Friday's Fave Five #748

Wow, Friday already!  It's time to look for our blessings.  It is our choice what we put our focus on.  I'm certainly not disillusioned to think every day is going to be a walk in the park but even when hard times come, choosing to focus on our blessings comes from the habits we form in the good times.  We don't deny bad times but purposefully choose to focus on gratefulness for good things and blessings.  Please join with us.

~ quick visit with my son and his girlfriend ~ it was a short but sweet visit.  The kids were passing through and staying the night.  It was nice to spend the evening with them before they headed out super early to go on a hike in the mountains.  I love every chance I get to see my grown kids.

~ text updates ~ receiving a couple of text updates from my son and his girlfriend made me very happy.  He knows I try not to worry, so I got a txt just before they got on the boat that takes them to the trailhead and another when they made it back to the boat launch from the hike.  Then when they got back to their city I got a bunch of pics of their day.  Very thoughtful of them.  

~ much needed rain ~ the beginning of the week saw a couple of days with some nice steady, soaking rain.  The ground was very happy as it's been dry here and it was a dry winter.  Our city has been on voluntary water conservation and other cities have had mandatory water conservation required.  We probably need a lot more but any rain we can get right now is a good thing.

~ new shoes, great deal ~ I needed a new pair of black sandals and a store in town was having their big summer clearance.  I don't shop here unless it is clearance sales as they are better quality shoes therefore more expensive.  But I found not only my sandals at half off but also found a gorgeous pair of butter soft leather summer shoes also on a good sale price.  The older I get the more my feet need and appreciate comfortable quality shoes with good support.  Love a great deal and a great find.

~ quiet summer evenings ~ we live on a fairly busy street for both cars and walking traffic.  But this summer the street has been blocked off and only local traffic is supposed to be getting through as they have been installing pedestrian lights on two corners.  It has been wonderful not to have cars roaring past at all hours.  I'm going to miss the stillness once school starts and the traffic is back but have been thankful for the break.

What have been your blessings this week?

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Only the Beautiful by Susan Meissner ~ Book Review

Sixteen year old Roseanne grew up living on a vineyard in California in the '30's.  Her father was the Calvert's vinedresser . When her parents die in an accident, Truman and Celine Calvert reluctantly take her in to be her guardians but Celine puts her to work as the house maid with the thought that it would train her to eventually be able to find work.  While Rosie is grateful to have a home, she finds herself very lonely, especially as she also has a secret she promised her mom she would never share.  Rosie has an ability to see colors when she hears sounds (synesthesia).  But in her grief and inexperience when the Calvert's son befriends her Rosie shares her secret with him.  As most secrets do, Rosie's secret eventually comes out and when she finds herself underage, unmarried and pregnant, Celine banishes her and turns her over the the state.  Leaving with only a small bag containing her clothes and an amaryllis plant that Truman Calvert's sister, Helen, once gave her to give her hope, Rose finds herself not at a home for unwed mothers but an institution for the mentally insane where her unique ability is not understood or known and she is forced to endure therapy to try and stop the colors.  Thinking once she has the baby she can leave and start a new life Rosie is devastated to learn that her baby will be taken from her and adopted out and she will have a procedure done that will prevent her from bringing anymore children into the world with her abnormality.  Meanwhile Helen Calvert is experiencing firsthand Hitler's own way of purifying his race as the family she nannies for in Vienna has their disabled daughter ripped away and taken to a special school.  After many efforts to try and get the child back, Helen returns to the U.S. heartbroken and guilt ridden.  When she discovers that Rosie was sent away under the circumstances she was, she determines that she will find her.  Much to her horror, she discovers similar circumstances happening right in America that she experienced while in Europe.  

First off the cover is absolutely gorgeous.  Second this story was so good.  It is told in two parts.  The first half of the book is Rosie's story and the second half is Helen's and then the author brings the threads together in the end.  The book is written in a unique way in each story where it goes back and forth between past and present.  The author does it well and I was never confused as to what was happening.  Prepare yourself to have your heart broken, I cried in several parts and felt all the emotions throughout.  The story is sad as it deals with some very difficult subjects and horrors that happened both in America and WWII and the author very adeptly links the two together drawing parallels to make the reader think.  Rosie and Helen's stories are one of loss and sorrow, grief and horror, but also deep love and courage in the midst of the unthinkable.  In dealing with some very hard subjects the author was able to get ideas across without going into graphic details which I very much appreciated.  She drew me into the lives, thoughts and emotions of her characters and it was hard to put the book down.


trigger warning for the rape of a minor

I gave this story a 10/10.

Reading Challenge Goal Met:  a book a month from my library holds