Friday, August 07, 2020

Friday's Fave Five #596

It's Friday so that means you are in the right place at the right time.  If you are looking to cultivate a grateful heart and a thankful lifestyle then this is the place to help that goal along.  Join our Friday's Fave Five crew as we pause a moment and look back over the week and take note of the good blessings God has sent our way.  Our days may be long and hard or they may just be zipping by with us not even being aware.  But that is the beauty of pausing and focusing.  It helps to slow us down, to notice when times are good so that when times aren't so great we've developed a habit, a practice of noting our blessings and then being thankful to God for providing them.  Please join in with us with 5 of your favorite blessings of the past week.  

So I personally don't go in any particular order, I just list them as I think of them but you do you wish on your post.

~ Turkish Apple Tea ~ I've shared before one of my favorite teas is a tea call Pickwick Carmelised PearPickwick Tea is a Dutch tea company and I found it at our local Dutch European Import Store and Bakery.  When I went to buy another box last time, the Turkish Apple jumped out at me so it came home with me.  Tea in the evening for me, relaxes me and helps me to not sit and munch all evening long so I always love finding teas that replace that need for sweets and mindlessly eating.  And I've found another favorite.  So good.  

~ short work week ~ Because of the little thing called COVID, I didn't take holidays this year because my dayhome had already been shut for 3 months.  I didn't feel right 6 weeks after re-opening to shut once again for vacation.  But I took those 5 days and added them to the next 3 long weekends so I ended up with a 5 day weekend last week and will have one in September too and and extra day at Thanksgiving.  While not as long as my holiday week usually is, it was still really nice.  Though we are not going anywhere just knowing I have time off feels wonderful.  The weather was gorgeous so we had some nice bike rides, read a lot, and just wound down.  And it made this work week only 3 days long.  

~ assisted living visits opening ~ In Alberta they have loosened the restrictions a bit to be able to visit your loved one who are in  assisted living homes.  So now I can actually visit my Dad in his room.  I just have to call and tell them when I'm planning on coming so they can take me thru all the questions and protocol and then instead of a 15 minute visit I can stay as long as he wants me to.  Still have to wear a medical grade mask but they supply those.

~ listening ear ~ I had something I really needed to talk to someone about and my sister was so kind to lend me her listening ear.  I really appreciated her being there for me and letting me talk something thru.  Sometimes you just need to hear yourself say it out loud and she let me do that.

~ a really good night's sleep ~ for whatever reason, the last bit I haven't had such a great sleep, waking up several times throughout the night.  This makes for a very tired me right from the get go.  But the other night, I went to bed a little bit earlier and managed to fall right asleep and then slept like a log right through to the morning buzzer.  I actually woke up refreshed and raring to go.  It was wonderful.  

What were your favorite blessings from the last week.  If you do a post for FFF please free to link on and then visit the others in the group.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, July 31, 2020

Friday's Fave Five #595

Hi everyone!  Can you believe it's Friday already?  This week just flew by.  Mind you it was a short work week for me as I have today off.  I'll have an extra long weekend as Monday is a stat holiday and I also added Tuesday as a day off.  I took my holiday days in small chunks this year so I'll have a couple of nice 5 day weekends like this.  Not going anywhere but just knowing I've got time off is wonderful.  Lots to be thankful for.  Please join me as we look for the blessings in our everyday and learn to be thankful to God for them.

~ Hubby that sends pics of Little Libraries and their contents.  My hubby knows my love for the Little Libraries around town and when he sees one he is gracious enough to get a pic and send me the address.  Sometimes he sends me a picture of the contents too and if there is something I want he nabs it for me.  Love these little ways that he shows he loves me.  

~Blizzard evening with good friend.  My good friend came by for an evening of some much needed girlfriend time and she came with Dairy Queen blizzards in hand.  I haven't had one in forever and it tasted especially good sitting on the deck enjoying a beautiful evening with conversation and laughter.  I gave the Coffee Crisp one a try this time around but my favorite is still the Choco Cherry Love.

~Flowers blooming!  My flowers are blooming in spades!  Don't know what I  am doing right this year but I'm enjoying their show that they are putting on.  All the colors and variety always make me smile.  God is an artist!

front flowers

Deck flowers

~Negative COVID tests  Here in Alberta they now have asymptomatic testing available.  They started in a few select pharmacies.  Because this darn virus can be spread by people who are not showing any symptoms and because I care for children and for aging parents,  I thought I would go ahead and get tested at one of the asymptomatic testing pharmacies.  I had the results within a couple days and was very happy to hear they were negative.  One of my dayhome families were also awaiting on a test for their cousin who thought they might have some symptoms of COVID.  The child has not been at care all week just in case and good news, it was negative there too.  It was a bit nerve wracking awaiting that test.  If it had been positive their family would have all had to be tested and of course if positive that would filter down to the dayhome and I might have had to close for 14 days.  So thankful for that negative test result.

~One on one day with one of the dayhome kids.  Yesterday I only had 1 child come so we had lots of fun doing things together that we can't do when they are all there.  I kind of like these special times once in a while.  I find it really build relationship with that child.  I wouldn't want to do it all the time like that, it is so much more work and tiring,  but once in a while it's wonderful.

What were your favorite blessings from the  last week?


Monday, July 27, 2020

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain ~ Book Review

It is 1970 and Carly Sears has just received the news that her unborn baby has a fatal heart defect.  Unfortunately the news comes on top of the news that her soldier husband was killed in the Vietnam War.  Devastated and alone, she cannot bring herself to do what the doctors are suggesting she do.  The baby was a dream of her and husband and she was not even able to give him the news of being pregnant before he was killed.  When her brother-in-law, Hunter, says he might have a solution she is faced with the biggest decision of her life, one that seems improbable and that will require great courage and faith in the impossible.  While she has a great relationship with Hunter there are things that no one knows about him.  She must decide whether she can trust him with not only her unborn baby's life but with her own as well.

I absolutely loved this story.  It is a split time novel taking place in the 70's and in the 2000's. It's a contemporary story with a sci-fi twist.  A story of family bonds,  of the strength and faith of a mother's love and a story that challenges ethics and what one would do to save a loved one.  I couldn't put it down.  It is well written, was never confusing as some of these types of stories can be, and tore my heart.  Carly's struggle was heart wrenching and real and I felt every moment of her mother's heart.  Sometimes I was frustrated with her decision making process but that's because I was looking at it from the vantage point of my couch but it was totally real and understandable given her situations.  The consequences of the choices her and Hunter make sucked me right in because they were believable and emotional.  The twists were realistic and unexpected.  While sci-fi and especially this type of sci-fi is not usually what I choose for my reading, I went into this story blind not wanting to know what it was really about.  I was surprised that it took that turn but the author was able to weave the two together so well and made it such a rich story that I'm pretty sure this is going to be one of my favorites of the year.  It was pretty clean considering it's a secular novel which I really appreciated.   I loved the ending and closed it with a very happy sigh.  I know this review is a bit vague about what the story is actually about but it is hard give a synopsis without revealing what it is about.   If you like contemporary stories that involve family, love, moral dilemmas, or sci fi I recommend this one.   I think this would make an awesome movie.

I rated this one a solid 10+.  Loved it and I will read it again.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Friday's Fave Five # 594

Welcome Friday and welcome to all those of you who are joining in with Friday's Fave Five.  Thank you for joining me in developing a keen heart to discover the blessings in our everyday no matter what we are facing or going through in our lives.  Finding those blessings and then developing a grateful and thankful heart changes our perspective.  It makes us more joyful.  And I'm not talking about the fleeting happiness that is dependent upon our circumstances, but a deep, abiding sense of gratefulness for the hand of God in our lives and the gifts, big and small that He gives to us.  If you are new you can click on the guidelines in the sidebar and then just join in.

~Sunday church service~  Sunday was the first time we had been in church since March. We are allowed to have services as long as the restrictions and guidelines are followed.  We missed the first couple of weeks because we just weren't sure we were ready but decided last minute this last Sunday to attend.  It was nice actually being in a live service instead of online and seeing other members we haven't seen in so long.  It was organized and social distanced well.   I don't know if we'll go every week but glad that option is open again.

~ sprinkler and water fun with kids ~ when I grew up neighborhood waterfights were a thing, a very fun thing.  So playing with water with the dayhome kids never gets old for me.  It's been super hot here this week, well relatively speaking, hot for us, not so much for some of you folks.  But that means we've had water play every single day.  I love hearing the shrieks and laughter and challenges that come from this kind of outdoor play.  Susanne and hose for the win against kids with pool noodles.

~ funny text conversation ~ today I had a text conversation with one of my dayhome parents that ended up taking a really funny turn.  It made me laugh out loud and made my day.  I love when that happens.

~ air conditioning ~ because this week has been hot we've been running the a/c.  I'm very thankful on these kinds of weeks for the a/c.  I'm also thankful for it on those nights when young people decide that playing basketball on the school court across the street is the thing to do in the middle of the night and we can shut the windows and run the air.

~ road trip to one of my happy places ~ Saturday the Hubby and I took a road trip to one of my favorite places, Waterton Lakes.  It's so beautiful there and we always go at least once or twice a year.  Getting away was fun and the road trip great.  But it was very, very crowded and hard to find parking.  I think people are getting "covid fatigue" and just want to get out.  It was a bit stressful because there was a real lack of social distancing and hardly any people were wearing masks in the crowded situations.  We ended up not doing much of what we usually do when we are there but it was fun to watch our dog do his favorite thing which is fetch sticks in the lake.  We enjoyed the gorgeous day and the beautiful mountain views and spent time together away from our usual everyday.  Which made it a great day in spite of the crowds.  Thankful we have such a nice place fairly close to home that we can escape to.

What were your favorite blessings from the last week?

Friday, July 17, 2020

Friday's Fave Five #593

Hi everyone, welcome!  It's been a very busy week for me with some difficult days with a new babe in the dayhome.  But I'm so happy to have this place to escape from the chaos and difficulty and look for good in my everyday.  Some days are good, some days mediocre or boring and some are downright hard.  But it is up to me to look for the blessings no matter what that day has presented to me.  And you know what?  When I do, no matter how hard, there is always something to be thankful for!  Won't you join in with me in developing a heart of thankfulness?

~ bikes and friends ~ Saturday dawned bright and sunny and beautiful.  Perfect for our bike ride with good friends.  It's the first time we've gone bike riding with them and it was so much fun!  We've haven't gotten together since the whole COVID thing so it was especially nice.

~ new Starbucks drink to love ~  after our bike ride, hubby and I parked the bikes, grabbed the dog and took a short walk over to the neighborhood Starbucks.  I gave their Iced Golden Ginger Drink a try.  It was very creamy and delicious and nice and cold.  Another fave to add to my list.  And there is no caffiene in this one so it won't bug my sleep if I have it later in the day.  It will be a once in a while treat though because of the sugar content.

~ grilled steak dinner ~  we haven't had a steak in so long so when hubby came home announcing he bought a couple steaks to grill for supper I was excited. That is until I saw they were rib steaks.  I never buy rib steaks because of the price and right now they are super expensive due to COVID outbreaks at a couple of meat packing plants awhile back.  But he splurged because we haven't been eating out at all for months except for the occasional pizza or fish & chips takeout.  Now I was scared.  Because I haven't grilled a steak since last summer.  And the first go-round of the year is always an iffy experiment as I remind myself how to grill a steak to how we like it.  I would cry if I ruined these things.    But they turned out literally perfect.  So good.   We enjoyed every bite cause we knew it was back to burgers after this.  LOL.

~ beautiful sunset ~ the sky was ablaze last night in a gorgeous golden orange color.  A feast for the eyes .

~ the words "it's friday" ~  It's friday.  After an especially long week I am so thankful for Friday.  Looking forward to a nice quiet evening, a good long walk this weekend, hopefully actually attending church on Sunday for the 1st time in months and lots of reading time.  I love Friday.

What were your favorite blessings this week.  What beauty did you find in everyday things this week?

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Unveiled by Francine Rivers

Tamar did not want to get married at 14, especially to Judah's oldest son Er,  whom she had heard was a very cruel man.  But because of the traditions of the day, Tamar has no choice in the matter.  Her father has made what he considers a good match and her mother won't back her up but insists she not shame the family.  As she very quickly finds out the rumors of Er being cruel are all true and she starts to bear the brunt of his meanness.  And on top of it her in-laws give in to Er, not ever giving him consequences for his behavior.  Her father-in-law, Judah, is spineless around him, and her mother-in-law dotes on him and is bitter towards Tamar.  Tamar is for all intents and purposes alone.  Even as she hides her fear of Er, she does her best to be obedient and a good wife, hoping she produces the heir they want.  When Er unexpectedly dies, according to tradition his brother must take her for a wife and produce the heir that Er had not.  But Onan is also cruel, though in a different way, and Tamar is left with no hope of redeeming herself by giving Judah descendants.  When Onan also dies, she is banished back home much to the shame of her family and to her own disgrace.  But Tamar holds out hope of being redeemed and concocts a plan to get justice for herself.

I had forgotten to write a review of this first book in the Lineage of Grace series by Francine Rivers.  The series are five novellas of five unlikely women that changed eternity.   The author dedicated this story of Tamar  to all those who have been abused and used and yearn for justice.  Tamar's character, in spite of the horrid times for women, managed to have dignity and hope in the midst of all the cruelty and injustice.  The one thing I did feel a lot reading this story was anger.  Anger at the way women were treated in that day, anger at Judah for being so spineless, anger at Tamar's family, and anger that history was just so demeaning to women in general.  It is just a story of the bible that is hard to put into perspective because of the content and the times.  But Tamar's character in the midst of it all is what stood out for me.  She was strong in her own way and managed to be faithful, dedicated and the author managed to give her dignity and convey her story as one of hope.  The novella starts with a section called "Setting the Scene" (as does all the books in this series) that gives the historical perspective of the times and what was going on and finishes with an epilogue that tells what happened to the characters later in the biblical story and how the main character came to be in the lineage of Jesus.  There is then a Seek and Find section that has questions to apply the story to one's life today.

I rated this one a 9/10.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

July - September 2020 Reading List

So for my July - September Reading List things have changed a bit as review books are no longer available to me. A fact that breaks my heart! But it's not like I don't have other choices!

I have chosen the following for my summer reading keeping in mind my goals I set at the beginning of the year:

 GOAL: 1 book a month from my box of longest owned and unread books :

           -Never Change by Elizabeth Berg (carried over)
           -The Scroll by Grant R Jeffrey, Alton L. Gansky
           -Outside the Lines by Amy Hatvany  DNF'D

 GOAL: 2 books per month from my own more recent piles:

           -The Secret Wife by Gil Paul (carried over)
          -The Shape of Family by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (carried over)
          -Distant Echoes (Aloha Reef Series) by Colleen Coble
           -Black Sands (Aloha Reef Series) by Colleen Coble
           -Dangerous Depths (Aloha Reef Series) by Colleen Coble
           -Midnight Sea (Aloha Reef Series) by Colleen Coble

 GOAL: 1 book per month from library TBR:

           -A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
           -Day After Night by Anita Diamant
           -The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

 GOAL: 1 novella each month from Lineage of Grace series for personal devotion:

           -Unspoken (Bathsheba) by Francine Rivers (carried over)
           -Unafraid (Mary) by Francine Rivers (carried over)

GOAL:  finish 1 Audiobook
          -Liturgy of the Ordinary:  Sacred Practices in Everday Life by Trish Harrison Warren

Looks like it might be lots of mysteries this summer, but that's ok.  Gotta get all these books out of my closet!  What are you reading this summer.  If you want to do a post and link on feel free!  I love to look at what everyone else is reading!