Friday, December 03, 2021

Friday's Fave Five #391

The first Friday of December already!  I am so not ready for that.  But here it is whether I want it to be or not.  So the best way to kick off this busy season is with gratefulness for the good things God brings our way.  Join in with us as we pause and look for those blessings big and small that come into our everyday lives.

~ Good advise ~ I have a wonderful friend who's calm in the midst of unexpected change always really amazes me.  As I face changes in my own life, I just knew I needed her calm and faith to speak into it.  So we had a good conversation over a nice cup of tea.  She gave me some great advice for "next steps", which I couldn't even see through the haze of uncertainty.  And now at least I can stop being a deer in headlights, frozen to the spot and start making some steps to find information that can help me make a decision.  I'm so thankful for good friends willing to share their gifting and wisdom.

~ fall packable coat ~ I had a puffy coat that I finally gave away last year because the sleeves had always been too short for my long arms.  This fall I came upon on a great fall weight down foldable, packable jacket for a great price and nabbed it.  This coat has paid for itself already this year.  It's light weight yet can be warm without being stifling, it folds into a little tiny bag that I can throw in a backpack if going to the mountains or hiking, the wind doesn't go through it which is important around these parts.  Love it.

~ a little extra Christmas cash ~ one of my families asked if I could take an older sibling just for this month and because I did have an open space I said yes.  Came at the perfect time allowing for a little extra money in the Christmas season.  

~ vanilla chai tea ~ I found some tea I had forgotten I had at the back of my tea cupboard and it was a nice treat to have some delicious chai tea this week.  I really miss the specialty shop I used to buy this from.  They had some awesome teas there that you couldn't get anywhere else.

~ shopping local ~ this year I'm trying to Christmas shop a little more locally and it has been fun finding out what is in my city.  There are so many more local shops than I knew when I just started looking for them.  They have some unique ideas and I'm slowly finding something for everyone on my list.

What have been your favorite blessings this past week?

Friday, November 26, 2021

Friday's Fave Five #390

Well that happened.  It is after 2 o'clock here and it just now dawned on me that it is Friday.  How did that get by me?  Whew, what a week. It has been hard and exhausting and one day has melted into the next with me on survival mode.   But it's never to late to take note of the blessings from the week and to be grateful, right?  

~ Birthday celebrations ~ Sunday was Hubby's birthday so our son came down from the big city (about a 2 hour drive) on Friday afternoon just to take his Dad and me for a birthday dinner.  What a blessing that was, that he would take his time off and come see us just for that.  His sister was unable to come with him but she sent a lovely card and itunes gift card and phoned him on Sunday.  Our oldest daughter also phoned and chatted with him for quite a long time which I know he loved.  Then for lunch on Sunday, Hubby had asked if we could go to a fave brunch with our good friends, so that is what we did.  It was great fun!  The chef blessed Hubby by giving him his lunch on the house (he is a client of Hubby's) and our friends sneakily paid the rest of the bill.  

~ beautiful days ~ it has been a super stressful week in the dayhome this week.  But we're being blessed with incredibly nice weather for this time of year so I have been able to get the kids outside everyday!  Even though on the day we had to wear snowsuits to stay warm and it took me half an hour to get them all out the door, being outside was a life saver each and every single day.  So thankful for the weather we've been having though I hope we don't pay for it in February!

~ helpful spouse ~ I know I've said it before but I'm so thankful for the helpfulness of my hubby.  He noticed I was having a rough week and he goes out of his way to give a hand when he sees something he can do.  He knows one of my prominent love languages is acts of service and I'm so grateful for it.

~ at home movie date ~ We haven't done one in a while but on the weekend we had an at home movie date.  We watched Red Notice on Netflix, an action comedy that we found amusing though we did wish Ryan Reynold's character didn't rely on swearing so much to be funny.

~ moments of quiet and peace ~ grabbing these whenever I can where ever I can and am so thankful for them right now.  

What are your favorite blessings from this last week?

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner ~ Book Review

Sophie Whalen is an Irish immigrant living in New York City when she answers an ad in the paper for a mail order bride.  Without meeting, she agrees to marry Martin Hocking who lives in California.  Sophie knows it's a marriage of convenience and that is just fine with her.  Martin is a widower who needs a mother for his 5 year old daughter and Sophie needs somewhere where she can feel warm, safe, be provided for and have a child to love.   But once Sophie marries Martin and moves into his home, she finds Martin though wonderfully handsome a strange and secretive man who doesn't seem to care for his own daughter.  But Sophie has her own secrets so she lets things be while she finds solace in building a relationship with 5 year old Kat.  When a strange woman shows up at the door with questions, it starts an unraveling  in Sophie's and the stranger's lives that leads them to yet another piece of the puzzle that is Martin Hocking.  With information in hand, Sophie and the stranger confront Martin and events lead to decisions that will intertwine and change their lives forever.  Then a catastrophic earthquake hits and actual survival becomes the number one priority.  

This book was a page turner.  I love the way Susan Meissner weaves a story and in this one she uses the April 1906 earthquake and resulting fires that devastated San Francisco as a physical backdrop to her characters complicated lives which are under going a personal shaking and devastation .  Once the story got going I found I couldn't put it down because I just had to know what was going to happen and what the secrets were that were all coming to the surface.  I loved the characters of the women.  It's a story of survival both physical and personal but also of friendship in the midst of the unbelievable and of the resilience of women to move beyond the devastating.  Loved this story.  

Rated it 10/10

Read Your Shelf Challenge met for November:  A book with a night scene on the cover
and Reading Challenge:  Read a book on hold at the library

Friday, November 19, 2021

Friday's Fave Five #389

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  Please join with us a we intentionally pause and look back at the week and the blessings to be found in our everyday.  This has been a rough week all around.  My mental space has been occupied by things that were and are stressful so I need to intentionally hit the stop button on that and allow good things and thankfulness for those blessings to overtake.  If I don't my mind works overtimes hashing and rehashing everything until I get to be one worked up ball of stress.  Nobody needs that!  So taking this moment just to breathe and look for God in the everyday.

~ I woke up each and every single day ~  by the grace of God, yes I did.  Each morning I was given another opportunity to spring out of bed and hit that darn alarm, shuffle to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth and face a brand new day.  A fresh new day with a new start and full of potential.  Thank you, Lord for each new day!

~ My family, safe and sound ~ this week as my community reflects on a local young man who has now been missing for 2 years this week, I am so grateful I know where my family is.  I cannot imagine the pain and stress of the last two years on this family, some members whom I happen to know, of not having any more clues today as to what happened to their loved one than they did 2 years ago.  My heart weeps for them and I pray they have answers and can be reunited and I breathe a prayer of thankfulness that though we live in different cities I know where my grown children are.  

~ my sister's different way of thinking ~ my only sister and I are very different.  We think totally different.  Though we love each other we react totally differently to various things.  Though at times in life I have found this frustrating, as I grow older I have become thankful for this.  When things happen with my aging parents, I am so appreciative for the way she thinks.  She remembers medical stuff like no tomorrow and those things that totally don't even enter my brain to ask the doctor she brings to the conversation so easily.  It happened again this week with something to do with my mom.  I'm so thankful she has a brain that absorbs all the medical stuff and asks ALL the questions because if it was totally left to me, I just always be taking things at face value.

~ my neighbor to rant to, discuss and have support with ~ my next door neighbor also has a private dayhome.  She has become an invaluable "over the fence" support. We talk about all things pertaining to our dayhomes and share and bounce ideas off of each other.  This blessing has especially come into focus this week as our federal and provincial gov't has announced a new childcare deal that has great ramifications to both of our dayhomes and all private dayhomes in the province.  The news came in like a bomb going off, with only generalized timeline and no steps for private dayhomes to take and it has been a stressful two days since the announcement was made.  As we have met "over the fence" we are both thankful to have each other's support as we face at best a huge change in our child care businesses and at worst having to shut down and look for another job.  She's been doing this for, I think, around 12 - 15 years and I've been doing it for 31.  

~ a fresh color and cut ~  never underestimate the power of a fresh cut and color to lift one's mood.  And a stylist who give you a head massage when she washes your hair?  Priceless!

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

Thursday, November 18, 2021

The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Anil Patel is the oldest son in a large Indian family and as such is set to inherit his father's role as arbiter of the clan.   But since he was 10 years old, when his father helped a family member to make a decision to seek surgery to help a baby with a cleft lip, his father has had dreams of Patel becoming a doctor to help their community.  Leaving his home and close childhood friend, Leena, Anil goes to study for six years.  When he lands an opportunity to finish his education at a prestigious hospital in the States his father buys his plane ticket and encourages him to go in spite of his mother disagreeing.  Leaving Leena is the most difficult and both of them must now learn to navigate their respective worlds without each other.  Now Anil is trying to fit in and survive in a world very different than the one he left behind, one which doesn't always respect or accept where he comes from and whose temptations clash with the way he was raised.   And Leena, herself is trying to navigate those cultural expectations, ones that will change her life forever in ways she never imagined.  But as life would have it, they eventually meet up again, both changed people from their experiences.  

I loved this story.  It is told well and drew me in right from the beginning.  My heart was really drawn into the individual lives and struggles of both Anil and Leena, both from family and cultural expectations and for what they each faced as they navigated their respective worlds and the disappointments and life changing challenges it brought them.  When their lives intersected once again my emotions swung from one end to the other as years of family beliefs and misunderstandings and their consequences were slowly revealed.   It was  interesting to learn about the ancient "panchayat system" in India, a tradition of settling disputes within a community and the pressures that puts upon an individual person.  Though  I felt the ending wrapped up just a little too quickly with introduction of new characters without explanation of how they came into the story, I still gave this a top rating because of the emotional impact and sensitive story telling that drew me right in beginning to end.   If you like emotional stories that deal with family, friendship and other cultures I highly recommend with a trigger warning for an instance of abuse and an instance of violent racism.

I rated this 10/10
Read Your Shelf Challenge Goal Met:  a story set in a country other than your own.
Book Purchased in 2019 - 2021

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Day After Night by Anita Diamant ~ Book Review

World War II has ended and at Atlit internment camp four young Jewish women are waiting to immigrate to Israel. Atlit is a prison for "illegal" immigrants rund by the British military.  Like everyone else at the camp they have survived the Holocaust and each has secrets and a story of survival from the war.  And like everyone else they are frustrated that they are being held even after the war is over.  Shayndel is a Polish Zionist, Leonie came from Paris, Tedi was a Dutch Jew who was hidden, and Zorah survived a concentration camp.  They have nothing in common yet everything in common.  In spite of no one wanting to talk of what they had been through they form a bond of friendship that carries them through the long days and eventually through the escape of the camp.  

This book is based on the true story of the more than 200 Jewish detainees who escaped this internment camp in October of 1945.  I had not known anything about this part of WWII history and was taken aback that even after the war Jewish people were still being detained and held against their will and not even by the Nazi's but by the very people who helped "free" them, the British Allies because they didn't have papers.  It focuses on the story of four women at the camp, each from very different backgrounds and experiences in the war, yet each one having suffered greatly on their road to survival.  Each woman's story was heartbreaking and how they navigated through their challenges surviving the war and their time at the camp was well written.  It's not a long book and at times I found it a bit choppy but it was a good read involving a piece of history that I have not heard talked about and have not read about before.  

I gave it a 7.5/10
Read Your Shelf Challenge Goal Met:  A Book Set In A Country Other Than Your Own 

Friday, November 12, 2021

Friday's Fave Five #388

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  A place to pause and reflect on the goodness of God in our everyday and then to be thankful and grateful.  Won't you join us?

I love this quote that I read somewhere and tucked away.   It is so relevant to me with everything going on both personally and in society as a whole.  And it reflects the purpose of Friday's Fave Five.  To search out the small joys we might miss simply because we are so focused on the big thing.

“Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness.”
― Pearl S. Buck

Let us be the kind of people who don't pass by the small joys of life that God give us in our pursuit of big happiness.   Sure there will be big happiness events in our lives and they are fun and obvious and we are so grateful for those but it is the small joys in our everyday living that add up where we can see God hand in our days and how He provides and cares for us.  If you are new to this, guidelines are linked in the sidebar to read, then just join on in.

 ~ day trip ~  Sunday we took a spontaneous day trip to Calgary to visit with my son and daughter.  Our son just bought his first home this fall and we were excited to see it in person.  Then we did a little shopping at our favorite farmer's market where we bought him a cute planter for his entry table as a house warming gift. We then met up with our youngest daughter who also lives there and had supper before we drove home.  It was a relaxing enjoyable day.

~ tea date ~  Tuesday I had a tea date with a dear friend who will be moving away soon.  We had some good deep conversation, encouraging words for each other and lots of laughter that evening.  I treasure this lady who became a part of my ladies bible study many years ago.  She has such a quiet trust in God's leading that is inspiring and her courage in the face of having to do some hard things in the last few years have been a great example for me.  I treasure her wisdom and friendship and I will really miss her when her and hubby move in a couple of months.

~ willing friend ~ I'm very thankful to another friend who is a true blessing in my life.  Mom had another ER visit on Friday.  Because my sis had taken so much time off of work already a couple weeks before when Mom got ill,  she was unable to go in.  My friend rearranged her whole afternoon at the drop of a hat to sub for me with the dayhome so I could go in.  I don't take her willingness lightly at all.  It is a real blessing.

~ Burundi Mutana coffee from Kayanza Province, East Africa~ A local coffee grinder gets only one bag of this coffee in once a year.  It's produced by small local growers on volcanic loam.  They announce when it's coming and if you want some you have to put your name on however many lbs you want.  It's expensive but I had a gift card that I had gotten for Christmas from one of my dayhome parents so I got myself a pound.  It's really different and really good.  The bag says it has notes of Baker's Chocolate, sweet orange, cherry cola snap.  That is the natural tones of it, it's not a flavored coffee.  I'm not sure about the cherry cola but I definitely taste chocolate and orange.  It's my Saturday morning choice of coffee where I can sit and slowly enjoy it (as compared to gulping it down to get myself awake to start the work day kind of coffee experience).  At least until the last bean is ground.  Yum.

~ the varmint turned one this week~  This lil' stinker turned 1 this week.  Never a dull moment with him around.  We're thankful for the gift that he was after our other beloved dog passed away in the spring.   He's kept us busy and entertained. 

What have been your favorite small joys this week?