Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday's Fave Five #310

Welcome everyone to Friday's Fave Five.  This last week has pretty much been a write off for me as I have been sick for almost 2 weeks and it's just wiped me out.  But I have to stop in and do FFF because even though physically I was feeling the pits there were many good blessings to find in the week too!  Please join in!

1.  Ladies Study Christmas Party.  Monday night was our study groups Christmas party.  I had volunteered my home more than 3 weeks ago and as it came to the night I wondered if I was out of my mind to still have it here.  But a few cold meds and advil later, I was able to get the house cleaned up from the dayhome kids there that day and it turned out to be a huge blessing.  Even though I crashed right after it was such a fun evening that I wouldn't have traded hosting it.  We are now done for the year, and even though I will miss it I really need some time to get some Christmas related stuff done!

2.  This made me smile

These are high school kids and I thought they did such a good job.  It must have taken much practice and really good listening skills to come right in on their cues.  And the concept of monks who had taken a vow of silence "singing" the Hallelujah chorus was fun.

3.  Starbucks hand delivered to my door by a wonderful dayhome parent who thought it would be nice to treat me.  She brought me one I haven't tried before...chestnut praline latte.  Yummy.

4.  Helping hands.  Saturday was the day we had planned to put up the tree.  In all honesty, because I was sick the task seemed daunting to me.  I woke up Saturday morning to hubby having the tree up and halfway finished with the lights.  And my youngest decorated it in the evening while we attended a dinner we had committed to.  What a blessing it was!

5.  Christmas music.  Love filling the house with Christmas songs and music.  Like my daughter posted on facebook:  "I don't think a lot of people realize how powerful the lyrics to O Holy Night are... "And in His Name all oppression shall cease".  I think she is right.  I think it's that way with a lot of the Christmas songs we sing.  We go on autopilot with the lyrics and don't really pause to think about what we are actually saying.  They are powerful!

Well those are the ones that came to mind for me.  It's going to be a bit busy for me this weekend.  A lot of Christmas shopping that hasn't gotten done because I've been to exhausted after work and maybe even some baking.  Hopefully my energy level will get up there a bit and I can go, go, go.  Have a wonderful weekend.

What have been your favorite blessings this week?

Friday, December 05, 2014

Friday's Fave Five #309

Is it Friday already?  Oy.  I am so mixed up this week in what day it is.  I'm totally blaming the cold meds.  Totally.  But welcome to Friday's Fave Five!  I know those in the U.S. just celebrated Thanksgiving but I believe we should daily notice our blessings and not just once a year, right?  So that is what this is about. Taking a moment once a week to look back over that week and notice the big and little blessings that may be missed.  Please join us!

1.  This post by Carrie at Reading to Know.  It's a book review but I love the direction she took it.  She speaks of bravery and what she observes is happening in the Christian community today.  She really gives us something to think about.

2.  This quote that came up in my facebook feed last week.  Exactly what I need to hear at the moment

"Keep this in mind tonight… the devil loves to make us focus on the little that’s wrong so we miss the big picture of all that’s right.” - Lysa TerKeurst
And isn't that what the FFF is all about?....Helping us to purposefully put our focus on the things that are right and good!

3.  Life of a King.  Hubby and I came across this movie on the weekend and because we both like Cuba Gooding Jr.  decided this was the movie we would watch.  Though the critics were not thrilled with it we found we really liked it.  Based on a true story, which I always like, it wasn't a blockbuster by any means but a really great story of how one person can take a small gifting such as teaching chess and change the lives of many!

4.  Blogmas Series happening over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.  Sandra came up with a lovely idea of a different Christmas theme to write about for each day until Christmas. I've really been enjoying reading them and hope to join in as soon as I stop being sick and wiped out and unmotivated to do anything but lie on the couch with hot tea and a blanket.  It's not too late to join up for anyone.  This link will take you to the first one where, if you scroll on down, she has buttons and topics for each day.

5.  Today I'm just super thankful for my job.  Even though there are many things I've complained about or been frustrated with over the years, it really has so many, many good things that go with it that outweigh those negative things.

What are your favorite blessings from the past week?

Monday, December 01, 2014

Each year I wait with anticipation to see how WestJet will top themselves.  They never disappoint!  Way to go, WestJet and employees.  Here was last year's.

If you want to watch a short clip on why they did it you can go here

Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday's Fave Five #308

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  Happy Thanksgiving to all my American bloggy friends.  I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend.  And how appropriate is FFF for this weekend?  Are you all ready to look for and share what you are thankful from this past week?

1.  5 Stores - no purchase.  Why on earth would this be a blessing you ask?  Especially as the Christmas season kicks off?  Well those stores were Christmas/decorating type stores and if you knew my history in one of those, well, let's just say the "no purchase" is not a part of my past record in those kinds of stores.   But this year, I have been to several Ladies nights at these stores and not felt at all compelled to buy a thing.  Yes, everything was real pretty.  But for whatever reason, this year, I did not feel compelled to bring any of it home.  That, my friends, is a miracle.  I can't explain it other than to say I feel content this year with what I have.  And I hope it continues!

2.  Birthday dinner.  We finally celebrated Hubby's birthday last Sunday.  He's a pretty lay low kind of guy.  Doesn't like parties, especially surprise ones.  So just our little family celebrated him at a favorite restaurant with a wonderful meal.  I was a special afternoon for him and that made it a blessing.

3.  Surprise gift of a Starbuck's.  One of my dayhome parents came bearing a gift of a venti flavored coffee for me the other day.  What a lovely surprise.  It makes me feel very appreciated.

4.  Special time spent with a friend.  In all the busyness that is starting it was really nice to spend a couple of evenings with a friend.  Being able to relax and just be myself and have fun is a real blessing.

5.  A relatively peaceful day as a new roof was being installed.  I was a bit worried that a day of constant hammering was really going to affect the kids in the dayhome but they handled it like troopers and played really nicely all day.  The two babes even slept their usual amount and didn't get woken up from the loud noises.  The peaceful silence when the roofers were all done was absolute bliss to me.  I'm very thankful that all went smooth.

What are the blessings that were your favorites from your week?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

"The Hatmaker's Heart" by Carla Stewart

With this novel, Carla Stewart has taken a step back farther in time than she usually writes about and has created a story set in the Roaring 20's.  The heroine, Nell Marchwold, dreams of designing and making hats.  It is sheer joy to her to have a woman try on a hat she designed and witness that woman see herself as beautiful and poised, whether the woman is outwardly beautiful or not.  For Nell it is not about fame.  As an apprentice hatmaker at Oscar Fields Millinery in New York she works hard for her employer even though he is a hard taskmaster and can be quite belittling.  When she is called upon to design hats for a valued customer and her daughters, Nell's world is changed as she is thrown into the spotlight from the rave reviews on her designs.  Though thrilled with the business it brings, her boss is not too happy to not have the credit himself and is very skeptical when a up and coming fashion designer wants Nell to design the hats to go with his new collection.   With that success opportunity comes knocking to expand the business to England and he quickly has Nell on the ship with two assistants to design hats for a prominent family there who will be attending the wedding of the queen.  Thrilled to be going home, Nell hopes to visit her aging grandmother and her long time friend Quentin but her boss is quite adamant about controlling every moment of her time.   As Nell faces her feelings for Quentin, she has to decide what it is she really wants out of life.

I have enjoyed every Carla Stewart book that I have read and this was no exception.  For me, this author has a real gift at transporting the reader into another era.  The setting was quite different than her usual backgrounds being set in the 1920's rather than the 1960's.  It was interesting reading about the New York lifestyle during that time period.  Nell was an endearing character who drew you into her quiet world with her great attitude and her passion for hat making and seeing the blossoming of women as they wore her creations.  She is a character of high standards in her work and personal life.  I liked the glimpse we got into the life of a woman of that time, one with dreams of entering a field dominated and run by men, and especially a woman with a speech impediment and how she was treated because of it.    As family secrets are revealed and the pressure of the fashion business closes in on her, I really liked how Nell grew throughout the story and came into her own at the end.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday's Fave Five #307

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  A place to stop and pause life so that we can actually stop and notice the blessings in that life.  Finding five from the last week and recording them and sharing them helps me to keep perspective and promotes gratefulness in my life.  Please join me in this.  Guidelines are here if you've never participated before.

Updated with correct link in #3

1.  This post on time management and focus for Christian women.  I found this post very timely for me.  This time of year is super busy for me with a double whammy of obligations at church and sometimes I take on way too much.  This post helped me to see that as a Christian my time management must start with time with God to find out what should be on my plate and what shouldn't. I'm a  person who has a hard time saying no and if I'm putting things on there that God is not calling me too no wonder I'm feeling overwhelmed and stressed.  Maybe some of you too can relate?

2.  Operation Christmas Child boxes from church delivered to the collection center.   Yipee!  All done and one step closer to getting to the kids.  And a blessing within the blessing was my son driving them to the collection center and unloading them all for me.  It's something that I like to do but I was pressed for time and he had a couple of days off this week.  So I stepped aside, note #1 above, took it off my plate and gratefully gave the task over to him.

3.  A special gift from my hubby.  It was such a simple gift but boy did it tell me he loved me.  There was a new worship song that I was really liking.  I emailed the youtube link to him because I knew he'd like it too and to ask him to add it to my list.  When I collect up enough songs he purchases them on itunes and makes me a CD filled with my favorite songs.  When I got in the car the next morning and turned it on, out of my speakers come the sound of that song!  He had taken the time to get that for me the very next day and had it right on mark in the car so that when I got in I'd be hearing it.  What a great guy!  If you're super curious and just have to know it's this song.

4.  Trying a new recipe and having it work!!  It was delicious!!  I didn't go through all the steps with the potatoes.   I just halved baby potatoes and threw them in the roasting pan for the last half hour of cover off roasting.  (That meant I didn't use the second half of the oil).  Yum, yum.

5.  Laughter.  There is nothing like sharing in some good belly laughter with others that makes the soul feel wonderful!

Bonus:  Happy Birthday today to my wonderful hubby!

What were your favorite blessings this week?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

"Don't Go" by Lisa Scottoline ~ Book Review

Dr. Mike Scanlon is a doctor serving in Afghanistan.  On his second tour his thoughts are frequently at home with his wife, Chloe, and their new baby.  Chloe was not happy for Mike to be going back on a second tour and so he deals with guilt while in Afgahanistan.  When news comes that Chloe has died at home in a freak home accident Mike is devastated.   Coming home on leave to make funeral arrangements, Mike is hit with the oddness of her death and is blindsided with a secret that she had been keeping.  Now he has a precious baby girl, that doesn't know him at all and is terrified of him, a medical practice that is changing without his input and the knowledge that he still has to go back to Afghanistan.  Leaving his baby girl in the hands of Chloe's sister and husband, Mike goes back to finish his deployment.  But there, too, things start to fall apart.  The medical compound is hit with an attack and 2 doctors lose their lives.  Now with a doctor shortage he is under pressure to stay and serve another year.  But his choice brings life long consequences and he must gather up everything within himself to fight for what is most important.

I really enjoyed this book from one of my favorite authors.  In it she explores what it means to be a father, a man and a hero.  It's a departure from her other books whose main character has always been women.  As Mike faces his world falling apart around him, he must figure out how to deal with what he doesn't want to admit to anyone, let alone himself.  The action goes back and forth from fast paced to very emotional and I was not bored in the story at all.   I was very moved in the descriptions of his very small daughter's reactions to him and how totally lost he was in trying to make it better.  I'm sure that is very true of  some of our service men and women who come home to find their little ones not even knowing who they are.  Virtual strangers trying to love on their children.  It must be quite the patient process to try to get to know one another.  The mystery in the story was revealed slowly and I have to admit I didn't guess it until the reveal.  I was a little surprised at the time line of the story.  Once Mike was back, it seemed to me that it was quite a while as layers of the mystery were revealed and everything was swirling around him but in fact it was only about a week.  That seemed a shock to me as some of the events that unfolded, in my mind, would take longer.  But that said, I love a story that draws out lots of emotions and this one did that for me.  I also really liked the questions at the back for book clubs.  They were thought provoking and are the kind that would make for great discussions.