Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday's Fave Five #330

Hi everyone.  Welcome to the end of the week meaning it is time for Friday's Fave Five.  I was out of town last weekend to visit my daughter and couldn't get around to commenting on hardly any of your faves last week so I'm especially looking forward to getting around to visiting you all!  If you are new just go to the link in the sidebar, read the guidelines and then just jump right in.  Don't forget to visit others too.  It makes it more fun and expands your awareness of the blessings in life.

1.  Of course, one of the highlights of my week was the opportunity to visit my daughter who lives out of town.  My wonderful hubby made it happen.  I am so grateful that he realizes that I need to get out of the house and away sometimes being as I work at home and can't leave. We took advantage of the long weekend, jumped in the car and went.  And going to see my girl is a delight.  We got to see her little apartment and stay there, no room mate at the moment.  This gave us extra time together and it was a wonderful visit.  Unfortunately the weather was really cold so there was no outside activity but it was still fun to shop and see a show and eat out.  It's always a gift to be able to travel a province away and visit my oldest and a gift to get some away time with my hubby.

2.  Finding a great shoe deal.  Since last fall I have been fighting pain from plantar fascitis and a lot of my shoes just don't have the padding or support or can't fit an insert that would help.  Especially summer shoes.  I've been on the look out for some cute casual summer shoes that would work but I've been finding it hard to get something that doesn't blow a huge hole into my budget.  While visiting my oldest we went into the Winner's/ HomeSense and lo and behold there were a pair of Romika shoes that I've my eye on for a couple of years.  They were sized at a ladies 10 by Winners but when I looked at the sole they were actually a European size 40 which is a 9.  I'm an 8 1/2 but occasionally a 9 depending on the shoe so I quickly tried them on.  They fit!  And they would fit an insert if need be but they are very comfortable without.  They were the only ones in any size and I snapped them up when I saw they were priced at $59.99.  I thought I had got a good deal but when I looked them up online, I totally did the happy dance as they were $130.00!  Score!!  Cute comfortable shoes at a steal of a deal makes me very happy.

3.  Bread from Cobs bakery.  My oldest has a couple of jobs one of them being in this bakery.  On our way out of her town we dropped her off at work and picked up some yummy baked goods.  Oh my word...this is one awesome bakery!  We tried the Marble Rye bread, the Cinnamon Raisin bread, the White Chocolate Raspberry Scones, the chocolate and raspberry croissant and the salt and pepper Turkish flatbread.  They were all super delicious.  It's probably a good thing there isn't one in my town or I think I would be gaining a few pounds.

4.  Coffee and Chat night with ladies bible study.  Once in awhile my bible study group forgets the study and just does something for fun and because of the long weekend this was a fun week.  We met for coffee and dessert and though there was only four of us that could make it, it was a great evening.  I love this time because having fun together as well as studying together builds a great bond.  I'm very thankful for my group of women that are there for each other as we do this Christian walk together.

5. Some good slots of time for reading.  The last couple of days has been beautiful and sunny outside and it's been a pleasure to carve out a little bit of time to enjoy the outside with by book and a coffee.  It's like a little getaway and totally is a refreshing time for me.  

What have your favorite blessings for the week been?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

"Wonders Never Cease" by Phil Callaway ~ Book Review

This is the sequel to "The Edge of the World" (Chronicles of Grace series) and continues Terry Anderson's story.  Terry is now 18 and in his senior year of high school.  He is struggling with his parent's faith and has pretty much decided to leave it behind though he hasn't told them that.  He can hardly wait to get out of church going small town Grace and start "living".   But as graduation nears his boring life is once again thrown into turmoil.  Just when he's deciding he doesn't believe his atheist friend is starting to ask all sorts of questions about faith which he is compelled to come up with answers to.  His mother's illness from Huntington's disease has caused her to have to take to her bed 24/7 for all intents and purposes stealing her from her family.  His brother Ben has secretly returned and now someone is looking for him.  And now to top it all off it would have to be him that comes across a dead body and once again he is faced with what to keep secret.

Although I did like the first installment of  this series (reviewed here in 2014, #21) a bit better I thought this a good read.  Terry is struggling with his faith and is in full fledged rebellion.  But the amusing part of it is that his friend (from the previous book) who's father is the town atheist and has raised him that way, is all of a sudden asking all sorts of questions which is forcing Terry to answer and revisit the faith of his own upbringing.   I found that part of the story quite appealing and realistic as a lot of teenagers face rebellion and questioning and finding their way in making faith their own and not just their parent's.  Secrets are coming to light in the town of Grace and once again Terry is faced with doing the right thing or keep more secrets.  With what happened to him when a youngster you'd think the decision would be automatic but it gets more complicated. And once again, Terry finds himself choosing to keep something that isn't his and seeing his whole life turning upside down for it.  I found Terry's 18 year old character a bit immature in his thinking and actions. I had to remind myself that his character was actually 18 and about to graduate quite a few times throughout the story. I literally wanted to tell him to grow up at times.   I did enjoy the narration of the story through his perspective, though. His mother's story was heartbreaking and you could see the confusion such an illness brings into the family.  It was a good exploration of both young and mature faith, legalism, facing illness, and broken trusts and finding grace in unexpected places.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday's Fave Five #329

Welcome to this week's addition of Friday's Fave Five.   Come and join us as we find our blessings in the midst of our week and share 5 of them.  The point is to notice and find and be thankful for the good things in our lives no matter what kind of week we are having.  

1.  A lovely Mother's Day.  I just wanted a quiet Mother's Day this year, doing sweet nothin'.  I wanted to go to church.  I wanted to read my book.  I wanted to stay at home.  And my family blessed me with it all.  Hubby got our traditional KFC, and some yummy salads.  He even made a special trip to Costco for their tiramisu because he knows I love it.  Lovely gifts from him and the kids made me feel like a queen and thoroughly spoiled.  Very thankful for my family and how they made me feel special.

2.  Just being with Hubby.  Saturday Hubby and I just spent running around doing errands.  Just normal everyday things that needed doing but we did them together.  And we rounded it out with a yummy coffee served to us by our daughter who works at the coffee shop.

3.  Refreshing Rain. We've had a bit of rain this week which has washed everything clean and made it smell lovely.  I was able to get some fertilizer on the lawn so am expecting a nice green color in the back yard when the sun comes back out.  It helped to soften up the soil in the flour beds so I can get to digging and prepping it for flowers next week.  

4.  A wonderful massage therapist.  I am very thankful for this lady who does my massage.  She really goes out of her way.  She accommodated me for extra time so she could work on my leg and knee which were acting up.  And when I left there my knee felt way better than it has for more than a week.

5.  A rest from the gym.  I really enjoy my workouts at the gym most days but with the knee acting up I thought I would give it a good rest and just let it heal.  While I was put out that I had some kind of injury to begin with I also learned my lesson from the last time and I knew to rest it  and not push it.  I actually appreciated the time off and am now ready to get back to it.

What blessings did you enjoy this last week?

Friday, May 08, 2015

Friday's Fave Five #328

Hi everyone.  Welcome back to another Friday where we take a pause and look for the blessings in our lives and be thankful for them.  I get that some weeks are harder than others and it's hard to look for good things or you just aren't motivated to.  I had one of those weeks this week too.  Between yet another issue with my leg and other stressors this week, it has been a bit of a toughy.  But that's why doing this on an intentional regular basis is such a good thing.  It causes me to refocus and gain some perspective.  Thanks for joining in with me.  

1.  Date at the movies.  On a spur of the moment decision last Saturday, Hubby and I took off to the movies to see Woman In Gold.  We both loved it!  I really liked Ryan Reynolds performance in this and Helen Mirren was also really good.  But Tatiana Maslany, who played the younger Maria Altmann really made the movie for me.  Did I mention she was Canadian?  As is Ryan Reynolds? The show is based on a true story and I loved how they went back and forth between the present and the past as unfolding events brought up memories of the Nazi's occupation of Austria to Maria.  Good thing I too kleenex!  A great date with hubby.

2.  Hubby making the Costco run.  Yesterday by the end of the work day, my leg and foot were sore and my ankle swollen.  So my gracious hubby did he Costco run and picked up some supper there too so I wouldn't have to cook.  So thankful that he just jumped in at the last minute and having a busy day himself.  

3.  Premade meals at Costco.  Homemade is always best but when ya gotta bring in a meal you gotta bring one in.  And Costco has some good choices.  Love the chicken pie and hubby also bought a delicious Greek salad.  Call dinner done!

4.  New paint in the bedroom.  My hard working hubby has been tackling the upstairs now and freshening everything up with a new coat of paint and new baseboards.  He finished the our bedroom this week.  It has gone from a darker color to a lighter, fresher look.  I love it.  What is it about putting a nice new color up that totally lifts the spirits and makes you love your space again?   

5.  A purring cat cuddling as I type.  My sweet old kitty, she's 18 years old! And she is sitting next to me purring away while I do this post.  I love a purring cat.  The sound is pure comfort to me.  Love my old girl.

Well we are supposed to wake up to a rain/snow mix in the morning.  Sigh.  But the moisture is much needed and I'll take it because the weekend is supposed to get beautiful!  I want to wish all the Moms out there a very happy Mother's day.  

So what good things can you find from your week?

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Staring Over the Edge

Yup, it sure is.

I can't believe it's Thursday already 
and once again I have not posted all week.

My mind is absorbed 
in some big decisions in our lives at the moment.

I've never been a huge risk taker.
I prefer the comfort zone of security
and the known
compared to the unknown of risk.
(Although I always did like the thrill
of jumping off the high board.
Don't know why that did not translate 
into the things of life for me).

In this Christian life of seeking God,
I think God calls us at some point 
to take a leap of faith.
It seems to be a given in our walk with Him.

And I think that time is upon my Hubby and me.
 God is calling us to step off the cliff
in an area of our lives.
In a good way.
Not to harm us.
But to show us how big of a God He is.

A big thing for a gal who grew up 
letting the "what if's" of my mom direct a lot of my life.
And a big thing for this time in our lives
when most look to sit back 
and slow down.

But that is where we find ourselves.
Almost forced to take that leap of faith.

But we will do it not on our own
but by grasping the hand of God.

Joshua 1:9
"Have not I commanded you? 
Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be you dismayed: 
for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Finding Mercy by Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley ~ Book Review

Book Two in this story starts with bounty hunters chasing Mercy as she still tries to figure out her past. Heading south to where she believes she might have come from she is having to dodge not only the bounty hunters but try to pick up clues as to who she might be. After running across a portrait of a military man something in her memory is finally sparked and she goes in search of who it might be. Finally a clue that leads her to a large rice plantation has her meeting her family but still not recognizing them or knowing them. But even as she tries to fit into her past life more questions arise as to who and what kind of person she really was. And then there is still the nasty little detail about the bounty hunters that just won't give up.

As Mercy is thrown back into her life with a party being thrown for her return by her family, the confusion and mystery continues for her. The black woman who raised her and whom she was supposedly very close to can barely tolerate being in the same room with her and Mercy doesn't know why. She is appalled by the treatment and living quarters of the newly freed slaves who are now employees of the plantation. The attitude of her brother and step Mom towards the black servants saddens her and yet on the flip side they are surprised that she is not harder on the staff. As the young woman she was slowly comes to light, Mercy must reconcile the unrecognizable person she was with the person she is now. Does she want to go back to being that young woman from before the war and reclaim her old life or will she take steps to right the wrongs of the past and embrace who she is now?

Loved the sequel to Traces to Mercy. What a great story these two books were. I appreciated how the story wove the story of the north and the south viewpoints into it. The immediate results of the civil war on both the plantation owners and the freed slaves was something that this book really brought out to me. I hadn't really paused to think of what those newly freed people would do when on paper they were free but the attitudes were still the same towards them. I thought that the inner struggles that Mercy was having were very well written and felt myself hoping for the best for her and wishing she would quit making impulsive choices. I rooted for her through the set of two books and couldn't wait to see how it all played out for her. This and the first in the series, Traces of Mercy, was an excellent read. It'll be a keeper on my bookshelf.

Reading Challenge Goals Met: Book I own but haven't read yet; Book by an author I love but haven't read yet

Review linked to Semicolon Saturday Review of Books

Traces of Mercy by Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley ~ Book Review

After waking up in a doctor's office as the civil war ends, a young woman grapples with the fact that she has no memory of her past or who she is, nor how she was injured or how she came to be at the doctor's office. With no clues to go by, the doctor takes her to live with a group of nuns in the hopes that eventually her memory will return, at least enough to get her home. But as time passes and still no return of any of her memory, the nuns name the young woman Mercy because of a mercy medallion that was around her neck. Mercy lives her days longing for her memory to return so that she can know who she is. But after meeting a handsome young Yankee bachelor from a prominent family who wants to have a future with her she puts her reservations and hope of knowing her past life aside and instead agrees to marry him. Her life becomes a whirlwind of learning the proper etiquette and behavior, none of which she naturally remembers, and of planning her wedding. There is so much to look forward to until a stranger she meets at her engagement party threatens to destroy everything. He knows something of her past and gives her an ultimatum of telling her fiance by a certain date or he will. Though Mercy remembers none of what he tells her she did, she is thrown into a panic of what it will do to the life she is now trying to build and decides to take matters into her own hands. But her choices can take her down an even more devastating path.

Though it took me until chapter 2 to really get into the story, once at that point I was hooked. The first chapter is written in a way where no given names are used so I think that is why I found it a bit difficult to just get on board with the story right away. (And that is all I can say so that I don't reveal the story). Once chapter two hits, however, all that falls into place and the story really just takes off. I found the way it was written was really absorbing. The struggles Mercy faces between wanting to know her past and wanting to choose the wonderful future placed before her really drew me. I could almost feel her confusion and how she was torn at times. The innocent and sweet young lady she is is direct contrast to who this stranger claims she is and you feel her pain and panic as she tries to make sense of it all. The contradictions of her actions had me either cheering for her or going No what are you doing? It was relatable though in the sense that we all do stupid things when in a panic and threatened with losing what we consider precious that in reflection makes us shake our heads  . I loved this story and couldn't wait to get into the 2nd book of the series.

Reading Challenge Goals Met:  A book I own but have never read; A book from and author I love;

Friday, May 01, 2015

Friday's Fave Five #327

Hi everyone!  Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  Boy oh boy,  I am needing this.  It has been such a overwhelming week for my brain this week that if I didn't have this discipline in thankfulness, I wouldn't even have noticed good things right under my nose.  They are going to be listed short and sweet this week because I'm just so tired my brain can't think of witty or flowery paragraphs.  But you know, it doesn't have to get all wordy to find and be grateful for good things in my life in spite of the week.   Join on in and share your five favourite blessings from the week.

1.  Smokin' hot day.  Monday's temperature was lovely.  Tuesday's hit 27*C.  That would be 80.6*F.   Around my neck of the woods that would be summertime weather!  I actually had to dig out the sunscreen for the kids.  Hubby turned on the air conditioning.  Never have we done that in April!!  Alas yesterday and today actually felt cold although they were really just seasonal temps.  Thankful for those 2 days of wonderful heat and sunshine.

2.  Evening out with a good friend. My friend and I finally got a night that worked for both of us so that we could celebrate our birthdays on.  Four or so months late, but who's counting?  So we went out to see Age of Adaline  and then topped it off with a nice mint tea and a chocolate raspberry creme brulee at a favourite restaurant.  I'm very thankful for this friendship that I have even though we don't get to see each other too often.  

3.  Salted Caramel Truffle Blizzard.  Oh my goodness.  How did I not have any of these until the end of the month?  I hope they continue to have them on the menu because they are super good.

4.  Great finds on our local swap and buy.  I was needing some new toys for the dayhome kidlets and I found a couple great sets of Little People items for next to nothing.  And they were in excellent condition.  Win for the dayhome kids and a win for my pocketbook!

5.  A wish list item for our home finally accomplished.  We have been wanting stone on our house for some time and have been saving our sheckles for a while now.  Our home was built in the 1950's and needed a bit of updating on the outside.  Finally that wish was realized this last week.  Around the bottom over the cement part and framing our doorway.  Hubby and I both love it and are so glad we finally went for it.  And we got a great deal from a stone and brick layer who does really good work.  

Well this weekend is going to be a busy one for me.  Hopefully that sunshine will find it's way back with no wind and I can sneek some outside time in.  Hope you all have a nice weekend but not before you tell us what your favourite blessings were this week!