Friday, March 23, 2018

Friday's Fave Five #474

Yipee, I finally get to use the spring tulip FFF button!  Even though we still have snow on the ground it's been melting like crazy, and even though there is still some snowfall warnings out in the province, we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel...hopefully.  It's been one long crazy winter and I am so glad to be saying it's officially spring.  So welcome to Friday's Fave Fave where we celebrate the blessings from the past week by sharing 5 of them.  If you are new here, the link is in the sidebar for the guidelines.

~surprise birthday treat~ it was my friend's birthday this week but she was going to be out of town for most of the week so Monday when I met up with her at the gym, I surprised her by skipping my gym time and taking her for her favorite treat instead,  a DQ blizzard.  It was a spur of the moment idea and it was so much fun to see her expression when I asked her and it was wonderful getting to spend some time together as we haven't been able to get together for awhile.  I'm so glad I followed through on the idea.  Bonus blessing was that it happened to be BOGO for 99 cents week on the blizzards this week.

~great movie treat~ Along with millions of people, I've always loved the song "I Can Only Imagine".  It just touches something deep down inside of me that Tuesday night a whole bunch of us went to go see "I Can Only Imagine" at the theatre.  What a great movie.  It is based on the real life story of Bart Millard and how his life led up to the writing "I Can Only Imagine" and how it took off and blessed millions world wide.  The song is the #1 Christian song of all time worldwide and was also the #1 requested song on several large secular stations.  The movie was really good and Dennis Quaid gave an amazing performance in his role as the Bart Millard's (the writer of the song) abusive father.  I may or may not have used quite a bit of kleenex.  Go see it, it's good, the end.

~playing with recipes~  when I have the time I love trying new recipes, or playing around with recipes to see what I can come up with or change up.  This week afforded a little bit of time to do that and it made me happy.
~outside time~ because of the crazy winter we have had, there has not been much outside time with the kids this year.  But this week saw us outside 3 days in a row enjoying warmth and sunshine.  The snow was still piled high in the backyard but we still we able to play around a bit.  It was so nice one day I even was out without my coat as I worked dumping snow by the shovelful into the alley in an attempt to have less melting close to the foundations of the house.  Kind of contradictory feeling that heat from the sun on my bare arms while I shoveling tons of snow but I will take it!
~open windows~  with the lovely warmth I've been able to pry open the windows, literally, as they got pretty much frozen shut a lot of the time over the winter.  Having that fresh air coming into every room in the house was absolutely lovely.
What were your favorite blessings from the week?

Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday's Fave Five #473

Hi everyone!  Sorry this wasn't up first thing this morning.  I am totally mixed up in my days.  Here is Mr. Linky for ya and I'll be by later with my post!

Well I'm finally able to post my own FFF.  Yesterday was a bit rough, I was tired physically from shovelling heavy wet snow and tired emotionally and then things were going on with my dad who is a senior and needing some assistance, so I literally forgot it was Thursday and my post that needed doing.  But today is a new day and here we are.

~New Days~  I am so very thankful for new days and a fresh start each morning.  Not sure what was going on with my emotions yesterday, everything just built up to be overwhelming, but today totally different.  One of my very favorite scriptures is Lamentations 3: 23 - 26 which says:

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning,
Great is Thy faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion,
Therefore I will wait for Him."

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him,
To the one who seeks Him;
It is good to wait quietly
   for the salvation of the Lord.  
(NIV version)

His compassions never fail, they are new and granted to us fresh each morning...what great comfort there is in that.  I just have to work on the waiting quietly part.  Ha.

~Fun Movie evening with the ladies study group~ Tuesday we decided to have a fun night at study, so we had a stay in movie night complete with an abundance of popcorn and chocolate.  We are between studies right now so it was a fun way to unwind and just enjoy each other's company.  Love my group of ladies.  

~Mexican Food date night~  There is a little local place in town who's food I just crave if I haven't had it in awhile.  Hubby and I always seem to be in agreement when that time rolls around.  So we headed there on the weekend and got our fix.  The owner blessed us with a piece of Tres Leches cake, something I've never had before.  Delicious.  And now I have something else to crave from there.  LOL.

~a good vacuuming~  I don't know what it is about it a fresh vacuuming but just the look of the carpets afterward always lifts my spirits.  Weird I know, but hey, it's the little things sometimes.

~blue skies~  they have been few and far between as of late around here so on the days it does show up it is definitely a blessing and for sure a favorite!

What have been your 5 favorite blessings from the last week?

Thursday, March 15, 2018

No, I'm not just copying and pasting previous posts.

It's the year of the never ending winter...

...yet another snowfall warning.
This one preceded by a nice layer of freezing rain.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke ~ Book Review

Making plans to move to America from England, Owen Allen finally confronts his spinster aunt (who has taken him and his sister Annie in when his parents died) with his plans. But those plans involve getting established in America before he can send for his little sister Annie. Because of his aunt's manipulative influence, he moves Annie to a boarding school, with the promise he will send for her within the year as soon as he earns enough in his American Aunt and Uncles gardening business. Booking passage on the Titanic, Owen takes a young stowaway under his wing on the ship when he recognizes the young boy has no one. When the Titanic sinks, Owens makes the ultimate sacrifice and Michael makes it to America with nothing except the vow to Owen to get Annie to America and coat pockets full of Owen's seeds, shoots and garden plans to start getting Owen's dreams to fruition. Annie is devastated by her brother's death and though now connected to Michael through the promise she struggles with forgiving him for living when her brother did not. As Annie tries to deal with her grief and move on with her life, and Michael continues saving to bring Annie over, circumstances they never thought possible conspire to keep her away from the life in America her brother dreamed they would have. When Annie disappears in the midst of WW I Michael takes his own life in his hands to cross the ocean yet again, this time back to England to find Annie.

 I really enjoyed this story that involved not only the Titanic but WW I which followed soon on the heels of the sinking of the ocean liner. I'm always up for a story that involves the Titanic and this didn't disappoint in it's telling of that historical part. The young stowaway made an interesting addition to the tragedy that is the Titanic . I haven't read too much on WW I and the story brought the horrific battles in France and the part that VAD nurses played in tending to the wounded on the front lines to life. It all brought out some deep emotions in me in it's descriptions both of the sinking of the Titanic and the aftermath to both the survivors and the families and the devastation of this war.  There was some really nice character development and it was nice to see their growth and change from the beginning to end of the story. The only character that I questioned a bit was the aunt and her seeming unchallenged ability to wield power over whomever she basically chose even after her death. But it definitely made for a page turning aspect to the story. I loved the themes of sacrifice for another and the exploration of what that means in the life of a Christian, survivor guilt, anger, forgiveness and fulfilling your promises that this Christian historical novel presented. The only part I didn't enjoy was the addition of some sentences in French as some of the French characters spoke even though they were basically translated within the next sentence or two. I found it frustrating and ended up basically just skipping those sentences (which were only in a few of the chapters) and found they could have just been eliminated altogether.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Friday's Fave Five #472

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  A little place on the internet to share five of your favorite blessings of the last week.  Please join us in the intentional pursuit of pausing and taking note of the good things in our lives.

~One of the best videos on youtube!~  I dare ya not to smile or laugh. On Facebook it was entitled:  "When you and your best friend have different taste in music."  I laugh every time I watch this thing.  Laughter and cheerfulness in the midst of a tough week is a huge blessing.

~sweet gift from a friend~ My hubby makes the best popcorn ever, if I do say so myself, and it's not just me that thinks so.  My friend also agrees with me and she gifted him these cute popcorn bowls to hold all that deliciousness.  Doesn't a cute container make food all the more yummy?  Thoughtful gifts are a blessing.
~finding this book~ This is Francine Rivers' new novel.  She's a favorite author but for some reason this book was not showing up in my city.  In fact, when I went to the Chapters/Indigo here they said none had showed up in any of their Canadian locations.  I was so disappointed.  But when in Calgary, I went into the Chapters there and lo and behold, when I asked the girl she led me right to it, apparently lots of people had been asking for it, and I got the last one.  Yipee.  I can hardly wait to get to it.  The gift of being in a country where we can read whenever we want and basically get ahold of any and all books whether to buy or borrow is a huge blessing that I never take for granted.

~safe travels~ my sis and her hubby had to take my dad to an appointment in Calgary, and wouldn't you know yet another snowfall warning was posted for that day.  Calgary received and incredible dump of snow on the weekend but they stayed safe through it all.  Have them get through that weekend of stressful driving safe and sound is a huge relief and blessing.

~a massage~ I have had issues with my neck and upper back since I was a kid and regular workouts and regular massages have really helped with that.  Unfortunately I had to cancel my February appointment due to, you guessed it, a snow storm.  So it was a few months since I have been able to get an appointment.  The last week due to stress and tension and just extra physical stuff I could start to feel the knots getting the upper hand.  So thankful my appointment was set for last night and there was no snowstorm or other occurrences that would have made me miss it.  It felt so good and now my shoulders and neck feel back to normal.  Very thankful that I have the privilege of being able to go for a massage when I really need them.

What were your favorite blessings from the last week?

Friday, March 02, 2018

Okay, we cry uncle!

And here we go yet again  ...  another snowfall warning

Mother Nature I need to have a word with you.

Friday's Fave Five #471

Welcome to a brand new month of FFF's.   Hard to believe it's March already and spring is just around the corner.  This winter here in Southern Alberta has been something else this year and I, for one, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, am waiting with great anticipation for the warmth and sunshine.  But for now, there is always something good to find in my week.  Please join me in looking for blessings from the last week and sharing 5 of them with us.  Guidelines are here. 

~day spent with family in Calgary~  Saturday turned out to be a lovely day after a crazy windy Friday last week.  We decided to have a little family type day spent in Calgary.  My hubby is so good in recognizing when I need to have a little break and getaway.  T had to be in Calgary that day anyway to take her friend to the airport and when we asked J to meet us in Calgary he right away said yes.  We had a wonderful time at the Farmer's Market and the huuuuge outlet mall (1.4 million square feet!).  We all just did our own thing and met up every so often in the mall.  We then went for supper at one of our fave restaurants.  Though we got home super late and super tired it was a great little getaway from the same old, same old just being together.  We did miss our oldest daughter and her hubby, however, but it's just way too long of a trip for them to make it a day trip.

Chillin' at the Farmer's Market waiting for the kid's to arrive

~new job for my youngest~  T landed herself a job that she is super excited about.  She had left her old job about a month ago and was very faithful in checking the job sites on a daily basis.  She got herself an interview at a newer salon and spa in town.  She is hired as a part time receptionist for the moment but will be trained in other areas and will move closer to full time as she learns and grows.  She is so happy and is looking forward to learning and the potential she has at this new job.  I'm really happy for her.

~rhubarb tea~ the Farmer's market has a little tea boutique called Totalitea that has some wonderful flavors.  This time I tried the Sweet Rhubarb tea.  It was really delicious after supper when I was craving a sweet.  

~fresh pressed beet apple juice~  another great find at the Farmer's market.  A vegetable booth had a variety of freshly made juice.  We tried carrot, apple, beet apple, wheat grass apple and parsley apple.  By far my favorite was the beet apple.  We bought a bottle and I've been enjoying a small glass each morning.  So good.  Wish I could purchase it here but it will have to be a special treat when we are able to get up to the Farmer's market.

~prayers of friends~  such a precious gift it is to be able to rely on the prayers of friends when we need it.  

What have been your favorite blessings this week?

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers ~ Book Review

This book was a re-read for me.    I first read it many, many years ago and remember being really impacted by it and I wanted to see if I got the same reaction from it with a reread at a different point and place in my life.   I think this book has been republished many times with different covers and this is the cover I own.  It is much more muted than the other ones and I kinda like it.

Redeeming Love is a retelling of the book of Hosea from the bible where God told Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer as an allegory to how the nation of Israel kept leaving God and His ways and God's unconditional and loving pursuit to bring Israel back to himself.  The book is mainly in California during the gold rush days of the 1850's.  Angel is a prostitute working in the town of Pair a Dice.  She is highly desired for her beauty.  She comes at a high price but she has also paid a very high price all of her life.  Betrayed by men all her life, starting with her own father, who wanted her aborted, she has built a very high wall around herself to protect herself.  Wanting nothing more than to just escape the life she has been forced to live and to have a little place all her own, she has been saving towards that for years.  But when she tries to get her money for that from the owner of the brothel, she is once again betrayed.  Michael is a vegetable farmer who loves the Lord.  After coming into town to sell his produce, he sees Angel walking down the street and feels the Lord telling him to marry her.  He tries to obey and uses all his earnings to try to see Angel, show her unconditional love and convince her to marry him telling her he offers her a better life.  But he is met with disdain and contempt.  Eventually they do end up marrying but only because Angel is in a position where she can't refuse.  As Michael tries to build a home for them and see her as God does and tries his best to show Angel God's love, he is met with resistance at every turn because Angel sees herself in a very different light.  She has one thing on her mind, and that is running and getting the money she worked so hard for so that she can fulfill her dream.  Michael knows Angel's brokenness can be healed but only through God's love but can Angel see through her own pain to realize that.

Once again this book greatly impacted me.  The first time it was with the powerful pursuit and love God has for his lost ones, myself included.  This time, I think I was more impacted with my own deep down attitudes and thoughts.  For that reason I'm glad I reread it.  It gave me such an insight and an opening of my eyes into to those things I might up to this point have jumped to conclusions about.   My eyes and heart were more opened to the ugliness that might put a person on their path.  And my eyes were definitely opened to how a person may struggle with the love of God and the new life God wants to give them.  My heart broke as through Angel's story I saw myself sometimes reflected more in the character of Paul who defined hypocrisy at it's finest rather than in some of the other Christian characters who showed love, grace and mercy towards Angel.  Depending on where we are in our own walk there are characters one could relate to in this story.  It really shows the depth of the story that it spoke so differently to me this time than the last time I read it.

In the beginning the Publisher has a preface and an admonition that they would give the book a PG-13 rating because of the story of adultery, marital infidelity and prostitution.  There are also instances of child abuse and physical and mental abuse in it so they caution to use discretion with young readers.  It takes on many very difficult issues that our society and people as individuals still face in today's world.  Because of this the story may be triggering for some and offensive and controversial to others.  The author made some choices so that the reader could very thoroughly understand the things that Angel experienced to bring her to the place where she was and to bring a powerful understanding that we in our sin, our  attitudes,  our hurt and pain are never beyond the love and pursuit of God which really the bible also shows in the story of Hosea and Gomer and in the story of mankind in general.  The story showed how some of us make mistakes and return to that which God has saved us from and that not all of us have that desired immediate total heart change when meeting God.  Sometimes there are deep things God has to take care of and it is a struggle to understand how God could love us but God continues to draw us no matter our sin or struggle.   I thought the story powerful though thought it  was just a touch long and a couple of parts unnecessary but it is definitely a story that has great impact in a lot of different areas.

I gave it a 9/10