"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

15 January 2018

Like Honey are His Words


So I'm on this raw honey kick.

My sister Hope got me into it when she gifted Dave and I two jars of it from her neighbor's hives. We went through those two jars in a year and now are on our third (and larger!) jar.  It is soooo sweet and good!!

oh my.  is it ever amazing.  My fave things to do with it is to bake with it instead of using refined cane sugar and to put a tsp in my coffee. And it's good for you!  It's not as icky sweet as the kind from stores.  I just love it.

This morning, in my quiet time at breakfast, I was savoring the coffee and honey and just had to laugh out loud when I came upon some Scriptures that talked about the Word of God being sweeter to our taste than honey.  And of course I said "I have got to write about this".

You see, one of my goals for this new year is to dig into the Word of God a little deeper.  The Bible study I will lead this semester will be doing Experiencing Intimacy with God...I thought that was a good segue from the Breathe study. And to become more intimate spiritually, we do need to spend time in the Word and with savoring the moments with our Lord.  And because I am longing to be deeper in the Word, I chose for my "Word of the Year" the word "savor".

Here are some of the Scriptures that stood out to me today:




But the one I was really savoring today was this one:




I want to savor the Words of God......spending time with Him, taking with Him, reading His Word....all these things bring us closer to trusting Christ completely.

When we begin to trust Him, we get that deep, inner Joy we all long for.

We learn that happiness is fleeting and based on circumstances but the Joy of the Lord is our strength.

Joy is evident even amidst trials and storms when we learn to place all of our hope, faith, and trust in Jesus Christ.

I love bread!  I love savoring the scent of home baked bread; I love eating it slathered with almond butter and raspberry jam.  I remember the day, about 3 years ago, when I discovered that a beloved bakery from my hometown in central NY, was selling their bread in one of our local grocery stores......and here I am about 80 miles east of my hometown.  I discovered the Flaxseed whole grain bread and I just want to devour it!  (I rein my self in at 2 slices per meal...hahha).  It is truly my fave kind of bread.  So, like the Scripture says, when we discover God's Words, we want to devour them.  They get us through every aspect of our lives!

I want to savor every word that God wants for me in any given day.

And when we hide those words in our hearts......

......when we turn to His Word for guidance and wisdom.....

.....we will reap the benefits of that inner Joy.

What are you savoring today??




14 January 2018

2018 Book Review #3: Never Let You Go


This is the 2nd or 3rd book I've read by this author.

Her titles are what always grab me.

Gripping mysteries, lots of action, suspense and sometimes a little romance.  Always drama.  And always predictable. A little TOO predictable.


STORY SUMMARY

Lindsey Nash is a single mom......she is divorced from her ex-husband Andrew.  They divorced around the time Sophie was 7 years old.  He went to prison for 10 years because he was driving drunk and killed a young woman named Elizabeth.  He was also an abusive husband. 

It is now 10 years later from the evening Lindsey escaped her home with Sophie to begin a life on her own.  She is the owner of a housecleaning company and even has her own clients plus a couple of women who work under her.  Sophie is now 17 and a senior in high school, just starting to date a very wealthy boy named Jared.  Lindsey has a personal trainer named Marcus who lost a daughter Katie.  His wife Kathryn left him years ago.  Marcus is interested in Lindsey but Lindsey is dating a man named Greg who is a super sweet package delivery person.

Lindsey has worked hard to overcome her nightmare of a marriage.  The emotional and physical abuse has indeed left scars but her first priority has always been to take care of Sophie and never allow Andrew to get to Sophie.

That all changes the day he is released from prison and comes looking for them.

Her boyfriend Greg is threatened, her home is invaded and her daughter is being stalked.

Lindsey is so convinced that it is Andrew playing these mind games.  But Sophie has met him in a local coffee shop and says he is a changed person.  He attend AA meetings, has a new construction job and seems to be getting his life back in order.  He just wants to get to know Sophie.  He has agreed to leave Lindsey alone.

Then who poisoned the dog Angus?? Who hit Greg with a truck??

And who wants Lindsey dead??  Is it Andrew? or someone closer to home??

and then Andrew ends up dead. WHAT??  and Lindsey and Sophie end up at a deserted lake house. How??

I won't spoil it for you......

MY THOUGHTS

Sigh.  I wanted to love this book.  I did like the suspense and fast pace.  In fact, it only takes a couple days, if you have free evenings, to read this entire book.  The character development is typical of that between a middle class mom and her daughter who have seen their share of domestic violence.

The setting is exquisite with its starkness, winter scenes described, loneliness of an island.  Makes me want to visit Vancouver, British Columbia.

The characters become so predictable though and then the plot becomes such that I guessed who the bad guy was before we  got to the end of the story.

The author does a good job in directing your thoughts to think it is 1 of 3 people.  She gives little clues all throughout the plot.  BUT...then I guessed those were people who were TOO predictable...too easy to suspect.  And so I guessed it was the other character.  And I was correct.

I also was correct in his reason WHY.  And that was just a bit too contrived for me.

The story itself is good....really shows what domestic violence does to families and those around them.  (It also has the themes of love, forgiveness and obsession).

But...I'd rather be surprised in the end.

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 17 and older (due to some mature content).

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 7.



12 January 2018

January Faves

What a week.  We went from frigid single digits with below 0 wind chills (last weekend) to early spring like temperatures and melting snow.  I'm ok with it!

I'm linking up with other bloggers to share FIVE of our FAVE things from the past week.

It's been a rough one for me.  Diagnosed with sinusitis.  On antibiotic again. Missed two days of work.

But there's ALWAYS something to be thankful for, right?  It's the week where I have to dig a little harder.  Join in with us by heading over to Susanne's for the details.

  • READING!  Reading novels and the Bible are my favorite things.  I've had time to do both each day this past week. It helps that the doc told me to stay home for 2 days from the classroom!  Since my "word of the year" is Savor, this was beneficial to me.  I've savored the Words of our Savior as well as some good fiction.  My mind feels restored and my spirit refreshed.


  • SUNSHINE!  Oh how happy I was to feel the sun on my face as I sat in my living room chair yesterday afternoon with my iced water and book.  The doc told me drink extra water and since my goal is 64 oz a day, I was happy to sip away.  That sun did my body good.  I'm thankful for sunshine!

a gift from Dave for Xmas
  • MATCHED SET!  For the first time in my life and marriage (I kid you not), I have a complete set of cookware.  We had odds and ends from my folks and stuff I bought over the years.  Well, those things were getting old and worn out!  A couple pieces broke.  So for Christmas, Dave surprised me with this eco friendly set and oh my goodness.  It is a delight to cook with these pans and pots.  I LOVE the stockpot for soup and although it's smaller than the one my dad gave me, it's easier to clean and perfect for when Claire goes back to UNH and it's just the 3 of us.  I love that he matched the color to our kitchen, too! 
gift from my sister Joy
  • STEMLESS WINE GLASSES:  My sister Joy surprised us with 2 of these stemless wine glasses for Christmas.....and the words on them are perfect for me!  We already had a set but we were wanting more...now we won't have to buy any!  I enjoyed a glass of Reisling last week, but of course with being on an antibiotic this week I won't be able to have any.  I'm just thankful for these little things like special wine glasses that are fun, too!

hanging out in the family room
  • WARMTH:  my body felt chilled Wednesday after the doc appointment so I put on my father's old wool/flannel shirt, some cozy socks and made chicken soup.  This was my dinner and I ate it on the couch while watching more episodes of The Crown (Netflix). If you love learning about the Royalty of England, this show is for you. It's so well done.  The episode I watched yesterday showed her interest in Billy Graham when we first went over to London.  It was very well done!  I'm thankful for things to cozy up with and for the instant gratification of Netflix.  
That wraps up my week.  Not very exciting but it's the little things that we sometimes need to focus our thanks on.

I hope you are healthy and rested and enjoy the long weekend!




08 January 2018

2018 Book Review #2: The Child Finder


This is the 2nd book I've read since January 1st and it's another good one!

I could not put this book down so read it while on the treadmill Saturday and also stayed up late Saturday night to read more.  I literally read this book in about 46 hours. The author is someone I'm not familiar with but I will definitely be looking for her previous novel.  

STORY SUMMARY

Madison Culver disappeared about 3 years ago while out searching for a Christmas tree with her parents.  They were in the dense, snowy woods of the Skoogum National Forest in Oregon. Madison was just 5 years old when she disappeared.  She would be 8 years old now, if she survived.

The Culvers decide to engage the help of private investigator Naomi.  Naomi is skilled at finding lost children.  Sometimes she finds them alive.  And sometimes she finds them deceased.  She is known to the police and certain parents as "the child finder".

The Culvers' have given up almost all of their hope.....they are really relying on Naomi to find their little girl or to discover just what happened that late December afternoon 3 years ago.

Naomi's search takes her into the remote areas of the Pacific Northwest.....and right into her own fragmented past.  Naomi doesn't really remember much about her very young childhood....she too was once lost.  And she continues to have dark dreams of running through a strawberry field, before being rescued by migrant workers and brought to the police who then brought her to a foster family.

Naomi has always felt a terrible loss...but she just can't remember the details......maybe if she finds Madison, she will find her self and unlock the buried secrets of her own childhood.

MY THOUGHTS

This book was exciting, real-life like, and full of drama and suspense!!

It is told in the voice of Naomi and of a very imaginative and creative little girl who calls her self "the snow girl".

This is a wonderful piece of literature and I highly recommend it to any book lover.

The ending is exquisite.

The drama is so real it seems like it is ripped from the headlines yet it isn't sensational.  It is more evocative, haunting, sad, and profound.  

The character development is wonderful.  The author does do a strange little sub-plot about half way into the book.  She has Naomi get involved in another local missing baby case......that does get resolved but seems to slow down the story for awhile.

You will fall in love with "the snow girl" and your heart will break for Mr B.

Just who is Mr B??  Do you find him to be a monster or just another victim?  

This book explores the very real horror of childhood sexual abuse and kidnapping without being graphic. 
 Sometimes it seems a bit far-fetched but....it's fiction! Keep that in mind.

There are a few quotes that really stood out to me.  One was:

"You will remember when you are ready.  Naomi, drinking lemony tea through an aching throat had asked, "What if I am never ready?""Then that is okay, too" Diane had said.  "Stop thinking that you have to know everything to understand it." (The Child Finder, pg 123, c. 2017)

and this: "This is something I know:  no matter how far you have run, no matter how long you have been lost, it is never too late to be found." (The Child Finder, pg 172, c. 2017)
Well done to the author!

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 17 and older (due to difficult subject matter).

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 10.




05 January 2018

2018 Book Review #1: Small Great Things




OH MY GOODNESS!!  THIS BOOK!!  LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Those of you who know me well, know that I just love Jodi Picoult's writings.

I've read every single one of her books except her very first one and I haven't read her young adult fiction nor her stage play.

This novel is by far my favorite one of hers.  I also really liked The Pact, My Sister's Keeper (even though Hollywood RUINED the ending and totally changed it...ugh!!), and Nineteen Minutes.  Those are my faves.  This one tops those in my opinion.  And I personally feel that this is a MUST read for every American.  Actually, for every human being.  It's that good and that important of a topic.

STORY SUMMARY

Ruth Jefferson is a black (African-American, person of color, whatever phrase you prefer) nurse in an affluent area of Connecticut.  She works in the labor and delivery department of a New Haven hospital.  She earned her 4 year degree from SUNY Plattsburgh and her grad degree from Yale.  She was married to a man who served in the armed forces and died while serving in Afghanistan.  She has one son, Edison, who is now 17 and an honors student in high school.  He is currently applying to colleges.

Ruth has been at the same job in the same hospital in the same department for 20 years.  She is the only person of color in her department.  The hospital is a small one.

One day, during her normal shift, Ruth is assigned to a mother who has just  given birth to a beautiful baby boy named Davis.  The parents are Turk and Britany Bauer.  And they are white supremacists. When they see Ruth, they demand that her supervisor assign them a different nurse.  A white nurse.  Ruth is re-assigned to a different patient and a post it note is put in the baby's file stating that no African-American staff should touch Davis Bauer.

The next morning, Ruth is alone in the nursery where  baby Davis is recovering from a circumcision.  His assigned nurse had to rush off to assist in an emergency C-section.  Davis goes into cardiac arrest.  

Does Ruth obey orders (not to touch the Bauer baby) or does she intervene based on the Nurses Nightingale Pledge??

Ruth pauses before attempting CPR and then is charged with a serious crime.

Her public defender is Kennedy McQuarrie who gives Ruth some advice:  don't mention race in the courtroom because it is NOT a winning strategy.

Ruth feels conflicted about this and it begins to affect her family.  She and her son become a media sensation and as the trial begins, Ruth and Kennedy must learn to gain each other's trust.  

And in getting to know each other, they begin to discover that what they've been taught their entire lives about other people and about themselves might just be wrong.

Will Ruth be convicted of murder or negligent homicide?

Are you ready for an amazing ending that is a total surprise?

MY THOUGHTS

This book is about race, prejudice, justice, compassion, and privelege.  It's about family and friendship.  It's about what really matters and what doesn't.

It's about doing small things in great ways and about great things done in small ways.

Much research went into this book and the author's notes in the back of the novel, which I read AFTER completing the story, are full of intelligence and knowledge.  I always learn something from this author!!

I loved all the characters and in the end I even came to appreciate some things about and in Turk.  I don't want to reveal too much as I don't want to spoil the ending for you.

At first my heart just hurt with the way the character Turk was developed.  It makes me sick to my stomach to think that in this day and age and country, we still have white supremacists!  It just is NOT ok. But that's what makes American great, right? We are all entitled to our own belief system.

And I learned that yes, as a suburban white upper middle class mom, teacher, Christian, I too, still have some prejudice issues. 

This book is an eye opener.  It is so exquisite. It's gripping and a real page-turner.  It really shows how complex human relationships really can be.

The moral dilemma is astounding.

 I would love to see it made into a movie but I would want Hollywood to NOT change a thing.

There were many great quotes in this book.  Here are a couple of my favorites.  The first is in Ruth's voice.  The 2nd is in Turk's voice.

"Freedom is the fragile neck of a daffodil, after the longest of winters. It's the sound of your voice, without anyone drowning you out.  It's having the grace to say yes, and more important, the right to say no.  At the heart of freedom, hope beats:  a pulse of possibility." (Small Great Things, pg.449, c.2016)

"I tell them that there is nothing more selfish that trying to change someone's mind because they don't think like you.  Just because something is different does not mean it should not be respected." (Small Great Things, pg 456, c. 2016) 


In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 14 and older and quite frankly I think it should be added to the high school reading curriculum.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 10.









Snowy and Cold Weather Faves

It's Thursday afternoon as I write this,  and a mere 14 degrees F.  All last weekend and the beginning of this week, the temps have been in the single digits.  It was even -4 one morning on my way to work!!  



But....Winter is here and with it brings cold, ice and snow in the Great Northeast.  And from what I've seen in the news, it's even cold down south!


Here are the blessings from the past week, because there is always something to be thankful for. You can join in and then link up at Susanne's.

  • CITRUS FRUIT!  In the winter months I crave citrus fruits.  This past  week we've enjoyed fresh clementines and oranges.  Oh my goodness. The clementines are perfect for sticking into our lunch bags and bringing to work or eating at breakfast or as an afternoon snack. They are packed with vitamin C,  calcium, magnesium and potassium...all good things for our  bodies! I'm thankful there was a sale on them AND a coupon!

  • WORD!  I was able to write a short post about the "word of the year" I've chosen for 2018.  It will be interesting to see what God is going to do with me and this word.  Click here to find out what it is! I'm thankful for growth and a renewed zest for God's Word.

photo by Claire!
  • NEW YEAR'S EVE GIFT!  My oldest daughter, Courtney, taught her self how to crochet last summer by watching a You Tube video!  I am SOOO not a seamstress, knitter or anything like that.  I shop.  But she wanted to make me a "Harry Potter" scarf and asked me which house colors I'd like.  I told her Slytherin as I really like the green and grey together.  She wanted it to be done for Xmas but it wasn't quite ready so she gave it to me in time for New Year's Eve.  I LOVE it.  It is so cozy and warm and I'm thankful I have a handmade gift by my oldest girl.  So hard to believe she is 24 years old already and so creative and generous!

  • HUBBY's HELP!  sometime last week, my windshield wiper fluid line froze up.  My husband took my car over to get the Deluxe Car Wash and paid for it and voila! The hot water thawed the line and I was good to go PLUS now my car was salt free.  Of course with yesterday's storm, it is dirty again.  But for two days I enjoyed a nice shiny clean car.  I'm thankful for a husband who is willing to run those kinds of errands after working all day.
l-r:  Emma (14), Mady (9)
Claire(19), Courtney (24)
  • XMAS ROUND 2!  Last Saturday, my 3 younger sisters and their families met at Joy's home just north of us and we had an afternoon of exchanging gifts, gorging on sweets and coffee and playing Password.  Oh my goodness it was a blast.  My sister Joy has a son Luke who just turned 25 and I really hardly ever see him even though he also still lives at home and is looking for full time work.  It was good to chat with him.  And my sister Hope and her husband Donny live out in central NY so we do see them often but not so much in the winter months as they live on a road that is literally along a swamp and into the woods. I don't like driving it in the ice and snow!  They have no children together although he has some from his first marriage who are all grown up and so Hope is a step-grandma!  My youngest sister Jill and her husband Mike live about an hour north of us in the same town as Joy and they have 2  girls who are uncannily so similar to my 2.  The girls had fun playing Harry Potter Trivia after we all played Password.  It was super fun to see them all interacting.  I'm thankful for fun family times.
That wraps up this cold, snowy week.

I hope that you all have a safe and restful weekend!