It's been a long time coming but I can finally see the end of having my living room design - finished! After hanging my grandkids photos and several other pieces of word art and art pieces, recently, I realized I have one more piece of furniture, one more painting to re-purpose, and a few décor pieces I'm looking for and then I can call it satisfying. Pretty much loving everything about my living room these days.
Loving cooler temperatures! My body temperature runs seriously hot these days so anytime we find the temperatures hovering in the 40s - 50s with lows in the 30s I say, "Yes!" It has been a freaky winter with January breaking some record high temperatures here in the southeast, reaching into the 80's - in January! So I am thankful for any cooler days when the air and sky are crisp and clear and blue, and the frost blanketing the ground, and the winter breezes a tiny slice of heaven on earth.
Saturday's have become our date night when Jeff started his latest project, downtown Savannah, Riverside, Eastern Wharf, a 22-month job, which means later evenings and even on Friday's he is plumb tired and dates were difficult. So, we pushed them to Saturday's. But, we've had our Saturday breakfast's for some time now and I love these mornings. We recently visited a new-to-us, Funky Brunch Café and will definitely add it to our breakfast rotation of restaurants for breakfast. We don't set our alarm on Saturday's but inevitably, because our bodies won't let us sleep much past 7am, we are up and moving and still eating a fairly early breakfast.
Some other things I am loving right now, are the One Little Word class, my pull cart that I take into work with me that carry's my briefcase, lunch box, and bag, relieving me of the back-breaking carry. Loving that John is in his last semester of Welding and will graduate with all his welding certificates. Loving that small group has started up again after the holiday break and that a couple that had attended, recently returned and they add so much to our group. Loving having an accountability partner for walking more, my reading goals for the year and my book club!
Granted they are annuals but I was still surprised when one lone flower of the plant that had been dead for weeks after Jeff's mom passed away, came to life again. We were excited and it gave us a little something to celebrate in the middle of the hard. And isn't it just like our big God to bring life - and joy - in the ordinary everyday. We have only to look for that ordinary to celebrate the extraordinary.
This was my first page of the new year I created, digitally. It is a 6 x 8 that I'll slip in to my All About Me album, which is an ongoing album that I just keep adding to now, having started it in 2018. I used a journal card from Ali Edwards' CELEBRATE Story kit and can I say I love the font I used, like a handwritten letter, a memory jotted down.
P.S. Since that first bloom, many more have blossomed and an array of yellow-gold's highlights our front porch.
I hosted my first book club meeting in July 2019. There were only four in attendance but three other ladies are signed up and have purchased their book. We selected our first book from a curated stack from my own to be read books. I had typed up a synopsis for each book and we, together, culled our top pick from least ‘desirable’ to most desired. Before we chose our book we discussed, chatted about, what genres we preferred, how we read - did we read for pleasure, or were we slow readers to comprehend. We talked about our reading habits and, even, why. It was a time to break the ice, getting to know each other. I held to the basic agenda I had planned, probing how we would navigate future meetings. It was agreed, wholeheartedly, that I would continue to host the meetings each month rather than switch hosting. We agreed, generally how each book club meeting would run: we would fellowship, and snack and then we would dive in to discussion of our book selection.
While everyone wanted a couple of this month’s selections to be on next month’s possibles, we ended up selecting The Alice Network as our first book club read. I am super excited I stepped out in faith and probed my community of ladies for interest in a book club. And, then when I had ‘takers’, actually did something about it, picked a date and time, - hoped, and prayed the way through the first meeting.
Before the meeting adjourned, I probed everyone if we wanted to give our book club a name, especially since we would have a closed Facebook group, and provided the ladies with a plethora of book club names. One jumped out at a couple ladies and we had such a good chuckle over it that we chose Between the Covers as the name of our book club.
And so it begins. Today - well, the first of March anyway, I carried the first thunderstorm of the new year in an early morning weather observation. Thankfully, I was going outside regularly and I was able to catch the gust front with the associated shelf cloud. I was up on the sixth floor deck when the winds shifted, increased, cooler air moved over the station, and shortly after the rains began. All winter my job as a weather observer has been tranquil, even during fog events once the fog settles in the visibility and the ceilings change little for hours on end. But, thunderstorms! This is the weather where I seriously earn my pay. Granted, nice weather means I get to read - a lot! But, thunderstorms means time flies, my steps increase, and I see some amazing skies! Jeff, like this morning, will invariably begin texting me with his own weather observation at whatever job site he is on: thunder, lightning, we’ve got rain! Usually, I can’t respond until I get a lull in the weather because between cumulonimbus remarks, visibility changes, ceiling changes, and thunderstorm and lightning remarks as soon as I get one observation sent out into the world I am back outside observing the rapidly changing weather. I was so excited to capture this sky!
Today I am sharing two things: I am sharing my monthly re-cap of what I've been reading lately. And, I am sharing story #12 of my December Daily album. In December I tell 25 stories over the course of the month sometimes the stories coordinated with the same date as story number - but it isn't necessary for me to stay with a daily story. The stories, however will go in the album in sequential order. I finished the month strong, or should I say I finished the year strong. My goal was 100 books and with that last book I completed my goal.
I can count on few things throughout the year, but one of those is reading. I may have chucked other goals but one of those is not my reading goal.
For this 2-page, 6 x 8 layout I used Ali Edwards' digital Stories by the Month kit for December 2018. Perfect for telling a non-Christmas story, yet it is around Christmas. Thrilled with my reading success and how these pages turned out.
Secrets in Death by J.D. Robb. It is intriguing to read Robb's murder mysteries when Lieutenant Eve Dallas pursues the killer of a victim she despises or finds out is scum of the earth and, yet, because of her staunch adherence for justice, murder always loses. Secrets is one such novel. Dallas finds zero redeeming qualities in her latest case, one in which she herself was a witness, except the victim got dead. And that means the victim is now Dallas' and she has to wade through those secrets before she can find justice for the vile, morally bankrupt victim. 93/100
Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. I don't listen to Meyers television or radio programs, nor do I generally read her books as she is often viewed as a prosperity gospel evangelist. But. I read great reviews about Battlefield of the Mind and I was looking for a book I could read aloud and one both Jeff and I could benefit. I have found this to be an exceptional read. Our actions - and words are a direct result of what is happening in our minds, where a battle for the mind is raging. Thus, if we can change our minds we can ultimately change our life. The book covers so many areas when, with an open mind to the Holy Spirit, you will see where you are falling short, and need to take captive that area of your thoughts in order to change your ways. One caveat, if you read this aloud, say - to your husband, Meyer uses the Amplified Bible for most of the Bible verses she references (and there are a lot - which is awesome!), however, reading aloud from the Amplified Bible is hard. I use the Amplified version regularly in my Bible studies and glean a plethora from using it but I found reading it aloud I needed to stick with reading the non-amplified words outside of the parenthesis. 94/100
Dark in Death by J.D. Robb. In this death imitating fiction murder thriller - or is it life imitating fiction. Either way it is a crazed fan of a novelist gone psycho and going on a killing spree imitating the novelists works of fiction. Another top-notch book in my all-time favorite, In Death, series. 95/100
As You Wish, Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes. Truly, a delight! A lover of The Princess Bride since that first time I watched it at the overseas Christian servicemen center, the hospitality house, just outside Camp Humphreys, South Korea, As You Wish takes me back to my favorite scenes, those that make me laugh out loud. Because my whole family loves the movie, it is probably the most quoted movie in our household and a transposed line or two has even been known to show up in a high school graduation speech. Written by Cary Elwes, the main character Westley, the farmboy/Dread Pirate Roberts, As You Wish spans the making of the movie, Elwes first meetings, and subsequent interactions with the cast and crew. I expected some mundaneness, yet found page after page of engaging, conversational storytelling. I do believe there is one caveat to reading As You Wish: you really need to have seen the movie, or at the very least, have read the book. I have done both so I was not literary, nor film challenged. 96/100
Dumplin', Go Big or Go Home by Julie Murphy. "Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any girl does." - Amazon. I thoroughly enjoyed this critically acclaimed made-into-a-movie YA novel. It is YA but translated easily to adulthood. So many of Willowdean's own thoughts are the same that have run through my mind - often. The phrase that stuck with me the most is why can't I be fat and beautiful. Much to my surprise I was perusing Netflix one recent afternoon, actually the day I'd finished the book, and right there under 'popular on Netflix' was the movie, Dumplin'. Although some similarities were evident, the movie was quite different. However, the premise of the book was captured well in the movie. 97/100
Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay. Having recently read Dear Mr. Knightley and loving every minute of reading - and long after, I had high hopes for Lizzy & Jane. If you can hang on through the depressing beginnings, which ultimately are necessary (yet, frustrating) for setting up the story, you are in for a full-bodied flavor read of family navigating years of estrangement and unforgiveness, re-emergence of cancer, literature - always books, checked love breaking free - and, of course, the kitchen and food. There is absolutely nothing easy about this brilliant, yet heart-wrenching second novel by Reay but it is another amazing read and one I will be referring to regularly. Also, I realized I need some book darts. 98/100
The Rembrandt Affair by Daniel Silva. The Gabriel Allon character created by Daniel Silva is flawed, yet endearing. I never tire of an intricate spy story with Allon at the helm of mission. Sitting on the edge of my seat at the intrigue and suspense and figuratively biting my nails hoping the 'good guys' win. 99/100
The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs. a beautiful re-read. Taking a walk in this sacred season, the birth of our Savior through the lens of three of the women of Christmas: Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna, seeing Jesus through their eyes and welcoming Him anew, fresh - beloved. Fitting to end my reading challenge for the year 100 Books in 2018 with a welcome of my Savior. 100/100