A slow reading month, for sure. I still have quite a few In Death books to get through before the end of the year and my mind was firmly set on our mission trip to Austria so I stuck with mostly re-reads of J.D. Robb's In Death series. I read Thankless in Death on the plane and in country in my 'free' time when I wasn't serving or sleeping because of exhaustion from serving. The In Death series re-reads are quick reads, not because I've read them before but because I love them.
I finally put together a 2-page 6 x 8 layout for my All About Me album, documenting what I read in October. I'm already considering how I'm going to document what I've been reading in 2019. I'm considering, heavily, a traveler's notebook-sized (4 x 8) or a 3 x 8 album which has become quite popular in my scrapbooking world.
My goal this year: read 100 books.
Celebrity in Death by J.D. Robb. Probably one of my least favorite of the In Death series. A high-profile case but low-profile story that dragged for me. Although, it did somewhat pick up in pace once Eve identified the murderer and began unraveling the threads only to find more skeins, enough so, I actually enjoyed the last third of the book way more than the lagging first two-thirds. I would never say skip this one because it's Lieutenant Eve Dallas and Detective Delia Peabody, and Roarke, of course, but there is such limited interaction with all the other characters that it seemed like the book missed a step. 77/100
Delusion in Death by J.D. Robb. Horrific. Mass murder. But. Really, really good murder mystery. 78/100
Beartown by Fredrick Backman. a riveting character-driven story fleshed out entirely in short vignettes or scenes zoomed in closely on the people, each with their inter-turmoil's, thoughts, flaws, and secrets. These are played out on the pages of a hockey town and a hockey team and hockey players, and yet - it's not so much about hockey, the game played out on the ice, but, hockey as another character played out in the lives of everyone in Beartown. When an ugly tragedy occurs even this is viewed through the lens of hockey. As I said - riveting. Did I like the book - no. Did I love the writing - absolutely! When I say I didn't like the book I mean it was so emotionally connecting, and frustrating, and personal I felt I was being driven crazy. Sprinkled with, even brimming, is the profound. 'A great deal is expected of anyone who's been given a lot.' 'People 'round here don't always know the difference between right and wrong. But we know the difference between good and evil.' 'If you are honest, people may deceive you. Be honest anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfishness. Be kind anyway. All the good you do today will be forgotten by others tomorrow. Do good anyway.' 'Difficult questions, simple answers. What is a community? It is the sum total of our choices.' Are those pearls of profound, and the many, many others for the story - or more specifically - for the reader. Just wondering. 79/100
A Simplified Life by Emily Ley. Surprisingly quick read. I didn't do any of the 'assignments' mostly because of timing. I enjoyed Emily's writing style. She doesn't sound condescending but almost comes from a stand-point of this is how I did it and not necessarily how you should do simplifying. There were some really helpful tips and not-so helpful - to me. I'm already of the mindset to simplify life (actually, home) but there are stumbling blocks to navigate and I haven't figured those out yet. But, the book: worth it if you have no idea where to begin to simplify your life. 80/100
Calculated in Death by J.D. Robb. The goal is to finish all 47 In Death books this year as part of my Read 100 Books in 2018 goal. With Calculated in Death I'm getting closer and closer and don't see any reason I can't finish on - or even ahead of time. Calculated was okay. The book was totally about the murders rather than the characters which is okay - occasionally. Because it means Eve has grown in 'this' area and reached a plateau, or comfortable spot, before the author sends another growth spurt her way. Because I like reading how murders are solved as much as the play by play of character development and interactions this was a good book. Could it have been better? Sure. But, there were enough 'wowzers' weaved throughout that it was an okay, satisfying read. 81/100.
Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb. "Lieutenant Eve Dallas has plenty to be grateful for, especially Roarke’s big Irish family, which is a joyful improvement on her own dark childhood. Other couples aren’t as lucky. The Reinholds, for example, are lying in their home stabbed and bludgeoned almost beyond recognition. Those who knew them are stunned—and heartbroken by the evidence that they were killed by their own son. Turns out that twenty-six-year-old Jerry is not only capable of brutality but has taking a liking to it. With the money he’s stolen from his parents and a long list of grievances, he intends to finally make his mark on the world. Eve and her team already know the who, how, and why of this murder. What they need to pinpoint is where Jerry’s going to strike next." - Amazon. A brutal telling, for sure - yet, intriguing. A seemingly hapless murderer who keeps, dare I say - lucking out - in the murder department. Great read. 82/100
Prince of Fire by Daniel Silva. I finished this exceptional read on the plane home from Austria. I haven't read a Gabriel Allon, Israeli spy and master art restorer, series book in almost two years but recently I re-organized my bookshelves and, rather than by color, I sorted books by genre, fiction vs. non-fiction, and I arranged series' books together. Which made me realize I'm not anywhere near completing the Gabriel Allon series. Like Silva's other Allon books, Prince of Fire did not disappoint and I slid into the story, well-versed in the history of the characters and the feel for Allon's next challenge. The book didn't waste anytime grabbing the reader and the pace held on steady that I was completely satisfied. I still have a couple books in the series on my bookshelf but I will have to pick up the remaining. 83/100
Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb. "Leading the demolition of a long-empty New York building that once housed a makeshift shelter for troubled teenagers, Lieutenant Eve Dallas’s husband uncovers two skeletons wrapped in plastic. And by the time Eve’s done with the crime scene, there are twelve murders to be solved. The victims are all young girls. A tattooed tough girl who dealt in illegal drugs. The runaway daughter of a pair of well-to-do doctors. They all had their stories. And they all lost their chance for a better life. Then Eve discovers a connection between the victims and someone she knows. And she grows even more determined to reveal the secrets of the place that was called The Sanctuary—and the evil concealed in one human heart." - Amazon. One of my favorite characters in the book is Dr. Mira's husband, Dennis. I adore him and he is present in several scenes and does my heart good...just saying. Interesting read but a bit slow going and not the wow factor in many of the other In Death series books. Definitely wouldn't call it a favorite. 84/100
pushing through emotionally, spiritually, and relationally with Jeff. We're doing this. This navigating a strained relationship but doing it well. We're communicating no matter how much it hurts or how grueling it is. And, we're kissing and holding hands and laughing and moment by moment growing stronger. There is hope in the dark. We were listening to the sermon in church this past Sunday and Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 came on the screen:
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Jeff nudged me. It was a simple reminder of what we had covenanted over 24 years ago. He was saying without words, "that's us! With God, you and me we won't break." So, yea, pushing through.
reading J.D. Robb's Delusion in Death. It is book 35 in the In Death series. There are currently 47 in the series. I am re-reading the series this year averaging 3-4 each month so I should be able to re-read them all plus the latest that came out in September before the end of the year. I am reading aloud to Jeff The Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. Our relational difficulties originate in our minds, each facing a different battle raging war against us. I'm hoping as we tackle this book together we will be able to apply truths to our lives that will ultimately win this battle and - change our minds. Generally, I have with me at any given time 3-4 books in a variety of genres because I rarely know what I'll be in the mood for. I have in my leather messenger bag Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly. I have read his exceptional historical, Killing Lincoln and a friend mentioned she thought I'd find Killing Jesus fascinating.
listing out to-do's for our trip to Austria later this month. Right now it's mostly a mind-list rather than a penned list. Jeff and I are bouncing things off each other, decisions are made and plans finalized and mentally checked off the list. Order euros for the trip, pick up gifts for the staff, solidify small group plans for the coming week - check, purchase suitcases - check, etc. Much of the trip is decided because it is a mission trip and a working mission trip at that. Any touring for the most part is planned in advance for us as well. I'm going in without expectations personally other than I'm expecting God to move mightily!
trying new recipes again, recently. I think over the past month or so I made about 5 or 6 new recipes. All of them delightful. I made these Korean BBQ Bowls with Garlic Rice and, boy, were they delicious. A bit time-consuming but worth it! Inspired by this recipe for Big Mac Sliders I fashioned my own, that tasted way better than McDonald's Big Mac's. Using this recipe for Garlic Basil Chicken with Tomato Butter Sauce as my template I made another out of this world pasta recipe. When I was telling Jeff about what we were having for dinner he asked one question, "Where's the mozzarella and provolone?" Sent the recipe over the top! Copycat Chipotle's Burrito Bowls with this chicken, our own homemade salsa, these green peppers and onions, cilantro lime rice, pico de gallo - all yummo! Finally, who would of thought adding a fried egg hard to a classic BLT and topping off with a spicy chipotle mayonnaise on multi-grain toasted bread would make the taste buds burst open. Everyone enjoyed this simple but decadent - sandwich.
purchasing a new roof for our house. We were the very first house in our neighborhood 22 years ago and the last house - thank you Lord - in need of a new roof. We have been saving for quite some time now and finally took the expensive plunge. Just in time for Hurricane Michael to come through as a strong tropical storm; picking up last minute gifts for our Haus Adelweiss hosts and partners in ministry and travel accessories such as a neck pillow.
watching NCIS on Netflix from the beginning. Oh how awesome and strange it is to begin at the beginning. I am also watching the older show, Star Trek Enterprise (with Scott Bakula) which I'd never seen before. I love the opening theme song sung by Rod Stewart, Faith of the Heart. Because I'm watching it on Netflix you can skip the introduction if you choose to but I often don't because I love the beginning song with accompany photo stories. We also recently watched Blackhawk Down (October 3). It is the anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia. Jeff had been gone less then a month and we watch the movie every year to remember the fallen.
needing to - it's a big, long list - get my scrap room and office purged and organized, recently ordered prints from Persnickety Prints into albums, update my statement photo wall in my living room, find new curtains for the living room to 'finish' the living room décor, plan out a mini kitchen and dining room renovations involving paint, shiplap, and lighting fixtures, plan out a mini master bathroom renovation involving paint, flooring, and lighting (mostly), and think about Christmas.
deciding on what kind of album for our Austria trip. I have it narrowed down to a choice between a 3 x 8 travel album (which I own) and a travelers notebook (which I also own). In addition, I'm contemplating what size album for our December Daily. I'm considering 4 x 6, 3 x 8, and 6 x 8. I also make a 30 Days of Thankful album every year and while I will more than likely go with another 4 x 4, I might do a 3 x 8 or a 4 x 6. But, I also saw recently someone made a travelers notebook sized album. Decisions!
enjoying Pic Tap Go, Becky Higgins online class on iPhone photography tips and tricks, catching up on One Little Word videos and mapping out plans to catch up some of the assignments, eating homemade tacos on Tuesday's again, finally getting some much needed rain and when it is all done some cooler temperatures; evenings when we eat together as a family (even if it is on television trays in front of the - television - watching a show); reading our latest selection aloud; our small group meeting together again regularly and loving our study by Matt Chandler on the book of James; hanging out with Melinda on Sunday mornings and getting to know her a little better; scrapping the simple, everyday moments and not being worried about 'great' design but simply getting the stories told; reading a lot!
soaking in the wonder of the skies. It doesn't escape my notice or my thanks to God for showing me His glory in the brilliant sunrises and cloud formations, even the ominous storm clouds.
When Jeff built the shelves in our bedroom for all of my books I color-coordinated the filled shelves. Many Amazon boxes of books later, when the shelves were overflowing once again and - a mess; and it was driving me batty, exactly how clutter drivers me crazy, too - I decided I needed to do something about it.
I pulled all the books off the shelves. Dusted, because I'm not sure when the entire shelf system has been dusted. Then, re-arranged my books by genre, fiction and non-fiction. I even stacked a few series' together completely ignoring the fact, as hard as it was, their colors don't go together.
I displaced those books I won't ever read again to the living room. Although I'm unsure whether I'll get rid of them and if I do, how I might do that.
I love my system so far. When I am ready for another book I simply go to the fiction shelf or the non-fiction shelves for what am I reading next. Easy and fun page.
This year I have missed recording weekly gratitudes. I began the year, instead, attempting 1000 giftsand didn't get very far...maybe I'll return to that, sometime. In the meantime, in August, I saw a journal heading, good things, and thought - hey, I like that. Thought it would be a great photo-less page of good stuff. When I speak of good stuff, when I write them down it isn't an exercise of speaking the words off into the unknown but is, in fact, an exercise in gratitude my big God who is good all the time and this is simply another way to acknowledge my thanksgiving, my gratefulness for the blessings He gives.
I'm recording them on a 6 x 8 page, adding a couple Ali Edwards' digital brushes and putting the page into my All About Me album. I have been creating pages about me since the beginning of the year and have already filled one album and well into a second album. I cannot lie. This is and has been one of my most favorite scrapbooking endeavors, surprisingly, to me. If I look through my 25 years worth of albums and pages of our lives I might be able to fill half an album of pages about me and yet this year I've filled one and am on my way to filling two.
But, times are different. All my kids are grown up. Sure, John and Jarrod still live at home but they have their own things, now. For the most part it is Jeff and I doing life together, not empty-nesters but that isn't far off. Will I continue this with another year of All About Me in 2019? I'm not sure. It's been creative fun for sure.
So many good reads this month. It's been such a pleasurable time. And, yet - difficult because - life. You know? I began the month reading The End of Me and even read it a second time through aloud to my husband. Three - count 'em - three books on reading and books: The Read-Aloud Family, I'd Rather Be Reading, and Book Girl. And, I loved every minute of them. Invigorating for my reading life. Just thrilled by all three - what a combination! Several J.D. Robb's from her In Death series; I am re-reading this series (I have them all except the latest in the series) this year. In fact, I am anxiously awaiting my SIGNED copy of Leverage in Death that my daughter - ahem - bought for me in Boonsboro, MD where Nora Roberts (a.k.a. J.D. Robb) lives. Hope in the Dark was a recommendation from an acquaintance who was hoping to start a book club with this book for those needing - well - hope in the dark and because I was planning on joining if my schedule aligned I read the book - perfect timing for my current life struggles. I finished off the month with another non-fiction Christian book - my favorite genre - Letters to the Church by Francis Chan. Umm, can I say - amazing! Thought-provoking! The Church needs to read this book.
And, of course, I documented my good reads for my All About Me album with another digital 2-page, 6 x 8, using digital products: journal cards, embellishments, and templates from Ali Edwards and Paislee Press.
The End of Me by Kyle Idleman. A trusted friend posted a quote from the book on Facebook. Then I saw that the author is a pastor at the church of one of my all-time favorite pastors. So - I bought the book. Reading it in the middle of a life crisis, sharing it with my husband by reading it word for word, aloud, a second time through, The End of Me was in a word - life-changing. To quote Anne Bogel from her lovely little book, I'd Rather Be Reading, "Sometimes I feel compelled to read a book - or someone feels compelled to recommend it - for reasons I can't discern, and only later do I find it's essential to me, right then." Yep. The End of Me. Essential to me. Right now. My non-fiction Christian stack of highly regarded books that have shaped me - or more truthfully - re-shaped me to become more Christ-like is growing. It didn't hurt that Idleman has a snarky humor that gives me a chuckle even amidst the tears as I am confronted with the next paradox that is the Jesus way to finding the end of me. Blessed are those who mourn. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Greatness is humility. The first shall be last and the last first. When I am weak then I am strong. Conversational, engaging, hard-hitting, applicable, right now, gut-wrenching, tear-jerker - and that's all in the first two chapters - and the remaining chapters just as powerful. 66/100.
I'd Rather Be Reading, The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel. A favorite quote from the book: "Part of the fun of reading is planning the reading." A resounding yes! Reading confession: I've never read Where the Red Fern Grows. Even though I am in a difficult season of life and crying often I still added it to my Amazon cart. And, The Divine Conspiracy has been moved to my metaphorical nightstand (metaphorical, because another one of my reading confessions is: I don't grab a book from my nightstand to read because I don't have books on my nightstand except for - show - and, I don't read in bed, another confession, - because I believe bed is for two things and two things only and one of those two things is not reading in bed - and neither is the other thing). I'd Rather Be Reading - whimsical. Charming. Delightful. Eagerly anticipated - because - it's Anne and her writing is always eloquent and concise. Supremely satisfied (except for the chapter Hooked on a Story - expressly disappointed that it just stopped). Otherwise, thanks Anne for the lovely read. P.S. The cover of the book, a watercolor of Anne's own home library, is to die for. 67/100.
The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie. I have no young children or even teens left at home. Wandering the short halls of my home are two 21-year old twin young men who work and go to school. But, once upon a time, from their 7th grade year through 12th grade, I homeschooled those boys and we read everything they had to read, aloud. That very first year of homeschooling, when I had no idea what I was doing, when I purchased the Sonlight curriculum for their history and literature, I began reading to John and Jarrod aloud. It wasn't the first time I'd read aloud to them, nor to my two older girls for that matter as I recall reading The Chronicles of Narnia at the dinner table and to the boys every night for many years growing up. So, I'm not sure why I picked up this title. Maybe, for affirmation. Maybe, because I have grandchildren and opportunities are still on the horizon. Maybe, because I want to reclaim those magical moments with my twins when we voraciously read The Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games trilogy, the Divergent series, American classics, those historical fiction offerings that the Sonlight company brilliantly includes in their curriculum - and for so many more reasons. The why and how to reading aloud is in the first eleven chapters of The Read-Aloud Family and a selective list of read-a-louds by age group are in the last four chapters; helpful for those parents who have no idea where to even begin reading aloud. It was those why and how chapters I found intriguing. They sparked the possibility...my sons take forever doing dishes in the evening...I wonder if I read aloud to them they would work with a purpose and we can prolong, or maybe, re-capture a hint of those days when our favorite part of homeschooling was reading aloud. 68/100
Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb. Eve fascinates me. She's a hardened New York city police lieutenant who has seen a lot of action, yet still quite naive in many respects, though far from innocent, who is navigating the unknown world of marriage and friendships and partnership. It is an intriguing story woven within each and every In Death book and the primary reason I return again and again. I love watching the characters take on life, grow in spite of their flaws; it is resiliency lived out (even though they come from a life no kid should ever have to face). In the beginning chapters Eve offers a gift to Roarke that just slays him. And, me too. I love those tender moments where Eve is so unsure of herself at the personal level, but, as a cop she commanding and courageous. In Indulgence, there's a cheeky little story in Ireland, Roarke's home - and a murder, too, even before Eve is thrust into another, back in NYC. The two murders are decidedly - different. And, the snarky humor that is splashed throughout the book(s) because even though it's murder - there is still life. Indulgence is disgusting in many ways but Robb found ways to weave in beautiful. 69/100.
Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson. Simply. A. Joy. I enjoyed every minute I spent delving into the world of reading and books and being a book girl. While it is true this book won't be for everyone. If you love books, seriously love to read, or if you wish you loved to read or envy those who do read (or what others read and you wonder how you can too) then this book is for you. And, it is so good. I enjoyed it immensely. Truly. It's a treasure trove into the life of a reader - a book girl. I love to read. This book inspires me to read even more. I love how Sarah inspires the practical applications of how to read more but also how a girl can make even more of her reading life - be a learning experience, a journey. What to read, how to read, why to read...such wonderful, thought-provoking, yet proactive, exhortations...I'm starting now, even, to implement some of her suggestions. Sarah is never preachy or condescending - if you're not already a book girl but simply discusses how books shaped her life, fueled her imaginations, helped form her morality and character. Books gave her a clear understanding of what brave is, what truth is, what kindness is. She offers lists of books to read but why she read them, and why they made those lists (so intriguing). I adore this book and will refer back to it offer for a swift kick to my reading life. 70/100
Treachery in Death by J. D. Robb. Definitely one of my favorite In Death books in the series. It is hardcore girl against girl, good against evil that invades the home of what is supposed to be good. Eve Dallas rocks the role of champion but it is her trusty sidekick, Peabody, who gets top bidding in this book for bringing to light corruption and sticking to her guns. She holds fast the thin blue line without wavering even as Dallas and Peabody confront corruption in the ranks head on. No one likes to hear of bad cops and we'd like to think cops are above reproach but cops are human and unfortunately many humans are just. plain. bad. This is how good cops confront bad cops and should be required reading for every cop who thinks they should 'cover' for a bad cop. No political statement here; just obvious to me that the bad should receive due justice. 71/100
Hope in the Dark: Believing God is Good When Life Is Not by Craig Groeschel. Some of my book reading, in particular this one, I picked up because I am living in crisis mode and I am voraciously consuming mind-changing works so I don't become entrapped in despair. I heard about this book on Facebook. Actually hoping to join a book club studying the precepts of the book but since that hasn't materialized I decided I needed to read it on my own with the hopes of reading it again with a book club in the future. In a word: timely. Some other attributes: applicable; easy read, yet meaty; well-written and thought provoking, but more importantly mind changing. And, personally, for me, life-affirming. If you are living in a dark place right now and struggle with the question of whether God is good in the bad this is a must read. 72/100.
The End of Me by Kyle Idleman. You might be saying to yourself, "She already posted this one." You would be right. However, I decided to post it twice because I read the book twice. The second time through I read it aloud to my husband. It is one way we are moving forward. Changing our ways. And, our minds. Even better the second time through read aloud to my husband, when we need words like these the most, when we need time like this together. Be forewarned. When you read this aloud or to yourself - bring tissues. Because this is Christian non-fiction there will be application involved if there is to be any life-change involved. 73/100.
Let's all be Brave by Annie F. Downs. A few years ago I read Downs' first book Looking For Lovely, a truly lovely book that is one of my favorite books of all time. And it is still in that stack of 'keepers'. I wonder, now, if Looking For Lovely wasn't one of those perfect little books for such a time as I read it. I had high hopes for Let's all Be Brave. I have deduced that Brave isn't one of those books for such a time as this. I wasn't so much disappointed as perplexed. I took a few notes, underlined a few highlights, had a few laughs (the half-marathon 'training' was particularly laugh out loud worthy) but overall I felt a huge disconnect with the book; between the chapters, and the intent of the book. The book was neither inspiring nor particularly soulful and I felt as if I was plodding my way through, in an Eeyore-like fashion. 74/100
New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb. A revealing story with much-needed answers plaguing the series, fraught with emotion, and beyond gut-wrenching, New York to Dallas was amazingly satisfying even if a hard-charged emotionally, and brutal [content] read! When I first read NYtD I wondered at the decision to depart from the typical In Death title, but having read it I can see the subtle shift in the growth of the characters; sort of before New York to Dallas and after New York to Dallas. 75/100
Letters to the Church by Francis Chan. This is an in-depth look at what the Acts 2 Church is supposed to look like, how the Church is supposed to BE. Always remember the power of 'go, make disciples of all nations' is in the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ. Amazing how Chan can write sternly [to the Church] yet still come across as gracious when speaking of how we as the Church are getting it wrong. Cast aside what you believe the Church is and, instead, through Chan's Letters to the Church, be shown through Scripture, what the Church is and what the Church should look like. Simply, Chan is calling the Church, individually and collectively, to return to the Word, to prayer, to fellowship, and to the breaking of bread together. 76/100
I'm struggling hard right now. Sometimes my only recourse, the only thing I have the strength for is worshiping God. Just to keep my head above water. I'm clinging to the words of these songs. It is here I'm finding hope in front of me and strength to wait on the Lord. Worship, prayer, hard core study of the Word, soaking up the Word of God as it is life sustenance right now. It is just a hard, difficult, consuming season and I'm hoping to survive it. I get lost inside of my trials, my hurts, my struggles, and these songs shed light in the darkness.
At roughly 4 minutes a song, that's almost an hour and a half of focused praise and worship. Let it be enough.
When it comes to the hard I sometimes wonder how much I should say. For these pages I covered the surface. I am probably going to document the deep in an insert for my album. As much for me as for truth. Truth because this is life right now. It's hard. It hurts. I'm in pain in my heart. I'm mad.
Choosing to subscribe to something was a long-thought-after decision. While I didn't physically weigh the pros and cons, put pen to paper, I did ruminate over each commitment, thoroughly. My first subscription was to Ali Edwards' digital story kit.
Best hobby-related decision I've ever made. Certainly receiving a complete digital scrapbooking kit is the greater draw, the subscription is even more so because it is brimming with Ali's indelible teaching and mammoth inspiration. I have been motivated, challenged to tell event story after everyday story after all about me story after memorable story because this kit is in a word - incredible!
One of my most recent subscriptions is The Magnolia Journal by Joanna Gaines. a quarterly subscription, my first experience - and I'm using the word purposefully because it truly was an experience - reading the magazine was simply - delightful. I put the magazine down feeling uplifted and exhilarated. It brightened my day. I read the magazine word for word, cover to cover. It was a glorious time. Without further ado I subscribed.
We have long-since been a non-cable subscriber. When Elizabeth, Ashley and I joined Jeff here in Savannah we made the conscious decision to live without cable and we have never returned. For many, many years any television we watched was DVD television shows with many hours of continuous enjoyment, or DVD movies. We have quite the selection needless to say. When Jeff's mom was moving in we knew we needed to take the plunge into the world of more than just DVDs and chose Netflix as our choice. We have found some really good shows, mostly older shows that we never watched when they were on Prime Time television, and many hours of enjoyment - and still are, however, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find clean, quality, and captivating shows.
Lastly, is Black Rifle Coffee Company club. Jeff picked up a 5lb bag of BRCC when he visited the Nine Line Apparel store here in Savannah and because the coffee is good and it is veteran owned we decided why not just have our coffee delivered to our home, rather than make the trip to pick up more. We are only into our first month and I pretty much figure we'll have to increase our delivery. Sucker!
I won't lie. Life is excruciatingly hard right now. We are in the middle of extremely difficult. Life-changing. Painful. Hurtful. Hurt-full.
When someone says, "But, God," they mean in the midst of your pain God is in control. In the middle of the battle God has already won. When the fire is fanned and rises up to engulf you, God reaches in and covers you with His life everlasting. When I lose all faith in my private world around me my hope remains in God.
So, I'm there.
But, God is too.
Without a doubt I didn't choose, or want this lesson, this test of faith, of trusting God, but sometimes it just isn't our choice.
So, I'm here.
But, God is too. I trust Him. Who He says He is; who I am in Him; what He says He will do.
I needed a breather so I scrapped.
There in the middle of my battle I ate cheesecake.
The best cheesecake I have ever eaten! No lie. Beyond decadent.
And, we found a new Italian restaurant to love.
But, especially a new place to go for - just dessert.
I am excited to share 1) my latest scrapbooking page for my All About Me album, and 2) what I've been reading lately, in August 2018. First, the page.
I love how this 2-page 6 x 8 turned out. I used all things Ali Edwards from her monthly kits, both the May 2018 and August 2018 kit. I created that this is august journal card mimicking Ali's journal card in the May kit because I loved it! To be honest, I was totally inspired by one of Ali's creative team members for the entire page. I'm a lover of scraplifting; taking someone's idea or page and making it my own with my story, my photos. A favorite READ page this year, definitely.
Second, the books.
It was a slow reading month. Only 6 books, and four of those are re-read In Death books. However. And, that's a honking however. The two books I did read were amazing. In fact, Dear Mr. Knightley, is a contender, for sure, for the top fiction spot of 2018. The Seventh Most Important Thing, a middle-grade reader, provocative and engaging.
Strangers in Death by J. D. Robb. Think Strangers on a Train. Rarely, are we apprised of the would-be killer ahead of time from Lieutenant Dallas' point of view, but believing who the killer is and proving it are two different things. It is definitely and interesting way of approaching the investigation, yet intriguing how Dallas steps through what fits and doesn't to catch the one she knows in her gut is the killer. 60/100
Promises in Death by J.D. Robb. Really good. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. One of the beloved characters will have his/her life altered - and Lieutenant Dallas has to find out who wanted someone dead. This book shuttles Eve into the intimate friendship realm, something she doesn't do well navigating, but is now front and center amidst a murder investigation. I adore how Robb grows Eve Dallas with each book in the series; more tools in the friendship belt kit, or marriage toolbox, or working through her past. I never tire of this series. 61/100.
Kindred in Death by J. D. Robb. Bring tissues. This was a very difficult read as the murder was most heart-wrenching. One of the series' more serious story lines, however, one of the most recent favorites. The relational side of the In Death series was scarce (the snarky quips, the playful banter, and character development, although Robb captured another facet of Dallas that even Dallas didn't know she had in her), rather, the murder investigation took front and center, understandably, with the difficult and brutal nature of the killing. If I were rating this book this one would definitely be a 5/5 stars. 62/100.
Fantasy in Death by J. D. Robb. Definitely, an outside-of-the-box, futuristic style murder, yet, intriguing. Wasn't a favorite; in fact, sort of sad but not in a bring tissues way. A young man loses his head during a holographic enactment and Dallas has to find out how a bright, energetic, mega star in the video realm gets dead when there isn't a trace of evidence to support someone else in the same room. 63/100
The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall. This middle-grade (or, even younger) story opens with a young boy, Arthur, grabbing a brick and with no apparent reason hurls it at man, who is a fixture in the neighborhood known as the Junk Man because he goes through pieces trash and hauls his 'goods' in a shopping cart. But, Arthur did have his reasons, and the brick only hit the Junk Man in the arm, not the head. But none of that matters to the fierce judge who is ready to send Arthur to juvenile detention forever. After a surprising turn of events, Arthur is given 120 hours of community service as punishment working for none other then the Junk Man himself. What follows is a story of - redemption, especially in the reality that we are not defined by our last poor choice. And not just for the brick-throwing juvenile delinquent. I dog-eared so many pages simply for the thought-provoking quotes I want to reflect on and remember. Definitely a favorite this year. 64/100.
Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay. Love. Love. Love. Epistolary novels I do so love you so. I had to look up the word. Going on my favorites list and could easily bump off every other fiction novel I've read this year. 65/100