Friday, April 29, 2022

Friday Favorites, 4.29.22 and the books I read in April

Happy Friday, friends! I'm linking up with Erika and Andrea for this weekly blog post. 

It's been a pretty good week, though an unexpected sickness caught me off guard and forced me to spend the last part of the week taking it easy. I won't talk about that, though—but, because that means I don't have a lot of content to share, I thought I'd use this day to talking about my favorite topic—books and the ones that kept me busy reading this month. I'll jump right in with my first book of April.

You can click on each picture and it will redirect you to Amazon.

I read the second book this particular author has written, Someday in Paris by Olivia Lara.

Zara and Leon met for the first time in 1953, but they never saw each other again after that first meeting. They were destined to keep falling in love with each time and again over the course of the years that followed. The story was fascinating as I read about each of their lives and where life took them after that first time they met. It's one of those hurry-up-and-finish, but I-don't-want-to-be-done-with-it books that I love so much. I can't believe this author has only written two books! The book I read by her in March is still the favorite book I've read this year.

This story was one of those grand, epic romances that people talk about and I loved every single page. If you're a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read this there now for free! 

Next up was The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth.

Now that I read from a Kindle, I rarely buy books that cost anything over about $7. This author is one that I will always pre-order her books, they're all THAT good. This book is buzzy book right now that everyone is talking about! 

The book opens up at the end of the story. Tully and Rachel are at the wedding of their dad to a much younger wife, one who is around their age. Their mom is still alive, though she lives with dementia, but she's at the wedding as well and they're like one big happy family, except that they're not. There are lots of twists and turns, but chapter one opens up to a shocking thing that happened at the wedding and the rest of the book works it's way to that fateful day. I haven't spoiled anything, I promise, but you need to read this book! All of Sally's books are suspenseful in a sneaky way that catches you off guard. You always think they're going to start off normal, then you'll be reading and gasp out loud. 

I adore her writing and her funny Instagram stories.

My third book of the month was 100 Ways to Live a Luxurious Life on a Budget by Fiona Ferris.

Another blogger turned me onto these adorable little Francophile books and I love them. This was a quick read, but don't let the frivolous title fool you. It had greats of practical ways to enjoy life to the fullest. I read this quickly, but it was wonderfully inspiring and even motivating. This author is also a blogger and her blog posts are equally as enjoyable.

Next was the book What Remains True by Nancy Naigle. 

I'm not quite sure how I've missed reading Nancy's books, but if the others are anything like this one was, I'm a fan. I was sent an advance copy to read and review here on my blog, but it's one I would have been willing to buy, it was so good. I love books that are about imperfect people—that's what the main characters of this book were and it reminded me so much of God's redemption. The characters are endearing, the writing will pull at your heartstrings and this book was squeaky clean. I strongly recommend that you read it! It's available for pre-order at the link in the picture.

The fifth book of the month that I read is a little surprising, since it's April and not Christmas time, but it's Christmas in London by Anita Hughes.

The reason I'm reading this book now is because I've had it on hold on Libby since NOVEMBER. It finally came available and who am I to miss out on a great book? So I started reading it and I'm still going. I love this story! It has romance, great descriptions of a city I'd love to visit, interesting characters with good chemistry and there are lots of mentions of good food to eat and great places to shop. What's not to love? I've never read anything by Anita Hughes, but I'm a fan. This was worth the wait!

I loved all the books I read this month, but I don't trust myself to rate with stars anymore, because I'm nice. I'd recommend them all to anyone and everyone. 

How has your week been? Have you read anything new and noteworthy lately? If so, I'd love to hear about it! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all. 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Thankful Thursday


Happy Thursday, friends! I'm linking up with Rebecca Jo for today's post. I know that I've said this before, but I love to take out some space in my journal to write out a list of good things from each week. There's nothing special about the journal or what I write—but in order to always be mindful of my perspective and what I focus on, I like to think on all that is good instead of all that was wrong. That being said, I'll jump right in with today's post!

I'm thankful for affirming women's events like we had Tuesday night at our church. We another Girlfriend's Café, which is when we meet for dinner, fellowship, games and then we hear encouraging testimonies. Almost 170 women came to this, and I know my friend Amy was encouraged to see so many attend. 

I'm so thankful for some time with my friend Donna, who came with me.

It was such a fun night! Honestly, all I could think about the whole time was how beautiful the family of  God is to me. I love seeing such a mix of women in life—younger, older, single, married, widow. You name it, they were there represented Tuesday night.

I'm keeping it short and sweet this week, friends. I'll include links to the three other posts I've published this week:

→Wednesday—click here.
→Tuesday—click here.
→Monday—click here.

It's been a good week for me. How has yours been? I'd love to hear from you! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all! 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

what's up Wednesday


Happy Wednesday, friends! I'm linking up with Sheaffer and Shay for this blog post. I'll jump right in!

What we're eating this week:

Well, I already wrote about that yesterday, so I'll include a link for you that will take you to that post. Spoiler alert: I love Mexican food!

What I'm reminiscing about:

This trip we took together at the beginning of the month! We had such a great time.

What I'm loving:

All things pink! This is the screensaver for my phone. I'm also loving Pinterest so much more than normal right now. I find myself doing that when I'm watching tv with Todd at night.

What I've been up to:

(That said "what we've been up to", but my sons are all grown and not as much fun, so I'm making this about me.) I've been busy with things involving my church, which I love. In this phase of life, I have time to do things like this without feeling the guilt of being pulled away from homeschooling responsibilities. Even though my sons were all very independent in their work, I still felt bad for being away or too busy for too long of a stretch. In between those things, I am always working on a writing project, I am always cleaning our home and doing chores around here and I am always looking after our dogs. For my hobbies I love to read, write for fun and watch movies or an episode of something while I eat lunch. 

What I'm dreading:

The intense heat that we have in Memphis when it's summertime. I'm also dreading Bible study being over after May 18.

What I'm working on:

Organizing things at home, as always. I started working on my closet over the weekend and I need to do more there. I'm also thinking about getting rid of a large chunk of my books. There are so many that I've already read and never plan on reading again, so I'll probably donate them to our local library.

What I'm excited about:

I'm always excited about something. Currently it's the women's event I'm going to at church tonight, but next it'll be this weekend. I'm excited for my husband, because his favorite event to work at for the sheriff's department of the entire year is happening this weekend. It's called Music Fest and it's basically my worst nightmare, but he absolutely loves it. There are thousands of people who will be there crammed into tiny spaces listening to music on one of several stages. It's a madhouse! They're so crammed in there that once you're there, you cannot move, because you'd never get back. It sounds like a panic attack waiting to happen. 

He's been working this for years, but this year he's working as lieutenant and he also happens to be the CDO Officer for the whole weekend. You have no idea how this excites him. He's like a kid in a candy store, because he gets to bring the truck home to our house and everything, which saves him a ton of walking and having to park off site. He has privileges, needless to say, one of which will be parking at the entrance.

What I'm watching/reading:

Well, I finished Downton Abbey and I've watched the first movie. I'm looking forward to the second one now and I started over from the beginning in the show, because I feel like I missed a lot. I'm also trying to watch all the movies I have recorded on Fubo, because we're doing away with that app after this month. As for what I'm reading, you'll have to come visit again on Friday, when I share about the books I read this month.

What I'm listening to:

Right this moment, the click-click-click of my dogs' nails as they wait at the windows for the family to come home. It's quiet in the house right now, other than that noise, but I've usually got music playing on our Google home speakers all throughout the house. I like to listen to jazz, French Café music, worship music and Ben Rector. I also love yacht rock, nineties country music and eighties love ballads. I have eclectic taste, what can I say?

What I'm wearing:

All the pink and layers!

Pink is my new favorite color. Who'd have thought?

What I'm doing this weekend:

Singing with my choir family and we're recording a cd! Other than that, I'll be watching movies and relaxing when I'm done with all the singing. (I'm even on praise team this week at church, so it's a lot of singing for one weekend. Six hours in all for the recording and I have to be at church at eight Sunday morning to rehearses. Needless to say, I'm also listening to all the choir music.)

What I'm looking forward to next month:

Next week, Todd and I get to go out of town for a night. I don't think I've mentioned here that he's being awarded for saving the life of a teenager here last year. We're staying in a super fancy hotel, I bought a dress and we get to travel in an emergency vehicle. I'm also looking forward to thinking about and planning for the summer. I'd love to get away with my husband for a long weekend.

What have you been up to this month? I'd love to hear from you! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

dinner inspiration


Happy Tuesday, friends! I thought I'd share some more easy dinner inspiration for this week. In case you've not paid attention to this, I always lean a lot on the Mexican side of dinners at home. Everyone seems to love it and it's easy and healthy. Or, healthier than pasta or a casserole.

Last night Todd and I had leftovers for dinner. I love doing that on Monday nights when it's just the two of us here to eat. If someone decides to stay home, there are plenty of options for them to make something very quickly. 

Tonight is taco Tuesday! I haven't decided which way to go with this yet, but there are options here as well. We could actual tacos, or baked tacos or nachos.

For the baked tacos, all you do is stand them up and add the meat and cheese and bake them for a few minutes. One time when I went to do that, all the taco shells started breaking, so Todd had the idea to do a Mexican lasagna instead. It was so good. (I'm so hungry as I'm writing this on Monday afternoon. Ha!) I have all the toppings for tacos—guacamole, butter lettuce, cheese, salsa and sriracha. Seriously, my mouth is watering, y'all. I need a snack to tide me over until dinner! 

I'm not sure what we'll do for Wednesday night yet, but we'll either get sushi or maybe have some leftovers. The other night I'm cooking this week, I'll be making this quiche again.

This is easy and delicious. I just whisk together eggs with a splash of milk (I think I use four eggs per quiche) and add in whatever I have on hand. I've done bacon and veggies, or all veggie and I love both versions. For the rest of the week, I'll be eating all of these leftovers and I'll probably do the same for lunches. 

What's for dinner tonight at your house? I'd love to hear from you! Thanks for reading, friends. Love to all. 

Monday, April 25, 2022

weekending/Hello Monday


Happy Monday, friends! I'm linking up with Holly and Sarah for this blog post. 

How was your weekend? Mine was really good. Our weather was nice and warm and it was the perfect chance to be outside. I noticed our sons enjoyed all the sunshine and warmth and spent their time over the weekend cleaning their vehicles and taking their trucks off-roading, which led them back here to clean them once again. Ha! It's an endless cycle.

They love going down to this area where a river is to do this. They call this area the bottoms.

I started off my weekend with my dad, as usual. It was so good to see him and we love getting our weekend started together in that way. I made us lunch here that day and we enjoyed coffee afterward as we tried to solve all the problems of the world.

(I liked my outfit on Friday and yes, I did sneak that picture of Dad while we were chatting.) That night Todd worked, and the boys were all in and out. I watched the first Downton Abbey movie and part of an episode of the show Julia on HBO Max. I woke up early Saturday and finished the show and thought it was good. I loved the movie Julie & Julia, and this show picks up where that movie left off, when Julia and her diplomat husband moved back to the U.S. after living abroad.

I spent part of that morning finally putting the tabs into my Bible that my mom in love gave me as part of my birthday gift.

Aren't they cute? I love them. They were an Amazon find and the brand is called Diversebee. It took me about 45 minutes to do this, because I was being precise and careful. I love how they turned out. I went out for a while with my mom and sister Trish, and we had lunch and then went to our favorite little antique store. It's about 40 minutes away from my house in Bartlett, and it's called Southern Vintage. The store is sectioned off into booths, and each booth is decorated by the seller. 

This is always my favorite booth! I love everything about how it's decorated and all the things they have for sale. You can find antique Tupperware or crystal dishes, hand bags, perfume bottles with fragrance still inside, books, records, you name it, it's there. I came away with a wooden sign that reminds me of a trip we took on a family mission trip a few years ago, and a set of plans for the Collierville Reserve. I spent a grand total of $15. 

That night I met my in-love's for dinner at my favorite local taco truck, Tacos-N-Ganas, and went back to their house for a visit. (Todd was working again.) I came home and was in bed by nine thirty. I spent yesterday at church and it was a great day of worship. I got to help lead worship that morning, then I stayed and helped decorate for a going away party we had after rehearsal that night. I came back home and ate something substantial (aside from the small plate of desserts I'd consumed at the party), put on pajamas and started re-watching Downton Abbey. 

My plans for today consist of putting the house back into order from the weekend and Bible study homework. Monday's are always one of my favorite days for that very reason—getting the house all clean once again. How was your weekend? I'd love to hear from you! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all. 

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Share Four Somethings, April edition


Happy weekend, friends! Welcome to my weekend bonus post. I'm never sure how long these links are live, so I didn't want to miss out on this month's Share Four Somethings. I'm linking up with Heather for this blog post. I'm sharing the things I've loved, gleaned, braved (or saved) and achieved.

Something Loved

I loved many things about April! Spring finally sprung around town and all the tulips, Bradford pear trees and dogwoods were showing off for us. That picture of the tulips that you see is one that our town posted on their social media. There's one road in particular that was spectacular to drive down. If you're local, it's Winchester, between Byhalia and Houston Levee. 

I loved pulling out all of my lighter colored clothing and dressing in the pastels that I love right now. I also loved going on a beach trip with my girlfriends! All the memories and laughs we shared are some that I will never forget. I loved the warmer days and the sunshine that we saw when it wasn't raining. 

Something gleaned 

I gleaned a lot more from the Bible study that I'm still in. I know I am like a broken record, but this has been one of the best Bible studies I've ever taken! I'm gleaning what it looks like to look more like Jesus and exactly what it means on being a true woman of God. It's been so good!

This is the study, for anyone who is interested. It would be a great one to do over the summer! You can purchase the book and do it alone or with friends and the videos are free on YouTube.

Something saved

Something I've saved this month is my sanity by finishing a big writing project that's been hanging over my head. Do things like that get to you? I don't do well with long, drawn out deadlines. I'm much better to have a few days, because I can buckle down and get it done in that time that I have allotted. I noticed that more of us are finishing faster, because once one of us finishes, it inspires and motivates the others to do the same. 

This is my writing spot. I love to sit here and look out into the yard as I work. 

Something achieved

Perhaps I should have saved that one for this last one, but I've also achieved some things this month. I've achieved cooking healthier meals for all of us, I have achieved some spring cleaning projects and just yesterday I achieved a partial closet clean out. I have plans to do more of that this week, thanks to a book that inspired me to minimize my closet. It's in desperate need of attention, as are the bookshelves in my living room that need tidying. I started that over the weekend as well and plan to do more this week.

Speaking of bookshelves, these aren't mind, but I wish they were! This was the cutest little bookshop on the square in Columbia, Tn that my best friend and I visited while we were the in December. I'm still swooning over that cute shop! It's called Duck River Books in Columbia, Tn. You should look it up, because they do a huge online business as well.

Well, thanks for reading my blog, friends! Love to all. 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Friday Favorites, 4.22.22


Happy Friday, friends! I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals for this week's edition of Friday Favorites. 

How has your week been? Mine has been good. It's been a good balance of being at home and being busy outside of my home. I had expected to stay home yesterday, but I woke up wanting to run a few errands. I had a few places that I needed to go and the bonus was that my mom went with me. We met up at Kroger and I hopped over into her car for our little mini day out. Those days are always my favorite! That being said, I have a few other favorites I thought I'd share with you from my week.

While the rain is not my favorite, I'm glad that all the April showers really do bring about May flowers. All of these springtime blooming bushes and shrubs are my favorite! This first one is the one at the end of my dad's driveway. It's even more spectacular in person! 

It's like Christmas, going outside each new day to see what plants are blooming. Everything is starting to come back to life and I am loving every inch of our beautiful flower beds. It's for this reason that I have enjoyed so much of the spring season this year. This time of year has never been my favorite, but I've loved it this year. I do love the encouragement to be present in every part of life. I read that this week in my Bible study. Seeing all these beautiful blooming plants reminds me of a favorite passage from the new testament. This is Matthew 6:26-29.

Consider the birds of the sky: They don't sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you worth more than they? Can any of you add one moment to his life span by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don't labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these.

This kind of evening is my very favorite.

We had eaten dinner, the kitchen was cleaned up after and the house was quiet. I think there may have been someone upstairs, but Todd hadn't made it back home from church yet, so I sat and started a new book. I read for at least half an hour before he came home and I warmed up his dinner. 

Speaking of reading and books, another favorite thing of mine is to find a new author. I've recently discovered the author Nancy Naigle and she invited me to be a part of the launch team for her newest book, What Remains True. I haven't finished the book yet, but I can already tell you that it's going to be yet another favorite that I've read so far this year. Have you read any of her books? I'm not sure how I've missed out on her! She writes very clean love stories, of the Hallmark variety. You all know how much I love that kind of thing! I was excited that she sent me an advance copy to read before its release date at the end of this month. You should seriously consider preordering this book! It's available at all of your favorite retailers.

I loved the quote that I highlighted in this book, because it's true! "Who knew saying yes to new opportunities could bring so much unexpected joy?" I feel like I've experienced that very thing time and again. I always ask the Lord for opportunities to serve Him and He is faithful to bring me times to do exactly that. It's not always comfortable for me and it feels unnatural, but it's good for me to be pulled out of my comfort zone every once in a while. It's good for all of us, for that matter!

In an effort to be more mindful of how I spend my time, I've started a new nightly routine that just might become my new favorite. 

This was last night as I was about to go to bed. I went up earlier because I wanted to take time to give my face a good cleansing, so I pulled out all of my old faithfuls that I use when I spend the extra time. I always start by washing my face with coconut oil, then I use that Witch Hazel toner immediately after to remove any that the coconut oil missed. You'd be surprised at what it misses. I used that illuminating eye cream (I'm not sure if it works, but here's to hoping!) and then I moisturized with Cerave. I use a hot washcloth to remove my makeup. I brushed my teeth, then I put lotion on my hands and arms before I climbed into bed with my book.

Funny side note: when I travel, I take my own washcloths, because I hate the thought of putting my black mascara onto someone else's towel. Is that normal? I'm wondering if any of you do this. I don't care if it's all over ours, but they always come completely clean after I wash them.

This one's random! Are you a fan of Pinterest? Lately it's become my favorite way to waste time. It's also so much better for me than TikTok, which I keep in "deep sleep" mode on my phone.

I am on Pinterest as jenlloydgoodwin. You can click here to find me. I love to use Pinterest for recipes, home décor ideas, hair tutorials, vacation inspiration, Bible verse images, blog ideas, journaling ideas, you get the idea. I love to do a search for "pretty phone screensavers" and take a screenshot of them. I edit the screenshot on my phone to crop out the edges, then I save it and "use as" my wallpaper and lock screen image. This picture above was my current one until yesterday, when I found one with gold hearts and a soft pink background. You should try it! You're welcome. 

Speaking of pretty things, I am also a fan of using YouTube for a screensaver on our television in the den, but because it uses up our Wi-Fi data, I've just been using the free moving screensavers that Todd put onto our main home page. I'm currently using one with images from around Paris and I play music most of the day over our Google nest speakers. I'm currently listening to easy afternoon jazz by the BGM music channel on Spotify. There are TONS of options there. I like the soft and instrumental sort of music. It even seems to calm our dogs! Literally as I wrote that sentence, Chip and Oakley started wrestling. I'm rolling my eyes.

Music has always been a favorite for me and even when the boys were little, it was always playing in the background. I love to change it up with the seasons. For some reason, when I start cooking I like to go to the Ben Rector radio channel on Spotify. In the mornings, I like French café music and at Christmas, I like Christmas worship to be going 24/7. Speaking of French, I was speaking in French to our Google device last night and she started speaking it back to me. I didn't understand it, though, and only remember some of the basic phrases and words. Todd and I were cracking up over this and I promise, the more she spoke in French, the more his Southern accent came out. She doesn't even understand him half the time. 🤣

One last one and I'll wrap this post up.

You know that nail day is my favorite and that was the case yesterday. I told my friend who does them for me that I loved the color of the shirt I had on, then I showed her an idea from Pinterest that I'd saved and that's what she came up with. I love them! The next time I go, I'm doing this again and adding one gold one on my ring fingers. She's sweet to accommodate me every time I go, and she never minds when I can't make a decision.

I'm still doing the dip powder. 

What's a favorite from your week? I'd love to hear from you! Thanks for reading my blog, friends! Love to all.  

Friday Favorites, 7.12.2024.

  Hi, friends! As you can tell, I'm forcing myself to be here often, because my life needs to resume some sort of normalcy right now; th...