Tuesday, May 31, 2022

the books I read in May

 


Happy Tuesday, friends! How was your weekend? I was actually here blogging yesterday, but I was one of the few. I mention that to tell you that I shared a post and if you missed it, I'd love for you to check it out! I titled it Hello Memorial Day, instead of the usual Hello Monday.


It's my favorite day of the month, which means I am talking about all things books! I'm sharing about the books I read in May, and lots of the ones on my summer reading list. I'll dive right in with the five books I read this month. Click on the picture and you can re-directed to Amazon to check out each book.


First up was a new author for me! The Wife Upstairs by Freida McFadden was amazing and so creepy in all of the best ways.



I heard about this book from another author that I love, Pamela Kelley. I'm in her Facebook book club and she's always giving great book recs there. I love when authors do this! This author will be an automatic read for me from now on. It hit all the high points, but it was actually clean, which is rare for a "psychological thriller". 


This book is about a girl who met a guy whose wife is crippled and paralyzed. The wife needs a friend and Sylvia (the young girl) needs a job. She agrees to the job, even though it would involve her moving way out of the way and even though she is slightly weirded out by the situation. Sylvia and Victoria seem to hit it off, as best they are able and they find a way to communicate. Victoria points Sylvia to her journal and when Victoria starts to read it, she is shocked to find out all that is written on the pages. I'll say one more thing about this book and that is that you will NOT see the end coming. You should read this book! I can't recommend it enough. Also, this book is FREE right now with Kindle Unlimited.


Next up was Riverbend Gap by Denise Hunter.



When Katelyn's car veered of an Appalachian mountain road, she thought she was a goner...until the local sheriff deputy came to her rescue. She and Cooper had an immediate connection, but her only problem was that she was already dating someone...who turns out to be Cooper's brother. I always hesitate to share too much of the story line, so I'll leave you to find out the rest. I borrowed this book with the Libby library app. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and plan on reading the next book in the series.


My third book was Every Summer After by Carley Fortune.



Apparently I pre-ordered this book and have no recollection of it, but it showed up on my Kindle the day it released and I'm glad it did! This was Carley's debut book and she hit it out of the park. I will say, it was a bit rated R in places, so I skimmed some, but the story was fascinating and drew me in from the first page. 


Persephone didn't think she'd ever go back to the mountain lake town she'd spent six summers of her childhood, but one phone call changed that plan and she finds herself heading back home to say goodbye to the matriarch of the family next door. Percy and Sam were friends from the first summer that she and her family spent at the lake and it lasted for six wonderful summers, until they grew apart and lost touch. Told over six summers and one weekend, this story is a sweeping story of love, loss, and the people and choices that mark us forever. Please do yourself a favor and read this book! I could not put it down.


My fourth book was Everything After by Jill Santopolo. 



I have to start by saying that I love this author! I loved this book and the others by her that I've read. This one did not disappoint.


Two loves. To choices. One chance to follow her dreams. Emily has come a long way since she lost her two passions fifteen years ago: music and Rob. She's a psychologist at NYU who helps troubled college students like she once was. Together with her caring husband, Ezra, she now has a beautiful life. They're happy and hoping to start a family, but when a tragic event in her present too closely echoes a tragedy from her past, her life is upturned. Then she hears a song on the radio about the woman who got away and she recognizes his voice...could it really be him? And was the song really about her? As her past passions come roaring back into her life, she'll find herself asking, "Who is she meant to be? And who is she meant to love?"


Last but not least is Girls of Summer by Nancy Thayer.




Lisa Hudson feels more alive than she has in a very long time. After hiring carpenter Mack Whitney to do some home repairs for her, there's no denying the spark they immediately feel. Despite the fact that Lisa is ten years older than him and their twenty something kids who are on the island of Nantucket for the summer, she decides to try dating him even though she worries it'll only lead to heartbreak for her. But her kids have their own things going on and by the end of the summer when a storm threatens to shatter everything, everyone discovers that not everything is within their control. 


READ IT! It's the perfect beach read. As far as my summer reading list, here's a picture of the books I have planned for the coming weeks.




Your turn! What have you read and loved lately? I'd love to hear from you! I'm open to your books suggestions, so please share with me. Thanks for reading my blog, friends! Love to all. 

Monday, May 30, 2022

Hello Memorial Day


Happy Memorial Day, friends. I'm sharing some words I wrote a few years ago when I shared this picture above on Facebook. "Here rests in honored glory an American soldier." This day is so much more than a day off from work kicking off the start of summer. I think of my best friend's family every year on this day, because their family is one of many who had a young man enter the service, went to war, then came home in a wooden casket. It's a day of mourning for many, but it's also a day of celebrating the freedoms we have in our country, all thanks to the brave young men and women who were willing to lay down their lives for us. I am so thankful for them, for their service to our country and for the love they exemplified on our behalf. 














Those were the days! 

It was important to us that our sons grew up knowing this and spending part of the day honoring those families who lost loved ones. For years we attended Memorial Day services at our local veteran cemetery, but that stopped when the pandemic hit. I do think they went last year, but we loved doing that for a while. It's one more thing they all kind of outgrew and that I miss doing with them. This year we're all over the place. Two have plans of their own, one is at the lake with friends and one is coming home from a long weekend in New Orleans with a friend. 


I wanted to share all of that before I get on with the Hello Monday post I love. I'm linking up with Holly and Sarah for this weekly blog post. 



I had a great weekend! My dad was here on Friday, as usual. I picked him up, we went and got Chick Fil A, then we came here to my house to eat. After I took him back home, my sisters and mom came to get me and we went to eat Japanese food for dinner. It was SO GOOD. I went out with them on Saturday as well. We had Mexican food for lunch, then went to one of my favorite local flower shops. 






They always have the best stuff there. We ended our day a little early and went to our respective homes, because we made plans to meet again for a movie later on that evening.




Friends, if you have not already seen the movie Topgun, RUN AND DO NOT WALK to the theater to see it! It was phenomenal and TOTALLY worth the thirty-six year wait. Can you believe it's been thirty-six years since the original?? I can't. But I liked the sequel better than the original! I know that's a controversial statement, but I mean it. It was that good. I had the biggest grin on my face the entire first hour of the movie, it was so nostalgic!


I do recommend maybe watching the first one before seeing this one, especially if it's been a while since you've watched it; also a heads up that May 31 will be the last day you can view it on Netflix.


We were at church early on Sunday, then home for the rest of the evening after. Todd went to buy some flower pots for the ferns he brought home yesterday, so we planted those, then ate dinner. I worked on my blog, he watched a show and then I read my book. Today our plans are pretty much the same. He may be trimming some trees in our backyard and I'll spend the day relaxing. I always get behind on my Bible reading over the weekend, so I'll catch up and I may even run to the grocery store. Who knows...I'll see how I feel about that a little later on. 😉


How was your weekend? I'd love to hear from you! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all. 


Friday, May 27, 2022

Friday Favorites, 5.27.22

Happy Friday to you, friends. Before I start with this post, I need you to know something about me. I tend to retreat inwardly when things are stressful/scary/chaotic/mean in the world. It's my personality. I'm not fearful, necessarily and it's not that I don't know what to say, but it's like I just want to talk to Jesus, my mom, my closest friends and that's it. I don't want to keep writing on this blog, but I also do want to keep writing here on the off chance that someone is like me and needs to resume normalcy. In saying that, I don't mean to ignore things or pretend that what goes on doesn't matter, it's the opposite and often I'm consumed with current events. But in some aspects of life, I have to carry on or I'd be unable to stand. So, I keep going about my days. I keep praying, even when I don't know what to say or how to form a thought. I keep reading my Bible, because it's one of my best sources for hope. I keep reading blogs, because I cannot watch even one minute of national news, or even local news. I keep writing blog posts, because somehow, writing helps me to process things.


I know you don't hold this against me or think that I'm turning a blind eye, but I need you to understand a little of how I'm wired. I'm different than you, my best friend and anyone else I can think of, just like you are different than me and process differently. I'm not justifying anything and I'm not unaware of things, I just have to keep going. I just said yesterday to someone that one of the most important things to remember as Christians is to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. If we didn't, we wouldn't be able to stand up under the weight of the world. 


I see what's going on. I hear the differing opinions and I sense the division that is already creeping back in. I also sense the enemy in all of it and one of my prayers is that we would be aware of our real enemy—it's not flesh and blood, according to Ephesians 6:12, it's the dark powers of the world we live in. There is a spiritual battle raging in the heavenly realm that we know nothing about and that we don't see. We must be suited up in our spiritual armor, because that's the only thing that'll stand up to the battle we engage in. This would be the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the sword of the Spirit, the belt of truth and our feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. All of that can be found in Ephesians 6:10-18. Don't take my word for it, read it and fight the battle with me in prayer! Prayer is one of the most powerful and effective things we can do as Christians. Don't let anyone ever tell you differently.


On a much lighter note, because I need some light and fluffy things this week, I am going to continue on with the rest of my normal Friday post. I'm linking up with Erika and Andrea today.




I'll dive right in with some of my favorites from this week or for the summer weather we have lined up in our forecast!




This is one of my favorite views for the summer! This is my mom-in-love's neighborhood pool and I'll be poolside this coming Wednesday. It'll be in the low to mid nineties, so I'm pretty excited.





This dress has become one of my favorites! Here is the promised link I keep forgetting to share. I've had a couple of you ask me about this dress this week. Here you go! Click here to be re-directed to Amazon. When you enter in your sizing information, they'll automatically recommend a size for you, and I'd go with what they recommend. I was hesitant in this, but I'm glad I took their word for it. 



I had lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant yesterday with a sweet younger friend. We hadn't seen each other in ages, so it was good to sit and catch up with her about her new marriage and the new teaching job she wrapped up last week. 



Most of you know that lists are my favorite. I made this summer reading list based on all the emails I keep getting so that I could go through and delete them. I took this picture so I'd have it on my phone at all times. Come back next week when I talk about the books I read in May! I'll post that on Tuesday.



This is my current favorite brand of coffee from Costco. I grind my own beans and this has a hint of chocolate! Oh my goodness...I love waking up to this every morning and enjoy that first cup so much.




This sweet neighbor pup saying good morning to our dogs is one of my favorite things in all of the world. They love to go over and give her kisses. (And yes, this is our temporary fence that has needed repairing for two years now. We're not the greatest at home improvement projects and the price of lumber is STUPID.)



Choir family and concerts are our favorite! This is my good friend Barb who sings with me in our choir and on praise team. We took this on Sunday night before we started our concert.



Friends, these hydrangeas are my favorite right now! They're even more beautiful now that we've had some rain this week. 


Other favorites from this week include having lunch with Mom on Tuesday, reading some good books, watching a new show on Netflix and having quality time with my favorite man on earth. I'd love to hear from you now—tell me something good about your week! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all. 

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Thankful Thursday


Happy Thursday, friends! This day of the week is always one of my favorites in the world of blogging. I love being intentionally thankful and focusing on the things about the Lord that I am thankful for.  That's what I'm focusing on this week. Rebecca Jo and I would love for you to join in with us! 


I was inspired by what I prayed yesterday, because when things that go on in the world are hard and I don't know what to pray, I just start to thank God that I can talk to Him and I praise Him for who He is. I know that He is good and that we live in a horribly fallen world. Evil is everywhere, especially within the hearts of people who don't know Him. As I prayed, I was thankful for the fact that Jesus knows better than anyone what human anguish felt like. 


He was betrayed by friends, He experienced the loss of a friend and wept over his death, He knows the sinfulness of man, because He experienced it around Him. Maybe that sounds weird to be thankful for those things, but it's comforting to me as I pray that He understands why words don't always come easily when I pour my heart out to Him. I am thankful that not only is He my peace, but He also gives us His peace as we go through human emotions. He is my strength, He is the strong tower that I can run to and He is our comforter. He also enables us to help comfort others as He has comforted us! I am thankful for this, because so many times I've been on the receiving end of that kind of thing.


I'm thankful that when I don't know what to pray, He knows what's on my heart. He prays for us when we go through times like that, we're told in the book of Hebrews. He is our High Priest that we can go to at any given moment and we have constant access to Him. There are no rules and regulations we have to go through to talk to Him. These are the things that were on my heart yesterday as I tried to pray. I thanked Him for all of these things later on throughout the day, and I wanted to share them with you here. 




Thanks for reading, friends. Love to all. 


 

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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

what's up Wednesday?

I scheduled this post to publish before learning of the events yesterday that happened in Uvalde, Texas. My heart hurts for those dear families and community ever since I learned of the horror that happened yesterday. I love to be a bright spot here, but it never feels right to let something go unsaid. I am praying for those families who lost their babies, the family of the teacher, the kids, the faculty and the community this morning. I'll continue on to this post, but I had to edit this today to say something. Lord Jesus, be near to those dear people in that community. 


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


What we're eating this week:

Welcome to summer weather, where I'll be searching of new things to make because it's too hot to start the oven! I say that, but the weather is mild this week. Monday night we had teriyaki pork tenderloins, shells and cheese (for the guys) and sweet potatoes for the hubby and myself. Last night we had tacos, because TACO TUESDAY! Tonight we'll have something leftover and easy and tomorrow night we'll have grilled chicken and veggies OR chicken fajitas. Additionally for lunch yesterday, my mom and I met for sushi at our favorite Japanese restaurant. 



 Mexican food is always my go-to. I'm not sure if my family appreciates this! 😂


What I'm reminiscing about:



Oh, just being at the beach last month with some of my dearest friends. All the laughter we shared, the sweet times of talking, praying and making memories was priceless! These are some of God's greatest gifts to me. I'm reminiscing about this because my sister is there this week. I'm so glad she's there to relax and then coming here for a few days. It's been like a year and a half since I've laid eyes on her and I cannot wait to see her! This is one of my sisters who lives in Denver.


What I'm loving:

Our flower beds are bursting with color!




The pictures never do it quite justice, but I love them. The blooming pink shrubs you see in one of these pictures are azaleas, the type that bloom several times a year. I love how it looks like color is spilling out over the tops of each shrub. 


What we've been up to:

I've been doing things to keep the outside of our home looking nice since I have the time. I did something new yesterday!

Yesterday I mowed the yard for the first time in my life. The boys have done this since they turned eleven and they've done a great job! But they're working full time and they're just not home like they used to be, so I volunteered to start doing the backyard. It doesn't look terrible, friends! I'll take that as bonus points. Other than my newly self appointed job of the outside things, I've been doing the same things to keep our home running efficiently. I have an easy routine that I love. Each day it includes quiet time, laundry, dusting/vacuuming/cleaning counters/bathrooms (yes, I do most of those everyday), reading, writing out Scripture that we'll be studying in the fall, Bible study homework, listening to music most of the day and writing on this blog. 


What I'm dreading:

The only thing I can think of that I'm dreading is how humid it gets here every summer. I do not enjoy the heat like most people. I feel like I'm hot all the time, and though I've been like this most my life, I do feel some of this is hormone-related. If that's TMI, my bad. I shower more this time of year than any other and I've been known to do it twice in one day, depending on how bad it gets.


What I'm working on:

I'm waiting to help edit our next Bible study at church. My final portion is being edited right now, then I'll help do it all again when everyone else is finished. 


What I'm listening to:

Well at the moment I have a summer playlist I made on Spotify playing. But also, know that Chip and Oakley are fighting as I write this. I say fighting, but they're really playing. I love that they have each other!


What I'm excited about:

Swimming!


My mom-in-love has a pool in her neighborhood and beginning next week after Memorial day, we'll start to do this at least once a week. I cannot wait! I love the actual being in the water, but I also love being able to visit with her and catch up on life. 


What I'm watching/reading:

I'm not really watching anything right now. I would love some show recommendations! I love to binge a show or two during this time of year because I'm on a break from Bible study at church. I'm currently reading a new to me book by Josie Silver. I'll post about the books I read in May next week, so stay tuned! Here's a sneak peak that I shared last week.



What I'm wearing:

I've been wearing my hair up or back these days, because I mentioned how hot I am.

And I'm wearing as cool and flowy/breezy clothes as I have. I keep wearing the dresses I bought last summer and I'm glad to have them. Here's one that I wear often and the picture is from last summer.

They're such a great length and modest enough that I can wear them to church.


What I'm doing this weekend:

My sister Lisa will be here, so I plan on spending time with her, Mom and my sister Trish that lives here. I'm excited! Also, I'll see my dad on Friday and we'll have church on Sunday, so all my normal things. 


What I'm looking forward to next month:

Ummm...maybe a couple of short trips? It's undecided at the moment, but I'll keep you posted! 


What else is new:

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Share Four Somethings




Happy Tuesday, friends! I'm linking up with Heather G for this month's edition of share four somethings, where we share things that we loved, gleaned, braved (saved) and achieved. I realize I may be a little early for this post, but it's just working out like that this week. 

Loved

I loved getting away with my man for a night this month. It started off great, but it ended with him not feeling good, so we headed out early the next morning to drive back home. This was when we went to Nashville for one night to a banquet where he was honored for saving a life. That's the short version of the story, but the longer and more detailed version can be read here

I also loved a chance to wear this dress. I bought another one this past weekend, in a totally different print. 

Gleaned

Thanks to the Bible study I just finished, I feel like I gleaned a lot about marriage. I have always had such a high esteem for marriage, but what I learned more about was how a marriage brings glory to God. I'm continually gleaning that it is not at all about me, it's not at all about my husband. It's all about us being united together for the sole purpose of glorifying God. Sometimes we succeed at this and sometimes we greatly fail. That's another thing about marriage that I keep remembering—we mess up on an almost daily basis. We don't communicate, we don't spend time together, we are sometimes like ships passing in the night. We get it wrong a lot, is what I'm saying, but God's grace is sufficient and He gives us wisdom and new mercies everyday. I saw something on Instagram today that I loved. I'll share it below.

I think perhaps we all need to spend more time praying over our marriages. One thing I know is that the enemy is after the family and it begins with marriages. Please don't think I'm ever shaming anyone for divorce, I promise that is never my intention. It's why I share some of our own failures in the hope that everyone knows we are normal people. God does hate divorce, but He gives grace to cover it when it does happen. Sometimes a divorce is permitted that the Bible talks about and sometimes divorce is the safest thing for someone in an abusive relationship. Sometimes though, people claim to fall out of love and that's where the line is gray. Like I said, there's grace that abounds there, but no marriage is perfect and a good one takes boatloads of work and commitment. 

 Braved

Well, this isn't necessarily being brave, but I'm realizing that we're getting closer to being down to just the two of us. It's sounding sweeter and sweeter! We had a big chunk of time alone over the weekend and we LOVED it. That probably makes us sound terrible. 😂 That being said, I've been doing new things. I've been using the leaf blower and keeping things cleaned up outside of our house. I've also decided I'm going to start cutting our backyard. I know people are thinking I have boys, there's no reason I should have to do that, but here's the thing—they've all taken care of the yard since they were old enough to learn how to mow a straight line, which was around the age of eleven. They've done a great job over the years and this is nothing that I have to do. It's something I want to do. I want to put on my bathing suit and mow the grass and keep the backyard looking good. It's a good way to exercise and it's a good way to get some sun. I'm excited to start! I attempted this yesterday, but the battery on our mower was dead and that's the only thing we didn't go over when Todd talked me through this last week.

If I'm going to sit out there on the swing to read, I'd love for it to look as good and well kept as possible. 


Achieved

Did I mention I'm finished with my portion of the Bible study I'm helping to write? This is a huge achievement, because I was on the first seat of the struggle bus for months trying to get motivated and inspired to start. It's on some hard material—1,2,3 John and Jude—and it's extremely repetitive. I am so thankful to be done with my portion. All that's left for me to do on mine is to make the corrections our editor suggests and then I'll help edit the whole thing before it goes to publish. 

Your turn! What is something you've loved, gleaned, braved or achieved this month? I love looking back on these. I'd love to hear from you! Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment, I always love reading what you have to say! I appreciate you more than you know. Love to all! 

Monday, May 23, 2022

Hello Monday/Weekending

 




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


How was your weekend? Mine was really good. I got it kicked off with my dad on Friday. Most of you know that my dad is 91 and that we spend every Friday together. We've been doing this as long as I can remember. We've always been close and even when he still worked, we always met for lunch once or twice a week. When the boys started growing up, we started our Fridays with Pappaw, because he was partially retired. We used to love doing fun things in the summer—we would go to the zoo, the children's museum or downtown to the fireman's museum. We would eat out sometimes or we would take picnics. It was the best time! Over the years this has evolved from us and four boys to three boys, then two, and now it's just me and Dad. We talk about days gone by all the time and how different they are now. He loves when they come home early so he can get hugs from them. 


We went to Costco for me to get a few things (mainly coffee) and then we had lunch there after. We both had pizza! Their pizza in the food court is my favorite. Have you had it? After that we came back to my house and I took him back home. After that I drove to my mom's house to have dinner with them. Bill made the best tacos! We enjoyed visiting, then I came home and tried to find a movie to watch, but I settled on watching a repeat of something. It was late and I was tired! Todd worked that night, Graham was home with me and we sat and talked while I had a show on the background, Noah was with a friend all weekend and Jonah and a couple friends made the last minute decision to go to the lake for the night. 




Check out the beautiful sunset I admired on my way home from Mom's! I love the drive from their house in the country. I love it, but I have to say, I'm glad I don't have it everyday. It seems so far! I grew up in the country, so I was used to having a fifteen minute drive (at least) to everywhere. When Todd and I got married over twenty five years ago, we lived in the city and I've loved it ever since. I love where we live and the close proximity to everything in town. 


On Saturday, I went out with my mom and sisters. We had lunch at a local place I love called Huey's, then we shopped a little. I did not buy anything, though I was looking for a blue shirt to buy, I never found anything. I'm glad I was able to help my mom out, because she found two shirts and my sister bought a couple of things. I went home with nothing but the food I'd eaten for lunch. 😂




I took this picture of myself to check my hair—I never wear my hair back like this and I did that day because I was already hot. I wear it back at home or up in a ponytail, but I never do it in public. The minute I saw my sister, she commented on how much she loved it, so that was sweet affirmation. I am so self-conscience with it like this. Surely I'm not the only one like this?  I also wore a dress that a lady in my favorite boutique complimented. She asked if I got it from there, but I bought several last year from Walmart. They had two colors in the store, then I came home and ordered three more online. 


I came home to my man and we enjoyed the rest of the day together. He picked us up some sushi for dinner, then he watched a show while I read my book the rest of the night.




This was delicious. Neither of us ate all that we ordered and Todd finished it off last night for dinner. 


Todd was at church before seven fifteen yesterday morning and I was there by eight for praise team rehearsal. It was such a great day of worship! I'm always so grateful for this and for the opportunity to help lead in worship. 




We came home for a while, then he went back there at three to get ready for a night of worship we had. Graham made it back home from Nashville, then he met him there to help the tech guys. I was there at five and by eight we were having dinner and then back in our pajamas and down for the count. It was a great day, but it was long and I read for a while after finishing this blog post, then went to bed early. 


It was a great and full weekend for us. How was yours? Did you do anything fun and exciting? 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...