Tuesday, February 28, 2023

the books I read in February


Happy Tuesday, friends! With working full time, my reading life has suffered a bit. I think if I focus on reading more than scrolling, I can read more in March, especially because spring break is coming up. The first couple of weeks that I worked, I was so tired at the end of each night that I couldn't even THINK of reading. That being said, I still read some great books this month and loved all of them! Here is what I read this month—you can click on the picture and be taken to Amazon, in case you're interested in any of these books. 

I read How to be Chic in the Winter by Fiona Ferris. I love this author and all of her books! Sadly, after I read this, I learned that they are experiencing hard times because of a horrible flood in New Zealand and are without water and power. I cannot imagine that devastation that took place in their neighborhood, because many of their neighbors lost their homes.

These books may seem frivolous, but they're full of practical advice on how to live your very best life. She offers tips on keeping your home, dressing, cooking, decorating, and many other things. I often come away from one of her books feeling inspired and motivated in my own personal life. I love books like that!

I read One Night on the Island by Josie Silver.

I really enjoy Josie Silver's books. The story usually captivates me from the second I start one of her books, and even though this one started slowly for me, it picked up. The premise of the story is that two people are accidentally booked together in one cabin on a secluded island in Scotland. (Ireland? I get them confused.) Their relationship goes from mortal enemy to friends to more, but I honestly wasn't sure how it was going to end until right up to the end. I love when authors do that with their writing! Have you read this yet? Her book One Day in December is one my favorites of all time.

I finally got around to reading One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle. 

This book was beautiful in so many ways! I was very surprised by it, which is always saying something, but after reading this, I feel like I know more about Positano, Italy. I feel like I experienced it with Serle as she wrote about her experience there and as she learned a bit of the history about where she stayed. The book opens up as the main character's mom has just died. What follows from there and on is a journey she took both literally and figuratively as she worked through her feelings of grief and loss. She takes the trip she and her mom had planned on taking together, and she discovers so much more about her mom, pieces of her that she never knew existed. This is a book that makes you think about life and the relationships we have while we're here and living.

Lastly, I read Everyone is Beautiful by Katherine Center.

This was an older book by this author, and though I did enjoy it, I don't necessarily recommend it. I did love what the author says in one place in the book—that beautiful people are everywhere, we just have to look to really see them. This is a book about a family who moves from Texas to Connecticut, and how the mom of the family rediscovers who she was before kids came into the picture. She starts taking better care of herself and she signs up for a photography class at night and finds a passion for capturing beautiful moments in life. There was a substory going on in the background as well, which was also good. 

It's your turn! Tell me something good you've read lately. I would love to hear from you! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all! 

Monday, February 27, 2023

weekending recap & Hello Monday


Happy Monday to you, friends! I'm linking up with Holly and Sarah for today's blog post and weekend recap. I didn't really do a lot this weekend, honestly. I did go pick up my dad right after work Friday afternoon, and we enjoyed the most delicious dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse. I love their sirloin steaks, and the price is even less expensive than one of their chicken dishes that I love. I always get a perfectly done steak each time I go here. Have you been to one of these near you? I'm not a big fan of chains, usually, but this is a great one. I love my steak medium rare, thanks to my stepdad. We used to get ours medium (Todd, the boys, and me), but now we eat ours like Big Daddy eats his. We took home a loaded baked potato for Sandy, because she wasn't feeling her best.

I decided to stay home on Saturday and get caught up on all the laundry. I washed our sheets, our comforter, and the blankets we sleep with during cold weather. We use extra blankets over our comforter for nights like that, and one of our dogs sleeps with us, so I try to keep them washed often. I was going to grocery shop as well, but it was raining and I didn't feel up to fighting the crowd myself in Kroger. I'm so spoiled! I love Kroger's click-list. It's the only way I shop now! I literally thank God for those dear people as I see them bringing out my groceries. I could definitely do this on my own, but now that I'm working more, my time seems to be a little more precious to me, and I don't want to spend it in the grocery store. I love my town, but with Kroger being one of the better options to shop, it's always crowded and understaffed at the checkout lines. 

I did leave home to get my nails done, then I came home to finish all the laundry and to read. Todd was home and the other boys were in and out. I went to a movie Saturday night, one that I received free tickets for a few weeks ago. That's not really Todd's thing, so I made plans to see it with my best friend. The tickets were for me and a guest, and we both loved it.

Have you seen the previews for this movie? Missy and I both really enjoyed the story. It was fascinating and based on actual events that happened during and after the time of Woodstock. There was a major revival happening in the nation in that time, and it's still going on even today. I thought it was pretty relevant, especially because of what's been going on at Asbury. Have you followed any of that, or are you familiar with it? In the movie, there were a couple of small things that I didn't love and don't really agree with, but I recognize that it's a movie and in spite of that, it was a good one. Also, how great is it that Jesus is being talked about in theaters? Kelsey Grammar did a great job of playing the role of Chuck Smith. 

We had dinner at McAlister's before the movie, then I took her home afterward. It was fun being together again this week and catching up with one another. I miss seeing her multiple times in the week! I enjoyed us working together for the months I was at the attorney's office. I went to church on Sunday, then I picked up my groceries and came home to put them away and clean out the refrigerator and pantry. I meal prepped for the week and got a game plan for the dinners we'll be eating, so I was officially ready for today. I also watched a show I'd started a long time ago, but never finished, The Resident. Also, I started the new show, The Company You Keep on Hulu. Have you heard of this? It stars Milo Ventimiglia from This Is Us and Gilmore Girls. I also caught up on The Way Home, Hallmark's newest series that I love. What all did you do this weekend? Mine was productive, which I am always thankful for, and it felt good to be at home a little more than normal. The weather was kind of rainy all weekend, so that made it easy to be here, rather out and about. I read a lot this weekend too, which I always love. And on that note, you should come back tomorrow! I'm sharing about the books I read this month. 

Thanks for reading my blog, friends! Love to all. 

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Share 4 Somethings- February edition


Happy Saturday, friends! Thank you for joining in with us today! I'm so glad you're here! I want to give some love to Heather for starting this fun link party...I am continuing it for her this year, but if she ever wants it back, I will gladly give it to her once more. This month and all year long, we'll share the things we loved, read, learned and ate. We'll do this on the LAST SATURDAY of every month, so make plans to join us today and for all the other months this year. I'll get started! 

Loved: This month I loved the ice/snow days we had! I was ready to go back to work after three days in a row of being home, but it was so nice and unexpected to have some time off like that right after starting my new job. 

I loved showering sweet Katelynn with my friend Carol from church, I loved seeing sunshine after days of dreary weather, and I loved and enjoyed teacher treats at work!

Read: I read some great books this month, albeit not as many as what would be my normal. I am only sharing this snippet, because I'm blogging about the books I read this month on Tuesday of next week. I hope you come back to read that post! 

Learned: I have learned a ridiculous amount of things in the full month I've been working. My head is still spinning from all that I've had thrown at me these last few weeks, but here are a few takeaways from what I've learned or re-learned:

I've learned that I still love to be there early to get my bearings for my day. I pull out the laptop that belongs to me and my lesson plan book each morning and get ready for my first group of kids for reading intervention.

I've re-learned things I haven't thought about in ages—things like idioms, adverbs, suffixes and prefixes, words that have vowel and consonant patterns, or vowel blends...I could go on.

I've learned that students love writing on a dry erase board and that if I get to the cafeteria too early for breakfast duty, the Y care man at school will send kids over to me too early, so I have to hide in this corner. Now I don't even walk in there until right at the exact time, because I got tired of him doing that and I'm proving a point by staying out of there.

Ate: I ate some great meals out with my hubby and with some friends and family. I always lean toward Mexican for food, or a favorite I'd forgotten about, Wolf River Brisket.

And we all ate a yummy family meal the night Drew and his roommate came and joined us for dinner. 

I can't wait to read your posts! If I don't see you before the next Share 4 Somethings post, I'll see you back here on Saturday, March 25th. Thanks again for joining up with me today! Love to all. 

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Friday, February 24, 2023

Friday Favorites, 2.24.23.


Happy Friday, friends! I'm linking up with Andrea and Erika for today's favorite blog post. How has your week been? This week has been good for me, albeit very fast. My next week is going to look different since we have some special testing happening in our school, and for five days, I get an extended break. That will be so nice as I figure out what will be next for the following week. I like to have lessons planned out for my groups way in advance, which provides me with much needed peace of mind. Anyway, here are some favorites from my week and some recent ones I forgot to share about.

I forgot to share when my friend Christa met up after work one day a few weeks ago. We met up at a restaurant at the halfway point, a local place called Wolf River Brisket. It was so good! We were there for early bird cocktails and appetizers. 

I let our server decide for me, so she picked the brisket nachos and Christa ordered the cornbread waffles. Both were amazing, but the nachos definitely stole the show. This was a fun night, and a favorite, because I got to meet up with my friend. I did the same thing last night with my friend Dedee. It was so good to see her because it had been ages! 

Tacos 4 Life is a great place to eat, but their guacamole is my favorite! I went here with my Mom on Saturday and I think it may be her new favorite as well. 

Saturday night date night with my favorite man was my favorite this week! We tried a new place that we'd never been to before, which sits at the base of one of the taller buildings in Memphis, The Clark Tower. 

I hate that it took Drew getting hurt to do this, but it was my favorite thing to make him some of his favorite soup and some groceries this week when he was hurt and off work for a few days. He's feeling better now, which I'm thankful for. It feels so good to take care of him still, even though he's out on his own. He and his roommates have thoroughly enjoyed this big batch of potato soup over the week.

It was a favorite to get to meet Kristin Chenoweth this week, but the real star of the show was her dog Thunder and the actual being in a great local bookstore. We have such a great local bookstore here in Memphis, Novel. 

Seeing bookshelves like this will never get old. I love seeing all the colorful spines, and it just makes me want to read them all. I talked Missy into buy a book while we were there together on Sunday. 

Did you catch my other blog posts this week? Here they are below. 

Monday was a weekending recap with Hello Monday.

Tuesday was when I wrote post called Tuesday Talk and I shared a couple of memories.

On Wednesday, I shared about the books and authors who have greatly impacted my life. 

Thursday was Thankful Thursday.

And for a little blog business, I want to remind you that I'm hosting the Share 4 Somethings link party tomorrow (Saturday), February 25th. This is not original to me, but it's something that Heather Gerwing began and handed over to me for the unforeseeable future. I hope you'll join us! The link will go live on Saturday January 28th and will stay open for three weeks. We'll be sharing things we loved, read, learned, and ate in February. Those prompts will remain the same all year long and this will always be on the last Saturday of every month.

Then, on Wednesday March 1st, I'm hosting another link party called Currently. (Here was January's Currently post, in case you want to check it out. I think the link is still open.) This link party will always be on the first Wednesday of the month, and the topics we'll be writing about in March are things we're currently loving, starting, finishing, trying, and (where we're) going. (April's prompts will be loving, hoping, playing, needing, and feeling.) I hope you join us for both link parties!

Tell me something good about your week, I'd love to hear from you! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. I hope your weekend is fun and productive. Love to all! 

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Thankful Thursday


Happy Thursday, friends! I hope your week has been good so far. 

I confessed on Friday of last week how grateful I was to have a long weekend and the reason is because last week at work just about did me in. I didn't feel great, I was not sleeping at night, and I think I have a pinched nerve in my back that effecting everything and all of that I mentioned. I didn't mention that because I don't like to be negative over here on my blog—I try to stay upbeat and positive. Also, who loves a complainer? That being said, I am thankful to say that this week is far better. My sleep returned to normal over the weekend and I've made some changes in my morning routine. I'm sleeping a little later and I'm getting dressed only after my morning coffee. I am taking my second cup of coffee on the road with me and drinking it at school. This helps tremendously! 

I am thankful for the fact that our school and school district know how much we are loved and appreciated. We have treat days pretty regularly, which is always so nice, and we have a food truck coming to us on Friday for a free lunch. I'm so excited about a day to not pack lunch for myself, since I've been struggling with that lately. 

Well, friends, I'm keeping it short and sweet this week, because I need to run and get started on my day. The rest of it is going to FLY BY, as it always does. Thanks for linking up with Rebecca Jo and me each week! Have a great day, friends and thanks for reading my blog! Love to all. 

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Wednesday, February 22, 2023

books that greatly impacted my life and that I never stopped thinking about


Happy Wednesday, friends! I thought I'd share some authors and books (and the series they belong in) that I have loved for years. Some of you have been reading here for a long time, but I've noticed some newer people lately—and this post is written with you in mind. Some of these authors are people I love and whose books I invest in for no other reason than because I love a good book. Some of these authors are people I've corresponded with over the years and who have sent me material to review and share about on my blog. That being said, that was years ago and is no longer the case—and with spring break coming up, I thought you could use some great book recommendations that I have loved and that I'm loving right now.

I'll jump in with my very favorite author of all time, Robin Jones  Gunn (click her name to see her website and books). I've been reading her books since I was a teenager, starting with her Christy Miller series. I never finished reading that series because I grew up as she was writing them, but I did go back as an adult and buy them to read in order. I still have all of these and they're in the collection of books that I own and will never part with. I have read every book she's ever written, but my all time favorite series of books ever are the books that make up the Sisterchicks series. They don't have to be read in order, but if you're like me and need to do that just in case, you should check out her website. These books are very meaningful and thought provoking books about the ups and downs of life, and how life with friends by your side is so much sweeter. 

Some books that the Lord used to minister to me in life are the books written by Karen Kingsbury. The first two books I ever read by her and that were truly life-changing fiction books™, were One Tuesday Morning and Beyond Tuesday Morning, so they'll always be my favorite. But her series of books about the Baxter family are what she is known for. That series is being made into a series, and there are many books in it, so pay attention to order. I would start with the Redemption series if I were you. 

Another favorite series of books are the ones that make up the Yada Yada Prayer Group series by Neta Jackson. Prayer is something I am passionate about, and these books were instrumental in teaching me how to pray. They made me think about my faith, or sometimes how I lack it, and they inspired me in my prayer life and in my friendships. If you check out Neta's website, pay attention to the order, because this series leads to another series, which leads to another series. They're all excellent and I highly recommend them!

If Christian fiction isn't your thing, a series of books I've recently read and loved are the Beach Plum Cove series by Pamela Kelley. These were the books that partly inspired a trip to the Cape Cod for me and two of my sisters back in late September of 2022, and the author of the book helped me plan the trip. Granted, our plans changed and we did other things, but the places she mentioned that she loved to eat were ones we made sure to visit. I love it when an author responds to me over email or social media. It means the world that they care enough about their readers to want to engage them, even if she never replied to my question of meeting her while we were there. I greatly appreciate that she asks for ideas and thoughts for upcoming books that she writes. I'm in a Facebook group that she posts in often, and it's one of my favorite places on the internet. I've read every books she's written in the two years it's been since I found her, and I don't regret one minute of spending that time in her books.

Some other trusted and favorite authors that will rarely disappoint are Katherine Center, Rebecca Serle, Taylor Jenkins Reid, Freida McFadden, Olivia Lara and Nancy Thayer. Those are just a few, but there are so many more. If you have any that you've read all of their books, I'd love to hear from you! I am always looking for authors that are new to me and am willing to try just about anything. Have I made you want to read yet? I hope so! It's my favorite pastime. Come back next week when I share about the books I read this month! I plan on posting that on February 28th. 

Thanks for reading, friends! Love to all! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Tuesday Talk


Happy Tuesday, friends! I thought I'd share some things I read on this writing prompt list I found on Pinterest yesterday. I really like some of these, so I'll probably share a few things today and save it for when I don't have another post scheduled.

I'm starting with the first one, because it's such a bizarre story. Back when Todd and I were either dating or in our earliest days of being married, we used to love to go downtown to eat at a local restaurant called Rendezvous. We did this at least every other week, but on one particular night, we saw something so unusual since we were in such a public area. We saw a man urinating on the side of a street. We assumed he was drunk, but as we were driving by, we saw that the man looked exactly like Woody Harrelson. We just figured it was someone who looked like him, but we later found out that Woody was here in Memphis at that exact time filming a movie in the downtown area. I'm 90% sure that we saw Woody Harrelson at his drunken worse and that is DEFINITELY one of the most unusual things I've ever seen, just because he's so famous. 

Another really unusual thing I remember seeing was when I ran an errand with my dad when I was a young girl. He had to deliver something to an architect, and I will never forget the house that the man lived in. He lived and worked out of his home that was partially underground. The roof was sloped and covered in grass in some areas, and it was a really modern house for that period in time. This would have been in the mid 80's and I have never forgotten that house! Dad and I just talked about this recently and he knew exactly who it was and where the house was located. 

The prompt is to write about a song that always brings back a special memory. I feel like I have several of these, but I'll be quick about this answer. The first is that any time I hear a 90's era George Strait song, I am whisked away to the days of dating my now husband. When we were dating, it was the cool thing to call in and request a song to be played for someone on the radio. I can't remember if he requested this particular song, but they played the song You Look So Good In Love by George Strait for him and he dedicated the song to me. I just swooned a little remembering that story. 

Another artist that always bring back memories is Kenny Rogers. My mom loved him, Eddie Rabbit, and Lionel Ritchie. Anytime I hear one of their songs, I remember riding in the car with her and us singing along. 

Lastly, some songs that my dad and I always listened to as he drove me to school each morning are old praise and worship songs from an album that looked a lot like this.

Needless to say, music has the power to transport you back in time. This can be both good and bad, depending on the circumstance, but for me, these were good times that I fondly remember. I'll keep it short and sweet for today and will see you back here tomorrow. Thanks for reading my blog! Love to all. 

Monday, February 20, 2023

weekending & Hello Monday


Happy Monday, friends! I'm linking up with Holly and Sarah for this weekly blog post. How was your weekend? Also, happy paid school holiday to me! I plan on thoroughly enjoying my day off today and have grand plans to put away my groceries, organize the pantry, clean the refrigerator, clean the downstairs, dinner and lunch prep for the week, and catch up on our laundry. 

I did some fun things this weekend, starting with dinner out with Dad Friday night. We went to a favorite local place, Huey's for steak kabobs and chicken tenders. We hung out for a while afterward, then I took him home and stayed and visited with him and Sandy for a bit before coming home to crash. I went to bed and watched a show and fell asleep very quickly. 

I slept in until 6:30 Saturday morning and came downstairs for coffee and a movie. Have you seen this on Netflix? 

It was so good! I did a few things around the house, then I met up with my mom for lunch out and window shopping. I did buy some of my favorite illuminating face primer from Ulta, and a cute t-shirt from a boutique in town. We ate lunch at Tacos for Life, where I took this picture.

We went to the cutest boutique that had unique clothes like the ones you see pictured. I found a pair of tennis shoes that I loved, but almost croaked when I saw the price. I came home for a bit to a driveway packed with vehicles being washed (our neighbors hate us), and read for a while, then Todd and I went out for an errand and dinner. 

We went to this pub for dinner and a couple of drinks and it was so good! This was an extremely busy place and remained packed the entire time we were there. It was our first time and was new to both of us. We ended up ordering dinner for Drew and taking it to him after this, since we were kind of close by him. I'm glad we did that and that he was able to eat before he got hurt at work. He ended up having to leave his shift early from a badly sprained ankle. Poor thing! I made soup for him on Sunday morning and dropped it by to him before going to do something fun with my best friend. (He's planning on going to the doctor today.)

I got to meet Kristin Chenoweth!

She's as sweet and charming in person as she is in movies. I told her how much my dad loves her music, so I thought it was super sweet that she wrote a note to him as well. He loves her album titled The Art of Elegance. I spent the rest of the day watching movies, two of which were Hallmark and one that was this one below that I found on Netflix. It was good, if you haven't seen it! 

What did you do this weekend? 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...