Friday, March 31, 2023

Friday Favorites (3.31.23.) & The Books I Read in March


Happy Friday, friends! I am linking up with Andrea and Erika for today's blog post. Before I get started with the books I read this month, I want to thank you for your kind comments regarding Monday's post when I shared about how my sister died. I really appreciate the love and prayers you lavished on our family. We all have felt every single one of them, and I am so thankful for you! 

So I know that this favorites post is normally not for books, but since books are my favorite things and it's the last day of the month, I thought I'd make this post all about that today. 

Friends, I have had a MUCH better reading month in March! I read five books, and loved them all. I will jump right in with my first book by a favorite author.

Pamela Kelley will always be one of my most beloved authors. Everything she writes is pure gold, and though these books are a commitment, with this being the eighth book in the series, it is so worth it to read them all! Have I convinced you yet? This book picks up with all the favorite characters in her other books, plus a few new ones. New friendships and relationships are brewing with the introduction of some characters that we get to meet in this book. Meanwhile, Lisa's food business is struggling because of competition, and her son Travis is also hurting in his business and facing challenges with his construction company. These books are like reconnecting with family you don't get to see as often as you'd like, so they're always very appealing to me, and Hallmark-ish, which you know is my favorite. 

Next up was this delightful read.

Oh my word, I loved this book! Nora is a screenwriter who turned her personal tragedy into a script that is turned into a movie. When America's favorite actor is cast as her villain, she knows almost instantly her life will never be the same. The morning after the shoot wraps up, Nora finds Leo on her porch with a bottle of tequila and a proposition: he will pay her a thousand dollars a day if she lets him stay for one week. The extra money would give her the breathing room she needs, but it's the need in his eyes that makes her say yes. Seven days—it's the blink of an eye or an eternity, depending on how you look at the situation. Enough time to fall in love, or enough time to break your heart. 

Next up was this book.

On the eve of her 40th birthday, Alice's life isn't terrible. She likes her job, even if it wasn't the one she expected to have. She's happy with her apartment, her romantic status, her independence, and she adores her lifelong best friend. But her father is ailing, and it feels to her as if something is missing. When she wakes up the next morning she finds herself back in 1996, reliving her 16th birthday. But it isn't just her adolescent body that shocks her, or seeing her high school crush. It's her dad, the vital, charming, 40 something version of him with whom she is reunited. Now armed with with a new perspective on her own life and his, some past events take on new meaning. Is there anything she would change if she could? 

This next author never disappoints!

Jenny always knew she would fall in love, get married, and have a baby and in that order. Now, very pregnant and not quite married, she actually doesn't mind that she and her live-in fiancé accidentally started their family earlier than she'd planned. But Dean, whom Jenny loves enough to overlook all of his bad qualities, is acting distant. The night he runs out for cigarettes and doesn't come back, he is forever demoted from future husband to sperm donor. The next day, Jenny goes into labor. In the months that follow, she learns how to do everything on her own, and things finally start looking up. She gets to know a handsome neighbor who has a knack for being there at just the right time and who also happens to be a baby whisperer. But Dean is never far from Jenny's thoughts and now he's back in her life. Will she decide to go back to her old life that she always thought she wanted, or will she continue on in this new life that she's been lucky to find? 

Next up was a reread for me, because I started the second book in the series and needed to remember.

Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most. Lilly hasn't always had it easy, but that's never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She's come a long way from the small town in Maine she is from, by moving to Boston and opening up her own business. So when she feels a spark with a neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, suddenly everything in her life seems almost too good to be true. Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe a little arrogant. He's also sensitive, brilliant, and loves Lilly. As they start to date, questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, as do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan, her first love and a link to the past she left behind. As all of this starts to overlap, Lilly is forced to make some decisions that she doesn't want to make.

I'd love to hear which books you've read and loved this month! Are there any authors you think I'd like? I've read Wendy Wax, Louise Miller, Beth O'Leary, Josie Silver...all of those types of writers. I'd love to hear from you on this, so please share. The only other post I wrote this week was on Monday, and you can read about my beautiful sister here. As far as my sporadic blog posts go, and for my own mental wellbeing, I may back off from posting five days a week until the school year ends. I'm not completely sure about this, so check back daily just in case, but I have enjoyed some blog breaks recently. I can't keep up with everything in life, and this space makes sense to let go of a bit. I'll still post two or three times a week, for sure, but I wanted you to know. (I am all good here, I just know my own limitations.)

Just a reminder that on Wednesday, April 5th, I am hosting the Currently link party, where we'll be sharing what we're currently loving, hoping, playing, needing, and feeling. I hope you join us! Thanks for reading my blog, friends, Love to all! 

Sunday, March 26, 2023

my sister Terri

It's Sunday night as I write this, and for the last hour I've been reading old blog posts about my sister Terri. Many of you have heard me talk about her here before, and how she almost died nine years ago almost to the day. At that time in her life, she became really sick with pneumonia and it severely damaged her lungs, which later turned into pulmonary fibrosis. If you read about her disease, the amount of life lived after such a diagnosis is varied, I guess depending upon the overall health of the patient who is sick. 

Terri was my dad's oldest daughter, or his oldest baby girl, as she referred to herself as. Dad had Paul and Terri by a previous marriage before he married Mom, so Paul and Terri are (were) quite a bit older than me. Terri had this beautiful and infectious laugh about her, and a twinkle in her eyes when she smiled. She loved to joke and poke fun at the people she loved most, and she was full of life until all of a sudden she wasn't. She was the first one to boast over giving Todd his first sisterly kiss on the cheek the second we were married, and she never let any of the other sisters forget that. 

Terri had become really sick after Christmas and went downhill pretty quickly. Even though we knew it was coming to this, somehow it still surprised us all that it happened so fast. I say that, but I am thankful that she passed away quickly, and feel like that God was merciful in not letting her suffer for much longer. People can live for months and months on hospice, but she passed away on Saturday, after a day of being put on that. God is always merciful and good, and He is sovereign over time and circumstances. He allowed this to happen when my brother just so happened to be here to celebrate Daddy turning 92 on Wednesday of this week. I'm so glad it worked out this way, because I think they both need each other this week. So, I wanted to share that here for you today. I have no idea if I'll be blogging anymore this week. I'm taking it a day at a time, and at the encouragement of my principal, I am taking a few days off from work to be with my family. I would love for you to pray for my dad! His memory is just not what it once was, and as you can imagine would happen, he keeps forgetting that Terri died. It's heartbreaking! Thanks for your prayers, thanks for your love, and for your well wishes. Know that I am also praying for many of you today as well, particularly one dear friend who reached out to me last night. My heart breaks for her as well. Life is hard, friends, even with Jesus, but I can't imagine life without Him. Do you know Him? 

I'll leave you with a couple of old pictures of Terri. 

I'm thankful for the hope that we have in Jesus and that what we have believed in faith, she is now seeing face to face. 

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Share 4 Somethings, March edition


Happy Saturday, friends, and welcome to March's edition of Share 4 Somethings. This month we're talking about what we loved, read, learned and ate in March. I can't wait to read your posts! As a reminder, don't forget to visit the other entries and leave some comment love on their blogs. I'll jump right in! 

I loved having a week off from work for spring break this month! I am still enjoying the benefits of my job, like getting paid for time working, even on the days when I don't work. I don't know that I'll ever get over that. 

I loved going out of town with Todd, even if we did almost kill each other on the way back home. I'm rolling my eyes at us. Sometimes we fight, yup. 

I loved the time changing, and the fact that it's staying light for longer now. 

I read a few great books! Not as many as I'd have liked, but I did finish one over the course of our time away during spring break. 

I enjoyed sitting out here while I read a couple of days. Come back next week to read about the books I read in March! I'll share them next Friday, most likely. 

I learned so much about the amazing school that I work at while I was working on the application we're submitting as a nominee for a national blue ribbon school. We have so much diversity in our school, and our students speak more than 23 languages. I think that's incredible! We also offer so many programs, clubs, and events to reinforce what is being taught in each classroom, and in the process, it's drawn the entire school community together as a very close-knit family. (These are all truths I've drawn from reading the application over and over and over again.)

I ate so many good things this month, but by far, it was these meals from different places while in Louisville, or while I was out with my dad.

I'm such a foodie. I can't help myself! 

I can't wait to read your posts! Thanks for joining up with us today. I'll see you back here next week, friends. Love to all! 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday, March 24, 2023

Friday Favorites, 3.24.23.


Happy Friday, friends! I'm linking up with Andrea and Erika for my favorite blog post of the week. It has been a week for me! Reentry into school and a full-time job after a week after spring break is no joke. It's been really good, don't get me wrong, but it's been kind of crazy, which I'm seeing is the new normal. I'm okay with this! This job is my favorite job to date, with the exception of being a wife and stay at home mom to our sons. That was my all-time favorite job of all time, and I am so thankful for the years I had to do that. This new phase feels amazing, though, and I love how I spend my days!

I'll tell you what's NOT my favorite this week—getting this notification on my phone last night.

Yikes! A/C problems are no fun. I hated for Todd to come home to this last night, but it can't be helped. I'm thankful that it cooled off decently enough last night, thanks to a cool shower, our ceiling fans and the fact that I stripped the bed down to the bare minimum. Hopefully we'll figure this problem out sooner rather than later. I'm so glad it wasn't any hotter than it was here today. 

On to better things, I took these pictures last week during our family birthday dinner without the boys knowing. My son Graham is in the picture right below, and call me crazy and all, but doesn't he resemble Rip Dutton from Yellowstone? I'll do a little comparison for you.

Why have I never seen this resemblance before now? Tell me you see it too. I know who he needs to dress up as if he ever gets invited to a costume party! And this one below is Jonah with his girlfriend Laura. Aren't they cute?

Because each time I wear these readers someone compliments them, I am going to share my favorite Amazon purchase of 2023 so far once again. These glasses are stylish, blue light-blocking, and the strength that I need to see well. You can find them here. You can compare them to the Peepers brand, which is about $30 for one pair. These are $18 for SIX pairs. I love them so much that I have bought them twice. When I started working, I decided I needed to keep a few pairs at school, since I have options of colors and can match my outfits.

Most of you know that last week, Todd and I went to Louisville, Kentucky for a few days. It was so much fun getting away and meeting up with friends, new and old. One of my favorite things that we did while there was touring a historical (supposedly haunted) mansion and then walking in this beautiful neighborhood looking at homes. 

I think this area is called St. James Court. It was another favorite from the week because I got to meet up with Amy, from Coffee and Cocktails at the Casa. Do you read her blog? If not, you should! 

And even though bourbon is NOT my favorite, seeing this beautiful distillery and learning the history of their start was. This was Maker's Mark Distillery in Bardstown, about an hour away from Louisville.

I'm the age where getting new shampoo and condition in the mail is my favorite. You should smell this! I used them last night when I took my shower, and the smell is incredible.

And last, but not least, is nail day! I couldn't wait another day to get my nails done, so I went on Tuesday right after work since Jonah was at home already to check on the dogs. I was ready for a soft, spring white color. I have used this color before, by the Dip & Dap brand, and the color is called Fairy Princess. (SO cheesy, I know, and OPI it is not.) 

Don't forget to come back tomorrow to link up with us for Share 4 Somethings! We're sharing what we loved, read, learned, and ate this month. This linkup occurs on the last Saturday of every month and the prompts will stay the same throughout 2023. Here are the two other blog posts I wrote this week.



Thanks for reading my blog, friends! I hope to see you back here tomorrow. Love to all! 

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday, friends! Rebecca Jo and I are back for this week's weekly gratitude post. I am so glad you're here with us today!

As grateful as I was to have a week off for spring break last week, I was also thankful to be able to return to work on Monday. I really do love my job and co-workers! I still don't know how long I'll be there, which is so strange to me, but I'm taking each day for what it is and enjoying my time there. I'll figure out all the rest later. (My position is temporary and dependent upon when or if a teacher decides to come back from medical leave.)

I am thankful that tonight, my family will all be back in one city. We've been all over the place this week! Todd and Graham are flying home from New Mexico tonight, and I'll be glad to see them.

I am thankful that it was an easy week with minimal cooking/meals. It's easy to cook for three people! 

I am thankful for the help of our sons. Jonah helps out around the house by doing simple chores that he gets done when he sees the need, and Noah picked up groceries for me for the second time in a week and then put them away afterward.

I am thankful for time away to make me appreciate being at home. Sometimes I need a good dose of perspective!

I am thankful for friends who are helpful. A few of us at work have been working on a big project for the better part of a month now, and we're wrapping it up this week. One friend in particular has been so helpful and encouraging to me as she has made revisions, helped to edit, and even rewritten portions of something we're turning in soon. Our school was nominated to be a National Blue Ribbon school, which is a very prestigious award. Out of the almost 6,300 schools in the state of Tennessee, we are one of a small group of nominees. Even to just be nominated is an extreme honor! The percentage for this to happen in our state is around 0.1%, so you see what I mean. (I think I have that right, but it could be less than even that.) Needless to say, the application process is intensive and thousands of words long. I volunteered to edit it all from being written in multiple voices, to blend it into one seamless voice. I will say, I had no idea what I was getting into, and even though I love doing this kind of thing, it's very laborious and it's what's been taking all of my time this week. I used the work day for this yesterday, since we knew our kids would be busy working on personal goals during the time they were with us, after I made sure it was okay with the principal and my co-workers. They really pulled through for me and covered my students so that I could get the biggest portion of this done. 

I'm thankful for the fact that I've talked to my people, even if I haven't seen them much. 

I am so thankful to say that I found out yesterday that I passed the huge test I had to take a couple of weeks ago! I know I asked some of you to pray for me if you thought of me during that time, so if you did that at all, thank you so much! I am so relieved to have two huge things behind me—this test and knowing that I passed and this huge application that has been hanging over my head. I am not a fan of things hanging over my head, so you can imagine how this thrills me. 

What's something you're thankful for? I'd love to hear from you! Thanks for linking up with us today, and thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all! 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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Monday, March 20, 2023

weekending & Hello Monday


Happy Monday, friends! I'm linking up with Holly and Sarah for today's blog post. I hope you've had a great week (last week) and weekend! I didn't intentionally decide to not write blog posts last week, but sometimes life just happens that way, and it's what happened for me. As you all know, I was on spring break last week, but my week started off with a huge test for work and a birthday dinner out with our sons. I still haven't heard about my test results from last week, and the dinner ended up being a complete bust, and was such a letdown. Do you have times when everything just feels incredibly disappointing? That was where I was at with that last week, but we are planning a redo on the dinner out closer to Drew's birthday. None of the disappointment could be helped, but sometimes I feel like I have very high expectations. I feel like this is always a lesson the Lord is teaching me about, about being flexible and and more go with the flow since our sons are all grown, but I digress.

So, after Monday's test, dinner, and a visit with my in-love's, I spent Tuesday at home. It felt good to clean, organize things, and even repurpose some things I use all the time. I caught up on laundry and I binge watched the show I'm currently watching. Well, actually, I'm done with it after I finished it last night. On Wednesday morning, Todd and I left for our spring break trip to Louisville! We had such a great time, but there are definitely some highlights. 

The highlight of the trip for me was meeting this sweet and beautiful friend from the blogging world, Amy from Coffee and Cocktails at the Casa.

We met up at a restaurant that she recommended for drinks and appetizers, and it felt like sitting and reconnecting with a long lost friend. She and I are both in agreement that there is something so beautiful and unique about friends here in the blogging world. I have found that you wonderful ladies are some of my most supportive and encouraging friends in life, and for that I am so thankful. Amy was exactly as she seems on her blog—fun, friendly, and someone who is easy to talk to. I hope to see her again on a return trip someday, because my husband and I both loved the area and have other friends who live there as well. We have already talked about going back, because there is so much more for us to see there. 

And on that note, here is my husband with our friend John.

When Todd and I were in our second year of marriage, we met this sweet friend at a social we went to for the residents of our apartment complex. John lived downstairs and just around the corner from us, and he became one of our dearest friends. He lived here for a short while for his job, and our families adopted him as their bonus son, so he came to many birthday parties, poolside events, and other family celebrations. It was so good seeing him and his wife, Stacey! They met and married when John moved back to his hometown of Louisville, and though we don't know her as well as we do him, it was great sitting and visiting with old friends. 

Other highlights from our trip included amazing food, and fun places that we toured, like the Conrad-Caldwell Mansion that has been seen on show Ghost Hunters. We didn't know that when we went to visit, but it was beautiful and interesting. Here are some pictures from our our food and the mansion.

After this we made our way downtown to the riverfront park and walked along the path there in between all the bridges leading into Indiana. It was a fun afternoon and evening, needless to say.

Another highlight happened the next day when we toured the Maker's Mark distillery in Bardstown. I'm not a bourbon drinker, but this was one of the coolest places I have ever seen. It was a beautiful drive to get there, albeit a sickening one for me, and it was fascinating to hear all the history of how they began and how their recipe has stayed the same for years and years. 

This was a labor of love for me, since the tour was a walking one, and because it was freezing cold and drizzling rain. My hair wasn't the same for the rest of the trip. 🤣 It was so much fun getting away for a few days, even if it got started kind of rocky with an Air B&B that was filled with the smells of marijuana and resulted in us being refunded and checking into a hotel. Our boys held everything down here for us while we were gone, and we came home to happy pups and a house that was freshly vacuumed and an empty washer and dryer, which was beneficial since we had to wash a bunch of things for Todd and Graham to leave yesterday for a week of training in New Mexico. I did a little bit of work at home on Sunday and skipped church since I had to have them at the airport by five thirty that morning. I did some laundry, then I binge watched the rest of The Resident and worked on today's blog post. 

I'm not sure how much I'll be back here posting this week...but I'm thinking I may only write four posts for this week: today's, Thursday's, Friday's, and the Saturday monthly bonus post, Share 4 Somethings. If you join us for Share 4 Somethings each month, that happens on the last Saturday of every month, so I hope you join us! (We're sharing some things we loved, read, learned, and ate in March.) I have a bit of work to do at home this week at night, so that will free up some time to get a project finished that several of us are working on together at school this week. 

Tell me some good things from your last several days! I would love to hear from you! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all! (Also, thank you for praying for my dad, friends. He has made almost a full recovery, so I hope to be able to see him this week.)

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...