Sunday, April 30, 2023

The books I read in April


Happy Monday, friends, and happy May! I am officially counting down until the end of school and am beside myself with excitement over being out. That being said, and speaking of summer, I read some great books in April, and you may want to add one or two to your to-be-read list. I'll jump right in with the five books that I read this month. You can click on each picture to be taken to a link on Amazon, in case you want to check any of these books out for yourself.

I left off with a Colleen Hoover book that I read for the second time last month, so I continued with the sequel this month. It Starts With Us was AMAZING!

This book picks up where It Ends With Us left off with Lily and Atlas. Each chapter goes back and forth between the two perspectives of them, and we learn more about Atlas. Have you read these two books by Colleen Hoover? If not, what in the world are you waiting for? I ended up buying them both, because I loved them that much.

The second book I read this month was Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt.

I know that so many of you loved this book, and while I did enjoy the octopus part of the story, I just did not love it and was kind of irritated that it took the whole book to get to the story. I know! I know you're probably shocked at my reaction to this, but it's true. The beautiful part of the book that I loved was the main character—an octopus named Marcellus who formed a lovely relationship with Tova, the lady who came in each night to clean the aquarium. Marcellus becomes a friend to Tova and the new young man who comes in to work to take her place when she injures herself. He links these two unlikely people together in a way that is so beautiful, and I don't want to give any more away. 

It was a good book, don't get me wrong, and I enjoyed the story. I just don't see what all the hype was about. Every once in a while, I have the opposite reaction to a book that everyone loves, much like the book Daisy Jones and The Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I liked Remarkably Bright Creatures SO MUCH BETTER than that other terrible book. I hated the TJR book so much that I quit at 80% of the way through, because I couldn't take one more page. Also, because of that very reason, I refuse to watch the show on Prime. I digress.

I read Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center and loved it.

This was a great book! Helen is newly divorced at 32, and her younger brother Duncan convinces her to sign up for the ultimate wilderness adventure. He failed to tell her that he also signed his best friend up, and the two of them are forced to drive there together, much to her dismay. She learns a lot about herself on this trip, though, and her brother. Helen learns things like how to be brave when you're scared to death, and that life does go on after devastation. I love this author, friends. She never disappoints!

The fourth book I read was If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin.

Does anyone else love contemporary teen romance novels? Just me? This is a book about Autumn and Finn, best friends from as long ago as each could remember. It's a twisty tale about how their lives changed and circumstances forced them to grow apart. It's a sweet, sweet story that had an unexpected ending. I could totally see this become a series, much like the Prime Show series, The Summer I Turned Pretty, based on the books by Jenny Han. 

Lastly, I read Mad Honey by Jodi Piccoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan.

Ugh. This book. It started out so great! I don't even want to tell you about it, honestly. I will just let you go and check out the link for yourself, but just know that the description is very misleading, and what the book ended up being mostly about is not even mentioned in the summary of the book. Let's just say I found out lots of cool things about beekeeping and honey, like how it's a natural cough suppressant and remedy to ease a sore throat...but I also learned a LOT about something else very controversial that I did not want to know anything about. That being said, I kept reading the book to find out how it all ended, but I can't say that I would recommend it, since it's very much against what I know and believe. Does that make sense? Just go read some reviews and you'll understand.

All in all, it was a good month of reading! Tell me what you've read lately that I need to know about! I'd love to hear your suggestions. Thanks for reading my blog, friends! Love to all. 

Saturday, April 29, 2023

share 4 somethings


Hello, friends! I'm so glad you're here for this month's edition of Share 4 Somethings. We're talking about what we've loved, learned, read, and ate this month. I'll jump right in!

Loved: I have loved the nice days we've had this month! It's fun working at an elementary school this time of year, because you can make everything fun just by taking it outside. We do that every chance we get! 

This was us on Monday. We do something fun with them that they all love, called Reader's Theater. We give them a script to read, then we have a script read for a couple of days where they sit in a circle and practice their lines with emotion. We teach them how to act something out, and then they put on the play for us. We record it so that we can watch it back together and talk about it. It's good for them to hear themselves read, because it helps them read with more feeling. 

Learned: I've learned a lot this month while working in an elementary school. I've learned how intense and brutal state testing is, and I remembered why I am so grateful that we made the decision to homeschool our sons! I work in an excellent school, don't get me wrong, but the "required" testing is not for the faint of heart. I hated it for the students, but I'm glad that I was able to be a part of it, in the same breath. I prayed over all those students intently each day as I sat and stared at the cinder blocks on the walls of the tiny office I was in. Bless them! 

Read: I have read some excellent books this month! Come back on Monday, when I share about what I read in April. 

Ate: I ate some yummy things this month! One of our favorite things is buffalo chicken. I put the tenderloins into a crockpot with a good bit of buffalo sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's is our fave) and let it cook all day. I serve it with roasted potatoes, but we also eat the leftovers on a cauliflower pizza crust. It's delicious! Todd and I ate out a few times, at our favorite Mexican places where the food is great and the margaritas are even better, and we brought sushi home from our favorite local place. I've cooked other things too, but I'm ready for grilling season again! 

Out of all the things I ate this month, this breakfast with my oldest son was my favorite. On a very difficult day, he whisked me away to my favorite breakfast one morning, and I could have cried over how thoughtful it was of him. My Graham is many things, but my favorite things about him are his thoughtfulness and the fact that you can depend on him for anything. And yes, one of my all time favorite breakfasts is from McDonald's. I love their bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits! He got me this and the largest Diet Coke he could buy. 

I am so glad you're here today! I can't wait to read all of your posts. Don't forget to visit the other blogs that are linked up and leave them some comment love. In case you didn't already know, I'll be hosting another link party on Wednesday of this week, one called Currently. We'll be talking about the things we're currently loving, picturing, craving, wishing, and collecting. I hope you come back for that as well! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all! 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday, April 28, 2023

Friday Favorites, 4.28.23.


Happy Friday, friends! I don't know about you, but I am so glad it's Friday. It has been a WEEK for me, so I'm glad to say goodbye to it. I'm linking up with Andrea and Erika for today's favorite blog post of the week. I'll jump right in!

While being sick this week has NOT been my favorite, I have loved the time at home being lazy. I've watched movies and shows galore, including this new show on Netflix, The Diplomat. Have you watched any of this yet? It reminds me very much of Madame Secretary. 

The language is terrible, so consider yourself forewarned.

It's always a favorite getting to visit some pretty places in my town. 

This was on Tuesday night, when I had my first library board meeting. I was so sick and really did not feel like going, but I kind of had to be there, since they were introducing me that night. Isn't our town hall beautiful? I love how they keep the lawn manicured in the crisscross pattern that I love seeing on a lush green yard. 

I felt so official as I sat in front of my own computer screen and gold nameplate with my last name on it. 

Another favorite of the week was going to Lowe's to pick out flowers with Todd. I didn't feel great on Monday after work, but he drug me there to do this with him as soon as I got home, and I'm glad he did.

We only bought two hanging begonia plants and will go back for ferns later. 

This is one of my favorite things I saw all week online.

And lastly, new nails are my favorite! I went last Friday as soon as I got off work, because they were driving me crazy.

Different lighting, same neon coral color. Bright colors are my favorite at the moment! 

And now for some blog business—it's almost time for a couple of link-ups that I host each month! Tomorrow is when we'll post our Share 4 Somethings, and we'll be talking about the things we loved, read, learned and ate this month. I hope you join us for this! And then on Wednesday May 3, I'll be hosting the Currently link party, where we'll be talking about the things we're currently loving, picturing, craving, wishing, and collecting. I hope you come back for that as well! Did you catch my other posts this week? I shared on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. 

How was your week? Tell me something good from yours, I'd love to hear from you! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. I hope you have a great weekend! Love to all. 

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Thankful Thursday


Happy Thursday, friends! I hope your week has been good so far. Mine started a little roughly thanks to sinus problems that kept me home for two days in a row, but I'm confident that by the time you read this, I'll be feeling better and will be back at work. Fingers crossed!

I'm thankful that I was able to stay home from work for two days. Both days that I was home, I slept on and off all day. That never hurts, when you're under the weather. It felt luxurious, but I know that it helped me feel better as well. It's nice to work for and with kind and understanding people!

I'm thankful that with the exception of makeup testing, state testing is done with at the school that I work at. That is some intense testing, and it'll be good to be back on a regular schedule when I go back to work today. 

I'm thankful that our sons are healthy and safe. I'm also thankful for the Life 360 app so that I can check on them occasionally to see when they make it back home. They're all such sweet young men, and they've all been super sweet and helpful since I've been sick all week. They're not used to seeing me down for the count like I have been.

I'm thankful for parents who call to check on me, and I'm thankful for their prayers. 

I'm thankful for my husband, who has been so great at picking up where I've been leaving off at home. I've come home to laundry that's been finished, a clean house, and his offer to help me with dinner. I appreciate that so very much! 

If I'm being completely truthful, I will say that I though I am thankful for and have loved my job, I'm not sure if I'm going to go back for the next school year. It's been wonderful in so many ways, and though I've gotten into somewhat of a groove, I miss being at home and doing all of the things that I so loved doing. The more time that goes on, the more I realize this. I have found out a few things recently about my job that are also helping me in this decision, and though I am praying through this, I've not come to a final decision. For anyone who didn't already know, I was hired for this position on a temporary basis. The teacher is out on medical leave, so one assistant slid into that position, and I am the fill in for the assistant who is now acting as head teacher. Originally I was hired through March, then that got pushed back until the end of the semester. There are two more positions opening up at my school for the next school year, but I'm not sure if I'm the person for either of them. There are a few other extenuating factors that are contributing to this thought process, which I won't get into now. There has just been a lot going on in my life and in my family, so know that it's not just that I don't "feel like" writing here, it's that other things have been taking up my time and thought life. 

If you pray for me in this, I assure you that it won't be time wasted! I am still thinking and praying about it all, and I don't have to have it all figured out right now. Thankfully, I have some time before making a final decision. I have so many other things to say and thoughts rolling around in my head, but I'll save all of that for a later post. I didn't really mean to lay all of that out here, but I started writing and couldn't seem to stop. Thanks for reading and being such an encouragement to me! Many of you are that and so much more and know that I am so thankful for you. Often times when I pray, you're some of the ones that I thank the Lord for. I'm glad we're friends! 

Love to all. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

What's Up Wednesday


Happy Wednesday, friends! I'm linking up with Shay and Sheaffer for today's blog post. Since I haven't been around all that much lately, I figured it was a good time to catch up. I'll jump right in!

What we're eating this week:

I have not felt great this week, so I'm eating to survive, basically. On Monday night I made pasta for the boys and ate that with chicken nuggets for dinner. Don't ask about my childlike tastebuds right now; it sounded good, so I went with it. I stayed home from work yesterday, so I made buffalo chicken in the crockpot, along with roasted potatoes. I plan on making quiche at some point this week as well, and other than that, it'll be leftovers, most likely.

What I'm reminiscing about:

This popped up on my Timehop yesterday. I remember this day like it was yesterday! Dad and I had taken the boys to lunch one Friday, then we walked around on the town square. They asked if they could walk down to the army surplus store alone and I said yes, while Dad and I sat on a bench and waited. (Graham was 14 in this picture, so I trusted him and Drew to be responsible.) They came back with this flag as a surprise for my dad. They all chipped in for this unexpected gift. I thought that was the sweetest thing—I still do, and I'd forgotten all about it until I saw the reminder yesterday. 

What I'm loving:

Pinterest! I'm loving it for images like this one below to use as my wallpaper and screensaver for my phone, and I'm loving it for the reminders like the second picture you see under this.

I'm a big believer in all the little things in life that spark joy. That means that I look forward to things like reading a good book, watching an upcoming movie, making plans to catch up with a friend, and the prospect of what is to come. 

What I've been up to:

Aside from work and church, I haven't had a lot going on. I was talking to my best friend recently, and she and I are hoping to get together for dinner and a movie in the next week or two. I'm also beginning to think about what I'll be up to when the school year ends. I am looking forward to having more time again! I feel like I've let so many things go since January, including being here on the blog, and I miss my old life. I don't know exactly what this means for my future, but I don't have to have it all figured out right now.

What I'm dreading:

Now that state testing is over in our schools, I'm not dreading anything. I actually missed the last day of testing, due to being sick, and I do feel kind of bad about that. The rest of the week will be spent doing makeup testing, but that doesn't affect me. 

What I'm working on:

I'm working on two writing projects! I spent a little bit of time doing that yesterday while I was at home. Soon I'll have to finish up one of them, and I'll start working on the editing process for our upcoming fall Bible study. 

This was me yesterday alternating between one project and this blog post. 

What I'm excited about:

The start of a new month. May is jam packed with end of year activities at work, including lots of special treat days that are coming up, so I'm looking forward to that as well. 

What I'm watching/reading: 

I watched this on Netflix over the weekend.

Have you seen it? I loved it, and the scenery was beautiful. As for the books I'm reading, you'll have to come back next week when I share about the books I read in April. 

What I'm listening to:

At this very moment, I'm listening to my dog whine to go outside because he sees a critter. I also have Gilmore Girls on in the background. I've had it on all day, actually, as I've napped on and off. 

What I'm wearing:

Transitional clothing! It's hot one minute and cold the next. I'm wearing lots of layers everywhere I go, whether work or school. Is it like this where you live? This week it's cool here everyday, which is also why I'm sick right now. The weather always eventually catches up to me and makes my sinuses go haywire. 

What I'm doing this weekend: 

I have no idea! I do hope to make plans for part of my Saturday. I haven't done anything the last two, so I'm ready to do something again. 

What I'm looking forward to next month:

The start of the summer season! I am ready for all things pertaining to the warmer months, and I am excited about having the time to do them. There are so many things I've let slide around our house, so I'm going to use that time to get things back in order. It's funny how time away from something gives you fresh perspective, and I have loads of it now. 

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

Friday, April 21, 2023

Friday Favorites, 4.21.23.


Happy Friday, friends! I'm so glad it's Friday. Are you? How's your week been? Mine has been good, I'm just ready for the weekend. I'm linking up with Andrea and Erika for today's favorite blog post of the week. 

My post is short and sweet again! I don't have that many new things to share today, but I thought I'd at least name a few things from the week that have been my favorite. One of them, you already know, which is something I mentioned yesterday. I got to feed all our sons this week! I was so glad to be able to do that, since it's one of my favorite things. It's so strange when you have them start moving out, and not seeing them on a regular basis. I know that Drew doesn't eat all that well living with roommates and being in his young twenties, so I was glad to have him eat something good and nourishing for dinner. 

(Random picture just because this was eleven years ago and I do miss these days of random family game nights, staying up late, and eating ice cream with Magic Shell.) 

Last week at the school that I work at, for P.E. all week, they had Glow Parties. This was definitely a favorite for all of the students! The teachers and the students all wore things that they knew would glow under the black lights in the gym. A ton of work was put into this, and this happened all five days. I know they were exhausted by the end of the week! 

This movie was a favorite from last weekend!

This was the newest Hallmark movie from last week, The Wedding Cottage, with Brendan Penny and Erin Krakow. It was really good, and they're two of my favorite regular actors on the Hallmark channel.

This day was a favorite for our students in the third grade. We were without the use of our regular classroom this day because of testing that was taking place there, so we ended up on the stage in the cafeteria. They loved being in a different environment and were great at being flexible.

Last, but not least, this was a favorite night this week.

This was the annual sheriff's department banquet. My husband is a lieutenant with the department, and he was awarded for 15 years of service on this night. I love this picture of us that I had Graham take of us before we left. This is always a fun night for us, and I always feel so proud of both him and Graham for their service. Just for fun, check out the difference in my husband from two years ago to this week.

Tell me something good from your week! I'd love to hear from you. In case you missed my other posts this week, I published two other blog posts this week. I shared on both Tuesday and Thursday, in case you want to check them out. I hope your weekend is restful and everything you want it to be! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all!

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Thankful Thursday


Wow. I was so tired when I came home last night after choir practice, all I could think about was sitting down to read. So I did! I completely forgot about today's post, but better a little later than never, right? Happy Thursday, friends! I thought I'd share some things I'm thankful for this week.

I am thankful for beautiful weather all week! It's fun going outside to read with the kids that come to see us in the afternoons. It's also been nice to see so much sunshine! It's making me ready for summer. I can't wait to relax at a pool! 

I'm thankful that the days haven't been as bad as I'd thought they'd be in my mind, regarding the testing that's going on all over the state of Tennessee this week and next. We're making it through, one day at a time, and today is a day off from testing. We'll resume tomorrow, and finish out on Monday and Tuesday. The rest of the in-between days will be makeup days.

I'm thankful that I got to feed all of our sons this week! Drew was here doing some work on our A/C with the company he works for, and he ate two dinners during his downtime that night. Did I ever share this picture of him that his company posted? 

This man said that he wanted to work with them one day as he passed by where they were, and asked Drew to take a picture with him. I love that smile on my boy's face! He still loves his job and the people he works with.

On that same note, I am thankful that after almost four weeks, we now have a working upstairs A/C unit again. It feels so good walking upstairs to a cooled off floor! We managed just fine, truthfully, and this was the perfect time of year to be without. The weather hasn't been very hot at all, except for just a few days here and there. 

Well, I'm keeping it short and sweet today, since it's Thursday morning and I need to get dressed for work. Tell me something you're thankful for this week! I'd love to hear. Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all! 

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

some things worth noting & words I'm living by


Happy Tuesday, friends! I hope your week got off to a good start yesterday. This is a week that I will be glad to have behind me, because it's one I've been dreading at work. It's state testing week, and I am a small group proctor, which is the most boring thing ever. I'm in a small office with one of our school counselors and one student, who has to have the test read aloud. I can't leave the room for any reason, I can't look at my phone, read a book, or write/doodle on anything. I just sit and watch and try not to fall asleep during the two hours that it takes. Yesterday I prayed for the student as he tested, because he was so frustrated by how difficult it was for him during the essay portion. I also prayed for the school counselor, because his job is not easy. When I sat at his desk, I saw some Bible verses and a prayer written out that he keeps there to pray over the kids he sees. How sweet is that? The students are fortunate to have him. 

On to some noteworthy things, have you seen this floating around on social media?

One of my favorite authors (Karen Kingsbury) posted this on social media last week. This is the Covenant School in Nashville, when the parents met on the lawn to pray one day last week. This beautiful double rainbow appeared in the sky after a very brief shower on a sunny day in Nashville. They saw this right as they were about to enter the building, after declaring that God is good and that His light and love will always prevail, in spite of the dark times we're living in. Genesis 9:16 says, "The bow will be in the clouds, and I will look at it and remember the permanent covenant between God and all the living creatures on the earth." Isn't that breathtaking? Only God could do something like that, my friends. 

In browsing around on Pinterest, I've found a few words that I am living by right this moment. I thought I'd share.

I have learned this recently and I am perfectly okay with the fact that each day looks different for me than the last. Some days I am great at managing work and home life, other days I suck at it and almost break down and cry. Yesterday was one such day, after a long day at work, that somehow felt both long and short. The two sons that were at home were quick to come to my rescue and they came down to help me. I'm grateful for them and the help they're always quick to offer. This doesn't just apply to work life, but to many other things as well. Life is hard! I'm glad that I have friends and encouragers to pray for me along the way. 

I've read this reminder from the New Testament three times in one day. I feel like when that kind of thing happens, I need to remember to lean in and pay attention. I don't believe in coincidences, and find it funny that in ALL the verses in the Bible, I'd see one three times in a 24 hour time period. 

This seems to be my new motto in life right now. I keep thinking of that episode of Friends where Ross says in that high pitched voice, "I'm fine!" I am not always fine, by the way, but when people ask me this question, it's my go to answer. I learned a long time ago to give a short answer when people ask this—they don't necessarily really want to know how you are. I am selective in who I share things with in life, and I'll say again how thankful I am for my family and friends, who are my biggest cheerleaders and encouragers. 

I sincerely hope you have such people in your life. Well, thanks for reading my blog today, friends! I hope your day is bright and beautiful, wherever it finds you. Love to all! 

Friday, April 14, 2023

Friday Favorites, 4.14.23.


Happy Friday, friends! I'm linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week's favorites blog post. There are quite a few things this week, so I'll jump right in.

Last Friday was my favorite because it was a school holiday, and I got to spend the whole day with Dad. He came over around ten thirty that morning, so we visited for a while, went to pick up lunch from Chick Fil A, then came back to my house to catch up again. It was a really good day, and yes, I did take this picture of him sitting at my table as he prayed over our lunch. For anyone wondering, Dad is doing pretty good these days! His memory comes and goes, and some days are better than others. Last Friday was a good day, so I was thankful for that. I took him home about half an hour early, because I needed to be at church right before a five o'clock call time to rehearse for that night's Good Friday service at church. It was such a great night, and I was glad that I was able to go and be a part of it. 

After the service, I hung out in Todd's area of ministry as he wrapped things up for the night.

Then I went and found my writing team friends and we had my friend Laurie take this picture of all of us. I love these ladies so much and I have missed them! 

We were SO HUNGRY after church, so Todd and I went to La Perla Tapatia and had yummy Mexican food and margaritas. Todd was texting this picture to his brother, because his brother had texted him a picture of himself having a good hair day. I had a good laugh over all of this.

On Saturday, I went to have my hair done (fresh highlights!), then came home for lunch, then I went out one last time to get a pedicure. I loved the color I picked this time! 

These are the only pictures I took on Easter Sunday, but I'm so glad Todd took this one of the boys and me. I love this picture, and no, we did not mean to match. Someone on Facebook pointed that out, but it was purely accidental. And of course two of the dogs had to be in the picture.

Monday was a day with no students, and a professional development day for us as a staff. We started the day at school in a meeting about state testing that starts next week (which I'm dreading), then we went to our room and did some things there. We went home for lunch, and met back up an hour later at our local high school. LOOK at the sheer magnitude of this gorgeous school! These pictures don't do it justice, but it is MASSIVE. It seems more like a college campus than a high school. We went through some trauma training, then we were dismissed around three and I picked up groceries and came home.

On Tuesday when I got there early, I was serenaded by this beautiful choral group in the cafeteria as they practiced for the fine arts night that was taking place that night. They sounded amazing! 

After school, I had a meeting. I am the newest member of our town's library board! I'm excited for this opportunity to serve and give back to the town I so love. I'm filling in for someone who resigned, so my term will go through the end of this year, and if I want to go another term, I'll have to be elected. The mayor appointed me for this position, probably mostly in thanks to a friend of mine and vice mayor of our town. 

This outfit that I wore to work on Wednesday was my favorite, as are these hot pink earrings that you see in the pictures above. My co-workers always wear the cutest earrings, and they totally inspired this purchase. Also, so did my sister Debi, who insisted I needed hot pink earrings to go with my bright green Easter dress.

I bought this pink pair of Hey Dudes when I started my job in January, but they never felt the same as my other pairs that I've worn more. I finally managed to break these in enough that I can wear them to work now. There's nothing like wearing a bad pair of shoes to work, so I'm very particular about which ones I wear every day. 

Sometimes I like to sit and write out some of my favorite attributes about God. Doing this always gets my perspective right again, when it's gotten off of Him. Things that take my eyes off of Him and onto my circumstances are things that I go through that are hard, stress, tiredness, and not praying diligently or skipping days of Bible reading. You don't HAVE to do anything of those things as a believer, but we should all want to do those things. Life happens, though, and sometimes it can't be helped. The good thing is that the Lord is not legalistic about these things, nor does He ever grow weary of all the ways we fail. No matter what, He wants us to come to Him time after time to lay our burdens upon Him. He WANTS to bear them for us! I'm always so grateful to have spent time with Him like I did yesterday morning before I went to work. Also? The 91st chapter of Psalm is one of my favorites! 

On a lighter note, word searches are my favorite! I gave two of these to the group of students I had yesterday who are in the third grade. They like for me to do them with them and see who can finish first. And yes, I was beat by one third grader, but I beat the other one. I love giving these to reinforce the skills we've just gone over. 

So, how was your week? Tell me something good from yours! I would 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...