Friday, June 30, 2023

Friday Favorites & the books I read in June

 


Happy Friday, friends! I'm linking up with Andrea and Erika for today's favorite blog post of the week. I hope you've had a good week! Mine has been more wonderful that what is average, for sure, but if you'll come back tomorrow, I'm going to share a bonus post about my week at the beach. For today, I am using the whole post of Friday Favorites to talk about one of my favorite things: books. I read some excellent books this month, so I hope you're inspired in your reading! (Click on each picture to be redirected to an Amazon link.)


First up was this one by JoJo Moyes that another blogger recommended. 


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is a book about mix-ups, mess-ups, and making the most of second chances. A great question to think on as you read this is, who are you when you're forced to walk in someone else's shoes? My quick summary is as follows: Two identical bags, two women as different as night and day. Sam accidentally took Nisha's bag, mistaking it for hers, but she found inside that bag was the confidence she'd been missing lately, thanks to a depressed and jobless husband refusing to seek medical help. Nisha had everything in the world until she didn't. Her husband is leading a secret life and he locks her out of all their bank accounts and credit cards. As she scrambles to find food and a place to lay her head at night, she realizes the gift of friendship that her adult life has been missing. In a fight to regain their lives back, a very unlikely group of women become friends as they risk it all to help each other. 


I loved the main characters and all the supporting characters as well! I would give this one that rating based on readability and the fast pace.


Next up for me was a new author.


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Yup! Another five star read that I'd been on a wait list from Libby. Here's a quick summary: Maddie lives a very mundane life. She works, she helps take care of her dad while her mom is out of the country every other year. She doesn't mind this until she realizes how little of a life she actually has. When her mom comes back from Ghana, Maddie decides now is the time to move out. She finds a couple of roommates, she starts to date, and she starts to live. It all goes great until tragedy strikes her family. Now she's questioning every decision she made up until this point, and she struggles to find the peace that is missing from her life. Through some counseling, and sound words of wisdom, we experience through Maddie, what it feels like to be torn between two homes and two cultures as she faces the present day difficulties of everyday life. 


I really loved Maddie in this book. She was endearing to me, because I have sons who are her age, and I feel like I could have been reading about some of their thoughts, if that makes sense.


Next up was a quintessential book of summer. 

⭐⭐⭐⭐


Birdie Cousins has thrown herself into the details of her daughter Chess's lavish wedding, from a floating dance floor in her backyard to the color of the cocktail napkins. Like any other mother of the bride to be, she is weathering the storms of excitement and chaos, tears and joy. But Birdie, someone who prides herself on preparing for every possibility, could never have expected a late night phone call from Chess, telling her that everything is cancelled. Soon after her decision to call off the engagement and wedding, even more tragic news comes her way, and she becomes a shell of the beautiful young woman she once was. Birdie, Chess, her sister Tate, and her own sister India, decide to spend the summer at their family home on the island of Tuckernuck, a small island off the coast of Nantucket. No phones, no television, no grocery store- a place without distractions. Throw all these women together, and what sounds like a peaceful summer getaway becomes so much more. Before their time there has ended, dramatic truths are uncovered and old loves are rekindled. 


Next up was my favorite book this month!


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Workaholic, career-driven Francesca is fiercely independent and successful in all areas of her life except one: family. She struggles to make time for her teenage daughter Allegra, and the two have become strangers to each other. When Allegra hangs out with the wrong crowd and gets in trouble, Francesca gives in to her mother's wish that they take one epic summer vacation to trace their family roots in Italy. She just never expected to face a choice that might change the course of her life. Allegra wants to make her grandmother happy, but she hates the idea of forced family time. Then, a young man on the verge of priesthood begins to show her the power of acceptance, healing, and the heartbreaking complications of love. Sophia knows her girls are in trouble. A summer filled with the possibility of chance is what they all need! Among the ruins of Rome, the small churches of Assisi, and the rolling hills of Tuscany, Sophia hopes to show her girls that the bonds of family are everything.


I devoured this book! It just might be in a top place for my favorite book this year.


Lastly was this one, by a favorite author.


⭐⭐⭐1/2

Wendy Anderson is 35, the mom of two children and happily married, until she discovers her husband cheated on her. Confused, angry, and lost, she rents a house on Nantucket for two summer months. When she and her children arrive at the house, she discovers that Trevor Black, a 30 year old recent widower and his son Dylan who is 5, rented the same house. Neither one is willing to give up their much needed summer vacation, so Wendy and Trevor devise a plan to share the big house for the summer. Preparing meals in one kitchen, Wendy and Trevor become fast friends, and they soon realize they're falling in love, even though neither one thinks they're ready to move on yet. Over the last sun-soaked weekend, as chaos reigns and emotions run high, Wendy must decide where her heart truly lies. 


Tell me about your summer reads! Do you have any that you love? I'd love to hear from you! Just a reminder that this Wednesday the 5th is our next Currently link up. We'll be sharing what we're currently loving, savoring, celebrating, remembering, and trying. I'll get back with you on that date about what'll be in store for us with that post in August. Thanks for reading my blog, friends! Don't forget to come back tomorrow for my bonus beach trip post. Love to all!




Thursday, June 29, 2023

June Monthly Musings

 


Happy Thursday, friends! I'm linking up with Holly and Patty for today's post on monthly musings for this month, especially because it's vacation-related. I'll jump right in!


Favorite vacation destinations: I will be honest here and say that any trip I'm able to go on feels extremely luxurious. I know so many people who are unable to travel for various reasons, and I never want to boast or come off as boastful on my blog. That being said, when I do have the opportunity to go somewhere, wherever the destination is quickly becomes my favorite. I've never been on a bad trip! I love to travel with my husband and sons, my sisters and mom, and my girlfriends. Each trip is such a blessing, and I thank the Lord for the fact that He allows me to do such things. Here's my current favorite, just because I'm here.



Best packing tips: Well, I don't travel enough to share great tips here, but I recently bought my first set of packing cubes from Amazon. I used them coming here for my beach trip, and I will say that they helped me pack more and remain organized during the trip. I got a set of four of the cubes, so I used the large one for my clothes, the medium sized one for my under things and pajamas, and the small one I used for my shoes. I left the fourth one at home, but I was impressed by how neat they forced me to be. 


Road trips or fly: I don't mind either, but I love to drive or go on a road trip. I love looking at creation as I drive!




These pictures are proof that I love a scenic drive!


Ocean, lake, or mountains? Yes, please! I love them all equally, and one is as beautiful as the other.


Campout or indoor grill: When it's not too hot, I love to use the grill! When I say "I", I mean Todd. 


Favorite summer cock/mocktail: I love light and refreshing drinks, so I love the Stella Rose pineapple wine, and I had this at one of the restaurants we went to this week.



It's called a lemon drop martini, and it's made with vodka and limoncello. 


Most amazing travel upgrade story: I don't remember much about the details, but on one of the trips I took with my dad as a young girl, I know that they upgraded our flight from coach to first class. I had never seen such luxury! I got to eat steak with a real fork and knife, and I couldn't get over how different the seats were. 


Ice cream or popsicle: At this time in my life, I can't say that I want either, but if I have to pick I'll choose ice cream or frozen yogurt. I really prefer froyo...I love chocolate with a little bit of the chocolate fudge sauce. Just a smidge.


Do you camp? I don't camp right now, but we used to love camping and went twice every year when the boys were young. If you'd like to read what that was like with our family and friends, you can click here to read an old camping edition post I wrote almost ten years ago. Those were the days!


This was a fun post to think about...thanks for reading my blog, friends! Love to all. 






Wednesday, June 28, 2023

what's up Wednesday


Happy Wednesday from the beach! I'm linking up with Sheaffer and Shay for today's blog post. I'll jump right in!


What I'm eating this week: All. the. seafood! I was told once that wherever I'm at, eat the food the place is known for. I've told our sons this and I take my own advice. Aside from the first night I was here at the beach and we ate Mexican, I'm looking forward to seafood for the rest of the time I'm here. Last night we went to the Marina Cafe and had some amazing food. It's a favorite and one we frequently visit when we're here.


What I'm reminiscing about: Summers full of activities with best friends and teenage girls! Here are a few examples.







Also, were any of you around when my hair was shorter? I don't know that I'll ever go back to that. I prefer it like it is right now. 


What I'm loving: Today.






The water was crystal clear yesterday!


What I've been up to: I've been doing and enjoying all the summer things. I've been outside a lot, either swimming or in the yard, and I've been loving every second. We had a crazy bad storm blow through our area Sunday night, and almost 200K people in our county were without power. So, while I've been here, my sweet husband has been checking on our people. My dad and Sandy don't have power yet, and it's Tuesday night as I write this. 


What I'm dreading: I can't really say that I'm dreading anything right now. 


What I'm working on: I finished my part of the Bible study I helped to write, and it's been edited. We're sending it to the publisher on Friday, maybe before, and I can't wait to see it! After that we'll be working on logistics for our fall women's Bible study. 


What I'm excited about: I'm always excited by everything, so it's hard to answer this one! I'm having fun right now in this moment, but I'm excited for tomorrow, and Saturday when I'll see my mom and sister, I'm excited for the fourth of July when we'll see fireworks...the list goes on. 


What I'm watching/reading: I've been rewatching The Summer I Turned Pretty on Amazon, to get ready for when season 2 comes out in July. I've also been watching movies on the weekend. You should go back to my "weekending" post this week for some recs. I've been reading great books! I'll post about them next week.


What I'm listening to: The waves right this moment. When I drove here on Monday, I listened to podcasts for seven hours. It was wonderful!










What I'm wearing: Dresses, a swimsuit, a coverup and a visor. And lots and lots of sunscreen.


What I'm doing this weekend: Driving home on Friday! Seeing my mom and sister on Saturday and church on Sunday. I can't wait!


What I'm looking forward to next month: So many things! I'm just soaking up the summer moments. 


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




 

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Did you know?

 


Happy Tuesday, friends! I was reading a book recently and came across some interesting tidbits at the back of it with random facts. I am using the ones the author wrote, and I've added a few of my own as well. I wish I could remember the author...I cannot say with complete certainty, but I think it was Jodi Piccoult. Anyway, here goes. I thought I'd share a few and then I'll ask you some questions about them and see what your thoughts are. 


Did you know that one of the first things people notice about you is your shoes? The advice she gave was to wear nice shoes. Do you agree with this? I wouldn't think it was one of the first things people notice about you. It's not what I notice about people. I notice someone's hair, how they're dressed, and their smile or eyes. That being said, I do actually wear nice shoes, because I have arthritis in one of my feet and I have ankle problems thanks to years of working in a school with concrete floors. I wear cute shoes, but I cannot wear the cheap kind. 






Some of my favorite brands are these pictured above. The sandals are Remonte, the wedges are Bussola, the flip flops are Oofos, and the clogs are Dansko. 


Did you know that if you sit for more than 11 hours a day, there's a 50% chance you'll die years earlier? I didn't know this particular fact, but I do know the importance of getting up and moving every so often. I very rarely ask anyone to bring me something, unless I'm pain. I like to be the one getting and doing the things.


Did you know that there are at least 6 people in the world who closely resemble you? There's a 9% chance you'll meet one of them in your lifetime. I have a friend from high school whom I so closely resembled, that my own dad got us confused if he saw us from the back. We had the same body and build, and identical hair. Her name is Melody.


Did you know that sleeping without a pillow reduces back pain and keeps your spine stronger? (My dad used to do this for years!) I don't know that I could do this, though. I need a pillow, but one that's the perfect size—not too thin, not too thick.


Did you know that if a part of your body "falls asleep", you can almost always wake it up by shaking your head? I couldn't believe this one and that I'd never heard it before, but shortly after seeing this list I tried it and it worked! Also, would you believe I have a friend who broke her foot by walking on it while it was "asleep"? It's true! I never walk on mine when they're asleep now and wait on the feeling to come back.


Did you know that there are three things the human brain cannot resist noticing? They are food, attractive people, and danger. My dad tells a similar story: one of his college professors told his class that the greatest things in life are young love, coming to a relationship with Jesus, and experiencing a child be born. Dad is a sucker for romance! He always wants to know about any girlfriends in the boys' lives.


Did you know that using dry tea bags in something smelly will absorb the unpleasant odor? I haven't tried this one, but I am also a fan of using Bounce (or any brand) dryer sheets for the same purpose. It works! 


Did you know that you can survive for weeks without eating, but you'll only live 11 days without sleeping? This one does not surprise me, because you can only function for so long without a good night's rest. I was just talking to someone about this recently. 


Did you know that people who laugh a lot are healthier than those who don't? This one doesn't surprise me either! Are you someone who laughs a lot? There's nothing quite like the gift of laughter, especially the deep kind that is uncontrollable. It's one of my favorite things in life! I'm at the beach this week with my friend Dedee, and one such time we laughed that hard happened two years ago—she was telling me a story about her sister not being able to shut the car door and how their dad thought they'd done something to the car, and I instantly knew what she was talking about, because that same little part on the door got lodged in one of my vehicles one time and the door flew back open on me. It wasn't THAT funny of a story, truth be told, but I think we were tired or sundrenched or delirious or something, and she and I laughed so hard that I almost didn't make it to the bathroom in time, and she inhaled her drink wrong and it came out her nose. That just made it that much funnier! We may have been hangry, because she also accused someone of taking a bite of her slice of keylime pie. 🤣 Laughter really is the very best medicine.



This bench represents another time I laughed this hard. I was with my best friend Missy, and we got "stuck" on this bench, me because I was in a walking boot and was having major balance problems, and Missy because she's a decade older than me. 🤣 We did make it off safely, but we may have run everyone else off! 


Did you know that if you take a 10-30 minute everyday and smile as you walk, that it's the ultimate anti-depressant? I've also heard about smiling, that it takes less muscles to smile than it does to frown. 


Do you have random facts that you know? I'd love to hear from you! Thanks for reading my blog, friends! I'll be sharing what I've been up to since Monday tomorrow, so I hope you come back to visit. Love to all! 

Monday, June 26, 2023

weekending

 


Happy Monday, friends! I'm linking up with Holly and Sarah for today's blog post. For some of you, by the time you read this, I will be on my way to the beach! I'm excited for a few days away with my sweet friend. I am not scared to drive alone on this long of a trip (a little over 7 hours), but I've never been on such a long trip alone. I hope to listen to some podcasts I never seem to be able to at home, which is what I love to do when I drive alone. I hope to arrive before 3 p.m.


How was your weekend? Mine was really good! I spent all day with my dad on Friday. I went to pick him up a little earlier than usual and he stayed longer than usual. We ran a few errands, we ate lunch, we talked, and we watched a movie so that he could take a nap. Bless him. He's in the phase of life where he naps a lot during the day. I love the hearth at Dad's and Sandy's house. This will always be home to me!




How cool that while Dad was here Friday, we talked about his days in the navy? I never really knew that he sailed from California to Japan during the Korean War. He was a hospital corpsman aboard the ship, The Haven. I was able to find this picture online while he was here, but it also reminded me that I took a picture of the drawing my late sister Terri made for him one year. (She drew both of these pictures for him...she was so talented!)




On Friday night, my sister Trish came over for a movie night. She's house and dog-sitting at my nephew's house, which is just a few blocks away from where I live. It was nice that she was so close by for a few days! We watched Shotgun Wedding with Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhammel. Have you seen it? I watched a few months ago, but was more than happy to watch it again with her. I love J Lo so much more as an actress than a singer. Anybody else feel that way?


Saturday morning dawned with me up bright and early, starting loads of laundry. Todd and the boys all left for a day trip, and one of the boys went somewhere else, so it was just the dogs and me. I cleaned some, I did #allthelaundry, I finished a book, and I watched a movie. Todd made it back home just in time for us to go out to dinner, so we went and had our favorite, then we picked up groceries that I'd ordered. We're so exciting! He went to a friend's house later in the evening, and I went to bed early in order to be at church by 7:45 on Sunday. 




(Have you seen this? It's on Netflix, and it was so good!)



I was the one in charge of big screens in our sanctuary yesterday, so I entered the sermon into our program that we use, and I controlled the screens that the congregation look at. No pressure!


So, let me show you a picture of our church.



You see how big it is, so there are some moving parts to what I did yesterday. My husband is on the tech team as well, and often runs the audio for our livestreaming. There's a producer who is in charge, and his voice is the one I'm listening for in that headset. I have everything I need on my computer (that I've entered in), but I don't make one move unless he tells me to (I see another spiritual picture in this). I have to have my cursor on the next slide, and he is the one who controls the screens that the congregation sees at that point. There are two rooms underneath where I am, one for livestream and one for producing, and there's a sound/lighting booth that also have people running it. It runs like a well oiled machine! I also had to learn the pace of changing the lyrics for the audience, which is super nerve wracking if it's a repetitive song and if I don't pay close attention. Like I said: no pressure, right? I love doing it, though. This was my first Sunday to run the screens I did, but we're all having to learn so that what happened last year doesn't happen again if someone is sick and can't be there. 


I went to lunch with my mom, stepdad, and Graham after church, which was so nice! After that I came home and showered, started packing, vacuumed, then started cooking for my husband and boys to have meals while I'm gone. 



We ate some of this for our dinner, then I relaxed for the rest of the night. And also, because we are gluttons for punishment and because we couldn't say yes to Graham without saying the same to Jonah, we have a new edition.




Meet Chloe, Jonah's newest baby. He's been begging for a dog of his own for months, and remember the neighbors we have whose dogs had ten puppies? Chloe is one of them. She's half golden retriever, half golden doodle. I am the biggest sucker who ever walked the face of the earth, and either the best mom or the dumbest person ever. I'm definitely thinking the latter. 🤣 


So, how was your weekend? Tell me something good about yours, I'd love to hear about it! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all! 





Saturday, June 24, 2023

share 4 somethings- the June edition

 


Happy Saturday, friends! Welcome to the June edition of Share 4 Somethings, where we talk about what we loved, learned, read, and ate this month. I'm so glad you're here! Just a reminder—make sure to visit the other participating blogs and leave some comment love for them. Happy reading!


I have loved the lazy days of summer! I cannot get over how luxurious it feels to stay home again, and maybe I'll tire of it eventually, but for now, I am here for it. I have not been bored yet, and I worked for about 30 hours last week, so I have been plenty busy. 





I have loved swimming twice a week with my mom-in-love, and I've loved getting darker. I've loved all the extra time I've spent reading beachy books, and taking things easy in this time of year. I've loved the time spent outdoors while we do yard things, I've loved having a break from choir practice each week in June, I've loved wearing all the bright colors. I've loved all the fresh fruits and veggies, too, which has always been such a great thing about summer. Did you read other blog posts about summer this week? I loved all of those too! 


And I have loved (for the past two years) seeing Noah's very bright car parked on our street. He's getting a different car this weekend, and he'll be back to boring silver for a while before he wraps it again, but you should see his next color choice! I highly approve.



I will miss seeing him drive this! It's a beautiful wrap that has an iridescent look to it in certain lighting. His car is the same make and model, and one year newer. He's actually trading someone outright today, at least that is the hope. I'll be anxious when they come home later today! Todd and Jonah went with him to make sure the man isn't a Craigslist killer. 


In June, I learned (again) how much I love the editing process. I can usually very easily spot mistakes while I'm doing that, and I love the challenge of rearranging words to make for a better read. I've also learned so many details about the world of publishing, since we are self-publishing this Bible study. There are so many details to remember! My friend Amy has been a champ at this as we've walked through it all together. You should see my notes—it's notes upon notes!



I read some great books in June, and I'm still reading! I can't wait to share about the books I read this month on Friday, June 30th. You should definitely come back then to check them out! Here's a book I read and loved, though.



In June, I ate some great things! Todd and I have been an avocado kick and each have one with dinner almost every night. He is the designated avocado-picker, though. He picks great ones, now that I taught him what to look for in one.







I ate Mexican food, both in restaurants and what I made at home (fajitas!), I ate this delicious TikTok casserole with shredded chicken, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, and Olive Garden Italian salad dressing, and just this week I ate this delicious tomato sandwich for dinner. I love the summer fruits and veggies that are so abundant right now, and I've been picking fruit to eat each day as well. 



It's your turn to share and link up! I'm excited to read all of the posts over the next few days. I am always glad you're here to join us! I will be at the beach next week (Monday-Friday), but I will still be here posting each day. I hope you come back and visit! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all!

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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...