Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Пятница Ponderings: Being Grateful


Heather Stillufsen
Ponder: to consider something deeply and thoroughly; meditate Пятница (PYAHT-nee-tsuh): Friday in Russian
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As we leave our week of Thanksgiving, I, like many people, have been thinking about Gratitude.

I'm snarky and have too many opportunities to rant, but in my Weekend Reflections, I always try and find something to be grateful for.

Last year was difficult for many reasons and while this year has been different, it has had its own frustrations as we have started a new Chiropractic practice. I am grateful that The Doctor and I have been able to face these challenges together. I am grateful for him.

These last few years have challenged me in so many ways. And these last couple of months as I have struggled with my own personal issues and thought processes, I am grateful for my husband's patience and counsel.

It is very easy sometimes to only focus on the problems in our lives or the things we don't have. The every day tasks and responsibilities that can get overwhelming. Going over the finances and paying bills is depressing and I dread it. And as I have been learning about billing and insurance companies from the doctor's perspective, I have struggled to see the blessings and not focus on the negative, even though most of my dealings with insurance companies are discouraging.

And, too often these last few years, we only see the negative on our news feeds. Our country is divided politically and what we see from our media would have us think that all of America hates each other. I don't believe that is true, but it is difficult to look at the world through the lens of journalists and be grateful for anything. However, we should. Politically, we have the privilege of voting, even if our candidate doesn't win. That we can vote is something to be grateful for.

Frustrations and irritations and politics are a part of life. We don't get through it unscathed.

I do believe that there is always something to be grateful for even if you have to search deeply. While it may be buried, it is there.

I'm not going to tell you to be a Pollyanna, because heaven knows I'm not. I'm the Queen of Snark. And while I'd like to be a glass half-full person, it requires effort for me to do so. Some days, it's all I can do to get out of bed and get dressed, let alone be cheerful and happy about it. Other days, I can see the joy and the beauty that is around me.

In Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, Albus Dumbledore says, "Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light."

There is so much truth to that statement and I would expect nothing less from Professor Dumbledore (or J.K. Rowling, if you want to be pedantic).

Even when it seems darkest, there is always hope. Whether that hope comes from within, from your faith, or from someone else, it may be buried, but it is there. I also believe that light and hope come from expressing our gratitude and acknowledging our blessings. Even if you have to dig deep to find those blessings.

One of the reasons I love Thanksgiving is the focus on Gratitude.

Some of the things I am grateful for this month? Two amazing sons. They are such awesome people. I watch them serve and care about others and I am immensely proud. I am grateful for my husband. For his strength and unwavering love. I am grateful to work with him as we build this business. I am grateful for friends, both online and in real life. I am blessed to know and love some amazing people. I am grateful for our home; for the love and laughter that is here. For the haven it has become. I am grateful for family. I am grateful for books. I am grateful for the privilege of voting and voting my conscience. I am grateful to live in a country that allows me freedom of speech and freedom of religion. I am grateful for autumn and red and gold leaves falling and cooler weather.

What are some of the things you're grateful for this year? When you think about Gratitude, what comes to mind? I hope that if you haven't already, you can take a few moments today to reflect on the blessings we have in our lives. Because there is always something to be grateful for.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

#CoverCrush ...Stuffed: A Thanksgiving Romance


I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.


I have no idea what this book is about. I just liked the cover and it was related to Thanksgiving. And since our Cover Crush posts fall on Thursdays, a Thanksgiving-related cover seemed appropriate.  I love the fall look. The leaves, a rugged table, a place setting for dinner. So quintessentially Thanksgiving-ish. 

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's Court, Flashlight Commentary, A Bookaholic SwedeLayered PagesA Literary Vacation, Of Quills and Vellum.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

5 Books I Want to Read: Christmas

I keep a wish list on Goodreads called "want to read". Currently, it's up to 2929. Yeah. I also have several stacks of books tucked against walls throughout my house. Each is probably at least 3 feet high of books I haven't read yet. I periodically go through my list and purge it, but it still is not slowing down. Nor are the books that keep appearing on my Kindle. They're all still on my wish list, I just haven't gotten to them yet.

Each month I highlight 5 books I want to read. I don't set out to plan themes, but somehow patterns creep into my viewing.

We're coming into the Christmas season and who doesn't love Christmas-themed books?

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Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale

An uplifting, beautiful story about never letting go of your dreams, the special magic of a family Christmas… and the rush of falling in love under the mistletoe.

Single mother Abbey Fuller loves her family more than anything, and doesn’t regret for a moment having had to put her dreams of being an interior designer on hold. But with her son, Max, growing up, when a friend recommends her for a small design job she jumps at the chance. How hard can it be?

Nick Sinclair needs his house decorated in time for his family’s festive visit – and money is no object. What he doesn’t need is to be distracted from his multi-million dollar business – even if it is Christmas.

When Abbey pulls up to the huge Sinclair mansion, she has a feeling she might be out of her depth. And when she meets the gorgeous, brooding Nicholas Sinclair, she knows that she’s in real trouble…

With the snow falling all around, can Abbey take the chance to make her dreams of being a designer come true? And can she help Nick to finally enjoy the magic of Christmas?

A Christmas Flower by Bryan Mooney

When a New England Christmas reunites two lifelong friends, romance blooms. From the author of Christmas in Vermont.

Miracles are like snowflakes—no two are alike, but each one is precious and beautiful. This Christmas, Dr. Beth Harding could use a few miracles. The hospital she runs in River Dale, New Hampshire, is being shut down, unless she can convince the Scrooge-like board to save it. At least her closest friend, firefighter Logan Mitchell, is home for the holidays to offer a broad shoulder to lean on.

In California, Logan is a smoke jumper, but jumping into a romance with his best friend scares him more than any forest fire. After losing his parents at sixteen, Logan was taken in by Beth’s family. As kids, they were like brother and sister. Now they’re grown up, and sparks keep flying between them. If only Beth wasn’t already engaged. Maybe with a Christmas miracle or two, Beth can keep those hospital doors open—and two dear friends can finally allow their one true love to blossom.

We'll Always Have Christmas by Jenny Hale

An enchanting story about the magic of Christmas, the importance of family, and the joy of falling in love during the most romantic season of the year…

Christmas has always been a special time for Noelle Parker. Winter evenings spent with family and friends, drinking hot chocolate and eating cookies at her family’s cozy bakery have shaped her love for all things festive. But this year everything is changing…

The beloved bakery is facing closure and Noelle needs a miracle to save Christmas.

Determined to raise funds for the family business, Noelle sets about revamping the bakery while juggling a surprise new job, caring for the elderly and cantankerous William Harrington in his luxurious, sprawling mansion.

As Noelle melts the frostiness of the house with cake baking, snowball fights and glittering decorations, she helps William to reconnect with a romance that has spanned decades and unexpectedly finds herself falling for his grandson - the gorgeous but mysterious Alexander Harrington…

In the countdown to Christmas, can Noelle save the bakery, reunite a family and create some magical memories of her own along the way?

Unwrap the feeling of Christmas in this beautiful novel celebrating friendship, family and love that lasts a lifetime. We’ll Always Have Christmas is the perfect treat for fans of Karen Swan, Susan Mallery and Sue Moorcroft.

The Christmas Blessing by Melody Carlson

When she receives the news in late 1944 that her baby's father was shot down in the South Pacific, Amelia Richards loses hope. Jobless and broke, she has nowhere to turn for help but her infant's paternal grandparents. The only problem is, they don't know that she--or their grandson--exists. When Amelia discovers that the family is wealthy and influential, dare she disclose the truth of her relationship with their son? Or could the celebration of the arrival of another unexpected baby nearly two thousand years ago be the answer to her dilemma?

Beloved author Melody Carlson pens a story of love, hardship, and reconciliation that will leave readers filled with Christmas joy.

Heartaches and Christmas Cakes by Amy Miller

December, 1940: All that Audrey Barton wants is her family together for Christmas. But the war changes everything…

The Barton family bakery in Bournemouth has been at the heart of the town for generations: Audrey and Charlie Barton have never been rich, but their bread and cakes – and their love and advice – have enriched the lives of others in the town for many years.

When war breaks out, it doesn’t take long for trouble to arrive on the bakery doorstep. Audrey’s brother William has joined up to fight, and William’s fiancé Elsie fears she may lose him before their life together has even begun. Audrey’s stepsister Lily comes to stay, but Lily is clearly hiding a dark secret.

And a silent and strange little girl is evacuated to the town – will Audrey get to the heart of what is ailing her?

Audrey battles to keep hope and love alive in tumultuous times. But when disaster strikes at Christmas, will her efforts be in vain?

This is the first book in a heartwarming and romantic new saga series, perfect for fans of The Gingerbread Girl, Nadine Dorries and Ellie Dean

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What about you? What books are on your "want to read/wish" list?

5 Books I want to Read is a monthly meme started by Stephanie at Layered Pages. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their wish lists look like, you can do that here: A Bookaholic Swede, Layered Pages, The Maiden's Court, Flashlight Commentary and A Literary Vacation.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Weekend Reflections 11/18

Looking outside...it was dark and cold when I started writing this. No, seriously. It was 6:45 on Saturday and dark outside. The sky has lightened since and it's currently 27 and clear. Our high is likely to be around 48.

Listening...to The Doctor walking on the treadmill in the office. The Artist was invited to participate in the high school drama competitions today. The Doctor took him to the high school to meet his friends at 6:30. He does a pantomine that is amazing and he's part of an ensemble piece as well as doing a scene design.

Loving...that I have been able to work with The Doctor in his office. I like his patients and spending time with him. I'm finally getting the hang of the billing system and I think we have most of the bugs worked out. Technology is nice when it works. 

Thinking...that I might go back to bed for awhile. 

In my kitchen...Not sure yet about dinner. Probably something with The Artist after the competition today. The Doctor is going to the BSU/Air Force game with a friend and The Boy is working tonight. The Doctor brought me a sausage croissant from Jack in the Box this morning. I love those.

Wearing...fuzzy yellow minion jammies, black turtleneck and black slippers.

Reading...Still working on the same ones: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown and The Confectioner's Tale by Laura Madeleine. I need to write a review for The Room on Rue Amélie by Kristin Harmel.

Today...I'm not sure. I do have laundry, because that is neverending and some notes and lists to go over with The Doctor regarding billing.

Quoting...



Feeling...tired. Weary. I realize that is my mantra these days, but it's true. I've kept a lot of my emotions inside for too long. Self-reflection can be a bitch. I snap and snark when I should find better ways to let those emotions out. I am so blessed to have a husband who is able to get me to talk and who has amazing insight and patience.

Planning...this next week for Thanksgiving and such. The Artist is off school all week.


Gratitude...for my husband and sons. For essential oils that help me so much with emotions and health. Seriously. doTERRA has these new Yoga Collection oils that are beyond fantastic. I'm not currently doing yoga, but I have been using the oils for grounding and centering. So, so helpful. I have a link in the left sidebar, if you want to check them out. 

I love that holistic health and western medicine can work together. It doesn't need to be one or the other.

From my world... 




If Captain America says it, then it's true. You're all beautiful. Have a fantastic Saturday.

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

#CoverCrush: The Art of Forgetting


I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.


This is a book I read years ago. I'd have to go back to my review to tell you anything about it, but I have always loved the cover. The colors, the lines. The beautiful form, an athletic dancer. Who is she? A dancer--present or past? What is her story?

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's CourtFlashlight CommentaryA Bookaholic SwedeLayered PagesA Literary VacationOf Quills and Vellum.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Weekend Reflections 11/11

Looking outside...it's overcast and wet, but the sun is peeking through.

Listening...to the bathroom fan, the fishtank filter that needs more water. The Doctor went to see patients this morning. The Boy is still asleep. He worked last night. The Artist is at the school at a rehearsal.

Loving...the days I can spend with The Doctor in his office and work together.

Thinking...that I'm not going to rant today.  I don't know who actually reads these posts, but writing helps me work through my thoughts, ideas, issues and yes, rants. I enjoy writing. I enjoy ranting. My husband says I'm quite good at it. 😉 But, I don't feel like ranting today. I want to enjoy the sunshine that just broke through the clouds. I want to enjoy my family and spending time together. I want to be grateful that I am alive. I want to enjoy this beautiful fall day.

In my kitchen...Crio Bru now and I'm not sure about dinner, yet. I'm never sure about dinner anymore!

Wearing...fuzzy Minion jammies, black turtleneck and black slippers.

Reading...what's that again? It takes so much effort. I'm still working on The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown and The Confectioner's Tale by Laura Madeleine. I'm really not feeling the motivation to read.

Today...Christmas lights. And The Artist has a rehearsal at the school. And I need to pay bills and clean my kitchen.

Quoting..."In my opinion the best thing you can you do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person will still think the sun shines out of your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with." -- Juno

Feeling...reflective. We went to a wedding last night. It was lovely. We sat with friends and talked and visited. We observed. We reflected on our own 21 years of marriage. I am so grateful for The Doctor. I can honestly tell you I love him even more now, than I did when we were first married, and I never would have dreamed that was possible. But shared life experience bonds you for both positive and negative. And trials and challenges come. We have and have had them. But listening to each other is important.

Last night a video camera was passed around for guests to give advice to the newly married young couple. Our table advised them to communicate, among other things.

Communication is necessary and vital. Talking and sharing. But more important than talking is listening. Too often we don't listen to hear, we listen to respond. As couples, as friends and family and as a country, we need to do more listening to hear.

When I am asked for my advice on marriage, I often respond with something like: "Cherish each other, listen to hear, laugh a lot, and enjoy life together."

Planning...for Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving. And so do my children, although The Boy pointed out this week that there were 15 days until we get to put up our Christmas tree. 

Gratitude...for those who do serve and who have served in our military. For those who sacrifice and give. For those who literally have given their lives in defense of this country and its people. My father was a veteran. I have friends who are veterans. I am grateful beyond words to live where I do.

From my world... 



In case he asks? Thor left his spare Mjolnir at our house. I found it on the recliner.

Thor: Ragnarok was fantastic. Loved it. 

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Пятница Ponderings: The Awareness Factor

Ponder: to consider something deeply and thoroughly; meditate 
Пятница (PYAHT-nee-tsuh): Friday in Russian

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Last weekend, I had some thoughts in my Weekend Reflections post that I normally might not have shared, but did anyway. You can go back and read it, it its entirety if you want. In essence, I talked about my frustrations with serving and giving and doing, but feeling like your efforts are in vain. I talked about my frustrations with obligation. Feeling like you are obligated because of relation or associations. And, I talked about my frustrations with church.

And I know that people frown on actually expressing frustration or disagreement with their church. But, sometimes faith wavers. Sometimes you just get tired of organization. Because any organization comes with its hierarchy and management levels. In churches, they're just given different names.

People find their way into organized religion for different reasons. They want fellowship. They love the music and praise. They believe in the doctrinal teachings. They go because they were taught to go as children.

People also find their own joys and contentment in organized religion. For some, it comes very easily. They find their faith or their testimony and it never wavers. For others, they search and attend many different churches until they find the one that fits, whether it be the doctrine or the coffee shop in the lobby.

For others, they find the church they like and they ride that faith-filled roller coaster and it is full of ups and downs and twists and turns. And sometimes, a wicked corkscrew turn pops up and the sensation of falling and turning just makes you want to puke and get off as soon as you can. But, you can't quite get off the roller coaster completely. The ride hasn't come to a full and complete stop yet and jumping out mid-stream isn't the best course of action. So, you ride it out. And soon, you come to a smooth section that is almost pleasant. The ride is no longer racing and you can actually look around at the scenery. You even come up to a station and have the option to get off, but the ride is comfortable now and you decide you can handle it and you stay on. And soon, it picks up speed again. And you're trying to simply stay in your seat and not fly away. And people are calling to you and asking you to do so many things that you just want to curl up in the corner and hang on. But, you try and reach out and do what is asked anyway and the cycle just repeats. And in the twists and turns of that roller coaster, you see the same people over and over again. Some are next to you hanging on as well, and others have a premier seat to watch.

It's exhausting.

I have a strong faith in God. But sometimes, I don't have that same faith in church. To me, they're different. A church is the avenue by which belief is spread. God's teachings are true, but people in a church are human with faults and flaws and problems. I am weary of church. Because sometimes we take advantage of others at church. Sometimes we take those who serve quietly and well for granted. At the risk of upsetting people with this analogy, the Doctor and I call it the curse of the squeaky wheel and the shining stars.

In any church, you're going to have the people who always have needs above everyone else, whether they are emotional, financial or whatever. They are the squeaky wheels; they take energy and time. And then you have your shining stars. Those people who are always in a leadership position or whose children are always put before everyone else as the shining examples. Those people whose real claim is that they live in the right neighborhood or have a high property valuation, not that they are skilled or qualified. But they stand before us and shine. And then you have your regular people. Those faithful ones who do what they're asked to do, who always show up when asked to set up or take down chairs or drive the youth someplace, or teach a class or take someone a meal. Those people you know won't flake out on you. But, just because those people may not be out in front squeaking or shining, that doesn't mean they don't have needs. They do. They need to know they matter; they need to know they're heard. They will burn out too. And I'm weary of church responsibilities. I am weary of that roller coaster.

But, will I get off that roller coaster? Probably not. Because, like I said, I have a belief in God. And the belief I have and the teachings I choose to follow, come with this church and all of its human flaws.

And church life isn't all bad. My kids have had great leaders and experiences. I have friends here and I do enjoy opportunities to serve others. The Doctor and I team teach a Sunday School class of 15 year olds and we love those kids. But, I enjoy those opportunities more when I'm not so exhausted and burnt out. And I will admit that the burn out isn't only church related, but the church pressures don't always help. I enjoy most of my Sunday worship experiences. But, I struggle with people. And, I'm sure some of those same people struggle with me. Still, for whatever reason, if we stay with our church, we need to try and work together.

After I posted my reflections last week, it prompted an honest discussion between me and some blogger friends, several of whom have experienced their own religious frustrations, and all of us represented by different denominations. One of those friends shared my post and then said that she had been unfriended by a church friend who didn't appreciate that she'd liked or shared my post, but who wouldn't talk to her about why. That saddened me because had the other person been willing, they could have had a fantastic dialogue.

I don't think it's a bad thing to question, especially if that questioning strengthens what you already believe. And even if it doesn't, if that questioning helps you get to a better place, then question. And don't be afraid to talk about it. Sometimes talking helps.

Like I did last week, I ask today for you to be aware of those around you. Be aware of those with whom you work and serve, whether it is at church or your place of employment. Be aware of those in your family. Pay attention to the quiet person at church or the one who is usually more animated, but hasn't been for a couple of weeks.

Just because someone doesn't squeak and live out their troubles on Facebook doesn't mean they don't have them.

Be kind. Do good. Love is a verb.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

#CoverCrush: market street


I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.


How could I not choose this cover? It's the Golden Gate Bridge. It's San Francisco. I love living in Idaho, but there are a few things I miss about the Bay Area. I love San Francisco. I perfected the art of driving a stick shift in The City as well as learning how to truly parallel park. love the ocean. I miss good sourdough bread and Ghirardelli chocolate. I miss the fog rolling in. 

I have no idea what this book is about, but I'd pick it up, simply because of the memories its cover invokes.

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's CourtFlashlight CommentaryA Bookaholic SwedeLayered PagesA Literary VacationOf Quills &Vellum.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Books I Have Forgotten

Each month I revisit some of my past reviews. One of the reasons I started this book blog was to remember what books I have read. My memory isn't the greatest anymore and I found that I would read a book and then not remember if I liked it or what it was even about.

Maybe one of these will prompt you to seek out an older, but amazing book. Or, if you've read one of these and your review was different, please share!

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Crossing on the Paris by Dana Gynther
3/5 Stars
12/2012

"This is a story I enjoyed and yet I didn't love it. There were a couple of scenes that made me uncomfortable, but I understand why they were there. Some parts I skimmed and others I absorbed. Constance, Julie and Vera all come together towards the end of the book and their story is one that will resonate with many women who understand the need and longing many of us have to connect with one another. It's not the most happiest of books and the ending surprised me a bit, but it fit with the story."

I don't remember anything about this. At all.

Courting Cate by Leslie Gould
11/2012
3/5 Stars

"There were times when I almost felt like this was part of an established series, rather than the first in a new series with some of the character discussions and explanations. While I can appreciate the Taming of the Shrew theme here, this was one that I almost didn't finish, because I just didn't like some of the secondary characters and their treatment of Cate. I will look into the rest of the series and hope future books capture my attention more than this one did as sometimes happens with series'."

About the only thing I can remember about this book is that I didn't love it enough to pick up the rest.

Lola's Secret by Monica McInerney
4/5 Stars
11/2012

"A sequel to The Alphabet Sisters, this stands alone well. Reading a series in order always makes for a richer story, but I hadn't read the first one and there was enough back story given here that I didn't feel like I'd missed much. Perhaps reading the first story would have given me some sympathy toward Geraldine because I really didn't like her! A charming, thoughtful story. Loved the Australian setting."

Apparently I enjoyed it. Wish I could remember it.

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What about you? What are some of the books you've read in previous years?

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Weekend Reflections 11/4

Looking outside...it's clear at the moment, but rained yesterday and last night. It's fall. I love this weather.

Listening...to silence. The Doctor went to see a patient this morning. The boys are still asleep.

Loving...the cooler weather. Bliss. Absolute bliss. I wore long sleeves, a sweater, a long denim skirt, boots and a scarf yesterday. 

Thinking...that we need to get our Christmas lights up this next week because I don't know what the weather holds and you don't want to do it in the snow or ice. We won't turn them on until Thanksgiving evening.

In my kitchen...Crio Bru now and I'm not sure about dinner, yet.

Wearing...fuzzy Minion jammies, cream turtleneck and black slippers.

Reading...what's that again? It takes so much effort. I have been working on The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown and The Confectioner's Tale by Laura Madeleine.

Today...Thor: Ragnarok with the family. Woot! Looking forward to spending some time together just us.

Quoting..."Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others." -- Brené Brown

Feeling...I am weary. It's easy to say you're tired or exhausted, which most of us probably are. But weary just seems to better fit where I am.

At the risk of complaining, I am weary of working in health care. I am weary of trying to get insurance companies to actually pay for services rendered. I am weary of wondering how to make ends meet as we work to build this practice. I truly don't understand how people can work for an insurance company and still maintain ethics and morals. Those who sit in their little gilded offices and make arbitrary decisions without consideration for the real people their decisions affect? You are evil. And the Health and Welfare Department? You're useless. Well and truly useless. You don't care either. You just make excuses. And Medicare? You're even worse. Seriously. Do you people even work? Because no one answers your phones and if they do, they send you to some other department because you've got the most unorganized convoluted system. I think you do it on purpose because you're not going to cover most costs anyway, but this way you discourage everyone from even trying to get claims filed or paid. I think you're the spawn of the devil. Truly. I'm weary of dealing with you all.

I am weary of obligations. Obligations to family. Obligations to church. Obligations to people, whether business or personal. I am weary of doing for others at the expense of myself and watching my husband do the same. He serves and he gives and he cares. And it takes its toll because so many just take what he offers and don't give back or don't offer anything in return. And that's not what he expects, but sometimes I wish all those he serves would realize and appreciate it and show him some kindness, and show an interest in him and how he is doing.

I have a strong faith in God. But sometimes, I don't have that same faith in church. To me, they're different. A church is the avenue by which belief is spread. God's teachings are true, but people in a church are human with faults and flaws and problems. I am weary of church. Because sometimes we take advantage of others at church. Sometimes we take those who serve quietly and well for granted. The Doctor and I call it the curse of the squeaky wheel and the shining stars.

In any church, you're going to have the people who always have needs above everyone else, whether they are emotional, financial or whatever. They are the squeaky wheels; they take energy and time. And then you have your shining stars. Those people who are always in a leadership position or whose children are always put before everyone else as the shining examples. Those people whose real claim is that they live in the right neighborhood or have a high property valuation, not that they are skilled or qualified. But they stand before us and shine. And then you have your regular people. Those faithful ones who do what they're asked to do, who always show up when asked to set up or take down chairs or drive the youth someplace, or teach a class or take someone a meal. Those people you know won't flake out on you. But, just because those people may not be out in front squeaking or shining, that doesn't mean they don't have needs. They do. They need to know they matter; they need to know they're heard. They will burn out too. And I'm weary of church responsibilities.

Be aware of those around you. Be aware of those with whom you work and serve. Be aware of those in your family. Just because we don't squeak and we don't live out our troubles on Facebook doesn't mean we don't have them.

I'm sorry not sorry for venting. I'm truly just weary of life.

Be kind, do good. Love is a verb.

Planning...there is always something ahead. The calendar is always full. 

Gratitude...for the men in my life. It goes without saying that my husband and children are everything to me. Everyone thinks they have great kids, and you probably do. But mine? Mine amaze me. I love that they are kind. I adore that they love each other and want to spend time together. I love seeing their talents develop and watch who they are becoming. And I like who they are becoming. 

From my world... 



The Snake River. 

I love Idaho. I love the beauty of this beautiful state where I live. I love that this view is just down the road.

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

#CoverCrush: Casting Off


I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.


This is a book I read years ago. But, I have always loved the cover. The muted blues and whites. A heavy knitted sweater. The glimpse of the ocean through the windows. It's set in Ireland, which fits the picture. I need to reread it!

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's CourtFlashlight CommentaryA Bookaholic SwedeLayered PagesA Literary VacationOf Quills and Vellum.

Friday, October 27, 2017

5 Books I Want to Read: 1950s

I keep a wish list on Goodreads called "want to read". Currently, it's up to 2878. Yeah. I also have several stacks of books tucked against walls throughout my house. Each is probably at least 3 feet high of books I haven't read yet. I periodically go through my list and purge it, but it still is not slowing down. Nor are the books that keep appearing on my Kindle. They're all still on my wish list, I just haven't gotten to them yet.

Each month I highlight 5 books I want to read. I don't set out to plan themes, but somehow patterns creep into my viewing.

The 1950s is an era that has always fascinated me. The post WW2 prosperity and growth. My parents graduated from high school in the 50s. I watched television shows like Happy Days when I was a teenager and movies like Back to the Future. My dad taught me how to Jitterbug before I went to my first dance. I loved the full skirts and sweater look. So it's probably not surprising that several books with a 50s setting popped up in my wish list as I was looking through it this month.

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Brighton Belle by Sara Sheridan

1951. Brighton. With the war over and the Nazis brought to justice at Nuremberg, Mirabelle Bevan (Secret Service, retired) thinks her skills are no longer required. After her lover's death she retires to the seaside to put the past behind her and takes a job at a debt collection agency run by the charismatic Big Ben McGuigan. But when the case of Romana Laszlo - a pregnant Hungarian refugee - comes in, Mirabelle soon discovers that her specialist knowledge is vital. With enthusiastic assistance from insurance clerk Vesta Churchill, they follow a mysterious trail of gold sovereigns and corpses that only they can unravel.

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

San Piedro Island, north of Puget Sound, is a place so isolated that no one who lives there can afford to make enemies. But in 1954 a local fisherman is found suspiciously drowned, and a Japanese American named Kabuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder. In the course of the ensuing trial, it becomes clear that what is at stake is more than a man's guilt. For on San Piedro, memory grows as thickly as cedar trees and the fields of ripe strawberries - memories of a charmed love affair between a white boy and the Japanese girl who grew up to become Kabuo's wife; memories of land desired, paid for, and lost. Above all, San Piedro is haunted by the memory of what happened to its Japanese residents during World War II, when an entire community was sent into exile while its neighbors watched. Gripping, tragic, and densely atmospheric, Snow Falling on Cedars is a masterpiece of suspense - one that leaves us shaken and changed.

The Summer the Wind Whispered My Name by Don Locke

In 1959, eight-year-old Davy Connors leads an idyllic life in his small Midwestern neighborhood. But when a black family moves in to the all-white community, an undercurrent of racism is exposed.

As the issue draws battle lines between friends and family, Davy finds his sympathy for the new family challenged by his father’s bigotry. Can the fragmented community overcome its prejudices and experience true change and healing?

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

Colm Tóibín's sixth novel, Brooklyn, is set in Brooklyn and Ireland in the early 1950s, when one young woman crosses the ocean to make a new life for herself. Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America -- to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood "just like Ireland" -- she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind.

Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.

Saturday's Child by Ruth Hamilton

Behind closed doors everyone has a secret...

It was 1950. Magsy O’Gara, her husband killed in the war, plodded through her daily routine as a hospital cleaner, dedicating all her spare time to Beth, her genius daughter. Pursued by men who admired her great beauty, she was determined to remain a widow. Nothing was to divert her from her gruelling schedule. Her goal was simple: Beth would become a doctor.

Beth, however, wanted a normal life – a brother, a sister, a stepfather who might make her wonderful mother happy. So Beth was delighted when a personable man began to court Magsy.

Across, the road at number 1, Nellie Hulme, trapped in a world of silence, watched the other two Saturday girls. Deaf since infancy, Nellie had a secret so huge that it amused her. What would folk have thought had they known her true position in life? And why did she ‘hear’ in her dreams?

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What about you? What books are on your "want to read/wish" list?

5 Books I want to Read is a monthly meme started by Stephanie at Layered Pages. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their wish lists look like, you can do that here: A Bookaholic Swede, Layered Pages, The Maiden's Court, Flashlight Commentary and A Literary Vacation.