Friday, December 08, 2017

Friday's Fave Five #460

Hi everybody.  Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  First off, my apologies for not making it around to your posts last week.  With the funeral and everything else, I was just not able to spend time on the computer.  And this week I am just going to let you guys post without me.  I have been majorly sick with flu and am just not up for posting.  Please still go ahead and do your FFF.  I will try to do one sometime this weekend.  Happy posting and have a great weekend.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Friday's Fave Five #459

Hi everyone and welcome to the first FFF of December.  I can't believe it's already the last month of the year.  My FFF list this week is going to be short and sweet as I have very limited time to get it together.  There was a late request for something for my small group from the church concerning a funeral and I am trying to get that in place with a very short deadline.  But I didn't want to totally not try to account for some blessings.  Here are two I am able to write up at the moment.  I will try to come back later and add more.

~ friends who pray ~  the ladies in my small group are a real blessing when it comes down to praying.  I know when there are prayer requests amongst us that they are faithful to lift those requests before the Lord.

~ good reports ~  a good report from one of the ladies to answered prayer.  She has been really struggling these past months with an issue and what a joy it was to hear her speak of some baby steps of progress.  Praising God for some answered prayers.

And I'm back.  Whew quite a couple of days!!

~ a good cup of coffee ~ goodness knows I've needed one or ten this week!  

~ a new Christmas tree ~ though I was super sad to see the last one go, it was big and gorgeous and had "feel real" tips, it was massive.  Way too big for the space.  The other day  hubby just threw up his hands and said "I've had enough of this big tree , it makes me claustrophobic through the whole month of December!"  So off we went to get another.  Found another nice one for $100 dollars off and it's pre-lit, another bonus for hubby as he was the light stringer, and it will fit the space so much better.  Now to just get the time to decorate the thing.  

~ lesson learned ~ little by little I'm learning that I can loosen my fingers off of situations and not have to feel I have to "fix" everything myself.  That is God's job.  This is a very hard lesson for me, as I come from good "control" stock.  This week a situation presented itself and I immediately went into panic mode and tried to come up with plan x, y and z to working it out.  But I clearly felt to do just what I was originally asked to do, which was to email a group of people and put the need out there.  And then I let go and let God.  I must admit I was pretty antsy at first and stressing about it did try to work it's way in.  But I hung tough and just let it be. Though it was hard, you know what?  God worked it all out and people rose to the occasion which wouldn't have happened if I insisted on micromanaging it and taking the responsibility on myself.  I hope I remember this example for the next time this kind of thing comes around.

Whew thanks for being patient with my post this week!  Hope you all have a happy 1st December weekend!

What are some of the blessings in your week?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Lion by Saroo Brierley

This is the true story of Saroo Brierley who grew up in a very poor family in India.  At the age of 5, he mistakenly boarded a train looking for his older brother and the train left the station.  Saroo was now on his own, not knowing where he came from or where was headed.  Where he ended up was in Calcutta, across the country from his hometown.  Now, at the age of 5 he had to survive on his own.  Twenty five years later, Saroo now an Australian upper middle class young man and very thankful for his upbringing, has never forgotten his Indian family and has always maintained a desire to find out where he had come from.  This is the story of his determined search and the miracle that the invention of Google Earth played in it.

This story was so good.  I could not put it down even though I had seen the highly nominated and award winning movie this year (or was it last year?).  Anyway, the movie was excellent and the book was too.  It boggles the mind that not only did this little five year old survive the ordeal of being separated from his family but that he survived on the streets of Calcutta until he was rescued and sent to an orphanage.  That he ended up adopted to an Australian couple whom he loves but that he determined even at a young age that he wouldn't forget any little detail he could remember is amazing.  How the whole journey of getting lost to the events that helped him to find his family is an absolute miracle.  He shares his story to give others hope to never give up.

I gave it a 10/10 high rating for readability, engagement level, how the story gripped me, did the story make me feel for the person(s) involved.   It checked all the boxes for an amazing true story.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Making Life Rich Without Any Money by Phil Callaway

  In this book, humorist Phil Callaway takes us through six characteristics of rich people, and by rich he is not referring to the monetarily wealthy.  Instead of a book telling us how to become rich, the author instead takes on a journey of making life rich.  The characteristics have nothing to do money in the bank but have everything to do living well.

It took a little for me to get into the book, there is a few beginning chapters that go through some statistics which isn't my thing and seeing this book is already almost 20 years old, I sort of just scanned those.  But the principles it lays out really are timeless.  Nothing earth shatteringly new in them, but in Phil Calloway's trademark humor, you are relating and laughing along and sometimes without even realizing it you've learned both an eternal value and a life changing principle about what really matters and what really brings joy.  I love his writing and this book is worth the read for the humor and the reminders of what really does make us rich.  And I'll just say that any of his books are great.  He takes hard life issues that most of us deal with at some time or another, wraps them in joy and humor and is able to spread a warm message of hope.

I gave it a 9/10

Well, there is only one more day left to the month of November, so that will end my goal of knocking some of the non-fiction books that have been piling up in my closet out of the pile.  I must say, I'm pretty proud of myself.  I have read a total of 5 non-fiction books.  That is some kind of record!  And I enjoyed them all (though one of them was a difficult read), which is also another record.   I read 2 autobiogrpahies, a memoir, a biography and I don't know where you'd classify this book:  study book?  self-help book (though it really isn't a SELF-help),  essay?  I don't know.  Anyway, Yipee for me.  I'm glad I did this, it really helped.  I don't know why I pile up the non-fiction because I do generally like them once I get going on them.   Now my pile is reduced to half of what it was.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday's Fave Five #457

Hi everyone.  Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  Wishing all my American bloggy friends a very Happy Thanksgiving.  I know it was yesterday and some of you will be in the throes of Black Friday shopping but I hope you had a wonderful day being thankful for all the good things and blessings of your life.  Don't know how many of you will be here to join me but have a wonderful Friday regardless.

~ Birthday Celebrations ~  It started Sunday, celebrating my hubby's birthday.  Our son was able to come home on the weekend so we had our family dinner that day.  He chose one of our favorite restaurants and we had a lovely dinner and wonderful time together.   Then on Tuesday, his actual birthday, we went for dinner with our pastors/good friends as it was their anniversary that day and they asked us if we'd like to celebrate together.  Another yummy meal and great company.  Then today, Hubby's sister and husband are taking us to dinner.  I better make an extra day at the gym after all these yummy celebration meals.  But it was nice to have Hubby honored in so many ways by so many people.

~ On a reading roll ~ You all know that reading is one of my absolute favorite ways to relax.  This month I seem to be on a roll reading some great books that I can't wait to get to after work.  For November, I chose to hit my Non-fiction reading pile.  I'm not a huge non-fiction reader, preferring to escape into a good fictional story, but I thought it would be fun to make a concentrated effort to knock some of those out of my to read piles and I do like a good biography.  So far this month I've completed 3 biographies and am on my 4th which I should finish this weekend.  That is some kind of record for me in the non-fiction department.

~ Hubby's favorite dinner ~ One of my "gifts" to Hubby on his birthday is to always cook his favorite dinner.  Because we were taken out on his actual birthday, I did it the night after.  It turned out perfect and he was happy, I was happy and turns out it's one of my daughter's favorite meals to so she was happy.  I like making him his favorite dinner and it makes me happy to see him enjoying it so much.

~ And in blew the chinook ~  Our warm winter winds called a chinook blew in yesterday and basically raised the temperature by about 15 or so degrees (celcius) in less than a day.  We were sitting at a balmy 17*C (62*F) today, a new record set.  The norm is about 2*C.  The trade off is the crazy wind but I'll take it.  It melted all the snow and I was actually outside playing with the kids with no coat on.  That's crazy for November!

~ New fave flavor of yogurt ~  I came across a new flavor of yogurt while grocery shopping last week and I it made it into my cart with no hesitation.  And it didn't disappoint.  I loved it.  A little granola on the top and oh my.  So good!  It says limited edition but I hope it's around awhile!  A long, long while.  Chai Latte makes me happy!

What are your favorite blessings from last the last week?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

My Secret Sister by Helen Edwards and Jenny Lee Smith

This is the memoir of twin sisters who didn't even know the other existed until they were in their 50's.  Separated at 6 weeks old in post war England,  the two lived lives that couldn't have been more different from each other.

Jenny, the twin who was given up for adoption, was raised as an only child with parents who loved her and doted on her.  Her father, who loved to golf,  introduced to the sport when she was three and both parents supported her as she pursued the competitive side of the sport.  Even after her father passed away, Jenny's mom made sacrifices to make sure that Jenny was able to go on and become a high ranking championship golfer who competed in the LPGA.  Though happy and knowing she was loved, Jenny always felt that something was missing and attributed it to being an only child until she inadvertantly found out she had been adopted.

Helen, was kept by her mom and grew up with a brother George living close to her grandmother and aunts, uncles and cousins.  Though she was surrounded by family, hers was a very lonely childhood as her father was horribly physically abusive towards both her and her mother.  He was king of the household and made sure they knew it every chance he got constantly telling Helen everything was her fault.  And added to that was her mother's psychological abuse  and manipulating that held Helen in it's grips until well after her mother had passed away.  Helen grew up with her parents engaged in a daily battle where her mother would taunt and goad her father to violence that most times ended up with her taking the brunt of consequences.

Though she found out as a teen that she was adopted, Jenny didn't started to look for her birth family until later on in life. When the two sisters connect and they look for answers as to why they were separated they unearth as family legacy of lies and deception.

So many mixed emotions while reading this book.  It was a good story but and oh so hard read.  Helen's abuse was horrendous and I had to stop and pause throughout the book as it was so hard to read about.  That she turned out to be a loving, caring adult is really a miracle.  I was torn reading the story of both girls because the story was laid out in a way that went back and forth between the two as they told of their growing up years.  I'll be honest and say reading Jenny's story was almost difficult in the sense that hers was such an easy life compared to Helen's and almost felt like fluff (insert myself with guilt pangs for feeling that way) and I felt I wanted to rush through it to get back to Helen's story.  Not that I wanted to read about the abuse but I wanted to read that she made it through, that she was able to get away, that she finally was able to leave it behind her.   I did learn a little bit from Helen's story about how someone who is abused and manipulated ends up staying in the situation.  But I found myself almost talking out loud in frustration to the grown up Helen as both she and her husband at the time continued to make decisions that let certain things continue happening without standing up for themselves.  But Jenny's story too, did have some struggles as she dealt with feeling cast aside and rejected by her mother and what she perceived to be a happy family that got rid of her as she had no idea of the abuse that went on in her sister's family.  The last part of the book of course was the best part as Jenny and Helen finally find each other and share their inspirational bond and the strength and faith in God they have to not let bitterness define the rest of their lives.

Because of the frequent abusive situations within Helen's story, I feel that a warning should go with the review of the book for those who would be triggered and/or sensitive to the material.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Night Song - A story of sacrifice by Tricia Goyer

Young Jakub Hanauer's whole world turned upside down when the German soldiers came and took his father away.  His father was a great musician and violin repairer who played in orchestras.  His brother was a violin progidy who had a great future.  Jakub felt he never could be as good as his father or his brother.  Now the Germans are back and the remaining family, his mother and younger brother, are being loaded on trains to be transported away from their home.  At the concentration camp of Mauthausen he is thought to be his talented brother and put into the care of a world renowned conductor and forced to play in the camp's orchestra.  But can he fool everybody with his music or will his deception be found out?

Evie and Nick are a young couple who met in the States.  He is learning to be a doctor and she is the daughter of a diplomat from Europe.  The night Nick was to propose changed their lives forever when Evie's family was ordered back to their homeland.  With news of the war ever increasing, Nick receives his draft papers and is now training as a medic.  He hopes he can find Evie in Europe and will take great risks to do so.  But in an encounter with the resistance,Evie  has had circumstances happen that drive her into hiding making the task Nick sets for himself impossible.

As a young German soldier, Otto longs for the power that he had inadvertantly witnessed at a high ranking German officials private meeting.  Not just the everyday human driven power  but the spiritual power from another world that he knows can rule over everything else.  Nothing will stop him from trying to attain that.  But when he in his pride tries to make it happen he is transfered over to help catagorize the ever increasing stash of musical instruments. 

This was my first book by this author and it will not be my last.  Inside the horrific details of the death camp, Tricia Goyer has told a beautiful tale of faith, grace, courage and survival.  The way she tied the three threads of the story together was really well done and it was hard to put the book down even though some of the details were so hard to read.  The historical details were so well researched and woven into the personal stories so well it was like a movie running through my head as I read.  My heart was gripped and torn at Jakub, Evie and Nick's stories.  I will say though that there was a large cast of characters because of the three story lines and at times I did have to pause and think who different characters were.  But this is definitely one of those stories that gave me a "book hangover" where I had to process everything for days afterward.  Though this is a stand alone novel there are some others in this World War II Liberators series that I will definitely be reading!

Thank you to Tricia Goyer for sending me this beautiful story.