1,000 Things for which I’m Thankful

Well, this was supposed to be a list of 1,000 things I was thankful for, but before I knew what was happening I looked down and it was 1,035 things. Because you know what? There is a lot in life to be grateful and praise God for.

It took me two hours and forty-five minutes to compile this list. I wrote it while sitting in my car outside my adopted parent’s (also known as skunk parent’s) house. Papa Skunk has Covid and pneumonia and is in the hospital due to having trouble breathing. Mama Skunk is quarantined at her house so I can’t go inside to be with her, but I didn’t want her to have to be alone so I took some time off work and am staying in my car outside her cabin so she has someone nearby. Thankfully my brother lives nearby so I can sleep as his house.

I’m on day three and the hours get long when there’s nothing to do but sit and wait, and so I started thinking of things I’m thankful for. Normally I write a list of 1,000 things I’m thankful for on Thanksgiving Day, but I figured why not share the list early this year? Because despite everything – or maybe because of everything – I’ve been overwhelmed over and over again this year with how much I have to be thankful for.

Like a job. And a boss who will let me take time off of said job in order to sit in a quarantined way with my mama. And a mama to sit with in the first place. See what I mean? When you start thinking of all there is to be thankful for, then the list just starts growing.

There’s so much I didn’t include on the list – like wheelbarrows and lawnmowers and butterflies and falling leaves and snow and popcorn and… Well, you get the idea. I had to end the list somewhere though, so I just went with the first thousand things that came to mind – very sporadically I might add. There’s no rhyme or reason to the order they’re in, most certainly not in order of importance because that would be impossible.

Also, I’m sure I forgot to mention some exceedingly important things, so there are sure to be some very obvious things not on the list. And, um, I kinda have had some big things in my life happen recently that I haven’t blogged about yet, and those things might be included in this list. Don’t worry though, I plan on catching up with blogging some day.

Despite the worry and sadness, craziness and stress, the odd times and unknowns, I’m exceedingly thankful. God is good even when times are not, and for that, I’m grateful.

Today I’m thankful for…

  1. my family
  2. people who care about each other
  3. small joys that make the world happier
  4. the chance to be happy
  5. the choice to be thankful
  6. having joy even when things are rough
  7. birds
  8. bird feeders
  9. bluejays and how pretty they are
  10. the brilliant colors of cardinals
  11. being able to see colors
  12. being able to see shapes
  13. being able to feel textures
  14. the cozy feeling of wrapping up in a fuzzy blanket with coffee
  15. scones
  16. biscotti
  17. lemon
  18. working fridges
  19. big freezers
  20. food to put in them
  21. coffee
  22. spring water
  23. the ability to taste
  24. money to buy food
  25. a car to keep me warm
  26. heated seats
  27. gas that isn’t incredibly expensive
  28. charger packs
  29. brothers
  30. being able to think and reason
  31. an iPad to borrow
  32. my blog
  33. that in the midst of changes God is still God
  34. white chocolate
  35. Walmarts
  36. the countryside
  37. tall trees
  38. seasons
  39. coziness on cold, rainy days
  40. that I can think and reason
  41. my job
  42. the people who I get to interact with on a daily basis
  43. all the friendships I’ve developed this year
  44. that in the midst of Covid God is still in control
  45. music
  46. my iPhone
  47. a pretty case for my phone
  48. the ability to write
  49. wood to burn
  50. porches
  51. porch swings
  52. rocking chairs
  53. desks
  54. tables
  55. A working chimney
  56. a house of my own
  57. a roommate for said house
  58. a place to live
  59. a place to park my camper
  60. answered prayers
  61. a front porch
  62. flowerbeds
  63. a barn
  64. a yard
  65. nice neighbors
  66. fields next door
  67. the Ohio River just down the street
  68. making memories
  69. Madcap Mondays
  70. people who help with paperwork
  71. that most of the paperwork is done
  72. dreams coming true
  73. a nice living room
  74. my little nook
  75. that I can call my house a burrow
  76. beds
  77. nice mattresses
  78. sheets
  79. closets
  80. shelf space
  81. dressers
  82. a couch
  83. a chair
  84. blue walls
  85. pretty paint
  86. nice trim
  87. not having to redo lots of stuff in my house
  88. wood floors
  89. a rug
  90. a wood burner for heat
  91. enough wood for the whole winter
  92. budgeting
  93. a place to hang pictures
  94. pictures for which to hang
  95. Mom covering the extra window
  96. pretty fabric
  97. bookshelves
  98. books for the shelves
  99. people helping me move
  100. people helping me set up my house
  101. red dishes
  102. clean counters
  103. a hot water tank
  104. a working water pump
  105. a well
  106. running water
  107. not having to winterize my house
  108. a washer and dryer
  109. a bathroom
  110. a bathtub
  111. a beautiful sink and mirror
  112. keeping my camper close by
  113. being organized
  114. that I went through my stuff several years ago and so don’t have as much any more
  115. that I’m learning what is excess and what is helpful to have
  116. that I can cook on a full-size stove
  117. that I have people to cook for
  118. that I can afford to buy healthy food to eat
  119. that I enjoy cooking
  120. that I enjoy most healthy foods
  121. that I can splurge and eat food that isn’t the healthiest but is yummy
  122. for all the new foods I’ve discovered how to cook this year
  123. MeaLime
  124. this year
  125. being able to help my family move
  126. spending good time with siblings
  127. getting to stay with my oldest sister for a month
  128. helping my oldest sister
  129. being able to bless others while I was laid off during the spring
  130. getting to know young nieces and nephews better
  131. having good conversations with older nieces and nephews
  132. making memories with nieces and nephews
  133. connect four
  134. red headed woodpeckers
  135. milking goats – and not having my own goat to milk
  136. warm and cozy blankets
  137. fuzzy socks
  138. sparkly socks
  139. people who know how much socks mean to me and give them to me
  140. cotton candy
  141. eating cotton candy late at night with people
  142. Christmas music
  143. Christmas decorations
  144. pretty books
  145. vibrant colors
  146. being able to see
  147. being able to hear
  148. being able to touch
  149. hugs
  150. holding small children
  151. a new nephew
  152. nice names
  153. answers to prayer
  154. being able to pray
  155. knowing God listens
  156. serving an all-powerful God
  157. being on the right side of the battle
  158. knowing what the ultimate outcome is
  159. knowing other people who also serve God
  160. knowing that I can make a difference for eternity
  161. clean clothes
  162. warm sweatshirts
  163. love
  164. joy
  165. happiness
  166. squirrels
  167. the range of emotions I can feel
  168. that I grew up in a family that encouraged emotions, but also truth
  169. that truth doesn’t change
  170. that I can know what truth is
  171. that I can read the Bible
  172. having a Bible
  173. having an audio Bible on my phone
  174. All the apps I can use as tools
  175. spellcheck
  176. trees
  177. fences
  178. blue skies
  179. gray skies
  180. clouds
  181. science
  182. that we can learn and grow
  183. that we live in a time and age when we know how things work
  184. history
  185. learning from history
  186. historical fiction
  187. fiction in general
  188. nonfiction
  189. being able to learn from books
  190. growing up in a family that encouraged reading
  191. enjoying reading
  192. the eyesight to read well
  193. glasses
  194. glasses lasting for a long time
  195. babies!
  196. laughter
  197. listening to children
  198. reading to children
  199. having good relationships with nieces and nephews
  200. emails from nieces
  201. Facetiming with nieces
  202. sisters
  203. sister-in-laws
  204. a good relationship with my grandma
  205. visiting my grandma
  206. playing games with Grandma
  207. Grandma’s 90th birthday
  208. growing up with grandparents in my life
  209. numbers
  210. being able to count and do math
  211. that even though numbers get mixed up in my brain, I can still work with them
  212. knowing how to spell, hard though it may be at times
  213. being creative
  214. growing up in a family that encourages creativity
  215. puzzles
  216. working on puzzles with Grandma
  217. playing cards with my family
  218. my dad playing an active part in raising us kids
  219. growing up in a big family
  220. having a stay-at-home mom
  221. being homeschooled
  222. having parents who cared enough to keep going to doctors until we found out I had Lyme disease as a teenager
  223. being able to fight the Lyme disease
  224. how healthy I am today
  225. that I am continually getting better
  226. that I have so much energy
  227. my job
  228. that I can do work that suites me so well
  229. that my work is so rewarding
  230. that I have so much fun working
  231. how many people I know at work
  232. that I get to do uniforms at work
  233. that there are other people who can take my place when I’m gone
  234. that I can be with my skunk parents right now
  235. that I have a family who’s willing to drive to give me stuff
  236. that there are people praying for my skunk papa
  237. that I have people in my life who will embrace my craziness
  238. that I can caw at people at work and they take it in stride
  239. that when I caw at some people at work they bark back
  240. Christmas decorations
  241. Thanksgiving decorations
  242. that I have a house I can decorate
  243. that I can put red ribbons places
  244. candles
  245. curry
  246. smelling yummy food
  247. that I still have a job
  248. that my job reopened
  249. that the Museum still has people coming to it
  250. that people get to learn more about God and His amazing-ness
  251. that God is all-powerful
  252. that God cares about me
  253. smiley faces
  254. being able to keep in touch with people through texting
  255. that I have people I want to keep in touch with
  256. that I know how to type
  257. candy
  258. pizza
  259. being whimsical
  260. jumping in the Ohio River when it’s cold
  261. having people care about my safety
  262. warm dresses
  263. Spotify
  264. holidays
  265. rocks
  266. pens
  267. smooth pens that glide over paper
  268. journals
  269. prayer journals
  270. my dream-come-true trip out west
  271. getting to vlog about the trip out west
  272. that Logan and Johanna came with me
  273. that our parents let us take the RV
  274. that after 19 years of dreaming the trip happened
  275. that there weren’t a lot of restrictions when we went on the trip
  276. that I can always have those memories
  277. Yellowstone!
  278. that we used Google Maps
  279. that we did all our own cooking
  280. being able to shop along the way
  281. what I learned on the trip
  282. how I grew on the trip
  283. good sibling time
  284. being able to watch online church while far away
  285. having a church I really like
  286. learning to having a new church in Kentucky
  287. moving to Kentucky for good
  288. car seats that are comfortable to sit in
  289. following the Oregon Trail
  290. learning how to spell Oregon after years of trying
  291. how long 3 weeks felt on our trip
  292. not getting bit by rattlesnakes
  293. seeing a rattlesnake
  294. seeing bears
  295. seeing moose
  296. seeing foxes
  297. seeing lots of buffalo
  298. all the other wildlife
  299. cool mountain air
  300. seeing snow
  301. lovely sunsets
  302. drone shots
  303. playing games with Johanna
  304. French toast in Montana
  305. camping by a big creek
  306. driving across ALL of Montana
  307. Wyoming
  308. how different places look so different
  309. the Badlands of SD
  310. getting to see where Laura Ingalls lived
  311. touching the real school she attended
  312. seeing Mount Rushmore
  313. visiting museums
  314. walking on the Oregon Trail
  315. Riding Lightening on the Oregon Trail
  316. driving through Oregon
  317. driving through Washington
  318. driving the RV, but not for long
  319. having a picnic in the middle of the road
  320. postcards
  321. humus
  322. carrots
  323. pretend horses
  324. an imagination
  325. water
  326. apple cider
  327. egg nog
  328. ice
  329. sweet tea
  330. gas stations
  331. campfires
  332. camping out
  333. tipi´s
  334. all the new states I got to visit
  335. the dream of someday living out west
  336. dunking in the Ocean when we reached the coast
  337. marking so many things off my dream list
  338. being able to dream in the first place
  339. living in a family that encourages dreaming
  340. that the RV never broke down
  341. getting to finally visit Kaitlyn even if I didn’t surprise her
  342. having friends all over the place
  343. getting to see Tim and Meagan and the kids
  344. that I live in place where it’s easy to breathe
  345. beautiful mountain views
  346. open plains
  347. TRAVEL
  348. being home
  349. Logan meeting his future wife on the trip
  350. getting to spend time with the Smith’s
  351. long four-wheel rides with the setting sun
  352. how beautiful the sunsets were
  353. being a morning person
  354. spending time with God before others woke up
  355. learning to be more chill
  356. doing the dishes with ease since I was used to heating water
  357. having a bathroom on the move
  358. painting
  359. watercolors that are pretty
  360. maps
  361. the notebook Dad helped me do
  362. Idaho!
  363. Finding out how different various states are
  364. crossing several more states off my list
  365. the Smith girls taking me to Kansas
  366. a keyboard that works
  367. that I was able to go on my dream trip before buying a house
  368. all the travel I´ve gotten to do during my life
  369. the cultures I´ve gotten to see
  370. having a blog, even though I don´t blog much currently
  371. cats
  372. dogs
  373. kittens
  374. puppies
  375. not having any pets currently
  376. knowing I can get a kitten if I want
  377. freedom
  378. the ability to make choices that are good
  379. my team at work
  380. Allen
  381. Alex
  382. Autumn
  383. Livviya
  384. Landis
  385. Elizabeth
  386. Niki
  387. Roger
  388. my coworkers
  389. Rebeccah
  390. Miss Viviann
  391. Hannah
  392. Mark
  393. Bekah
  394. Sharon
  395. Johnny B.
  396. Candy
  397. Liz
  398. Hannah
  399. Yvonne
  400. Danielle
  401. Laura
  402. Lori
  403. Deborah
  404. Chris
  405. Connor
  406. Kayla
  407. Mike
  408. Mason
  409. Jessica
  410. Katie
  411. Laurie
  412. Caleb
  413. Kirsten
  414. Andy
  415. Sherrie
  416. Samuel
  417. Samuel
  418. Miss Betty
  419. Zack
  420. Miss Valerie
  421. Rose
  422. Brittney
  423. Faith
  424. Grace
  425. Kathryn
  426. Arielle
  427. Kori
  428. Anna
  429. Scott
  430. Ronda
  431. Felicia
  432. Ryan
  433. Hezekiah
  434. Hannah
  435. Isabella
  436. Noah
  437. Isaiah
  438. Ethan
  439. Ethan
  440. Jason
  441. Mr. Carlson
  442. Tom
  443. Thomas
  444. Naomi
  445. Naomi
  446. Julie
  447. Heather
  448. Celeste
  449. Esther
  450. Jonathan
  451. Zane
  452. Judy
  453. Carol
  454. Andrew
  455. Paul
  456. Paul
  457. Tiffany
  458. Joe
  459. Mr. Boone
  460. Carlotta
  461. Ryan
  462. Ben
  463. Ben
  464. Sarge
  465. Bill
  466. Joe
  467. Matt
  468. Darcy
  469. Heidi
  470. Olivia
  471. Stephen
  472. Gary
  473. Gordon
  474. Heather
  475. Matthew
  476. Geneva
  477. Ben
  478. Jim
  479. Danette
  480. Leanne
  481. Leighann
  482. Suzy
  483. Caleb
  484. Barbara
  485. Ernest
  486. Tim
  487. Faith
  488. Rebekah
  489. Gary
  490. Les
  491. Stan
  492. Henry
  493. John
  494. Jonathan
  495. Brandon
  496. Nathaniel
  497. David
  498. Karen
  499. Vanessa
  500. Elizabeth
  501. Chloe
  502. Diana
  503. Rosemary
  504. Jerry
  505. Frances
  506. Mary
  507. Quinn
  508. Cheryl
  509. Haley
  510. Bethany
  511. Mandy
  512. Adam
  513. little babies on the way
  514. Kyle
  515. Dustin
  516. Mr. Ken
  517. the Creation Museum
  518. the Ark Encounter
  519. AiG
  520. Susan
  521. our friendship
  522. being able to visit comfortably
  523. that even when we can’t do much together, we always reconnect easily
  524. Josiah
  525. Amelia
  526. Tiber
  527. the baby
  528. Kathryn letting me cook for he
  529. Kathryn’s sweetness
  530. Cody and Lucy
  531. them selling to me
  532. them working with me even when out of contract
  533. people I haven’t seen in ever helping my family move my stuff
  534. trucks and vans
  535. Katie giving me her bed
  536. David and Sarah going with me to pick up the bed
  537. getting my house set up so much
  538. Mom making the sound-bouncy-thing so pretty
  539. accordion doors
  540. piano players
  541. cute little rodents
  542. reading books to little children
  543. the ability to smile
  544. I Saw That cards at work
  545. Marta
  546. Bruce and Bonnie
  547. Joie
  548. Justice
  549. Madalyn
  550. Su
  551. the variety in my job
  552. having my own office
  553. having a work computer
  554. staff meetings
  555. team meetings
  556. how much I love working with my team
  557. being able to help people all day long
  558. all the friendships I´ve developed at work
  559. how much the people at work mean to me
  560. having time at work go so fast
  561. getting to work full-time
  562. having energy to do so much
  563. the War Room
  564. things staying more clean at work
  565. laughter at work
  566. group projects
  567. working with people who really care
  568. having a life outside of work
  569. Rebeccah being in my life
  570. coffee at Rebeccah´s
  571. reading books with Rebeccah
  572. having someone who will borrow and read my books
  573. hearing Rebeccah´s opinion of my books
  574. Rebeccah´s perspective and point of view
  575. Rebeccah´s generosity and observations
  576. Rebeccah´s hospitality
  577. Rebeccah´s yummy food
  578. Rebeccah being a good balance in my life
  579. Rebeccah pointing out things to me
  580. taco nights at her house
  581. staying up late and talking
  582. getting coffee and going to the park
  583. her being willing to do the driving
  584. game nights with Rebeccah and Allen and family
  585. that Hannah comes along now
  586. Allen´s kindness to all the people who he meets
  587. Allen´s determination to help me have a life
  588. Allen giving gifts
  589. Allen making people feel welcomed
  590. Allen taking care of everyone
  591. Allen showing us how things should be done
  592. the Carlson´s
  593. texting with Miss Viviann during quarantine
  594. getting to know Hannah
  595. Hannah´s way of helping me understand myself better
  596. the way Hannah listens
  597. Hannah being there when I need someone
  598. Hannah´s sense of humor
  599. Hannah being willing to try crazy things with me
  600. Hannah´s voice of reason
  601. Hannah being a steady presence in
  602. having the Carlson´s house be my second home
  603. all the help Miss Viviann was when I was buying my house
  604. how I can simply be at the Carlson´s
  605. Miss Viviann´s being willing to make phone calls
  606. our deep conversations
  607. the way we relate to each other
  608. her office being a safe place
  609. that she thinks I´m funny
  610. reading in her office
  611. our friendship
  612. How much I’ve learned from her
  613. the way she checks on me
  614. her welcoming me into her life
  615. her desire to learn and grow
  616. how much she cares for people
  617. that we get to work together
  618. that we like the same kind of foods
  619. salt
  620. tofu
  621. soy sauce
  622. hash
  623. bread
  624. mashed potatoes
  625. vegan sausages
  626. hard boiled eggs
  627. CJ
  628. CJ´s generosity with music
  629. the way he makes people feel included
  630. his hard work at his job
  631. the way he dreams big
  632. having lunch with Miss Viviann and Hannah
  633. Hannah working at the museum!
  634. how quickly friendships develop in the right atmosphere
  635. that this year had the right atmosphere
  636. that I really have people who mean a lot to me
  637. that I can count on the people in my life
  638. that I can do things that bless those in my life
  639. late nights of talking
  640. being welcome in other people´s houses
  641. chipmunks
  642. granola bars
  643. loan offices
  644. signing papers
  645. Johanna taking pictures
  646. Johanna´s craziness
  647. Johanna´s love for others
  648. Johanna in general
  649. All I´ve learned from Johanna
  650. how trendy Johanna is
  651. Johanna´s health getting better
  652. Mariah
  653. Mariah living her dream
  654. Mariah having such cute children
  655. Mariah making the most of life
  656. Mariah being able to have people over to her house
  657. Mariah´s kindness
  658. Mariah´s clean style
  659. Leo
  660. Leo´s coffee business
  661. Leo taking good care of his family
  662. Leo caring about others
  663. good talks with Mariah and Leo
  664. cuddling Charlette and Charles
  665. getting to see Charles when he was just a day old
  666. how darling the Charlies are
  667. that the Charlies can grow up surrounded by so much love
  668. Betsie
  669. Her new baby
  670. Regaining her health
  671. the sweet way she handles children´s shenanigans
  672. her calm spirit
  673. her joy in the Lord
  674. Gordon
  675. how he provides for his family
  676. how he leads his family
  677. Elisabeth
  678. how she´s getting her heath back
  679. how good she is at being a big sister
  680. her joy in the Lord
  681. her sewing abilities
  682. her cheerful personality
  683. Susanna
  684. the way she embraces life
  685. her happiness with little things
  686. how she likes to write
  687. that we have so much in common
  688. her artful ways
  689. the way her parents encourage her art
  690. Samuel
  691. his mature way
  692. how he likes working with his hands
  693. his ability to work hard
  694. his creativity
  695. Isaiah
  696. his spunk
  697. his love for others
  698. his soft heart
  699. his fun grin
  700. his joy at living
  701. Faith
  702. the friendship we have
  703. how she sees so seriously
  704. her desire to be a help
  705. the person she´s going to grow up to be
  706. Mercy
  707. her craziness
  708. how she enjoys life
  709. her jump in feet first personality
  710. how she likes the outdoors
  711. the mischievousness in her eyes
  712. Roy
  713. his sweetness
  714. how he gets included
  715. the way he explains things
  716. his soft heart
  717. his excitement for life
  718. Marian
  719. her adorable
  720. the way she tells stories
  721. how she acts so grown up, but so little at the same time
  722. all the times she made me laugh
  723. her big sisterish actions
  724. Naomi
  725. that she´s such a happy child
  726. her pleasant personality
  727. her cuddles
  728. her contentment in life
  729. her being in the family
  730. Noah
  731. that he was born
  732. that he has his whole life ahead of him
  733. that God has a plan for his life
  734. that he´s got a good name
  735. Tim
  736. his helpfulness
  737. his love for his family
  738. his love for God
  739. his sense of adventure
  740. Meagan
  741. how she´s a good mom
  742. how she cares for others
  743. her steady way
  744. her patience with her children
  745. Kenzie
  746. how shés such a Howe
  747. her sweetness
  748. her love for others
  749. her outgoing personality
  750. Titus
  751. his kindness
  752. his sweet heart
  753. the way he feels deeply
  754. how he will help others in life
  755. Emma
  756. how she relates to others
  757. her quiet personality
  758. how she balances out others in her family
  759. how spunky and creative she is
  760. her thoughtful way
  761. Lucas
  762. how he´s so cute
  763. his place in our family
  764. the plans God has for him
  765. all he´s learning
  766. Logan
  767. that he went out West with me
  768. that this year his dreams came true
  769. his generosity
  770. his way of loving well
  771. him sharing his house with people
  772. the friendships he has
  773. how he´s learning and growing
  774. that he moved my camper
  775. Whit
  776. that I get a new sister
  777. that shés so kind
  778. how much we all already like her
  779. that shés going to fit into our family so well
  780. David
  781. how much help he always is
  782. that he winterized my camper
  783. his help around the house
  784. that when I need help I know I can call him first
  785. his knowledge
  786. his love for others
  787. how good of a dad he is
  788. how cute he and Sarah are together
  789. Sarah
  790. that I get to have her in my life
  791. our FaceTime coffee chats
  792. that we can stay close even while we live far away
  793. how we can share with each other
  794. that she can come visit me, and I can visit her
  795. how creative she is
  796. how pretty her art is
  797. that even as an adult and busy mom she hasn´t lost her curiosity and wonder
  798. Clara
  799. how kind and sweet she is
  800. her loving personality
  801. how smart she is
  802. how she cares so well for others
  803. how amazing she is at being a big sister
  804. the way she notices and helps
  805. Katey
  806. how she´s grown so much
  807. her observations
  808. the way she puts her thoughts into words
  809. that she likes books and quietness
  810. how content she is to do her own thing quietly
  811. what Ive been able to learn by watching her
  812. Helena
  813. that we only live two hours away from each other now
  814. that even though we are both busy we make it a point to stay in each other’s lives
  815. that she loves well
  816. that she´s living her life and digging roots deep
  817. all the influence she´s had on my life
  818. that she finds joy in little things
  819. Joshua
  820. his generous nature
  821. the way he takes care of his wife
  822. his steadying presence
  823. his eagerness to be a part of the family activities
  824. his kindness and thoughtfulness
  825. Moses
  826. that he´s my buddy
  827. all I´ve gotten to learn from him
  828. how he seeks God´s wisdom
  829. all he does for others
  830. how kind and sweet he is
  831. how he´s such a hard worker
  832. how dedicated he is to his school
  833. the cool things he tells me about
  834. playing games with him
  835. him adding so much to my life
  836. Mom
  837. how shés willing to do so much to help her family
  838. all the caring she´s done over the years
  839. that she´s doing so well after her wreck last year
  840. the huge help she was with me buying a house and moving
  841. how supportive she is
  842. her shopping for household stuff for me and with me
  843. her knowledge of sewing
  844. how she raised us kids
  845. having coffee with her
  846. all the good memories I have of growing up
  847. Dad
  848. the way he´s taught all of us to be generous
  849. how he´s played such a huge part in all of our lives
  850. how good he is at quality time
  851. how he´s helped us live our dreams
  852. that he gives such good advice
  853. how he loves God
  854. how he teaches each of us to have relationship with God
  855. the value both my parents put on spending time reading the Bible and praying daily
  856. how my parents have invested so much in my health
  857. Hosanna
  858. getting to video chat with Hosanna
  859. how well Hosanna knows me
  860. Hosanna making me laugh
  861. the way Hosanna and I relate to each other
  862. her job with children
  863. how well she knows how to take care of babies
  864. all the growing up we´ve done together
  865. Melody
  866. the way she makes my life better whenever I see her
  867. that I can be included in her life
  868. that we´ve known each other for so long
  869. all the inside jokes we girls have
  870. all we´ve experienced together
  871. Phil
  872. the way he´s not afraid to be real
  873. his accents
  874. his way of helping others grow
  875. how he wants to grow
  876. his steadiness at being a friend
  877. James
  878. Dorcas
  879. Daniel
  880. Ben
  881. him helping me have a credit score
  882. him always being so supportive and excited about life changes
  883. the way his life is changing and flourishing
  884. Nate
  885. Leanne
  886. Steve
  887. Uncle Zane
  888. Aunt Denise
  889. Zane
  890. Zack
  891. Alexa
  892. Zach
  893. Jackson
  894. Aubrey
  895. how we can work on goals together
  896. how we´ve helped each other stay focused in life
  897. the creativity we share
  898. how both our lives have changed a lot
  899. That we can support each other as we chase our dreams
  900. that we have dreams
  901. that we live in a country where we can have dreams
  902. that goal setting is something we both have in our nature
  903. Zeb
  904. Zeke
  905. Katey
  906. Zion
  907. Annie
  908. Abbie
  909. Uncle Matt
  910. Aunt Lori
  911. Megan
  912. Liz
  913. Olivia
  914. Uncle Chet
  915. Aunt Becca
  916. Jesse
  917. Susie
  918. Uncle Nick
  919. Aunt Angie
  920. Isaiah
  921. Isaac
  922. Inika
  923. Ilijah
  924. Uncle Dan
  925. Aunt Cindy
  926. Uncle Dean
  927. Nathan
  928. Eleonore
  929. all the years with Grandpa
  930. that Grandpa isn´t suffering any more
  931. that we all got a chance to say goodbye to Grandpa last year
  932. rolling hills
  933. woods
  934. streams
  935. oceans
  936. rivers
  937. National Parks
  938. glaciers
  939. Alaska and how I still want to go there some day
  940. Papa Skunk
  941. that he can be in the hospital
  942. that he´s getting better
  943. that he has people caring for him and people praying
  944. Mama Skunk
  945. how well she´s feeling
  946. that I can be here with her
  947. that she is trusting in God and not letting things pull her down
  948. that she loves so well
  949. that her life makes a difference
  950. how Papa and Mama do so much for me
  951. Pastor
  952. Miss Laurie
  953. Nicole
  954. Jamie
  955. Joshua
  956. Bell
  957. Dave and Becky
  958. Sophie
  959. Natalie
  960. Shayla
  961. Heidi
  962. Dakota
  963. Brook
  964. Taylor
  965. Lily
  966. Connor
  967. RJ
  968. all my children´s church children
  969. Garrett
  970. Kilmney
  971. Raquel
  972. Daniel
  973. Sophie
  974. Chapman´s Coffee House
  975. getting to work there for a day
  976. How much I get to walk at my current job
  977. how I get to know so many people at my job
  978. the interactions I get to have with my coworkers
  979. how I get to meet people from all over the world
  980. the way we get to share God´s truth with people from so many backgrounds
  981. How good of a leader Roger is
  982. that I can work directly for Roger
  983. that Roger really cares about the people at the Museum and wants to help them live life well
  984. the balance Roger provides
  985. Cayle
  986. nicknames
  987. that I get to work with Alex
  988. how Alex does such a good job in growing each of us
  989. the leadership qualities I’ve learned from Alex
  990. the way our team has grown so close this year
  991. the friendships I’ve developed while working
  992. how time goes so fast at work
  993. the books I’ve read this year
  994. that I can still review books, despite how much my life has changed
  995. Biblical fiction
  996. Connilyn Cossette
  997. Roseanna M. White
  998. Stephanie Morrill
  999. Sarah Loudin Thomas
  1000. learning from other people’s perspectives
  1001. finding out about my personality and how I can harness the good and change the bad
  1002. that I don’t have to go house hunting
  1003. that God provided the perfect house for me so I never had to go house hunting
  1004. how God’s timing work
  1005. That God puts people in my life at the right time
  1006. that I can be a blessing to others because of the gifts God has given me
  1007. That I can drive
  1008. that I now know how to drive through traffic
  1009. Youtube
  1010. Instagram
  1011. what I’ve been able to learn online
  1012. the Youtube videos I made this year and how fun they were
  1013. that I get to learn and grow each day
  1014. log cabins
  1015. brick houses
  1016. good roads to travel on
  1017. living in this era, even though the olden days would have been cool
  1018. how good this year has been despite everything
  1019. that my friendship with the Carlson’s and Rebeccah has florished
  1020. Bible Study
  1021. the Bible Study girls
  1022. Kayla and Connor asking me to be their flower girl
  1023. Connor and Kayla getting married soon
  1024. huggers
  1025. getting huggers as gifts
  1026. Homer
  1027. Amelia
  1028. Emily
  1029. Novel
  1030. that I had pets growing up
  1031. that I have such good memories of my childhood (not only are they happy, but also that they’re clear)
  1032. for adventures – little though they may be
  1033. driving around to look at barns
  1034. learning to understand people
  1035. that crazy though I am, I still have people who understand me

A Gilded Lady

It’s Saturday. Normally my “Saturday” is any random day during the week since I work a lot of weekend days at my job, but this week I really DO have Saturday off.

I started off the day languidly – I spent the night at a friend’s house, woke up around 7:00, listened to a devotional with her then headed back to my camper. After having my own devotions (and trying to warm up my 32 degree camper) I cleaned my camper, made plans with my sister, and then sat down to blog.

What does your Saturday look like?

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 368
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: June 2, 2020
Title: A Gilded Lady
Fiction

ABOUT THE BOOK

Caroline Delacroix is at the pinnacle of Washington high society in her role as secretary to the first lady of the United States. But beneath the facade of her beauty, glamorous wardrobe, and dazzling personality, she’s hiding a terrible secret. If she cannot untangle a web of foreign espionage, her brother will face execution for treason. 

Nathaniel Trask is the newly appointed head of the president’s Secret Service team. He is immediately suspicious of Caroline despite his overwhelming attraction to her quick wit and undeniable charm. Desperate to keep the president protected, Nathaniel must battle to keep his focus fully on his job as the threat to the president rises. 

Amid the glamorous pageantry of Gilded Age Washington, DC, Caroline and Nathaniel will face adventure, danger, and heartbreak in a race against time that will span the continent and the depth of human emotion.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

I read this book back in March and promptly forgot that I had received it for review. (I get a lot of ebooks from library apps like Overdrive and Hoopla, and thought this was one of those books.) I realized recently that A Gilded Lady was for review, so I get to treat y’all with my thoughts regarding this story which makes me happy because I enjoyed it immensely. 

History is something I’ve always found fascinating, but I have huge gaps in what periods of history I’m familiar with. Obviously, I studied President McKinley at some point during school, but it wasn’t until I started reading this story that I realized how little I knew about his life. In fact, other than the fact that he was president, I couldn’t have told you anything else. 

As usual, while reading a historical fiction book I didn’t do any research regarding the period of history because I didn’t want spoilers. Therefore, I was basically on the edge of my seat at times, trying to figure out what was going to happen next and how everything would end. I was caught off guard a lot with this book. If you’re familiar with the president (like I should have been) then you know the basics of the story, but if you’re not, then there are several plot twists that I didn’t see coming. The book was fantastic, the plot moved along at the perfect pace, the characters were fleshed-out, and the writing was superb. 

Generally, I have a pretty good memory for what annoyed me in a book, even months after reading it. But, in this case, I don’t recall anything negative. I know I didn’t like the main character very much because I felt like she went about solving her problem in the wrong way, but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book because the character was still so complex and multi-layered and captivating. 

Learning about Ida McKinley was exceedingly interesting. I had no clue that one of our First Ladies had such a personality, and reading about all the ways the main character covered for her to help keep everything running smoothly was both funny and eye-opening. 

Having the main male character be the head of the Secret Service – right when the Secret Service was beginning – was so cool. I learned so much while reading from his perspective. I also enjoyed him as a character and could relate to him a lot more than I could to the main female character. 

This book was so engaging and interesting that as soon as I finished it I read the first book in the series (this is the second). The third book doesn’t release until early in 2021, but I’m looking forward to reading it when it comes out.  

CONCLUSION

Since it’s been a while since I read this book I don’t remember if it had any questionable content, but as far as the story and writing goes I enjoyed it a lot. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s one of my next re-reads. 

RATING

I’m giving A Gilded Lady 4 out of 5 stars. NetGalley gave me an ebook copy so I could review it for y’all. I wasn’t required to provide a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone. Thanks, NetGalley!

The Ability to Control

It’s 6:03 and I have three of the four burners on my stove powering on high – because that’s what happens when you aren’t quite sure how long to cook things in your crockpot and the split pea and rice soup you made last night and intended to share today turns to a syurpy goop.

Yesterday was a cool, gray, autumn day – the kind of day that is perfect for curling up with a book and hot drink. Or, in my case to run around in the drizzle taking umbrellas to guests who were caught in the wetness at the museum where I work.

At one point I was standing by the gate under a big umbrella when a couple of teenage kids walked up. The boy and I engaged in a moment of conversation about the weather and he commented about how wet he was. Then as he walked past me I saw that the backpack he was wearing had a sports drink in the mesh pocket. The drink was on it’s side and the lid must not have been on correctly because it was gushing liquid down his back. I quickly called his attention to the fact, and he was completely surprised as he remedied the situation. The amusing part of the whole situation is that I don’t think he realized – even after closing the lid – that the drink was all over his back.

The interaction stayed with me all day. The boy and I had been talking about how wet it was – referring to the rain, something neither of us could control. Yet in reality, the main reason the boy was getting soaked with due to something completely within his power to stop.

And it made me wonder how often do I do that? How often do I simply write something off as being natural and not within my ability to influence when I really could have a say in the matter? So much of what we do is driven by habits we subconsciously have put in place in our lives. What could I be changing to make my life better, more impactful, more in-line with who God created me to be?

The boy yesterday couldn’t see his drink spilling all over his back, but from my perspective it was so obvious. What am I missing because I’m not asking other people to share their perspective and wisdom with me? What am I allowing in my life because I’m set in my ways and not open to changing?

In Proverbs 11:14 it says that In a multitude of counselors there is safety. I want to make sure that my life is characterized by allowing other people to let me know where I need to learn and grow. I want to be the kind of person who not only responds humbly when corrected, but who actually goes and asks for feedback from people who know me best, or work with me often.

It’s 6:21 now and the lunch on my stove has finished cooking. I have a couple sips of coffee left, my house in need of a two minute straightening, and then I’m off to work. Have a blessed day, y’all!

A Portrait of Loyalty {a fantastic end to a series}

People! YAY! I get to share another book review with y’all – but unlike the last few where I felt slightly lackadaisical, this book is a for-sure winner for me.

This is the third book in The Codebreaker Series, and if you feel inclined you can read the reviews for the first two books here and here. (I really like this series, just so you know.) If you’ve read any of these books – or the Shadows Over London series – you should let me know in the comments so we can chat!

And now, for the review:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 384
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: September 8, 2020
Title: A Portrait of Loyalty
Fiction

ABOUT THE BOOK

Zivon Marin was one of Russia’s top cryptographers until the October Revolution tore apart his world. Forced to flee to England after speaking out against Lenin, Zivon is driven by a growing anger and determined to offer his services to the Brits. But never far from his mind is his brother, whom Zivon fears died in the train crash that separated them.

Lily Blackwell sees the world best through the lens of a camera and possesses unsurpassed skill when it comes to retouching and re-creating photographs. With her father’s connections in propaganda, she’s recruited to the intelligence division, even though her mother would disapprove if she ever found out.

After Captain Blackwell invites Zivon to dinner one evening, a friendship blooms between him and Lily that soon takes over their hearts. But both have secrets they’re unwilling to share, and neither is entirely sure they can trust the other. When Zivon’s loyalties are called into question, proving him honest is about more than one couple’s future dreams–it becomes a matter of ending the war.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

This is the third and final book in the series, so I went into it with excitement as I’d been awaiting the story for a long time. I’m pretty picky with my series endings, and they quite often disappoint me, so I was a little bit nervous to pick up the book and dive in. Recently I’ve not been in a readerly mood, so most of the books I’ve read in the last few months have fallen short of my expectations, so I was also a little worried. 

Then I started reading. And, Roseanna M. White did it again – she wrote a book that was delightful, fully immersive, had complex characters, and a plot that kept me wanting to read. 

Due to life being really busy I had to read the book throughout a couple of weeks, but it’s the kind of story I could have easily swallowed in one sitting. Every time I picked the book up I was sucked back into the story, eagerly anticipating what would happen next. 

Although the storyline was very interesting, it wasn’t exceedingly fast, which means I was able to get to know the characters and really delve into the time period, instead of just wanting to flip pages as fast as possible. The plot covered the topic of propaganda and (essentially) photoshopping photographs which is something I didn’t realize was happening back during the first World War. That was interesting to read about, and the author did a great job explaining it in an easy-to-understand way that also just blended into the story. 

The characters were ones I enjoyed reading about. I especially enjoyed watching Lily (the main female character) and her sister, Ivy, interacting. I’m one of five sisters and reading a book that correctly portrays a good sister relationship makes me happy. Their bond was so deep and even amid war, they were able to find joy and laughter together. 

While we get to watch Lily and her sister’s relationship, we also get that with Zivon (the main male character) and his brother. (Which is funny because I didn’t realize until just now how the stories parallel each other.) Zivon spends a good portion of the book trying to find his brother – who he’s not even sure is still alive – and we get to see how much he loves his brother.  

Another side of this book was getting to read from the point-of-view of two not-so-great characters. We got to know them a lot better than we normally get to see this author’s “villains” and I enjoyed that and the character arc that they went through. 

CONCLUSION

I liked it a whole lot. I lent the book to a friend literally as soon as I finished it so that she can read it and I can have someone to discuss the story with. 

You’ll get more out of the story if you read the series in order, but I do think this book could be a standalone if you wanted to read it that way. 

RATING

I’m giving A Portrait of Loyalty 4.5 out of 5 stars. I received a complimentary copy A Portrait of Loyalty from the publishers. I was not required to provide a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone. Thank you to the author and publisher for sending me this book!

Shifting Shadows

Reading nonfiction is something I find to be very important in my life. This year, even when I took a break from most of my reading, I’ve still picked up a nonfiction book nearly every day and spent a couple of minutes learning from the pages.

This is my most recent nonfiction read. It was interesting, opening my eyes to a world that I’m very unfamiliar with.

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 256
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: May 5, 2020
Title: Shifting Shadows
Nonfiction

ABOUT THE BOOK

Herman Mendoza built his kingdom in Queens, New York. He made a fortune selling cocaine with his brothers up and down the Eastern Seaboard. He had apartments around the city for his mistresses and a home in the Poconos for his beautiful nuclear family. But when he and his brothers were busted in a large-scale crackdown, his kingdom crumbled. Ready to kill himself rather than live behind bars, Herman instead came face-to-face with the all-consuming love of God. He would never be the same.

Today, Herman shares his story at every opportunity, knowing that it may play a part in someone else’s journey into a relationship with Jesus. An engaging and fast-paced read, Shifting Shadows offers hope to those in despair, and shows all of us the lengths to which God will go to bring a troubled soul home. Also available in Spanish as Sombras cambiantes.

About the Author

Herman Mendoza (www.hermanmendoza.com) speaks nationally and internationally more than 100 times a year on college campuses, in churches, at Christian conferences, and in prisons–with his ministry spanning four continents. He is an associate pastor at Promise Ministries International and is the director of Powerhouse Kids Ministry in New York City. Mendoza lives on Long Island in New York with his wife, Alexandra. Their three children, Samantha, Adam, and Penelope, share in their ministry.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

The author did a great job of telling about his life without making it seem glamorous or going into too much detail. I appreciate the balance that he struck, and how I got a clear view of where he came from and the enormous change that took place in his life, but without getting bogged down in the lifestyle he lived. 

I really felt like I got to know the author. He didn’t try and make his life look good or justify what he did and how horrible of a human he was. He got involved with drugs and gangs when he was just a kid, and his life spiraled out of control from there. From juvie, to eventually becoming a big-time New York drug lord, and then finally finding God while in prison, his story kept my interest and made me want to know what would happen next. 

This book was a good reminder that God is at work all over the world and in various situations and that no one is too far past God’s love and forgiveness. It was also encouraging to see how the author allowed God to totally change and redeem his life. It was obvious that the author and his brother were a fantastic team, and to see them go from being drug lords together to serving God in prison together was neat. The author’s story was inspiring and a good reminder to not stop praying for people, even when it feels hopeless. 

CONCLUSION

This book talks a lot about bad things – violence, drugs, unfaithfulness, alcohol, crime, running from the police, etc… But it does so in a way that is vague and doesn’t glorify that lifestyle. 

RATING

I’m giving Shifting Shadows 3 out of 5 stars. Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for sending me this book to review on my blog.

A Mosaic of Wings

This year I haven’t done well with keeping up with the books I choose to review for publishers. I have a pile of them that I received this spring and summer and was so excited about, but then….but then life happened.

Right around the time this book arrived, I moved back to Kentucky, started working again (but with a lot of regulations), my health dipped, my grandfather died, and I didn’t hardly read for several months.

But now I’ve finally I found some balance in my world and here I am with another review. Enjoy!

THE STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 368
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: May 5, 2020
Title: A Mosaic of Wings
Fiction

ABOUT THE BOOK

It’s 1885, and all Nora Shipley wants, now that she’s graduating from Cornell University as valedictorian of the entomology program, is to follow in her late father’s footsteps by getting her master’s degree and taking over the scientific journal he started. The only way to uphold her father’s legacy is to win a scholarship, so she joins a research expedition in Kodaikanal, India, to prove herself in the field.

India isn’t what she expects, though, and neither is the rival classmate who accompanies her, Owen Epps. As her preconceptions of India–and of Owen–fall away, she finds both far more captivating than she expected. Forced by the expedition leader to stay at camp and illustrate exotic butterflies the men of the team find without her, Nora befriends Sita, a young Indian girl who has been dedicated to a goddess against her will. 

In this spellbinding new land, Nora is soon faced with impossible choices–between saving Sita and saving her career, and between what she’s always thought she wanted and the man she’s come to love.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

The title and cover of the book do a good job of conveying what the story is about – a languid and flitting story that delves deep into the minute details and focuses on the little things.

If the story was a song, it would be a piano instrumental piece. If the story was a painting, it would be a sun-dappled peaceful stream scene. If the story was a day, it would be a Sunday afternoon right in the heart of Summer.

Nothing was wrong with this book, but it wasn’t what I was in the mood for during this time in my life, which is unfortunate. Therefore, I’m going to go for the three pros and three cons approach for this review.

Three Pros:

  1. The book explored a subject that I don’t know a lot about, and I’ve only read one other author who delves into the world of entomology (the study of insects) in her stories. The book was well-researched and the characters stayed very true to what I would imagine an entomologist to be like. I was impressed by the level of detail the author went into without making the book boring
  2. The main characters were varied and well-written. I liked Owen a lot – he was sweet, kind, and I could imagine having a friend like him in real life. Although I didn’t like Nora (more about that in the cons section) she still was well-written, had a good character arc, and had many details making her feel complete
  3. The setting was beautiful – every time I read I felt like I was out in the wilderness. I could nearly feel the heat, and watch the bugs, and reach out to touch the butterflies. This book was filled with nature and that was peaceful

Three Cons:

  1. Nora, the main character, wasn’t someone I liked. I know this is completely subjective, but I couldn’t relate to her and – sadly – found her annoying. Except in regard to one person, she always had to have her own way. She was headstrong and rude. I get why she was that way. And she was well written. I just didn’t like her
  2. The writing was too flowery for my tastes. Some people would really like the style, just not me. There were also a lot of similes and metaphors that didn’t completely make sense to me
  3. I really liked Owen, the main male character, but there were times when the way Nora related to him bothered me. It felt like she was too focused on how he looked, and little romantic scenes would be thrown in at times that didn’t make sense
Snippets From the Story

These were sentences I marked as I was reading because I felt like they did a good job of showing the pace and writing style of the book:

She felt the languid pace of her new home seep into her pores and thicken her blood so that it traveled through her veins as unhurried as the Indian people who lived life without any clocks.

Page 133 of Mosaic of Wings

They studied the ponderous movements of a green beetle and watched a brilliant blue flycatcher eat a dragonfly and tripped over moss-covered rocks that made stepping-stones across transparent creeks.

Page 144 of Mosaic of Wings

Dryness filled her mouth, and her heart – which had spent the previous six years sheltered beneath barely-there veneer of phlegmatic constraint – twisted so violently, she though the pain must rival being stung by a thousand ants.

Page 154 of Mosaic of Wings

The trail wended up Mount Nebo, and soon they stood overlooking the mist-enshrouded trees surrounding Kodaikanal. The waxing moon, pregnant with the desire for completion, poured its ghostly light over the houses trailing down the hill.

Page 258 of Mosaic of Wings
CONCLUSION

I didn’t have anything morally wrong with the contents of this book, except there was a feminist bend to the story that I don’t agree with.

There are, however, a few things that are dealt with in the book that wouldn’t be suitable for young readers.

(Spoilers Below)

The book talks about child prostitution and abuse in the Indian temples (it doesn’t go into detail). The main character’s father dies before the story and she deals with that throughout the whole book. The main character has a hostile and manipulative relationship with her step-father. There are a few mentions of gambling, a child born out of wedlock, a suicide (mentioned, no details), and a few scenes with slight violence. There are also multiple times that the two main characters sneak out to look at bugs together in the middle of the night.

RATING

I’m giving Mosaic of Wings 3 out of 5 stars. I’m thankful to Bethany House Publishers for sending me this book to review.

When a Book is So Good You Review It Twice

Before I called You Mine was one of those books that I went into without a lot of expectations. I read and reviewed it in February, and although I only gave the book 3.5 out of 5 stars, I’ve thought about the book on a weekly, and sometimes daily basis. And that means something has to change.

In this case, my rating is what’s changing, and it’s changing to 4.5 stars. Why not a solid 5? Well, there were still aspects of the story that annoyed me, but that’s totally a preference thing – not something the author did wrong. And therefore, for this review, we’ll be focusing on the parts that I did like.

And yes, you heard that correctly – I’m writing a second “review” for the book. The book meant so much to me and I enjoyed the e-copy so much that I requested the physical copy from the publisher so I could take pictures and share them with you and talk about the book again. To make the review unique, I’m going to go completely from memory, rather than going back and referring to the book as I often do while writing reviews. If you want to get my just-finished-reading-thoughts, check out my earlier review here.

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THE STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 368
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: March 31, 2020
Title: Before I Called You Mine
Fiction

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In a nutshell, this book is about a woman – Lauren – who’s dream in life has always been to be a mom – something I can very much relate to. The problem for Lauren is that although she wants to get married, it’s not happening, and therefore her dream of having kids isn’t happening either. So she decides to adopt.

Throughout the story, we follow Lauren as she walks through the journey of adoption. Lauren is well-written and I felt through her so intensely as she experienced her joys and heartaches. She works as a teacher and surrounds herself with children, pouring all of her love into them as she awaits having a child of her own.

Lauren has a chaotic relationship with her family and the way she did – and didn’t – interact with them made her feel so much more real, layered, flawed, and relatable. There’s also a fair portion of the book designated to a romance, but that’s not the part that stuck out to me in the story, so we won’t go into that today.

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I was completely unsurprised to find out that the author has adopted a child of her own, because I’m not sure how else the book could have been so well written. The story felt real, with highs and lows and a kaleidoscope of feelings. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to adopt, but it’s something I’ve been praying about, and a lot more since I read this book.

If you’re interested in adoption, then this is a book you should pick up and read. Well done, Nicole Deese! (And thank you, Bethany House Publishers, for sending me a copy to review.)

And Then She Began Reading Again

I rarely get my computer out any more. It sits in my cupboard alongside my clothes and languishes. Okay, maybe that’s being a bit dramatic, but you get my point.

I also barely read these days. That, I suppose, is a matter of perspective, but I went through June and July without finishing more than a handful of books. My grandpa died in June, and while it wasn’t unexpected, it was emotional and exhausting. I spent the ensuing couple of months not being overly dedicated to my goals or trying to accomplish much other than work, quality family time, and rest.

But now. Now I’m ready to get back into the saddle and begin getting back on track with life. One of my goals for this week is to read for an hour and fifteen minutes each day. This is because I got into the habit of watching Youtube when I got home from work instead of reading or learning. And while the stuff I watch on Youtube isn’t bad – and is even helpful in some instances, it isn’t the way I prefer to spend my time because while it can be good, it can also be a huge waste of time.

So, that huge introduction is to catch you up on my life and let you know that I finally finished a book to review for y’all. It’s a small book, but due to the above circumstances took me a long time to read. And now, my friends, the review…

THE STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 187
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: June 16, 2020
Title: Healing Family Relationships
Nonfiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Every family is hurting, and the wounds that come from our relatives can be deeper than all others. Conflict within a family can range from daily frictions and annoyances to rage and hatred and eventually estrangement. We want things to be different but have no idea where to start.

After 25 years of ministering to families, Rob Rienow believes reconciliation is at the heart of the gospel–reconciliation with God and one another. You will come away with specific steps you can take in your relationships with your family members to pursue peace and healing in your homes. Each chapter includes key biblical examples as well as present-day stories of families who have experienced God’s help and healing–including the author’s own miraculous healing of his relationship with his father.

Our families can bring out the best, as well as the worst, in all of us. May this book guide you in making your home and family a blessing in a broken world.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

I’m actually exceedingly blessed to have super good relationships in my family – something for which I’m very thankful and don’t take lightly. Still, this book looked interesting and of course, I can always learn something new.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

Is it dramatic to say this book is small but mighty? Because that’s the way I felt about it. The first couple of chapters had me kinda nodding my head, but not sure what I thought about it. The author had some good points, but since he’s a new author to me, I had to develop some rapport with him before I felt like I could really get on board with what he was saying.

I’m not sure where that point in the book happened, but partway through the 187 pages, I found myself eager to pick up the book and learn more. The author does a great job of finding balance between using the Bible, examples from his own family, and examples from people who he’s known, in order to produce a solid book.

One of the big things I look for while reading nonfiction is how practical a book is – if a book makes good points, but has no practical application, then what’s the point? Also, as a relational person, I don’t like books that seem impersonal. The author covered both these facets really well. I felt like I was actually getting to know the author and learned a lot from his life as I read. He wove his story throughout the chapters, drawing me in and making me feel the pain he experienced, and ultimately the joy when things went well.

This book is one I consider to be simple. It’s not a hard read. It’s not got huge words and a vocabulary that will make you pull out your dictionary. And, while I do enjoy books that stretch my understanding with large words, for the purpose of this book having one that was easy to read and understand was important and a good choice.

CONCLUSION

There were a few small things that I didn’t agree with the emphasis that he put on it, but overall I really appreciated this book and the author’s point of view and stance. He brought up several things that I feel are really important and most people skip over in life. (Like praying through generational issues.)

This is a book I would recommend to people who are struggling with family relationships.

RATING

I’m giving Healing Family Relationships 4 out of 5 stars. Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a copy of the book so I could tell y’all about it.

The Ideal vs. The Ambassador

In nine minutes I’m supposed to be out the door and on my way to work. My breakfast is cooking on the stove, my shoes on sitting by the door, and I’m perched at my table tapping away at the keys as I sip coffee.

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This spring I read a book that talked about how sometimes we can make idols of our ideal selves – we know who we want to be, and if we don’t hit that elusive dreamed-of-person we fall apart.

I think about that often.

There’s a Lydia that I see in my minds’ eye and I want everyone else to know that Lydia, too. It’s a driving force that keeps me going, working, and striving. And it’s not all bad. But like with most everything else, without balance it is bad.

Ever since reading the aforementioned book I’ve been working at giving my image to God, and working at showing His love, instead of running towards who I want people to think I am.

Quarantine was a good time for me to realize that I’m not nearly as good of a person as I thought I was. When my world went inside-out and upside-down I turned into a grumpy person which was rather horrifying since I consistently consider myself a joyful, happy, positive person.

This morning as I sat down with my Bible and prayer journal I prayed as I often do that God would use me to be His hands and feet – to share His love with the people around me. Because now more than ever I realize that if I’m working on perfecting my ideal Lydia instead of seeking to glorify God, that it’s a waste of time.

My ideal Lydia is a pretty cool person, but the real God I serve is so much better. And so today, as I head to work, it’s with the hope and prayer that I can be an ambassador of His love.

That Thing Called Growth

As it turns out, I like summer a lot more than I thought I did.

Summer has always been my least favorite season – mostly due to the heat. It took me twenty-seven summers to figure out that my real probably was just not getting outside early enough in the morning. Sure, I heard plenty of people talking about how wonderful summer mornings could be, and I would concur. Yet, we were talking about two different things. They were talking about five and six am, and I was talking about seven and eight am – and as it turns out in the summer those two hours can make a vast difference.

Appreciating summer mornings isn’t the only place where I’ve experienced monumental shifts in thinking. Apparently, I do a superb job of forming an opinion and then sticking by it until someone challenges my presupposition.

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For instance, I had a co-worker last year who kinda just got on my nerves. There were various reasons for this – justified reasons, I might add. So, I pretty much just went through my days of working with this co-worker being nice, but not reaching out more than necessary.

Then one time I was talking to a manager who I really respect and he kindly mentioned that said co-worker really just needed someone to draw them in and make them part of the team. I took his words to heart, repented of not showing love like I should have, and changed my attitude towards the co-worker. Instead of allowing myself to be annoyed, I began searching for my co-worker’s positive traits – and wouldn’t you know, there were a lot of them. Before long that co-worker and I were friends and instead of half-dreading working with them, I began to look forward to the shifts we shared.

Growth is happening everywhere.

It’s easy to miss it. Easy to not see the little sprouts poking their heads up in the herb bed. Easy to miss the changes in a friend or family member. Easy to put my head down and charge forward. Focused. Forceful. Full-speed.

But that’s not who I want to be. I want to see the growth. I want to experience the growth. Growing is an important part of life and learning to let go of my old presuppositions and opinions isn’t always easy, but it is rewarding.

Today I thankful for the reminder that change is good. Growth is good.

Have a wonderful day, y’all!

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. {Philippians 1:6}