Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Sweet Life

 

The Sweet Life by Suzanne Woods Fisher is a delightful story about a summer in Cape Cod.

Dawn Dixon is a CPA at a Boston firm. She has her life all planned out. Working hard to make partner,  her wedding to Kevin on the horizon, and a one week honeymoon at Chatham Bars Inn. That is, until Kevin backs out of the wedding. Leaving Dawn broken hearted.

Marnie Dixon, Dawn's mother, is recently widowed. She has always been impulsive as opposed to Dawn's rigid planning. 

So what happens next? Kevin gives Dawn the failed honeymoon for her to use. There are no refunds, so Dawn decides to take her mother with her to Cape Cod. On a chance walk, Marnie finds the Main Street Creamery ice cream shop. All boarded up and in disrepair. Being a cancer survivor, Marnie sees this as a new start in her life. And this is where the fun and mess begins. 

Learning from their many mistakes, Dawn and Marnie move forward in their relationship. The story was well written, characters full and well developed.  I love that Ms. Fisher shares that some of the story reflects on her own experience.

 I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are my honest opinion.

Friday, May 20, 2022

At the end of your life, what will you regret?

 


 (source - Woman's World)
At the end of your life, what will you regret? What will really be important

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Unconditional love

I met her when I was first married. She was my husband's aunt and what one might call, a real pistol. She was inquisitive, and honest. Boldly honest.

I remember her driving up to my house, unannounced, knocking at the door, expecting entrance. As an overly shy young wife, I didn't answer. I don't know why I was so afraid, but her boldness put me at arms length.

She and her husband never had any children, but as the "great" aunt, she mothered all of her nieces and nephews. I can hardly remember a time when she did not light up a room she entered.

I lost my Mom when I was still in my twenties. Not having any siblings, it was a time that left me feeling very much alone. None of my friends had lost parents. Yet here I was, young and newly married, feeling a deep sense of loss in my life.

Five months after my Mom passed away, this aunt lost her own 91 year old mother. Her loss drew us together like a magnet.  Three years later, when her own husband died, she showed her resilience during her time of deep loss. The bond between us grew even more.

What started as visits and spending time together, grew into a deep loving relationship. She became the "adopted" mother to me, and when my children came along, she became their "adopted" grandmother.  She came to every family event. Never failed to send birthday and anniversary cards. We enjoyed going to lunch or just out for ice cream. Shopping excursions became a fun day. At Christmas, my kids would decorate her whole house. For twenty five years, she was a fixture in our lives.

As her health began to fail, it became necessary to move her into an assisted living facility. My children and I helped her downsize from her home to a little apartment. Then came the day when she could no longer live alone. A caregiver was hired to tend to her needs. Visits became more difficult.

When a stoke finally left her with little strength, it broke my heart to see her struggle. Dementia started creeping in. But she never forgot us. Her eyes would light up and a smile would shine on her face whenever we came to visit.

Through all the years, the one thing that radiated within her, was her unconditional love. It wasn't just with our family, she loved and cared for everyone that came within her radar. She took meals to lonely widows, even when she was a widow herself. She visited anyone who was sick. She was a party girl, and loved being included with family and friends. Everyone loved her as much as she loved them. At times she would tell me she didn't think she was very pretty. But in my eyes, she was beautiful. Her smile alone was like a ray of sunshine.

In all the years we shared together, I only heard her speak once of a person who had hurt her. But she never with held her love.

We don't always seek out close friendships with people older than our peers. But my life has been richer for having experienced this kindred spirit.  I learned so much from her and deeply miss our times together. She will be forever in my heart as an example of sharing unconditional love.


Monday, May 16, 2022

Life with boys

 Brothers, Kids, Family, Fun, Childhood


Thirty years ago, our last child was born. A boy. Ten years younger 
than our first born girl, and seven than our middle son.

Having two boys was a challenge for me. I grew up without a 
father, and having no brothers, was totally clueless about the 
nature of the male species. So when these little boys came into 
our family, I had no idea what I was in for.

pictures courte
sy of Pixabay Toddler, Child, Kid, Infant, Playing

Things start our small. Like climbing and making mud



















 pies in the sand box.

But before I knew it, things escalated.  

They go from this...
 Kid, Child, Young, Childhood, Happiness
 
...to this
As Children, River, Enjoy, Water

 and... 
Water Fight, Children, Water, Play

My memory serves me when my middle son decided that he would 
take his Dad's golf clubs and hit a few. His one mean stroke sailed 
through the air, and went right through my bedroom window. 

Yes, boys. They are a breed of their own. 
Boy, Playing, Leaves, Autumn, Child, Fun
 Fish, River, Boy, Water, Landscape

 Baseball, Runner, Scoring, Sliding

 Swimming, Children, Pool, Boys, Water


 Brothers, Boys, Boy, Play, Children

pictures courtesy of Pixabay 

But life sure would be dull without them.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Harvest Moon

 


Harvest Moon by Denise Hunter is the third book in the Riverbend series.

Laurel and Gavin divorced after losing their son. A painful path which tore them both apart. But after being named guardians for the daughter of their dear friends, they forge ahead and decide to work together to care for two year old Emma.

This was such an interesting story. So different than any of the others that I have read recently. Hunter writes such beautiful, some heart breaking stories. Her characters are well rounded and relatable. So many details that wrap up the essence of these relationships. Laurel's and Gavin's growing emotions, first built on the love of little Emma, was endearing as their romance blooms for the second time. I love the court room scene, which was dramatic and ended in a satisfying conclusion.  

I received a complimentary ebook copy from the publisher, through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Welcome to Pemberly

 


Do you love to read? Does a good book take you to a different 
place and time? I used to read a lot when I was young. 
Reading was a friend that I could take with me everywhere 
and absorb my mind with adventure.

In the last few years I have fallen in love with the stories of 
Jane Austen. I met the Bennett family when my daughter
brought home the 2005 video of Pride and Prejudice. What 
a story. I had to have more. So I bought the book. Not just 
the Pride and Prejudice book, but the whole collection of
Jane Austen works.
 
And then there are these links that just fuels the fire :-)

Republic of Pemberly
Jane Austen Today

And be sure to read this post - Elizabeth's Love for Darcy."

Miss Austen's life continues to remain surreptitious. Her 
sister burned all of her letters after Jane died. So we will 
never really know what was lying deep in her heart. But 
you can be sure, she knew about love, and the intricacies 
of a tangled web relationship that has survived through 
the years.

"Her thoughts were all fixed on that one spot of Pemberley
House, whichever it might be, where Mr. Darcy then was. 
She longed to know what at that moment was passing in 
his mind; in what manner he thought of her, and whether,
in defiance of every thing, she was still dear to him."

Enjoy your weekend! And take time to get lost in a 
good book :-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Swooning

As I checked out at one of my favorite thrift stores I noticed a box filled with music CD's placed on the counter. There are no sleeve covering, so I guess that is why they were giving them away. I could take up to 10 CD's, so I picked out some that I thought I might be familiar with.


I thought I would pop them into the CD player in the car and decide whether I would keep them or pass them on.

They sat on the kitchen counter, waiting patiently for me in a zippy bag, until one day I threw the bag into my purse and took them with me.

I popped them into the CD player one at a time. The first few were not very appealing to me, so I would fast forward them, and then pop it out and plug another one into the player. That is until this one that captured me.

I don't know what it was about the CD, but I was swooning. Maybe it was the old show tunes, or maybe it was just the rendition. My Mom always liked the music from the theater and movies. But when these started, I was lost.

"Climb Every Mountain" from the Sound of Music. " Oh What a Beautiful Morning" from Oklahoma. "Over the Rainbow" from Wizard of Oz. "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof. "The Impossible Dream" from Man of LaMancha. "You'll Never Walk Alone"........... I mean they just went on, and on.

The familiarity of the tunes wooed me. They were romantic stories set to music. It was such a pleasant ride, I was singing and swooning. I never did make it through the other 7 CD's!

Monday, May 9, 2022

Old chairs

 I love old chairs. There's just something about their charm and grace that's so inviting. Whenever I see an old chair in an antique shop or a thrift store, I want to bring it home with me. Of course that's just not possible. There should be a sign outside my house - "Home for wayward and lost chairs".


My daughter was making some changes in her room. She asked if I would swap a chair she had in her room for a smaller one in our living room. I thought it was a great idea, and in the process, we rearranged furniture in the living room.

I've fallen in love with this chair.

It is big, and comfy AND short :-) I'm not very tall, and sometimes my feet barely reach the floor when I sit in an easy chair. This chair has compassion for shorter people. It's old and bumpy, but it encompasses me with it's warm inviting arms. I can sit in this chair and read, or watch the butterflys outside.

I love sitting here, wrapped up in a good book and a cup of tea.


"Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort, of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away."
~ George Eliot

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Happy Mother's Day

 

INVISIBLE MOTHER

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store..

Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously, not.

No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.

I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated sum a cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going; she's going; she is
gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England.

Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling
pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.'

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe .. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To My Dear Friend, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.

These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam; He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it..' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place.

It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'you're going to love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right; And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Great Job, MOM!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YU0aNAHXP0

God bless you all. Happy Mothers Day

Friday, May 6, 2022

I love books!

 Antique Malls can be so diverse.  We sometimes find the most unique displays.

I'm afraid this booth took my breath away!


 Yes, I love books!  You just squeezed into this space. I could have stayed in this booth for days.

When I found the mysteries section, I made a search for something that would appease my need for a book!  And I found Agatha Christie!!
Five complete Hercule Poirot Novels in one volume!  For $4.  Couldn't pass this one up. What a great collection

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Paw prints on my heart

 Free stock photo of animal, dog, pet, focus

I was not going to cry!!

I went to the library to check out the audio of "Persuasion." However I discovered that it was already checked out!.

Bummer.....

 I found the CD's for "Marley and Me" by John Grogan and stepped into the check out line. As the librarian looked at what I had, she asked if I had read the book. I told her no, but had heard it was good. "You better get the tissues out, cause it will make you cry." Well before I even popped the first disc in, I told myself I would not cry. I mean it is a story about a dog..... I can handle that.

So for that whole week I enjoyed this story about a big yellow lab named Marley.  As I was putting the last disc in the CD player, I reassured myself, I was NOT going to cry.

So I listened. And then it came.... the tears.... big loppy tears. It was not so much the sadness of the story's ending, but the overwhelming memory of my own little puppy. Who turned into a big lovable Airedale dog!

She was my best friend. We had her before we had our children.

She was my buddy.

My friend.

Ten years and two children later, she left us. And oh..... what an ache in my heart. Even now as I think of her, the tears well up. How do we fall so in love with these critters and then they leave us!! My love for her was so deep that I have never been able to have another dog. I felt that I could not do it again. Their life is so short.

 John Grogan said it well. There are just some animals that you never forget. They have left their imprint on your heart.

"Flowers of true friendship never fade."

Monday, May 2, 2022

A little different direction

Because I am limited due to the break of my shoulder, I think I will take a little different direction for the month of May.  Hopefully I will be back on track by June. PT starts this week, so I will know better where my limitations lie.

                    ----------------------------------------------------------- 

I think I must be a romantic at heart.

I love to read old stories. I fell in love with the classics several years ago.

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice stole my heart. The love story between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy wrapped me up in their emotional interludes. Love/hate/misunderstandings/reconciliation/happy ending. How could I ask for more?

And then there was Emma,

the spoiled country girl who tried to be the matchmaker. Only to find that it was she who would lose in love. Ah! But there is also another happy ending.

Sense and Sensibility............

Two sisters, two loves, two broken hearts, two happy endings.  These books are so much more than the movies portray.

Jane Austen is not the only classic author I favor.

I recently listened to the "Little Women" CD's. I found this to be a most enjoyable book. With so many characters and story lines. Even though I have enjoyed the movies, the books have so much more depth.

And speaking of movies, a couple of years ago I watched "North and South" a PBS made for TV movie. I thought the production was good, and ventured to find the book. It was very elusive. But when I came across a paperback copy, I grabbed it.

I'm telling you, I was gripped by this story. The movie is nothing compared to the story of Margaret and Mr. Thornton. One reason I love to read these old classics, is that their emotions are written in such beautiful detail, and yet there is nothing unsavory.

Yep, I think I am a romantic at heart. Love the old classics. How about you?

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Springtime on the mantle

 I love to change the mantle to reflect the seasons.




Do you change your mantle?

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Tulips

 I have noticed several quilters posting Tulips on their blogs. I made this wall hanging several years ago and always enjoy it during spring.


I think it might have been a Debbie Mumm pattern.

Happy quilting and have a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

My weekend

 Over the weekend my hubby took me out to lunch and we visited a local Quilt shop.  All of our quilt shops have slowly been disappearing. But this little shop has managed to stay open.  They moved to a  smaller place in the same shopping center. I wanted to go in April because they offer a small discount in your birthday month. So even though one handed I wanted to take advantage.

They don't really have a very large selection of fabric, but the fabric they do carry is very nice.



And they have some funny items too.
My main goal was to get the fabric adhesive spray with my discount.
And of course I couldn't leave without a little bit of fabric :-)

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Words of Wisdom

 


Do not keep the alabaster boxes of your love and tenderness sealed up, until your friends are dead. Fill their lives with sweetness. Speak approving, cheering words while their ears can hear them and while their hearts can be thrilled and made happier by them. The kind things you mean to say when they are gone, say them before they go.
--George William Childs

Friday, April 22, 2022

In Honor's Defense

 


Wow! Karen Witemeyer certainly knows how to write an exciting novel.

Damaris Baxter receives word that her brother has died, leaving 14 year old Nate in her care. When she travels across the country to Texas she expects a sad but happy reunion. What she gets is an angry, wild boy bent on breaking all the rules.

Luke Davenport, one of Hanger's Horsemen, is called in to look into the rustling of Mr. Grimes cattle. Grimes is sure Nate has been a part of the thieving and Nate feels Grimes had something to do with his fathers death.

And so begins a most amazing adventure. I have enjoyed the other Horsemen stories, but this one has to be my favorite. Luke's past haunts him, but he clings to the scriptures the Captain encourages him to memorize. When he meets mild shy Damaris his whole world tips on its axis. A sweet romance ignites between them, as he feels led to protect Damaris and Nate. There is a very intense ending, which makes you want to keep reading to the end.

Witemeyer is such an outstanding author. Her stories are full of believable characters. Romance, drama, adventure, self forgiveness.  I have read many of Witemeyer's books and she never fails to bring an element of faith that is not preachy.  Just good story telling. 

I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in clean Christian historical romance. Beautifully written and inspiring.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Signs of Spring










I hope it is spring time wherever you are.
                                                       Saturday Sparks

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

The best present

This year has been off  to a rough start. Started out hurting my back. Then had a UTI!  When I went to the walk in for antibiotic, I'm sure I picked up Covid from the nurse or something there. Because three days later I came down with it. And now I'm dealing with broken bone in my shoulder. 

So when my birthday rolled around I was wallowing in a good case of "woe is me." No cards, no presents........... Just feeling sorry for myself.

Sunday I was not able to attend the Easter family gathering. I just moped around the house when my hubby and daughter went to the picnic.

But then you know what happened? People started texting me saying that they missed me and had been praying for my recovery :-)  It was such a good feeling that they cared enough to let me know. 

It was the best present that anyone could give.