Sisters of Bethlehem Springs Series Review

14 Feb

I’m excited to be sharing this series by Robin Lee Hatcher with you guys today. I know I promised this review to you way back in December but it’s finally here! And it’s definitely worth the wait. Trust me. I actually heard about this series from my aunt who found it at her local library.

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A Vote of Confidence, When Gwen Arlington complains about the mayoral candidate for their small town of Bethlehem Springs, she is encouraged to run for office herself. Although she’s unsure about upsetting her cozy life as a piano teacher and writing for the local newspaper, she decides to go for it. Unknown to her, newcomer Morgan Mckinley also decides to run for mayor. The health spa that he’s trying to build has stalled and he’s decided that being mayor will help cut through all the red tape. As both Gwen and Morgan try to prove that they are the best candidate for the job, not only to the residents of the town but to each other, sparks fly. But Gwen’s fiercely protected independence and Morgan’s guarded heart may just keep them as adversaries instead of allies.

Fit to Be Tied,  Cleo Arlington isn’t your typical young woman. She can rope, ride and wrangle a horse with the best of the outfit on her father’s ranch. But in 1916, those qualities aren’t what men are looking for in a wife. Her dreams of being married and having a family of her own look grim. So when Sherwood Statham comes to their ranch, she has a hard time with his uppity attitude. This English aristocrat isn’t there in Idaho by choice, but by order of his father. Cleo and Sherwood’s every encounter leaves one or the other mad as all get out. There’s no way he’s the one she’s been waiting  for, is there?

A Matter of Character, Writing dime novels isn’t what people expect of an heiress, so Daphne Mckinley keeps her hobby to herself. But the stories are a hit and the readers keep asking for more. Daphne eagerly obliges, continuing the saga of her villian Rawhide Rick, who is loosely based off local lore. But when Joshua Crawford comes to town in search of the man who has slandered his grandfather’s good name, Daphne learns just how powerful words are. She also has to make a choice on using her gift and just what she wants her life to be.

 

This series was so much fun. I love the time period – starting in 1915 – and Hatcher describes just enough of the world that you can picture it without there being too much reminding. Know what I mean? (there really can be too much description in a book. . .) The main characters are great, although I have to admit to liking Daphne the most (although I do remember getting frustrated at her a few times…) but I suppose that’s no surprise as she’s a writer and I’m a writer.

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aren’t these covers just perfect?! I’m in love

Anyway, this series was SO much fun, my friends. I read them all so quickly and was sad when they were over! Faith was an aspect of each book, but not overly done. (there can also be too much preaching in books…)  There is something so fun about reading novels set in this time period – the newfangled contraptions of typewriters and automobiles. The dresses, gloves and hats. (happy sigh)

The twists and turns were great as well, keeping me in suspense as to just how each book would end. I highly recommend this series, from teens on up! This series is definitely on my re-read list (we all have one of those, don’t we?)

Also, I have reviewed another of Hatcher’s books, The Shepherd’s Voice. Go check it out! It’s also set in Idaho.

~Laura

 

Online Accounts I’ve been LOVING lately

7 Feb

I decided to share some of my favorite accounts from across the internet with you today. They are an assortment of crochet, writing, books, faith and the cutest little farm in a city that you’ll ever see. I hope you find something to brighten your day!

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Photo by Oleg Danylenko on Unsplash

Weed Em and Reap 

– a family farm in Arizona with the cutest (baby) goats, some chickens, pet pigs, yummy recipes and gardening.

A Bookish Baker

– her name says it all, she talks about books and baking. As well as creativity all around. She’s also got a youtube channel that I love.

Make and Do Crew

– CROCHET. Need I say more? They’ve got so many great patterns, you’ve got to check it out!

All About Ami 

– So many lovely crochet patterns – including amigurumi – that Stephanie creates. She also knits if that’s more your style!

Women Living Well

– Bible studies that you can join, or just do on your own; encouragement and resources. This is the home of Good Morning Girls.

Catherine Ryan Howard

– a writer and a reader, I love reading any posts Howard puts up. Her tagline for her blog is perfect, go check it out.

Ninja Writers

– There are SO many resources for writers here. She has helped me a lot these past years with learning to plot, build worlds, character development, etc.

The Wads

– this is my newest find, and it doesn’t fit with any of the others! Ha. She’s so fun to watch as she does store hauls, DIY projects and, my favorite, decluttering.

 

~Laura

January 2019 Book Reviews

31 Jan

I read so much this past month! Books of quite different styles as well. I didn’t make it to a few that I had planned on reading but that’s okay, they’ll be picked up next month (hopefully…)

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Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

 

The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope – Newly orphaned Peggy wishes she could ignore her father’s last request but honor bound, she makes her way to the family’s ancestral estate – and her eccentric uncle. Her welcome is hardly what she expected though, when her uncle drives away her only new acquaintance and is then ignored herself. But the estate isn’t lonely for Peggy as she finds out that it really is haunted. And her ancestors are eager to share their story, one of a centuries-old romance, spies and plots.

~This was such a fun read, and due to the fact that I read it while traveling, it was also a quick one! The storyline was unique and the characters – in both modern time and historical – were engaging.  I always enjoy a book that can pull off 2 different eras. It would be great even for preteens. It is absolutely a book I’m going to be reading again.

 The Dragon Reborn -Wheel of Time series book #3 by Robert Jordan – Rand al’Thor is left to his own devices to learn how to control the One Power, knowing only that he will eventually face the Dark One. Perrin Aybara is on the hunt with Moraine Sedai, Lan and Loial but is grappling with losing his own humanity. Elayne, Egwene and Nynaeve are on their way to Tar Valon, with a very sick Mat in tow, to tell the Amrylin that the Black Ajah is real but they’ve no idea that worse awaits them. None know that the greatest test is awaiting the Dragon Reborn in the Heart of the Stone.

~I’ve fallen more and more for Perrin you guys. His story just… intrigues me. And Loial. Mat’s storyline is also getting more interesting as well. The way Robert weaves so much information about so many people together is absolutely captivating. 

The Strange Case of Dr. Couney by Dawn Raffey – Saving doomed infants (premies) in incubators at Coney Island, alongside burlesque shows and sword swallowers, Martin Couney ignored the scorn of the medical community and accepted any baby brought to him. His love for every one of his tiny patients was evident, as he fought against the popularity of eugenics. At the end of his career, it’s estimated that he saved some seven thousand babies.

~ Raffey uses historical documentation, interviews and original reports to tell the story of this incredible carnival doctor. Some of the information on her search was a bit dry for me, I was after all, reading it for the story of Couney but overall I really enjoyed this book. Learning about the invention of incubators (something I’d never really given much thought to before) and how, for years while Couney was using them, hospitals didn’t. A very intriguing read about an incredible man.

Michelli Family Series by Kristen Heitzmann – series review coming in February!

Blood Moon Redemption by Judy DuCharme – When Tassie is told about the history of the blood moons, she brushes it off, focusing instead on her career and boyfriend. But her unbelief is threatened when she finds herself in the midst of terrifying worldwide turmoil, including a terrorist plot. Can she accept her destiny in the midst of these times and help save the country of her heritage?

~I was excited about the different/Jewish take on an end-times thriller. Plus the cover of the book is just stunning and let’s be honest, that affects us all probably more than it should… I ended up being discouraged quickly though. Part of it being that the writing style was distracting to me (I felt we were told the same thing repeatedly)- and I felt like the story could have been developed a lot more. I fell for a few of the characters -Tassie’s Dad for example. I was sad to realize that the Jewish aspect ended up feeling like it was a Christian take on Jewishness. While I did finish it, I ended it feeling unsatisfied and wishing that the author had really delved into the Jewish aspect (that which originally called to me about it) a lot more. I received this book free for my honest review from Ambassador International. 

The Princess by Lori Wick – Following the tradition of Pendarin, Prince Nikolai agrees to an arranged marriage with Shelby Parker. He’s still deeply in love with his late wife but knows he must move on. He doesn’t reckon on just how hard that will be though, even if Shelby is sweet, and steps easily into the role of Princess. She isn’t sure just what to think of Nikolai as he avoids her at home but is the perfect gentleman in public. Can they both find peace and love in this arranged marriage?

~I honestly am surprised that I haven’t reviewed this before! This is such a gem of a book. It’s sweet and romantic. I love reading this when I need an uplifting, easy read. The main character, Shelby, reminds me a little bit of Sophie from Sophie’s Heart. I fall for Nikolai every time I read it. As this is a Lori Wick, the men are ‘perfect even in their imperfections’ as I like to say, but I so appreciate the faith encouragement that I get from Wick’s books.

Good bye, Lover by Rachel Britz – For Honora Gallagher, her life is turned upside down when her father unexpectedly dies. The news of his death, and the unlikely requirement for her to inherit the estate, spreads across the country.

~I’d only read this once before, back in 2015 where I reviewed it here. Suffice it to say, you really should go check out my full review ( and the full synopsis)

 

Currently Reading:

Maire by Linda Windsor

Amish Peace by Suzanne Woods Fisher

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #2 by Theodora Goss

Dear Theo by Vincent Van Gogh (I’m making headway on this one!)

 

To Read:

Praying Through Lyme Disease by Rebecca Vandermark

Joyful: the Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee

Medical Medium’s Liver Detox by Anthony William

The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan (finally got it from the library!)

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King

 

I’ve got crazy long lists of books I’ve read and To-Read on Goodreads if you want to follow me! I’ve got a page on Facebook and Instagram if you’d like to follow me either place. I am much more active on IG than FB though.

~Laura

Health Update Dec 2018/Jan 2019

23 Jan

I don’t like writing these sometimes – although living the pain is obviously worse. Heh. Over the weeks I’d really slipped into ‘pure survival’ mode. Which for me, means I wasn’t doing any detoxing or anything to help diminish the pain except for my vitamins and clonidine. So, beginning of the new year, I have made it a point to do the extra detoxes and other things to try and get me out of this funk.

 

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Overall Health: I’ve taken some steps backward this past month and that is incredibly frustrating. Stomach issues and debilitating migraines and fibro flaring again.

Dec 20- drove to bend. Very tired after but did pretty well all day
Dec 21- fatigue and some fibro. Short nap in afternoon, fuzzy brain after
Dec 22- decent fatigue, but went shopping. 2 hr nap in afternoon, helped. Some fibro cramps in feet/ constant left calf cramping. Took 1/2 melatonin at night
Dec 24- didn’t sleep well last night. Achy all over – teeth, joints etc. So tired. Some migraine
Dec 27- drive home from bend. Didn’t crash much at all in evening
-Have been having painful twitches for a few weeks. Right eyelid twitching off and on. Fatigue strong but mostly not overwhelming.  
Dec  29- fatigue and some fibropain. Bad foot cramp last evening that took a while to wear off. 
Iron breath has returned, even though stomach feels fine. Didn’t take any pills/drops on Jan 1 to see if that helps like it did last time. 
Jan 2nd – vision loss and nuclear migraine in evening after feeling well all day. Day 25. 
Jan 3- recovery from last night. Fatigue and sore. 
Jan 7 – bad fatigue all day with minimal ability to focus. Migraine and fibropain kicked up bad in evening. BAD. E of C?
Jan 8 –  tired and achy but better so far. Went grocery shopping in am
Jan 17- IV day. Fatigue
Jan 18. – strong fatigue (probably from yesterday) started feeling strange in afternoon, kinda shaky and like I’d had caffeine or sugar. Stomach worse the later it got
Jan 19- stomach still upset. Not hungry in am

Migraine: Two nuclear migraines in the space of a week along with a few almost- nuclear ones. The daily ones have been responding to a combo of tylenol and aspirin better than clonidine lately (so strange).

Sleep:  I’m still getting about 7 hours with 2 or 3 wakings in the night. Most nights I am completely exhausted but have to wait til I can get the pain down to a decent level to go to bed.

Memory/Brain Fog: I’ve been struggling with words a lot lately. Brain fog has been a pretty frequent thing as well.

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Vision: I had two visual auras in the space of one week. Sigh.

TMJ:  It pops painfully frequently and aches so that my teeth hurt daily. The front of my neck has started hurting again as well. I really need to get in to my bodywork doctor soon.

Fatigue: sadly, this has increased once again and stayed strong. I have been resistant to naps lately, just having gotten so very tired of sleeping so long during the day. I’m sure this isn’t a good way to handle fatigue… It’s just been weighing me down every single day.

Fibromyalgia:  It’s increased a bit since last month. My left calf is still tense/self flexing throughout the day and cramping in my feet/calves. I’m glad that they haven’t started again in my hands/elbows though. Ice is still the current magic treatment – be it on my calves or neck. If I’m resting, I’ve got one on me.

Weight Loss: Oy. I was losing steadily and slowly and now it’s just to the point where I’m hoping I can start working out again so i don’t end up at the weight I was when I first started losing a year ago. Augh.

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Mood: I’m sad to report that this has been touch-and-go the last while. I’ve run out of Xiao Chai Hu Tang and haven’t replaced it. (the price is what’s stopping me but I’m going to have to break down and do it soon.)

Digestion: Not good. I have been struggling with iron breath and sometimes an upset stomach again. Cutting back the amount of pills I take has helped but it hasn’t taken care of the problem. I’m really not sure what’s going on – if it’s something I’m eating or what. But I go in to see my Dr. in a few weeks to talk about it.

~Laura

If you want to check out a post about pain keeping you up at night, The Dark before the Dawn is the one for you. Or check out Chronic Illness Silence to read about feeling like I often have a gag in my mouth about my health. This title says it all – Unexpected Side Effects of Chronic Pain.

Writing prompt : Hesitant Fate part 2

17 Jan

The first two sentences of this short story was a prompt that quickly took me back to another short story I wrote back in September. It fit so nicely into it, plus it was nice to add to Hesitant Fate, I hope you enjoy it.

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Photo by gbarkz on Unsplash

You think you were always meant to save us? That path was never meant for you.”  Tashe’s eyes gleamed in the dim light of the room, her passion filling the space.

The younger girl shrunk, confused and hurt, further into the blanket wrapped around me.  He’d brought her here and filled her head with lies? What purpose was she here for then? She longed to ask, but the venom in Tashe’s voice, in her eyes, forbid such openness.  She stalked back and forth, her long stride hindered by the small quarters their prisoner had been assigned all those long days ago.

Tashe stopped her pacing to look closer at the girl, her expression clearly communicating her disdain. ” If you for one minute think that you’re going to get out of this alive… I’ve got my own plans, here, girl. Don’t –” Tashe turned at the door opening. Her posture stiffened in surprise just as the prisoner’s sagged in relief.

The figure filled the door frame, shoulders broader than any of her brothers or uncles could claim. He was well past double her age but she felt that he was as trapped by circumstances as she was. His silence filled the room, just as Tashe’s passion and rage recently had. The two warriors were poised, ready for a move from the other. Authority demanded obedience and respect, something Tashe knew, so she stiffly bowed, keeping her head low while she waited for him to move from the door. She held her head high when she walked out though, and the girl knew she’d only been saved this day from the woman’s anger. She would return.

“She’ll come back for you. Perhaps worse than this day. Be prepared, Chara.” Surprised to hear her thoughts spoken aloud, the girl moved her eyes to his worry-lined face. “I keep you as safe as I can. But I cannot refuse her entry here.”

“She said she has her own plans.” Chara spoke softly, hesitantly. While she sensed something trustworthy in this man, she knew he was dangerous. He’d seemed more so that first night, when he loomed over her in her bedroom and bore her away from her home. She hadn’t fought then and she hadn’t since. His unspoken sorrow at his actions had kept her anger mostly at bay. For some reason, she wanted to help him. Even if she didn’t understand exactly what he wanted from her yet.

“Tashe always has her own plans. Connivings. Schemes.” He pulled on his beard as he looked down at her.

Surprise lifted her brows. “You know of them?” He curtly nodded and she couldn’t help but remember Tashe’s other venomous words “If you for one minute think that you’re going to get out of this alive…”  Chara shuddered, wondering how brave she could be.

“Come. Eat with us.” He put on his most convincing smile and held his hand out to her. The poor girl hadn’t accepted in all the time she’d been there but he wanted her to see that they weren’t monsters. That he wasn’t a monster.

Uncertainty warred within her, the same as it did every evening when he asked. But with Tashe’s words ringing in her ears, she wondered if it would be best to investigate exactly where she was, and maybe she’d learn something… Taking a deep breath, she released her hold of the blanket and put her hand in his.

She’d get out of this alive. She had to.

 

My Favorite Reads of 2018

12 Jan

I just love reading about what books people loved, so that I can add them to my To-Be-Read pile! We all know that list can never be too long, so here’s some great books to add to your own TBR!

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Series

Evie Blackwell Cold Case by Dee Henderson (somehow I only ever reviewed the second book. I’ll work on that problem this month!)

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Whispers on the Moor by Sarah E. Ladd (series review coming soon!)

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New Reads

The Finding of Jasper Holt by Grace Livingston Hill

Taken by Dee Henderson

As you Wish : Inconceivable Tales of the making of Princess Bride by Cary Elwes

The BFG by Roald Dahl

Truth be Told by Carol Cox

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

Amazing Grace : William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas

The Yellow Journalist by Miriam Michelson

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by AVI

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Rereads

Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Rose Daughter by Robin Mckinley

Sophie’s Heart by Lori Wick

Mara: Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis Mcgraw

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen

~Laura

 

Book Reviews – Dec 2018

5 Jan

So as I sat down to start this post, I always list all the books I read (thanks Goodreads, for making this easier than pounding my head on the desk trying to remember) and then go back and write the synopsis and my review of them. But as I started listing one after another, I couldn’t believe how much I’d read! So many books. I love it.

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Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Only the River Runs Free book 1 of Galway Chronicles by Bodie Thoene – set in Ireland in the 1830’s, the feelings were bitter between the English landlords and the Irish tenants. Laws intended to distance the Irish from their heritage tore at the already struggling people. Hope was a distant thing for many – except for one woman, called Mad Molly Fahey. She promises that a miracle is on it’s way to their small village.

~I have read this one since I was a teenager and still enjoy it. The story tugs at your heart and you end up wanting poor Molly to be understood, for Kate to release her anger and Joseph to find his redemption. I have one confession to make, I’ve only read the second book – no more of the series. I’m not sure why, but there it is. This book has a satisfying enough ending that while you do of course, want to know what else happens to the characters, it’s well done in that you can close the cover content. I do need to read the rest of the series one of these days though! 

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier – As the seventh child, and only daughter, of a disinterested father, Sorcha is protected and loved by her older brothers. But when their father remarries and is bewitched by his new wife, Sorcha’s life is plunged into uncertainty. The evil enchantress puts a spell on all of Sorcha’s brothers – one that only she can break. By keeping silent. To speak is to lose her brothers. But her task is made more difficult when she is kidnapped by the enemies of her father and taken overseas. When a tender love surprises her, she is torn between saving her brothers and grabbing hold of it.

~I love Marillier’s books. So, grabbing this one from the book store a few months ago was a no-brainer for me. I quickly dived into it and loved it. All the way til…. about halfway through. Now, I understand why this particular event was in the story. It created obstacles, fears, etc for Sorcha and others to deal with. It moved the plot forward. I suppose it was more in the way that it was handled  – described – that bothered me. Descriptive and blunt. Too blunt for my taste. I put the book down for days before I decided to finish reading it. (which I normally don’t do.) And aside from the mentions/memories of that event, and a few…. overtures that she was forced to deal with, the book was great. It could easily have been a new favorite. But. That portion of the story was just too blunt and awful for my taste. Sadly, I won’t be reading it again.

Sisters of Bethlehem Springs Series by Robin Lee Hatcher separate post here – check it out, it was a great series!

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen – I reviewed it here  a few years ago. Go check it out – it is a very good read! I grabbed it at a used book store recently and loved it just as much this time!

Mara : Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw – In order to gain freedom, the beautiful slave Mara, juggles the dangerous role of double spy to two arch enemies. Each are vying for contenders for the throne, intent on destroying the other. As she finds herself falling for one master, the charming and sly Lord Sheftu, she starts to want his plan of placing Thutmose III on the throne, to succeed. But her duplicity is revealed before she can bear her soul to Sheftu and soon, it’s not only Egypt’s fate that hangs in the balance, it is Mara’s very life.

~Mara’s daring and confidence are fun to watch as she navigates the different situations that her …position brings about. Reading a story set in ancient Egypt of political upheaval is unique and Sheftu is a delightful character. I probably read this one a few time a year (which makes me wonder how I haven’t reviewed it here on SGL before?!) Read it, I know you’ll love it. 

The Power of the Light: Eight Stories for Hanukkah by Isaac Bashevis Singer – The author shares a story for each night of Hanukkah – sweet stories of love triumphing, faith prevailing and miracles occurring.

~I immensely enjoyed these short stories. The pictures that went with each were charming as well.

The Art of Hanukkah by Nancy Berman -“A rich celebration of Hanukkah, featuring centuries of extraordinary art and artifacts… Menorahs, paintings, dreidels—all the wonderful elements of the celebration of Hanukkah from around the world and throughout the centuries have been brought together in this one marvelous book. Clear, insightful, and thought-provoking commentaries make this book a perfect complement to the holiday.” – from Goodreads

~Forgive my sharing what Goodreads had to say about it  but I just couldn’t figure out how to word this synopsis! This book is a treasure trove and I intend on buying it one day. The art and history was very interesting. 

Sophie’s Heart by Lori Wick – When Sophie arrives to keep house for Alec Riley and his kids, she isn’t all that sure what she’s getting into. Having come from Czechoslovakia as a language translator, she wonders if she’ll be content being a housekeeper. But the broken hearts of Alec and his children prove a worthy mission field.

~Ah, Lori Wick. A sweet story that I’ve read since I was a young teen, this book still encourages me to live out a day by day faith and trust in God. I enjoy the growth that you see in each of the Riley family, and in Sophie herself.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – If Ebenezer Scrooge could have cancelled Christmas, he would have. But on one cold Christmas Eve, he is visited by his late business partner, who warns him to change his ways before he too has the same fate. Scrooge is visited by three Spirits who show him what has been, what is, and what will be.

~ It has been years since I read this short book by Dickens. It is definitely going to have to be a yearly Christmas-time read for me.

 

Currently Reading:

The Strange Case of Dr. Couney by Dawn Raffey

The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope

The Dragon Reborn -Wheel of Time series book #3 by Robert Jordan

Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll

Dear Theo by Irving Stone

(finishing these last two are high on my priority list!)

Go check out My 2018 Year in Books  on Goodreads and add some great reads to your To-Read list!

To Read: 

Blood Moon Redemption by Judy DuCharme

Amish Peace by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Sons and Soldiers by Bruce Henderson

Secrets by Kristen Heitzmann

Goodbye, Lover by Rachel Britz

 

Books I’ve been thinking about:

Mrs. Mike by Benedict Freedman

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Eve Blackwell series by Dee Henderson

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

 

I have a Favorite Reads of 2018 planned for the next few weeks! Really, it was supposed to be up already (as was this one) but life (like nuclear migraines) happens and you’ve got to rearrange things.

~Laura

~What are you reading lately?~

Health Update Nov/Dec 2018

22 Dec

I really had to go back and check when I last shared a health update because it does not feel like it’s been a month already! These weeks have gone by so fast, and because of that, I have not kept very good track of how I’ve been doing. Eesh.

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Overall Health:  Fatigue and Fibro have both eased, even before my nutrient IV last week! In between the awful bouts of pain, I’ve had times of almost excess energy. Strange. And wonderful. I’ve been steadily adding my supplements/vitamins back in. Although I did realize that Resveratrol (2/day) causes upset stomach for me! Less than 24 hrs on it and I was having the same problems that I had a few months ago. I cut back to 1/day and am fine again. So. Shrug.

Nov 28- decent day, took 2 naps, 3hrs total. Fibro still flaring and fatigue pretty strong
Nov 29- started 21day workout challenge. 

Dec 11- IV today
Dec 14- a noticably better day overall. No clonidine till @ 10pm. Only slight fibro until later evening. Very tired all day and a little spacy but best day I’ve had in weeks probably
Dec 16- tired all day, oddly energetic late evening. Two clonidine for migraine. Minimal fibropain until evening, left calf cramped. Mood good.
Dec 17- energetic, a bit tired in am but worked out, cleaned bathrooms and juiced. Left calf still tight. Migraine kicked up in evening, very tired in evening

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Migraine: These are still daily – and pretty intense every day, but I feel like they are responding to treatment better lately.

 

Sleep:  I’m still getting just about 7 hours exactly with 2 or 3 wakings in the night. Most nights I am completely exhausted but have to wait til I can get the pain down to a decent level to go to bed. Sometimes my naps ruin going to bed at a halfway decent hour and other nights I’m still falling asleep on the couch at 9pm.

Memory/Brain Fog: After a full month on Turmeric instead of Neuroflam, I think it’s working – at the very least I haven’t noticed a big decrease in my memory. The only thing is that I have had a shorter attention span lately. I’m not sure if that has to do with this or just fatigue?

Vision: There hasn’t been any vision loss this month – huzzah! But I have had semi-frequent blurring.

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TMJ: This has stayed the same – I’m attributing it to the fact that I haven’t been to my bodywork doctor in about four months. It pops painfully most every day and aches so that my teeth hurt daily.

Fatigue: Thanks to getting regular IV’s again, while this is still strong, it isn’t quite so…overwhelming. Naps are a necessity almost every day, and often they are unexpected (read: I sit down to work on my book/blog/crochet project and suddenly I’m waking up two hours later)

Fibromyalgia: I’m happy to report that this has eased slightly. I think it’s because of the extra thing we added to my nutrient IV last time. (of course, I cannot remember what it was called, but it was specifically to see if it helped with inflammation in the joints/the awful aching) My left calf is still tense/self flexing throughout the day and I’ve been getting cramps in my feet/calves again. I’m glad that they haven’t started again in my hands/elbows though. Ice is still the current magic treatment – be it on my calves or neck. If I’m resting, I’ve got one on me.

Weight Loss: sort of?

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Mood: Even though I’m only taking 2 Xiao Chai Hu Tang a day (instead of my previous 4), this has stayed good.

Digestion: This has also been good (well, for me). BUT. As I said at the beginning of this post – I did realize that Resveratrol (2/day) causes upset stomach for me! Less than 24 hrs on it and I was having the same problems that I had a few months ago. I cut back to 1/day and am fine again. So. I’m glad that I realized it quickly.

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And that’s it for this month! I’m remaining hopeful that this coming year will be full of further improvements. So much so that even I can’t miss them. Heh. Happy Holidays and I’ll see you again next week with this month’s Book Reviews!

~Laura

P.S. Did you see this post – How Much More Will Chronic Illness Steal From Me? that I wrote on the emotional side of living with chronic illness? This one, Chronic Illness Silence, I wrote this time last year about how hard it is to share about what chronic illness sufferers go through. This one , The Dark Before the Dawn, is a late night conversation on pain.

P.P.S. For a more upbeat tone, go check out Hesitant Fate, just a short story I wrote from a writing prompt.

P.P.P.S. Watch next month for my Top Reads and Top Posts of 2018!

 

How much more will Chronic Illness steal from me?

11 Dec

As a girl, I never used to think about growing older. Oh I did in the sense of ‘what do I want to be when I grow up’ and that sort but I never thought past that. Who does when you’re twelve years old and running around barefoot with your pigtails slapping your shoulders?

But with the passage of time, my looking ahead has changed. As it does for everyone. Dreams shift with the wind-blown sand. Hopes are shattered like glass. Sunrises fill your eyes and heart with fire.

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Photo by Luis Galvez on Unsplash

Now, instead of career goals and adventures waiting in the future, I look past the busy years to the slow rocking of a chair on a porch. I picture myself sitting there, a blanket on my lap and a long braid down my shoulder. My eyes are dimmed but I can see well enough to read a favorite novel from time to time.

I think about myself, white-haired and worn out. And wonder. I wonder what will I have done in the intervening years?  Will I have struggled against this disease that whole time, being relegated to wishing and hoping but stuck fighting just to stay alive? Or will the miracle that I’ve been praying for, finally happen, and I am able to move forward. Move toward a dream. Or two. Or even three.

(like children. a small homestead. Living in Israel for a year. Having writing be my career.)

I will have lived a full life, whether I am chronically ill for the whole length of it, or if I am able to beat it to a large enough degree that I can DO. Do the things that I dream of doing. Do things that I haven’t even thought of.

But there’s a fear deep inside of me. A fear that I rarely acknowledge. For what’s the use of pulling something out for the light of day that you can’t do anything about? But here I am, dusting it off and showing it to you.

There’s a fear deep inside that even though I am fighting and will continue to fight, Lyme will have stolen so many years from me that it’ll be too little too late…All we have is this one life, we don’t get a do-over. Already it has taken 13 years – my whole adult life – how much more will it steal?

Will the old woman in the rocking chair have been there since she was in her thirties?

Will life continue to pass by in a sort of haze-  being a part of it but still very much on the outskirts? I am better able to commiserate with people my grandparents age, than with my own.

Deadlines at work and stress over obnoxious coworkers? I have to go back to almost ten years ago to be able to identify with that.

Trying to navigate parenting a young one? Thanks to my health, we haven’t even been able to try for any kids of our own.

Unable to remember that important thing and not sure which doctor to try next? That I understand and have recent experience with.

Are you trying to gauge which medication/supplement/treatment is helping or not? Yep, right there with you.

And while I can laugh about this reality, shoved deep down inside is that fear that it will never change. And if it never changes, how will I react to that fact? I have survived these past few years by simply not thinking about it – by focusing on the fact that I have made progress in healing. Obviously that’s not a bad thing, focusing on the positive. But I know that this fear that is hidden away is going to rear its ugly head eventually and completely. freeze. me. Like it’s done in the past. I know it will again.

Along with that fear is the realization that even while fighting Lyme,  I can still have a full life. I can still chase a few dreams and make wonderful memories. Just like I’ve been doing the past 13 years. I finished Culinary School. Traveled overseas and across country.  Fell in love. Married. Moved a few times. Gained new friends and nieces and nephews. Picked up an old hobby. Started and finished writing a novel. Etc, etc, etc.

So I share this fear of mine with you not as someone without hope. But as someone that is trying to acknowledge, and share, the hidden things, the secret things that go on in someone living with chronic illness. Just because there may be healing going on, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a basket full of fears and worries still waiting to be dealt with.

~Laura

 

How I did on Nanowrimo 2018

7 Dec

I wanted to share with you all just how I did during last month’s National Novel Writing Month – aka Nanowrimo. This was my fifth…sixth? year doing it and I’m eagerly looking forward to Camp Nano that comes in April and July.

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

By the 20th of November, I’d hit a whopping 4k odd words. Not the number I was hoping for but I’m trying to only be proud of it and not be disappointed. It’s a lot more words than I started this month with. I did get distracted and wrote 1k on a completely separate story so it’s been hard to pull myself away from that and back into the world of my novel.

The 25th- I’ve gotten 804 words down! It’s so unexpected because we drove home yesterday and I’m normally just so wiped out that my brain is mush.  Total word count now is 6,792!

The word count total on the 28th is 7845 – another 1,053 words down.

And that’s it folks, Nano ended without me reaching 25k, which was my goal instead of the normal 50k. I am planning on continuing with tracking my word count as it seems to really help me want to sit down and write. My struggle still seems to be balancing getting what needs done around the house and writing – in those times that I have physical energy and mental clarity. But that’s a long rabbit trail of a comment.

I am pleased that in the words I DID get written, I have managed to gain a slightly better understanding of the relationship between my MC and her aunt (it’s changing from how it was in the first draft), my MC’s changed goals/immediate dreams as well as who some of the side characters are at the outset of the story. Quite a lot of info gleamed from just 8k words.

~Laura

Did you do nanowrimo? I’d love to hear about it!

 

 

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