Short Story Sharing – The Prayer

17 Jan
This isn’t the typical short story from a writing prompt post today. I wanted to share this prayer that I wrote the other night. I’d been doing some thinking throughout the day and this came to me as I sat in bed, thinking of how, if Christ was a flesh-and-blood friend of mine, how I would apologize for having neglected and ignored him. It’s so easy to text a friend and ask ‘how are you’  but how often do I sit, with a still heart and mind, and just talk with my Lord?  I don’t talk about my faith much here on SGL, but today, please indulge me. And if not, come back on Friday where i’ll have a list of the most popular posts of 2016!
shrtstryshringtheprayer
Cover me in your blanket of white
Wash me pure as the snow. 
Dispose of my transgressions and rid me of my stains. 
For I fall on my knees again, broken, bleeding, crying.
My heart lying on the floor at your feet, hopelessness surrounding me.
I beg for your mercy, yet know I am unworthy. My stains are scarlet, my anger toward you unwarranted, my rebellion unforgivable. 
The world I built for myself put you on a shelf, alone, away from me until I needed you. My treatment of you was callous and cruel.
And I’m ashamed at how easy it was.
So many distractions to keep my focus away from where it should have been. 
So many lies to fill my ears.
And now, here I am, a traitor to my king. A reprobate. Yet I come with tender hope that you will still love me.
So with tears streaming down, I ask you
Cover me in your blanket of white
Wash me pure as the snow
Dispose of my transgressions and rid me of my stains.
I beg for your forgiveness and promise to turn my feet ever toward you
Where you lead,
I will follow.
And when doubts assail me,
I will hold tighter to you
And trust you
And hide in you
Amen and amen
Thanks for stopping by SGL,
~Laura

Goals for 2017

13 Jan

You guys, this is just another sign that I’m a half-lame blogger. Two weeks in to January and I’m just now writing a goals post? Hanging my head in shame here folks.

goalsfor2017

 

My Big/Main GOALS:

~ get my first book published this yearwhether this means self-published or traditional, or a small publishing company (my preference!) 

~ Have my second book written in fullnow, since it took me three years to write the first one, I feel like this is a big goal for me but what with having the Ninja Writers and  the Plotting Workshop  (which I wouldn’t have either of these without Shaunta Grimes, so a big shout out to her!)  I feel like this is an attainable goal. 

~Lose weight/get healthier – this is honestly a tricky one for me and my Lyme disease/migraine body. I am hoping I will be able to lose the weight with the bacteria wreaking havoc, and that I will be able to beat the little suckers like my doctor thinks I will. 

My littler/baby step goals:

~Make writing a habit most every day  – I’m not going to push myself and say everyday because sometimes this worn-out body of mine demands a day (or more) of rest, which typically means flat on my back on the couch, but I digress. 

~Grow my blog traffic! – pretty basic one here. Grow SGL til it’s a real community!

~Start a book club on SGL – this is one that I probably won’t start til later on in the  year but it’s an idea that’s percolating!

~Read more books on Messianic Jewish living –  like Restoring the Jewishness of the Gospel

And, for kicks and giggles, a few monthly goals that I want to shoot for:

~Write a one-page letter to a new person – I was on Instagram earlier this week and saw someone was doing this as a daily thing. Now, I love and adore snail mail (sending and receiving) so I’m taking his idea and making it fit what I can do. One letter a month. Now I have a reason to stock up on stationary. (that might have been a motivator all by itself)

~Try a new recipe – time to try all those recipes I’ve been pinning!

~ Watch or read a documentary/biography I’ve had Under Our Skin in the to-watch list on Amazon for months now. I’ve been wanting to read A Chance to Die,  My Life in France and Three Cups of Tea

And now, because I just can’t resist sharing a few photos of the big snowstorm this week:

 

I’m thinking of compiling a 2017 TO-READ BOOK LIST, what with my goal of reading 52 books again this year!

~Laura

What’s your goal(s) for 2017? Share them in the comments, I’d love to hear them!

Book Review – The Unfolding Heart

10 Jan

Happy Tuesday!

Now, I have read and loved this book many times since I first was introduced to it (I  believe it was my great-aunt’s) as a teen. The characters are believable and sweet- I always want to live around these folks and be a part of their lives! I like that Grote brings up the laws that were in place about marriage – a woman could own land but once she got married, it transferred to the husband (who has better business sense). Coughcough. So glad that laws like that were changed.

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Anyway, like I said, I appreciate it when an author brings up a different part of Victorian life. And using this one as a reason that Millicent isn’t looking to get married, I like it. I simply like it. Anyway, before I go on, here’s the synopsis:

The Unfolding Heart by Joann A. Grote,

As a headstrong, independent woman, Millicent Strong is certain she doesn’t need either a man, or God in her life. She’s sure of her path and convictions until she goes to her brother’s wedding in the West and meets the kind-hearted minister, Adam Conrad. Their mutual interest is strong but her lack of faith – and unwillingness to leave the comforts of civilization for the West,  threaten their love. (Love Song, 1997)

Faith. Love. Hospitality. Forgiveness. Trusting God.  That’s what this book is about, in a sweet love story. I highly recommend this, for young teens up.

Have you ever read this book? What’s your favorite sweet romance story?

~Laura 

 

Short Story Sharing – Tea for Two

6 Jan

It’s time for a short story again! I decided to try and write something a little different than I normally do  (it’s so much easier to write happy things, isn’t it?) , but it still isn’t what I was originally thinking it would be. It’s interesting how the writer isn’t really the one in charge of the story. I hope you enjoy anyway.

Prompt: write about a conversation that’s had over a cup of tea. Is it sinister? Devastating news? Meeting someone they’ve longed to?

shrtstoryteafortwo

The small table had been set to the nines. The tiered serving plates were filled with tea sandwiches, cookies and truffles. A small bouquet lent its color and fragrance while the china boasted its fine craftsmanship. Golden spoons rested on white napkins. Teacups sat atop their saucers, and the small teapot sat full of golden liquid, steam rising from the spout. Nothing had been overlooked for this tete a tete. The old man stepped back to survey his handiwork and a crooked smile covered his face. Pleased with his results, he took off the flowered apron and hung it gently on its hook. Noticing that his visitor was due to arrive any minute, he shuffled down the hall to the bedroom to change his shirt.

At the chiming of the bell, he made his way to the front door to welcome the young woman who stood impatiently on the other side. She paused when she saw the table, set so elaborately, that he had to encourage her to sit down while he served.  He could tell she was nervous, but he didn’t comment, he simply poured the tea and motioned toward the tower of treats within easy reach. Her long fingers plucked a truffle off the plate and nibbled it.

“These are delicious.” Her comment came without thought, the taste so surprised her that she momentarily forgot her vow of stubborn silence.

The old man bobbed his head, “I’m glad you like them. There’s a little chocolate shop around the corner. We’ll have to go, next time.”

At that, the young woman’s smile disappeared. “I don’t think so.”

“We don’t have to. I’m happy to get some more. It’s one of my favorite places to -”

“No. I mean. I mean, there won’t be a next time, George.”

The words, so softly spoken, still pierced his heart so sharp that he hunched over and all his spirit seemed to leave him.

“He doesn’t like you coming, does he.”

Despite her decision to be brave, a tear slid down her cheek as she shook her head. “He only let me come to tell you I won’t be back.”

George nodded and sighed heavily, his shoulders rising and falling slowly. “I can’t very well blame him. Well, let’s enjoy this time we have then.” With a visible show of effort, he raised himself up again and picked up his teacup, holding it out in a toast, “To times to be remembered, to people to be embraced and to love, that knows nothing of jealousy or hate.”

In that moment, the young woman realized how much she hadn’t seen before, in her past visits to this small house, the visits where she’d sat quietly, letting him tell her about his life and long-dead wife. He’d ask her questions and she’d give him the tiniest details in return, not really sure she wanted him in her life. But now, as it was all coming to an end she realized that the man who lived in it, the man that she’d never get to know fully as her father – was the richest man in town.

Have you had a fancy tea laid out for you? I’d love to hear about it! Have a happy weekend!

~Laura

 

 

Health Update – Dec 2016

3 Jan

Hello again lovely readers! I really need to start keeping better notes on how I’ve been. A full month in between is hard to keep track of. Because, right now, I’m liable to say ‘I’ve felt awful this month’. But the truth is probably a little more of ‘ I took some steps backward in health but I had some really good days and have gotten better in this or that area.’ But, without really good notes, I just don’t remember. So. Goal for this coming month is to sit and write a bi-weekly account of how I’m doing.

For a quick report from my migraine app – Migraine Buddy –   Average duration was 43 hrs. Average sleep a night was 7 hrs. 57% happened on weekdays, 43% weekends. Average pain level was 8 , high was 9 and low 6. My top Auras were fatigue/achiness, tingling near eye(s) and weakness. My top 3 triggers were neck pain, too much activity and pre cycle. Top 3 symptoms were neck pain, fatigue and jaw pain. Frequent start positions were temples, eyes and neck. Reliefs that seem to work consistently are : clonidine, oils, belladonna/pulsatilla and heat pad.

So, things have changed a little – duration has gone down a little, they are more evenly spaced during the week/weekends, average pain has gone up, and the auras/triggers/symptoms changed one item.

 

fightinglymemigraines

Overall Health: Better than November – sort of.  As of the last few days I’ve been feeling more like myself than I have all month.

Treatment: I’m still taking two Xiao Chai Hu Tang a day. I have added in one Ashwagandha a day. I started – and had to stop- taking Banderol as the the side effects (major fatigue) were just too bad. The Chaste Tree Berry daily seems to be helping my calf cramps. As I run out of vitamins/supplements, I am going to see if I notice not being on them. Excepting EHB, Ashwandha and a few others. I need to add in iron and butterbur to my regime.

Migraines:  These things have been brutal this month. BRUTAL. I’m pretty sure I told my mom I was dying last monday. That was a migraine like I haven’t had in a long while. Severe to the maximum. I don’t think they’ve gotten better since last month. they might really have taken a turn for the worse. But, the activity that naturally follows the holidays might have something to do with that.

Digestion and TMJ : While my digestion has been better than it was last month, it is still rather…touchy. I’m starting to juice again regularly – I’m going to mix it up and incorporate veggies that are high in iron ( spinach, beet, beet greens, etc) , otherwise the juice is kale, cucumber, celery, carrots, lemon, ginger and apple. Jaw pain goes away faster but is popping like nobody’s business whenever it wants to

Sleep:  The biggest change this past month is probably that I quit taking melatonin every night. I noticed I was sleeping the same length – and waking up the same amount of times –  without it. I’m glad to have one less pill every day. My app says I’m getting about 7 hrs of sleep, and I kid you not, I can predict within a half hour of when I’ll wake up in the morning from when I go to bed. Apparently my internal wake-clock works really well.

My app says I’ve been getting about 7 hours a night but I certainly don’t feel like it! I am still waking up 2-3 times a night to go to the bathroom, and sometimes can’t go back to sleep the last time. I’ve been taking a lot of long naps lately – but still am exhausted by late evening.

Memory/Brain fog:  I feel like my memory has been slipping again. Joy oh joy. I’ve added brain fog into this category because I feel like it’s something that I forget to mention – having had it so long it’s just a part of life now. The fog was heavy most days of Dec, it would lift for part of the day but it doesn’t ever lift completely- especially in a group of people, it kind of covers me like a cloak when there’s a lot of noises buzzing around me.

I did get in to my dr. for a quick acupuncture last week. I found out my results for my nutrient test that I took before Christmas. I’m low in iron, Vitamin A and Vitamin D3  (which reminds me I’m supposed to up the dosage I’ve been taking). It seems like my body is sensitive to almost everything I take to get kill the infections. Sigh. There is always going to be some herxing   but when it’s severe – it’s not fun to have to keep trying new treatments only to have to go off because of what they do to you. But, we keep on keeping on. My dream is to be as healthy as possible (for me) by the end of the year. Which also means, losing some weight. So, I’m going to start working out (in my living room) tomorrow morning. Hopefully three times a week. Combine that with eating healthy and juicing lots, I am hoping to see improvements in my joint pain/cramps, digestion and some weight loss! Here’s to renewed motivation despite chronic pain and fatigue. Lyme disease, I will kick your butt.

~Laura

p.s. that link about herxing is on a site that has a LOT of great articles about Lyme.

p.p.s. this is a great article about Inflammation and Lyme Disease 

 

 

Book Review – Dec. 2016

30 Dec

Folks, it’s almost a new year! 2017 is looming upon us! As such, this is the last book review of 2016 and I’m hoping it’s well worth the read. I have some small goals for SGL for next year, one of them being updating the Ultimate Book List page into something a little more manageable. Wish me luck and don’t forget to light your Hanukkiah – this is the 6th night of Hanukkah!

bkrvwdec2016

 

The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler- In a clear voice, Vogler shares the relationship between writing and mythology. This book has quickly become a classic, with three editions being wildly successful.

~I got this book from the library as part of The Plotting Workshop that I’m (slowly) doing. It’s gotten put on a bit of hold as the holidays have arrived but I’m hoping to pick it back up soon! What I’ve read has been really good and I’m wishing I had started taking notes from the very beginning.

Lyme Disease: Why it’s spreading, how it makes you sick and what to do about it by Alan G. Barbour M.D. – Lyme disease is now a common disease spreading across the U.S. but still the debate about it – its causes, symptoms and treatment – rage. If not properly treated, the disease can have debilitating and chronic effects. Barbour is an expert on Lyme and shares how to avoid being bit by a tick in the first place, and what to do once you suspect you do have Lyme. He shares cases of people who have dealt with it in the past along with a list of sites and a glossary of terms which will help anyone susceptible, or already dealing with Lyme Disease.

~Honestly, I haven’t gotten more than a dozen pages into this book yet. It’s always so much easier to pick up a novel than this! 

‘Twas the Night Before by Jerry B. Jenkins – When opposites attract, neither knows the one thing that will tear them apart -Christmas! How will the hum-bug reporter and the ‘sunshine-sally’ teacher solve their dilemma?

~read my full review by clicking on the book’s title to know more than ‘it was good’ =)

A Victorian Christmas Cottage by Catherine Palmer – four lovely novellas set in Victorian times sure to keep you up at night!

~read my full review by clicking on the book’s title to know more than ‘it was good’ =)

Red Hugh prince of Donegal by Robert T. Reilly – A champion for Ireland against Queen Elizabeth in 1580’s and beyond, Red Hugh overcame many obstacles in order to free his beloved homeland of England’s rule. Kidnapping, imprisonment, escape, frostbite and more keep him away from home for many years. But his heart is full of Ireland, and so rises up against the English troops, and the evil Captain Leeds, in order to save his family’s castle.

~ I got this book from my sister-in-law  and am thoroughly enjoying it! I wasn’t sure really what to expect from it, as it is written for a younger audience but I’m finding it hard to put down. 

What have you read this month? 

~Laura

 

 

Book Review – Twas the Night Before

20 Dec

I told you guys I had holiday-themed books to review! It’s just so fun reading books that fit in whatever season you’re in. I will admit to you that Wildwood Dancing has been calling me as it starts in winter. Sigh. I’ve been holding off starting it as that’s all I want to do once I open its cover -READ! Perhaps that’ll be my reward for getting my manuscript off to a few beta readers come the beginning of the new year.

bkrvwtwasthenightbefore

Anyway, this book I have to review for you is a favorite. My dad got it for my mom and I several years ago.  And while the only other books I’ve read by Jerry B. Jenkins is the Left Behind series (years and years ago), I like his different style of writing. I found myself pausing quite often as I thought how I would have worded something versus what he did, and realizing how much I have to learn! (yipes!) But. It’s a delightful tale and let’s get on to it.

Twas the Night Before by Jerry B. Jenkins.

Noella and Tom are as opposite as they can be- but they are completely in love and plan to marry. As a cynical news reporter, Tom doesn’t care much about Christmas. So when Noella reveals what she really believes about Santa, it throws Tom for a loop. Certain it won’t work, the wedding is called off. But when Tom travels to Germany to research more about Father Christmas, his whole life is changed.

I just can’t gush enough about how much I enjoy this story. The characters are well rounded and the way that Jenkins tells their story is genius. The cynical news reporter and cheery teacher reminded me of a classic movie I watched a while back, Teacher’s Pet.

All in all, this is a great book to read every year as it leaves you smiling and is a read-in-one-afternoon type of book.

What’s your favorite Christmas read?

Thanks for coming by and don’t forget to come back later in the week for our monthly Book Review!

~Laura

My Top-15 Favorite books 2016

16 Dec

 

As I was writing one day, I had a brilliant (coughcough) idea. Why not make a list of my top favorite books that I’ve read this year and share them with you all? Of course, that meant choosing only 15. Not an easy task I assure you. Especially since I read 54 books this year!

top15books2016

These are in no particular order because that’s just taking things a little too far.

  1. City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell
  2. Time Enough for Drums by Ann Rinaldi
  3. The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen
  4. Little Britches by Ralph Moody
  5. Maire by Linda Windsor
  6. An Assembly Such as This by Pamela Aidan (and series)
  7. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  8. Tucker Mills Trilogy by Lori Wick
  9. Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  10. Happily Ever After by Susan May Warren
  11. Lord of the Ring series by J.R.R. Tolkien
  12. Everyday Life in the 1800s by Marc McCutcheon
  13. Lights of the Veil by Patty Metzer
  14. Rocky Mountain Memories series by Lori Wick
  15. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’engle

Okay, so I might have cheated by choosing whole series’..But I couldn’t help it. And it’s my blog, so I can get away with it!

If you want to check out the books I’ve read this year on Goodreads and how I did with my year’s challenge, check it out here! I did want to read more health-focused books, as well as more biographies this year but I’ll have to move that goal on to next year’s reading goals. Overall, there were only a few books that I really didn’t enjoy. Either that means that I am getting better at picking books, or my standards have fallen… Let’s go with the first option, I like that one better.

Thanks for stopping by SGL and I hope you take the time to look around,

Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas,

Laura

Book Review – A Victorian Christmas Cottage

14 Dec

I decided, since it’s Christmas season, why not review a few season-appropriate books?! I got this book from my mom’s bookshelf because, let’s face it, christmas books are appealing. And so, I bring you this collection of novellas, all set in Victorian times.

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A Victorian Christmas Cottage by Catherine Palmer, Debra White Smith, Jeri Odell and Peggy Stoks.

Now, you probably all know by now how I feel about short stories (never long enough, want more character development, etc) but each one of these stories was so good that I thoroughly enjoyed them! Plus, this happens to be one of my favorite time periods.

These novellas take you from England where a young widow finds strength in God and protection in an unexpected place, to San Francisco where a society beauty learns what is really important. Then on to a plantation in Georgia where coming home means learning forgiveness and healing. Last, we go to Minnesota where a wounded young woman is pursued by a very determined young man.

If I could give you full descriptions of each of these stories, I would. But that would give too much away! The way that faith was weaved into each one of these was masterful and has given me much to ponder about my own life. And that, as I was telling a friend of mine recently, is why I enjoying Christian romance. You get the sweet, romancy stuff as well as sound faith and living advice. I like that I get to come away with some morsels to chew on, long after the book is done.

So, SGL friends, for a fun, quick read I recommend you get a copy of these novellas.

Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas,

Laura

Short Story Sharing – The Book

9 Dec

Writing prompt : Write about the book she read until it fell apart

shortstorythebook

Riding the train to work everyday gives one lots of opportunities to observe people. I started watching one lady in particular – every day she’d sit down and pull out a small book. There were gold letters etched in the front but I was never close enough to read what it said. But every day she’d read until her stop. Diablo St.  She’d sigh and slip a bit of ribbon between the pages, still clutching the book as she  disappeared into the crowd on the platform.

The first day I saw her, the book was shiny and new. That’s about how I’d describe her too, come to think of it. She had a presence about her that gave off a warm glow, and the peace in her face drew me. More than once I thought about approaching her, but I feared scaring such a one as she.  And so, I watched as the years sped by. Day by day we’d ride the same train, and day by day I’d watch her faithfully read her little book.  I didn’t notice the changes in her and the book as life caught me up in its wandering, demanding way. Until one morning when I really looked at her, as I hadn’t in years.

The peace on her face was buried beneath wrinkles and worries. The welcoming glow barely burned for anyone to see. She seemed tattered and worn and I my heart ached. But then she pulled out her book.

As she’d done dozens of times. But this time, i noticed it.

It was old. Tattered. Worn. Creased.

What happened to your book?”   I was shocked to hear the words fly from my lips. Her head slowly lifted until her eyes met mine.  She gave me a quizzical look and I leaned forward in my seat , “It’s tattered and worn. Look, it’s about to fall apart. Can’t you get a new one?” 

The smile she gave me made me feel less like a fool that I was being and more like a kind benefactor. “There isn’t another one of these in all the world.”

I sighed in frustration, watching her slender fingers caress the book’s cover. And it seemed to me in that moment, that nothing else in the world mattered but that book. “Put it away then. It’ll get hurt.” 

“You have watched me read this book for years. Why do you now care about it? Her question was asked so gently that I chided myself for not caring earlier. Her eyes pulled me in in a way that I’d never felt before. I shrugged helplessly, not knowing what to say, or even if I’d be able to say it. It was like she’d gotten inside my brain, rendering me speechless. “You are the first person to care. Did you know that? No one else has talked to me these many years. But you, you watched and today you cared. Thank you. “

And then I watched her slip the bit of ribbon between the pages. She closed the book reverently and slowly offer it to me.

Touching that small book changed my life in a way I cannot explain. Something that had strove to be richer, smarter, faster finally broke and I cared nothing for those things. As I cradled it in my hands, I felt tears slide down my cheeks.

Thank you. I will treasure it always.” I felt a small pressure on my shoulder and then she was gone.

I opened the worn cover to the front page. Read the title and then reverently read it again.  Before I knew it, I’d missed my stop but I didn’t quit reading. I found that the words had life. Meaning. Purpose. And I found that the more I read, the more I yearned to read.  Eventually, I closed the book and rubbed my thumb over the worn cover. Unexpectedly, tears began to course down my cheeks once again. I tried to catch them before they further injured the book but one splashed on the torn corner. When I moved to rub it away, the corner was repaired. In surprise, I saw the book looked as good as new once again. The creases were gone. The binding was sturdy once again. I laughed delightedly and hugged it to my chest.

“Thank you. I will treasure it always.”

 

~Now, before you ask me what the book is, let me tell you right now. I don’t rightly know. That’s the funny thing about these word prompts, the words just come and even if I don’t understand quite what it is, I write it. Also, I don’t edit these overly much. Probably a mistake, I know. But I love just writing quick prompts to get my brain going and not worrying about editing. I’m doing enough of that on my novel!! I hope you enjoyed this and that it gave you something to smile, and possibly think, about for today.

Happy Friday and stay safe in this crazy weather!

~Laura

 

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