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Series Review – Timber Ridge Reflections

22 Jun

Hello friends! I have a quick series review for you today. You simply must check this series out. You Must!

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From a Distance – Eastern photographer Elizabeth Westbrook hopes that Colorado will prove to be a place where she can not only further her career, but also be cured of the illness that’s threatening her life. Loner Daniel Radcliffe only wants to protect his land but when he’s called on to repay a debt, his carefully guarded secret is threatened.

 

Beyond This Moment – The small Colorado town of Timber Ridge represents a chance for Dr. Molly Whitcomb to start over. But being a Professor in Romance Languages doesn’t prepare her for the new life she’s forced to invent. Sheriff James McPherson has always been able to read people – and he knows that Molly has a secret. But when he learns what it is, it threatens his position in the town and what he’s always known about himself.

 

Within My Heart – Rachel Boyd and her two sons struggle with running their ranch without their late husband and father. When her only recourse is to trust Dr. Rand Brookston, she balks at it. He is a doctor, just like her father was. Dr Brookston came to the Colorado Territory with a dream of opening a proper clinic but trust, and money, are both hard to come by.

 

While at the library one day, I stumbled upon this series and am so glad I did! It is now on my ‘favorite series’ and ‘favorite author’ lists. I adore historical fiction novels and Alexander does a fabulous job of describing the times just enough so that you’re engrossed in it but doesn’t overdo it to where you’re bogged down with descriptions. The plots of these three books were enjoyable and there was at least one point in each that I teared up. She throws surprises in that I did not see coming – which makes them even more fun! They are set in the late 1800’s, which is one of my favorite time periods.  The descriptions of the dresses made me long to actually see them. (And wear them!) 

I also liked that Elizabeth was working in a field that was still largely a male career ; that Molly’s story highlighted how different the expectations/ repercussions were for men and women; how Rachel fought to keep her ranch afloat despite the physical labor and frustrations. You continue to see/get to know the characters from the previous book and I love when authors do that. 

I highly recommend this series to anyone wanting a great series that has a message in each book! I can’t wait to read more by Tamera Alexander! 

~Laura

Have you read any books by Alexander? Who’s your favorite historical fiction author?

Writing Prompts: Character Creation (Georgia)

20 Jun

It’s time for another character development sheet! Once again, I’m using this one, like I did with Edward‘s. Today’s character is the main character:

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Georgia Fossit  – American – late 20’s – only child – from a wealthy/influential family

Optimist or Pessimist: Why? – Optimist  – she believes/sees the best in the world and in people

(If I add the backstory that I am thinking of (below) I don’t think she’d be such an optimist….)

Introvert or Extrovert: Why? – Extrovert , she loves being in the center of what’s going on as it keeps her from thinking

Drives and Motivations: excitement / adventure , trying to get rid of the restlessness inside

Talents:

Extremely skilled at: talking people round to her point of view?, fencing (with swords)

Extremely unskilled at: writing speeches, riding a bicycle,

Good Characteristics: determined, loyal

Character Flaws: a bit stuck up in the beginning, pampered

Mannerisms: uses her hands a lot (?), stands/walks very proper

Peculiarities: not married at her age/won’t marry for advantage,

Biggest Regret: losing Phillip, losing her way again after losing Phillip

Minor Regrets:

Biggest Accomplishments: does she meet one of the leaders of S.M.?

Minor Accomplishments:

Character’s darkest secret: what if she secretly married Phillip while in Europe all those years ago? did she have a baby and her parents made her get rid of it because of what it would do to their/her social standing? (which would then affect her biggest regret)

(I just had an eye-widening moment at this thought. Could add DEPTH to why she reverted back to her old life consumed with parties and such, because she couldn’t deal with it. could also help explain why she joins the S.M.)

Does anyone else know? Her parents.

If yes, did character tell them? they were a part of it.

If no, how did they find out?

 

I feel like I broke a level of ‘imagine the worst that could happen to your character. And then imagine the next worse’ or however that statement goes. Man. I feel bad for what I am thinking of adding to her backstory but it could work. It could really work.

~Laura

Book Review- Messianic Jewish Manifesto

13 Jun

It took such a long time for me to finish this book – two months I think? – but I am glad I did. It is a well-written book on the Messianic Jewish movement originally published in 1988. Clearly its contents are a bit dated but the majority of it is still viable. David H. Stern covers theology, ideology and program for Messianic Judaism.

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Messianic Jewish Manifesto

He shares a call to action for Messianic Jews and information for those who are against, for or unsure about where they stand.

He encourages us to push away the ‘either-or’ mentality and embrace being 100% both Jewish and Messianic.

He challenges those involved in this movement to fully catch its vision – to heal the breach between the church and the Jewish people.

I marked a few areas that really stood out to me :

“…Israel is called God’s son as far back as Exodus 4:22. The Messiah is presented as God’s son a few verses earlier in Mattiyahu 1:18-25, reflecting Tanakh passages such as Isaiah 9: 6-7, Psalm 2:7 and Proverbs 30:4. Thus the Son equals the son; the Messiah is equated with the nation of Israel. This is what Mattiyahu is hinting at by calling Yeshua’s flight to Egypt a “fulfillment” of Hosea 11:1.” page 107

 

“Unless we have the mind of God, our own dreamings and willings are mere strivings after wind.” page 190

 

“Holiness means doing everything in life in the fear of God and in obedience to his commands.” page 190

 

If you are wanting to learn more about the Messianic Jewish movement, I encourage you to read this book.

~Laura 

Monthly Goals: June 2017

7 Jun

Heeeellooooo doctor appointments and couch! Goodness, I feel like that’s most of what I did in May.

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Recap of Monthly Goals:

EDIT Amelia book til ready for a professional editor.  – Still in the midst of writing a longer, more detailed, makes-more-sense-to-the-story scene. I also had a brilliant light-bulb idea that I’m gonna add!!

Make writing a habit most every day –  nope

Grow SGL’s Traffic –  I’m actually gonna take this goal off for a while and change it back to ‘get on a regular posting schedule’ =)

Lose weight/get healthier – I’ve actually lost almost 2 lbs this month! That’s huge for me

Read more books on Jewish living –  I’ve finally finished Messianic Jewish Manifesto by David H. Stern. Come back for a review of it!

Write a letter to one person a month –nope

Try a new recipe – if you follow me on Instagram, you know about my new obsession – Creamy Chocolate Shake. (I’m drinking one right now in fact) This yummy shake hides healthy fats and vitamins. You’ve gotta try it! (just in case you’re curious, yes I’m still in love with smoothie bowls and have one every morning.

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OH made me a shake one day when I was in bad pain

Watch/Read a Documentary – I watched another Gordon Buchanan show, this one was Gorilla Family and Me. I also read Julia Child’s book “My Life in Paris” which was thoroughly enjoyable. (watch for a full review coming!)

Recap of May’s goals:

Edit the heck out of Amelia’s story  – just a few days

Be stricter on NO SUGAR and more veggies/juice – I’ve done Great on this one guys. I haven’t knowingly had processed sugar more than once in may! And my veggie/fruit intake has increased.

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Finish gallery wall –  finally! There’s some more I’d like to do with it but I like how it is now so I’m moving on

Start a container garden – Due to increasing medical bills I think I’m gonna give up on this idea this year. Might get a few herbs on my counter but that’s it.

Get my hair trimmed – nope

Watch Under Our Skin 2 – I found out you have to rent it on amazon and I’m so frugal that I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Finish crochet projects – YES! and they turned out so cute.

Go through at least 2 areas and declutter – Busted this out right away due to dealing with mice again. Went through and majorly cleaned my office and laundry room

Go on a DATE with OH – technically it was in June, but I’m counting it!

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It’s seriously halfway through the year already! I want to do a quick ‘Goal Check-in’ this month. Here’s my 2017 Goal list.  Since I’ve been updating every month on my regular goals, I’m just going to talk about my BIG goals right now. Which are:

~get my first book published this year  

~ Have my second book written in full  

~Lose weight/get healthier

So. I’ve barely been able to edit my first book and I’ve only just started my second one. And that is because of the struggles of the third goal. Augh. It’s frustrating but can’t be helped. I’m really hoping that I find something that helps soon so that I can get back to writing because I really miss it. I’m bummed about this because I had high hopes to get published this year. Anyway, moving on…

June Goals:

Start 21-day detox

Get Hair Trimmed – have an appointment for when I’m in Bend!

Finish next set of crochet projects

Go through 2 areas and de-clutter

Schedule landlord/landscaper to clean up our sad yard?

VACATION!

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Once again I’m linking up with Stay Gold Autumn – click the picture to check out other great goal posts!

Like to post about your goals? Link up with any goal post in staygoldautumn.com’s linkup on the first day of the month!

What are some of your goals for June? 

~Laura

It’s the Lyme Life – may 2017

24 May

Today’s post is a collection of  (some of ) what’s been going on  the last few weeks. Some of these you might have seen on Instagram or  Facebook.

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While new symptoms and pain have knocked me for a loop, we’ve been able to have a bit of fun in the nice weather. Getting to the dog park, going on walks around the neighborhood and having friends over.

This is what I’ve been reading lately – look for upcoming reviews! (plus. The recipe for the chocolate shake will be in my monthly goals post coming up! )

Some of my family came for one weekend and we had a lot of fun!

 

 

 

Seeing the flowers bloom has been lovely, and ahhh, their sweet fragrance. Abby and Lady and I are soaking up every chance to get outdoors and play.

That’s all for today, Come back soon for May’s Health Update!

~Laura

Have you checked out my latest posts? A review on Lorna Doone, character development and A Currently Post.

What have you been up to lately? 

Book Review – Lorna Doone

16 May

Have you ever fallen in love with a name simply because you saw a movie once?

Lorna Doone is one of those for me.

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I watched the movie years ago and enjoyed it (although I’ve only got vague recollections about it now) so that when I saw a copy of it at Powell’s bookstore the other month, I knew I had to get it.

It took me a while to get through it – it’s written in a harder-to understand style so that I often grabbed another novel for something fluffier and easier to follow. But I enjoyed it SO much. I figure I’ll enjoy it more the second time reading it, being more familiar with the story and shouldn’t get bogged down with trying to picture things – and having to look up words. (like culvern.)

Synopsis:  The Doones are a hated family that terrorize the country. Their violent, plundering ways often end in murder. After losing his father to the Doones’ love of violence, John Ridd knows there isn’t any good in the lot of them. But then, he meets Lorna. The girl that is at odds with her evil family, due to a gentle heart and giving nature. He determines to rescue her but never imagines all he’ll have to go through in order to do just that.

The way Blackmore threads together so many characters over a long period of time is amazing. As I neared the end I just got more impressed – and more intrigued by how he was going to finish it. I’ll even admit to setting it down because I was so upset by what just happened that I couldn’t take it. Of course, that only lasted maybe a minute before I picked it up again! The side characters he created are fantastic  – Gwenny with her heartbreaking tale and stoic nature, Tom Faggus the ‘heroic’ outlaw, Uncle Ben with his many secrets, Annie who is the only one who knows of John Ridd’s true feelings (aside from, of course, Lorna) and the list goes on! I do wish I’d been able to read it quicker as then I wouldn’t have forgotten who some of the characters were.

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anyone else have a love for puffin classic editions?

 

 

Now I want to watch the movie again. Preferably this one from 2001.

I can recommend this book – although probably not for younger readers as its plot can get very hard to follow and while the violence isn’t gory, it might be too much for someone younger. All in all, a wonderful classic that I’m so glad I finally read.

Have you read Lorna Doone? What’s your favorite classic novel?

~Laura

 

Writing Prompts: Character Creation (Edward)

11 May

I found this great little character development sheet that I’m going to use to help round out some of my characters in my novel.  (fun fact: I tried to print out 4… I ended up with 12 copies of it. Have no idea what happened. OY)

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Today’s will be the second-main character in my new novel.

Edward Kempthorne – English – Youngest of 4? kids – 32 years old – lived in the U.S. since he was a teen

Optimist or Pessimist: Why? – Pessimist. Learned it from his father and losing someone he loved only increased it.

Introvert or Extrovert: Why? – He learned to keep his thoughts/feelings to himself when he was growing up (was he ridiculed when he did share, reinforcing this trait?)

Drives and Motivations: He wants to make a difference in the world – not sell (WHAT?) like his father does/expected him to. He wants to make his family proud. Doing what’s right.

Talents: Reading people, (add to this!)

Extremely skilled at: writing speeches?

Extremely unskilled at:

Good Characteristics: honest, hard-worker, direct

Character Flaws: stubborn, lacks confidence in himself(?), resistant to change

Mannerisms: subtle

Peculiarities:

Biggest Regret: that he put his job above his family one fateful day

Minor Regrets: that he hasn’t married yet, he’s never _____, bitter words that never should have been spoken

Biggest Accomplishments: getting into the “Academy” to become a cop

Minor Accomplishments:

Character’s darkest secret: Hmmmmm

Does anyone else know? :  not yet

If yes, did character tell them? either straight out he does, or in a round-about way…

If no, how did they find out?

 

So obviously I’ve got more figuring out to do for Edward but I have fallen in love with him already.  I love that he’s English and is a searching, broken soul. His search through the darkness for truth and light will be interesting to write.

~Laura

A Currently Post

9 May
Spazzy-brain means you get a fun questionnaire today.
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(isn’t Abby just the cutest in this picture? You can’t tell that she jumped up the instant I moved the phone, lunging at me with a puppy grin like she’d been away from me for months)
making: plans for the summer
cooking:  nothing
drinking: water
reading: Lorna Doone  by R. D. Blackmore and Beyond the Moment by Tamera Alexander
wanting: to be able to get out and work in our yard
crafting: different gifts!
wishing: my first book was fully edited
enjoying: smoothie bowls every day
waiting: for the weekend when my family is visiting
liking:  the little bit of improvements I’ve had over the weekend
wondering: if insurance will ever cover treatment for Lyme Disease
loving: the sunshine
hoping: I can sleep tonight without any sleep aids
smelling: a slightly-smelly Lady
needing: more sleep, less pain
 
wearing: pj pants and t-shirt
 
 
noticing: anxiety rears its ugly head when planning anything out of the ordinary
 
thinking: all I want to do is curl up and sleep
pinteresting:  crochet projects, chronic pain funnies and helps and writing prompts
 
thanking: my dogs for being so laid back
 
giggling: nope
 
feeling: tired

Copy and paste and play along! Leave your link below!

~Laura

Monthly Goals : May

4 May

April was full of stress and pain and I’m honestly glad to see it gone. Another perk is that flowers and trees are blooming and the air smells wonderfully like spring (until you pass a ‘grower’s’ house and then it’s awful. but anyway.) I printed out my goals and affixed them to my laptop so I saw them several times a day – it helped so much in reminding me to do them .  . . or to at least think about doing them.

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Recap of Monthly Goals:

EDIT Amelia book til ready for a professional editor.  – For the first 2 weeks of the month I did good on this. In the midst of writing a longer, more detailed, makes-more-sense-to-the-story scene.

Make writing a habit most every day –  The first 2 weeks were spot on!

Grow SGL’s Traffic – nope. I’ve not even kept up with 2 posts a week, much less worried about growing SGL! – working on it

Lose weight/get healthier – I’ve actually started gaining again – check out my health update for more info

Read more books on Jewish living –  I’m halfway through Messianic Jewish Manifesto by David H. Stern.

Write a letter to one person a month – yes!!!

Try a new recipe – YOU GUYS.  I rocked this one this month. My parents got me a Spiralizer attachment for my Kitchenaid. So, because of that I made : Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Pasta (I added a bunch of veggies and chicken and then we put it on cauli-rice). I actually made it twice this month –  it’s now going to be a regular meal. Plus, I made Spicy Chicken and Eggplant Stir-fry (this was yummy but make sure and use a japanese eggplant like it calls for.) Below is a video of my  OH working on the charoset we made for Pesach – this thing is BRILLIANT. Plus I made bone broth for the first time yesterday although that was technically in May….all well

 

Watch/Read a Documentary/Biography – I watched Gordon Buchanan’s  Elephant Family and Me on Netflix. I enjoyed it so much, I then watched Polar Bear Family and Me.  He’s done a bunch of these documentaries that I fully intend on watching. Plus Abby enjoys them too

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Learn Hebrew- I worked on this a teeny-tiny smidge but that’s about it

Recap of April Goals:

Edit the heck out of Amelia’s story

Be stricter on NO SUGAR and more veggies/juice – the last few weeks I have. Even got my OH to stop bringing home sugar-filled items this past week. Plus I’ve definitely increased my veggies and juice intake!

Finish gallery wall

start a container garden – started planning it!!

Get my hair trimmed

Do Metal Toxicity test asap

Go to Craniosacrial chiropractor appt –  did this times 5 times 

plan a stay-cation for our 4th anniversary – This didn’t happen. I was in severe neurological pain and OH was sick. I ordered take-out (through Grubhub) , he rented some movies from Redbox, we ate and he fell asleep while I watched a movie. All well. We were both home and together, that’s what matters! 

I tried a few cleaning tricks that are BRILLIANT and I just had to share them with you.  Natural alternative to bleach (this got our duvet cover CLEAN) and Erase Stains from Mugs (this seriously worked on all 4 mugs I tried it out on) and Cleaning your Dishwasher  (I’d done this before, works great!)

For May:

Edit the heck out of Amelia’s story

Be stricter on NO SUGAR and more veggies/juice

Finish gallery wall

start a container garden

Get my hair trimmed

Watch Under Our Skin 2

Finish crochet projects

Go through at least 2 areas and declutter

Go on a DATE with OH

~A lot of the stress of April was been car-related. OH’s car was full of mold. The Subaru started smoking and rattling worse than ever and had to go to the shop. The Bug blew a belt. The puppies enjoyed the morning OH was working on the Bug as they got to hang out front with us.

~I’ve been wanting this book and this book for a while now, I might end up buying them this month!

~I’m currently enjoying this playlist on Youtube

Once again, I’m linking up with StayGoldAutumn.com for monthly goals! Check it out!
Like to post about your goals? Link up with any goal post in staygoldautumn.com's linkup on the first day of the month!

Any fun plans for May? 

~Laura

Book Review – April 2017

25 Apr

This month has been full of reading, folks! I’ve made a conscious effort to pick up a book instead of turn on the tv, and this month’s list is the result.

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When Bad Things Happen to Good People  by Harold S. Kuchner  – Striving to answer the age-old question ‘why, God?’, Kuchner shares the doubts and fears that often come with the question. He shares his wisdom as a rabbi, reader and parent in the hopes to bring comfort to the reader.

~This was recommended to me – that’s the only reason I finished it. I’m not a fan of this book. There were very few points that were made that I either didn’t already know or agreed with. That probably sounds arrogant but I don’t mean it to be. He has different beliefs than I do, and his including those (evolution for one), I felt to be unnecessary and distracted from the point of the entire book. If I rated these, this would be half a star.

The Shepherd’s Voice by Robin Lee Hatcher – Finally free from prison, Gabe has a hard time finding work during the Great Depression. He heads home, hoping his father will take him in. Instead he finds compassion and faith when Akira offers him a job and a home.

~This is a favorite that I read once a year. I love the journey that Gabe and Akira go through. As well as the faith and life lessons peppered throughout. Plus it’s set in the 1940’s (?) in Idaho. Fantastic setting.

Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott – As a sequel to Eight Cousins,  we revisit Rose after she’s traveled the world for two years. She’s decided that before she marries, she wants to show that she’s an independent young woman. But the world is at odds with her decision, making her wonder just who her true friends are.

~Another delightful story from Alcott. The twists were unexpected and surprising – I had a hard time putting it down! In fact, i read it in just a few days. Highly recommend this, young or old.

Captain’s Courageous by Rudyard Kipling – When young millionaire, Harvey, is swept overboard and rescued by a fishing boat, his life is forever changed. The crew teaches him how to fish, and how to be a man.

~This was a birthday present and came with a recommendation from one of my nephews. I enjoyed this book so much, although I will admit to still not knowing what a ‘foc’sle’ is. Kipling wrote a classic boy’s adventure with this one. Highly recommend, for young or old readers!

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy – Click through for my full review! For now, I’ll say that I enjoyed this novel immensely.

Created to Live by Cathy Harris – Click through for my full review! Well worth the read on a heartbreaking and controversial topic.

Currently Reading:

Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss ~I am listening to this as an audio book via Librivox. If I had a copy in hand, I would have read it within a week, most likely. As it is though, I listen to it on the nights when I’m in too much pain to sleep. Very entertaining and not sure how I haven’t read it already!

Messianic Jewish Manifesto by David H. Stern ~ Pulled this from my OH’s library. I’m moving through it really slowly but it’s a good read so far. I am able to understand it without feeling overwhelmed. 

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson ~ A favorite that I read probably twice a year. Here’s a review from a few years ago if you want to check it out.

Revision and Self-Editing for Publication by James Scott Bell ~I picked this up at the library and am eager to get any helps on editing my first novel!

Once again, I’m joining the Reading Roundup linkup. Click the picture and find some more great reads!

Reading Roundup

What are you currently reading?

~Laura

Blissful Scribbles

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