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My Month in Photos – March 2018

31 Mar

While titling this post, I noticed that I didn’t do one of these last month! Ah well, I suppose every few months is okay. Oy vay to my memory.

Anyway,  while it was a pain-filled, frustrating month in so many ways, there were still many happy moments. Happy days. Enjoy.

 

  1. One of Abby’s best buds came over for a play date. 2) Feeling GOOD on a run to Joann’s 3) YUMMY protein bites    4) YES, this is happening. My OH is graduating with his bachelor’s in June!  5) Abby and her ball   6) A look at what several days this month have consisted of – video games, night guard (for necessary naps) and chocolate shakes.
  1. Just one of the times we got stuck in traffic on our way to Bend.  2 and 3) the beauty of the drive.  4) Abby and little Cocoa being sooo cute at my parent’s house 5) the ONLY photo I took while in Bend, that wasn’t of my dog.  6) Abby’s cuteness on the way home.
  1. Finally washing (and then covering) my ’68 Bug!! 2)Abby’s sadness that her and Cocoa were separated.  3) The beginnings of a yummy Detox Salad 4) PAIN people. Pain. 5) The stash I brought home from my Doctor’s appointment.  6) The weirdness I came out to the other day. . . .

 

1 and 2) Two of the crocheted stuffed animals I made. 3) I finally made it through filling out an index card for each scene in my book! 4) What my desk typically looks like while editing. 5) THIS QUOTE IS ME.

 

There should be a book review post up for you next week! For more frequent sightings of Abby and what I’m crocheting, follow me on Instagram (and of course, I can’t get the link because somethings going wrong…. but if you type in my blog name, you’ll find me!)

~Laura

February Recap and March Goals 2018

9 Mar

 

February was a pretty good month for me and I did so much more than I normally am able to. This doesn’t mean that I busted out all of my goals (if only!) but I am still quite happy with everything I accomplished.

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Recap of Monthly Goals:

Watch/Read a documentary/biography : I’m still reading Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the amazing campaign to end slavery by Eric Metaxas.

Try a new recipe: Once again I made a few recipes from the Eating Clean cookbook (Tomato Soup, veggie burgers and the Everything but the Gluten cookies. I also just made the mock mayo yesterday). I also made Lemon Coconut Bars ( pretty yummy even though they weren’t what I was expecting) and Chicken Spinach Meatballs (didn’t add the parmesan cheese of course).

Write one letter a month

Read theology/marriage/bible study book: I have started Biblically Kosher: A Messianic Jewish Perspective on Kashrut by Aaron Eby

Edit ‘Amelia’ : I have almost finished filling out index cards for each scene

Eat healthier/lose weight : I have been able to clean up my eating even more

Post Regularly – In keeping with one post a week, I have been able to.

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February’s Goals:

Couch and box springs to the dump – NOPE. Augh

Clean Oven –  I did scrub the door and a quick wipe down on the rest. So I’m counting it

Finish dusting house – I did dust a few of the blinds!

Workout 2 days a week – I did good the first few weeks of the month! Took Abby on a walk almost every other day.

Finish crochet Camper – nope. Other projects that have/had deadlines took precedence

Index Cards for ‘Amelia’  – I’m only a few chapters from being done!!

At least 1 Thing I didn’t Think I could Do: I worked in the yard for quite a while. Baked 2 pies in one morning.

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my book. in a nutshell.

And now, for March’s goals:

Finish Index Cards/Move onto next step

Finish Crocheting Vespa for mom

Finish Dusting Blinds

Finish 30 Day Declutter Challenge

Workout 2 days a week

How was your month?

~Laura

 

Jan/Feb 2018 Book Review

1 Mar

              “A Book is a Dream that you Hold in your Hand.” ~ Neil Gaiman

This is a double feature today! I didn’t share my reads from last month so I’m throwing them in with this month’s reads. There are some really great books from classics to fantasy. I enjoy reading such different genres, especially since I have started reading them from a writer’s perspective. Like the book that I just finished yesterday, the author wrote one character in the 3rd point of view while the other main character was in the first person. I liked how you knew right away which person you were reading about right away. My writer’s brain is trying to decide just how hard it would be to implement that…. Anyway, on to the book reviews!

 

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Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

 

Adrenal Fatigue by Dr. Wilson  – Crave salt or sweets? Unreasonably tired? Need coffee to keep you going? Having a hard time keeping up with daily life? With an easy to follow style, Dr. Wilson guides you through figuring out if you have adrenal fatigue, and then tells you just how to start feeling better.

~ I took notes as I read through what foods to eat/avoid, supplements to take and the best herbs to include. I learned so much from this book. I had several ah-ha moments , finding sense in so many health struggles that have confused me for years. I would highly recommend this to anyone with unexplained health struggles. And remember, whether you have adrenal fatigue or not – be your own advocate. You know your body better than anyone.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by AVI – It’s not often that a young girl, when crossing the ocean to join her family, ends up joining the crew and being accused of murder. But Charlotte Doyle did. Her fantastic tale is one that must be read, unless of course, you don’t like strong ideas or action.

~I heard about this book through carrottoppapershop  and I requested it from the library that same day. I was so intrigued by it and it was well worth it. The story was fun and engaging and with some very unexpected twists. I was so pleased with how it ended that I read the last few pages twice and then had to tell my OH all about it. It is a children’s classic so all ages can read and enjoy it. 

 

Truth Be Told by Carol Cox – Great Western Investment Company is eager for Amelia Wagner to retract her late father’s statements about their business dealings. But as Amelia takes over the running of the newspaper and picks up the investigation into Great Western, she thinks her father was right. But she doesn’t know the danger that she’s getting into. Nor does Ben, the man that is keeping tabs on her. But soon they’ll both have to decide just how important this is – and try to reveal the truth before Great Western stops them.

-I got this book partly because it bears similarities to the novel that I’m writing and I wanted to know just how close they are. But! Relief, they aren’t that similar. (WHEW!) This novel was so fun, so easy to read that I flew through it. I will definitely read it again.

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A Little Princess by Frances Hodson Burnett – When Sara Crewe is taken to her first boarding school in England, it is far from the life she knew with her father in India. But as she is an exceptionally bright and imaginative child, she makes friends – and enemies – quickly. But when news comes that her father has died, leaving her destitute, she is devastated. The matron, Miss Minchin, forces her to work as a scullery maid. But Sara dreams that her fortunes will change again, and they do, in a very unexpected way.

– I enjoyed this story so much and it’s going on the ‘I can’t believe I’d never read it’ list. I liked the moral lessons in it and just fell in love with Becky. ( I have a thing for side characters). As a children’s classic, this is a great book for a younger – and older -audience. Another great story by Burnett is Little Lord Fauntleroy

 

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier (book #1) and The Caller (book #2) – A separate review will be up when I read the third book! It’s waiting on my shelf and I can’t wait to start it! This series has been so good – and so engrossing.

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A Yellow Journalist by Miriam Michelson – The newspaper world was a male-dominated field in the early 1900’s but a young and pretty female reporter enters into it with courage. She does whatever it takes to get the story – be it climbing a high ledge or acting as a blushing bride – and proves that she’s the best.

– This story was unlike any I’d read. It was highly amusing and I laughed out loud often. I did have a hard time keeping track of all the characters but that didn’t ruin it for me. As it was printed in 1905, and was about that era, it was perfect as research material for me for my own novel. Double win.

 

Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – click the link to read all about this wonderful series!

 

Currently Reading:

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

Biblically Kosher: A Messianic Jewish Perspective on Kashrut  by Aaron Eby

The Vigilante’s Bride by Yvonne Harris

 

To-read :

Raven Claw by Juliet Marillier (book #3 of Shadowfell)

Dear Theo by Vincent Van Gogh

Whispers on the Moors series by Sarah E. Ladd

 

~Laura

What are you currently reading? Do any of these sound good to you?

 

 

Series Review – Chronicles of Narnia

9 Feb

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Originally published between 1950 and 1956, this children’s classic series has become the author’s best-known work. It has sold over 100 million copies in 47 languages (thanks wikipedia for these fun facts). This was only my second time reading them – although as a home-schooler, I feel like I should have grown up reading them. Ha. But! I’m so glad I’ve been introduced to them now as an adult.

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There are seven in all, and while there is some disagreement on how they should be read – chronologically or the order in which Lewis wrote them, I’m not sure it matters too much. I think it comes down to personal preference. But, let me give you an overview of this series.

Each book chronicles adventures in the land of Narnia. Aslan’s country. Each time that the country faces real threat, children from our world are called to help. It takes courage and faith for these children to succeed at their tasks. They meet many friends, and many foes, along their journeys. From The Magician’s Nephew, we see the creation of Narnia and follow its entire history until it’s destruction in The Last Battle.

I love the little lessons that are learned along the way in each adventure – and the worlds they come upon. In reading reviews, a common feeling is that The Last Battle (#7) is the strangest of them all and in some ways I have to agree but I did still enjoy it. They all are a few hundred pages each so they are pretty quick reads. (I mainly read them while taking detox baths!)

I highly recommend these books, for any age. The lessons within are great for when reading aloud to kids, or even as reminders for adults.  If you haven’t read this series, I suggest you give it a try.

~Laura

*fun fact, the series we have is the set that my hubby grew up reading.*

January Recap and February Goals

6 Feb

January was a rough start to this new year, so I’m really hoping that February is a bit more gentle and kind.

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Recap of Monthly Goals:

Watch/Read a documentary/biography : I started reading Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the amazing campaign to end slavery by Eric Metaxas. I am enjoying it so far!

Try a new recipe: Once again I made a few recipes from the Eating Clean cookbook (pickled pears and apples and the pancakes). I also sort of followed the lamb meatballs recipe in Against All Grain cookbook. I followed the spicing and marinating of the ground lamb. But, ended up using it as spaghetti meat instead of turning it into meatballs. It had such good flavor.

Write one letter a month

Read theology/marriage/bible study book: I am still reading The Supernatural Ways of Royalty by Kris Vallotton (mixed feelings on it so far).

Edit ‘Amelia’ : I finished my read-through on the 20th!

Eat healthier/lose weight : I have been able to clean up my eating a lot and have gotten back to the weight I was at the beginning of the month

Post Regularly – I’m starting to think that I need to change my posting goals. As much as I want to focus on posting two times a week, I want to focus on editing my book and often I’ll find myself posting instead of doing that. So… an adjustment of goals just might be in order.

 

Jan. Goals

Couch and Box Springs to the dump – augh. I feel like these are never going to leave.

Clean oven

Redecorate TV table

Dust entire house – I did get half of this done.

Workout 2 days a week  I’ve  been able to walk Abby a few times each week!

1 thing I didn’t think I could do:  I did 3 quick trips to the grocery store with a BASKET rather than a cart. I haven’t been able to heft a basket around a store in about a year.

I also just got back from a quick trip to Bend – and I did really well with a super busy 2 days that I couldn’t have done months ago. Woot!

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And now, for February’s Goals:

Couch and box springs to the dump

Clean Oven

Finish dusting house

Workout 2 days a week

Finish crochet Camper

Index Cards for ‘Amelia’

 

~Laura

 

 

 

 

Book Review – For Women Only and For Men Only

26 Jan

It has taken me so long to get this review up but they are definitely worth the wait. My brain has just not been able to function well enough to properly write synopsis’ and reviews.  I think I’m going to reward myself for finally writing this with a big mug of tea and some crocheting this afternoon.

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For Women Only – Discover the truths that he wants you to know, only doesn’t know how to tell you and some he might not be aware of himself – what he’s really thinking when he ‘checks out’, why respect is so very important and much more.

For Men Only – this book will open your eyes to the truth that women really can be understood. And that you, as her protector, lover and friend, can radically improve your relationship with the woman you love with some  simple acts.

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These books really should be mandatory reading for any to- be marrieds, or newly-weds. This was my second time reading them and I got so much out of them again. I took notes while I read them and learned so much about myself in the process.

Your wife is the person who knows you better than anyone, and if she doesn’t respect you, how can you expect another man to?” 

If a man’s wife believes in him, he can conquer the world – or at least his little corner of it.”

Most of us want our men to be able to relax and truly open up to us. But in many ways, it is up to us to create the intimate, safe environment that makes that possible.”

“In reality, for most men the drive to provide is so deeply rooted that almost nothing can relieve them of their sense of duty.. . the knowledge of their responsibility is always there, pressing down on them.”

One of their greatest emotional needs is to feel competent and successful at what they do, especially in front of others. . . .but feel that they are one mess up away from being found out as an imposter.”

How we take care of ourselves shows our guys how much we care for them.”

 

Her ‘I do’ will always mean ‘do you’?  – the subconscious question women have ‘Would he choose me all over again?”

“Men’s memory circuitry -> visual. Women’s memory circuitry -> language and emotions”

“The things men say to us are in mental tape archives and are as real today as they were the moment they were spoken.”

“She can’t just ‘not think about it’ ” 

“Good reasons exist for her actions that men can discover and act on those reasons.”

Just being able to share what’s going on actually fixes something for a woman.”

Women still silently ask the little girl question, ‘Do you think I’m beautiful?'” 

 

I wrote so many ‘WHOA’s ‘ in my notes! Light bulb moments. Moments where I realized that, as is common I’m sure, my OH and I have traded places in many of these revelations. (He tends to be the more emotional thinker while I’m the more logical/cut and dry thinker , for one example).

Suffice it to say, READ THESE BOOKS! And if you can, read them together. You won’t regret it and you’ll come away with more understanding of the confusing opposite sex.

~Laura

Have you read these? Do you have any marriage books that you re-read and recommend? Do share!

 

 

 

My Month in Photos – Jan 2018

23 Jan

I want to try something new, and we’ll see how I (we) like it! I want to pick my favorite photos of the month -whether they make me happy, seeing them, or whether I feel like they accurately portray just what my pain has been like. So. In other words, I want to share both the good and the bad.

~Starting/working on my crochet camper (which I’ve become slightly obsessed with), finally getting my new glasses, regularly editing my novel and the varied cuteness of Abby Pond.

~One of the many trips to the dog park, the necessity of the IV and what chronic pain looks like (so deceptive but so real).

All in all, it’s been a good month. I am hoping that February brings me closer to health a and finishing my book and crochet camper.

December Recap and January Goals

11 Jan

I’ll admit to wondering about continuing these monthly goals posts but I have enjoyed how they keep me focused on what I want to cultivate in my life. Writing. Learning. Health.

I have read a lot about choosing a word for the year and I’ve mulled it over a little bit. I’m hoping to pick one out by the end of this month and then I’ll share it with you next month!

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Recap of Monthly Goals:

Edit ‘Amelia’ – 

Post Regularly –  I feel like I did pretty good on this.

Lose weight/work toward health –   I didn’t lose any weight but am making tiny steps toward being healthier- check out my health update for more info.

Read more books on Jewish living –  Once again, they aren’t books on Jewish living. But, I finished For Men Only (a review is coming this month!) and have started The Supernatural Ways of Royalty by Kris Vallotton (mixed feelings on it so far)

Write a letter to one person a month  

Try a new recipe – I made a few from the Eating Clean by Amie Valpone cookbook.

Watch/Read a documentary/biography – I so want to see the new movie about Vincent Van Gogh’s life! Maybe this month..?

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Finally getting to the dog park!

Dec Goals:

blood draw for CMP 

eye doctor appointment

Go through Guest Closet

Donate stuff to thrift store

Totally busted out all my December goals in the first few weeks of the month, well except for donating the stuff to the thrift store, that one took me a while longer. But, I was so proud of myself. But now onto my goals for January!

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Jan Goals:

Couch and Box Springs to the dump

Clean oven

Redecorate TV table

Dust entire house

Workout 2 days a week

 

~Laura

Dec 2017 Book Reviews

5 Jan

It’s a blustery day here in Oregon, leaving the landscape looking slightly barren and depressing. There’s no snow, no sign of a cold, beautiful winter. Just windy, cloudy and rainy. But, that’s why there are such wonderful things as books to get lost in. I cannot believe I read 70 books in 2017 . I’ve decided to set this year’s reading goal to 60 books. I have always been an avid reader but I’m hoping to tone down my amount of reading just a smidgen and increase my amount of writing a lot! I enjoy keeping track of what I’ve read on Goodreads, it’s so much easier than writing them all down like I used to do.  (please tell me I’m not the only one who did that).

If you  missed it, I shared a post of my Top Reads of 2017 just last week, check it out!

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Photo by Alice Hampson on Unsplash

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson – Two princesses’ lives are thrown into turmoil. While both scramble to learn the ways of their new environments, political upheaval is on the horizon.

~As good as this story was, I admit to being a little disappointed with how much sexual content there was. While I realize that it was mild, it was still more than I like. Because of that, I don’t think I’ll read this book again – which makes me sad because I really liked Siri and Lightsong, and the different twists and turns and character development that happened throughout.

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis – Shasta and Bree – a young slave and a talking horse – are running away from cruel masters. Their destination is Narnia.  But when they discover a plot to overthrow Narnia, their journey becomes a race to warn the people of the impending attack.

~Series review coming next month!

Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman – A compelling love story between a young Irish girl, Katherine Mary O’Fallon, new to the Canadian wild, and Sergeant Mike Flannigan of the Canadian Mounted police.

~This is a yearly – winter read for me. The wilderness and those occupying it – the animals, peoples and nature itself – are described so vividly, it’s a delight. The heartbreak that occurs will tear your heart out just as surely as you’ll rejoice when good things happen. If this book isn’t considered a classic, I’m not sure why. Read it, you’ll be glad you did. 

Cowboy Christmas by Mary Connealy – When singer Annette Talbot shows up, with trouble following close on her heels, Elijah Walker has to decide if she’s telling the truth or lying. Like his ex- fiancee. Despite himself, he’s drawn to her – and just when he decides to trust her, he finds out she’s a wanted woman. Will he find out the truth before he loses Annie forever?

~ This was my second time reading this sweet romantic mystery. I liked how Connealy dealt with Elijah’s struggle to forgive himself and Annette’s mis-guided belief in ‘bearing her cross’. Faith is central to this novel, and it’s done very well. It’s a great Christmas-time western read.

For Men Only by Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn

~A full review along with its companion book, For Women Only, will be up this month!

An Amish Christmas : December in Lancaster County by Beth Wiseman – Forgiveness is on the horizon – or is it? – for several people in Lancaster County. Facing some of their deepest fears at Christmastime has the potential to change their lives.

~I forgot how sweet these stories were. I enjoyed all 3 of them – I am seeing on Goodreads that it says there’s four novellas, my copy doesn’t have “Christmas Cradles”. A good way to describe these are Hallmark movies set in an Amish community – and that’s not a bad thing. They deal with different struggles, but all 3 stories tie in with each other. They may be a bit cliched but sometimes that’s what you want. It only took me a few days to read all of them, they are quick, fun reads for anyone. 

 

Currently Reading: 

Adrenal Fatigue by Dr. Wilson

Samantha Among the Brethren by Marietta Holley

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

The Supernatural Ways of Royalty by Kris Vallotton

 

 

To Read:

A Yellow Journalist by Miriam Michelson

The Writer’s Journey by Vogler (finish!)

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

 

What are you reading?

 

While covering different genres, I do not read anything that has blatant sexual content. I will tell you if there is any sort of such (typically very mild and delicately put) in them and if I don’t think they’d be appropriate for young/teenage readers.

~Laura

My Top Reads of 2017

29 Dec

I decided to do something a little bit fun – share a list of my favorite books of this year. We all love lists, don’t we?! We do.

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These aren’t in any particular order – just my Top 5 in each catergory:

New Reads:

~ Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

~ Failure is Impossible (Susan B. Anthony ) by Lynn Sherr

~Timber Ridge Reflections by Tamera Alexander

~Mermaid in the Basement by Gilbert Morris

~Guardians of Childhood by William Joyce

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Classics: 

~Captain’s Courageous by Rudyard Kipling

~Lorna Doone by R. D. Blackmore

~ Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott

~ Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott

~Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte’

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About Writing: 

~ Revision and Self- editing for Publication by James Scott Bell

~ The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

~ The New Book of Etiquette by Lillian Eicher

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Fantasy :  (note: remember I am still new to this genre. . . .)

~ Beauty by Robin Mckinley

~ Spindle’s End by Robin Mckinley

~ Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

~ Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

~ The Hero and the Crown by Robin Mckinley

and a bonus one :

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

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Marriage/Faith: 

Jewish Roots by Dan Juster

When God Doesn’t Fix It by Laura Story

Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

Messianic Jewish Manifesto by David H. Stern

For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn

 

 

What’s your favorite read from this year? Do you love some of my top reads as well? I’d love to hear about it! 

~Laura

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