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Book Reviews May 2020

28 May

Sadly, my quest to find a book that just sucks me into its world is still continuing. Well, let me clarify, The Horse and His Boy, Virginia and House at the End of the Moor did the job admirably well, it’s been ever since then that I’m still struggling. (and, transparency here, I adored the book by Griep and had intended to do a separate post but as I loaned the book to my mom before I took pics, I decided to just add it here). I’m enjoying the two classics that I’m reading right now but both are better at little spurts of reading, and I’m really only slogging through one because I REALLY want to have read all of it at least once. Which, this isn’t something I do, normally… Anyhow, that’s a very long and probably confusing introduction!

Virginia: Four Inspiring Stories of Valor, Virtue and Victory by Cathy Marie Hake – In these four short stories, follow a family from the turn of the century to the end of World War I as they battle loss and love, faith and prejudice.

~Now, if you’ve been around SGL for a while, you know that I’m not a big fan of short stories, but as these were all written by Hake, they ended up feeling kind of like a whole novel. (not really b/c they ARE about different people). But I couldn’t even really peg which one was my favorite, each was unique and pull-you-in. Definitely recommend this!

The Prarie Legacy Series by Janette Oke – Follow Clark and Marty’s granddaughter, Virginia, through her teens on up through her adult years. As she struggles to fit in with her friends in school, falling in love, learning sacrifice and faith and then onto marriage, children and the inevitable heartache that accompanies life. Her faith and family bolster her through them, growing her into a woman of strength and godliness.

– I don’t think I’d ever read this series before! I fully expected to recognize it, once I got into it but that never happened! (I’m such a fan of Oke’s that I’m surprised when I run across a book I’ve not read of hers). This series was similar to her Love Comes Softly series but as it is based on their granddaughter, it helps it feel like a continuation. There were aspects of the book that hit so close to home that I had a hard time reading, but that’s what I appreciate about Oke’s books is that she writes what real life looks like – to a point anyway. If you’re looking for a sweet series that teaches life and faith lessons throughout, this is the one to reach for.

Tis Herself by Maureen O’Hara – In a straight-forward tone, the famed beauty and actress talks about her life from girlhood in Ireland to becoming a star in Hollywood. The men that formed her career and tried to destroy it; a disastrous marriage; birth of her daughter; lifelong friendship with ‘Duke’ and so much more. She doesn’t simper away from her mistakes, rather owns up to them and moves on. As so many of her roles in movies, she was a fiesty, strong red-head who fought for what she wanted.

It’s always a little scary starting a book about a favorite actress, so this book sat on my shelf for about a year until I picked it up. I’m glad I read it even though it was a sad story, if you know anything about O’Hara’s life, you know that she had Trials. But the way she writes (this is an autobiography after all) and the things she shares – like her long friendship with John Wayne – keeps you engaged and interested. It was fun getting to read about how Hollywood used to be, and the making of some of her movies that I enjoy. If you’re a fan of her movies and don’t mind reading about heartaches and laughter, give this a try.

The Horse and His Boy (The Chronicles of Narnia) by C.S. Lewis – When young Shasta talks about running away, he’s startled to realize the horse that he’s confided in can Talk. And not only talk, but wants to run away as well! With warhorse Bree helping him, Shasta sets off toward Narnia. Their travels include great adventures and require both of them to move past fear and prejudice.

~In reading other reviews of this book, a big theme of them was ‘racist’ and ‘prejudice’ but I never thought that the whole time I read it. Yes, the Calormen are the slave-owners and terrible people but, I never associated that with Lewis saying all dark-skinned people are such. That aside, this is one of my absolute favorites of the Narnia books. Perhaps it’s because a horse is one of the main characters? For whatever reason, I really truly love reading this. The lessons on Not judging people by what they look like are true for every generation (which is why I probably never have thought of it as racist…) and the truths that Aslan imparts are so so good.

The House at the End of the Moor by Michelle Griep – When a powerful politician threatens to ruin opera singer Maggie Lee’s life, she runs away and lives in anonymity on the edges of the moor. While life is lonely, she knows she’s safe. Until one day, she finds a wounded man and takes him in to care for him. But this man isn’t who he seems to be either. Escaped convict, Oliver Ward, is out to set the wrongs in his past right – little does he expect to find the same jewels that got him convicted in the very house that he’s now staying in. Both Oliver and Maggie decide to try and set things right by returning the jewels, clearing his name and, in the midst of all that, keeping Maggie’s identity a secret.

– I got this as a birthday present and LOVED it. I’d never read anything by Griep before but I do want to give some of her other books a try now! The twists and turns in this mystery were good- so much so that I had a hard time putting it down once I’d picked it up! As well as one time that I got so worried about what was going to happen to Maggie that I Couldn’t pick it up for a day or so – ha! I just loved Oliver as he tries to get his life back and yet is eaten up so with hatred and revenge. So superficial but you’ve got to check out the Cover! It’s simply lovely. But really, just get this book, you won’t regret it! This became a Top Favorite for 2020

Montana Marshalls series by Susan May Warren – Follow the Marshall siblings as each have to face their fears and doubts along the way as they have to choose between who they think they are and who they want to be. Love comes calling for each of them- Knox, Tate, Wyatt, Ford and Ruby Jane- but will they be able to survive long enough to reach for it?

I won this series as ebooks as a giveaway and was quite excited as I’ve enjoyed most of Warren’s novels. I enjoy series that focuses on siblings (looking at you, The O’Malley Series), so eagerly started Knox (book 1). I’ve made it through most of the books but am really struggling to finish this series. Which makes me sad. I’ve enjoyed the adventure aspect of each one, and have found some favorites among the main and side characters. I’ll try to be brief on why this series hasn’t hit it off with me: Warren’s style seems to have changed and it’s a little too… millenial (?) for me; there’s more intense kissing than I think is necessary – especially when the people barely know each other/aren’t married; lack of remorse for intimacy out of wedlock for one couple. Now, that last one might change as I’ve not finished the book. All in all, I’m not sure I’ll finish the series, if I do, I might skip forward (something else completely unheard of for me).

Currently Reading:

Pillar of Fire by J.H. Ingraham

She: A History of Adventure by H. Rider Haggard

To-Read:

Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

the next Narnia book

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

the next Wheel of Time book (I have to figure out which one I’m on!)

Did you find any books to add to your To-Read pile? I’d love to know which ones! And if you have read any of the ones that I wasn’t that crazy about, did you love them? Share that too!!

~Laura

Shattered

22 May

This is a little something I typed out late one night recently. I felt that it might resonate with others, so I’m sharing it with you all.

Photo by Marika Vinkmann on Unsplash

It feels like,

under the smiles and laughter

that my heart is broken.

Broken in just the right way that

I’m able to shove it aside and decide

that it’s really all okay.

That it’s still whole.

But then a rainy day,

and one little thing suddenly makes me

Remember.

Remember the questions.

The Fears.

The Anger.

The Swirling Darkness.

Oh the pain of this broken heart,

Will it mend?

Will the cure that I’m working towards,

Truly mend it or will it remain shattered

Shattered.

Shattered inside while outwardly I

Smile.

The Tears of My Heart

12 May

This is a post that I wrote in 2016 that I decided needed to be dusted off and shared again.

~~~

I found this in my drafts folder earlier this week and decided that it is ready to be shared. While I now have a diagnosis and somewhat-of-a-plan for a cure, these feelings do so frequently overwhelm me and I once again, have to remind myself of the unfailing love of my Saviour.

tearsofmyheart

I feel the tears fill my eyes. One by one they drop to my cheek, and follow the curve down to my chin. Drip. Drip. Drip. I reach up to wipe them away, but what’s this? My cheek is dry, as are my eyes. As I rub my fingers together I realize the tears are not outside, but in. It is inside that is aching. Longing. Crying. But these tears cannot be wiped away so easily with a delicate handkerchief or manicured nails. These require connection, vulnerability and love. Confession of the heart is of the utmost importance if one wants to heal it. But what do I have to confess?

Anger. Frustration. Hurt. All over seemingly-unanswered prayer. Anger that this pain has inhibited 10 years of my life. Frustration that a cure remains beyond my grasp. Hurt that I cannot go on as those around me – event after event.

But this type of contemplation only brings tears that fall onto my cheek. Tears that will need to be wiped away before they fall from my trembling chin. It would be better, rather, to focus on getting through the pain. Accepting my limitations and counting the many blessings I am surrounded with.  So, while the aching inside me continues, I will work to let Him heal it. For I, on my own, cannot heal such a hurt. Even while the tears threaten to overflow my eyes, I will lift my face to the sun and praise Him who has made me and sustained me and blessed me beyond measure.

“Bless the Lord O my soul, and all that is within me. 

Bless His holy name!

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits,

who forgives your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit,

who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good,

so that your youth is renewed like the eagles wings.”

Psalm 103:1-5

*If you have or are struggling with unanswered prayer I encourage you to keep faith! Continue asking and seeking the Lord. His answer might not be the one you (or I) want but His plan far surpasses any plan we can invent. He is the author of everything, give your pain and struggles to Him daily. He can handle them.

~Laura

 

~~~

If you’re interested in some more posts on pain, check out How much more will Chronic Illness steal from me? ,  Chronic Illness Silence   and Encouragement for living with Chronic Illness

Book Reviews April 2020

2 May

It’s been a while since I did a monthly book review, so get ready to add some books to your To-Read pile! I’ve honestly been having a hard time finding a book that really grabs  me and pulls me into its world that I don’t finish in just a couple of days! I’m thinking it just might be time to get back into the Wheel Of Time series (I’m only on book 7..or 8..or 9…).  

One last thing, these aren’t all from this past month- I’ve not read quite that much in four weeks!

bkrvwapr2020

 

Little Princes by Conor Grennan – I shared a full review here if you’d like to go check it out. This was such a great read that it made it to my 2020 Favorites List.

Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson –    …. I also have a full review here if you’d like to read it. And I have since bought all three books so that I CAN read them yearly, or bi-yearly, whenever the mood strikes.

None Like Him : 10 Ways God is Different from Us (and Why That’s a Good Thing) by Jen Wilkin – While humans were created to reflect God’s image, there are several ways that we do not – unlimited power, knowledge and authority. This book delves into those attributes, shining a light on how realizing these limitations of ours compared to a limitless God can help us in our daily lives.

~This is the second study book that I’ve read by Wilkin. (In His Image being the other one.)This was insightful in highlighting the incredible attributes of God. As with the other of hers, I was a little disappointed how she stayed, what I felt, was surface level, with the topics and chapter questions. So while it was good and well worth the time, I would have appreciated a deeper delve into the topic. 

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia #4 -chronological order) by C.S. Lewis – King Caspian has built the first ship that Narnia has seen in centuries. He sails to find the lost Lords of Narnia – and Lucy, Edmund and cousin Eustace travel with him.

The Silver Chair  (The Chronicles of Narnia #5- chronological order)  by C.S. Lewis -Narnia is in need again, and this time Eustace and Jill are the ones brought to help. They must help find (and then rescue) the lost Prince of Narnia, who has been put under an evil spell. 

~Forgive me for combining my thoughts for both these books into one section. But – IT’S Narnia. And that means adventures; Aslan; Magic; Lessons; and just a wonderful world to escape to. I fell in love all over again with Puddleglum (from the Silver Chair) and enjoyed all the different adventures on the islands in the Dawn Treader. Delightful reads all around.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo – Despereaux is not like the other mice, he loves stories and music and the gentle Princess Pea. Roscuro is a rat who isn’t like other rats because he likes light and soup. Miggery Sow is a serving girl who dreams of being a princess. These four – a mouse, princess, rat and serving girl- are about to enter each other’s lives in ways they never dreamed. And when that happens, the choices they make will lead them in dark twisty tunnels of a dungeon, in the glittering light of the castle and through Cook’s kitchen. 

~I’d been curious about reading this story after having seen the movie a few times (although it has been several years since I saw it last). When I saw this at Goodwill (quite a few months ago now), I snagged it right quick! It ended up being quite fun and Camillo’s way of writing TO the reader just added that extra little bit of uniqueness to the story. I can see this being a great read-aloud book with your kids. 

The Candymakers (The Candymakers #1) by Wendy Mass- When the yearly national candy competition nears, Logan Sweet is excited. He’s finally old enough – 12 – to enter and make his candy-making father proud. His family owns Life is Sweet candy factory. But he’s not the only contestant that will be making their entries at the factory – three other kids from his town will also be there. Daisy, Miles and Logan show up on the first day – she with a bounce to her step and encouraging. Miles with a backpack and nervousness. Phillip with a briefcase and attitude. Which one will create the most innovative new candy this year? 

~I had no idea this was a series! I also didn’t know what to expect when I picked it up, at first I felt that it was pretty formulaic but I quickly revised that opinion. I got sucked into the story so much I felt kind of silly since it IS a children’s book! Mass shares each child’s perspective of what’s going on in the competition and their own personal world and that just made it so cool to see each motivation and viewpoint. A very fun story.

I also read/started these two books but for various reasons didn’t like them/finish them. So they are both leaving my bookshelf to open up space for more books! 

Zorro by Isabel Allende

The Measure of a Lady by Deanne Gist

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Currently Reading: 

‘Tis Herself by Maureen O’Hara

Pillar of Fire by J.H. Ingraham

Virginia by Cathy Marie Hake

 

To Read: 

the next Narnia book

The Prairie Legacy Series by Janette Oke

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

the next Wheel of Time book (I just have to figure out which one I’m on!)

A Doomed Fate

25 Apr

I’ve been trying to do some writing prompts but none of them are working you guys – oy to the VAY. So I decided instead to dust off a portion of a little story I’ve been working off and on the past year. Because, you know, sometimes shiny new ideas call to you and you absolutely have to run with them for a little bit.  Just keep in mind that this is still a very rough draft, all right?

doomedfate

 

 

Photo by Greg Panagiotoglou on Unsplash

Kalick raged.

He could feel the presence, but he couldn’t see it. And he couldn’t fight what he couldn’t see. He threw his cup across the room in frustration,

“It’s there, Tallo and it’s closer than it’s been these twenty years. I can feel it. It’s calling to me, urging me on for its own purpose. But how do I fight it?”

A spindly man dressed in a monk’s robes, Tallo sat beside Kalick and stared into his cup of mead. Finally, he spoke, as if still considering what he said, “Perhaps, you don’t have to fight it. You say it’s coming closer now than it’s been. You could use that to your advantage.”

“Welcome it, you mean? Shall I bloody invite it in for supper?” His lips twisted in mocking grimace; he swung his arm wide to showcase the room. Once it had been grand, fine enough even for royals to stay and dine. And they had, once. But now the shine had faded from the candlesticks, the rug had been nearly worn through and only a few had occasion to sit around the long table. Those few were hardly noteworthy characters, even in these, the worst of times. They were the few that were searching for a way to change the fate they had been left to. The rest of the people either staunchly denied that their protector had abandoned them or meekly accepted their fate. Certain that they’d brought it on themselves somehow. But Kalick had gathered together a handful of men who couldn’t sit idly by and watch their families die.  They would fight, to the last of them.

Kalick shifted his shoulder, unease trickling down his spine again. That presence had been with him like a mangy dog that won’t leave your heels. Ever present, never wanted. Never acknowledged outright either. Until tonight. As he thought about it, the trickle grew, filling his mind. A pull, a tug, came from his right, like a string joined at the other end to….what? Turning quickly, he followed it, ignoring his companion calling his name. He would learn just what this presence was. He would learn just who had been dogging his steps, interrupting his peace and thinking they could get away with trying to lead him around like a child. They didn’t know just who they were dealing with. But they would. Just as soon as he had his hands around their neck.

~~

Tallo sat down heavily, deciding he wasn’t in the mood to follow after the erratic man.  He’d known Kalick for years now, but he had. . . changed. But then, they both had, he supposed. Tallo knew he wasn’t the best man for the job he’d been given, but he had been the readiest, and the closest at hand. Counting up the lost at the end of each day took a stomach far stronger than his. He’d turned to spirits to diminish the pain of counting wee lasses and lads’ lifeless bodies; to forget the sight of his own sweet wife succumbing to…but no. Better to think on how to help Kalick now that it seemed he’d reached another low point. The man had the worst luck, it seemed. But outright saying that he felt a presence? An invisible presence? The man had clearly gone out of his depth. Tallo hadn’t meant to send the man running out of the room with his suggestion. He’d merely been placating, pretending he believed that. . .a low moan reached his ears.

“Dash it all!” Tallo swore, tossing his empty cup to the table. He’d never forgive himself if something happened to Kalick, not after sweating and shifting by his side these past miserable years. If he had to live through this, so did Kalick.

Tallo rushed through the room, paused to listen for another sound, rushed through more of the empty house. For long moments, he couldn’t hear anything. Panting, he leaned against a door jamb, wondering if he’d heard the death rattle in his memory, instead of in reality. Feeling his heartbeat slow, Tallo fingered the chain at his neck. Perhaps he…There it was again. A weeping, pleading sound from above him. Taking the stairs two at a time, he wondered who could have made their way past him and Kalick to reach these rooms.  And he hoped Kalick wasn’t releasing all his pent-up anger on them. The man had a way with his fists that could terrify the strongest man. But when Tallo reached the top, breathing heavily again, he couldn’t fathom what he saw.

Kalick lay curled on his side, fists to his eyes, weeping. Above him stood a man wider and taller than any Tallo had ever seen, his face hidden by a hood, his clothes stranger than the sight of Kalick on the floor. Neither seemed to notice Tallo’s entrance.

“You will do this, Kalick, son of Perta, son of Hown. I have been waiting entirely too long. You know the cost if you refuse.” The man’s voice was hard, deadly. Tallo knew in that instant, whatever he wanted from Kalick, was a terrible thing indeed. And that he, Tallo himself, a worn-out monk, would be right beside his friend. No matter what it was. For it was one thing to choose a fate. But far another to be doomed to it.

 

“Answer me, Kalick.” His voice was like a whip.

“Yes. Yes, I will- will do as you say.” Kalick’s words came haltingly from his lips. He tried to keep them back but they formed of their own will. The consequences were too great to refuse. But the actions themselves were just as vile. His choice having been made for him, Kalick lay where he was, hoping against hope that the stranger would leave without another demonstration of his strength.

 

 

 

 

Writing Prompt – Confession

17 Apr

wrtngprmptconfession

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

On This Page I Write My Last Confession. Read It Well.

I confess to wandering, when my place was by your side. My heart was happiest with you but little things, daily things, pulled me away and sought to take your place. To my ever-lasting shame, I let them. They seemed so important then, but truly they weren’t. What a life we could have lived, if I’d only stayed by your side.           

I admit that I lied, when it seemed like it didn’t matter. Little white lies, that hurt no one, I told myself. If I could make my path a little smoother, I easily let slip a lie. Relieved when I got away with it and angry when I got caught. Were those lies worth the worry of being caught, keeping them straight day after day? 

I confess to holding grudges over the years. I knew that I should let them go but instead I ignored them. Pretended that if I didn’t think about them, they weren’t affecting me.

I admit to begrudging others my time, my attention, my love. I was so focused on me and my wants and desires, that I rarely saw the truth. The beauty of helping and connecting and sharing. By rote, I carried out these things but they didn’t reach my heart.

I confess to getting caught up in comparisons and striving for more, always more. A bigger house, a better car, nicer clothes, fancier things. 

I confess to giving such an outward appearance of morality, faithfulness and charity, that I never stopped and looked inside myself. To see myself truly. 

But as I write this with shaking hand and certainty that my last days are coming, I regret that. My life was good and full of good, but in striving for more, I lost sight of that. The end does not justify the means, because in the end, so much of what I was aiming for, no longer matters. In the end, I find that it’s me with my thoughts. Me with my family. Me with failing body and struggling words. Too late I’ve learned the truth. Too late I’ve come to realize what I should have been focusing on. All I can say is, I confess it. And don’t make the same mistake.”

~I don’t do much editing at all with these writing prompts. The idea, for me, is to let the words come as they will and leave them be. Getting the creative juices flowing is the goal.

~Laura

*this was originally published in February 2019 but I decided that it could bear a bit of dusting off and sharing again.

Little Princes Book Review

8 Apr

Little Princes : One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan, was a New York Times Bestseller. As well as
Dayton Literary Peace Prize Nominee for NonFiction (2011)
Goodreads Choice Award for Travel & Outdoors (2011)

I snagged this either at the library book sale corner or the thrift store… Either way, it was very inexpensive so I decided to give it a try. As you probably know by now, I’m very hesitant to pay full price on any book – much less on one that all I know about it is from the back cover.

But I’m so glad I grabbed this one. I’ve read a few other books in this genre of Autobiographical/travel/cultural. (it’s really amazing how many genres one book can cover!)

Here’s the synopsis from the back cover: In search of adventure, twenty-nine year old Conor Grennan embarked on a yearlong journey around the globe, beginning with a three-month stint volunteering at an orphanage in civil war-torn Nepal. But a shocking truth would forever change his life: these rambunctious, resilient children were not orphans at all but had been taken from their families by child traffickers who falsely promised to keep them safe from war before abandoning them in the teeming chaos of Kathmandu. For Conor, what started as a footloose ramble became a dangerous, dedicated mission to unite youngsters he had grown to love with the parents they had been stolen from – a breathtaking adventure, as Conor risked everything in the treacherous Nepalese mountains to bring the children home.

This story of Conor’s was engrossing pretty much from the first page and I found it hard to put down. I even stopped reading the other book I was in the middle of! Learning about the kids at the orphanage, you feel as if you truly know them and that of course, makes Conor’s efforts to get them home again even more of interest, as you’re suddenly heart-invested. The descriptions of the people and culture help you step into the world of these children. The chaotic mass of people, the beauty and danger of the mountains and the different way of looking at things all serve to better transport you.

Plus, isn’t there just something that calls to you about Nepal? I can’t explain it but, it’s there.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you’re looking for something inspirational.

Here are the books of the same type that I’ve reviewed: Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis and The Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun.

~Laura

Health Update March 2020

3 Apr

As I sat here, trying to decide just what to write next for SGL, it dawned on me that I’m due to share a health update with you. I know that with the Covid19 pandemic occuring right now, this probably isn’t the thing you want to read about – more health news, really?! But, in a way, life goes on. Especially when you’re chronically ill. You’ve still got to take your protocol, increasing it every 3 or 4 days and watching for any side effects – good or bad- of what you’re now taking.

Overall Health: Short attention span, mental fatigue/brain fog but more energy and overall less severe pain than normal. Mood struggles and fairly regular leg/foot twitches.

Feb 19th – IV , very tired,  hard to concentrate/ short attention span. 
Feb 20 to 24 had more energy than I have in months.  Still fibropain and some migraines, as well as fatigue.  But the fatigue was minor comparative to normal.  Attention span is still shot though and motivation to do any writing/blogging isn’t there. 
Feb 23rd – started biofilm
(1st phase of new protocol) Feb 25- cycle started,  crazy fatigue and bad migraine.  Scintillating scotoma in late afternoon
Feb 26- felt surprisingly better today.  Fibropain flaring in hands especially. Attention span still very short.
Feb 27 – increased thyroid meds to 1 1/2 pills a day to help with energy. Funny vision stuff going on
Feb 28- minimal motivation all day,  very tired,  couldn’t nap really.  Fibro flaring in left calf late evening. 
3-4 started g.i. detox
Tired, lacking motivation and short attention span (i.e. brain fog ) the 4th and 5th. Some emotional struggles as well.
3-6 overwhelming fatigue and brain fog all day.  Couldn’t nap. 
28th- hard to keep migraine pain down all day. Tired. Basic addition was difficult in evening when playing a board game
29th bad fatigue all day. Fibro flared bad in evening.  Kept me up it was so bad in legs. 
30th worse fatigue than yesterday.  Described it as having taken a sleeping pill but not necessarily being able to sleep.  Awful.  Migraine flaring off and on all day.  2 short, fitful naps. 
31st- fatigue isn’t quite as bad as has been.  Migraine kicked up in afternoon and evening.  Brain fog

Migraine: While the severity is mostly still calmer, they’ve been kicking up ever more frequently lately. And I’m in the midst of one that’s been going on for almost a week now that I just can’t get rid of completely.

Sleep:  I’m getting about 7 hours each night, with the normal 2 or 3 wakings. I do frequently take involuntary naps however. And I’ll add that I never feel rested after sleeping.

Memory/Brain Fog:  This has improved some, but when the brain fog hits – it hits hard and doesn’t want to lift for quite a while.

Vision: I have been still dealing with times where my eyes just don’t want to focus. Thankfully the scintillating scotomas haven’t occured as often as they were.

TMJ:  My jaw has been tight/tense more lately and has been popping every so often. So this has increased although it’s not where it used to be.

Fatigue: I was doing so much better in this area for a few weeks at least and now I’m stuck back in the cave of fatigue. My body just drags and aches.

Fibromyalgia:  This is a persistent, constant pain. Especially in my knee, elbow, ankle joints. Frequently it rears in my hip as well. I have noticed the random twitches that I get have been increasing over the months. – this is the same as january’s update, sadly

Weight Loss: Not at all. It’s been more of a weight gain issue. Very frustrating.

Mood: This was very rough for a few weeks but it’s leveled out again, thankfully!

Digestion:   This has been good for me – which means, still not where it should ideally be, but for me, it’s okay.

So, as you can see, I’m in the midst of another flare up, just trying to get through day by day.

I have a disability hearing coming up next month – assuming nothing changes what with everything that’s going on in the world right now.

~Laura

Flowers in the Rain

21 Mar

I’m sharing a quick writing prompt with you all today! I know I’ve been so absent on SGL for the past month. Here’s to hoping I can start getting back into a regular posting schedule. I hope you enjoy this.

With a quick glance at the gray sky as I pulled the door shut behind me, I decided that I just might have enough time before the storm hit. I’d not been able to make it the past week and it gnawed at me. Chancing getting caught in the rain far outweighed the knowledge that I’d not sleep well tonight if I missed this opportunity to sneak away.

As usual, my steps were heavy even though they were quick and long. My only thought was to get there. My path wasn’t the shortest route though. First I needed to stop and get some flowers. It was only right, to take flowers with me as an offering. Before long, I spied the small house that sat on the corner lot. It was of no particular interest, being a bit shabby and bleak. But the owner faithfully tended a garden and that was what I was aiming for. I casually glanced around me, but the neighborhood was empty.

Just like it always was.

Hopping over the low fence, I  stooped to pick a small handful of lilies, asters and roses. Really, I didn’t care what they were, the point was something beautiful and bright. I adjusted the flowers in my hand, deciding I needed a few more and bent low again.

“You might as well take those last few lilies.”

I shot up at the sound of the raspy voice mere feet from me. I stared at the stooped man who looked as if he’d eaten something sour. His lips turned up on one side and his eyes were slits.

“I’m sorry. I – ” I faded out as I realized that I couldn’t tell him what I was doing.

“You’re stealing my best beauties, just as you always do. Why don’t you go to a florist shop, instead of destroying my garden? Hmm?”

I hung my head, eyeing the flowers in my hand. A raindrop hit the petal of one, trailing down to land on my thumb. I looked up at the sky and noticed the old man doing the same. “I’m sorry. I -” I tried again, but the words got stuck and my hand clenched around the stems.

He squinted at me, and then muttering , reached inside his front door. I took a step back, thinking of making a run for it when he pulled an umbrella out. “Let’s go deliver those before it’s a deluge out here.” His words stopped my feet.

Was he really saying what I thought he was? “But you can’t come with me.”

“Son, you’ve been stealing my flowers for nigh on the whole summer, so I suppose I deserve to see this pretty girl that has warranted such flower theft.”

I followed his shuffling gait out of the small yard and accepted the umbrella he held out for the both of us. We walked with no other noises but his occasional grunts and the click of his cane on the sidewalk. As we drew closer to my destination, I tried to come up with how to tell him just where we were going. I kept my eyes low, but I knew the instant he figured it out. The tapping of his cane stopped and eventually so did he. I paused just ahead of him, looking back. I begged him silently not to say any of the trite things people feel the need to say at a time like this. I begged him to understand.

And he did. The sorrow in his eyes told me.

He started walking again, but he remained silent, merely joining me under the umbrella again, his cane tapping out a rhythm.

He stayed with me until I stopped before a stone laid flat in the green grass, the patter of raindrops on the umbrella sounding out the beat of my heart. I handed him the handle, then knelt to replace the dead flowers with the new. I hung my head, not caring that I was getting soaked from kneeling on the wet ground. A gentle hand cupped my shoulder,

“The grief never leaves, son. The grief never leaves.”

Here’s the prompt that I started this from: “Sometimes I steal flowers from your garden on my way to the cemetery, but today you’ve caught me and have demanded to come with me to make sure the ‘girl is pretty enough to warrant flower theft’ and I’m trying to figure out how to break it to you that we’re on our way to a graveyard”

Thanks for stopping by SGL. If you want to check it out, I’m on Instagram fairly regularly.

~Laura

February 2020 Book Reviews

11 Mar

It’s a bit late for a Monthly Book Review but I’m going to give you guys a quick one! I’m going to be talking about the books that I shared in My Library Book Haul.

I’ve already shared my thoughts about The Bridge to Belle Island. Trust me, you want to click over and have a read.

The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill – When Piper Sail’s best friend, Lydia, goes missing, the only thing she knows is that she can’t just sit around waiting for the police to find her. Especially when it seems that they are looking in all the wrong places. She sets out on her own investigation, with the aid of a young detective, into the underbelly of Chicago in 1924. She’s determined to find Lydia, no matter what. But she soon has to decide exactly what that means as the truth just might upset her privileged life. ~This book immediately made it to my Favorite Reads of the year list. I’ve not read anything else by Morrill but she wove an incredible story of family, intrigue and 1920s Chicago. It was also very clean, with only subtle mentions of women of a certain profession and innocent romances. If you’ve followed SGL for a while, you’ll know that for this to be on my Faves list, it HAS to be clean! I adored Piper’s spirit, her brother (even when he was being a jerk), and of course, the detective who decides to help her.

The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #3) by Theodora Goss – When the girls of the Athena Club return home only to find that their friend, Alice has been kidnapped along with Mary’s employer, Sherlock Holmes, they rush to find them. But along the way they realize that the kidnappings are only a small part of a sinister plot that threatens not only the Queen, but all of England. Can Mary, Justine, Diana, Catherine and Beatrice stop the plans already in motion and save, not only their friends, but their country as well? ~As I shared in the Library Haul, I’ve not read book one. These were both on the ‘new arrivals’ shelf of my local library and they intrigued me. This series is very different from what I’m used to – seeing as how each of the girls are victims of an evil scientists’ experiments on them (one’s poisonous, one’s a vampire, one’s part cheetah etc). I’d almost say that I’d enjoy these stories more if those elements were taken away. But, I’m certain that those very parts are what makes this series stand out. I did end up enjoying this one- to a degree. The chase and revealing of the sinister plot were clever and intriguing – and were what kept me reading. The other stuff relating to the… vampire and such, were a bit much for me. Just like in the first book, honestly. But it seemed to be more present in this one. I don’t think I’ll read either of these again but they were well written with a fun, unique plot. If you want to see my review for the first book, click here.

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini – I want to do a review of the full series, so for now – know that I enjoyed this conclusion to The Inheritance Cycle

Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams – The Early Years 1903-1940 by Gary Giddins – This covered Bing’s childhood and on up to his rise in fame til the 1940s. I did enjoy what I got read of it. But, well… it took me several weeks to get a quarter of the way through it. And that was with skipping ahead to a section that was of more interest to me. Giddins wrote it well, and he did extensive research on Bing’s ancestors and life. While I fully appreciate that, it was a bit more than I was wanting. I finally just wanted my (huge) stack of library books gone, so I returned it without finishing it. Perhaps one day I’ll get back to it. But, even if I don’t, I still learned some cool (and sad) information on Bing. And found some songs of his that I’d never heard before!

Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia #2) by C.S. Lewis – When Susan’s horn is blown, the Pevensie children are called back to Narnia to help Prince Caspain reclaim his rightful throne. The false king is ruthless and will stop at nothing to kill the old Narnians and maintain his rule. ~I’m reading this series as part of a reading group on Instagram. It’s been fun to re-read these again as I feel it’s been a while! Prince Caspian is, I think, one of my favorites of the series as we see some of the growing up the Pevensie’s have to go through and of course, we meet Caspian and see Aslan again.

Jennifer: an O’Malley Love Story by Dee Henderson- I have read the O’Malley Series, for years and I still enjoy them immensely. This is a short story with one of the siblings as the main character. It was so nice to get to read more about Jennifer as a doctor and see as she falls in love. The heartache though! Agh. Even knowing what is coming (thanks to reading the O’Malley series beforehand), it was still a good, quick read. If you love the O’Malley’s, check this one out.

Thrive by J.J. Eden – A small book of poetry and micro-fiction that focus on the highs and lows of life. On keeping the will to thrive strong in our hearts. ~I got this book free for my honest review. And while I haven’t read any poetry in several years, I enjoyed this a lot. So many of her words resonated with me and some of the micro-fiction I was wishing was a full length story!

Currently Reading:

Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

None Like Him by Jen Wilkin

Tate (Montana Marshalls #2) by Susan May Warren (ebook) – this one is so good but with it being an ebook, I’m just not reading it much.

Zorro by Isabel Allende

To Read:

Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia) by C.S. Lewis

A Musing Maverick

"What good amid these, O me, O life? - Answer: That you are here—that life exists and identity, That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." - Walt Whitman

Elaine Howlin

Slow Living & Reading

See Jayne Run

Navigating with Chronic Illness in a Self Absorbed World

1WriteWay

I AM therefore I Write. Official site of Marie A Bailey, writer, knitter, and stray cat magnet.