Copyright

Please note that all posts are copyright. Do not reprint in whole or in part without permission of the author. You may refer to one of my posts in your own writing; simply include the link(s) so readers can be taken directly to my work. Thank you, and enjoy! ~Susan

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Back, Kind of

The break from blogging paid off. I feel like I got a better handle on managing my time - not yet perfect, but much improved. Also did more personal writing and made progress on the photo organization project, which has unfortunately proven a bigger task than I'd projected. I've decided to work backwards.

As a result of the break, I decided to post here less regularly. You can expect to see one or two book reviews each month, a similar number of posts on things I'm thankful for, and a monthly 'right now' update. If anything else shows up, consider it a bonus. (Insert smiley-face here).

Since yesterday was Canadian Thanksgiving, I'll take the opportunity to share some things I'm thankful for, in no particular order:

1. Living in Canada - still one of the best places on earth to grow up and raise a family. Thankful for our democracy and the many freedoms we enjoy.

 
2. Family - even though our daughter chose to remain on campus for the holiday this year, I'm grateful that my family members are all in mostly good health and that a few of us were able to share a delicious celebratory meal together.


3. Work - and not just a job, but a career I enjoy, where I can be around both people and books, helping people find informational, educational, recreational reading and thus improving their lives.

 
4. Friends - I have what I would call a small circle of friends and some live too far away for our liking, but I value the caring, the support, the prayer, and those times when we're able to get together in person.


5. The Bible - God's Word is life. I need to be nourished by it daily.


Whether you celebrated with us this weekend or not, what are some things you're thankful for right now? Of course, I am thankful for you!

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Book Review

Title: A Paralyzing Redemption: One Man's Journey from Basketball Stardom to Complete Paralysis and the Long Road Back to Walking
  Author: Brian Ziegler
  Publisher: CrossLink, 2017
  Genre: Christian memoir, inspiration
 
First Lines:
"I believe every human being has a life-defining moment; a moment so forceful, so dramatic, and so important it changes one's entire existence forever. I had my experience on May 27, 2000. My old way of living had come to an end, and it was the start of a life I never thought possible, a life I never thought I would want. This is a story about second chances, a story about God's mercy, and a story about Jesus Christ hearing the prayers of a desperate young man and changing his life forever."
My Review:

Ziegler's opening lines are powerful and demonstrate his ability to tell a story, one that is uniquely his own. As you read, you discover that his encounter with God prompted a change in direction from self-absorption to a dedicated Christ-focus. Not that he has yet been perfected (there is no perfect living human), but he has certainly come a long way.


I'm going to write a bit of a spoiler here and let you know that Brian's paralysis was the result of drunk driving. While he wasn't the driver of the car, he was one of its drunken passengers. I find it rather mind-boggling therefore that Brian continues to drink to this day, perhaps in greater moderation, but still... I would have liked him to discuss his thinking on this.

I also find the book title a bit confusing. What does he mean by a 'paralyzing' redemption? Is the redemption paralyzing? I don't think so - the redemption leads to action on his part - reading the Bible, engaging in prayer, getting involved in church and in outreach activities, sharing his story with others to glorify God. I suppose his choice of title is a play on his own physical paralysis, but I think a better one could have been selected.

The book suffers from some writing flaws and would have benefited from editing and proofreading. There are numerous typos, an excessive use of quotation marks, and some disorganization in chronology. I would like to have known more about C5 injuries as compared to spinal cord injuries that result in total paralysis as Christopher Reeve's did. I would like more time to have been spent on some of the medical things and on Brian's progress. He talks about experiencing a miracle healing but it seems he continues to require medications and to experience muscle spasms, etc.

In spite of these problems, I give the book a satisfactory rating because I think the story has merit and these issues could be addressed in future printings. I'm always interested in stories of what God is doing in people's lives and how He remains in the business of transformation.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
 
Authors' website: https://www.facebook.com/aparalyzingredemption/

Goodreads Description: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33871420-a-paralyzing-redemption

Note: I received this book free through the Bookcrash review program in exchange for my honest review. 

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Blogging Break

This is what a good break looks like!
Dear Readers,

I mentioned in a recent post that I've been contemplating what to do with this blog going forward. For now, I've decided to take a six-week, bringing me back after Canadian Thanksgiving (second Monday in October). A few things need to take priority right now, including:

1. my personal writing - i.e. working toward completing the novel and working on other writing projects

2. the photo organization project - I haven't done anything on it since returning from vacation and I want to get caught up before my 25th anniversary trip next year

3. getting the house in order so I can function better

I may pop by to share a book review the odd Tuesday, and I'll make an effort to visit and comment on your blogs. Otherwise, assume that I am healthy and being productive. I appreciate your interest more than you know.

Be well, be wise. Seek Truth.

Susan

Friday, 1 September 2017

#FridayFive

Want to increase positivity, joy and happiness in your own life? Make a list of things you are thankful for to develop an attitude of gratitude! Here's what I'm thankful for this week:

1. Continuing assistance from my son with doing the dishes. It's a small thing but a big help. Makes me feel good that he is seeing the need and stepping up.

2. Back to school and routines. In some ways summer is a nice break from everything, but at a certain point it's nice to get back to a schedule!

3. My funny, cuddly, lovable Boston Terrier. 

4. The variety of meal options. Not everyone in the world has this opportunity. Boredom with food is a first world "problem."

5. Relationships. People who live by the motto "Do all that you can to be at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18, NLT. 
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#FridayFive was started by Lauren at Milly's Guide. What are you thankful for? Leave your reply in the comments or in your own blog post.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Bucket List Update

I’ve updated the bucket list I last wrote out in 2016. It includes only efforts that are a) fairly specific, b) can be accomplished in one fell swoop (or almost one fell swoop) and c) are easily checked off when done. In other words, it doesn’t include things like declutter my house and keep it clean and tidy, or build deeper friendships, even though I’m still working on those as well.
Career
  • publish at least one picture book
  • finish my novel and get it published
  • enter and win a writing contest
  • have a #1 best seller (hey, why not dream big?)
  • obtain a Master's, or equivalent, in Creative Writing
  • study under/be mentored by an accomplished (maybe even famous) author
  • take some Gale courses in writing

Spiritual

People
  • see friends who live at a distance: especially, but not limited to, Armita, Libby, Patty, Pavlina
  • find and reconnect with friends from elementary school: Gillian and Susan 

Tasks
  • finish my son's baby book
  • organize my photos and catch up on my photo albums (I did start working on this this summer)

Health and Fitness
  • lose seven pounds
  • take a ballroom dancing class
  • learn krav maga

Practical
This used to include things like learning how to sew, knit/crochet, make jams/preserves, etc. Now I am older and wiser. There are certain things I am just never likely to undertake.

Travel
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom (Northern Ireland again, but also England and Scotland)
  • Ireland (again)
  • L'Anse Aux Meadows and Gros Morne, Newfoundland (I got there this summer!)
  • Vancouver Island
  • Bermuda
  • Cayman Islands
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Tennessee
  • Mackinac Island (I got there last summer!)
  • Manitoulin Island

What’s on your bucket list?

Friday, 25 August 2017

#FridayFive


Want to increase positivity, joy and happiness in your own life? Make a list of things you are thankful for to develop an attitude of gratitude! Here's what I'm thankful for this week:


1. As I mentioned yesterday, help with weeding the garden! It looks so much better now - not quite like Eden, I'm sure, but promising. Little weeds are already beginning to pop up again and it's now up to me to keep on top of them.


2. Friends who have traveled to places I want to go. We're 80% set on going to Hawaii next year for our 25th wedding anniversary, so I've started asking questions. Your feedback is welcome too if you've been. Which island(s), why, how long, what to see, where to stay, etc. Tips on getting an inexpensive flight!




3. Those who mentor, or are willing to mentor, my children well. Since they're at an age where they're not really interested in what their parents have to say, I'm thankful that there are others who can offer true wisdom and who have my back.


4. I continue to be grateful for extra hours at work. We just paid a big credit card bill and have another one due in early September. The additional income is much needed and appreciated as we complete the bathroom reno and pay off some of my recent travel expenses.


5. A change in how my workplace handles vacation requests. Used to be we had to submit by March 1 of the year to have seniority considered. This made it more challenging to plan ahead because you weren't sure your time off would be approved. The new procedure is for us to submit our requests by November 1. Once our holiday time is granted we can begin watching for cheap flights, book accommodation, etc. While there are a lot of places to stay in Hawaii, I'm sure they get booked up quickly, so having more lead time should be helpful.


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#FridayFive was started by Lauren at Milly's Guide. What are you thankful for this week? Leave your reply in the comments or in your own blog post.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Right Now

I haven't been inspired to blog in over a week. I hope this isn't a new trend, but I'm beginning to give some thought to my blogging pattern for the fall. It's always good to evaluate how things are going and to determine whether or not what you're doing is working for you. Anyway, here's what's happening "right now":

Drinking: I've had my morning coffee, so that's good. I think one more is in order today as I'm pretty tired. Went to bed too late last night and didn't sleep that well the night before. We recently heard that Teavana stores are closing, so last night we stopped by our local branch and picked up some teas at 50% off, including strawberry daiquiri and the "jam berry" sampler.

Eating: Haven't had anything yet today, but will probably have some strawberries and a slice of sourdough rye toast with peanut butter for breakfast. Having leftover cauliflower curry from Fionn MacCool's for lunch - yummy, but very spicy! Not sure what to have for supper yet; getting bored, bored, bored with meal-making.

Reading: I quickly read JK Rowling's Very Good Lives this morning, an excellent commencement address to the Harvard graduating class of 2008. Have started Why We're Not Emergent by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck, and am going to begin Into the Water by Paula Hawkins for September's book club meeting. I didn't finish Girl on the Train, so I hope I like this one better. 


Watching: We just finished watching a French television series with English subtitles. In English it's called Agatha Christie's Criminal Games. We normally wouldn't watch something with French-only audio, but the acting and storylines captivated us and we really enjoyed it. My husband is interested in learning French (I already have high school and a minor in university), so it was good for him to begin to develop an ear.

Listening: I picked up Jason Castro's Only a Mountain CD from my used CD store and like it very much. I've been a fan since his days on American Idol (he came in fourth on Season 7). David Cook won that year, but does anyone still hear from him?


Creating: I wrote up a personal experience piece on my recent trip east and have submitted it to my writers' group for critique. Hope to turn it into something saleable!

Buying: Finally ordered our shower doors for the bathroom reno! But I must admit I'm not too impressed with the amounts coming in on our last two credit card bills! Good thing I'm able to collect a lot of travel rewards for next year, but not everyone accepts American Express. Boo.

Happy About: I've been blessed to have someone helping me with weeding the garden the last couple of weeks and the front yard is nearly weed-free for the first time in ages! My new friend is going to help me at the side of the house and in the backyard next week and if I keep on top of it going forward, it should be a lot more manageable. Thankful that there are kind people in the world!

Anticipating: Visiting my mom this weekend.