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

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Right Now

Have I really not done a Right Now post yet this year? Time to rectify that!

Drinking: About a week and a half ago I thought I would go off coffee and stick with herbal teas and non-caffeinated beverages. Alas, that plan has failed, largely due to being over-tired and in need of caffeine. However, I've never had more than two or three cups a day anyway, so I'm not going to beat myself up for it.

Eating: Pretty healthy these days. I got the My Fitness Pal app early in the new year and have logged on for 20 days in a row. I've also lost 3.5 pounds so far. 5.5 to go to meet my goal weight! My daily calorie allotment is 1200 and I've also been fitting in cardio exercise four times a week, 30 minutes each time.

I love how easy My Fitness Pal is and that you can 'create' recipes and have the app calculate how many calories and what quantity of nutrients is in each serving. If you're on My Fitness Pal, drop me a line with your username and we can be friends!

Reading: Trying to get through If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis by Alister McGrath. For the most part it's well-written and thoughtful, it's just that I've been really busy lately and haven't been able to read as much. I'm supposed to finish Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace this month too, and it's not looking good.

This month's book club read prompted an excellent discussion of The Five Love Languages: the Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman. Do you know what your top "love language" is? I'm pretty evenly split between Acts of Service and Quality Time with Gifts at the bottom of my list.

Watching: Not much these days. See 'lack of time' above.

Listening: Again, not much.

Creating: Also, sadly, not much. I have two writers' group meetings this month, so I just reviewed and edited my pieces before submitting them for critique. I also did a writing prompt Monday night that resulted in a piece of pretty good flash fiction.

Through the book Finishing School by Cary Tennis and Danelle Morton I've found an excellent system for being productive and managing the to-dos in my day. I'm also hoping that a friend will soon join me in a 'finishing school' partnership so we can both complete our writing projects (a novel for me, a workbook for her).

Buying: Only what we really need since I've purchased our flights to Hawaii! Yes, it's really going to happen! We were debating since we planned on replacing our second vehicle (the one that died in November), but after having a few people tell us that 25th wedding anniversaries only come around once and we should do the trip, we agreed. We'll be flying into the Island of Hawaii (also known as the 'Big Island') and returning home from Maui, splitting our time fairly evenly between the two. Now to book our accommodation.

Anticipating: Well, apart from Hawaii, which is a bit of a ways off, and finishing my novel (also a ways off), I'm looking forward to going through the latest Bible study by Priscilla Shirer on Discerning the Voice of God. We started last week, and thanks to too many hours on the phone trying to help my mother resolve an issue, I'm already three days behind in my homework (insert sad face). It's hard to hear from God when you're not taking the time to listen!

What is new with my faithful readers?

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Book Review: Angel on Assignment: an Elf Alternative

Author: Wanda Carter Roush
Illustrator: Mike Motz
Publisher: Ella's Pearl Publishing, 2017
Genre: Juvenile Picture Book

First Lines:

"Have you ever wondered how the angels knew,
Of the Christmas miracle born for me and you?
These stories are not just tales we've heard,
But truths we can find in God's Word."

My Review:

The first lines tell us what we can expect: a book with an imperfect rhyme scheme. Right off the bat, I'm disappointed as a reader. If you're going to use rhyme, use it well - especially if you're using it in a children's book where it's intended to be read aloud. 

The plot begins with the appearance of angels in the New Testament story regarding the incarnation of Christ (to Mary, to Joseph, to the shepherds), then moves to angels in contemporary settings. The premise is good, even very good, I just wish the author had perfected her rhyme scheme or told the story in prose form. 

Illustrations are excellent and 'make' the book.

A craft project appears in the back pages - make your own angel from readily available materials. This is great to do with little ones who enjoy crafting. There is also a Facebook page where readers (i.e. parents) can share photos of the resulting creations if they so desire.

Regarding the subtitle, "an Elf alternative," there is only one reference to angel decor, and the angels in the story aren't really replacing the whole Elf on the Shelf phenomenon, so the book falls short on that score.

Though the book has apparently won a few awards, it's not clear by whom these are sponsored and it's my view that the book would have benefited from more  thought and editing prior to publication. 

My Rating: sadly only 1 star

Find the book on Goodreads here.

Buy it on Amazon here.

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

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

No More Cookbooks!

I have a habit of borrowing a lot of cookbooks from the library and have decided no more for the rest of the year. I've scanned tons of recipes I still need to try, have four binders full plus what's in my e-mail inbox, plus all the cookbooks I own on my bookshelves. It's time to try the many recipes I already have access to!

The only exception to this "rule" will be when/if my book club decides to "read" a cookbook for our December potluck. We did that in 2017, creating dishes from The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon. It worked out great.

Friday, 5 January 2018

FMF: Motivate

Earlier this week I read this quote from Charles Price in a Living Truth devotional:

"Our personal experience of God's love is subject to our loving Him back...This means that everything we do, everything our affection is placed on, everything our energy is engaged in and every ambition we hold will, in some way, say, 'I love You, God.' It is a reciprocal relationship in which God's centered love for us becomes the means of His love flowing through us to the benefit of others." ~Charles Price

When I saw today’s word prompt, Motivate, it took me back to this. It’s talking about our motivation – why we do what we do. Price’s words are worth pondering if you identify as Christian. If our affections, energies and ambitions are not saying ‘I love You, God,’ then what motivates us?

I look around and see Christians who are no different from the world. It seems that they have lost their first love and instead of loving people from the love of God that’s inside, they love the things that the world loves: celebrity, immoral entertainment, material gain, status, beauty. They aren’t careful what their little eyes see, what their little ears hear, what their little mouths speak. And it’s not just other Christians either; sadly, sometimes it’s me.

The Bible says we’re to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all our strength. We’re also to love our neighbour as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). Let these commands motivate us and make our lives count so that when we say we love God it's believable. 
If you'd like to join today's Five Minute Friday link-up, go here.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy 2018 to all my readers! I hope you have a wonderful year, filled with everything you like best! Also, a period of personal and spiritual growth (which admittedly may require some challenges). Let's not stay static. I'm sure we all have ways in which we need to change.

I'm not making resolutions, but I'll continue my pattern of posting here about once a week. I'm not doing the Alphabet Soup Reading or A-Z Blogging challenges this year. I need a break from those sorts of intense commitments. My plans and goals centre on physical/spiritual health/growth, writing and home organization/transformation.

L'chaim - to life!

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Right Now

Drinking: I've had one cup of coffee so far today and suspect another is in my future. Other than that, herbal teas and apple cider. 'Tis the season!

Eating: Planning to have a muffet for breakfast. A friend is treating me to lunch at a lovely local cafe with European flair. I'm thinking I'll have the quiche, but will decide for sure when I get there. Supper is all too often TBD these days...

Reading: Still working my way through Girl Meets God by Lauren F. Winner. But also reading Lagom (Not too Little, Not too Much): The Swedish Art of Living a  Balanced, Happy Life by Niki Brantmark (creator of My Scandinavian Home). I'm really enjoying it; getting ideas; and it's the kind of book you can read when you have brief snippets of time.

Watching: We watched Wonder Woman the other night. My husband had already seen in in the theater, but didn't mind watching it the second time, with me. It was well done; heavily influenced by Greek mythology, as was to be expected. I've heard so much about Gal Gadot, and I must say she played Wonder Woman fabulously.

Listening: I've borrowed a couple of Christmas CDs from the library, but haven't had a chance to listen to them yet.

Creating: More mess, this time with Christmas wrapping paper and decorations. But also, the Christmas dinner menu!

Buying: Christmas shopping is done, but I do plan to pick up a gift card to go in each stocking. We only do stockings for the "kids" (aka young adults).

Anticipating: At this time of year it's all about Christmas! So, remembering to focus on the Christ child - why He came, what He accomplished. Looking forward to the Christmas Eve service under the direction of our new pastor. Looking forward to having my daughter home from school, my mom visiting from Toronto, my in-laws (parents, aunt and uncle) coming for Christmas dinner. I'm planning to do some baking this weekend and also hope to prepare some of the dinner items so it's not so stressful on the 25th.

What are you making for Christmas dinner? (Or what do you make for Chanukah, Kwanzaa, etc.?)

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Right Now

Another little snippet of my life!

Drinking: Just finished my first coffee of the day. So tired this morning, it has barely done anything to perk me up (pardon the pun!). I'm working most of the day and will have herbal teas, including eye-popping chocolate peppermint, at break and beyond.

Eating: Oatmeal with berries (breakfast), chickpea salad wrap plus 16 grams of potato chips and a clementine orange (lunch), supper is to be determined.

Reading: Just finished the amazing Kisses From Katie: a Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie J. Davis. She keeps her promise that the story is all about God and not about her. I highly recommend you read it.  Currently I'm reading Girl Meets God: On the Path to a Spiritual Life by Lauren Winner. Lauren was raised Jewish but compelled to follow Jesus as a young woman. Both of these titles are for this year's Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge.

Watching: My husband and I watched Cat Ballou (1965) the other night and enjoyed it. I've also recently watched a couple of episodes of the Beat Bobby Flay cooking show and find it fun. Beating Bobby Flay isn't easy. Even if desserts aren't his thing, he usually finds a way to fight off the competition.

Listening: I don't currently have anything in the CD player.

Creating: Apparently, a messy house (insert sad face). It's been really busy lately and I haven't had much time to clean or tidy up. We have guests coming over Saturday evening, so it's going to be a bit of a mad rush to get things in order and prepare the meal. My husband has to finish painting our entryway and I'm hoping to get our Christmas tree and other decorations up on Friday. Thankfully he has Thursday and Friday off this week.

Buying: We're still working on saving up for a replacement vehicle, but we did buy a futon for our office/guest room. My mom is coming for Christmas, and when she visits, my daughter usually winds up on the basement couch (not really designed for sleeping). We thought a futon on the main level would be helpful. Also, of course, I am buying Christmas presents.

Anticipating: The beginning of the Advent season. Looking forward to meditating on what it means and how transformative it is to be a Christian and have the joy, love, peace and hope Jesus gives. I hope that is something you know and experience as well. If not, you certainly can! Click here to find out more. And may this be the beginning of something new and beautiful in your life.