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

Friday, 28 October 2016

Flashback Friday

I wrote this post on my old blog in June of 2015. I was an occasional participant in the "Five Minute Friday" blog hop. I think I'd like get back to that...

In light of the fact that there's a marriage workshop at our church this weekend, I thought I'd share this one:

This post is part of "Five Minute Friday" where we get five minutes to write on a one-word topic. Today's word is "GIFT" if you choose to join us, it's pretty simple. Don't worry about editing or rewriting, just let the words flow for five minutes. And then stop and share with others! 
God's Word tells us that children are a gift. So is marriage. I've been doing some reading, and there are a few points I've come across that I think are worth sharing. In marriage, you should:
  • Be as considerate to your spouse as you are to strangers and coworkers.
  • Consider what your mate has asked you to do or not do. If in doubt, ask.
  • Treat your mate the way you want to be treated.
When you are considerate, when you act on what you've been asked to do, when you treat your spouse the way you want to be treated (often called 'the golden rule'), you are giving him/her a gift. The gift of consideration. The gift of respect. 
Do you treat others better than the way you treat your spouse? If so, why? Why would you treat someone you haven't made a lifelong commitment to, someone you haven't exchanged vows with, better than you treat the one you promised to love? 
Over time, we can treat our marriages with a casualness they don't deserve. We get sloppy and careless. The busyness of life, the arrival of children, the interference of others who have their own interests and needs, can get in the way. If this is the case in your life and you're interested in transforming your marriage relationship (you should be!), think about what you can do to be more considerate and respectful.

If  in doubt, ask. Give your mate the gift of your care.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

6 Words

The last Wednesday of every month, Eli compiles a post inspired by Ernest Hemingway, who said any story can be told in six words. Eli asks bloggers, friends, strangers, and a few strange blogger friends to respond to a prompt. This month the prompt is "October is National Self-Promotion Month. In six words, tell us something good about your blog." 

Since I just received the theme yesterday (I was on vacation when it actually came in), I haven't had a lot of time to think about it or solicit feedback from readers on what they enjoy, so I came up with this acronym to describe what I think are my blog's overall traits:
  • Bookish
  • Rational
  • Intelligent
  • Gentle
  • Hopeful
  • Trustworthy
What do you think? If you had to identify something good about my blog, what would it be?

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge Update

What I've read since May 31st, in terms of the A-Z reading challenge:

The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize and Simply Your Life by Francine Jay

One Hundred and Four Horses by Mandy Retzlaff

Poles Apart by Terry Fallis

The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling by Quinn Cummings

Z: a Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

Of these, One Hundred and Four Horses was my favourite. 

Ten more titles to go to meet the challenge. I admit that since June I've gone off the schedule I set at the beginning of the year. I've read 78 books so far, closing in on 79, surpassing my goal of 52, but still... With ten weeks left in 2016, I have to read at least one per week now. 

Letters remaining? E, F, I, Q, R, T, V, W, and X. I got started on Susan Cain's Quiet on my recent holiday, so I will finish that up by Saturday.

What have you been reading lately? 

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Book Review: Simply Happy: A Crash Course in Chicken Soup for the Soul Advice and Wisdom

Author: Amy Newmark
Genre: Inspiration, Memoir
Publisher: Chicken Soup for the Soul, 2016

As someone who's had a couple of pieces published by Chicken Soup for the Soul I was curious to know more about the woman behind it. How had she had the wherewithal to acquire the company when originator Jack Canfield was ready to hand it off? What professional background did she bring to the role? And then there was the other part of the book - what advice and wisdom had she garnered over the years from Chicken Soup writers, and how might that learning be used to guide others?

Simply Happy simply does not disappoint. Amy shares various stories from her own life, including her interests in reading and writing and the business background that equipped her to tackle a publishing company. She is also transparent in sharing some of the more personal details of her life and relationships. This is greatly appreciated as Chicken Soup writers make themselves vulnerable, often telling readers things that their families are only hearing for the first time. I love that Amy "gets" it.

The most important goal of the book is to identify simple ways that people can make for-the-better changes in their own attitudes and behaviours. The book is divided into chapters that correspond with the desired shifts in thought and action. In each chapter, Amy reveals her favourite Chicken Soup stories that pertain to the advice/wisdom and how others' experiences served to make her own life better. The reader is encouraged to also act on these lessons.

I found much worth applying here, whether the subject was parenting, time management, embracing life fully, or something else. I'm sure you will too. Check with your local bookstore for a copy or visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Indie Bound. Ask your library to order it for the collection!

Full disclosure: I received my copy of the book free from the publisher in exchange for my completely honest review.

My favourite quote was this one from Mahatma Gandhi: 
I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet. 

Monday, 3 October 2016

Question of the Month

This is the last 'Question of the Month' hop Michael is hosting, so of course he's chosen a really deep question for us:
“What’s a decision you’ve made in the past that you know, logically, was the right decision to make, but which you still feel guilty or regretful about?”
Thanks Michael (I say while sticking my tongue out)!

So, here goes, and I rather like a quotation I found today while thinking about this piece:
"No regrets in life, just lessons learned."
 Lesson learned, I do still feel badly about a decision I made almost 15 years ago, even though I feel it was ultimately the best choice for our family.

We were living in Toronto, our hometown, when 9/11 happened. The attack hit me really hard, even though no one I knew personally died or was wounded. It made me rethink my life - what I wanted to do with it, where I wanted to live, etc. At some point I discussed this with my husband and we started to consider things we could change in order to create the life I envisioned; a life where I would be home more for our family and in which I would be able to pursue my dream of writing. We decided that we'd need to move from Toronto with its high cost of living to a smaller community where housing was less expensive and we wouldn't require two full-time incomes.

While there've been times I've second-guessed the choices we made, I've always come to the conclusion that it was a good decision. I was able to be home with our kids full-time for three years after our move; I home-schooled them for three years after that (two years son, three daughter); I've been writing and getting the odd thing published...

I feel terrible about the timing, though. Just two weeks after my grandma died, we told my mom about our plans to move. Let's just say she took it badly. She lived on her own, had no other close family nearby, and a very small friend circle. Everything she knew, and her entire comfort zone, was there. She had no desire to transplant her roots the way we were doing.

It was hard, but we went ahead and moved anyway, six months after Grandma's passing. When I look back, I feel like I was a horrible daughter - timing-wise if nothing else. And I do think that the decisions we make are important and life-changing for everyone involved. If we had stayed in Toronto, we'd be attending a different church, know different people, be in full-time jobs. Our kids would have different friends, be on different paths, etc. For good or for bad we'll never know.

Life is a journey. If we only knew at various points what we know now, we might have made some different choices. But I always feel that the only wasted experience is one you don't learn from. I just wish no one had to get hurt in the process of another's education.

What about you? Any decisions you've made that were right for you but still left you feeling guilty or horrible? I promise not to judge.
Michael is looking for someone to host the QOTM going forward, so if you think you might be interested, please contact him: bulletproof-92 [at] outlook [dot] com

Thanks, Michael, for all of your work to date, and for a great run. All the best in your future endeavours, and do pop by when you have a moment!