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, 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.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Right Now

Drinking: I've just had my first cup of coffee with almond creamer and a little maple syrup to "yawn and stretch and try to come to life." I'm trying to stick to one coffee a day, so remaining beverages will be herbal teas and water.

Eating: Breakfast was a bowl of oatmeal with ground flax, hemp seeds, chopped walnuts and cinnamon topped with a little maple syrup and almond milk. Lunch is to be firmed up, but I'm thinking tuna with vegan mayonnaise, a garden salad and garlic Naan bread. Supper is pasta and baby carrots with hummus. I'm at women's Bible study this morning, so snacks will be whatever's on offer plus fruit later in the day.

Reading: I had to return J. Warner Wallace's Cold-Case Christianity and am still plugging away on Tony Dungy's A Quiet Strength. It's not that hard to read, but I'm not a football fan to begin with and I'm still waiting for the "lessons" to spotlight. Confession: A Quiet Strength is my "Q" book for the Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge. It's not looking like I'll successfully complete the challenge this year, though I may be able to substitute on my original list alternate titles I've read.

Watching: Too busy, but we did watch Maudie the other night. This is the feature biopic of Maudie Lewis, Nova Scotia artist. Ethan Hawke was excellent as her taciturn husband, Everett, and Sally Hawkins, not familiar to me, was amazing in the title role. Quite a story!

Listening: I've borrowed a couple of Christmas CDs from the library (yes, I know it's a bit early), but haven't had a chance to listen to them yet. Matthew West's Heart of Christmas and Reba McEntire's My Kind of Christmas.

Creating: Continuing to write personal experience stories and to work on the novel. Also picked up a couple of "guided writing" books, 500 Writing Prompts and Complete the Story. Great exercises to stimulate the writer's brain and creative juices and to help overcome writer's "block."

Buying: Looks like we're buying a new-to-us vehicle in the nearish future. Our 2008 Tucson died in the driveway Tuesday, having blown a timing belt. How did we know? We had it towed to our mechanic's and he diagnosed the issue. It was either say good-bye to the vehicle or spend $1000 to replace the timing belt, perhaps only then discovering that a complete engine job was needed. Apparently blown timing belts can do quite the damage. To us it wasn't worth throwing a thousand dollars at, given the age of the vehicle. Like the mechanic said, we'd be rolling the dice. Better to save that money and invest it in something new(er).

Anticipating: Taking the bus for the next little while. Not a bad experiment for our first-world family, so accustomed to hopping in the car and going wherever, whenever we want. Yes, it's a bit of a hassle, but that's life. We just get too comfortable and spoiled. It's the difficulties that grow and shape us. And we'll need time to research the vehicle we want as well as to add to the coffers. Don't worry, Hawaii, I am still coming to you next year. We'll figure it out somehow!

How are things in your little corner of the world? Any surprises?

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Right Now

Drinking: At this very moment I'm boiling the kettle for a cup of mint chocolate rooibos tea to give me a boost of energy for the day. I had a cup of coffee earlier, with almond milk 'creamer'. Forgot to bring my water bottle to work, unfortunately. I guess I'll be having more tea at break.

Eating: I just completed the 10 day McDougall diet challenge. Very similar to the 7-day rescue diet I tried back in February, it calls on you to eliminate several things from your diet, including sugar and oil. The first half of the challenge went fairly well, but I did end up cheating in the last half and didn't lose any weight. Still, a good reminder to eat more healthfully.

Mind you, I could puke oatmeal right now.

Reading: Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace and Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy. Trying to finish at least one of them this week so I can stay on track with the Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge.

Watching: Timeless, Season One. What a great show about time travel and preserving/changing American history. Lots of action and suspense. Who, or what, is 'Rittenhouse'? What is his/its goal and is it intended for the good of the country - or not?

I was disappointed when someone told me NBC cancelled it after one season, but my husband looked it up and they are bringing it back sometime in 2018. Woot!

Listening: My husband is the real blues fan, but I am enjoying Jonny Lang's new album, Signs, a great deal. Some fantastic lyrics and wailing guitar. If you like blues, you should love this.

Creating: I recently completed a photo book for my daughter, called Annika's Book of (Mostly) Godly Wisdom. It was supposed to be a 21st birthday gift, but she is now 22.5 and I wanted to get it to her before Christmas. She absolutely loved it, and I hope she will take the wisdom (offered by family, mentors and friends) to heart. The photos show the advisors with or without Annika, and I included some quotes from Scripture and well-known people as well. There are a few photos from places we've traveled; among them Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, and Florida.

I did the book using Shutterfly (thanks for the recommendation, Susan F!) and had great success. I did miss a couple of typos (grrrrr). Perfection is a goal, but not often a reality.

There were 20 pages to work with (I didn't want to pay extra for more, nor did I have the time) and already I'm envisioning a follow-up book. I warned Annika that as I worked on it, I kept thinking of additional advice!

Buying: Groceries and the odd Christmas gift as I see things on sale. Hubby and I are trying to save money for our planned trip to Hawaii next year, so I don't want to spend a lot on Christmas. That's not what the holiday is all about anyway.

Anticipating: Attending a workshop this weekend on spiritual warfare. It's led by my friend Lisa. Pray for us!

Questions for you:
  1. What are you up to right now?
  2. What advice would you give someone as they launch into adult life? What do you wish you had known/someone had told you when you were 21/22?
  3. What's your favourite 'new' television show?

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge Update

With almost eleven weeks to go in the Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge, I thought I should see how many books I have left to read. Drumroll, please:

The answer is: 10! Far too many at this point in the year, requiring me to tackle one book each week. Not that I can't read this many, but it depends on how long it is and how much mental focus it requires. A cozy mystery goes faster than a book on apologetics, for example.

Anyway, in red are the titles I've read so far for this challenge. Wish me luck for the rest!

All In: You are One Decision Away From a Totally Different Life
Mark Batterson
The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It
Peter Enns
Cold-case Christianity: a Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels
Wallace J. Warner
Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In: Lessons from an Extraordinary Life
Louis Zamperini
Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey  from North Korea to Freedom in the West
Blaine Harden
Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit
Francis Chan
Girl Meets God
Lauren F. Winner
How Christianity Changed the World
Alvin J. Schmidt
If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis: Exploring the Ideas of C.S. Lewis on the Meaning of Life
Alister McGrath
Joni & Ken: an Untold Love Story
Ken Tada
Kisses from Katie: a Story of Relentless Love and Redemption
Katie J. Davis
Living in the Spirit: Drawing Us to God, Sending Us to the World
George O. Wood
Miracles from Heaven: a Little Girl, Her Journey to Heaven, and Her Amazing Story of Healing
Christy Beam
Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence
Jonathan Sacks
One Simple Act: Discovering the Power of Generosity
Debbie Macomber
Put on the Armour of Light
Catherine MacDonald
Quiet Strength: the Principles, Practices and Priorities of a Winning Life
Tony Dungy
Reverend Mother’s Daughter: a Real Life Story
Mary Haskett
Jim Cymbala
Too Busy Not to Pray: Slowing Down to Be with God
Bill Hybels
Unstoppable: the Incredible Power of Faith in Action
Nic Vujicic
Visioneering: God’s Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Personal Vision
Andy Stanley
Why We’re Not Emergent
Kevin DeYoung
Edith Wharton
Your Own Jesus: a God Insistent on Making it Personal
Mark Hall
Zanna's Gift: a Life in Christmases
Orson Scott Card

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:

Goodreads Description:

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.


Friday, 1 September 2017


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. 

#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.
  • 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


  • 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 

  • 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

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.

  • 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


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.


#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.