Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday's Fave Five #326

Welcome to a gorgeous spring day Friday's Fave Five!  Time to look over the week and see what good blessings have been in our lives.  Please join in!  Guidelines link is in the sidebar.

1.  Pear Walnut Dressing.  I love pears, I love salad so when I saw this dressing I knew I had to try it.  It is now a favourite.  So yummy!!   Perfect for the lighter flavors of spring and summer.

2.  A great pair of shoes.  I admit I am a shoe and purse girl.  I should probably belong to shoes and purse anonymous if there was such a thing.  But what's not to love about shoes and purses?    We were driving down one of our main streets close to home when I noticed a new shoe store.  Needing a pair of black dress shoes I convinced my dear hubby to take a look.  So we took a peek and it was an awesome store full of really nice unique good quality shoes.   This pair jumped out and he had me try them on and bought them for me. (He's a favourite too!)   I Love them.  They are so comfy, it doesn't even seem like I'm wearing heals and they look great with dress pants and jeans and skirts.  Thanks my Honey!

3.  Homemade turkey soup.  Easter dinner in our family is usually turkey and with turkey dinner comes a delicious pot of turkey soup a couple of weeks after.  I freeze the turkey carcass and when the mood strikes I make a huge pot of soup.  It's a favourite of the whole family and I personally can eat homemade soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  This week we had it with Jalepeno Cheese bagels.  Such a simple yet such a tasty dinner!

4.  Sleeping with the window cracked open.  I don't know what it is but I sleep so much better.  I love the fresh air coming in.  And it  makes the covers that much more comfy and snuggly when there is a bit of cooler air in the room.  And now that it is spring and not in the throes of freezing cold winter we can open that window just enough to let that fresh air in all night.

5.  Reading in warm sunshine.  A definite favourite blessing this week has been the warm sunshine the last couple of days.  After some crazy days of wind it was especially nice to be able to sit outside while the kids played and soak up that sunshine along with reading.  Out came the tshirts and capris and even the sunscreen for the smaller kids sensitive skin.  I am so looking forward to spring weather and more laid back days of playing and reading in the warmth of the sunshine.

What were your favourite blessings this week?  They don't have to be earth shattering or huge, though they can be.  But in my experience, it's the little things on a daily and weekly basis that sometimes tend to slip by unnoticed that make our everyday lives meaningful.  And purposefully looking for them each week brings the good things to the forefront and helps when those harder days come along.  Thanks once again for joining in with me in finding them!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"The Inn at Ocean's Edge" by Colleen Coble ~ A Review

Sunset Cove Series #1

Publisher's Description:
In 1989, Claire Dellamare disappeared from her own fourth birthday party at the Hotel Tourmaline on the island of Folly Shoals, Maine. She showed up a year later at the same hotel, with a note pinned to her dress but no explanation. Nobody knows where Claire spent that year—and until now, Claire didn’t even know she had ever been missing. But when Claire returns to the Hotel Tourmaline for a business meeting with her CEO father, disturbing memories begin to surface . . . despite her parents’ best efforts to keep them forgotten. Luke Rocco lost his mother under equally mysterious circumstances—at the same time Claire disappeared. After a chance encounter reveals the unlikely link between them, Claire and Luke set out together to uncover the truth about what happened that fateful year. With flashbacks swimming just beneath her consciousness and a murderer threatening her safety, Claire’s very life depends on unscrambling her past . . . even if her family refuses to acknowledge it. Someone—maybe everyone—is hiding something from Claire Dellamare, and it will cost her everything to drag the truth out into the light.

My Thoughts: 
Suspense,  twists and turns, a bit of romance, family lies, deception, murder.  These are the ingredients that make up this newest novel from Colleen Coble.  When Claire shows up at the Hotel Tourmaline unannounced to help her father with a company merger, she has a confusing panic attack right in the hotel lobby.  This sets off a whole series of events that has her witnessing a murder nobody believes happened, memories surfacing from her childhood and a mult-layered mystery that involves not only her family but that of Luke Rocco, whose mother went missing from the same area when he was just a small child.  As Claire starts having flashbacks that confuse her someone is trying to keep her permanently quiet.  Together her and Luke work on putting the pieces together and in the process find an attraction to each other.   Add to the mix a young woman named Kate who is bent on meeting up with her father who disengaged from her life when she was just a child.  Though her mom begs her to leave things be because it would change their lives she is determined to find and confront the man who blatantly walked away from her and left her life in confusion.  All things conspire to bring these individuals together in a mystery that threatens to overtake them all unless Claire and Luke manage to unscramble her past.

I really enjoyed this book.  It grabbed me from the beginning pages where a young girl witnesses a man in confrontation with a woman and runs to hide and then through the rest of the story as the many layers of lies are revealed.  I never really guessed until the very end  what the full story was.  Just when I thought maybe I had an idea another twist or revealed lie would surface.  The story is complex with two families lives being laid out, both involving mysteries of missing persons but it was never confusing, mysterious yes, but not confusing.  In the author's notes, she explains she wanted to explore family, both blood ties and other connections that make someone feel like family.  The trials and how they reacted to them shaped the people in this book, some for the better and some for the worse, and that is explored through the story.  The only thing that stood out to me as a negative in the story was the familiarity of the usage of the term "Honey" that Luke would call Claire very early on in their relationship, even while they were yet just acquaintances.  It just struck me as odd and pretentious and every time he said it it annoyed me.  Other than that small detail, I really enjoyed this page turner and am looking forward the next in the series.  Recommended.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers and Thomas Nelson Publishing for providing this book free of charge for my honest review.  All thoughts and opinions were my own and I'm not required to give a positive review.

The Inn at Ocean's Edge is available for purchase here.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday's Fave Five #325

Hello everyone.  It's Friday's Fave Five time.  Are you ready to look back over the week and find your five favourite blessings of the week?  With it being Easter and a week off of school around here it also means an extra child in dayhome for me, so it's been a busy one.  That only means it's especially a great discipline for me to take a moment and remember some good  things from the week.  Join on in with us and take note of some of the good things in your week.  Guidelines can be found in the sidebar if you are new.

1.  Easter holiday.  I love Easter and everything it remembers and represents.  I love the church service and I love the family time.  This year the day seemed so much more relaxed than in the past.  I actually got my act together and was able to get myself and all of dinner organized so that I did make it to church.  And it was a great service!  Afterword we came home to a turkey just about cooked in the oven making the house smell great.  I'd done the yams the night before, potatoes got peeled and boiling in no time and the asparagus takes only five minutes so it all felt pretty easy.  I made the gravy while hubby carved the turkey.  I had less people than usual over too because of various work commitments so maybe it felt more relaxed because of that too.   But in any case, it was a wonderful Easter.

A little bonus fave with the Easter meal that I must mention, three little words:  Coconut Cream Cake.  Oh. My. Word.  Dessert heaven.  It was so yummy and light tasting.  The perfect end to the meal with a good cup of coffee or tea.  You must run to Costco and get some.  Yes.  Like now!  No seriously!

2.  Oldest daughter safely home for a few days.  Again, I so appreciate that she makes the 7 hour drive and comes and spends holidays with us.  And that she arrives safely and gets back safely is something I am very grateful for.  The time is never long enough but I'm very happy for every minute that we do get.

3.  Faux Calgary day.  We had planned to do a day trip on Monday but the weather was a bit iffy so we decided we would do what we normally do in Calgary except here.  And so was born the "faux Calgary day".  We went out to breakfast, hit up the mall, came home and made popcorn and watched a couple of movies.  It was a really nice day.  

4.  Four days off.  The four days in a row off was exactly what I needed!  Though filled with all things Easter it really was a relaxing time from work.  I wish we could have a four day off weekend once a month!

5.  Free long distance anytime calling anywhere in Canada!  Something I have really appreciated this week as it allowed me to talk to my friend who has moved a province away almost as if she was still here.  

Well I'm actually really ready for another weekend even though it was a short work week this week.  Lots on my plate and mind has drained my energy so I'm really looking forward to the weekend.  I've got more spring cleaning that is calling my name and a book or three are awaiting me.  I might even try a new recipe out of my burgeoning  recipe files.  

What were your favourite blessings this weekend?

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

"The Song" by Chris Fabry ~ Book Review

"When even the wisest of men is a fool for love, can true love persevere?""

 Jed King is a young singer songwriter who feels called to write music that points people to God. But he is living under the shadow of his famous father, David King who also was a singer songwriter who had made it big in the music world. Though his Dad seemed to have everything this world has to offer, fame, money, and prestige, he also had made huge mistakes and Jed still lives with the consequences of those in his own life. Not getting past a certain point in his career, his manager wants him to forget the God stuff in his songs, but Jed holds his ground. In a career slump, Jed agrees to sing at a wine festival that a vineyard hosts. There he meets Rose, the vineyard owners daughter and finds an instant connection with her. Smitten and inspired by her he sings an off the cuff song, made up while on the stage at the microphone. The song has an emotional impact with the crowd and and gets his career on the path to stardom he has been working for. But more than the fame he wants Rose and he must pass the approval of her strict Christian father. Rose feels she's found the man of her dreams and she is fully supportive of Jed's career when she marries him. But her highly held standards of family priority start to clash with the touring of Jed's band that is required especially when Rose conceives soon after being married. When Jed's manager pairs him up with an opening band who has a very worldy and beautiful lead singer, the same temptation and sins that caused his father to stumble and fall starts to visit the son. As "The Song" takes Jed to Europe both Rose and Jed will come face to face with failure, loss, deep pain and hurt and Rose must take a stand she never imagined she would have to take. But will the built up hurts and past be too much to overcome on both their parts or will love be enough to conquer it all?

 Chris Fabry is one of my favourite authors so when I saw this new book come out I snapped it up right away not realizing that it was a novelization of a movie. "The Song" was written by Kyle Idleman (author of "Not a Fan" and a pastor) and his team. They wanted to bring a modern adaptation of Solomon's life and story through Song of Songs and Ecclesiates to a wider audience. It started as the movie and church resources and now, has been made into a novel by Chris Fabry. I have to make the disclosure that I have not seen the movie so my review will be totally on what I read in the novel without any comparisons.

 While I'm not a huge fan of novelizations, this was a pretty good read.  Not quite in the flavour that I am used to with a novel from this author, I thought Chris Fabry did a fine job in keeping the novel flowing and moving without any moments of confusion on the part of me, the reader. I find that sometimes novelizations have gaping holes that unless you watched the movie, the reader is left scratching their head wondering how it jumped to that. I did not find that with this book. I thought he did a good job of bringing out the feelings and issues the characters were facing and feeling. The present day setting of the story was interesting and not stale. The very relatable temptations and failures made this a story for the every person throughout the ages. You don't have to have a music career to run into the temptations that Jed faced, you can have any job, career, or position. The writer of the movie wanted this novel "to provide wisdom on issues of committed love, true beauty and finding satisfaction in relationships" (from the foreword). The underlying message is one of being aware, of overcoming, hope, not giving up and giving God the broken pieces.

 I loved the little nuanced references and parallels to David and Solomon in the bible such as the father's name being David King (King David) and Jedediah being the son of the father's 2nd wife with whom he'd had the affair in parallel with the David of the bible. The fact that David King was a musican and singer as was King David in the bible, the name of the girl in the opening act at Jed's concerts was Shelby Bales, making reference to the "baals" or idols that some of Solomon allowed some of his wives to keep. There were more that the reader can pick up if they know the story from the bible but it is not imperative to know these to make the story understood.

 Though sometime's Rose and Jed's story was hard to read, I think I'd probably read this again at some point just to pick up more of the subtleties that this story contains.


Thursday, April 02, 2015

Friday's Fave Five #324

Hi everyone.  I'm getting this up on Thursday evening so that if you want you can link on early due to Good Friday.  It's been quite a stressful week for me around here with lots happening in my work and my personal life but all the more reason for me to just slow down and focus my mind on blessings from the Lord.  Not that the stressful things were necessarily bad but they can tend to take the stage and not want to get off so I'm choosing to purposefully take a pause and let thankfulness take the spotlight.

So in no particular order:

1.  Easter Crafting with the dayhome kidlets.  Making this Easter craft started to inspire me with the kids and we rolled out about 4 crafts over the last week.  It was lots of fun and they were so proud of their work and so excited to take it home.

2.  Soup delivery.  And delicious soup it was.   Carrot/curry/coconut.  Soooo good.  It was a real blessing to have this dropped off as a gift.

3.  Uplifting music.  When it's a rough day good uplifting music is like gold.  My favourite is Christian contemporary or worship music.  I find it's a real mood lifter for me.

4.  Pussy Willows.  Hubby found a bush of pussy willows on one of his morning walks and he brought home a handful of branches for me to put in our vase.  What a blessing knowing he thinks of me. And what a nice thing a jar of pussy willows can be!

5.  A special gift from a very special friend.  My dear friend who moved away gave me this lovely canvas as a goodbye gift.  I love hot air balloons and I love the old fashioned feel of this print.  And the colors are totally perfect for my basement tv room.  I have yet to hang it but it's going to look
wonderful above the fireplace mantle and every time I look at it I'm reminded of the very special gift of friendship I was blessed with through her.  

This being Easter weekend I'd like to wish all of you and your families a Happy Easter and hope you are afforded a moment to just pause and think of all that this weekend celebrates!  

Now what are you thankful for from this past week of yours?

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Gotta love WestJet!

Why fly any other airline 
when you can have SmartSeats?!