Love stories you can feel good recommending

Sometimes you just need a good love story.  Sometimes you need to give or pick a good love story for someone else.  Here’s ten that you can feel good about recommending.

Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit.

(Note:  This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

  Buy now from Amazon

Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freeman

“A moving love story set in the Canadian wilderness, Mrs. Mike is a classic tale that has enchanted millions of readers worldwide. It brings the fierce, stunning landscape of the Great North to life—and tenderly evokes the love that blossoms between Sergeant Mike Flannigan and beautiful young Katherine Mary O’Fallon.”  — Goodreads

One of my all time favorites. All the feels.

  Buy now from Amazon

Christy by Catherine Marshall

“The train taking nineteen-year-old teacher Christy Huddleston from her home in Asheville, North Carolina, might as well be transporting her to another world. The Smoky Mountain community of Cutter Gap feels suspended in time, trapped by poverty, superstitions, and century-old traditions.

But as Christy struggles to find acceptance in her new home, some see her — and her one-room school — as a threat to their way of life. Her faith is challenged and her heart is torn between two strong men with conflicting views about how to care for the families of the Cove.”  –Goodreads

Catherine Marshall takes her mother’s own incredible story and tells it superbly.

 

  Buy now from Amazon

Pride and Predjudice by Jane Austen

“‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.’ Thus memorably begins Jane Austen‘s Pride and Prejudice, one of the world’s most popular novels. Pride and Prejudice–Austen’s own ‘darling child’–tells the story of fiercely independent Elizabeth Bennett, one of five sisters who must marry rich, as she confounds the arrogant, wealthy Mr. Darcy. What ensues is one of the most delightful and engrossingly readable courtships known to literature, written by a precocious Austen when she was just twenty-one years old.”–Goodreads

Rightly hailed as one of the greatest love stories of all time.

  Buy now from Amazon

Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay

“Samantha Moore survived years of darkness in the foster care system by hiding behind her favorite characters in literature, even adopting their very words. Her fictional friends give her an identity, albeit a borrowed one. But most importantly, they protect her from revealing her true self and encountering more pain.

After college, Samantha receives an extraordinary opportunity. The anonymous “Mr. Knightley” offers her a full scholarship to earn her graduate degree at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. The sole condition is that Sam write to Mr. Knightley regularly to keep him apprised of her progress.

As Sam’s true identity begins to reveal itself through her letters, her heart begins to soften to those around her—a damaged teenager and fellow inhabitant of Grace House, her classmates at Medill, and, most powerfully, successful novelist Alex Powell. But just as Sam finally begins to trust, she learns that Alex has secrets of his own—secrets that, for better or for worse, make it impossible for Sam to hide behind either her characters or her letters.”  — Goodreads

I enjoyed the Austen references in this book that enhanced the story.

  Buy now from Amazon

Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster

“When Jerusha Abbott, an eighteen-year-old girl living in an orphan asylum, was told that a mysterious millionaire had agreed to pay for her education, it was like a dream come true. For the first time in her life, she had someone she could pretend was “family.” But everything was not perfect, for he chose to remain anonymous and asked that she only write him concerning her progress in school. Who was this mysterious gentleman and would Jerusha ever meet him?”  –Goodreads

A long time favorite of mine that stands up to re-reading.

 Buy now from Amazon

These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

“A moving, exciting, and heartfelt American saga inspired by the author’s own family memoirs, these words belong to Sarah Prine, a woman of spirit and fire who forges a full and remarkable existence in a harsh, unfamiliar frontier. Scrupulously recording her steps down the path Providence has set her upon–from child to determined young adult to loving mother–she shares the turbulent events, both joyous and tragic, that molded her and recalls the enduring love with cavalry officer Captain Jack Elliot that gave her strength and purpose.

Rich in authentic everyday details and alive with truly unforgettable characters, These Is My Words brilliantly brings a vanished world to breathtaking life again.”–Goodreads

Unpredictable.  Well-written.

   Buy now from Amazon

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

“Hannah Coulter is Wendell Berry’s seventh novel and his first to employ the voice of a woman character in its telling. Hannah, the now-elderly narrator, recounts the love she has for the land and for her community. She remembers each of her two husbands, and all places and community connections threatened by twentieth-century technologies. At risk is the whole culture of family farming, hope redeemed when her wayward and once lost grandson, Virgil, returns to his rural home place to work the farm.”–Amazon

Less of a love story, more of a life story the narrative spans decades to get a panoramic view of Hannah’s life.

   Buy now from Amazon

Papa’s Wife by Thyra Ferre Bjorn

“This novel follows the lives of a conservative, Swedish minister, Pontus Franzon, and his pretty young wife, Maria, through their years in a parsonage in Lapland, their eight children, and their journey to a new life in America.”– Goodreads

You can’t help but love the Franzon family. This is one I like to re-read.  I enjoy it every time.  Maybe because it’s based on the author’s own history, you are drawn in and feel like one of the family.

   Buy now from Amazon

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

“Grown-up Meg, tomboyish Jo, timid Beth, and precocious Amy. The four March sisters couldn’t be more different. But with their father away at war, and their mother working to support the family, they have to rely on one another. Whether they’re putting on a play, forming a secret society, or celebrating Christmas, there’s one thing they can’t help wondering: Will Father return home safely?”–Amazon

The heart-warming story of Little Women is a classic for a reason.  The March sisters will find a place in your heart.

 Buy now from Amazon

Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown

“Sharon Garlough Brown tells the moving story of four strangers as they embark together on a journey of spiritual formation: Hannah, a pastor who doesn’t realize how exhausted she is. Meg, a widow and recent empty-nester who is haunted by her past. Mara, a woman who has experienced a lifetime of rejection and is now trying to navigate a difficult marriage. Charissa, a hard-working graduate student who wants to get things right. You’re invited to join these four women as they reluctantly arrive at a retreat center and find themselves drawn out of their separate stories of isolation and struggle and into a collective journey of spiritual practice, mutual support and personal revelation. Along the way, readers will be taken into a new understanding of key spiritual practices and find tangible support for the deeper life with God.” –Goodreads

I found these characters to be well-rounded and relatable.  I also liked an inside look at spiritual disciplines outside of my experience.

   Buy now from Amazon

These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder

“Laura is teaching school, and it’s terrifying! Most of the students are taller than she is, and she must sleep away from home for the first time. Laura is miserable, but the money is needed to keep Mary in a college for the blind.

And every Friday—no matter what the weather—Almanzo Wilder arrives to take Laura home to her family for the weekend. Laura and Almanzo are courting, and even though she’s not yet sixteen, she knows that this is a time for new beginnings.”– Amazon

One the lesser known books in the Little House series, Almanzo and Laura’s love story is heart-warming.

Have you seen Awesome Middle Grade Novels Adults Will Love ?  Check it out here.

 

 

Is your Identity Discovered or Determined?

Every time I need to write a bio about myself I draw a blank. 

I have a problem trying to write a bio for the simple reason that I don’t know who I am.

Part of it is because I don’t know who I want to be online.  You can’t, after all, be all versions of yourself.  You have to become known for one or two. 

But part of it is a genuine identity crisis rooted in the fact that I’m not sure who I want to become.  

How do I get some clarity on who I am?  How do I describe myself to someone I’ve never met?

Everybody has a lot of pieces to themselves. Maybe global nomads have a few more.

Have you felt the frustration?  The frustration of not knowing who you are?

The realization that before 18, decisions are made for you and then you can start to choose. You can embrace the childhood you didn’t choose and choose the adulthood you want to embrace. You can become who you want to be. You can choose all the pieces of your past that you want to be part of your future.

It’s your choice.

Is it a discovery or a determination?

Certainly, inborn gifts and natural inclinations need to be discovered. God’s leading needs to be sought. But, after all that, your identity can be determined.

You can choose who you will be.

How about what happened when you were in junior high or when you were in fourth grade?  Where you were born and all the experiences of your first eighteen years?

You can embrace that. You can accept it or reject it. You can incorporate it into your future or discard it, knowing it has impacted you, but doesn’t have to define you.

Is your identity discovered or determined?

I suggest both.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Things I Learned, Summer 2018

Linking up with Emily Freeman to share what we’ve learned.

Even good stress can take it’s toll.

This has been a stressful summer. Mostly good stress.  Graduation hoopla.  Wedding bells.  Lots of good stuff.

I’ve learned I need time off to prepare and recuperate from the big events.  I don’t have the physical and social energy to go 24/7 without some down time.

Middle grade novels are good reads when you’re stressed, because they’re easy to follow.  I shared a list of my favorites here.

I crank up my list making when I’m stressed. It’s a survival strategy that serves me well.

(Note: this post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

Home organization and financial peace are connected.  Who knew?

I signed up for Rosemarie’s Budget Boot Camp and learned that disorganization can cause you to overspend.  This is a truth that seems so obvious once you have it pointed out.

Rosemarie hits a very pressing problem:  everyone’s too busy to budget.

So, how is this program different from other budgeting programs? First of all, it’s not just about budget. It’s about looking at the whole picture–you’re net worth as well as home organization. Because a lack of home organization is causing you to spend more than you should.

Not being focused on your goals is causing you to spend money on things you want less at the expense of things you want more.

It necessitates a shift in thought, too, from a scarcity mentality to an abundance mentality.

Rosemarie’s story is compelling.  Her advice is actionable.

In depth Bible Studies are one of my favorite ways to learn. 

When we lived in Mexico, I did Beth Moore Bible Studies with a group.  I loved doing them, especially the homework.  Homework has rarely been a problem for me.  Housework is a different story.

This summer, I had a Priscilla Shirer workbook dropped in my lap.  The study is Discerning the Voice of God.

It’s so good to be soaking up truth again in this format.

In this study, I’ve been reminded that God reveals Himself in his own timing. It’s his job to reveal his message. It’s our job to listen and obey. We can’t demand to know when we want to know.

I’ve done this study without the watching the video sessions.  It works. You can still learn a lot.  But, it’s nice to have the video sessions as well.

That’s why I’m excited about the free video sessions for Beth Moore’s study called The Quest.

FREE!!  Video sessions for Beth Moore’s study: The Quest.  For a limited time only. After September, they will be available to purchase.

Join me in the journey for a more intimate relationship with God.  Order the workbook here.

  Buy now from Amazon

I love learning new things.

What have you learned this summer?

 

 

Five Minute Friday: Thirteen

Happy, Friday to you!

Linking up with Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday community.

Today’s word prompt is thirteen.

I admit I was stumped.  I thought about turning thirteen, the unique teen years and the privilege of parenting teenagers.  Our youngest graduated from high school in June.  He’s 18, so technically we’re not done with teenagers.  But, in the eyes of the law, we’re parents of adults.  Four of them.  Plus two daughters-in-law.

It feels different, being on the other side of parenting teens.

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What can I say to parents of teens that are in the thick of it?  There are no guarantees that things will turn out okay.  The fears are real.

Hang in there.

Don’t lose heart.

Stay close to Jesus.

Look for some prayer partners.

Extend lots of grace– to yourself and to them.

Breathe.

Enjoy the moment.

Trust God.

Cut the cord.  Give them space to be who they are.

Require them to make contributions to the family and the church.

Trust them with responsibility.

Driving and dating are challenging.

A history of expecting obedience helps a lot.

Good communication takes work.  Keep growing.  It’s a lifetime challenge.

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That’s all I’ve got.  God is faithful.  The journey is good.

When the world stopped spinning I got dizzy

“I grew up transient, with change as my constant. I lived a privileged life in many ways, and benefited from a plethora of experiences denied many of my more settled peers. In fact, I felt competent to handle most of what my spinning world threw my way. It was when the world stopped spinning that I got dizzy.” Dr. Rachel Cason

I resonate with Rachel’s words, because her experience mirrors mine.

I’ve lived on the East Coast, the West Coast and the Mid-West.

I’ve lived in the Middle-East, the Far East and Mexico.

My nomadic life began before I was old enough to decide and continued when it  was my turn to choose.  I developed coping skills for transition, not for rootedness.

And now, my world has stopped spinning.

I have unexplained confusion in my life. This is why I write. To untangle it.

One thing I’ve come to believe to my core is the critical importance of community for emotional health.

Maybe for the nomad it looks different.  Maybe for the nomad it becomes more challenging to find people who understand you.

There’s two different ways to incorporate healthy community into your life:  find it and create it.

Two essential elements that both require initiative. In general, they are not going to fall in our laps.

What are some tips for finding community?

Be patient.

Looking for community can be hard. You can feel uncomfortable, awkward, on unfamiliar ground. It might take time to build relationships and bridges. You might feel like people don’t really “get” you.

Trust takes time to develop. New communities don’t look like old communities.

Contribute. Participate. Even when it’s awkward and uncomfortable.

Accept the limitations and imperfections of new communities.

Take advantage of reunions with old communities, but don’t compare. Every community has it’s own personality and timeline.

How about creating community?

We start creating community when we meet someone for coffee or dinner, when we invite them over and even when we bump into them by chance at the store and stop to catch up. Those are the seeds.

But, it can grow to form a group. It could become a party, a retreat, a tradition. It could develop a purpose and a mission. When we start to do life with other people, we create community.

Community is built on individual relationships. Brick by brick. One by one. So strong communities are built on the foundation of strong relationships.

Friends that will help you when you are in trouble, when you need help.

Friends who will listen. Friends who will accept you for who you are, warts and all. Friends who are faithful.

These are the elements for building community.

It doesn’t hurt to have two or three tribes. It’s probably necessary to have overlapping community.

With the internet, it’s easier than ever to find your people, but maybe harder than ever to establish and maintain real relationships.

What truths have you discovered while finding or creating community?

You might also like:  3 Ways Global Nomads Find Community and the search for community as told in metaphor.

 

 

 

 

Awesome Middle Grade Novels Adults Will Love

I’ve been trying to figure out why I’ve been drawn to middle grade novels recently.

I believe there are multiple reasons, but the primary one boils down to one word: stress.

Middle grade novels offers an easy read.  The plot and characters are not complex.

Nevertheless, they take on some of the weightier issues of life.  Some do it incredibly well.

The middle grades are a great age for shaping opinions, values, attitudes and beliefs.

With my new interest in this genre, I read my first Harry Potter book.  I didn’t include it in this list because a) why would Harry Potter books need more press?  and b) although I can understand the cult following, I’ve read better middle grade.

Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit.

On to the books!

(Note: This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

  Buy now from Amazon

The War That Saved My Life  by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

“Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.

So begins a new adventure of Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?” — from GoodReads

Great story.

  Buy now from Amazon

Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt

“In this companion novel to The Wednesday Wars, Doug struggles to be more than the “skinny thug” that some people think him to be. He finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer, who gives him the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam. Schmidt expertly weaves multiple themes of loss and recovery in a story teeming with distinctive, unusual characters and invaluable lessons about love, creativity, and survival.”– from Amazon

Excellent book. LOVED it. 

Deals with so many important themes.

Abusive parent. War veterans. Learning disabilities. Young love. Poverty. Predjudice.

There’s just so much there. And the story is so satisfying.

You know how it is? When a story is satisfying? When all the right people win in the end and the rest get what they deserve?

  Buy now from Amazon

Rain, Reign by Ann M. Martin

“Rose Howard has Asperger’s syndrome, and an obsession with homonyms (even her name is a homonym). She gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose’s rules of homonyms, is very special. Rain was a lost dog Rose’s father brought home. Rose and Rain are practically inseparable. And they are often home alone, as Rose’s father spends most evenings at a bar, and doesn’t have much patience for his special-needs daughter.

Just as a storm hits town, Rain goes missing. Rose’s father shouldn’t have let Rain out. Now Rose has to find her dog, even if it means leaving her routines and safe places to search. Rose will find Rain, but so will Rain’s original owners.” — from GoodReads

Good story. The characters were believable and endearing. It was a good, inside look at autism. You couldn’t help but root for the heroine.
If that story doesn’t create empathy, I don’t know what will.

  Buy now from Amazon

The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech

It deals with the joy and pain and challenges of fostering parenting.

A childless couple wake up one day to find a strange boy on their porch. Although there’s no way to contact his parents, they learn that he’s been left there on purpose.

This novel explores what it’s like to love a child that’s not yours, the heartache it brings and why you should do it anyway.

  Buy now from Amazon

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

5 Stars!  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this whimsical story. (That’s a lotta love.)  I’m thinking about reading it to the teens in my carpool, since I don’t have any little kids to read it too.  I’ll be giving it to my nieces and nephews, too, when I get the chance.

Four motherless girls on vacation with their father.  Their romps with pets, neighbors and each other:  a simple, but satisfying plot.

I loved the uplifting, engaging characters.  Real heroes.  Great values.   Whimsical.

  Buy now from Amazon

The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

What if you lived in a small kingdom where the prince chooses his bride from the graduates of the Princess Academy?

What if you had the chance for an education that would never be possible otherwise?

I loved this middle grade novel for telling a tale of what could be, the power of knowledge, friendships and courage.

One of my favorite parts of Princess Academy was how they snuck in principles of Commerce and Negotiation. It was fun how that played out.

There were a few weird and whimsical twists, but every fairy tale needs a little magic.

 Buy now from Amazon
The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had by Kirsten Levine

“The last thing Harry ‘Dit’ Sims expects when Emma Walker comes to town is to become friends. Proper -talking, brainy Emma doesn’t play baseball or fish too well, but she sure makes Dit think, especially about the differences between black and white. But soon Dit is thinking about a whole lot more when the town barber, who is black, is put on trial for a terrible crime. Together Dit and Emma come up with a daring plan to save him from the unthinkable. Set in 1917 and inspired by the author’s true family history, this is the poignant story of a remarkable friendship and the perils of small-town justice.”– from GoodReads

Alabama in 1917.  A friendship between a white boy and a black girl.  What could go wrong?

I loved the details of this time period.  Add that to a good plot and likable characters and we have a winner.

  Buy now from Amazon

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

“Fantastic creatures, heroic deeds, epic battles in the war between good and evil, and unforgettable adventures come together in this world where magic meets reality, which has been enchanting readers of all ages for over sixty years. The Chronicles of Narnia has transcended the fantasy genre to become a part of the canon of classic literature.”– from GoodReads

In my opinion, it doesn’t get any better than Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia for middle grade.

Not only middle grade, but Narnia appeals to every age.

Lewis tells compelling stories with an amazing economy of words.  He weaves timeless truths into  tales that highlight the classic conflict between good and evil.

I can’t recommend them highly enough.

Have you read any middle grade novels that you loved?  Let me know in comments. 

 

Five Minute Friday: Done

It’s been a long week.  I’m tired. It’s difficult to string words together.

I’m grateful, though, that hard work this week resulted in hitting a business goal I’ve been working on for two and half months.

I have trouble with follow through.  I have trouble finishing.  That’s why it feels so good to be done.

Linking up with Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday Community.  This week’s five minute free write is on the word prompt done.

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It feels good to accomplish a difficult goal.

To have worked hard and really pushed yourself and reached the peak.

Because it’s easier to give up. To not follow through. To give valid excuses for not winning.

It’s hard to stay the course. To press on toward the goal.

At least, for me it is.

That’s why it feels good to be done. To know you’ve worked through the messy middle and planted that flag.

Don’t lose heart.

You’ve got this.

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5 Gifts to Help Your Kids Grow Spiritually

The day before my youngest turned 18 I found out I was going to be a grandma.

It seemed fitting.

The end of an era. The beginning of an era.

My son and daughter-in-law are having a girl.

My grand-daughter is going to need some presents from her grandparents. Every Christmas and birthday for the next 18 years. That’s thirty-six special occasions. What if end up with 4 grandkids or ten?

That’s 360 gift giving opportunities.

What can I give her that’s meaningful? That will encourage her spiritual life? There’s a lot of negative influences on kids today.

A customer at the bookstore today told me her mother passed away. Her mother was a regular customer at the store. She bought a Seaside Bible with a zipper for each grandchild when they turned 7. Now that she was gone, her daughter was carrying on the tradition for the grandchildren who were turning 7.

I like that.

I like that it has meaning, that everyone knows and that the tradition continues after Grandma’s gone.

I like that she had an age picked out.

I like that they all got the same thing.

There’s something comforting about traditions.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will go to support this site.)

I want my grandkids to know God and love Him.

I will be giving books. That’s what I do.

Which ones will I give?

I don’t know for sure, but right now here’s my top picks for each age group:

Ages 0-4

Buy now from Amazon

The Beginner’s Bible

The Beginner’s Bible has become a classic. It’s simple. It’s great for reading aloud, which of course, is the only option at this age.  It stays faithful to the biblical text.

Ages 4-8

Buy now from Amazon

The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

I recommend the Jesus Storybook Bible with one caveat. Okay, maybe two.

First of all, I don’t care for the illustrations, but that’s a personal preference.

Secondly, and more importantly, I feel the author has taken some artistic liberties that have resulted in some minor inaccuracies in the stories compared to the Bible.

In spite of that, I feel this book accomplishes something I’ve never seen before in a Bible storybook. Instead of recounting disjointed, individual stories from the Bible, it weaves the big themes of the Bible into the individual accounts.

The plan of salvation and the incarnation of Jesus is highlighted and put into simple language for children.

Tying together a unifying theme of the Bible is huge.

If children can grasp these critical concepts, it’s a gigantic leap forward in their spiritual growth and understanding. Effective communication of these truths is priceless.

Ages 6-9

NIRV Adventure Bible

The New International Readers Version is written at a third grade reading level. It uses an easier vocabulary.

I tell customers that if they are planning to memorize verses from it or follow along in church with the pastor, they should be aware that it won’t line up exactly with the NIV.

But, for beginning or struggling readers, this version could be helpful.  Alongside the entire text of the Bible are explanations and commentary to help kids understand the Bible.

Ages 9-12

Buy now from Amazon

Buy now from Amazon

The NIV Adventure Bible

This Bible contains the entire text of the New International Version Bible.  It includes explanations and commentary geared toward 9 to 12 year olds.

The snap closure protects pages and comes in a boys edition and a girl’s edition.

Ages 13 and up

Buy now from Amazon

Buy now from Amazon

Jesus Calling  by Sarah Young

Jesus Calling is a daily devotional written from the perspective of Jesus talking to you.

There is a teen edition of Jesus Calling, but I give teens the original version which they can go through year after year.

I wrote about the secret of the success of Jesus Calling here.

So, those are my top picks for helping kids grow spiritually.

Which resources would you recommend?

Five Minute Friday: Vacation Envy

I’ve been MIA from Five Minute Friday due to our youngest son’s high school graduation, our middle son’s wedding an a half century celebration for my husband.

Good stress.

This week’s word prompt is a good reminder to me to be thankful.  Gratitude is a habit that can be developed and can be lost.

Linking up with Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday community to write on the word prompt vacation.

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Boatloads of articles have been written on the impact of social media on our society.

There’s nothing like scrolling through exotic vacation pictures to stir up feelings of envy.

And, yet, that’s not the intent.  Friends aren’t trying to make you envious.  They’re just sharing the joy.

Which brings me to the struggle of contentment.  Is it okay that someone else has something that you don’t?  Can you still be content with your life?  Or do you want someone else’s?  Can you see the blessings you have without comparing them to others?

Can you develop a attitude of gratitude that allows you to rejoice with those who are joyful?  Even if it isn’t you?

It’s a mindset that can be groomed, with supernatural help.

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Three Things I’ve Learned, Spring 2018

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, just do one thing.

That’s all you can do well, anyway. Just focus on that one thing. Get it done. Do it well. Move on to the next one thing.

Find a dress for the wedding.

Design the grad party invitations.

Clean out under the sink.

It sounds simple but it’s not.

Overwhelm can paralyze me.

It’s hard to keep going with the next one thing.

I know I can do harder things in the morning. I know I have more will power then. I know I have less decision fatigue.

For me, it’s important to schedule the harder things in the morning. Whatever takes less will power I can do in the afternoon and evening.

At some point, I also have to decide that I’m done for the day. That it’s okay to read a book or watch a show, without guilt. There’s a continual pressure to get more done. It’s hard to let go.

It’s easy to panic. It’s hard to trust.

When you boss yourself, you are the boss and the employee. Sometimes it’s easier to call out directives if you’re not the one who needs to follow through. Make the tough decisions, let someone else carry it out. But, when you boss yourself, you have to give the tough order and you have to implement it.

I am still trying to find my voice.

It’s been a long process.

I like the image of throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks.  So far, most of it has fallen to the floor.

That’s okay.  I’m (mostly) enjoying the process.

I’ve tried my hand at fiction.

I like the idea of telling parables.

I’m trying to follow the curiosity.

I try to be disciplined, whether I’m feeling inspired or not.

It’s easy to get discouraged by the numbers.

So many online gurus promise shortcuts.  They want sell you on an easier path to success than the one they traveled.  I truly believe you can stand on others’ shoulders, learn from others’ mistakes, benefit from a proven path.

What I don’t believe is that you can short circuit the struggle.

I think the discipline and resolve gained from failures and false starts is what builds the muscle needed for success.

It would be like cutting a butterfly out of his chrysalis.  He needs the struggle of breaking free to strengthen his wings to soar.

If anything short circuits that struggle, the butterfly is left weak and damaged, not ready for flight.

It took Jeanne Birdsall 20 years to write the Penderwicks series.

I am so in love with the Penderwick kids.  I love the way Jeanne Birdsall is able to capture the wonder and magic of childhood.

After listening to this interview with Sarah Mackenzie, I know why.  She’s still in touch with the magic and wonder of her own childhood.

What a gift.

She also spends a lot of time getting to know her characters before she can write a compelling novel.

Exceptional work takes exceptional work.  Twenty years worth.

What an inspiration.

After a couple of false starts, I’ve re-launched my email list.

Sign up in the sidebar of my home page to get weekly round ups and behind the scenes news as well as occasional deals that I love.

What have you learned this Spring?

Three Things I’ve Learned Winter 2018