Book Review: Canteen Dreams

ย Canteen Dreams is a novel based on author Cara Putman’s own grandparents. It was her first book, released eleven years ago. But Cara wanted to fine-tune and re-release it. This edition came out on 2017.

The story opens December 6, 1941. Audrey Stone attends a dance in her home town of North Platte, Nebraska, and is asked to dance by local rancher’s son, Willard Johnson. Willard is interested and wants to get to know Audrey better.

Then Sunday morning, the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, and everything changes.

Willard’s brother, Andrew, was in the Navy. While the family waits to hear about Andrew, Willard would like nothing better than to enlist immediately.

But Willard’s father won’t let him. Farming and ranching are exempted occupations, since the country needs their work. Willard’s father feels he needs Willard’s help more than the military needs him.

Since North Platte is a railroad hub, and lots of troops come through on their way to service, someone gets the idea to offer the boys food and coffee during their brief stop. The young men are so encouraged and appreciative of the effort that the train stop refreshments grow into a canteen, with a nearby building, music, sandwiches, and a friendly atmosphere.

Audrey throws herself into working the canteen, on top of her full-time job as a teacher. She has little time for anyone or anything else, which doesn’t help her budding relationship with Willard.

Willard’s dissatisfaction with not being able to enlist grows into resentment and jealousy of the young soldiers at the canteen, which further impacts things with Audrey.

Both Willard and Audrey are believers and struggle with seeking God’s will for their lives. I liked their pastor’s counsel, especially these bits:

Let the sure hope we have in Christ build a bedrock of faith in your life. Itโ€™s the only way to survive a storm like the one your family has entered.

He is the vine, and we are the branches. We cannot expect to have the strength to lay down our lives, our rights, for others until we are firmly growing in a deep relationship with Christ. A superficial relationship is not sufficient. Without more, we will fail every time in our attempts to die, because we attempt to do it without the strength and love God gives.

This was a sweet story in itself, but knowing it was based on a real couple made it even more enjoyable.

Chats and cards

We had a wonderful Christmas. My oldest son was here for about ten days, and we saw Jason and Mittu and Timothy almost every day during that time. We enjoyed feasting, talking, games, and several outings as a family. Jeremy left New Year’s Day, and we took the Christmas decorations down yesterday. After that I spent most of the rest of the afternoon “chilling” except for necessary excursions in the laundry room. I dozed, caught up on blog reading, and generally came out of the fog of the old year and holiday season. My husband is off for the rest of the week, so we’re still somewhat in vacation mode. But he has a number of projects he wants to get done.

If you missed my favorite books of 2018 post in the year-end flurry, it’s here. That’s one of my favorite posts of the year.

Before we get too far from Christmas, I wanted to share the Christmas cards I made for the family as well as a couple of others.

First, this was for my hair stylist, who was leaving soon to have her fourth baby. Unfortunately, she wasn’t in when I stopped by to give it to her: they found her baby was breach, so they were doing a procedure that day to try to turn it. But I was able to leave the card with her friend there. I’m hoping to get by the shop soon and find out how everything went. But this was my thank you card to her:

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I did the “Thank you” with punches, but everything else was done with stickers (on sale, thankfully). I liked the 3D effect.

This was for a friend’s birthday – a friend who likes purple and lavender.

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This was for our anniversary:

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I couldn’t find a snowman couple design on Cricut, and my freehand attempts were pitiable, so I found some free clipart online and printed it out on cardstock. I did the same with the snow couple on my Christmas card to Jim:

I ran the light blue background through the Cuttlebug embosser. The birds and snowflakes on top were stickers.

This was Jeremy’s card. He likes foxes:

I used the Cuttlebug on the white cardstock and cut the trees out with the Cricut. Everything else was stickers.

Jason’s card was one of my favorites this year. I saw the design in the Cricut files while looking for snowmen and knew I had to use it.

Mittu likes purple:

I had the purple letters stickers on hand. Years ago I had seen a friend mention on her blog the technique of dabbing a sponge brush on an inkpad and then brushing it against the edge of a card or cutout to make that border effect. This was the first time I ever tried it, and I really liked how it turned out.

This was Timothy’s:

I was going to do something with a snowman, but when I saw this tree on the Cricut Design Space, I *had* to use it. I guess I could have put a snowman on there, too, but I didn’t think of it at the time. One present was a sticker, the other I just cut out freehand and attached a bow.

And, finally, this was Jesse’s:

It was supposed to look as if you were looking out a window to see the snowman waving, but the wood-like border looks more like a picture frame than a window frame. The snowman was another free clipart that I found and printed.

I still haven’t had much time to think about the new year yet. I most look forward to planning my picks for a few reading challenges. I’ll share those next week. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t make resolutions per se, but something about a new year invites a taking stock, making plans, and setting goals. I do plan to finish writing my book this year, Lord willing!

Sadly, two of my favorite book link-ups have come to an end. 5 Minutes for Books will not be hosting their “What’s on your Nightstand” posts any more, and Sherry at Semicolon will no longer host her weekly Saturday Review of Books. I do like summing up my book reading each month, so I may continue that in some fashion: then again, it may be redundant since I post book reviews through the month. What do you think? If you like book link-ups, too, Mary hosts Literary Musing Monday every week, in which we can share three posts of book reviews or devotional posts, and Carole hosts a monthly Books You Loved, where you can link up to your individual book reviews of the previous month.

We never know what a year will bring, of course, but it looks like Jesse will face the most changes this year as he finishes his degree and then looks for a job (hopefully one that will not take him far away).

I used to dread January. After the excitement of the Christmas season, it’s nice to get everything back in order at first. But then the rest of January just seemed dark and cold and cheerless. But last year, for the first time, I saw January as a time of rest. We don’t have any birthdays in the immediate family that month and no holidays after the 1st. So I enjoy a mini-hibernation between the joyful busyness of the Christmas season and the events of the rest of the year. There are always things to be done, of course, but January is pressure-less in comparison to other months.

I used to do a year-end look back at the blog with a summary of my devotional-type posts. But since I have started doing a devotional post almost every Monday, I figured a list of 50+ would be a little long. I wanted to look back and list some of my favorite posts of the year, but there just wasn’t time. My stats tell me that my most-viewed post of the year continues to be Coping When Your Husband Is Away, as it has been almost every year since I posted it in 2011. I had no idea that would hit such a nerve, but I am glad I had a chance to share from my experiences to help and encourage others. My most often-viewed post from this year is my review of Helen Keller’s The Story of My Life. My newer posts fall way below older posts in views. I’m not sure how to think about that! But it’s good that my older posts are showing up in search engines.

I am so thankful for every one of you who visits, reads, and comments. I had no idea, when I started blogging, that I would make such good friends. I hoped that God would use what He has taught me in some way to in turn be a help to others, and it’s such a joy when someone lets me know that has happened. Thanks for sticking with me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I wish you a joyous and blessed 2019!

(Sharing with Shannan’s “What I’m Into” monthly summaries)

Friday’s Fave Five

Itโ€™s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

This has been a sick week, literally. My husband has had some type of awful sinus/sore throat ailment all week. To give you some idea: we’ve gone through nine boxes of tissues this week. I haven’t had quite that: mine has been more sinus pressure, scratchy throat, headache, bone-deep tiredness. Acetaminophen has been my best friend this week. I thought I might be catching the flu, but it doesn’t seem to be that. Anyway, we made it through the week and are glad to have the weekend coming up. Here are some highlights of the last week.

1. Sick days aren’t fun in themselves, but it’s nice to have “permission” to just rest, read, sleep as needed. We took Sunday to stay home and do just that. I think that’s the main reason my ailments weren’t any worse: since they had just started that day, I think I headed them off. And I got a lot of good reading done, resulting in three book reviews this week.

2. Pumpkin day, as Timothy calls it. None of us grew up carving pumpkins, but my daughter-in-law wanted to try it a few years ago, so we have been doing it every year since. It’s fun when family traditions expand with new members! I was always afraid of the darker associations with Halloween when the kids were little, but these days I don’t think most people think of that when they see cute and clever pumpkin faces. Along with carving pumpkins, it has become almost a tradition to have homemade caramel corn and apple cider to snack on through the evening.ย  Here are the results of our labors:

Jim always goes political:

I chose an owl, both because my mom used to collect owls, plus this looked pretty simple. I’m not good with the intricate designs.

Jason made his own design from a photo he had taken of Mittu. Amazing!

Mittu made a cat, and even painted the cat and the moon:

Timothy used paint pens for some of his design, plus they found some cute stickers of various eyes and mouths, so he decorated three sides of his pumpkin. ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus they found these cute googly eye lights, and Mittu cut holes for them for him.

Also while we were out on the porch, we saw our annual visitor: this funny little bird comes and roosts on the corner of our porch a few nights every year. I don’t know what it is or even if it is the same one. It doesn’t seem to disturb him when we’re out there.

Yes, there is also the beginning of a wasp’s nest there, too – I hope Jim can get to it this weekend.

3. A surprise visit. Jason and Mittu were traveling this week, and I had wanted to have them over before they left. Between Jim being sick plus traveling himself a couple of days, it didn’t work out. But they stopped here on their way out, so I got to visit with them for a bit and see them off. Then they FaceTimed from their hotel that night and Timothy gave me a tour of their room. So fun to see life through the eyes of a child.

4. Homemade lasagna. We have frozen lasagna and Hamburger Helper lasagna sometimes, and they are good, but there’s nothing like the real thing!

5. When God speaks to my heart through His Word. In one sense He always does. But sometimes Iโ€™ll be praying or burdened about something in particular just before my quiet time, and in my regular reading for the day God will address that very thing

Have a good Friday!

End-of-month chatting

We’re still full-fledged into summer here. We’ve had a few cooler days, but the humidity is still high. Technically summer is here until September 21, and it probably won’t start feeling like fall until some time after that.

Since we don’t have anyone in school (my youngest is taking college classes online year-round), we escape some of the back-to-school hubbub, except that I did happen to be in Wal-Mart during the tax-free weekend just before school started. Though the school supply area was swamped, the rest of the store was fine. Otherwise school being back in session doesn’t affect us much at this point except for avoiding certain traffic areas at certain times a day.

Our big week during the summer was last week, when my oldest son was here for ten days. My husband took the week off, though he did have to do some emails and conferences calls most mornings. Jesse and Jason couldn’t take off the same days, since they work at the same place, but they each had a day or two off to spend time with Jeremy. We celebrated both Jeremy’s birthday and mine that week (I shared about those in last week’s Friday’s Fave Five), had a few outings, played games, and hung out around the house. I think it was a nice blend of doing and resting.

It never gets easier to say good-bye, but this time Jason, Mittu, and Timothy came with Jim and me to drop Jeremy off at the airport. Then we stopped at a nearby coffee shop and sat in their outdoor area to try to see Jeremy’s airplane take off. For Timothy’s sake, Jeremy texted photos of the tunnel to the plane, the inside of the plane, the outside when they had to deplane on the tarmac, etc. I miss the days when you could walk someone down to their gate, sit with them til they boarded, and wave at them when the plane backed away. But this was the next best thing, and a lot of fun. We thought we’d see lots of planes, being so close to the airport. We didn’t, but we did keep track of when Jeremy’s was taking off and saw his plane in the distance.

We had a bit of a shock this month when hospice called and said they were going toย  drop my mother-in-law from their care because, by all the standards they can measure, she wasn’t declining. It seemed odd that, if she qualified for hospice three years ago, and she has declined since then, that she would no longer be eligible. My husband met with her doctor, nurses, social worker, and chaplain, and discussed her situation and how she has declined. They reviewed her case and recertified her for another 60 days. I hope we don’t have to go through this every 60 days from here on out. But I guess we’ll have to play it by ear.

Here are some other tidbits from the last month:

What I’ve learned:

  • How to do gifs and stickers in texts. A small thing, and not hard, but whenever I learn anything new technologically, I feel really good about myself. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • How to order in Starbucks. ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t go there mainly because I don’t like flavored coffees and pretty much drink just plain decaf with a bit of creamer, but also because I don’t know the lingo. On the way to the airport I grilled Jeremy about whether SB would even have plain decaf and how to ask for the size I wanted. Another small thing, but now I can confidently go in if I am with someone who wants to stop there.

What I’ve been watching:

  • America’s Got Talent (You have to be careful with it, because even though they call it a family show, there are a few acts that should not be on a family show. So we fast-forward through a few things.)
  • Making It. This is a new one that looks like it should be on PBS or HGTV. It’s a competition for crafters. It takes a bit for the dry humor of the hosts to grow on you, but I have been enjoying it. And it has been renewed for a second season.
  • Unbroken. I loved this book and have been wanting to watch the movie for a long time. Unfortunately, they threw in a few bad words (actually before the hard parts where it would have been more understandable). But otherwise, very good. When it first came out, I had heard complaints that the movie didn’t show the influence of Zamperini’s faith. But the movie didn’t cover his whole life: it ended right when he came home from being a POW. And the afterword did share that he “made good on his promise” to serve God and eventually came to a place of forgiving the Japanese, even returning to Japan. There are several neat cinematic touches in addition to the compelling story.
  • Mary Poppins. I saw about half of it with Timothy, and enjoyed watching him giggle in parts.

What I’ve been wondering:

  • Did people really sing songs together while they worked a long time ago? A book I read mentioned a sea shanty being sung by sailors as they rowed, and that prompted the question. According to Wikipedia, they did. There are songs associated with other types of work as well. I wonder if any of these songs are still sung as work songs, or whether recorded music is used when a certain rhythm and synchronicity is needed. It would seem so strange in this day and time to sing with your coworkers.
  • I read a while back that because we have ready-made music available and on so much, people don’t make their own music any more. I think the advent of YouTube may have changed that. But my aunt told me one time that when they were young, they’d gather around the piano and sing as a family, just like you see on old movies.
  • Much has been written about the decline of robust congregational singing, blaming it on the professionalism and loudness of worship bands in church and the lack of singability or unfamiliarity of many contemporary songs. But I wonder if the fact that we don’t sing together as a society in almost any context any more plays a big part in it.
  • On another subject: why do fast food restaurants toss condiment packets in by the handful, even if you say you only want one or two? I know they probably don’t cost much individually, but I am sure they add up! Some we just keep them on hand and use eventually, but others get tossed because we don’t use them beyond that one meal.
  • I also wonder at the tendency to over-notify. I have three different places on Facebook that tell me I have a new post (one is enough!) Twitter shows me new tweets yet also shows me some again “In case you missed it” and then will show me some of those same tweets in my notifications. I don’t sign up for many sales notices for companies because they send them 4-5 times a week. Drives me crazy! Once a week is more than enough. All this over-notifying actually works against those who do it. I have any sales emails sent through a filter so I don’t even see them. If I am going to a place and looking for a sale or coupon, I’ll look through that folder. On anything that lets me adjust settings, I set it so as not to receive push notifications on my phone.

What I am making:

We had two birthdays and an anniversary this month – but one of the birthdays was mine, so I didn’t make a card for it. ๐Ÿ™‚ We also had a baby shower, but since that one has not yet been given, I’ll wait to show it. I don’t think the recipient reads my blog, but I want to be safe. ๐Ÿ™‚

This was for Jason and Mittu’s anniversary:

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The couple and smaller heart were made using the Cricut. The burlap and lace background was from a pack of scrapbooking paper one of the kids got me for Mother’s Day (or Christmas?) I printed the wording out on the computer and used scalloped scissors for the top and bottom.

This was for Jeremy’s birthday:

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The birch trees were cut out on the Cricut and then glued onto grey paper. The fox was a sticker, but made of fuzzy material and with a sticky pad on the back so it was raised. The sign was supposed to be reminiscent of signs you’d see tacked onto a tree (like wanted signs on cartoon. ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe I should have phrased it like a wanted poster!) The little wood frame probably takes away from that idea. But I still like it. And I did find and install a font that looks like carving on wood (something else I learned this month!)

Around the blog:

Besides the book reviews, Fridays Fave Fives, and occasional Laudable Linkages:

It wasn’t deliberate, but the theme for the month seems to be focus.

I discussed what I was reading on my What’s On Your Nightstand post earlier this week. I am particularly enjoying the The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I am listening to the audiobook but may see if the library has a print copy. I am also getting a lot out of my ESV Study Bible. The notes are quite helpful. Plus I just finished Malachi, and they had a lot of supplemental material inbetween it and the start of the New Testament with Matthew.

And that, I think, is about all for this chat. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for reading.

(Sharing with “What I’m Into” at Leigh Kramer’s)

 

Just chatting

It’s been a while since I’ve had a “just chatting” kind of post, so I thought I’d catch up with the doings around here.

I wanted to let you know that iBelieve.com contacted me and asked to reprint an article I had submitted to the Perennial Gen about caregiving. They gave it a different title, but the content is the same: 3 Lifegiving Tips for Caregivers Struggling with Guilt and Resentment.

Writing progress

My WIP (work in progress) has over 29,000 words now! Yay! I’ve written most of what was in my mind. Now I am going through notes I left to myself on my phone to remind me of points I wanted to add. Then I need to go through a list of posts and a stack on books that I wanted to reference. Then I need to take a look at each individual chapter and see what shaping-up I need to do. This is all a bit more tedious, but very necessary. I am still mulling over some of the same writing questions I mentioned a month or so ago, but I think I am about ready to create an author Facebook page. It seems like that should wait til I am finished or even published, but I am told publishers want that kind of thing established beforehand.

Cards

As many of you know, I like to make cards as a creative outlet. It has been a while since I shared them, so here’s what I have made since last time I showed them.

This was my Father’s Day card for Jim, done on the Cricut.

This was for Jason for Father’s Day, also cut on the Cricut machine. As Timothy’s into super-heroes, I thought this would fit. ๐Ÿ™‚

I forgot to take a picture of my step-father’s card.

This was for a friend’s birthday. The paper was so pretty in itself, I didn’t want to cover it up with a lot of other things.

This was for Jim’s mom’s 90th birthday. She likes yellow.

This was for Jason’s birthday last month. Technically the design is not a birthday one, but when I saw it on the Cricut design space, I *had* to use it. I also learned a new skill with this one: changing out the blade for a Cricut pen, which does the lettering.

Movies

I mentioned yesterday the books I’ve read the past month. We don’t watch many movies – Jim prefers shorter programs. But we’ve seen a few over the last several months. The Book Thief was excellent, set during WWII about a girl sent to live with foster parents in Germany who then hide a young Jewish man in their basement. Wonder, about a deformed boy trying to go to school for the first time, was really good, too, with several touching moments and a lot of fun ones. The Finest Hours was based on a true story about the largest small boat rescue ever. A tanker was ripped in half during a storm, and four men in a small boat brought back 32 survivors (the boat was only supposed to hold 20 or so). Warning: there were a couple of bad words at the beginning. But otherwise this was excellent. I especially liked watching the main character’s growth.

My first podcasts

Lisa would be so proud of me! She mentions several good-sounding podcasts every month, but usually I listen to either music or audiobooks. But recently I listened to several in regard to the recent PBS adaptation of Little Women. It was fun hearing some of the background and views from some of the actors.

Recent Conversations

For July 4th, my son and daughter-in-law brought over some themed plates that someone had given them. When we asked Timothy what the plates reminded him of, with their red and white stripes and white stars on a blue background, he said, “Captain America!”

One day I spilled my lunch down my front and lamented, “I’ve been feeding myself for over 50 years, and I still keep spilling!” Jim said, “It’s only going to get worse.”

One day I found this on my bathroom ceiling:

I called Jim to come and take care of it for me. He said, “It’s ugly.”

I replied, “It’s gross.”

He responded, “He can’t help it.”

๐Ÿ™‚

Around the Blog

Besides the weekly Friday’s Fave Fives, book reviews, and occasional laudable linkage, my favorite posts the last month have been:

When the Solution I Want Isn’t What I Need

Doing or Don’t-ing?

Psalms for the Sleepless

Violence in Films, Books, and the Bible

Bedrock Truth

***

We’ve had a pretty quiet, routine summer so far. Lots of fun times together with the family. Later this month my oldest son comes for a visit, and Jim will take some time off then. We usually have a few outings the week Jeremy is here. It will be nice to have some extended family time and a bit of a “stay-cation.”

Better get back to work now. Thanks for visiting and chatting with me!

(Sharing with What I’m Into with Leigh Kramer)

Laudable Linkage

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Hereโ€™s my latest list of thought-provoking reads:

Women, Don’t Be Weak-minded, HT to True Woman. “I’m grieved every time I see another woman I care about succumb to the latest ‘Christian’ bestseller which, more often that not, is feel-good psychology scantily clad in a few decontextualized Bible verses.” “Critical reading in one thing. But, trying to glean ‘something good’ from an author who denies Christ’s supremacy, man’s depravity, or Scriptural inerrancy is entirely another thing all together and should be avoided.”

How (Not) to Discover Your Spiritual Gifts, HT to Challies.

Five Things I’d Tell My Newlywed Self.

A Slanderous Charge. Far from promoting racial prejudices and stereotypes, the Little House series shows a different side.

I’d Like to Have an Argument, Please, HT to Out of the Ordinary. “In fact, all this opining just makes things worse. You donโ€™t like what someone wrote and it upset you? Shouting your reaction is infantile (mere stimulus-and-response) and, worse, destructive….What we need instead is argument: inference from evidence to clear conclusions. Or, in a more right-brained approach, the setting-out of a compelling alternative.”

And finally, this cracked me up:

Happy Saturday!

Book Review: Sins of the Past

Sins of the Pastย Sins of the Past is a collection of three “romantic suspense” novellas by Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, and Lynette Eason. The characters and stories are unrelated except that each main character’s current dilemma is a result of or related to something in his or her past.

In “Missing” by Dee Henderson, Wyoming police chief John Graham received word that his mother was missing from her retirement community in Chicago. He flew back to Chicago from Wyoming. Initial reports showed no foul play or evidence of a robbery or a sudden attack. John begins to fear that someone from his undercover days in Chicago is taking revenge on him through his mother. He works with Lieutenant Sharon Noble to find his mother and her kidnapper.

In “Shadowed” by Dani Pettrey, competitive open-water swimmer Libby Jennings goes for a pleasure ride to see dolphins when the skipper of the boat sees a dead body in the water. When they pull the body in, Libby finds it is one of her competitors, Kat. Kat was from Russia and the two women had had some conflicts in the past, but Libby hates to see Kat dead. Libby works with the local law enforcement of small town Yancey, Alaska, to find out what happened. Since this story takes place in the Cold War era, investigators suspect ties to Communist intrigue as well.

In “Blackout” by Lynette Eason, Macey Adams has been suffering from migraines and memory loss since a horrific accident several years earlier. But just when bits and pieces of her memory begin to return, she finds herself in danger. Her brother-in-law had died trying to help her regain her memories, so she closes herself off from others so as not to put anyone else in danger. But a police officer-neighbor comes to her aid when he hears her screaming after a home intrusion, and together they investigate who might be trying to do Macey harm and why.

My thoughts:

The draw for me in this book was Dee Henderson. Suspense and crime drama aren’t my first choice of book genres, but I discovered Dee years ago while looking for Christian fiction that my mom might be interested in, and I think I have read all of Dee’s books since then. I very much enjoyed her story, though I figured out the culprit early on. I was surprised as to the person’s motives, though. I had not read either of the other two authors before. There were a couple of odd sentences in Dani’s story (one example: “He looked her in the eye, the depth of his heart wading in them”) and a few too many “She looked at his lips, which she wished were pressing hers” kind of statements. There seemed to me to be a couple of illogical aspects in the last two stories (a civilian heavily involved in a murder investigation, someone who is being stalked taking out the garbage alone behind her building at work). But overall I did enjoy these stories, too. Lynette’s particularly started off right in the middle of a tense scene and drew me right in. I appreciated that the characters in the first two stories acted “Christianly” (to borrow Rebekah‘s word), yet in a natural way. There wasn’t much from a Christian nature in the third except for a couple of prayers or acknowledgments of God’s intervention.

If you like stories that are clean, Christian, and suspenseful, you might like these books. One advantage of novella collections is the opportunity to sample writing from a few different authors.

(Sharing with Semicolonโ€˜s Saturday Review of Books and Caroleโ€™s Books You Loved, Literary Musing Monday)

Homemade Christmas cards and other stray thoughts

Today is the first “back to the old routine” day in a while. I love all the holiday activities, and God was kind to grant me some pockets of quietness and rest amid the busyness. Getting out of the normal routine for several weeks was fun and refreshing. Getting back into it feels both good and sad at the same time. We had a wonderful Christmas with all the family home and then a very quiet but enjoyable New Year’s Eve and Day.

I thought I’d show you the Christmas cards I made for the family. I buy boxes of them for extended family and friends – I’d never be able to make as many as I send out – but for our own family I like to make individual ones.

This is Jim’s:

Jim Christmas 17

It doesn’t show up in the photo, but the white words are flocked. If I had been thinking, I would have cut off the bottom pine cone so more of the word Noel showed up.

This is Jeremy’s:

Jer Christmas 17

Sometimes ideas come from others I’ve saved on Pinterest, sometimes from something in the Cricut design space, and sometimes they come as a result of looking over the materials I have. This one started out with the fox sticker, as Jeremy likes foxes, and then the other elements came one by one. This is one of my favorite cards I’ve ever made.

This is Jason’s:

Jason Christmas 17

I had wanted to use blue because he likes blue, and I had also wanted to use the snowflake embossing folder on one, so those came together here.

This is Mittu’s:

Mittu Christmas 17

I love that cozy sweater background paper, and they love coffee, so these seemed like a good pairing. The cups were done with the Cricut.

This is Jesse’s:

Jesse Christmas 17

This started with the word sticker – that just seemed to fit him. Everything on the white part is a sticker.

This is Timothy’s:

Tim Christmas 17

I had seen the cookies on a cookie sheet idea on Pinterest, but the shapes on it were three of the same gingerbread men. As I looked through my scrapbook paper, I found one with these gingerbread figures on them, so I cut them out. Thankfully I had enough of a scrap of the metallic paper for the cookie sheet. ๐Ÿ™‚

This is Jim’s mom’s:

GG Christmas 17

And this was for Jim for our anniversary:

anniv 2017

Other stray thoughts this morning:

  • We had turned on the TV New Year’s Eve long enough to see the ball drop, and I commented that I always wondered how they did bathroom issues in Times Square during that event. I envisioned a long row of port-a-potties somewhere. Jeremy looked it up and said there are no port-a-potties – and businesses don’t let the crowds come in to use the restrooms. And some people are there as early as 8 in the morning! They also don’t allow backpacks or large bags, don’t allow people to sit down, and they kick out the food stands to make more room for people. I looked up a couple more articles this morning (here and here). I never had aspirations to go to this anyway, but it’s definitely on my “Nope, I don’t think I’ll ever do this” list – which is guess is the opposite of a bucket list. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • I’ve rediscovered cheese and crackers as a snack. My mom used to always send Swiss Colony cheese and sausage packages for Christmas until the kids all got older and it got too expensive to send them. But usually one of us gets a Hickory Farms package at some point during the Christmas season. This year we opened it on Christmas Eve. Then I had mentioned earlier that somehow we got started having the Chicken in a Biskit and Easy Cheese during the holidays, so I have enjoyed munching on them all month. They may not be the healthiest snack, though – especially the Easy Cheese – so I probably need to find a better salty snack.

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  • One of the things I miss most about putting Christmas decorations away is the lights. But not enough to keep any up year-round.
  • I’ve also enjoyed several weeks of Christmas music. I got a new Christmas CD this year, Worship the Newborn King from the Wilds Christian camp. I especially loved the Candlelight Carol. I’ve loved that for years but rarely hear it. Other long time favorites have been their Christmas With Friends album (although that doesn’t seem to be available any more) and Sacred Music Services’ King of Glory. I also like some of Pentatonix – not the more raucous stuff, but I especially like their versions of Silent Night, The First Noel, Carol of the Bells, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Mary Did You Know, and others in that vein.
  • I don’t make resolutions per se, but I do like to make reading plans for the year and map out some projects I want to work on, so I hope to do that this week. I like to incorporate some purposefulness in my reading but with some flexibility in case I come across something new I want to read during the year. I hope to have my reading plans posted in the next day or two.
  • Also this time of year you see a lot of people writing about words for the year. I’m not sure how that got started. A lot of people derive great blessing from it, and that’s great. Personally I have never felt led to do so. Usually God has more than one word to work on in my life at any given time. ๐Ÿ™‚ But can I say, if you feel stressed about choosing a word for the year or guilty because you don’t have one, don’t worry about it. Seek God about it, and if you sense His leading toward one area of concentration, then go for it, but if not, just seek Him in His Word and seek His will every day.
  • This is also a good time of year to find a good Bible reading plan if you haven’t already. I wrote on that extensively here. There are all kinds available. Probably the best plan is one you’ll actually use. Reading the Bible through in a year is a good thing for several reasons. A Christian radio station I listen to reads through the Bible throughout the year during daily 15 minute segments, not really too difficult for anyone. The last few years I have continued to read the complete Bible, but not in a year. I am not sure how long it takes me. I aim for a couple of chapters a day, but vary it according the the length, difficulty, or density of the passage I am in and whether I want to stop and slow down in certain passages.

And now I had best get on to some of that daily routine that needs attending to. Thanks for visiting. ๐Ÿ™‚

(Sharing with What Iโ€™m Intoย atย Leigh Kramer)