Friday’s Fave Five

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

This week didn’t start off so well, with me forgetting that my mother-in-law’s caregiver had an appointment, and I scheduled  a lunch with a friend for then and had to reschedule it; forgetting that we’d scheduled the hairdresser to come for my m-i-l on Monday; forgetting that the nurse was coming on Tuesday, even though she’s been coming on Tuesdays regularly for months now; forgetting to take care of the bathroom after my m-i-l’s shower (I usually put the ramp back against the wall, mop up the floor, and replace the bath mats while our caregiver and the bath aide take her back to her room and get her dressed) so that our caregiver had to do it; putting my container of ramen soup on the end table and spilling it all over, dousing a remote control (I put it in a bag of rice just to be safe, but it ended up ok), and dropping a dozen eggs on the grocery store floor after paying for them (thankfully only two broke, but I had to rinse off all the rest). I don’t know why I was so “off” for a couple of days! But thankfully the rest of the week went much better. Here are the best parts of it:

1. Mother’s Day. I took some time to think about special moms in my own life, and my family always does a great job making it a special day for me. Jim grilled his wonderful teriyaki chicken and Jason and Mittu made salad, potatoes, corn on the cob, rolls, and  chocolate pretzel pie and banana cream pie.

Everything wasn’t on the table yet in this photo, but I love that cute little guy at the end helping himself to a roll. 🙂

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My daughter-in-law picked out pretty plates for the meal and dessert, all disposable for easy cleanup:

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Wishing Jim’s Mom Happy Mother’s Day:

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I received some lovely gifts and cards as well. I am blessed. 🙂

2. Timothy shucking corn for the first time was absolutely adorable. He was so excited to help, and when he pulled the leaves back, he exclaimed, “There’s CORN in there!”

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When he tried to eat corn on the cob for the first time, he noted, “It’s stuck.” He gave up after a bit, but made a good try.

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3. Movie night with my husband. After everyone left on Mother’s Day and Jesse went back to his room, Jim and I relaxed for the rest of the afternoon, and later that evening rented and watched the movie Hidden Figures. It was SO good! (Warning: there’s just a bit of bad language, most near the beginning). It’s the true story of three African-American women who worked with calculations involved in the first manned space flights (a good article on them is here).

4. A new desk chair. Last week my desk chair suddenly broke. It had probably been on the verge, unnoticed, for a long time. My new one is even more comfortable.

5. Printable art. A lot of places online offer free frameable printable decorated Scripture verses, and for a Mother’s Day gift for the ladies at our church, our pastor’s wife printed out several she had found. This was the one I chose. It fits perfectly on my little entry table.

Happy Friday!

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Book Review: Love of the Summerfields

Summerfields

Love of the Summerfields by Nancy Moser takes place in England in the 1880s and touches on lives in the manor house, both family and servants, and in the village as well. Some of the characters and their situations are:

Adelaide Weston, the dowager countess of the manor. A strong-willed, take-charge woman, her life turns upside down when an old love comes back into her life.

Frederick and Ruth Weston are the current earl and countess. Frederick is a decent man, but the manor is coming into hard times with more outgo than income. Ruth has become a recluse, both because of feeling intimidated by her mother-in-law and guilt over some of her actions in the past.

Clarissa Weston is their spoiled daughter who has not made a “match” yet, so her father and grandmother make one for her, partly to relieve the financial affairs of the manor.

Jack and Fidelia Hayward are shopkeepers. Jack is a fine, decent, patient man, but Fidelia is a bitter, controlling, unkind gossip. Lila is their daughter, a sweet girl in love with a man out of her reach. To make matters worse, she is pressed into acting as the go-between with this man and his fiancee. The Hayward’s son, Morgan, is in love with Ruth’s maid, Molly, but they have to keep it quiet because a lady’s maid is not supposed to have suitors. When Jack’s father dies, the family takes in his mother.

When a secret threatens to upend the lives of several in both village and manor, good for some but seemingly bad for others, the first instinct of those who uncover it is to keep it concealed. Will they let truth prevail even though it will cost them, or will hiding it bring greater repercussions?

This book is marketed as “If you like Downton Abbey, you’ll enjoy” this book. I don’t know if that’s the best way to present it. It is from the same era with the same strict class rules, and it even has a feisty dowager countess. But all the other characters and storylines are vastly different. So those who don’t want it to be too much like DA might avoid it, and those who want it to be just like DA will be disappointed. But if you like stories like from this time and place and type of people (which is what I think the slogan is actually going for), then you’d probably like this book. From the author’s notes after the book, the story was inspired by her own reading interests and her family history, not DA.

This book is the first in a series of three, and although I enjoyed it, I wasn’t planning on reading the sequels – until I got to the end and then read an except from the next book. Now I want to find out what happens!

(Sharing with Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books and Literary Musing Monday)

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Recent Cards

It has been a while since I’ve shared with you some cards I have made, so I thought I’d catch up. 🙂

This was for Mittu’s birthday. She likes purple and lavender, so I tried to incorporate those.

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This was for Timothy’s birthday. He is very much into anything on wheels right now, especially construction vehicles.

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Though I have been driving for decades, somehow I got the traffic light upside down…but when I noticed it, I didn’t want to try to peel it off and tear the paper underneath. I don’t think he noticed. 🙂

This card is the only one I have made on more than one occasion (only with different colors of paper), the occasion being a bridal shower. Since the recipients were in different states and didn’t know each other, I didn’t have to worry about them comparing notes. 🙂

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I got the idea from Pinterest, and the dress part of the card there took up more space and the top and bottom of the dress flared out more. But both the girls I was making this for are very slim, so I slimmed down the dress here. I ran white card stock through my Cuttlebug to get the embossed pattern on the dress. I printed off the label on the computer and used two different sized punches for it. If you turn the punch upside-down, you can position a phrase in the opening, though it is a little tricky to get it to stay centered and still while you punch the design.

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I don’t have a steady hand for cutting, so punches help a lot. (Punches can be expensive, but craft stores often have them on sale 40-50% off, and with gift cards I’ve collected a good many.)

The next three were for Mother’s Day.

This one was for a friend, someone I consider a second mother:

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This was for Jim’s mom, who likes yellow:

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Even though I don’t care for yellow myself, this ended up being one of my favorite cards I’ve made.

Up til now, I’ve made the inside sentiment of the cards on the computer, printed them out, and cut them out, and glued them in, but I felt that came across a little tacky and made it look home-made in a negative rather than positive sense. I don’t do lettering or even write well, so I didn’t want to do anything by hand. I could run cards through the computer. But for now I decided to try embellishing the inside as well as the outside.

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This was for Mittu’s Mother’s Day.

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Sorry about the shadows! This was the only one I’ve used the Cricut on lately. If I had it to do over, I’d use the lighter color as the floral frame and the medium color as the background. But I didn’t think of that til a few hours after it was done. 🙂 I didn’t realize at first that the little flowers look like little faces:

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I have a Cards and Paper-crafts board on Pinterest where I go for ideas and inspiration. Sometimes, as with the bridal shower card, I’ll have a specific idea in mind before I start. Other times, like with the rest of these, I’ll look through the papers and embellishments I have in the colors or theme I want to use, and then ideas of how to put them together will arise. Sometimes I’ll scroll through the Cricut Design Space online either at their ready-to-make cards, or, as with the last card, I’ll search there for specific items, like flowers or sayings, and then put them together.

At any rate, this is a creative outlet I enjoy, and I wanted to share it with you.

Finishing Well

I am reading in Chronicles just now. Though it has a reputation for being pretty dry, it actually has many great truths in it. Chronicles covers the history of the kings of Israel and Judah from the time of Solomon until the Babylonian captivity. Most of the kings were bad, in that they did not follow Jehovah God in the way He prescribed, and many followed idols and false gods instead. Most of the few who did start out well did not finish well. And though “finishing well” is probably not what “the” theme of the book is, it stands out for consideration.

Solomon, for all his wisdom and all the blessings he experienced during his early reign, fell away when his many wives led him to other gods.

“Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God” (II Chronicles 14:2), was marvelously helped in battle after prayer, took down idols, removed even his own mother from her position because of the image she made. But in later years he sought the help of a pagan king instead of God and even imprisoned the prophet who came to warn him (16:1-10). He ended up with diseased feet for which he did not seek the Lord at all.

“Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest” (24:2), but after Jehoiada died, Joash fell away to the point of killing Jehoaida’s son (24:19-27).

Amaziah “did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart” (25:2). He received great help from the Lord when he did things His way, yet instead of continuing to follow Him, he “he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them.  Wherefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Amaziah” (25:14-15).

Uzziah, “as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper” (26:5), and “And God helped him against the Philistines” and other enemies, “and his name spread abroad even to the entering in of Egypt; for he strengthened himself exceedingly” (26:7-8). “And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong. But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense” (26:15-16). The NASB puts it this way: “But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the LORD his God.”

Josiah was one of Judah’s best kings, leading a revival after the book of the law was found during temple repairs, yet he went to battle and “hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God” and ended up dying of wounds received in that battle.

Will I forget the things I knew, like Solomon did, and be led away by other loves, or will I keep my first love? Will I forget from whence my help comes, like Asa did, and look for help elsewhere? Will I fall away after my spiritual mentors are gone, like Joash? Do I serve God with a perfect (complete) heart, or am I holding anything back, like Amaziah? Will I be lifted up with pride like Uzziah? Will I neglect to listen to wise counsel from God’s Word, like Josiah?

May I heed the warnings and lessons in these examples. May God save me from these and other failures and help me to keep my eyes on Him and to finish well.

(Adapted from the archives)

(Sharing with Inspire Me Mondays, Literary Musing Monday, Testimony Tuesday, Tell His Story, Wise Woman, Woman to Woman Word-filled Wednesday, Faith on Fire)

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Honoring the moms in my life

May always makes me think of my mom, because Mother’s Day and her birthday are both this month. She passed away eleven years ago at the age of 68, much sooner than either of us wanted to say good-bye. That first spring I couldn’t go near a card shop because all of the items out for Mother’s Day were just too painful. Now, though the grief of missing her is still there, it is tempered with good memories.

One of the things I most appreciated about my mom was that she could be a friend to us without sacrificing her authority. I could talk to her about anything.

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My mom and I when I was a baby.

My mom and I before my wedding.

In my college years God brought a new family to our church. They noticed that I came to church alone and invited me home with them often. Mrs. C. became like a second mother to me. I’ve often referred to her as my spiritual mom. Her gentle example as a wife, mother, and homemaker taught me much, though I don’t think she was deliberately trying to teach me anything. We’ve corresponded for years, though her notes have become less frequent as she has gotten older and developed several health issues. I’ll always be thankful for her influence on me.

My third mom came into my life when I got married. My mother-in-law and I have had a very amiable relationship with no in-law horror stories. She had several problems in her life that would have made some people angry and bitter, but instead she sought God’s grace to surround the irritants like an oyster making a pearl. It has been sad to see her decline over the last few years, but we’ve been blessed to move her near us and to be able to include her in our family life.

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The newest mom in my life is my sweet daughter-in-law, who is a loving wife to my son and mother to the cutest grandson in the world. 🙂

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There have been other women as well who had a word of encouragement for me along the way.

I am thankful for “Aunt Sylvia,” my mom’s best friend, who never married or had children of her own but brought us Christmas presents, was always kind to us, and who bravely battled cancer. She once stepped in to pick me up from camp to explain that my parents were with my sister who had been hurt in an accident while I was away, and I am sure her calmness affected me.

I remember spending many nights with my grandmother when she lived near us and accompanying her on road trips in the summer. She was always crocheting any time she was sitting down and her hands were free.

I remember working on a church bulletin board with a lady whose oldest was a teenager while mine was still a toddler. She encouraged me not to dread either the “terrible twos” or the teen years or any stage in between but to believe that even those stages can be good, and I am happy to report they were.

I am thankful for Aunt Bobbye, my mother’s sister, for her being available to us any time we needed her, for her zany sense of humor, her care and support at my mom’s viewing and funeral, and for her love and care and continued interest throughout my life.

I remember and am thankful for walks and breakfasts and lunches and “play dates” with friends in the same season of life as we encouraged each other in our mothering.

I am thankful for godly pastor’s wives I’ve had and their sweet spirit and godly counsel.

In every season of life there have been a few ladies just ahead of me that I could watch and learn from, though they may not have known they were being observed. Even now, on the cusp of an empty nest, I’m inspired by a couple of older ladies who have been shining and cheerful examples in their “upper middle age” years.

I am thankful for so many women who were examples to me and made me a better woman, wife, and mother. I hope I can encourage others as these ladies did me.

I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day and feel renewed in your roles this morning.

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Laudable Linkage

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Here are some interesting reads discovered in the past couple of weeks:

It Is Never Right to Be Angry With God, HT to Challies.

What Our Stay-at-Home Mom taught us About Human Dignity, HT to Challies.

What to Do When Your Friend Loses a Baby.

When Mother’s Day Isn’t a Celebration.

Celebrating All Mothers by a Not-Yet Mother.

How to End Sibling Rivalry Like a Christian.

Unity About Modesty Among Differences of Opinion and Practical Considerations About Modesty, 3 and 4 in a series.

What’s Too Violent for Christian Readers?, a discussion with several authors. Pretty much agree with these points.

Animal Expressions, HT to Lisa. These are so cute! Especially the lamb and the baby gorilla with its mom.

And finally, some smiles, found on Pinterest:

I actually do that kind of thing sometimes….

Happy Saturday!

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Friday’s Fave Five

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

Thursday morning as I was thinking about what I might include in this week’s FFF, I thought, “Well, I don’t know. It’s been a pretty bad week.” And then I had to correct myself, as it was really only one bad day, and that wasn’t even the whole day. So I am thankful for the FFF, because otherwise I would have let that one day shade all the rest.

1. My mother-in-law’s regular caregiver. Most of you know we have someone from a health-care agency in our home a few hours a day to take care of my mother-in-law so I can run errands, make and go to appointments, or just have a break. Our regular helper is wonderful – the best we’ve had either at home or in any facility. She needed a day off this week, so the agency sent a substitute. We’ve had this substitute before, and while she was not our favorite, we figured she could handle the basics well enough. But she was the source of my Very Bad Day this week. She won’t be coming back. And she made me appreciate our regular person even more. It was so nice, the day she came back, to be able to relax and do whatever I needed to do, knowing that Jim’s mom was in good hands.

2. Pool time with Timothy. The little wading pool we had for him is cracked and too small now, so his parents brought theirs over. It was fun to get the little pool toys out again and to show him a couple of new ones I had gotten. I may be a grandma, but I still get excited about little wind-up animals that “swim” in the water. 🙂

3. Pleasant evenings. Both during the “pool night” and one other evening when I was refilling bird feeders and watering plants, it was so pleasant outside. Just the right temperatures, little humidity, and a little breeze.

4. Time off from cooking. I know I say this frequently – but it’s a favorite whenever it happens. 🙂 Jason and Mittu brought barbecue from a favorite place one evening last weekend, and Jim and I brought McAlister’s Deli home for Sunday dinner since Jesse had plans with friends. Then Mittu brought dinner over for the “pool night.”

5. My husband’s thoughtfulness. He had to leave early one morning to go out of town. He usually makes his mom’s breakfast, but I would need to that morning. But he set everything out, crushed her pills (that always takes me a long time), measured out her coffee, and got as much ready as he could ahead of time. And then he even got the bathroom set up for her shower (towels on the floor under the ramp, shower curtain tucked out of the way, etc.). He’s a keeper. 🙂

Happy Friday!

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