February 29, 2020

My bookish confession...

Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash
Hello, my lovelies! Yes, this is confession time. Bookish confessions, of course! :) I've been pondering my reading life and realized something I should just own up to out loud (or, you know, in writing, at least). So you may just be horrified when you read the next paragraphs. (Or perhaps not, we shall see.)

So! My bookish confession? Is that I have spent a whole lot of my adult years pretty much determined not to read anything of depth. I loved romantic stories and refused to be willing to even contemplate reading something a little different, something that would require me to think a little harder. Friends would recommend a book that did not fall within my usual genres and I would tell them I was considering reading it when deep down inside I knew I was lying because I'd never read it, nope, not for me. There. I said it. (Wrote it? You know what I mean.) Even as embarrassing as this feels, I want to be honest.

Now. I feel I should clarify what I mean by saying that of all the books I've read over my entire life, there are a lot that have depth, that are so much more than just another romance. (I certainly don't want someone to go look at my Goodreads lists and assume that all those books are shallow!) But the type of books I'm referencing fall under other categories, such as classics, autobiographies, memoirs, and just nonfiction in general. Books by older authors, not contemporary ones. But also contemporary books that aren't just a simple romance. 

I don't know if that paragraphs makes any sense, I keep reading over it again and I don't know how to better get my point across. I just know that I'm no longer satisfied to simply read a sweet romance story. Now don't get me wrong! I am not eliminating those books from my TBR altogether! I'm just more willing to honestly try a book that is out of my reading comfort zone, so to speak. I want to read something that will surprise me because so many of the books I've been reading in recent years haven't truly surprised me. Some have, but not most. I want to try another Charles Dickens novel, even if I hate it. I want to read CS Lewis' nonfiction, even if I struggle my way through understanding what he's telling me. I want to read books that will make me think. I've read a whole lot of books that have only entertained me for a few hours, that allowed me to shut off my brain and wallow in make believe. And I still feel like there's a place for those books. I'm not saying that we shouldn't read them. I mean, I just read a couple Jane Austen sequels a couple Sundays ago and they didn't make me think at all, they were just fun.

However, I'm finally tired of only using reading as an escape, I want to allow books and stories to help me understand my world better. They've always done that to a certain extent, but now I want to actively seek it out, not simply stumble over it occasionally. 

I want to read out of my comfort zone. 
"It is only by struggling with difficult books, books over one's head, that anyone learns to read." ~Mortimer Adler
Probably most of you reading this right now have been reading such for years. I admit to feeling slightly embarrassed that it took me this long to be willing to even entertain the idea in my mind, let alone be willing to challenge myself to actually do it. I should've had this epiphany a long time ago, instead of in my late 30s. But there you go. And here I am. Better late than never, right? (I hope.)

So. I haven't gotten terribly far yet, in attempting this. But I have made a bit of progress. And I'm determined not to give up! What about you? Have you always read out of your typical genres? Have you been more like me and just always gravitated towards what was easier? Or has your reading journey been different than even those two options? 

And lastly, how about recommending one of your most favorite books that doesn't fall under the contemporary romance genre! I need more books on my TBR, don't you? ;)

February 23, 2020

five things

Five things you will find if you open my purse/bag:
  1. chapstick
  2. earbuds
  3. phone/laptop charger
  4. old receipts
  5. keys
Five things in my bedroom:
  1. books (of course)
  2. my laptop
  3. dr pepper pillow
  4. calendar
  5. this amazing tote bag a friend gave me *all the heart eyes*

Five things I’ve always wanted to do in my life, but haven't yet:
  1. write a story
  2. travel to Italy
  3. publish a book of poetry
  4. own a pet
  5. read all six published books by Jane Austen {I know! But I haven't read Mansfield Park yet...}
Five things that make me very happy:
  1. books
  2. friends
  3. family
  4. Jesus
  5. hugs
Five things I’m currently into:
  1. sitting in the library with a dear friend
  2. convos with friends, whether deep or silly
  3. Speaking With Joy podcast
  5. all things yellow
Five things on my To-Do list:
  1. read all the books in the stack a friend gave me just last night
  2. blog more regularly
  3. journal just a little bit every single day
  4. read more nonfiction
  5. make time for solitude in my schedule
Five things some people may or may not know about you:
  1. cookies are my favorite type of dessert {As long as they're not full of nuts, nuts don't belong in cookies}
  2. I love dr pepper
  3. good food makes me happy
  4. that when I try to think about something people don't know about me, my mind immediately goes to food
  5. even all these years later I am still fascinated by horses {but my LOVE of them has definitely been tempered a good deal}
Five things you enjoy doing during your free time:
  1. read
  2. time with friends
  3. read
  4. write/journal
  5. watch a period drama

{another post from my drafts folder, be glad I updated it, the horror of what I wrote a few years ago... *embarrassed smile*}

February 22, 2020

books we relate to

Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

I was reading through my drafts here on blogger. You know, those posts you began but never finished? Perhaps no one else does this, but I had 12 draft posts just sitting there. A few definitely worth deleting because you don't even want to know just how old they were and how not-relevant to my life now. *shakes head at younger me* ;)

Anyhoo! One such draft was this one. Which only had two sentences. And a link to an old blog post of Suey's. Reading over the article again made my mind spin with ideas and lo and behold! Here I am with a post. Yay me.

So! Books we relate to. In the blog post (in case you don't want to go read it, no judgment don't worry) Suey's friend Jenny mentions about how a certain book really connects with her. (I'm assuming it still does anyway, this many years later.) I completely understood what she meant because as I thought on it, that is precisely one of the main reasons why I love certain books over others. I have a lot of booklikes, but books I love? I have to love and connect with the characters. I have to relate to something they are experiencing or something inherent in their personalities. That connection will take a booklike straight to booklove for me. (Not always guaranteed, of course, but more often than not.)

Connecting with a character is HIGHLY important to me. (I think that's true in my real life as well. I deeply love being able to connect with people around me. If I can find something we share in common and we have opportunity to chat about it? That person is forever a sweet spot in my heart, and that conversation doubly so.)

Here are a few literary examples for you:

Anne from Persuasion by Jane Austen :: I relate to so much of Anne's thoughts and personality. A great deal of her outer circumstances have created a rich inward life for her and I get that. Plus her phase of life is one I understand as well. She's a huge reason why I love this book so much. (That and Captain Wentworth, of course. I LOVE Wentworth a whole, whole bunch too! ;)
Valancy from The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery :: I love Valancy. I don't personally have an awful family who basically browbeat me like she does, but I completely understand how she feels a little lost and unknown. How uncertain she is. Oh how I get that! And I love journeying with her as she finds her voice. Her story fills me with hope.

Autumn from Life After by Katie Ganshert :: I read this book during the year after my mother passed away and cried a bucket nearing the end. I just completely understood the grief journey Autumn was on. Grief is hard and jarring at times, yet gentle and constant at the same time. It's a strange sort of being and Ms. Ganshert wrote so much of what I could not put words to. (The way this story spoke so wonderfully to my grieving heart has made me slightly hesitant to read it again, for fear of not loving it so much now, which is just silly I know.)

41818523. sy475 Cori from My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay :: I would say I connected to so much of the feelings of many of the characters in this one, not just Cori. I haven't ever been in such a terrifying situation such as they are, yet I still understand their fears, their uncertainties, their struggles to work together as a team with others that they don't always understand. I just got it. Plus the fact that they're overseas in another country and culture that they don't understand and yet have to survive in, that spoke to my longing for travel even before I ever imagined getting to go overseas myself! :)

These are just a few examples. There are many more and we'd be here for pages and paragraphs longer if I were to truly analyze what I related to in every story that I LOVE. (So I won't do that to you. ;) But I can say, again, that the biggest reasons I will fall in book love with a particular story hinges on me being able to connect with something or someone within it. Otherwise, it's pretty much a no go.

What about you?

February 11, 2020

Review: If For Any Reason by Courtney Walsh

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This one is a super sweet and emotional read! Ms. Walsh is so good at that combination. It's been a little while since I read one of her stories, so this was like renewing an old friendship. :)

One of the highlights for me was the details on the theatre. Knowing that Ms. Walsh has a great deal of personal experience in that area, her wealth of knowledge and the joy it brings her shown through her descriptions. I connected with that part of Emily's life, even though I have zero experience and know nothing about it myself. I love when that happens in a story.

Another of my favorite things was Hollis' family. They are so loving and caring for each other! And since Emily is in desperate need of such in her life, I loved seeing how they swept her up into being part of them and made her comfortable. Plus they helped provide a safe place for Hollis to figure out his relationship with his daughter. They truly are one of my favorite fictional families now. They're not perfect, none of the characters are, but the flaws only endear them further.

The romance bits were adorable, of course. (Which was only to be expected! This is a Courtney Walsh novel after all.) I appreciated that they were friends first, a good friends-to-lovers romance is one of my favorite tropes and Ms. Walsh handles the transition really well. Because goodness the chemistry between these two! Yet both Emily and Hollis have a lot of growing to do, so I especially appreciated the slow way the romance heated up, giving both time to process through all the stuff they needed to.

Overall, I really enjoyed the emotions I connected with while reading. The grief, the uncertainty, the fear, the familial love, and most of all the hope that threaded everything together from beginning to end. Several moments brought smiles, while others made me turn the next page as quick as I could to find out how a character would respond. Beautifully written, Ms. Walsh continues to solidify her spot on my list of awesome writers!

**I received a complimentary copy via Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

It was funny how you could miss something so much and not know you missed it until it was back in your life again.

February 10, 2020

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Fifty-Four {the Ruth Logan Herne edition}

So back a few months ago I was having a lazy Sunday afternoon. While trying to decide what book(s) I should read, I somehow ended up on a Ruth Logan Herne kick! And ended up devouring four books of hers all in one day. (Why yes, I did stay up quite late that night, why do you ask? ;) To be fair, most of them are stories on the fairly short side. So that's how such a feat was possible.

Anyhoo! Ms. Herne is definitely an author worth reading and, having met her in real life, I can add that she's just an awesome person all the way around! :) So you should definitely check her books out if you haven't read anything by her before now...

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At Home in Wishing Bridge
You'll probably think I'm crazy for starting a series with book two, but something about the synopsis for this one convinced me to pick it up first. And it was oh so delightful! I loved all the characters and goings on in this little town. And I, especially, LOVED the friendships at the core of the series. Thea, Kelsey, and Jazz have such a wonderfully solid reliance upon one another, where they can bolster the others in one conversation and speak hard truths in another. Their friendship feels real and true, which gives a firm foundation for the rest of the cast of characters circling around them. And Thea and Ethan? Oh my heart, they are so good for each other! Only it takes a bit for them to truly realize this. Which makes for a fun journey! And now I'm all excited for Jazz's story next. Cannot wait! :)

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Her Secret Daughter
Ah the complications that begin this little story! They are difficult and uncertain, and significant enough to have a huge impact on everyone involved. And beautifully set up the adorable romance that kept me turning the pages. Josie and Jacob are super sweet together, add in the cuteness that is Addie and we have the makings of a complicated, adorable mess of emotion. Watching Josie deal with her conflicted emotions and attempt to do the right thing at every new turn was heartbreaking, yet hopefilled. I think that's what I loved best about this romance, the hope that permeates their interactions. (Plus the chemistry between them. ;) This story made me smile a lot and that's precisely what I liked about it.

Yuletide Hearts & Mended Hearts
Two stories in one! And what fun stories they are. A redeemed bad boy who makes a tomboy swoon (Matt and Callie) was my fave romance between the two. But don't get me wrong! Jeff and Hannah are super adorable too! Both of these guys are pretty much goners from their first meetings with their respective ladies and watching as they swept each lady off her feet was just...ah, there are no words. I wanted adorable romance and I got precisely that! Plus a little character growth, which was the icing on the proverbial cake. :)

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Christmas at Star Inn 
by Margaret Brownley, Mary Connealy, and Ruth Logan Herne
So I picked this one because of Ms. Herne, but thoroughly enjoyed all the stories found therein! The Star Inn features prominently, of course, and it was fun to see how each couple ended up there and what staying at the inn did for them. Sweet romances, strong character growth, and simply loads of fun makes this anthology a wonderful addition to my Christmastime reading!

February 5, 2020

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Fifty-Three

The Words Between Us By Erin Bartels
This is very much a gripping read! I was pulled into Robin's world from the first few paragraphs and stayed glued to the pages. As her past is slowly revealed and we discover just what has made her into the person she is today, I was thoroughly intrigued. However, I have to say that while I was very much invested in where her journey would take her, there were several moments that jarred me out of the story. The overall flow just wasn't as smooth as I wanted. And the ending...well, it simply fell a little flat for me. I was expecting more of something during the final pages and never found it. Things finished up a little too cleanly and quickly for me. So while I was captivated by the storyline, I closed the book feeling disappointed. But overall, still a wonderfully told story!

Letters From Paris by Juliet Blackwell
The idea of death masks fascinates me! I'd never heard of them until reading this story. Clair's journey to discover the history behind a particular death mask and the slow unfolding of what really happened years ago kept me turning page after page. Plus the romance bits were pretty cute. :) Overall an intriguing story that I'm glad I read.

26114524The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You 
by Lily Anderson
When a favorite reviewer highly recommended this teenage take on Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, I knew I'd have to try it. And I wasn't disappointed! It translated into modern times very well (as I figured) and was just a whole lot of fun. Mostly the bits between Trixie and Ben. Those two characters never failed to make me laugh and shake my head at their determination to not admit their feelings and then be unable to deny them. :D Super fun with adorable romantic bits, if you like Much Ado, I think you'd enjoy this one.

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The Last Drop by Erynn Mangum
I love Erynn Mangum stories, especially her Maya Davis series. This is a wonderful continuation of them! Presley is so much fun, Maya is as awesome as always, and the romance...well! I loved every cute and adorable moment! Definitely you should start with book one of the series if you haven't read it yet, but each successive book is loads of fun and this one is a perfect ending. (Only I wouldn't be opposed to more Maya books! Just saying. :)

February 4, 2020

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Fifty-Two

And here we have another Christmas edition! I must have been in the mood for Christmas stories this past December because as I went back over my list there were a whole lot more on there than I'd realized. A good problem to have, though, right? :) Some were good and some a bit forgettable...

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
I decided this was the year I'd finally read this little volume and I'm so pleased that I did! I may have thought I knew this story, but it still surprised me in parts. Which is a good thing. :) For being a "ghost story", it has a whole lot of light and hope within it. I can see why so many have loved it for so many years. A particularly good quote: "The Spirit dropped beneath it, so that the extinguisher covered its whole form; but, though Scrooge pressed it down with all his force, he could not hide the light, which streamed from under it in an unbroken flood upon the ground." (emphasis mine, obviously)

Now I want to try another Dickens novel... :)

The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens
It started out super fun and then went in a completely unexpected direction. But this shouldn't surprise me coming from Dickens, right? :) I did enjoy the story overall, though, I just wasn't prepared for some harsh realities that hit. Yet there is hope threaded throughout the story, so that helped tremendously. Still, the first several paragraphs are perfectly described and woven that I was invested within the story before I knew it. I loved those bits particularly!

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Christmas at the Circus by Joanne Bischof
A sweet and wonderful return to Charlie and Ella Lionheart's world! Entirely too short for my liking (a good problem, yes :), I loved getting a small glimpse into their married life. It reminded me it's been far too long since I last read The Lady and the Lionheart!

The Christmas Train by David Baldacci
Having watched the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie based on this book a couple years ago, I was intrigued to try this. Of course, books and movies always differ, so I had a few disappointments. But overall this was an intriguing story, very Christmasy and enjoyable (mostly). There were parts I particularly liked better than others and I won't say that I will ever pick it up again, but I'm not sad I tried it. (Plus, does it ever make you feel like patting yourself on the back when you try a popular and well-known author even if you didn't love their story? Perhaps I'm the only one... ;)

Snowflakes at the Little Christmas Tree Farm 
by Jaimie Admans
Ms. Admans certainly has a way of writing addicting stories! Because somehow she got me to finish this one when I felt like the beginning wasn't truly hitting all the right buttons for me yet. As I pushed on farther, though, my interest picked up by about midway through. Having now finished it, I can say that it's cute overall. Perhaps not one that I loved, but still enjoyable. The romance was adorably fluffy. If you're interested in a quick, Christmasy and wintery story, then try it! You may just love it more than I. :)

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Christmas Every Day By Beth Moran
I loved Jenny! In spite of her current awful circumstances, she forges a path through all the yuck and discovers life again. Her fabulous personality gets her through just about anything. There were bits about this story that disappointed me, but I stuck around for Jenny. And Mack! Because having a neighbor who does good deeds (while grumbling) makes for hilarious interactions between them. I laughed several times during their conversations. I also love the friendships that spring up around Jenny, through hardly any effort of her own. She is simply just that awesome and easy to love. Bits I loved and bits I didn't made an interesting combination but overall a sweet story.

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Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale
This had it's cute and sweet moments. Particularly when Nick interacts with Max, Abbey's son. Their scenes always made me smile. And the romance was fun, mostly. There were bits that just didn't work for me, but overall an enjoyable read. Very Christmasy and romantic, which was all I was in the mood for, so it worked!

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A Bramble House Christmas by CJ Carmichael
Hallmark movies are terribly addicting and when they are based upon books, I tend to want to try them. Turns out that can mean good things or forgettable things. Unfortunately I would label this story as one of the ones that was just intriguing enough to make me finish it, yet there was much that wasn't flowing so smoothly for me. That's not to say it's a terrible book! Just not for me, sadly.

Christmas Joy by Nancy Naigle
This reads exactly like a Hallmark Christmas movie, which is precisely what I wanted. A little bit cheesy, a little bit predictable, a whole lot Christmasy, and quite an adorable romance. It was the perfect way to while away a sick day spent in bed. It made me smile through the misery! :)

February 3, 2020

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Fifty-One

Well, here we are again. More reviews! These are focused on stories that particularly filled me with delight when I read them. Each of these books cause me to smile inside and out when I think of them... :)

Miss Buncle's Book by DE Stevenson
Oh my goodness, I LOVED this one! Miss Buncle and her neighbors are a hoot and a half. The pickle she finds herself in and the delightful way she worries and processes through it just warmed my heart with every chapter. I really knew next to nothing about this book when I found my first copy a few years back, but the premise intrigued me so I bought it. Then I found a second copy with a gorgeous cover that made me decide it was time to actually read it and I am ever so happy I did. I smiled throughout pretty much every single chapter and now I want to find copies of the next books in the series... If you haven't tried this one yet, friends, then I highly recommend you do so!! Miss Buncle is worth spending time with, trust me. :)

Parnasus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
An unexpected delight of a story, this went very differently than I'd imagined. But that did not take away from its charms whatsoever! I saw a description of it on goodreads that called it an "unforgettably weird classic" and I'd have to agree. I mean that in the best ways possible! Because I truly enjoyed Helen's adventures. And Roger Mifflin...ah what a character he is as well. These two people are so very different, yet find much in common once their journey gets going. A super fun little story that's definitely getting added to my reread pile!

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The Unselected Journals of Emma M. Lion: Vol. 1 
by Beth Brower
I've been a fan of Ms. Brower's for some time now, but this new series truly solidifies my awe at her skill with a pen. She is incredibly talented at writing in so many different genres. This (not nearly long enough) little book was wonderful from start to finish. I was relieved, however, when I neared the end and realized there was at least one more book waiting because my investment in Emma's life needed many more pages and chapters than would fit in this one single volume. Emma's adventures in St. Crispian's and the intriguing folk who inhabit it were a lot of fun to discover. I don't quite know how to describe the pure delight found within these pages, so I will tell you this one thing: read it for yourself! I find Emma very much worth getting to know, see if you might feel the same. :)

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The Unselected Journals of Emma M. Lion: Vol. 2 
by Beth Brower
Yay for more Emma! So many more escapades and possibilities of romance...maybe, perhaps, we shall see? Whatever the future yet holds for Emma, I am so here for it. Please write more, Ms. Brower! I loved this second little peek into Emma's inner musings and it was as delightful as the first. Emma is awesome, the end. (As are quite a few of her neighbors and townspeople. Their quirkiness adds so much to Emma's own quirks and perspective on life.) Such a wonderful little book! (But seriously. I truly hope more volumes are yet to come!)

February 1, 2020

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Fifty

And here it is, friends! The first of many afore-mentioned review posts. *sigh* I had really gotten behind on those! This first set of books are all nonfiction and thought-provoking reads, as you will see...

Onward to the gushing! ;)

Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
This wonderful little book had barely been on my radar when I spotted a copy at a used bookshop I frequent occasionally. Perfect timing! I loved the way her thoughts flowed and followed so much of my own pondering and wonderings. Recognizing a lot of my own uncertainties and joys caused me to write down so many awesome little quotes to remember later. A quick read that proved the well-used phrase 'short and sweet'. So much sweetness! Definitely will reread it again. It feels like the type to refresh you every year as time and perspective changes... :)

Sense and Sensuality: Jesus Talks to Oscar Wilde on the Pursuit of Pleasure by Ravi Zacharias
I confess this one wasn't anywhere on my radar until it popped up on a deal of the day email several months ago. As I have enjoyed Mr. Zacharias' writing before, I decided to try it. It is an intriguing little conversation! I didn't remember much about Oscar Wilde's life, but I went and researched what I could find, which helped me understand just what is going on in this "conversation". It provides great food for thought and response when faced with so much of the sensuality in culture around us...

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
I cannot believe I'd never heard of this little gem until fairly recently! This was, quite simply, a delight from start to finish. I laughed at several places, shook my head in others, got a bit teary at the end, and absolutely adored these letters between two people who connected over love of story. For any booklover, this is a must read. (And probably everyone else but me has read it already. But I am finally part of the gushing reviews! :)

"Please write and tell me about London, I live for the day when I step off the boat-train and feel its dirty sidewalks under my feet. I want to walk up Berkeley Square and down Wimpole Street and stand in St. Paul's where John Donne preached and sit on the step Elizabeth sat on when she refused to enter the Tower, and like that. A newspaper man I know, who was stationed in London during the war, says tourists go to England with preconceived notions, so they always find exactly what they go looking for. I told him I'd go looking for the England of English literature, and he said:
"Then it's there."

Surprised By Joy by CS Lewis
So much of Mr. Lewis' writing challenges my brain to work hard to understand what he's saying (this doesn't stop me from trying to understand him though!), so I was surprised by the more accessible flow of thought when I started this one. Lewis' intelligence does make it itself known, of course, but this is a fascinating look at his journey to Christianity. I admit that maybe I skimmed a slight bit when he got a little detailed on some of his school days, but overall this gave me a deeper perspective on him and what joy can be and look like. Definitely recommend it!


Photo by Raychan on Unsplash
Hello, my lovelies! I realized that it was past time that I jumped back into this space only I hadn't realized quite how much time had passed since my last post. Yikes! So I thought I'd better start with a general post before heading into the reviews that I desperately need to catch up on. (Prepare to be bombarded in the next days! #sorrynotsorry) I hope, for any that are still hanging around here and interested in my thoughts, that all is going well in your corner of the world. Life has been a combination of busy and not as much wifi time with my own laptop as I've wished for. But that's neither here nor there. Life is good and there are exciting new (and challenging) ventures going on, for which I'm grateful. :)

Anyhoo! On to random happiness from my life...

Listening to:  I started North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell on a mini roadtrip the other weekend (only a three hour drive one way, so yes, it was mini) and am still making my way slowly through it.  I haven't reread that one for ages! And when I saw it was narrated by Juliet Stevenson, I decided it was a perfect idea. She is a fab narrator for all things Austen or British, in my humble opinion. :)

Reading: I have not done much reading recently! I know!! *sadface* It's just been a combination of a lot of things, one of which is there hasn't been a book that's just truly struck me enough to make me want to read it all the way through. I've started several, but not finished anything yet... *sigh* Other than North and South, of course, but I still haven't finished that one either... I've got some wonderful-sounding ones on my radar though, so here's hoping one or all of them will be amazing and cause me a book hangover or three. :D

Enjoying: I am currently at the library, which is delightful. And this morning I spent a couple hours at this charming little tea house that's just a slight bit of a drive from home (hence why I don't go often). I got there right as they opened and so had some quiet for half an hour or so, it was DELIGHTFUL. Quiet reflecting, hot tea, yummy deliciousness to eat....I enjoyed it ever so much!

Feeling: Excited, nervous, even a bit brave? I've been working on a small project for the past month that I'm a lot uncertain about. I have no idea what will happen with it or if anyone who now has access to it will appreciate it at all, but it's been a challenging and inspiring process to work toward. I officially sent it away from my little laptop, out into the void (so to speak ;) and now all I can do is wait...and hope. (And also prepare for the next one...challenge is good for me!)

Loving: Time with real life friends who encourage and challenge me onward. Various things came together for a deliberate choice on my part to work harder on those relationships. Am so grateful for them all! And incredibly blessed to realize I have so many good and wonderful people surrounding me...

Anticipating: The year ahead! I'm sure there will be difficulties, uncertainty, and any number of things that may not be pleasant (yet imagine all the delightful possibilities too!). I'm on a good track so far and excited to see what is yet to come... (Also hoping more blogging will happen as I have a couple writing goals to work toward. :)

Watching: Sunrises and sunsets and beauty all around me. I've heard that going somewhere else for an extended period of time can make one notice the beauty of home that you overlooked before. Am finding that very true! My eyes pick out details I usually glance right over. It's a glorious world we live in, friends, even with all the yuck in it. Won't you look up and notice with me?


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