Monday, August 30, 2021

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 08/30/2021 }

Happy Monday everyone, hope you have had a wonderful restful weekend, and are ready for the week ahead.  I'm praying blessings over you and your family.
 
I don't have much time this morning, so trying to get this post up for you all, as quickly as I can.  Let's get right on with it.  
 
 



The weather..... 
I could really use some rain around here.  My poor garden is desperately needing it.  Looks like another dry week, still pretty hot, but with August drawing to a close tomorrow, I'm hoping the cooler temperatures follow suit.   
 
Monday - Sunshine and clouds, 93
Tuesday - Mostly Sunny, 971
Wednesday - Sunny, 99
Thursday - Mostly sunny, 97
Friday - Mostly sunny, 97
Saturday - Mostly sunny, 99
Sunday - Mostly sunny, 98
 

Right now I am.... 
Sitting in bed with Elliott laying beside me asleep.  Curt just left for work, the kids are still asleep, and I have the chirping of crickets outside my window.   


Thinking.... 
That I'm so thankful for God's help this weekend.  I've told you that my brother and his family were all sick the past two weeks.  Well my nephew (Tiffany's husband) tested positive for Covid and has Double Pneumonia so he's been struggling.  Unfortunately because they all live together at the moment, since Tiffany moved down from Idaho, my poor Sister in Law also tested positive for Covid Pneumonia, and ended up in the hospital Saturday night.  She couldn't breathe, her oxygen levels had dropped to 87% and we got quite the scare.  But God stepped in, and she is already back home and doing much much better.   


On my reading pile.... 
Just my Bible at the moment. 
 
 
On my TV..... 
I've been watching Bone Detectives on Amazon Prime.  I love it.  If you're interested in History and Archaeology, this is the show for you.  3 experts, look at skeletal remains found during digs in England, and then through interviews, testing and so on, try to determine who these people were and what they died of.  Very interesting.  
Also have quite a list of shows to watch, been working on that this weekend.  You can see my previous post for a list of some of the shows I've just added to my watchlist.  


On the menu for this week.... 
Will have to work on a new menu plan this week.  I can't believe it's almost time for grocery shopping again, the past two weeks have literally just flown by.
  
Monday - Galinha no Churrasco, Potato Salad (Barbecue Portuguese Chicken) 
Tuesday -  Million Dollar Lasagna, Garlic Bread, Salad
Wednesday - Country Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli
Thursday - Crazy Crust Pizza (Didn't make it last week, so moving it to this week)
Friday
Saturday -
Sunday

 
On my to do list....
Change bed linens
Laundry
Clean pool
Update Menu on kitchen chalkboard wall
Start cracking the pecans we still have from last year


In the craft basket.... 
The poor crochet blanket is still laying there.  Last week was just crazy and I couldn't sit down for two minutes to work on it.  Hope I can change that this week.  
 

Looking forward to this week.... 
I am just looking forward to a blessed week, to my family getting healthier and feeling better.   
  

Looking around the house.... 
Need to do the usual cleaning.  
 
  
From the camera....
Our sweet Elliott is struggling with grief over Marley's passing.  He has developed separation anxiety, and can't have me out of his sight.  Poor boy.   
 


On my prayer list.....
****  My sister in law, she has Covid Pneumonia and after her stay at the hospital Saturday night, is now back home with oxygen.  Please continue praying for her.
 
**** My nephew Steven, who has Covid Pneumonia as well. 
 
**** Many on my church prayer list. 
 
**** Praying for Afghanistan. The situation is dire, and my heart is just broken for the 13 service men and women we lost over there.  Please keep them and their families in your prayers.
 
 
Bible verse, Devotional....
 Isaiah 55 I think is perfect for the current world affairs and how we are feeling.

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    my faithful love promised to David.
See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
    a ruler and commander of the peoples.
Surely you will summon nations you know not,
    and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has endowed you with splendor.”

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
    and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
    will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
    will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
    and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
    for an everlasting sign,
    that will endure forever.”

 
 

Saturday, August 28, 2021

{ The shift between Summer and Fall }


I thought I would go into August with a renewed sense of hope and faith, and all things good.  I mean the last year pummeled us to a point of submission, on so many levels.  Where else could we go but up, right?

Then our air conditioner broke, our sweet Marley died, all within the first 9 days of August, and I thought "well for goodness sake, this isn't what I envisioned for this month."

But then again, it never is, is it?  We often have skewed ideas or views of how things should be or go.  We make all these plans in our minds, and sometimes God obliges and the plans we make actually happen as we thought, but that's quite rare.  At least for me, see my plans and views, are often changed dramatically, by my Father who sees all and knows all.

So the month started off shaky, but little did I know that God was about to take me from a place of feeling defeated, to a place of utter disbelief and happiness.  He was about to gift me a blessing that I had only dreamed of for the past 23 years.

On Wednesday, I had that appointment that I mentioned to you all.  I didn't want to say anything, I had kept very quiet about it all for the past 8 months, as I went through the process, filled out paperwork, paid quite a bit of money, and did what I had to do.  In other words, did my part.  The whole thing came about out of nowhere, on a quiet January morning, the 4th to be exact.

I felt the prompting from God and then my husband spoke the same words out loud.  It's time, you need to apply for your Citizenship.

And so I did, quietly, under the radar, and kept mum.  Something hard for me to do because I'm a very open person, and you know I love sharing my life.  The good, and the bad, and everything in between.

But Wednesday I went through the last interview.  Curt was not allowed to be with me, he had to wait outside the building.  My nerves were shattered, I was shaking, I was sweating, I was terrified.  Some may not understand why, but for those of us who were not blessed to be born in this wonderful country, becoming a citizen is a dream come true.

I did it.  I sat through the interview, answered everything I had to answer, took my civics test and then heard the words I had only dreamed of hearing.

"Congratulations ma'am."

The pride, overwhelming love for the flag, and the joy that I felt in that moment, brought me to tears.  I couldn't even speak, I uttered thank you, thank you, thank you and God bless you.
 
I walked out of that building in complete shock.  The past 8 months have been hard friends.  They've been excruciating.  The enemy has thrown everything AND the kitchen sink at us.  I had moments of utter desperation.  But I didn't know that a huge blessing was just around the corner, on the other side of the pain and grief.
 
And for that I am eternally grateful.  
 
It hasn't yet sunk in, and I do still have my Oath Ceremony coming up.  I will share that with you when the time arrives.  But thank you America, for being my home, for taking me in, for allowing me to love you and respect you and proudly be able to say that I am an American, and that I will always do everything within my grasp, to protect and defend this beautiful nation.  
 

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And with that part taken care of, I am now back to life, and continuing to get things on track.  For me that means diving right back into blogging, cooking and backing, photography and getting ready for Fall and Winter.

This year is a Pecan harvest year, so we will be busy with that.  I still have a huge canister of pecans from last year, which I plan on cracking this week, in preparation for the incoming harvest.  


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I've also been working on getting the last harvest of tomatoes, freezing and canning. 
 
I planted 10 tomato plants this year, and only one survived, but it is huge and has been producing so many gorgeous tomatoes, that I am finding it a bit hard to keep up with. 
 
Jam, tomato sauce, frozen tomatoes, you name it, it's happening. I just hate wasting food of any kind, and especially homegrown veggies.   I really want to get a Fall/Winter garden going, so need to sit down and figure that out, do some planning, get the soil ready and hopefully everything into the ground within the next few weeks.
 
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I've always loved the shift between summer and fall.  That moment where it's not too hot anymore nor is it cooler yet.  Where life is changing from busy on the go summer days, to the slower, quieter, more indoor kind of life, for fall and winter. 

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I have found myself spending more time in my kitchen, and actually enjoying the time I am in there.  For the past few months, or maybe year or so, it just hasn't been a priority for me.  I would go in there and quickly scrounge up a meal for the family and then out I was.    Lately though, I've found myself spending hours in my kitchen, whether I'm whipping some yummy thing for us to enjoy, or organizing all the cabinets again, cleaning, doing dishes, whatever it may be......the kitchen is my go to again, and how I love that.

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I spent most of yesterday in there, cooking for us and for my family.  We haven't been able to see them in two weeks, they have all been feeling unwell, and my sister in law and nephew (my niece's husband), have both tested positive for Covid.
 
I don't need to tell you how serious it could be especially for Hayley who is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments for her breast cancer.  Steven, also tested positive and unfortunately has pneumonia in both lungs too.  My niece is 22 weeks pregnant and trying to hold the fort down alone, while I do what I can from the outside.
 
I've been delivering meals, treats and whatever else I can, by leaving it all their front door, knocking and then quickly getting back in the car.  And so have our last two weeks gone, knocks on doors, a quick wave from door to car, and spoken messages through the phone.  It's not ideal, but we do what we can.

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As we wind down into the last week of August, and I look back at all that has gone on, some devastating losses, some huge blessings, and the heartbreaking news from Afghanistan and the whole world around us, I am reminded by God that life goes on.

We are called to pray, that is our weapon and that is something I do all the time.  Some days I find myself in constant prayer, all day long.  It's what has gotten me through so many difficult moments, you know those where you feel like there's no way out and nothing is going to get better?

Yes those.  

But we move on, and we cling onto the things that have some sort of normalcy still attached.  Like our homes, local happening as our yearly Bicycle Race, moments with our pets, watering our gardens, cooking a meal, talking with a loved one, even grocery shopping.

For me it's all of those and then TV, but not just any show.  I don't know about the rest of you, but I find that 2020 catapulted me into a state of change.  I no longer enjoy some of the shows I used to, and have actually stopped watching them all together.  If you know me and have followed me for a while, you know I was a huge fan of paranormal shows, ghost hunting and all that stuff.

Since last year, I just can't watch them.  I refuse to, I don't feel right watching them, and I realize that they bring nothing to my life.

So I have changed my tv style, have spent a lot of time updating my subscriptions on Youtube, my watchlists on Netflix and Amazon Prime, and what I allow into my soul.

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And again, as we get ready to end into the end of summer, and Fall looms around the corner, I have started compiling a list of shows to watch.  I know a lot of you enjoying seeing what I have on my TV, so I'll leave you with the list below (well, not the full list or we will be here all day), and a sweet photo of our boy Elliott.  He has now become my shadow and my companion.  I am so thankful to God for bringing him into our lives last year, I couldn't understand why at the time, but now I get it.   
 
 
 
Amazon Prime/Acorn TV
 
Bone Detectives (Tori Herridge and a team of scientists piece together the lives behind unearthed bones to find out their stories. Once a skeleton has been recorded, the bones immediately begin to reveal their mysteries, opening up a secret history of Britain.
 
Savile Row (A three-part series focusing on famed London shopping street Savile Row and how the long-standing tailor shops are adapting to an aging workforce.)

Love & War (In wartime life can be tough, brutal and short.  But it can also be beautiful.  This series tells the story of love that blossomed during the tension and misery.)

The Irish R.M Series 1 and 2 (Major Sinclair Yeates has settled in as a magistrate in rural Ireland. Mrs Cadogan is always full of surprises. Flurry Knox is in love with his cousin, and it seems that neither love nor fire should always be taken at face value.)
 
Elizabeth I and her Enemies (Queen Elizabeth I was one of England's greatest monarchs, but she spent her life surrounded by enemies.)
 
A Stitch in Time (Fusing biography, art and the history of fashion, Amber Butchart explores the lives of historical figures through the clothes they wore.)
 
The Brilliant Bronte Sisters (How did the Brontë sisters-Charlotte, Emily, and Anne-spend much of their lives in a remote parsonage on the edge of the Yorkshire moors and yet write literary masterpieces that were shocking, erotic, and profoundly moving?) 
 
Wartime Farm (BBC's turn-back-the-clock `Farm' series continue with this eight-part look at the efforts of historian Ruth Goodman and archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn, who run Manor Farm as if it was during the Second World War.)
 
At Home with the Georgians (This is a docudrama, about life in Georgian times and focuses on homes, and homemaking.) 
 
Victorian House of Arts and Crafts (In this landmark living history series, a late 1800s Victorian arts and crafts commune in the Welsh hills has been painstakingly brought back to life as a group)
 
1900 Island (Four families, with a longing to escape the demands of the modern world, head back to the turn of the 20th century. They live for a month as a small Welsh fishing community on the tidal island of Llanddwyn, off the coast of Anglesey.) 

{ Deer Season Book Giveaway Winner }

 
 
I haven't done any sort of giveaway, in a really long time.  We only had 4 participants, but that's ok.  Thank you to the ladies that entered the giveaway, wish I had a book for each of you.

As always, I used Random Generator to draw the winner, and here is the outcome:


Comment #2 - Melissa


Congratulations Melissa, I'll be emailing you shortly for your info, and you will be receiving the book straight from the publishers.


Monday, August 23, 2021

{ Deer Season by Erin Flanagan - GIVEAWAY and Tour }


Publisher: NEBRASKA (September 1, 2021)
Paperback: 320 pages
 

It’s the opening weekend of deer season in Gunthrum, Nebraska, in 1985, and Alma Costagan’s intellectually disabled farmhand, Hal Bullard, has gone hunting with some of the locals, leaving her in a huff. That same weekend, a teenage girl goes missing, and Hal returns with a flimsy story about the blood in his truck and a dent near the headlight. When the situation escalates from that of a missing girl to something more sinister, Alma and her husband are forced to confront what Hal might be capable of, as rumors fly and townspeople see Hal’s violent past in a new light.

A drama about the complicated relationships connecting the residents of a small-town farming community, Deer Season explores troubling questions about how far people will go to safeguard the ones they love and what it means to be a family.

Purchase Links

University of Nebraska Press | Amazon | IndieBound

About Erin Flanagan

Erin Flanagan is a professor at Wright State University. She is the author of two short story collections, The Usual Mistakes (Nebraska, 2005) and It’s Not Going to Kill You, and Other Stories(Bison Books, 2013).

Connect with Erin

Website | Twitter

 

Review:
If you're looking for a good suspense story, this is it.  I wasn't sure if I would like it, you know I'm not a huge suspense or thriller/mystery genre kind of book reader, but it intrigued me.
 
The blurb on the book caught my attention, and I love a good crime story, hence my constant watching of crime videos and such on TV and Youtube.  
 
So deer season has just kicked off, and all the avid deer hunters are really excited to get going.  Alma's farmhand who is disabled, has gone off hunting with some of the locals.  Nothing wrong with that, except that while they are out hunting, news starts circulating about a missing teenage girl.
 
Once Hal, the farmhand, arrives back at the farm, Alma and her husband start finding his behavior a bit odd.  There seems to be blood on his truck and a peculiar dent that he can't seem to explain.  The couple does not want to think that Hal could have been involved in any way, but nothing he says makes sense and he isn't exactly helping his own situation by the way he keeps talking around the issue.
 
The girl goes from missing to possibly murdered and as always, the town locals turn their attention on the main suspect, which in their opinion is Hal.
 
Alma and her husband try very hard to defend their farmhand, but even they start wondering if there isn't something more sinister going on, and if Hal could in fact be responsible for the girl's disappearance, or even been present or know more than he is letting on.
 
The story moves a bit slow at first, but I didn't mind at all because Erin Flanagan does a really good job of developing each character and weaving a story of friendship, suspicion and mystery.
 
Great read!!!
 
Thank you TLC book tours and Nebraska, for providing me with a review copy. 

GIVEAWAY:
Contest is open to US residents.  I will draw a winner on this Friday the 27th.
 
Leave a comment down below and let me know if you enjoy mystery/suspense/thriller books.


{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 08/23/2021 }

Good morning everyone, welcome back to my little corner in blogland.
 
I hope this post finds you all well.  Me?  I'm just ok.  One minute smiling, the next bawling as we drive down the street.  To be fair, today is two weeks since Marley's passing and it's all still very fresh and new, and it will take time to heal my heart and be able to move from this loss.

I'm just going through the process, but I've also firmly told myself that I can have a little cry when I absolutely need it, but life continues, I have other important things going on around me, children, a husband and a home to take care of, and so on.  I'll get there, slowly, but I will.  :)

Anyway, let's get on with our post for today, as always on Monday mornings, I'm a bit rushed for time, so I try to get this post up as quick as I can.

Have a blessed week friends!
xoxoxo

PS I'm pulling out one of my older Happy Homemaker Monday posts, from 2013.  Nothing majorly different in the categories, just wanted a change.  
 



The weather..... 
We've had some rain the past few days, which has helped to cool things down a bit, but we're headed right back high temps, including some triple digits.  
 
Monday - Sunny, 100
Tuesday - Sunny, 101
Wednesday - Sunny, 101
Thursday - Mostly sunny, 99
Friday - Mostly sunny, 95
Saturday - Mostly sunny, 94
Sunday - Mostly sunny, 93
 

Right now I am.... 
Sitting on my bed, with the laptop on my lap, typing up this post and watching a video on the tv.  


Thinking.... 
About what I need to get done today.  Also, have a really important meeting on Wednesday afternoon, that is life changing for me.  Hoping it all goes well.  


On my reading pile.... 
Nothing right now, waiting for my new Fall review books to come in.  I do have my own books that I can read, so will grab one of those off the shelf.
 
 
On my TV..... 
Just homemaking vlogs, and a couple of documentaries.  I follow a channel on Youtube called UKHistoryTube which has a ton of amazing documentaries and shows from England.  Started watching The Great Plague yesterday, and also the newest Boleyn Family documentary.  


On the menu for this week.... 
   
Monday - Sour Cream, Beef and Rice Casserole, Salad
Tuesday -  Ono's Hawaiian Chicken, Macaroni Salad
Wednesday - In Dallas for the day, will pick something up for dinner on way back home
Thursday - Chicken Strogonoff, rice, beans
Friday - Chili Spaghetti, Salad
Saturday - Crazy Crust Pizza
Sunday -  Portuguese Barbecue Chicken, Potato salad

 
On my to do list....
Study for Wednesday
Carpet cleaning and general homemaking


In the craft basket.... 
Still working on my crochet blanket.  Didn't pick it up the past few days, but will get back to it today. 
 

Looking forward to this week.... 
My meeting on Wednesday.  I'm quite nervous about it, but know God already has it all done and set.  
  

Looking around the house.... 
Need to tidy up a bit, do some vacuuming and dusting as well.  The morning sun is just coming up over the horizon, so I'm getting random rays of light streaming through the windows.  
 
  
From the camera....
Made this amazing Pudding Cake for our weekend dessert.  The recipe is already up on the blog if you wish to give it a try.  It's the perfect combination of  caramel pudding and chocolate cake. 
 


On my prayer list.....
****  My brother and his family are all down with a bad cold.  Unfortunately it also means that my SIL caught the same cold and is really struggling right now.  Please keep her in your prayers, you know with cancer, getting a cold is not a good thing as the immune system is already pretty weak.
 
**** For my appointment on Wednesday.  Please pray for me, I am pretty nervous about it, but it will be life changing and a huge blessing.  
 
**** Continue praying for Afghanistan.  
 
 
Bible verse, Devotional....
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)




Thursday, August 19, 2021

{ The Ocean in Winter by Elizabeth de Veer - TLC Book Tour }

 
Publisher : Blackstone Publishing; Unabridged edition (July 6, 2021)
Hardcover : 336 pages
 

The lives of the three Emery sisters were changed forever when Alex, eleven at the time, found their mother drowned in the bathtub of their home. After their mother’s suicide, the girls’ father shut down emotionally, leaving Alex responsible for caring for Colleen, then eight, and little Riley, just four. Now the girls are grown and navigating different directions. Alex, a nurse, has been traveling in India and grieving her struggle to have a child; Colleen is the devoted mother of preteens in denial that her marriage is ending; and Riley has been leading what her sisters imagine to be the dream life of a successful model in New York City. Decades may have passed, but the unresolved trauma of their mother’s death still looms over them creating distance between the sisters.

Then on a March night, a storm rages near the coast of northeastern Massachusetts. Alex sits alone in an old farmhouse she inherited from a stranger. The lights are out because of the storm; then, an unexpected knock at the door. When Alex opens it, her beautiful younger sister stands before her. Riley has long been estranged from their family, prompting Colleen to hire the private investigator from whom they’d been awaiting news. Comforted by her unexpected presence, Alex holds back her nagging questions: How had Riley found her? Wouldn’t the dirt roads have been impassable in the storm? Why did Riley insist on disappearing back into the night?

After her mysterious visitation, Alex and Colleen are determined to reconcile with Riley and to face their painful past, but the closer they come to finding their missing sister, the more they fear they’ll only be left with Riley’s secrets. An unforgettable story about grief, love, and what it means to be haunted, The Ocean in Winter marks the debut of a remarkable new voice in fiction.

”Do we choose our memories, or do our memories choose us? That’s the central question for the three sisters in Elizabeth de Veer’s emotionally rich, incandescent debut novel. Ocean in Winter is a page-turner of a book with a family mystery at its core, and profoundly explores the ways in which women struggle to rebuild their lives after grief and trauma. You won’t want to put it down once you start.” —Holly Robinson, author of Beach Plum Island and Chance Harbor


Purchase Links

Blackstone Publishing Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Elizabeth de Veer

Elizabeth de Veer has a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and has been admitted to writing residencies at the Jentel Artist Residency, the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is a member of several writing groups, including Grub Street Writers’ Collective of Boston, the Newburyport Writers’ Group, Sisters in Crime New England, and the New Hampshire Writers’ Project. She lives in a small town in Northeast Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and labradoodle.

To learn more, check out her web site at elizabethdeveer.com.

Connect with Elizabeth

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Review:
A beautiful story, although sad and at times hard to read.  If you are affected by talk of suicide, then it may not be the book for you because it does touch on the subject.

The story follows three sisters, and their lives, growing up after the death of their mom to suicide.  The oldest of the three, Avery, finds their mom the day she commits suicide, and from that moment on she becomes responsible for her younger sisters.  Their father shuts down, not able to deal with the loss himself, and so in a sense they lose both their mother and father.

The sisters all grew up and chose different paths for their lives, but a stormy night in the future, brings them all together, and they quickly realize that none of them ever got past the death of their mother.

The author brings us a story of love, sisterly bond, family trauma and it touches on depression, grief, suicide and other topics which may trigger some people.
 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Blackstone Publishing for providing me with a review copy.
 

 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

{ No Names to be Given by Julia Brewer - TLC Book Tour }


About No Names to Be Given
Publisher: Admission Press (August 3, 2021)

Paperback: 334 pages

“A gorgeous, thrilling, and important novel! These strong women will capture your heart.”-Stacey Swann, author of Olympus, Texas

1965. Sandy runs away from home to escape her mother’s abusive boyfriend. Becca falls in love with the wrong man. And Faith suffers a devastating attack. With no support and no other options, these three young, unwed women meet at a maternity home hospital in New Orleans where they are expected to relinquish their babies and return home as if nothing transpired.

But such a life-altering event can never be forgotten, and no secret remains buried forever. Twenty-five years later, the women are reunited by a blackmailer, who threatens to expose their secrets and destroy the lives they’ve built. That shattering revelation would shake their very foundations-and reverberate all the way to the White House.

Told from the three women’s perspectives, this mesmerizing story is based on actual experiences of women in the 1960s who found themselves pregnant but unmarried, pressured by family and society to make horrific decisions. How that inconceivable act changed women forever is the story of No Names to Be Given, a heartbreaking but uplifting novel of family and redemption.

Purchase Links

IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Julia Brewer Daily

Julia Brewer Daily is a Texan with a southern accent. She holds a B.S. in English and a M.S. degree in Education from the University of Southern Mississippi. She was the founding director of the Greater Belhaven Market, a producers’ only market in a historic neighborhood in Jackson, and even shadowed Martha Stewart. As the Executive Director of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi (300 artisans from 19 states) which operates the Mississippi Craft Center, she wrote their stories to introduce them to the public. Daily is an adopted child from a maternity home hospital in New Orleans. She searched and found her birth mother and through a DNA test, her birth father’s family, as well. A lifelong southerner, she now resides on a ranch in Fredericksburg, Texas, with her husband Emmerson and Labrador Retrievers, Memphis Belle and Texas Star.

Connect with Julia

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram



REVIEW:

What a beautiful yet heartbreaking story.  
 
I think we have all grown up hearing about the horrific stories of the 1950s and 1960s, where young, unmarried women became pregnant and were not only hidden from society, but forced to give up their babies for adoption.  All in the name of not bringing shame to the family.
 
I've never been able to understand that way of thinking, but then again, I live in different times, and I can't judge those who lived in that era, for their beliefs.
 
No Names to be Given follows the story of 3 such women, who meet in a maternity hospital in New Orleans.  They quickly forge a friendship, while being pressured by the hospital nurses and doctors to give up their children to strangers.  They face a horrible decision, because they're expected to just walk away as if nothing happened, and return to their homes, go about their lives, and forget about the babies they leave behind.
 
These kind of stories have become well known.  We have heard multiple accounts of such happenings, but we don't always understand the repercussions and the consequences of those adoptions.  
 
In this novel, albeit a fictional story, it IS inspired by true events, and the author does a great job of bringing us the insight into what these women were thinking, feeling, and forced to do.  Though there wasn't much character development, and I ended the book feeling like I wished I had known these women a bit more, the accounts that we were given, were enough to make my heart hurt.

I can never imagine being in their shoes, feeling like the whole world is against me, and knowing that the pain of labor I am about to endure, will leave me with empty arms, as my child is whisked away, never to be seen again.
 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Admission Press for providing me with this review copy.



Monday, August 16, 2021

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 08/16/2021 }

Good morning dear friends, I hope this Monday finds you well, both physically, spiritually and emotionally.

The last time I posted this feature, was 2 weeks ago, and I was so happy to report that my Marley was eating again.  I had no clue that just a week later, to the day, my boy would be crossing the rainbow bridge and that my heart would be shattered.  But that's life, we don't know what is coming around the corner, and so we learn to take each day as it comes, love the people around us, and appreciate each moment we are given on earth.
 
I'm doing ok.  One minute I'm falling apart, not able to handle the pain in my heart, then the next I'm ok going about my day.  It definitely is a process and it will take time, but we will be ok.
 
Thank you all for the prayers and the kind comments, they mean so much to me and my family.
 
But, let's get back on track, let's get back to life and to what God has assigned us to do.  I am planning on being back blogging full time, I have many posts I want to get out, a lot I want to share with you and I just need to get back to normal life.  It's been 5 months, of worry, of fear, of sadness, of sleepless nights and tiring days. That's all come to an end, time to move forward.

Again, I apologize for not posting this last week, I just couldn't.  Hope you all have a blessed week!!



 
♥♥Weather♥♥
It's been pretty hot here, and I'm really missing the rain, but it looks like we will get some of that this week.  My garden needs it badly.     

Monday - Sunshine and a few clouds, 92
Tuesday - Thunderstorms, 89
Wednesday - Isolated Thunderstorms, 89
Thursday - Scattered Thunderstorms, 90
Friday - Sunny,  97
Saturday - Partly cloudy, 93
Sunday - Partly cloudy, 95


♥♥How I am feeling this morning♥♥
I'm ok.  That's the best I can do right now.  I think my body is catching up to me though, we've been going on adrenaline for so long, but now that it's all over, I am feeling exhausted, been getting a few headaches and even my stomach is a bit off.  Nothing some rest won't cure.  


♥♥On the breakfast plate♥♥
Cup of coffee with Peppermint Mocha creamer, will have some toast soon.    


♥♥Looking around the house♥♥
It needs a good cleaning, top to bottom.  I am making a list today so that I can busy with that this week. 


♥♥On my reading pile♥♥
I am reading in Acts in the Bible. 
Have a few more review books on the shelf that I need to get to.


♥♥On my TV♥♥
Started watching Labyrinth yesterday, on Amazon Prime.  It's an old series with just one season, but it's just what I needed to watch while I crocheted.  
Also trying to get back to my homemaking vlogs on Youtube. 


♥♥On the menu this week♥♥
Grocery shopping will be Friday.  I need to start working on my new menu, and I'll do that through the rest of this week.

Monday - Portuguese Steak and Egg, Homemade Fries
Wednesday - Chicken Tikka Masala, Rice
Thursday -
Friday -
Saturday -
Sunday


♥♥From the camera♥♥
As I move through this grief process, I find that what helps me, is to stay busy.  Homemaking has and always will be my safe zone, my comfort.  So even just doing laundry, calms my heart. 



♥♥I am thankful for♥♥
My family, my life, and God's mercy.     


♥♥I am hoping to♥♥
Get back into my daily blogging, share some wonderful posts with you, and continue sharing the love I have for homemaking.   


♥♥Something fun to share♥♥
I recently found a really neat Youtube channel called Mother the Mountain Farm.  Here is what their about info says:

We are sisters, Julia and Anastasia — caring for a regenerative farm on Bundjalung Country on the East Coast of Australia. We have a dream to build a self sustainable future and regenerate the land for generations to come. Join us as we learn to build, farm, garden, and care for the animals and land regeneratively. We live and farm on the land of the Arakwal and Minjungbal People of Bundjalung and these practices of regenerative agriculture and permaculture owe their roots and theories to Indigenous knowledge — they have been practiced by Indigenous People around the world for so many years.

They share really neat videos and I thought you would enjoy seeing them too.  


 
♥♥Happening this week♥♥
Our usual homemaking, driving back and forth, running errands, and grocery shopping on Friday.  I hope to get back into my grocery hauls and weekly meals videos as well. 

 
♥♥ Prayer List♥♥ 
♥♥♥ My SIL finished her last round of the Red Devil chemo treatment, which is the worst one.  In two weeks she starts her second round of treatments, weekly.  Praying for her through this battle. 
♥♥♥ My husband and children, that we continue to move forward through this grief over losing our sweet boy.  That God continues to heal our hearts.
♥♥♥  For Afghanistan and the innocent people caught in what is going on there.  I pray the Lord protect them through this.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

{ There will be Lobster by Sara Arnell - TLC Book Tour }

 

About There Will Be Lobster

• Publisher: Savio Republic (July 20, 2021)
• Hardcover: 176 pages

You know her. You’ve seen her. You may even see yourself in her.

If you’re arriving to the midlife crisis party—the one that’s serving low self-esteem, desperation, unreliable behavior, forgetfulness, carelessness, and the loneliness of loss—the stories and anecdotes in this memoir will assure you that you are not alone.

For Sara Arnell, it took a rogue lobster, a dying rock star, an eighteen-pound tumor, a meditation guru, a famous medium, and a former monk to put her on a path toward light, hope, and healing. If reading this book helps even one person, according to Sara, then telling this story is all worth it.

Purchase Links

Simon & Schuster | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

About Sara Arnell

While working alongside acclaimed fashion icon Andre Leon Talley at Vanity Fair magazine in her mid-20’s, Sara was offered an opportunity to write a press release for fashion designer, Donna Karan, who was about to launch one of her acclaimed collections. This moment marked the beginning of Sara’s impressive thirty-year career in fashion, writing and advertising.

Sara worked as Chief Strategy Officer at one of New York’s most renowned and successful advertising agencies, eventually rising to CEO. Under her long tenure, she broke new ground, winning awards and global recognition for her agency and its clients. She traveled the world, working with some of the best known and most beloved consumer brands such as Pepsi, Samsung, McDonalds and Goop.

Today, Sara is a Professor at The New School’s Parsons School of Design and continues to consult with the world’s top brands on marketing strategy and brand design. She regularly advises start-ups and entrepreneurs and has served on several boards for educational institutions. She is a sought after speaker and founder of Karmic, a platform for ‘what-you-do-comes-back-to-you’ ideas and advice. Sara has a BA from Skidmore College and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She is the mother of three children and one small poodle.

Find out more about Sara at her website, and follow her on Instagram.

 
REVIEW:
Sara Arnell digs into the midlife crisis phase that hits us all, but specifically told from a woman point of view.

As we get older, we tend to start questioning certain things.  What is our role in our children's lives, our husband, our family, in society in general?  Do we fit in, do we know what we're doing, or are we missing something that needs to yet be found?

Sara tells of her own struggles through the midlife crisis party, through short chapter filled with anecdotes and stories, that will definitely have you nodding your head in agreement and laughing along at times.

I related to so many things the author mentioned.  Aging does bring about a need to self reflect and look deep within.  And it's that realization that Sara taps into, as she navigates life.  

I enjoyed this memoir, it made me reflect on my own life, but brought some comedic relief too through the authors own stories.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Savio Republic publishers, for providing me with a review copy.



Tuesday, August 10, 2021

{ My sweet Marley is gone }

 

October 5, 2016 - August 9, 2021

I wish I had the words right now to begin to tell you, how heartbroken I am.

Marley started getting worse last week, and very quickly declined.  Sunday he became quite lethargic, wouldn't eat or drink, go potty etc.  And he also began to throw up.  It continued all Sunday, and into Monday morning.

By Monday he was throwing up blood too, and we knew that it was time to say goodbye.

We called the vet, and she said she would be over at 1pm.

Curt, myself, Jasmine and Nick sat with him from 8 am, loving him, kissing him, hugging him, and telling him what a good boy he was and how much he changed our lives.


Everyone was able to hug him and love him, but he was very offish with me.  He would look away when I tried to love him, or would actually stand up, in his very weak state and try to go hide under the table or by the couches.

I couldn't understand it at first, and it broke my heart that he wasn't allowing me to be with him the last few hours of his life.

Ten minutes before he passed, he walked over to me, lay his head on my legs and had his first peaceful nap, since weeks.

February 10, 2017

I stroked his head, kissed him, told him how much mama loves him and that as much as it was going to hurt, he would go home to Heaven.

10 minutes he napped, then got up, walked over between the couch and futon and started throwing up again.  Curt was immediately by him cleaning him and as I was walking towards them with paper towels in hand, he looked back, straight into my eyes, and the look he gave me.......oh my gosh.  The look my sweet boy gave me told me immediately he was going.

Marley

He dropped to his side, and began his passing over to Heaven.

He died pretty quickly, while I held onto his face and told him over and over how much I loved him.  I lost it, I'm not going to lie.

I didn't even think that I would react that way, but the pain I felt when he passed was unimaginable.  My heart broke in a million pieces, and I'm struggling, really struggling to come to terms with what just happened.

He came to help me deal with the passing of Lola, and I never thought I would love another dog after her.  I can tell you at this moment, that as much as  I loved Lola, I loved Marley even more.  There was something about this baby boy that was so special, so pure, so full of love.  He didn't have a mean bone in his body, and everyone that met him talked about the sweetness he radiated.  

I don't know how I will get through this.  Both Curt and I are completely devastated beyond all words.  We are broken, totally broken over this loss.

I apologize for not posting my Happy Homemaker Monday yesterday, I think it was the first time I haven't posted it since I began it years ago.  But, Marley was not well, and we were with him, where we needed to be.

I pray that now that this season of heartache is finally at and end, I may be able to start blogging again, and doing the things I love again.  I hope soon, but just know that right now, in this moment, it feels like my heart is broken beyond repair.  The pain I feel is so real, so strong that I can't even breathe at times.

If you have fur babies, love them for me today.  Give them a huge hug and kiss, and let them know just how much you love them.  

Thank you all for the countless prayers, thoughts and love sent to me, my family, and especially our sweet boy Marley.  It means so much.

IMG_0004
 
To Marley, my sweet boy, my heart.  I am so thankful for the 4 years God gave you to me to care for.  You taught me how to love again, you healed my heart, you made me laugh, you brought me immense joy and never left my side.

I will miss our afternoon naps where you would jump onto the bed and right onto my lap.  I will miss you laying next to me when I was sick, giving me kisses when I was sad.  I will miss you coming to the kitchen to stand at the counter where the treats were, and barking for me to give you some.  I will miss the times you stood up on the counter to see what I was doing.  I will miss you laying between me and daddy at night, all stretched out, on your back happy as can be.  I will miss you laying your head across my neck to sleep at night, or the way you would curl up beside me.  

I will miss you bringing me your squeaky ball to play with, nudging my arm at dinner time hoping for a bite of whatever we were eating.  I will miss how you clung to me the last few weeks of your life, nudging me awake at night to let me know you needed a hug, comfort, or that you were feeling sick.

I will miss your sweet face, your beautiful eyes and the love you showed me.  And I will miss seeing the love and the bonds you had with your daddy, and your brother and sister.

I hope you know just how much you were loved and how much we are going to miss you here, by our side.

My only consolation is knowing that your fight against this horrible cancer, is over.  That you are in Heaven running free, completely healed, with a perfect body, eating all the treats you want and playing for hours on end.

I count down the minutes until the day I see you again.

I love you Marley!!!
♥♥♥♥♥

May 31, 2007

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