Classical Music December 02, 2021

Are you a fan of Classical music? I enjoy it selectively, have done so for years.

I’ve heard popular parts of Handel’s Messiah but never the full oratorio. Tonight that’s changing.

A performance by the American Bach Soloists showed up in my YouTube feed and I’m listening as I type this.

I probably should be watching so as not to offend music lovers.

It turns out I really should be watching. I thought a lady was singing this solo. I just peeked and I was wrong.

Watch with me?

It sounds to me like they are doing a good job.

Attending a performance of Handel’s Messiah is a yearly tradition for many music lovers.

Happy Listening.

Bargain books December 01, 2021

BookBub has an interesting suggestion for us. The first chapter has me hooked.

For the Love of Joy: A Coastal Hearts Novel

Is he married or isn’t he?
 
Years ago, a Dear John letter and then an IED explosion overseas rocked Davis Donnelly’s world and left him unclear about his marital status. He’d signed divorce papers, but broken mentally and physically, he’d never bothered to find out if his marriage actually ended. Now that he’s about to start a new position as an outreach minister, it’s time to settle things once and for all. At the moment he tracks down his wife—or former wife?—she takes a tumble while chasing a little boy. Her son. And that’s when life flips upside down.
 
Joy Jennings Donnelly made her share of mistakes. But one thing she never considered a mistake was her child, and she’ll do anything to protect him. Even keep his paternity a secret. When she’s suddenly injured with not a soul to help her or her son, Joy is forced to rely on the man who has the most reasons to hate her.

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This one popped up in the middle of my search and I couldn’t resist.

Hometown Christmas Dreams: A Contemporary Christian Christmas Romance Collection 

Deck the Halls
Every day, Luce walks by the vacant house she would love to live in. After a fight with her aunt, and a frustrating conversation with her daughter’s father, she sets up an autumn display at her dream home with beautiful thrift store finds.
Jordon is mourning the loss of his parents. Weird things, like someone decorating his parents’ porch with his mother’s donated decorations, make grieving harder. Still, the oddness is the distraction, and call to faith, he needs.

My True Love Gave to Me
Cassidy loves her life. She has a job in a vintage store, a cute Seattle bungalow, and a dog who adores her. But being single is getting old. She receives a Christmas party invitation, and an excuse to find a plus-one. Someone from her singles group…?
Sean’s favorite thing about his delivery job is the pretty woman at the vintage store. But from what he’s overheard, she has plenty of prospects already. Would she be interested in adding him to her dance card?

The Wonder of Christmas
Cheyenne heads north for Christmas, with no idea that a storm will strand her in the small town of Misty Cove. But when she bumps—literally—into handsome Grady, and learns about a family in need, she realizes God sent her there for a bigger reason than meeting a handsome man. But with the way her pulse kicks up in Grady’s presence, maybe God has a dual purpose in mind.

Mountain Laurel
When tragedy strikes, Laurel is left alone to raise her son. She wonders if the Lord she’s trusted all her life will help her as she raises her feisty boy.
Jon, who has loved her for as long as she can remember, is good with her son and steadies her through each crisis that comes along. He’s a close friend, but will she ever be able to love again?

Cephalopod Cupid
When Lacey’s boyfriend breaks up with her it opens the opportunity to join a research vessel for six-months.
Then she meets an autistic boy who shares her love of Gabriel the giant Pacific octopus. And Anders, his dad.
Lacey considers staying. It might be crazy to give up her dream for a man she barely knows. It might seem crazier still to stay so she can protect her beloved cephalopod from himself.
But sometimes love means letting go.

To Hear the Angels Sing
Devlin enjoys her role as temporary guardian of her niece while her sister goes through drug rehab, but it isn’t easy. If she works dinner shifts, her job at a Seattle restaurant brings in enough. So, when her niece is invited to evening rehearsals for a church show, the free childcare is hard to pass up. But when they learn Devlin knows how to sew, she’s enlisted as costume designer. How will she find time?
One of Jonah’s favorite parts of his job as church worship leader is directing the music for the kids’ Christmas musical. Between his job and writing his own music, he barely has time for a social life. But
there’s something about the costumer for the show this year that gets him thinking. Could there be more to life than music?

The Heart of Christmas
When Wynn sees police lights at Misty Cove’s one-and-only bar, she goes inside to investigate, just in time to see her ex-boyfriend punch the star of her favorite TV show in the face. What is Ryland Sage doing in their tiny Pacific Coast town? Since Wynn is the only medical help for miles around, she has to stitch his face—and maybe his heart—while protecting her own heart from the worldly charmer.

Prairie Rose
For years, Rose has lived alone with her dog. Mitch, a handsome, unmarried neighbor, brings her a bright red geranium and insists on helping with chores. But who should appear but the scoundrel husband who deserted her years ago. Later, a pre-teen runaway adds his troubles to hers, so Rose decides to recapture the peace and serenity of Christmas.

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Lots to choose from in this lot today. Nine books. This should keep us(me) going for a while.

I’ve moved on to book 3 in my current read collection.

Happy Reading y’all

Read and enjoyed December 01, 2021

I’m excited to share this enjoyed read with you.

In my world, 5 stars are reserved for truly great books.

In this case the definition of a great book is highly subjective. We are not talking literary excellence here with a book appealing to the masses. Although we do hope many will read and enjoy it.

The writing is taken into account and it is at a high level, editorially speaking, which adds to the enjoyment.

The most important thing, though, is this book has chemistry. That is what makes it awesome.

Like in a movie where they have the right story and the right pairing of actors with skill, but also with that special something that just makes it work.

I read a lot of Chautona Havig, and I have to say her book one in this collection is my number one favorite of all time. It has a solid five stars from me.

I’ve moved on to book two but couldn’t wait to share book one with you.

Home for Christmas: The Christmas Lights Collection

♥ The Stars of New Cheltenham by Chautona Havig

Christmas in Rockland—battleground or romantic?

Avalon is ticked—seriously livid.  Who does this Marine recruiter think he is? Her brother is a boy and is not ready to be sacrificed on the altar of “service to your country.”  No. Thank you. When trying to talk sense into Max doesn’t work, she does the only think she can think of. Take it to the top.

Gareth Hudson has an exemplary record as a Marine recruiter and knows a good man when he sees one.  So when Maxton McCollum starts asking questions in a diner one afternoon, it was obvious. This was a match made in military heaven.  One young man anxious to serve his country.  One country ready to train him to be the best version of himself.

So when Avalon walks into Gareth’s recruiting office, all the wrong kinds of fireworks explode. In a peacekeeping move unlike him, Gareth asks for four Saturdays to change her mind. If he can’t, he’ll suggest that Max wait six months before signing up.

Romance wasn’t part of the bargain, and with their age difference, Gareth knows it still shouldn’t be, but how do you resist the pull of love at Christmas?

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I hope you love this as much as I did.

The rest of the collection has authors worth reading too. Just sayin’

Free and bargain books November 30, 2021

BookBub has an interesting bargain suggestion for us. A four book romance collection.

Together for Christmas: Four sweet and clean heartwarming Christian romances

Four sweet and clean Christian romances to warm your heart this holiday season! Snuggle up with these faith-filled stories of hope and love, celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.

Visit London for a series of Christmas dates, experience New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh, fall in love all over again in lake-side Idaho, and discover home and healing in small-town Oregon, all within the pages of these complete and standalone romances. If you love Hallmark movies, Love Inspired Books, and stories of overcoming heartache to find happily-ever-afters, chances are the Together for Christmas collection will encourage, uplift, and inspire you!

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This next one is FREE and was mentioned on Facebook.

12 Dates of Christmas

She’s spent the last ten years not forgiving him. Why should she start now?

When Reagan runs into her old high school nemesis, she’s flummoxed why he thinks she’d ever have coffee with him.

Alex is stunned to discover he was a nemesis in the first place.

Challenged into accepting a date for every offense he can name, Reagan is confident she’ll be spending her Christmas vacation away from the big bad Alex.

Maybe she should have gotten to know him a bit better first.

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Currently I’m reading a Christy Barritt mystery. One of my favorite authors.

While You Were Sweeping: A Riley Thomas Novella: A Squeaky Clean Spin Off

Riley Thomas is trying to come to terms with life after a traumatic brain injury turned his world upside down. Away from everything familiar in his life—including his crime-scene cleaning ex-fiancée and his career as a social rights attorney—he’s determined to prove himself and regain his old life. But when he claims he witnessed his neighbor shoot and kill someone, everyone thinks he’s crazy. When all evidence of the crime disappears, even Riley has to wonder if he’s losing his mind.

Note: While You Were Sweeping is a spin-off mystery written in conjunction with the Squeaky Clean series featuring crime-scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire.

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Happy Reading!

This and that November 29, 2021

At this moment, I have to share the encouragement I’m needing and enjoying tonight.

This last week has been busy with house guests. I’ve loved having them. Now I’m going through withdrawal being alone again, although in spite of it I’m feeling upbeat. At the same time I’m experiencing annoying physical evidence of the stress of it all. It feels weird because I have been happy having people around. To have itching skin rashes and aches and pains that only appear when I’m stressed just seems so wrong when I’m feeling good about life.

To help me get through this season I discovered a new music video in my feed, it has favorite lyrics that settle me. It’s actually a compilation of several videos I’ve owned for some time. This is very cool because I know all of the songs so well. It adds an extra dimension to my emotional settling when I can close my eyes and sing along. The words slide deep down into my heart and bring healing.

The theme of the video is Thanksgiving, what could be more uplifting than that? I’ll share it at the end of this post.

The other cool thing that happened today was the experience of tackling a task I’ve been dreading. In the end it turned out to be a positive part of my day.

The challenge was to write a piece for reading and critique at our writer’s group this coming Saturday. The theme was to be Christmas memories. The trouble is, there are not many good memories coming out of my childhood. I couldn’t imagine how I could find enough material to write something with any sort of a positive vibe.

It turned out so much better than I could have imagined and I felt upbeat and grateful having such a good writing experience. After it has been critiqued I will share it with you all.

Here is the video I’m listening to as I write this. It features a wide variety of favorite and talented award winning artists.

Life is looking up and I’m grateful.

Now I’m going to grab supper while this video finishes.

A good evening to you all. I hope you are experiencing some bright spots as well.

Enjoyed, current, and possible next, November 28, 2021

Enjoyed and current read are both in the same series.

Not Until Forever: A Christian Romance (Hope Springs Book 1)

As she focuses on her career, Sophie doesn’t let herself think about what she gave up when she declined Spencer’s proposal five years ago. So when she’s called home to say goodbye to her dying grandmother, she goes out of her way to avoid seeing him. Of course, that means he’s the first person she runs into. Much as she fights against it, being near him stirs up old feelings and makes her question old decisions.

Leaving college to help on the family orchard cost Spencer the woman he loved. But he couldn’t turn his back on his family. Now that Sophie’s back in town, Spencer’s determined to protect his heart. Only he senses something new in Sophie—something that makes him think maybe they could have a second chance. But when his family needs him again, he feels like he’s repeating the past. Only this time, he’s not sure what choice he should make.

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Book one was a pleasurable read and I am looking forward to more enjoyment as I finish Book 5. Those in between these two have been previously read and enjoyed.

Not Until Christmas Morning: A Christian Romance (Hope Springs Book 5)

Leah has always been a fixer. That’s why she decided to foster a troubled teen. And it’s why she’s determined to give him the perfect Christmas. It might also be why she feels compelled to reach out to her grinchy, reclusive neighbor Austin. But she’ll have to be careful that reaching out doesn’t turn into something more—she’s been hurt by crossing the line from friendship to romance once, and she’s not willing to let it happen again.

After losing his leg, his friend, and his faith in Afghanistan, Austin figures he’s about as broken as they come. Hope Springs is simply a stopping point—a place to rehabilitate his leg, get over the burden of his PTSD, and get back into shape to redeploy. He has no desire to get to know anyone while he’s here, least of all the meddlesome—if sweet—woman next door. But when she calls on him to help her make Christmas special for her foster son, something compels him to relent. Soon, his heart belongs to both of them.

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Under consideration for next in line, there are two.

Non fiction – Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition.

Fiction – The Bridge

Final notes on Love Like You`ve Never Been Hurt November 28, 2021

Chapter Six is about Loving-Kindness.

To catch the full impact of the chapter you need to read the book. My notes are never comprehensive, they are short quotes that capture the essence of a thought standing out to me. Something that grabs my heart.

Page 102

If you want to love like you`ve never been hurt, get rid of bitterness and start being kind.

Being kind means treating people with respect, apologizing sincerely, and stop criticizing. Doing this all the time.

Page 162

Forgiveness is important in loving but the other side of it is “I`m sorry.“

If you want to reconcile a relationship, you must be willing to say “I`m sorry.“

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This book has many good things to say to us, they are just not always on topic. That`s why skimming to the end for the sake of the topic seems like a good idea for now.

I`ll share a few of the relevant thoughts outlined on Page 226

Key Principles Designed to Help You Love.

  • Love never fails. Choose love over hurt.
  • It`s never wrong to love people who have messed up.
  • It`s unforgivable to not forgive.
  • We can begin to love others when we love ourselves.
  • We are called to be kind.
  • Instead of fanning the flames of discord become a peacemaker.

And a little more.

Page 228

Offenses are inevitable. No one is exempt.

Some of us look at opposition as a bad thing.

Opposition can cause you to face things and do things you could not have done, had you not had the opposition.

Bottom line.

Never give up.

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That is the end of this book.

As mentioned earlier, many helpful things were shared in this book and it has been a good read even though it strayed off topic a fair bit. It was written by a pastor with real life experiences not a psychologist so that explains why the perspective is different.

I enjoyed this exercise of sharing a non-fiction book with you.

There are still a number of unread books similar to this on my shelf and I`m planning to choose another one to continue on with this experiment.

It gives me the extra incentive needed to get with it and read instead of allowing them to sit and pile up.

My hope is that you will also find these books helpful as you travel on your personal healing journey.

P.S. as I read back over this post I`m reminded of a book I read years ago.

The flavor of this post is all about changes within us. This thought is reminding me of a book called Lord Change Me.

Really, in the end the only person we can change is ourselves. I know it sounds unfair but it is reality. Changes have to come from inside us, external pressures accomplish little most of the time. We cannot force someone else to want to change

Changing ourselves, especially in the areas of forgiving and loving, has a positive effect on the atmosphere of a relationship. Change begets change.

It pays to embrace change for ourselves.

Bargain book November 27, 2021

Bargain books today, Suggested by BookBub. An enjoyable author.

Not Until Christmas Morning: A Christian Romance (Hope Springs Book 5)

She’s a fixer… He’s about as broken as they come… Can they learn to turn to God for healing and hope this Christmas?

Leah has always been a fixer. That’s why she decided to foster a troubled teen. And it’s why she’s determined to give him the perfect Christmas. It might also be why she feels compelled to reach out to her grinchy, reclusive neighbor Austin. But she’ll have to be careful that reaching out doesn’t turn into something more—she’s been hurt by crossing the line from friendship to romance once, and she’s not willing to let it happen again.

After losing his leg, his friend, and his faith in Afghanistan, Austin figures he’s about as broken as they come. Hope Springs is simply a stopping point—a place to rehabilitate his leg, get over the burden of his PTSD, and get back into shape to redeploy. He has no desire to get to know anyone while he’s here, least of all the meddlesome—if sweet—woman next door. But when she calls on him to help her make Christmas special for her foster son, something compels him to relent. Soon, his heart belongs to both of them.

But what if Austin is too broken for even Leah to fix? Can the two of them learn to turn to God for hope and healing—and maybe even a chance at love—this Christmas?

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The second book is one I have but have not read. I must change this.

Not Until Forever: A Christian Romance (Hope Springs Book 1)

Sophie thinks she knows what she wants. Until she returns to the one place she said she’d never go again. And finds the one man she thought she’d left behind forever.

As she focuses on her career, Sophie doesn’t let herself think about what she gave up when she declined Spencer’s proposal five years ago. So when she’s called home to say goodbye to her dying grandmother, she goes out of her way to avoid seeing him. Of course, that means he’s the first person she runs into. Much as she fights against it, being near him stirs up old feelings and makes her question old decisions.

Leaving college to help on the family orchard cost Spencer the woman he loved. But he couldn’t turn his back on his family. Now that Sophie’s back in town, Spencer’s determined to protect his heart. Only he senses something new in Sophie—something that makes him think maybe they could have a second chance. But when his family needs him again, he feels like he’s repeating the past. Only this time, he’s not sure what choice he should make.

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I’m looking forward to reading these two, more than most others. I love that.

I’m currently reading a collection but may change gears and read one of these instead. It’s very tempting.

Family is visiting right now so reading is taking a back seat to visiting but I’m good with it. More than good with it. I love having them here.

It’s a beautiful day and life is good.

Happy Reading.

I’m wishing a good day for you as well

Current read November 26,2021

Not much of a book day today, not when it comes to new suggestions.

It is not much of a happy day when it comes to sports either. At least not from my point of view.

Our Winnipeg Jets hockey team is playing the Minnesota Wild and it is not looking good. The Wilds are up 5 – 0 in the second period. It’s a home game for them so I’m sure that helps.

The Jets need to get fired up while there is still time to balance the score.

Meanwhile: this is my current read.

Book 1 was a favorite. Book 2 – I’m liking the story, the writing is not as pleasing to read though.

Run: Christian mystery and romantic suspense

The first book Hallowed Ground by Mary Alford was an excellent read.

The setting is Afghanistan where a CIA team is ambushed and one of the team members is dead.

The challenge: to discover how things could go so terribly wrong, and who is behind it. It may or may not be the enemy.

I need to get through book 2 quickly so I can see if I like book 3 any better.

They are both still worth the read.

It sounds like the play is heating up but I’m guessing it’s all Minnesota, the crowd is loud. It would be quiet if Winnipeg was a threat.

I’m listening on radio.

I can never keep up with the play, where it is going, so radio works for me.

Besides I can still blog if I don’t have to watch.

I like hockey but I can usually never sit still long enough to watch a whole game.

I used to crochet or cross stitch while watching but that’s still listening, if I’m facing reality.

Well, second period is over…

I may or may not admit later to how it ended.

Happy reading anyway.

A little this and that November 26, 2021

I don’t know about you but I love looking at mountains. I like travelling through them even better but pictures are good in the meantime.

So many great videos were just waiting to be discovered after the massive flooding the province of British Columbia, Canada survived several weeks ago and I couldn’t be happier.

BC is covered with both high and low mountain ranges. Today’s discovered videos were shot in high heavily treed areas. The flood damage is great and it’s taking heavy equipment to deal with the cleanup. It’s fascinating, catching a glimpse of the action.

The first video shows some of the cleanup. They also have footage of logging companies moving some of their heavy equipment out of the forest. The push is to get them out before they are trapped for the winter by heavy snow. The logging roads they had to use for evacuation look pretty challenging, especially with the lengthy distance it took to get out. Usually equipment like this would be transported on the back of big trucks not driven on the road.

The second video was interesting too, mainly because of the challenge. They had to find a safe way to remove a fallen tree threatening to take out their bridge, the only access to their home.

Taking down a tree can be dangerous, mainly because of the spring in them. You never know for sure how they will react to pressure. They can move in unexpected ways and cause serious damage. Think of walking through a forest with small branches springing back to whap you in the face. Now think of that on a much grander scale. Ouch! They were successful.

Anyway, I enjoyed these videos and thought you might too.

Today is a slow book day so there is nothing to report on that front.

Let me know if you liked these videos and I will share more of my favorites. It helps if I know you enjoyed them too.

If you live in snowless countries you can tell it’s a little chillier over here and the snow is beautiful.

The day is young, there could be more later.

Enjoy!