Stopping by to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas it’s always nice to use any excuse to enjoy and appreciate family and friends.
I was thinking about this last night as I was in the grocery store picking up salad ingredients for tomorrow’s dinner. It was busy and many of the shoppers were from other countries. It’s impossible to say if they were on a regular grocery run or something more. The frenetic pace of the shoppers seemed to suggest more. It’s easy to get caught up in the seasonal vibe.
Our town is turning into something much bigger with the influx of new people. Heavy traffic not seen in this sleepy town nine years ago. Then there is construction of six or eight new apartment blocks just down the street from me. Watching them go up I’ve wondered how they would fill them. It doesn’t appear to be a problem. The latest two buildings have a gigantic sign advertising occupancy as October 15th. By the looks of it they are about full already.
This town (they call it a city but I’m from somewhere with many more people and it’s hard to relate) had about 20 thousand people when I moved here. Stats say this is the third largest city in the province. You can tell there is plenty of room for more, that’s why the city has been actively promoting immigration.
As I’m out and about I’ve observed that many seem to be from Nigeria, Asia, and maybe even South America. The next thing I wonder is how they are managing with the cold climate in this part of the world. They don’t seemed to be bundled up and shivering so I’m guessing they are coping.
So, back to the break…
I had been doing pretty well with posting everyday and made it to 105 before missing a day. Since it’s Christmas I expect to miss another one or two days before getting back on track. I’m off to enjoy Christmas Eve with my family.
Covid has picked up again so I won’t spend as much time out as planned but it will still be more than the nothing we had in the lock downs last year.
My current read is different, which is always good, and enjoyable. There is also a bargain book we first saw in January 2020, almost two years ago. Time flies by.
As I was reading this book I was struck by the sense that something seemed odd about the writing. It just seemed different, not like the usual we are used to. I chalked it up to different life experiences, different views on whatever touches life. As I looked for the blurb to share on this book I realized the truth. The author is a man. It’s not bad, just different. It’s interesting, similar scenes, different descriptions. Maybe I could say this time the men are more authentic in their actions and reactions. It wasn’t outright bothering me, it was more like a sliver that you can’t find but it keeps poking you. Now that’s been cleared up I can enjoy the rest of the story.
Manchester Christmas: A Novel (Paraclete Fiction)
A young writer is drawn to a small New England town in search of meaning for her life. Soon, she encounters kindness, romance, and is pulled into a mystery centered on an old, abandoned church and the death of a special girl. Are the images that only she can see in the church’s stained-glass windows a warning, or is someone trying to reach her, to help heal this broken community? Manchester Christmas illustrates how God often uses the most unlikely among us to spread grace and healing in a wounded world. Full of love, hope, and forgiveness, this debut novel from an Emmy-winning writer will touch your heart and have you longing for Christmas in Manchester.
Now the bargain book, read and enjoyed. Also written by a man.
Willow Falls (The Matt Bannister Series Book 1)
Welcome to Willow Falls. The town young Matthew Bannister ran away from fifteen years before. Now famed U.S. Deputy Marshal Matt Bannister is coming home to reconcile with his family. He prayed he wouldn’t see his ex-best friend Tom Smith nor the only girl he ever loved, Tom’s wife, Elizabeth. However, old feuds unsettled never die and spark a powder keg of action when the desperate Moskin Gang kidnap Elizabeth and leave a murderous trail behind them. In anguish, Tom, the Willow Falls sheriff, turns to his despised old-friend to help get the woman they both love back alive, if they can.
I’m going back to enjoying my read.
I hope you’ve found something as enjoyable read too.
It’s always a relief when I get ahead of myself and find I’m wrong in the right direction. It’s the pits when I’ve lost a day and it’s later than I think.
I have some last minute shopping to do and it’s challenging. Partly because of shortages (no Christmas gift bags at the Dollar Store,) and partly because my intended gift store is gone. It’s been replaced with other businesses. How sad is that? It will have been a casualty of covid restrictions last year. Now I have to think of something else for a gift. It’s tough when some of us are hard to buy for. It’s that stage of life when there is nothing much we actually need or want. This extra day to think and look will save my bacon.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but when I use slang I try to remember to search and make sure there is an available meaning. What good is a slang expression if you don’t know what it means. It’s amazing what can be found on the internet, I don’t think I’ve tried to use an expression yet that couldn’t be found.
Getting back to the gift I have to rethink, maybe I can find something at the garden store. Maybe a yard ornament or something, for one of her many flowerbeds. (It’s a good job she doesn’t read my blog, the surprise could be blown.)
As for the important gift I needed to find today… I was successful – sort of. My daughter wanted a hoodie (like everyone else is getting this year) in some shade of blue. It’s a good thing she wasn’t all that stuck on the color (I could tell by the way she answered the question) because all I could find was a grey one. I liked it a lot and I hope she will too. It looks like her, if that makes sense.
They were having a sale and right below her rack there was another one with a hoodie I thought I would like. It’s built short and wide, which isn’t all that flattering, but hey loose is warmer than tight. And since I’m always cold…
In fact, this one isn’t even enough tonight, I’ve added another layer, that makes four. I’m finally warm.
I’ll let you see.
What will I do when winter really gets here? lol
We haven’t talked about books but I am reading, so…
We have an assortment of suggestions this morning, two from 1531 Entertainment and one from BookRunes.
I’ve read and enjoyed this first one.
Silent Night Standoff: Faith in the Face of Crime (First Responders Book 1)
When armed robbers strike her bank, hostage negotiator Skyler Brennan’s life is on the line. Rescue comes from the last person she thought she could count on—the ex-boyfriend who chose his job over their relationship. FBI agent Logan Hunter knows how much is resting on this case. The promotion of his dreams…and the safety of the woman he’s never been able to forget. But when an unexpected twist in the case pulls Logan in two separate directions, he’ll have to make an impossible choice. Will he manage to have it all by Christmas—a career and love—or will he lose them both?
First Responders: Brave men and women alert and ready for danger and love.
This is a first for me with this author.
Finding Lady Enderly
Raina Bretton is a rag woman in London’s east end when a handsome stranger appears in a dank alley and offers her a glittering smile and a chance for adventure. Rothburne Abbey has a unique position for her, one that will take her away from her hardscrabble life and give her a chance to be a lady. Things she could only dream of might be coming true. But some dreams turn out to be nightmares.
Though Raina has traded squalor for silk and satin, something about the abbey is deeply unsettling. As she wrestles with her true identity, the ruin, decay, and secrets she finds at the heart of the old mansion tear at her confidence and threaten to reveal her for who she really is. Only one man stands between her and the danger that lurks within–and only if he decides to keep her biggest secret hidden.
This next author is also new to me.
Ivory Shores: Book One (Ivory Shores Book Series 1)
In Book One of this series, an unlikely group of six vastly different women journey together to a secluded, southern beach known as Ivory Shores. Not one of them knows just how much impact she will have on the others through the life experiences she brings with her into their tiny beach house. As friendships grow, bonds strengthen, and individual stories unfold, each woman – no matter how bold, bitter, or broken her heart is – begins to find her own place in the great story of healing and restoration. “I loved this book, and I think you will too. Six women travel to the beach together, getting to know one another and sharing the struggles and triumphs of life. The characters are relatable, and the message is uplifting. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll want to plan your own girls’ trip to the beach!” Inspired by her own love of reading Christian fiction and her desire to encourage women in their faith and friendships, Tonya Weeks combines her gift of storytelling and her sense of humor to bring authentic characters and uplifting plots to life. With wit and wisdom gained through both fun-filled and humbling experiences, she easily connects with her readers, drawing them into an imaginative world of life, love, and laughter.
One book so far today, from BookRunes. This is an author we’ve seen fairly often and if you enjoy cowboy romance I think you will like this one.
Maybe more interesting suggestions will show up along the way.
Country Romance: A Christian Cowboy Romance (Millars Crossing Romance Book 1)
Two lonely strangers and a snow storm.
Recipe for romance?
If Adele Marten’s troubled childhood taught her anything it was that family is everything.
So when the time comes to keep a promise she made to her dying friend, she knew she would do whatever it takes to reunite a father and son… who have never met.
Even risk her fragile heart.
Hard-working single dad, Wyatt Sutton had his hands full raising twin girls and running a ranch, after his wife took off and left them. He’s been doing things on his own for a long time.
When a gorgeous stranger shows up on his doorstep with child she claims is his, Wyatt is thrown for a loop. A simple test can tell him what he already knows… the boy is his.
Too bad it’s not as easy to figure out his feelings for Adele. She’s everything he never knew he was missing, but she has plans— and he already had a family.
With goodbye on the horizon, can Adele and Wyatt let go of the past to take a chance on a country romance?
Country Romance the first book in the Millars Crossing Cowboys romance series. If you like heartfelt explorations of hope, picturesque rural settings, and emotional journeys, then you’ll adore Carolyne Aarsen’s latest sweet tale.
The suggestion strip had a bargain suggestion, also historical. I’ve not read this author and have no way to gauge if it will be a good read. The first few pages look interesting, though, it should be worth a try at least.
Two Souls BoundTogether: An Inspirational Historical Romance Book
Erika Caldwell, one of Boston’s best dressmakers, has been struggling ever since her doctor diagnosed her with tuberculosis. She used to be a ray of joy but now she is dripping with misery, having to endure the one thing she hates the most – being pitied. While feeling utterly lost, a surprising opportunity for treatment appears, in a faraway place that she doesn’t hesitate to take. Upon her arrival, she meets the dashing William and regains her zest for life, but will she be able to escape the clutches of her illness and find true joy?
She feels as if a terrible shadow looms over their love….
For five long years, blacksmith William Bates has been mourning the loss of his parents in a horrible fire. He was saved in a last-minute rescue but he has been consumed by mourning ever since. When he meets the beautiful Erika he realizes that even if the path to happiness is sometimes narrow, yet it holds more than one surprise in store. As he discovers the promise of love, can he confess to Erika and break the shackles of remorse?
It seems that all of Grace Clemens books are lengthy (over 400 pages) and priced as low bargains. This could be a bad sign. Still $1.25 is an easy way to check out her work. I’m going to order this one out of curiosity.
Currently, I’m reading an author new to me, one I wanted to check out. I’m about a third of the way through and undecided in my assessment. I will finish though. It is still free if you are interested.
Maybe part of my problem with enjoyment is that I forgot which author I was reading. One of the hazards of a fast pace between them. I was reading books from a less-enjoyed writer and needed a break. I’ve been reading this book with a biased opinion. Must rectify that.
Real Virtue: Inspirational Romantic Suspense Christian Thriller (Web of Lies Book 1)
In a virtual reality game where she can fly, someone is aiming to take her down.
Mel Mesini is a New York City restaurateur and an avid virtual reality world traveler. She’s risen above her misfit life and now bears a striking resemblance to her glamorous gaming avatar. But her successful life-both online and in reality-takes a swerve the night her father is seriously injured in a hit-and-run. Mel is careened back to her judgmental hometown, where being the daughter of the town’s crazy lady had made her an outcast. To make matters worse, Officer Jeremy Stiles, the man whose harsh, rejecting words had cut her the deepest, is heading the investigation.
Jeremy knows he hurt Mel and attempts to make amends by finding her father’s assailant. When he realizes she’s the actual target, his plan for reconciliation turns to one of protection-whether she wants his help or not. What he wants are answers, especially about this online game she plays. Is it a harmless pastime as she says? Or is she using it to cover something up? As a faceless predator destroys the things that matter to her, Jeremy knows he’s running out of time before she loses the one thing that matters most-her real life.
I hope you are enjoying your day.
It has been a stormy one here but has calmed down and, at the moment, there is a hint of blue sky out there.
You think I’m crazy. I’m sitting here watching (listening) to podcasts and playing a game and now I’m thinking about my Dreams post of a little earlier.
Looking at it from another perspective (maybe your’s) I’m sure you all think I’ve lost it. How in the world can a simple decision to sleep on a different side of the bed lead a person to see it as a life changing experience?
Here is the thing. Sometimes life changing has nothing to do with the size of the decision. Sometimes the decisions we wrestle with the most are inconsequential. In fact many of the ideas we hold on to with a death grip mean very little in the grand scheme of things.
The major shake up comes from the fact we made the change at all.
I had my little routine going on. The placement of all things important to me. Clock, hand lotion, tissues, position of the light switch. My dresser with drawers full of things belonging to me. Orientation to the room.
As I’m trying to find words to describe all of this in a sensible fashion an unwelcome but true thought is barging it’s way in.
I’ve always explained my reluctance away as a move that would deprive me of the conveniences I’ve enjoyed where I was.
Further thought has me realizing that it is about so much more than that and I haven’t been allowing the thought to materialize, never mind be honest about it.
I don’t need all the drawer space that comes with the furniture and from the beginning I’ve set the room up as a him and hers. This parts mine, this parts yours. I did make use of the space, mostly for craft supplies and such. Things that could be moved elsewhere if there ever was a “him.”
It all seems a little weird now because I didn’t expect there ever would be a reason to share this space. Although, there may be a subconscious part of me that wishes otherwise. Who knows.
Moving from my side to “his” side feels a little like moving into enemy territory.
The decision to change sides seemed to come from a different place this time.
A week or so ago there was a pivotal moment where I was able to let go and break free of the hold my childhood abuser had over me. It was a major break through. It looks like that event has affected me in ways I have yet to discover.
It seems I’m not (emotionally) sharing this house with anyone anymore. Finally I have accepted full ownership and view the house as all mine.
Reality is, it has always been mine. No one else has ever lived here, or has a history with the furniture or anything else. Something broken inside me couldn’t believe it.
The decision to change to the other side of the room seemed easy and inconsequential this time and yet there was a deep sense of excitement over possible life change and adventure. Having the conversation steer into this sober emotional place is unexpected. I’m not celebrating but I’m quietly happy about this new information.
So, back to the original intent of the post.
Sometimes it’s not the weight of the decision that’s important, it’s the fact that we made it at all.
In the end my decision seems simple but carries far more significance than I could have guessed.
Have you changed your crazy assessment of me yet?!?
I’m writing this in an effort to work my way out of this morning’s brain fog. There are many things on my mind these days but nothing coherent. Not clear enough to write a decent post anyway and I’m in a fix.
Some of this extra brain activity was showing up in crazy dreams this morning. But what do they mean? That’s the mystery. I was sitting here at the dinning room table looking out the narrow window by the front door when a delivery man from the country of residence for my son walked up, turned the knob and entered. I had no idea who he was, why he was here, or if I should be afraid. I screamed anyway and woke up.
Two nights ago I decided it was time to change sides of the bed. I have been sleeping on the same side for decades and was rather attached. I’ve entertained the thought of moving many times over the years but it was never an attractive idea. This time I made the decision and suddenly it has become a life changing moment. I have no idea why. I feel like I’m taking off on a new adventure.
The reason for the change was nothing earth shattering, it was simply to make use of the unused quarters of the mattress that were still like new.
I’m enjoying this sense of a new chapter in my life. I have no idea what it means or what it will look like but that doesn’t dampen the sense of anticipation.
So back to the dreams.
When overnight visitors come to my house and are shown to their room they automatically turn left to mine, which is kind of funny because they can’t see in the room yet. So, my door is closed, I open it to go in and someone has taken over my room, sleeping in my spot. What am I supposed to do now? Rather than try to boot them out I closed the door and left. I need to work on that.
Then, a recurring dream popped up.
I’m living in a big house. The main floor is large but the downstairs is larger. It has six or eight bedrooms, the floor plan is divided up into three main areas, each distinct from the other. All of them interesting and unique. I’ve dreamed about this house many times. No idea why.
Maybe all this dream activity is related to my son, his wife and daughter. They are planning a trip home for an extended visit after a number of years away. Their boys arrived in September and are living with their aunt, uncle, and cousins. Usually the family settles on the west coast using it as home base. Maybe this time they will settle here in the middle of the country. Maybe it will be my turn to host them.
We will likely find out tonight on our regular zoom call.
Instead of falling back to sleep I should have stayed up this morning after turning up the heat.
But then I would have missed out on all the fun dreams.
There were more but I’m sparing you the details.
OK, I’m awake now, the sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day. I should get ready to see what else the day can hold.
Who am I reading? The other day I mentioned my favorite recent read. Unscripted by Davis Bunn. There was a fuzzy moment in the middle of the book where I sat up straight and asked myself who I was reading. In that moment I could have sworn I was readingCharles Martin, another top tier favorite author. This mix up is actually a compliment to both authors, they are that good.
I meant to mention this Charles Martin event in my review of Unscripted, the thought of the oversight and the need to do something about it has not left me alone. Maybe now I can move on!
The trouble with reading books of this caliber, it spoils me for reading regular books. I’m still searching for my next read. The path behind me if littered with rejects and I’m no closer to finding something to catch my interest enough to settle in for the duration.
I suppose it doesn’t help that my thoughts are taken up with Christmas, shopping, work deadlines, and the non-fiction book that is calling to my name.
Originally, I was planning to read a book on Boundaries but…
Years ago I read another book on the subject and I have wholeheartedly embraced the need for boundaries. That may have contributed to my procrastination. Recently another book on the shelf caught my eye, it’s one I’ve not read nor have I read any others like it. Maybe this would be a better way to go.
I have heard similar ideas expressed. If I think I can – if I think I can’t, I’m right. Another thought often heard, especially in regard to anger, is – no one can make you feel angry without your permission. I’ve found both of these expressions to be true.
The book I’m considering is written by Dr Gary Smalley, a family counselor with decades of ministry in relationships. The Five Love Languages is probably the most well known among the many books he’s written over the course of his lifetime.
Change Your Heart, Change Your Life is the name the one under consideration.
Today I was thinking about something similar to his idea.
I choose. I choose to trust, love, be tolerant and understanding. I don’t always do a good job. Sometimes my triggers short circuit my good intentions.
Anyway I’ve had this book for a number of years, it’s about time I read it.
If it gels, I will share nuggets that touch my heart as important.
Change Your Heart, Change Your Life: How Changing What You Believe Will Give You the Great Life You’ve Always Wanted
Out of your heart flow your words and actions. Change your heart, and you’ll change your life.
According to best-selling author Dr. Gary Smalley, nobody has to live by the destructive subtle lies or believe the distortions of truth this world holds out to us. There are steps, strategies, and beliefs people can bring to their lives to either totally transform them or quietly improve them-and it all starts with hiding God’s Word in their hearts.
Hiding God’s Word in his heart radically changed the life of Smalley himself, and he is seeing it revolutionize the lives of people around him as well-from lust, materialism, selfishness, anger, stress, overeating, anxiety, and guilt, just to name a few. No matter a person’s age, experiences, or previous patterns, this book will guide readers to the whys and hows of orchestrating their beliefs to forever change their lives and relationships.
This looks interesting. BookBub has a FREE suggestion from an author I’ve not read. Judging by the first chapter it will be fun and I’m looking forward to it.
Manchester Christmas: A Novel (Paraclete Fiction).
“Sweet, romantic, and suspenseful, Manchester Christmas is an unexpected gift.” —Richard Paul Evans #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of The Christmas Box
A young writer is drawn to a small New England townin search of meaning for her life. Soon, sheencounters kindness, romance, and is pulled into a mystery centered on an old, abandoned church and the death of a special girl. Are the images that only she can see in the church’s stained-glass windows a warning, or is someone trying to reach her, to help heal this broken community? Manchester Christmas illustrates how God often uses the most unlikely among us to spread grace and healing in a wounded world. Full of love, hope, and forgiveness, this debut novel from an Emmy-winning writer will touch your heart and have you longing for Christmas in Manchester.
1531 Entertainment has a FREE suggestion I remember from a year ago.
Hope for Christmas (Hope Ranch Book 1)
An independent single mom who doesn’t believe in love at first sight collides with a man who does.
Cyan Hewitt drifts onto his estranged grandparents’ New Mexico ranch in time for Thanksgiving… and stays. As a cyber security consultant, he can telecommute, so why not from here, where his restless soul is soothed and his heart is awakened by the attractive ranch housekeeper?
Maria Sanchez works at Rancho de Esperanza to provide a stable life for her son. She’s content—mostly—in her roles as housekeeper, part-time student, and mom, but when her precocious seven-year-old is diagnosed with diabetes, her world shatters. There’s no time for distractions from the long-term visitor who’s stirring a longing in her for more.
Cyan may think her faith and courage are inspiring, but Maria feels vulnerable. Relying on others has only ever resulted in broken dreams. Christmas might be a season of hope, but does she dare risk everything for love?
I’m in between books. There was a author enjoyed for the first time last week and I downloaded more wanting to verify my opinion of her writing. I’m planning to start on one of those next. The short blurb with this book doesn’t give anything away. No question, it will be a surprise, I’m hoping for a good one.
Fragments of a Melody: A Clean and Wholesome Woman’s Fiction New Adult Romance
Olivia St. Claire’s story doesn’t begin with Prelude and Fugue. It begins in Aberdeen, Colorado. Once upon a time Olivia made a choice.
It was magical. That’s the only way I can describe Unscripted by Davis Bunn. This was my current read yesterday and today it was another one of his books.
Unscripted was a combination of brilliant story line, and deep character development for the full cast. It felt like a movie and I was living in it. There was magic in the intense interactions between emotionally involved characters, and that could be said for all of them. There wasn’t a boring person to be had anywhere. Except for one and his outrageous lifestyle overruled his lack luster emotions. The measured unfolding of a complex and unpredictable plot added to the allure. This story went places I couldn’t have imagined.
Everything about this book worked and I loved it. I think it will need multiple readings to take it all in.
I could handle reading it again.
Burden of Proof by Davis Bunn was today’s read. I probably should have waited until the cloud of euphoria dissipated. There was zero similarity in the two books. It was like going straight from the best steak ever to what was probably a delicious seafood platter.
It took a while to shift gears and begin to think on a different plane. Part of the struggle was rooted in the strong but strange opening scenes. I would say more about all of that but don’t want to give away anything important. Actually, I would really love to give a major element away but I’ll behave.
My assessment of both was five stars. They were very different but both brilliant.
I will admit I was sad with the ending of the second book. It was emotionally impacting but with no euphoria.
Burden of Proof is still at a bargain price if you would like to give it a try. It was an intriguing story, that’s for sure.