"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

16 December 2014

2014 Book Review #42: The Time Between

Another great read!! I've been fortunate to have read a couple of really good books in the last 2 months and this one was one of them.  The author is one of my favorites but I can't read hers right in a row......they tend to have similar themes and characters. I think most of the ones I've read have been set in the south but her descriptive words are excellent that it makes me feel like I'm right there.  And I've never been to the deep south other than a quick flight to Atlanta to hop on another plane to CA.  So....when I saw this book on the library shelf last week, I grabbed it because there was only 1 copy and her books tend to be popular.


Eleanor and Eve Murray grew up on Edisto Island, South Carolina. (It's an actual place but the novel is fiction).  Their father, who passed away when Eleanor was 14 years old and Eve was 16, was a shrimper and pianist.  Eleanor also had a passion for music, and was particularly good at the piano, under her father's teaching.

But now she only has memories of him.  Along with the memories of her daddy are the guilt feelings she has for her sister's accident which left her legs paralyzed and in a wheelchair.

Both girls are in their 30's now and live in North Charleston with their mother, and Eve's husband, Glen.  Eleanor has always had a crush on Glen and Eve knows this.  Eve is not always a nice or kind person to Eleanor even though her younger sister works to help support her and her mother.  Eleanor works at a downtown investment firm owned and operated by Finn Beaufain, who is divorced from Harper and is the custodial parent of their 10 year old daughter Genevieve (Gigi) who is in her 4th year of remission from cancer.

Eleanor also works at a neighborhood bar, playing piano late at night to earn extra money and to keep up her music.  But.....one night her boss walks into the bar and offers her a different part time job being the companion of his great-aunt Helena back on Edisto Island.  Eleanor sees this as a chance to go back to her hometown roots and revisit the past....where she was happy and content.

Helena is in the stages of grief and is 95 years old.  She just lost her younger sister Bernadett who died mysteriously.  The island has been a peaceful place of refuge for Helena and Bernadett ever since they escaped from the 2nd World War in their homeland, Hungary, which they left in 1944.  

Eleanor will soon learn of their secrets and of their past......and these secrets will help her relationship with her own sister....and possibly set Eleanor free from her own secrets..............


This book was a quick and easy read!  Just like all of the author's novels, I found myself really enjoying the character development and my absolute faves were Eleanor, Finn, and Gigi.  I learned some new things about WW2 and Hungary and found it fascinating that the author wrote about piano composers that I used to enjoy playing and listening to.  It made me want to dig out my old music and start practicing again!

The trials that Eleanor goes through pricked my heart.  I felt as though I wanted to help her along with letting go of her past and perceived guilt.  I had guessed a part of Bernadett's story and I found out later in the book that I was correct! I love when that happens.  

I was sad to learn about exactly how Bernadett died......and I don't want to reveal it here in case you want to read this book, too!

I loved how Eve and Eleanor forgave each other and became friends again.  

This book centers around love, family, forgiveness, trials, betrayals, strength, bravery, and perseverance/second chances.

This book is a definite "feel-good" story.  

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 14 and older.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 9.

15 December 2014

Craving the Savoring

It's been a challenging few days........personally........

dashing off devotions with out savoring the morsels there ..........because dashing off "to do" from the list that keeps on growing and growing and why do we need more under the tree and in the stockings and do we really need six different kinds of sugary sweetness rolled, balled, dipped and dotted? and what about the laundry, the shopping, the wrapping, the cooking, the driving to and fro, the cleaning, the "it must be perfect" Christmas??

I'm sitting here on a Monday evening..........after a full day at work with special needs 5 year olds, feeling like I have a special need for the Savior.........because after work, I cooked, and spot cleaned, and taxied the ballerina and bought groceries and picked up a gift (but God....it's for the needy  boy in the class!!), and unpacked, and made lunches, and did dishes and complained to husband, and coaxed daughter, and battled a sore throat with body aching and frazzled nerves plopped on the couch at 9 p.m. to write...............and here I am.  Trying to not dwell on the dust or the dough waiting to be rolled..........but rather to be still.............

Near the decorated tree with candles shining brightly in the windows and night so mild with dripping snow making puddles on shiny streets and tears gathering making puddles in my eyes because I'm craving time to just be.

and I'm craving that savoring........

that time spent still.

Eyes, ears, heart on the Savior.

Because He really is why we do this thing called Christmas.

And I don't want to be on this treadmill of the perfect Christmas round and round we go and where we stop no one will know.............

I want to sit.  And be still.  taking things moment by moment rather than flying fast to and fro.............

savoring the sounds of the music...........

spending time looking at my husband and listening, conversing, laughing, appreciating..........

cuddling with the ballerina and making plans for Christmas break instead of cajoling the child to clean and hurry up the homework...........

I want to prepare the house for our princess (she comes home in 2 days!!) but not at the expense of neglecting time with the King.......the King who came to earth........in human form....for us.........to redeem us..........

I want to savor the sermon I heard on Sunday...those wise words from Pastor...........the words that remind us that we needed a Redeemer.......because we are in bondage to sin............

and I don't want to be a slave to my to do lists any longer...........

but rather..........I want to sit.  and be still.  and know that He is God.

That is the perfect Christmas.  Jesus.  My heart tuned to His.

Craving Christ.  Savoring my Savior.

Help me manage my time, Lord.  Help me say No to stuff and Yes to You.

Savoring the simple things..........

11 December 2014

December Catch Up Faves

I'm finally blogging again!

And I'm sharing 5 of my favorite moments from the last 2 weeks here with others who like sharing what God has brought into our lives.  Feel free to join in by linking up over at Susanne's site.


Claire's wooden shoes

  • ST NICHOLAS DAY! We celebrate this day and you can read about it by clicking on this link.   I was very surprised that Claire, at almost 16, still wanted to do this tradition and I was thrilled!!  It's one of my very fave family traditions that we established way back in 2000. (they received the shoes for Xmas of 1999).  Last year was Courtney's last year to celebrate with her shoes, but I am hoping she will continue the tradition when/if she has her own child someday. It is definitely a fave around here. 

Location of Claire's party

favors in shape of a 16
all ready to party!
  • SWEET 16 PARTY!  Ah.....I am bittersweet about this fave.  It's a fave because everything went so well.  This party was planned entirely by Claire with a little help from her dad and I and a LOT of thanks goes to our church Grace Fellowship.  Claire wanted the party at our youth center at our own church here in town.  BUT...it is no longer available on Friday or Saturday evenings so one of our other sites (in a town just to the north of us) said we could have it in their lobby/cafe area.  And they had it decorated with beautiful holiday lights and a large Christmas tree!!  What a blessing.  Her colors of lilac and light blue went great with the white lights hanging from the cathedral ceiling with all the glass windows.  She actually turns 16 on Winter Solstice (December 21) but she wanted the party early.  There were 20 girls and everyone had a blast! Even though it was a cold, icy rain last Saturday evening, everyone was safe to and from the party.  Another thing to be thankful for!
party set up

part of the lobby/cafe area

  • SPECIAL WORDS.  Claire had 2 of her friends spend the night after the party.  It was around midnight by the time Dave and I had unpacked the cars with all the party stuff and turned in for the night. We heard the girls getting ready for hunkering down in sleeping bags in the family room and all of a sudden our bedroom door had a tentative knock.  It was Claire who poked her head in and said she just wanted to say "thank you" for a such a great party.  I was floored!!  Although we have taught them from age 2 to say "thank you" to us, other family members, friends, teachers, etc for things like gifts or a service, it is nice to hear a thank you and special words for things that we often think they take for granted. (like laundry or parties!)  My parents didn't throw lavish birthday parties.  and actually neither of my daughters had "lavish" sweet 16 parties.  (Courtney's was in the backyard with pizza, cupcakes, ice cream and a bonfire and lots of music and dancing) and Claire was pretty much the same minus the backyard, ice cream and bonfire.  And the church didn't charge all that much to rent the space.  We just had to agree to clean thoroughly!  So...hearing those words of thanks was indeed special because it is not often said for stuff like this. Claire is our one who is very sensitive. She picks up on body language and non-verbal cues really well.  This party left me exhausted because there was so much prep involved. And the weather hadn't cooperated.  I am so thankful she has a kind heart and kind words and isn't taking things like birthday parties for granted!

  • BIRTHDAY GIFT!  I celebrated 55 years of age on Tuesday the 9th and  Dave surprised me with 2 CD's after a yummy dinner out.  The weather was awful...we had a wet, slushy snow after work and the drive home from dinner was just so slow going and then I got stuck in our driveway!  So opening this favorite music group really made my day.  I love their music and had only listened to them on Spotify. Now I can play the CD's in my car and then let our oldest daughter, who loves them too, copy them onto her phone or iPod once she gets home for Christmas.  It's just a little thing, but I love Christmas music....it's  always a fave with me!
Card from Courtney

  • CARD!  I love getting cards in the mail and Courtney surprised me by sending me one for my birthday!  I was touched by the words on the card and her hand-written message inside.  Since my primary love language is gifts (I love giving AND receiving) I always enjoy these little things from my daughters.  Simple but special.  I will treasure it always.  

BONUS FAVES:  we had a winter storm move through our region of NYS and it left us with about 8 inches of the white stuff.  This storm also brought with it some mix of rain, sleet and freezing rain.  It was not fun.  But, thankfully.....a fave....2 days of 2 hour delays which helped me get caught up on a couple of things around the house and helped Claire get caught up on some extra sleep.

Another bonus fave:  my husband received a very good Christmas bonus this year from the company.  Enough for him to plan our 25th wedding anniversary.  We might be going on an Alaskan cruise!!! I'm sure I'll be writing more on that come spring.......

December is often a very busy and hectic time.  For the weekend, I, like so many of you, I'm sure, have a little more shopping to do, cookies to start baking, fudge to start making, my small group's annual Christmas tea, church, more baking, wrapping, and cleaning. BUT.....

Whatever you have planned for the weekend, please take some time to rest, reflect on the Reason for the Season (JESUS!) and listen to some good music!


05 December 2014

30 November 2014

Praise Post #30

I'm  joining Jerralea's Journey blog as we number gifts He's given us during the month of November.  Each day I'll be sharing five things that I am thankful for.  We've been doing this for the last month and we now have 150 things we are grateful for. Some were big, some were small, but all are gifts from God, the Giver of blessings.

I have really enjoyed getting to know the other women participating in Jerralea's writing exercise.  It has made me pause and think about each day and the blessings we can find in it.  

Today I am thankful for:

  1. Safe arrival: Our oldest texted us yesterday while we were on our way back to NYS that she had arrived back on campus safely.  And we arrived back at our home here in eastern NY safely, about 3 hours later, and in time for the 5 pm church service!  God is good.  I thank Him for his protection.
  2. First Sunday of Advent.  I'm thankful for our new sermon series at church.  Today is the first Sunday of Advent and our small group pastor lit the first candle last evening after a Scripture reading.  And our pastor had a great sermon about why Jesus came to earth.  It is going to be an awesome month of sermons!
  3. My bed. I'm so thankful for our bed and mattress.  There's nothing like your own bed after a few days on one that isn't so great.
  4. My neighbors Chris and Mike.  They have 2 teens, one of whom is friends with our youngest daughter. They live across the street from us and always want to help in some way...especially since learning of Dave's heart attack. And they are definitely acts of service people.  While we were gone for the holiday, they shoveled our driveway and cleared it of the 6 inches of snow we received!  That was so nice of them and we are very thankful for their kindness.
  5. My neighbors Paul and Melissa.  They are  good friends as well as good neighbors...they live right next door and they took in a couple of packages for us while we were gone.  It was a huge relief to know that they were keeping an eye on things!  I'm very thankful for their friendship, too. We always have a good time together.

That wraps up our Praise Posts.

I will be on a blogging break for the next 2 weeks......we have a very busy 2 weeks coming up due to school concerts, a dance recital, an early birthday party with 20 of my daughter's closest friends, (she turns 16 on the 21st but the place we are renting for the party was free on the 6th so.......), plus my own small group preparation and our annual Moms Xmas Brunch.  I also want to start decorating the house today, get the tree up, finish the shopping, begin to wrap, clean, bake, and do some advent reading.

Whatever your plans are, let's remember to focus on the reason for the season:  JESUS!  I plan on blogging again in a couple of weeks and will look forward to catching up with you all.

Enjoy the start of Advent.

29 November 2014

Praise Post #29

I'm  joining Jerralea's Journey blog as we number gifts He's given us during the month of November.  Each day I'll be sharing five things that I am thankful for.  Doing that for 30 days will produce 150 things we are grateful for...and it's easy to find those gifts if we take a moment to look.  You are welcome to join in!  Just head over to Jeri's!

Today I am thankful for various resources that have helped me as a Christian, wife and parent.  There are so many "self-help" and marital advice and parenting plan books out there but I have found certain ones to be far superior to others.  Below is a list of resources I am most thankful for that have really aided my roles as wife and mom over the last 24 years.

  1. Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas.  This book!! If you aren't familiar with it, I highly recommend you find your self a copy.  It's about how we all relate to God differently....how we best worship Him...how we relate to Him.  There are 9 spiritual temperaments defined in the book and questions to help you discover yours!!  I discovered that mine is "Naturalist" which really helped to explain why I feel so at home in the woods and in the mountains or on a lake.  It really helped to free my soul to realize it IS ok to have my praise and worship time in the woods...out in the beauty that God created.  My pastor's wife first introduced me to the book and I've been so thankful for this tool and have used it in small group and recommended it to many friends.
  2. The Soul Care Bible.  This Bible was first given to me when I was teaching parenting classes to inner city women and men in crisis.  I did that ministry for 5 years twice a week and this Bible came in handy as it has devotionals and anecdotes based on Scripture relating to many issues these clients were facing like abuse, marital conflicts, adultery, abortion, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, among others.  The version I have is the NKJV and I love it.  It's a great tool for counseling or for leading a small group.
  3.  The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  My husband and I loved this book from the start.  We own the ones for children and for marriage.  The one for children has been most helpful to us in discovering both daughters' primary and secondary love languages.  I refer to it often to help other moms discover what their child's love language is....how we all feel loved emotionally by those closest to us.
  4. Jesus Calling.  I have turned to this mini devotional again and again.  This little book is chock full of the words of Jesus.....a great resource when I'm in a hurry and don't have the time to read whole chapters of the Bible some mornings.  
  5. Women of Faith Devotional Bible.  I love mine!!  In the last 20 years I've owned the paperback version which got so torn and used that my husband replaced it for me a couple of Christmas' ago with the hardcover version.  The Bible is in the NKJV which is a fave of mine and has a devotional section arranged by topic such as the sovereignty of God, healing, joy, love, forgiveness among others.  It's also a "topical" Bible with short anecdotes based on  specific Scriptures and written by the various women on the Women of Faith team.  This is my absolute fave Bible and the one I use most days.
There are many other resources I have enjoyed and been thankful for over the years but those are probably 5 of my favorites.

What are you thankful for today??