Thursday, March 10, 2016

Eight Things I'm Loving Right Now

1. <3 My new "niece"  <3 Miss Norah Claire <3 Such a beautiful name <3 My best friend had her baby girl a three weeks ago!!!! I'm in love with her little fingers and toes, face and hair. Both mommy and baby are doing well, and I can't wait to spoil her and cuddle her and give lots and lots of kisses...oh, and Jess, too <3

2. Earlier this month, my church finished a series called "FIT" (having a fit mind, body, and heart). It was brilliant, touching, and perfect for the season I felt God was bringing me through. Now my pastor is in the middle of a "Family Matters" series. It's times like these when I know I am not alone, God listens when I call out to Him. I pray these messages continue touching my heart.

3. Pulling out my spring clothes from storage. I am over with the cold and snow and winter, and I want to see more green, pastels, and less sweaters and mittens. I'm usually a fan of winter, but this season has been very temperamental this year, even for Ohio, and I'm over it. Yesterday was a high of 72 degrees! In March! In northeast Ohio! I'm going straight for my flip-flops.

4. Finding, no making the time for my yoga practice. Every day. Whether it's a full-on 70 minutes of Holy Yoga, a 30-minute leg routine, or a couple of sun salutations. Making time for it daily is one of my top priorities right now. I need to put the books down! <--- I can't believe I just typed that, haha

5. After Mr. B touched up the upstairs hallway with a new coat of white, he painted the doors, their frames, and the built-in cabinet storage all white. We also have cream-colored carpet up there. This winter we decided there was way too much white in that little area. I need color. I love color. I was game for any color. Mr. B chose red. A beautiful red. We painted it a few weekends ago. It's beautiful. It's still white, but not so white.

6. Since Lent, I've been having my "bullet" coffee almost every morning. Just black coffee with a tablespoon of coconut oil. Using my hand mixer, I combine until it's creamy and frothy. It's so deliciously good I should feel guilty. See part of my fasting during this Lenten season, besides fasting one meal a day, I gave up my calorie-laden beverages from Starbucks. (If it's not a black Americano or red eye, or unsweetened tea, it's on hold until after Easter.) Because of the sugar, and lately it's all I've been craving. Caramel macchiatos. Dirty chais. Steamed apple juice with a pump of chai. It's saving me money as well. My bullet coffee easily curbs these sugar cravings.

7. My latest movie love is The Age of Adaline. I don't know why I love this movie so much, but I am in love with this movie. I found it so beautiful. A different kind of love story. I cried. I laughed. I watched it and then watched it again. There was beauty and heartache. And the casting was perfect.

8. All my life I have been a purple girl. I love purple. I want everything purple. Lately, I want pink. All the pink things. I even dug out a pink-patterened VB purse from my closet because I had to have PINK.

With Love and God Bless,

Friday, March 4, 2016

My Beautiful Month

In case you aren't on Instagram, or don't follow me, here's a peek at my Insta-Life lately.
[*All photos are taken from my Instagram account.]

My step father-in-law turned 61. Time to celebrate!

We're getting Easter eggs. It's so ombre.

One of my favorite childhood memories.

Fun with all things Under the Sea at work.

Enjoying a 60+ degree day with a walk through the park. Mr. Darcy was beyond excited.

My traditional gnocchi Oscars meal. (My food was much better than the Oscars....)

With Love and God Bless,

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Yes, I'm a Children's Librarian


I haven't highlighted my work escapades in a while, and since it was my turn in the rotation to cover the main library's children's desk this past Sunday, let's talk about it.

Indeed, I worked. On a Sunday. On Valentine's Day. At the library.

I'm willing to bet some of you never suspected librarians work on Sundays. Well, I'm here to tell you some of us do.

At my library, the main branch is opened 1-5 p.m. on Sundays, starting after Labor Day through Memorial Day. (Can I get an AMEN for no summer Sundays?!!) There are 12 of us in the children's department, and we rotate through. Lately the teens have been coming in full force, and since their hangout area is separate from the children's, two of us are manning the desks instead of only one. This is so nice. One more of us to answer questions, keep an eye on things, and to not feel so lonesome during those four hours.

This past Sunday I worked with the teen librarian, Sarah. I love Sarah. Sarah was not feeling well at all. Poor Sarah. Thankfully, she was able to relax a little since there was nobody in her area. There was nobody in my area. Because it was Valentine's Day. Monday was President's Day. There was a snow storm coming. Normally this would have been a very, very long four hours. However, Sarah kept me company, and we chatted about home life, work life, upcoming programs and conferences, and yes, SUMMER READING! It will be here before you know it, y'all. (I am stoked for this year's theme!)

This particular Sunday was dead. Sloooow. I didn't see a single child or parent in my area until after 2 p.m. Maybe two other families the remainder of the day... one asked about a library card, the other helped their kids on the early literacy computers for about half an hour.

This allowed me plenty of time to get ahead on some upcoming programs. I peeled crayons. I peeled more crayons. Next Tuesday I'm having a Crayon Love Bake program for school-aged kiddos. We take old peeled crayons, break them up, place them in silicone molds, and bake them in the oven, re-purposing them into new crayons. I have snowmen and heart molds for this one. I did this program four years ago around Christmas and I had a bunch of boys. Who would have thought? It takes between 20-30 minutes for the crayons to melt, depending on their thickness, and the boys were bored out of their mind while they waited. And they got into trouble. This time I have a few library scavenger hunts planned and a snack to keep the kids entertained.

Other things I did on Sunday ---> read through a few new books, searched Amazon for some yoga tools/equipment for future programs, perused Pinterest for craft ideas, jotted down summer reading program ideas, and peeled more crayons.

This was a complete turn around from the last Sunday I worked back in January. There were so many kids and families and questions, I didn't get any actual work done. I had a bunch of kids asking for biographies because there was an assignment due that week. Someone was always at the computers, all working on homework, except one child playing games. The printer was in constant use. I had quite a few parents in looking for chapter books and popular series for their children. There was screaming, a few arguments over the computer, and one child kept dumping out all the crayons. Puzzles were out, displayed books were either gone or askew, and of course there were hardly any winter or hibernation books left on the shelf for the one teacher who came in looking for them because all of the other teachers had them. It's nice to see people of all ages still wait to the last minute.

On that Sunday I worked with Nicole, and she was just as busy in the teen center. I was hoping to chat with her a bit, but I only saw her once the entire four hours... when she ran over to the children's department to sharpen a handful of pencils. Thank goodness we had two people that day!

Thus, when you work a Sunday downtown, you never know what covering the desk will bring. I always make sure I bring work to do and a sweater.

And caffeine.

With Love and God Bless,

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Music Love

It's time to share some new music love, and this one has me on my knees and in tears. But some days I just sit in silence listening. Listening to the lyrics. Listening to the music. Listening to, hopefully, God's small still voice. Some days I'm belting it at the top of my lungs, hands raised, worshipping the Father.

I hope it moves you, too. I pray it comforts you.

With Love and God Bless,

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

My Beautiful Month

In case you aren't on Instagram, or don't follow me, here's a peek at my Insta-Life lately.
[*All photos are taken from my Instagram account.]

 Corgi Selfie!

Early evening naps.

 One of my toddler mom's and her daughter made a get-well bag for me when I was feeling under the weather. This put a huge smile on my face <3

With Love and God Bless,

Thursday, February 4, 2016

What I'm Reading

Before you continue reading this post about me reading books and supplying you with my brilliant thoughts on said books, you must know one thing: I am very hard on books when it comes to critiquing, recommending, and rating. Very seldom do I give books a full 5 stars. Looking back on some of my favorite 4-star books, I find myself thinking, maybe this should be a 5? But then I talk it over with myself, argue a bit, and decide, no, it's definitely a 4 1/2-star book. The following three books are perfect examples of this serious struggle.

Let's start with the book I most recently finished, Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley, which is a 2012 Printz Winner (best literature for young adults) and 2012 Morris Winner (best author debut). I added this book to my TBR list years ago when it was talked about everywhere. Finally, I got around to it. A quick summary: seventeen-year-old Cullen Witter lives in small, quiet, boring Lily, Arkansas. Nothing ever happens, except the summer before his senior year his cousin dies from a drug overdose, an extinct woodpecker has decided to resurrect itself, and Cullen's younger brother, Gabriel, goes missing. Meanwhile, a young missionary in Africa has lost his faith and has no idea what to do next. Eventually, these two stories surprisingly intertwine, creating a brilliant piece of literature.

Oh, do I have mixed emotions and THOUGHTS about this YA novel! Honestly, I'm still processing it, and need to have a chat with my co-worker to discuss some things. I did like that it made me think, and I stopped reading to do a bit of research on the religious aspect of the book (which is a sub-sub-plot, per se, but being a Christian and all, I could not just let it go by without fact checking, and finding sources, and it made me look at the movie Noah differently, which I strongly disliked...but, I digress). I liked it, the way the different stories came together, the writing style (how effortlessly easy and right it feels), the simple and complex thoughts of a seventeen-year-old, and the ending! GAH! Oh, my thoughts! Oh, my brain! I want it to be happy, yet I get annoyed when everything ends happily, wrapped up in a pretty bow. The world isn't always good with a happily-ever-after, so sometimes, dagum it(!), books don't have to be either! There are so many thoughts and expressions and things I want to say but I can't because I don't want to spoil anything because I know you will want to read this book. You must read this book, if only so we can discuss. <--- this is probably a 5-star rating reaction.

Another book I couldn't put down was our current book club read, The Magician's Lie by Greer Macallister. One of the many groups I belong to on Good Reads was reading this. It was recomended to fans of The Night Circus (one of my great book loves) and Water for Elephants (not a fan). As I've said numerous times before, anything compared to my beloved Erin Morgenstern is immediately added to my TBR list. The Magician's Lie is set around the turn of 20th century, following the Amazing Arden, "the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage. One night in Waterloo, Iowa, with young policeman Virgil Holt watching from the audience, she swaps her trademark saw for a fire ax. Is it a new version of the illusion, or an all-too-real murder? When Arden’s husband is found lifeless beneath the stage later that night, the answer seems clear." (Good Reads) Yet, when questioned by the police officer, Arden finally gets to tell her story, her whole story. Is she really guilty?
With that being said, this is definitely more Water for Elephants than The Night Circus which disappointed me, slightly. Once I realized that, I found I enjoyed this magical story. I enjoyed the historical setting for the main event, the details placed me there--everything visualized easily. It was fast-paced, but not so much that the reader felt like he/she missed out on anything. I liked the POV shifts of the storytelling. Although, from paying attention, I assumed--correctly--the ending halfway through, but I still found myself caught up in the magician's tale. I wish there would have been more from Virgil and Clyde, yet I was satisfied because it was all about Arden, always had been, just as it should. I liked this much more than Water for Elephants. I think this tale would make a decent movie. (FYI, I did like the movie adaptation of Water for Elephants...this is rare.)

And my third couldn't-put-down-until-I-finished-it title is the latest from Denis Hunter, Falling Like Snowflakes. To summarize, Eden is on the run to protect her son, the only witness of a horrible crime. Her car breaks down in Summer Harbor, Main (introduced in Hunter's previous book), where she meets hunky, hero Beau--a former sheriff's deputy turned Christmas tree farm owner. There's chemistry, denial, past issues, chemistry, love, love, love.... I'm sure you can imagine. One of my guilty Christian romances. Buuuttttt, I cannot put down her books....gahhhhhhhhhh! The only reason this isn't a 5-star rating is because I am married to a sheriff's deputy, and I know a little bit about the profession, and some things seemed inaccurate throughout the book (or delayed, like the former sheriff's deputy shouldn't have taken so long to pursue, style of investigation, etc.) It bothered me a bit, and when I mentioned it to my hubby he concurred. <---this is why I'm so hard on ratings. I let the little things bother me. Ugh.

For a fun bonus title, I'm suggesting  The Year of Cozy: 125 Recipes, Crafts, & Other Homemade Adventures mhkhjkjk
.....this book had a lovely-- and cozy-- layout. and she owns a corgi!! immediately a 5-star rating! ;)

I really think I'd enjoy perusing this book often and need to add it to my birthday list. I love the idea of making a "to-do" list by month/season, with little emphasis on holidays and more focus on getting in touch with yourself, relationships, and true enjoyment of life.

Annnnnd my DO NOT READ! book selection is After You. You know, the book after the brilliant, everyone-can't-stop-talking-about Me Before You. Yes, I am 100% serious right now. Poor Jojo Moyes. This is exactly what happens when you write a sequel to a book because fans demand it, or need to know what happens to the characters. Noooo! Never, never do that! This book was a devastating disappointment. This was fan-fiction, and it felt like fan-fiction. It felt forced. I felt duped. If you have read the first one, I promise you, you need to stop there. Be completely satisfied, emotionally drained, and happy you finished a well-written (and, yes, a 5-star rated!) book. A loved book, and just wonder about the characters. There's no need to know. It's not worth knowing. I didn't abandoned the book because I felt I owed it to Moyes to finish. Me Before You was just so fantastic.

Please, share your thoughts in the comments below if you have read any of these, or if you have a suggested book.

With Love and God Bless,

Saturday, January 16, 2016


Image found on Pinterest

1. I'm okay.

2. Since I deactivated my Facebook account earlier this week, friends have been coming out of the wood-works with all shades of concern. Thank you for your thoughts, questions, and encouragement. Even though I've never been one to constantly post about my goings-on, I found myself getting too caught up in others. Taking a step back from social media has laid heavy on my heart for the past month or so. I committed myself to giving it up for Lent this year. However, I was at church this past weekend, and Pastor Mike recently started a new series called "FIT." He's talking about being fit in various areas of our lives, and last Saturday's sermon was on making your mind/soul "fit." He discussed things that rob us of a fit mind, like anger, worry/fear, comparison, and not forgiving others. His comparison example was, you guessed it, social media. It's like God *lightly* smacked me on the head. Why wait until Lent? Why not start now? My church is also in the midst of a 21-day fast, so this is perfect. I might even go beyond the 21 days.

3. I'm committed to getting back my joy.

4. Adult coloring is quickly becoming that outlet. I find my mind is completely relaxed. I'm not worrying about the future. I'm not going over and over my to-do list, both at home and at work. I'm not even thinking, which is why this new hobby is more peaceful than reading <--- shut the front door! (as my husband likes to exclaim). Mr. B bought me an electric pencil sharpener to aid me in this endeavor.

5. The snow makes me happy. The cold makes me happy. It means less social commitments. More evenings at home by the fireside. More time spent with my Misters. More time in the kitchen. More getting my thoughts straight. More quiet times with God and His Word.

6.And you might find this hard to believe, but I haven't been on my yoga mat since late October. No wonder I'm out of sorts! This must be remedied.

With Love and God Bless,

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

My Beautiful Month

In case you aren't on Instagram, or don't follow me, here's a peek at my Insta-Life lately.
[*All photos are taken from my Instagram account.]

While Christmas shopping, we found a humane shelter giving tree and bought a bunch of gifts for the little guy, Mr. Zub. A new tradition started!

Mr. B, these CAVS seats are excellent!

My first finished adult coloring page. It's so PRETTY!

Book Club + Hot Chocolate Bar = Good Times


With Love and God Bless,