Friday, March 22, 2019

7 Things That Got Me Through Winter

It's Sprrrriiiiiiinnnng! Yay!!! However, just for fun here are seven things that made my winter tolerable enjoyable. Linking up for Quick Takes today. Happy Friday, friends! :)

1. Podcasts. I have finally understood why people like podcasts! Downloading the Stitcher app was one key for me, as it makes it so much easier to subscribe to ones I like and easily access them as well as be notified of new episodes. My favorite podcast these days is At Home With Sally (Sally Clarkson). I have officially become a huge fan of her (I've reviewed her books on here before). I was originally intimidated but the more I read and listen, I am delighted to find she is a both wise and humble mentor for women in general, but especially for young mothers. Other podcasts I like are Don't Mom Alone, Messy Parenting, and Cultivating the Lovely. How about you? Are you a podcast fan? Let me know ones I should listen to if so!

2.  Fresh flowers. I love that Aldi carries beautiful bouquets (including roses!) for only $3.99. I've gotten a few different ones to last almost two weeks in our home. I loooooove flowers, so having fresh bouquets here and there throughout the winter, especially after Christmas was over, really brought me so much joy!

3.  These faces. I love them so much. Winter can be hard with littles and being cooped up inside so much, but there's also so much joy spending time with them, playing with them, singing and dancing and watching them learn and laugh each day.

4. New makeup regimen. I bought two new makeup items that decreased my routine in half. I don't wear a lot of makeup but just a bit each day makes me feel freshened up and ready for the day. My new items are Mineral Wear foundation powder (now one step instead of the previous tinted moisturizer and powder I used to use) and Burt's Bees blush/lip stick (now one item instead of both blush and lipstick). I haven't timed myself but I'm pretty sure I can do my makeup routine in literally one minute. It's great. If only I could make my hair look nice in that amount of time. ;)

5. The Office. I am such a closet fan of this show but I'm admitting it here. The first time I watched an episode was ten years ago and I thought it was the stupidest, most crude show ever...what does that say about me that I think it's funny now?? Oh dear. But P and I struggle to find stuff that we both enjoy if we watch TV in the evenings, and this show has provided so much lighthearted humor in only twenty minutes so we're able to do our own thing (read, pray, etc.) but then sit back for a twenty-minute episode before bed. Are you like the young me or the current me? Do you love the show or find it repulsive?

6. New projects. I continue to write for once a month and it's a great push for improving my writing. My latest article is here on a topic I'm currently passionate about (see #7). I also am in the process of organizing a miscarriage ministry for our diocese with two other moms. It's been on my heart for awhile now and there's just such a need. It's been incredible to see God send us signs that He wants this too.

7. Getting together with friends. I have been intentionally pursuing friendship for the past couple months and we try to have one to two play dates per week. I also try to send more cards in the mail to friends or connect through texting. I have also been going to mom's nights out after the kids are in bed since both sleep in their own beds these days!! It's so refreshing cultivating friendships with other women. I'm really grateful.

How did you survive winter this year? What are you most looking forward to this spring?

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Recent Reads: Two Not-So-Great Book Reviews

This book was written well and the author is great at weaving words and drawing you into story...but I just didn't care for it. The author has a long list of fiction books she has written on historic Biblical women. This is her first nonfiction book but she definitely uses artistic license (likely similar to her fiction books...I haven't read any) in the way she describes the characters. The chapters each center around a woman from the Bible and begin with a fictional account in first person from that character, then the chapter moves on to the author's voice and a nonfiction tone as she describes what we can learn from the historic Biblical woman. It's a nice idea, and some people may like this, but I was not a fan. I don't like that much artistic license when it comes to the Bible, it honestly made me a bit uncomfortable and it doesn't really help me learn from that character when we don't know if that's truly how they were. It's really hard for me to admit I don't like a book and I do NOT like giving bad reviews...but sadly this one was just not my cup of tea. 2 out of 5 stars.

[Thank you to Baker Publishing Group for my complimentary review copy. This contains my honest and original thoughts.]

I wanted to like this book. I love prayer books, devotionals, anything of the written word in a daily format to aid my prayer time. This one sounded beautiful with its variety of prayers from over the years and a wide range of authors. I loved that it included many Catholic prayers from the Liturgy/Mass as well as Liturgy of the Hours. I also like reading prayers from historical men and women. The book itself is a lovely hardcover with deckled page edges and a ribbon bookmark. That all being said, it fell a little flat for me. My favorite prayers were the ones I would get from reading the daily Mass (like Word Among Us devotionals) or the Liturgy of the Hours app on my phone, so I just didn't see a big need for this book in my life. Womp womp. Yet another so-so book review, guys. 3 out of 5 stars.

[Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for my complimentary copy. This review contains my honest and original thoughts.]