November Reflections

November has been another quick and busy month. We’ve had some frigid days and frosty nights interspersed with temperate ones.

We started the month with a couple of big gatherings. The church we’re visiting had a joint service with a “sister church” in another area. It was a wonderful day of worshiping together. Then our neighborhood had its first big get-together in a long time, something we used to every year.

We were thankful for the privilege of voting earlier in the month. We had some fun get-togethers with the family, including some dry ice “experiments” that Timothy loved.

We got to experience a couple of Thanksgiving testimony times in the church we’ve been visiting. I mentioned last Friday that churches we’ve been in used to have testimony times regularly, especially right before Thanksgiving, and I have missed them. Especially being new to this church, we don’t know everyone’s backgrounds. What a joy to hear how God has worked in lives.

Then, of course, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving with all the kids except our out-of-state one, and he had “piesgiving” with friends (all the food was in the form of a pie).

Creating

We had no birthdays this month, but I made these for a couple of friends going through different trials.

The message for both cards was made with a stamp. The leaf shapes were made with the Cuttlebug, which usually just does embossing. But I have a couple of folders which actually cut out shapes.

The strip of leaves is one of my favorite things. I have a square stamp with four leaves on it, and I use a multi-colored stamp pad and turn the stamp a quarter-turn each time. I didn’t come up with this idea; I saw it demonstrated somewhere.

I had wanted to use another leaf strip on this one, but the one I had got messed up when I touched it with damp hands. It takes a long time for that kind of ink to dry, so I looked for another idea to use instead. The roses were from a small embossing folder for the Cuttlebug. The color of the paper reminded me of some beautiful off-white roses I saw in a fall wedding once.

Watching and Listening

I enjoyed the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, though the player I was rooting for was robbed. You may have heard about the Bible question used for a final Jeopardy! round that the writers got wrong (if not, you can read about it here).

We enjoyed watching Disenchanted with the family, the sequel to Enchanted. In the first movie, an animated princess finds her handsome prince and is about to start her happily-ever-after when the stepmother of her groom-to-be pushes her down a well into the real world, which is quite a culture shock. The people in the real world don’t know what to make of her, either. But over time she discovers a handsome lawyer and finds that fairy tale love is shallow compared to the real thing.

In the sequel, the little daughter from the first movie is now a teenager, and daughter and stepmother clash. The stepmother, Giselle, thinks a move to a castle-like house in the suburbs will help. But it makes relationships with her stepdaughter worse. She finds the means to make a wish and desires a “fairy tale life.” Immediately, people are clothed with fairy tale attire and start singing and dancing in the streets. Giselle’s husband goes on a quest to find some way to display heroism. But Giselle forgot that stepmothers in fairy tales are evil. Her family and friends have to find a way to reverse the wish before it becomes permanent.

The second movie wasn’t as charming as the first, but I liked the twist on the usual fairy tale arc. I loved some of the nods to other fairy tale movies. But I thought some of the song lyrics were silly.

I’ve been listening to the Literary Life Podcast episodes on Dracula–not my usual fare, but I read it along with my son through Dracula Daily, which sent out the diary entries, letters, newspaper articles that make up the book on the dates listed. It was a fun way to read it, and the podcast has brought out much more than I gleaned on my own.

Reading

Since last time I have finished (linked to my reviews):

  • Three Fifty-Seven: Timing Is Everything by Hank Stewart and Kendra Norman-Bellamy. An elderly widow finds new purpose in making herself available to help various neighbors. This was a really sweet story but was marred by too much detail in a couple of the characters’ bedrooms.
  • Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer. Hazel’s little sister, Maggie, was lost when Hazel was ten, and Hazel has borne the guilt of that for sixty years. Her losses cause her to be perfectionist and anxiously controlling, which causes her daughter to rebel. She hasn’t told her daughter or granddaughter, but the latter accidentally stumbles across some old photos. The granddaughter, Meghan, is a cold case detective who investigates Maggie’s disappearance. This is one of Kim’s best.
  • Worthy of Legend by Roseanna M. White, the last in her Isles of Scilly series. Two background characters from the previous books come to the forefront in a race against another group to find a long-hidden artifact. Excellent.
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker.
  • Be Free (Galatians): Exchange Legalism for True Spirituality by Warren Wiersbe. I reread the book this month, but the review is from a couple of years ago when I first read it.
  • Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth. A good book of a midwife’s experiences in the 1950s, but marred by graphic descriptions of a dancer in a brothel.

I read the section on Ezra in Be Heroic (Minor Prophets): Demonstrating Bravery by Your Walk by Warren W. Wiersbe. Ezra is usually grouped together with Nehemiah, which follows on its heels in history. Wiersbe put Ezra in with the minor prophets instead, since the timeline does fit there as well. I had read the rest of this book a while back when reading through the minor prophets–but didn’t review it then because I hadn’t read the Ezra section yet.

I’m currently reading:

  • Joy: A Godly Woman’s Adornment by Lydia Brownback
  • Seasons of Sorrow: The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God by Tim Challies
  • Writing for the Soul: Instruction and Advice from an Extraordinary Writing Life by Jerry B. Jenkins
  • Be Determined (Nehemiah): Standing Firm in the Face of Opposition by Warren W. Wiersbe
  • Snowed In for Christmas by Cami Checketts (audiobook)

I’m looking forward to some Christmas reading in the next few weeks!

Blogging

Besides the weekly Friday Fave Fives, Saturday Laudable Linkage, and book reviews, I’ve posted these since last time:

  • Careful of Our Strengths as Well as Our Weaknesses. We’re often concerned about our weaknesses tripping us up. But we can fail in areas of strength as well. We need God’s strength and guidance for both.
  • You Don’t Have to Choose a Word for the Year. Many people benefit from the practice, but it’s not a must. What’s most important is regularly spending time with God in His Word, seeking His guidance for the day.
  • Hope in Darkness. The time change caused darkness to descend earlier in the evenings, which can be depressing for some of us. I did a quick Bible study on darkness and found the Bible had some encouraging things to say about it..
  • God Is Always Working Even When We Don’t See. It’s discouraging when we pray for a long time with seemingly no response, especially when praying for spiritual needs. But God is at work under the surface.
  • A Confession of Praise. One Hebrew word can be translated as either “confess” or “give thanks or praise.” When we thank and praise God, we’re confessing that He is who He proclaims to be.
  • Benefits of Giving Thanks. Our US Thanksgiving holiday reminds us what we’re supposed to be doing every day and how much we have to be thankful for. I found several other benefits to giving thanks as well. Let thanksgiving continue!

Writing

I dug into my work-in-progress a bit this month. I’m not sure there will be time to work on it any more through the holidays, but we’ll see.

I continue to enjoy our writing critique group. We’re about to take a break for the holidays.

Several months (maybe even years?) ago, I saw a free online conference for hope*writers, so I signed up for it. As it turned out, it wasn’t really a conference. It was a replay of some of their teaching videos. Since I was on their mailing list, I began to receive invitations to membership as well as more videos and even a free class. I decided not to join them, for several reasons. But I’ve been working my way through the things they sent me so I can clear them out of my box and then unsubscribe from their mailing list.

One common theme that emerged from the videos for me was that we can’t do everything aspiring authors are supposed to do all at once. One video encouraged us to just work on the thing at hand and take everything else as it comes. That was a help, as it’s easy to feel overloaded with everything else to the point that we can’t even make time for writing the book.

As we turn the corner into holiday season, may we each have some quiet moments to reflect on the greatest gift God could give: His Son.

8 thoughts on “November Reflections

  1. It *has* been a fast month! Love seeing your cards and reading about how you designed the various aspects of them. How fun that you read Dracula along with your son! Happy December to you and your family 🙂

  2. It does sound like November was a busy (and fun!) month! It has been for us, as well, but a bit frustrated by a remodeling project in our home that has seemed endless and messy to say the least. But I know it will be a blessing when it’s completed.

    I enjoyed seeing your reading list. There were several things I noted to read later. One was the Jerry Jenkins book. I went to Amazon to look for it only to realize it was already in my Kindle. So I’ll be reading it soon. I had started it at some point and got sidetracked (sigh!). So many books, so little time it seems.

    Thanks for sharing and happy December!

    • I’ve had Jenkins’ book in my Kindle app for a long time, too. I was inspired to start it when I remembered I wanted to read a book on writing this year and hadn’t yet. I try to read or reread at least one writing book a year.

  3. You had quite an interesting month in November! Very interesting about the Jeopardy question and Hebrews. I always thought that Paul had written Hebrews. The article linked there was very interesting!

    • A lot of people do think Paul wrote Hebrews–and he may have. One former pastor used to refer to “Paul’s anonymous letter to the Hebrews.” 🙂 But some think he didn’t, both because he doesn’t name himself as the author and the format is different from his other letters. Those don’t mean that he’s not the author, though. It’s weird that the Jeopardy! writers wouldn’t have come across that controversy in their research.

  4. Barbara, I had not heard about “Jeopardygate’ and enjoyed reading up on it. 🙂 My daughter Molly loves movies and books with fairytale tie-ins, so I’m sure we’ll be watching “Disenchanted” at some point. Randy and I watched “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris” a few weeks ago … have you seen it? If not, I highly recommend. After seeing your book list, I’ve requested Jerry Jenkins’ book about writing … it sounds really good. And I hope you write a review of Tim Challies’s book … it sounds good too.

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