Friday’s Fave Five

On Fridays I like to pause for a few moments with Susanne and friends
to reflect on some of the blessings of the week.

It has been a quiet week in many ways. Here are some of the best parts:

1. A friend’s very good news. She had waited many weeks to be able to have a biopsy. Finally had it last week, and the results came back this week: no cancer! Praise the Lord!

2. A peaceful transfer of power. Whichever administration you prefer, I appreciate that we have an orderly manner for a transfer of leadership in this country. We’re so used to it, we take it for granted. But it hasn’t happened this way for much of history and still doesn’t in some countries. (Please, no commentary on one administration over another. I try to avoid politics here.)

3. A rescheduled schedule. I noticed several weeks ago that I had four appointments bunched up together in January. On one hand, it would have been nice to get them all over with at once. But I just don’t operate well with that many outside appointments so close together. I made some phone calls and rescheduled them to about one a week and have enjoyed that pacing.

4. An impromptu visit. My son and daughter-in-law have been super-busy with projects on their new house. It needed a lot of cleaning, painting, and little fixes. Then she texted me to ask if they could come over Thursday night to escape paint fumes for a while. We always enjoy visiting with them, but had a fun time with dinner and seeing pictures of what they had accomplished so far.

5. Lindt Lindor milk chocolate truffles. This is my favorite candy, and I usually receive some on special occasions. But my husband has found some at a discount store he frequents, so I have had some on hand ever since Christmas. I try to ration them out to just one or sometimes two a day–it’s too easy to just pop them in one after another! I’ve been happy to have my occasional special treat a little while longer than usual.

It’s been a cold and overcast week. I’m hoping to see sunshine and blue skies sometime soon. I just saw a plump robin on the tree outside—a reminder that spring is coming.

Friday’s Fave Five

On Fridays I like to pause for a few moments with Susanne and friends
to reflect on some of the blessings of the week.

“Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation!” (Psalm 68:19, NKJV). Daily! Here are a few He loaded into my week.

1. A quick offer on a house. We own the rental my son and daughter-in-law were in. When they bought their first home, we decided to sell the rental instead of trying to keep up with it. We had a good offer within a day and a half of listing it! We have to see if it all works out, but we were encouraged.

2. An online meeting. The online writer’s conference I attended in November included a fifteen-minute Zoom meeting with one of the faculty. The lady I signed up to talk to wanted to put the meetings off til January, since otherwise we’d be meeting just before Thanksgiving. That was fine with me. We met this week and had a good conversation. She gave me one key thought for my book project that I had not considered. It seems like every industry professional I have talked to through writer’s conferences has done that. Slowly the pieces are coming together!

3. Not as much snow as forecast. 🙂 Sometimes the blessing is in what we don’t receive. Snow is fun to play in but can wreak havoc or just shut down movement here in the South where we are not as equipped to deal with it. So when we got just a little snow, it was pretty but didn’t cause any trouble.

4. Short-lived knee pain. I have trouble with one knee occasionally. When it caused me significant pain on Tuesday, my mind immediately jumped to the worst-case scenario and assumed I was going to need knee replacement. 🙂 Thankfully, the pain abated over the next two days and I am back to normal now. I must have wrenched it in some forgotten way.

5. Old, meaningful hymns. I was puttering in the kitchen when The Haven of Rest came on. I used to hear that on the radio and in church a lot right after I became a Christian, and it meant a lot to me. I haven’t heard it in a long time. I was almost in tears singing along with it.

What are some of the benefits God loaded into your week?

Friday’s Fave Five

On Fridays I like to pause for a few moments with Susanne and friends
to reflect on some of the blessings of the week.

I’m incredibly sad over events in our country. But I am going to set those aside for now and concentrate on good things from the week.

1. Setting up new calendars. I love the blank pages and filling in birthdays and anniversaries or the year.

2. Moving day. We helped my son and daughter-in-law move into their new home last weekend. I couldn’t do heavy lifting or box-toting, but I kept Timothy company part of the time and helped load and unpack a few boxes. By the time we left, they had bedrooms, living room, and kitchen set up, so they could function pretty well.

3. Catching up. It’s been good to catch up on things that have been set aside or had piled up over the holidays—a bit of cleaning, computer work, etc.

4. A quiet week. I don’t know if it’s post-Christmas or post-moving tiredness, but I haven’t felt like doing much the last day or two. I’m thankful the schedule was clear enough that I could rest a bit and then get some low-key things done.

5. Old family videos. My uncle sent some old videos of a big family reunion from over 30 years ago—the only one like it that we ever had with my mom’s father’s siblings and their families. It was fun to see all of us thirty years younger. Plus several are no longer here—my mom, my grandfather, my aunt, and one uncle. I loved seeing and hearing them again. My grandfather had a distinctive laugh that I loved, and now I have it on video. What a treasure!

Bonus: Sales and special offers. I could use another couple of items of winter clothing. I looked up one site that I’d ordered from before. I love the quality of their things, but they are a bit more expensive, so I don’t shop there often. I found a couple of things on sale (one dress for $19.99!) plus a 35% off special offer that was expiring at 1:00 p.m. that day. I didn’t know if the special offer would apply to sales things, but it did–and I got my order in just a few minutes before 1.

How about you? Any bright spots in your week?

Friday’s Fave Five and Happy New Year!

On Fridays I like to pause for a few moments with Susanne and friends
to reflect on some of the blessings of the week.

What better way to start the new year than with thankfulness? And my heart is full from the last two weeks.

1. Our 41st anniversary. My daughter-in-law made us a wonderful anniversary dinner with chicken cordon bleu and cute cupcakes the night before our anniversary. We usually go out to eat for our anniversary but did not this year due to the pandemic. So Jim grilled pork chops while I made the side items, and I loaded the dishwasher while he hand-washed the big things. A nice evening.

2. All the family together. My oldest son was booked to come by train again, but the pandemic in general and our exposure to COVID in particular had a question mark over our plans. So we were thankful everything worked out for him to come, especially as he lives alone and had been isolated for a long while. I was thankful Jim was safe driving him to and from the train station three hours away in the middle of the night. We enjoyed lots of talking, laughing, games, and eating. Mittu found some cookie-decorating kits at the gluten free bakery their family likes, and we worked on those one night.

3. Snow and sleepovers. We experienced our second-ever white Christmas. It wasn’t a favorite at first, though, as my middle son and daughter-in-law were on icy roads Christmas Eve. They asked if they could sleep over so as not to take a chance on not being able to get here Christmas Day (the temperatures were supposed to get down to 12 overnight). They ended up staying for two nights, and it was fun to have everyone under one roof and to have Timothy pad in to say goodnight and good morning in his jammies. Then the day after Christmas, some of the kids went sledding and had a snowball fight. Timothy proclaimed it the “best day ever.”

4. Christmas, of course, with the celebration of Jesus’ birth, good food, thoughtful presents.

5. A tour of my son and daughter-in-law’s new house while Jeremy was here. They are doing some painting and small jobs before moving in. I am excited for them! And a new neighbor came over to introduce herself while we were there.

Bonus: I don’t think the actual Christmas star the wise men saw was the planets that aligned last week—I think that star was one-of-a-kind. But it was fun to see what they called the Christmas star. My husband has an interest in astronomy and used to buy and sell microscopes and telescopes on eBay, and he kept one big one. So we got to take a look.

I love setting up calendars for the new year and looking forward to a fresh new start. I hope you and yours have a wonderful and happy new year.

Friday’s Fave Five

On Fridays I like to pause for a few moments with Susanne and friends
to reflect on some of the blessings of the week.

I was just telling my husband last night that this is one of the busiest weeks of the year for me. I’m grateful to God that it’s going well, even with some extra issues. Here are a few highlights.

1. Your kind comments on my post about being in the hospital last week. One of the blessings I didn’t foresee in starting a blog was the friendships that would come through it. Thank you so much for your care and prayers

2. Negative COVID tests. Our last morning in the hospital, one nurse talked about how she has been isolating from her grandkids since March since she works with COVID patients. She mentioned just having worked on the COVID floor the day before. Then she kept pulling her mask down as she was talking! All the incidences of her mask being down didn’t add up to more than a few minutes. But, still, there was some possibility of her passing COVID along. We were able to get the rapid test through my husband’s job.

3. Plans given a GO. Normally with possible COVID exposure, we’d just wait a couple of weeks and see what developed. But my oldest son was scheduled to come in by train this weekend, as he did this summer. We’d have to cancel those plans if we tested positive. So I was thankful not only that we were able to get the rapid test before his trip, but also that the current CDC guidelines said our need to quarantine would be up in time.

4. Our son and daughter-in-law closing on their house is supposed to happen today. I’m excited for them.

5. Naan pizza. Susan had mentioned using naan bread as a base for pizza. I had some in the freezer and gave it a try last night. The naan bread made a great crust, and the whole meal was quick and easy—a blessing on a busy day.

I’m guessing there won’t be an FFF next week due to Christmas, so that means this is the last one of the year. I still have a few other posts planned for next week, but for those of you only here for FFF, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas remembering the greatest gift, our Savior.

Friday’s Fave Five

On Fridays I like to pause for a few moments with Susanne and friends
to reflect on some of the blessings of the week.

Well, most of us are officially in the Christmas season now. Here are some favorites from the first week in December

1. Christmas tree shopping and decorating. We got our tree Saturday. We still do it the old-fashioned way and buy a live one from a lot. Jason and Mittu and Timothy come along to help choose the tree and then decorate it at our house. Jesse got decorations from the attic. Mittu made soup and sandwich for lunch. It’s always fun to hear the kids exclaim over the ornaments as they put them on the tree. And I love how Timothy plunges right in. I love how everyone takes part, and we get it all done in a few hours.

It hadn’t seemed like it was time for Christmas yet. But once we got everything decorated and started playing Christmas music, the Christmas spirit definitely arrived.

2. Christmas music. I enjoy listening to Christian music in the kitchen and other times, but there is something special about Christmas music.

3. Productive days. I made a little shift in my order of doing things, and it has made a big difference.

4. Enough leftovers for meals. With just three of us home, I still pretty much cook like I always have, and we use the leftovers for lunches. Somehow we ended up with a stuffed refrigerator, not even counting Thanksgiving fare. I didn’t think we’d conquer it all at lunchtime, and I had enough of two main dishes to use for dinner two nights. It was nice having a couple of evenings of just warming up food and adding a new side.

Jim’s mom asked me once, years ago, if my family minded leftovers. I told her it depended on what was left over. Thankfully, everyone was ok with what we had, though we were glad to see some of it finished off.

5. Sweaters, heaters, throw blankets, and fingerless gloves have all helped keep me warm during the cold snap we’ve had this week. We even had our first snowfall—the kind I love: big fat fluffy flakes that don’t accumulate on the roads and only stay around for a day.

What’s one good thing from your week?

Friday’s Fave Five

On Fridays I like to pause for a few moments with Susanne and friends
to reflect on some of the blessings of the week.

Happy Day after Thanksgiving! May the thanksgiving continue! Here are some highlights of the last week:

1. Thanksgiving, of course. Though we’re to be thankful all the time, I love this emphasis as a nation on being thankful. And, with all the family’s help, the work was divided. Though it was a busy day, it wasn’t stressful.

2. Thanksgiving food. Though Thanksgiving isn’t mainly about food, the Thanksgiving meal is a highlight of the day. We go pretty traditional around here—turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole. Plus desserts—apple pie, pumpkin pie, and this year, banana cream pie. I don’t vary much from the menu since this is the only time we have all this at one time, and we look forward to it! Plus all that cooking lasts for a few days. With some gluten-intolerant family members, in the past we’ve had two dressings and two gravies, one gluten-free and one not. This year I tried dressing from a gluten-free cornbread mix. GF breads don’t always taste as good as the non-GF kinds, but cornbread has always tasted fine. And the one time before I tried to make turkey gravy with GF flour, it didn’t turn out well at all. But this time, both dishes turned out great and were enjoyed by all. It helped simplify things not to make two versions of each.

3. A fun tablecloth. I found this neat Thanksgiving tablecloth at WalMart, full of activities to do. Timothy enjoyed it while waiting for dinner, and several of us used it while talking afterward.

4. Good customer service representatives. I called a number given specifically for answering questions about a particular piece of medical equipment. The person who answered was very nice, but it was obvious she wasn’t knowledgeable. I knew part of what she told me was wrong. The next day, someone from the business called me back, and, to my relief, was much more on top of things. Then, my poor dear husband is still dealing with an issue with one firm that has taken hours of his time. The person he’s been on the phone with this morning has been the most helpful yet. And when the call died, she called him back—it was so nice that he didn’t have to start all over with someone else. On one other call he made for another issue, the person was so helpful, he asked for her supervisor just to let them know she did a phenomenal job.

Good customer service people are worth their weight in gold, and we probably don’t tell them that enough.

5. Sleeping in. The last two days were busy preparing for Thanksgiving, and we’re decorating for Christmas tomorrow. So I am taking today to lay low and rest up. It was so nice to sleep in. It’s sad that 7 a.m. is sleeping in these days! But I’ll take it.

Hope you’ve had a great week!

Friday’s Fave Five and Writer’s Conference News

On Fridays I like to pause for a few moments with Susanne and friends
to reflect on some of the blessings of the week.

Usually for Friday’s Fave Five, I make a list of at least five things I am thankful for from the previous week. I’m going to do something a little different this week, though.

One of my faves is that I attended an online writer’s conference this week! The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference was supposed to be in May, but was postponed to November due to the pandemic. Since the virus still had not abated, they could not take as many people due to social-distancing recommendations. And some couldn’t come anyway due to travel restrictions. So they had a virtual option this year.

The conference started Sunday night. Then Monday through Wednesday, we had two online morning sessions, two afternoon sessions (75 minutes each), and one each evening (an hour and a half). Thursday morning we had two, then the conference ended at lunchtime.

One other favorite is that I had a manuscript critique via Zoom through the conference with a woman who owns a publishing house with her husband. I appreciated her expertise. I thought she was very balanced: she pointed out some mistakes and practices I need to work on but also what she thought were good features.

I got tons of good information and inspiration from the sessions this week. But as I write this on Thursday afternoon, my brain is fried! And since this was the primary focus of the week, I don’t have much else to share—unless I think of something between now and in the morning.

Just a few more thoughts about the conference: one thing you miss by not being there personally is the networking with others. A couple of ladies set up Zoom meetings for about ten people at a time, apparently with great success. I didn’t join in because they often took place when I was spending time with the family. Maybe, if they do it this way again, I’ll try to get in on at least one or two.

Also, when you go to a conference, it’s exhausting, but it’s also a break from routine. At home, you still have your everyday responsibilities. I didn’t do much besides meals, dishes, and laundry. But I wished I had planned some super-easy meals for this week. We did have frozen pizza one night, so that helped (and that’s my third fave!)

I am inspired but tired! So I’ll leave my faves there for now.

Hope you’ve had a good week as well!

Friday’s Fave Five

On Fridays I like to pause for a few moments with Susanne and friends
to reflect on some of the blessings of the week.

Here we are at another Friday already! And here are my five favorites from the week:

1. A Zoom call. A friend and I had our own Zoom meeting so we could catch up by seeing as well as hearing each other.

2. Haircuts. My dear daughter-in-law cut my and my husband’s hair for us again—second time for me since the pandemic started, third time for my husband. We so appreciate this! And then she fed us lunch afterward.

3. My husband’s head for business and finances. We recently refinanced our mortgage to take advantage of lower interest rates and to borrow a little extra to take care of paying off our solar panels, one of our sons’ school loans, etc. As my husband and the loan officer were discussing the papers we were signing, I was thankful he knew what questions to ask and what it all meant—not just for closing, but for the whole process.

4. An excellent customer service experience after a couple of bad ones. My husband had to deal with a situation with a company that involved several hours on the phone over two days, being on hold and transferred multiple times, then going to the store for three hours—and the issue is still not resolved. By contrast, we went to another business this week to take care of a few things. The two people we dealt with were knowledgeable, efficient, and friendly. So refreshing.

5. Attending a funeral virtually. The pastor of the church where I was saved as a teenager passed away at the age of 91. He was a kind, faithful, godly man, and his preaching and teaching gave me a good foundation for the rest of my Christian life. He conducted the funerals of both my parents even though I had moved away and no one from the family attended church there any more. Though sad for the loss, I was thankful the service was live-streamed and recorded so those of us who couldn’t be there could participate. It was a blessing to hear of his history, character, and personality (most of it I knew, but some was new to me). It was also fun to see people I knew from my time in Houston who participated in the service. “The memory of the just is blessed” (Proverbs 10:7a).

Bonus: We don’t have any particular rites or traditions to observe Veteran’s Day, but I like to take a moment to be thankful for the veterans in my own family and all those who are serving and have served. It’s amazing that anyone would sacrifice so much for others, and it’s much appreciated.

Happy Friday! What is something good from your week?

Friday’s Fave Five

On Fridays I like to pause for a few moments with Susanne and friends
to reflect on some of the blessings of the week.

The first week of November has flown by. I want to hold it in hand just a few moments before it vanishes completely by remembering the best parts.

1. Dressing up. Because my son and daughter-in-law couldn’t take my grandson trick-or-treating, they had a family get-together Halloween night and asked us all to dress up. Even though I tried to think of something with minimal work, it was fun.

Mittu potrays a tired stay-at-home mom with her coffee (love the shirt!). Jason is the Brawny paper towel guy. Jim is a wolf. I’m a fairy-tale Grandma. Jesse is Cyclops, an X-men character. Timothy is Marshmellow. (They don’t endorse all that the singer Marshmellow puts out, but they let Timothy watch a couple of his videos).

And here’s an encounter between Grandma and the Big Bad Wolf. 🙂

We enjoyed spaghetti and a wonderful chocolate swirl cake, and then played some games.

2. An extra hour. I sure hate to give that hour up in the spring for Daylight Savings Time, but I love getting it back in the fall.

3. The election. I was hoping and praying the results would be more definitive. At the time of this writing, we still don’t have a final result. But I am thankful we have the opportunity to make a choice.

4. At-home sleep study. That’s been on the horizon for six weeks now, and it was nice to get it over with. It will be 7-10 days before I hear the results.

5. Winning a book. I received notice that I won a book in a contest I had forgotten about entering! A nice surprise.

We’re having a cold snap this week, making us finally turn the central heat on. I think I say this every year, but I am so thankful we can heat the whole house with the push of a button. We had a fireplace in our last house that we used just for ambience sometimes or when the power was out. It was cozy, but a lot of work to keep adding wood and clearing ashes. I’m glad we don’t have to do that to keep warm.

The cold has made it seem like we had a short autumn and skipped ahead to winter. But it’s supposed to be a bit warmer next week. We hadn’t been out and around to see the fall color this year, but I drank in what was left on my way back from the sleep center.

And that wraps up this week! How was your first week of November?