Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

This isn't a light read.  It is probably my first historical fiction ever!!  And, I really liked it.  It is a sad book, but makes you think about the concentration camps and what it was like during that time.  I had no idea it was being made into a movie.  This was one of those purchases at Barnes and Noble that I bought on a whim because it intrigued me.  On a star rating - I would give it a 4 out of 5.  


Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.

Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

Tatiana de Rosnay offers us a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bubba T. Bear

T = Trouble!  Or maybe it should be Bubba D. Bear.  D = Digger!!
All the way down to the bottom to the last layer in the retaining wall!  All the way across!!  I am going to HURT this dog!  Those lillies WERE my BIG BIRD lillies!!  The big yellow gorgeous ones!!  Oh boy!  I am going to have to put a fence around this flowerbed too until SOMEONE learns some SENSE!! We may need the SHOCK fence!!  
I can't be too mad at him because technically I should be crating him all day, but I am a sucker for those eyes and this is the price I pay! Ha!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring Break is winding down

I will say it again, this may not have been my most productive Spring Break, but it has been the most RESTFUL!  And, I did get a few things done. Like tearing out 5 huge bushes all by myself!  Whoop!!  I have all my backyard flowerbeds ready for planting and mulch when the stupid weather starts acting like Spring!!  I got as much done as I could on Wednesday while I had nice weather.  By Thursday night it was sleeting.  CrAzY Arkansas weather!
 So, after tearing out three bushes Wednesday, having a burn pile, AND dredging the pond and getting it ready for Spring, I could barely move on Thursday.  It was the price to pay.  Had to get it done while I had the weather on my side.  Now...what to plant behind the pond????
 We managed to get a little fetch in for Stella Girl but it just isn't the same with Bubba Bear interfering.  Poor Stella! 
 What?  Who can resist that big 'ole grin! :-)
 Once the weather turned cold, we've been stuck inside relaxing, reading and, I'm not complaining!!  I have crossed some things off the "to do" list and managed to relax and read.  A win, win!
 But I sure wish I had one more week!!  Let the count down for summer begin! :)

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

I finished the last book of the Twilight series today.  I have to rate this one as my favorite in the series.  If they all had as much action and suspense as this one, I might have liked the whole series more.  But, Bella is much more likeable in the final book.  I can now say I read the series, so all my "reader friends" can relax.  And, I did enjoy the series.  Bella just is NOT a good role model for young girls and since that is who the series is aimed at, that bothers me.  But, with every series I read, I get attached to characters and am a little sad to see it end.  It's different when you read one individual book versus a series and are invested for more than one book.  So, I can check Twilight off the list.  Order of how I liked the books:  1) Breaking Dawn 2) Eclipse 3) Twilight 4) New Moon

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Anniversary #4 :)

 Yesterday marked around 33 years of friendship (most of those as best friends) and 4 years of marriage!  Who would have thought when we dated at 15 years old, we would later end up married? 
Kevin has always been my best high school, in college and today.  I can't imagine life without him.  He spoils me rotten and always has!  I don't even know how to cook for myself anymore! ha!
Our anniversary gift to each other was serving our church staff a lunch yesterday, and then going to flea markets.  We topped off the day with a delicious dinner at PF Chang's.  We definitely had a theme of good food going to celebrate between lunch and dinner! :)
Happy anniversary Big Bear!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Break

 This may turn out to be my most unproductive Spring Break of all time!!  Between the weather - two days of rain so far and a pinched nerve in my back - I may be lazy more than anything!  Pinched nerve aside, I managed to pull out two big bushes roots and all on Saturday!  ROOOARRRR!!!  I did limit myself to only working in two flowerbeds so I could actually move the next day.  Now that it has rained for two days, I imagine the other three bushes I plan to yank up will come up easily! :)
 So far, I have only managed to give Bubba Bear a new digging ground!!  Aka the flowerbed I have ready for some replanting.  I have another one ready for mulch.  Only two more to go in the backyard and two in the front.  Usually this all gets done over Spring Break...tomorrow is our anniversary, and there is no way I can convince Big Bear to spend the day working in the yard! HA!
 We also hit some yard sales on Saturday and I bought some books for a quarter and then took them to the used book store, got a credit of $19.00 and turned it around to this nice stack (mainly for my classroom).  SCORE!  Turned $1.50 into $19.00.  Love it!
Sunday and today have purely been dedicated to READING! :)

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

So far, I have liked books 1 and 3 the best.  Book 2 lead you up to an event that never happened (it happens in the end of book 3).  I actually enjoyed Eclipse (minus the romance parts).  At this point, I am team Edward! ha!  And, while I have caved and finally read the books, I am NOT watching the movies! LOL!  Tomorrow, I start Breaking Dawn...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Trust in the Lord with all your heart...

This is a story that I just can't keep to myself!!  You just can't make this stuff up! So, sit back and get ready to see how God works. :) 
I have to give you a little background first.  You all know that Kevin has his own small catering business, and I am a teacher.  Then, we both have little side jobs. (I tutor, and he works at a golf course.)  We pretty much live paycheck to paycheck, but we always have what we need.  Well, since Christmas season ended, Kevin's business has been sloooowww.  Painfully slow.  I learned a lesson that it doesn't take long when you live paycheck to paycheck for things to go south financially!!  In February, the business couldn't cover its bills, so I was left to try to cover our regular household bills and the business bills.  Ouch!  We have sank our savings into the business, so there was nowhere else to turn.  It got pretty dicey to say the least lately.  Some examples?  I had to use my birthday money to pay business expenses. (at least we had it) We have not had an oven since January, because we didn't have money to fix it. (Thank God for the church kitchen!) Our cable got shut off. (It was the lowest priority.) But, the day I lost it was when I was holding out for payday for gas and ran out of gas. I just needed one more day! We truly didn't have two nickels to rub together.  There are a few more stories like those, but I'm sure you get the picture.  And, I know there are those of you that GET it, because you've been there.  And, those that have never had to stretch $20 to buy a week's worth of groceries.  I honestly wouldn't wish the stress on my worst enemy.  It's a heavy weight to carry around.  Fast forward to last Sunday and Kevin is getting re-baptized.  His parents and sister come to watch him rededicate his life.  It's a big day.  I have my tithe check in my purse, and when it is time to give our tithe's and offerings, I drop it in the offering plate and say a silent prayer that God would please cover our needs for the rest of the week.  I knew that tithing was going to leave us with $20 for the week. I also knew I needed gas in my car and the pup was running dangerously low on dog food.  I knew I wouldn't be able to do both.  But, I put my faith in God to take care of what we needed.  It was all I could do.  That's the thing about being at the bottom, you have no where to look but up! :)  As we were walking out of church to celebrate Kevin's baptism, our preacher came over and put a card in my Bible.  I didn't think too much about it.  I thought it was a card for Kevin.  After we had lunch with his parents and sister, I remembered the card and got it out of my Bible.  When we opened it, it was full of $100 bills!  We had both been so stressed for months it seems that we both just sat and cried.  Bawled.  It was relief.  It was humbling.  It was unbelievable!  You know you are "poor" when the first thing you do is go get gas for your cars and go to the grocery store. :)  The amazing part is the amount was exactly how much behind the business was with its books.  God is amazing!  We were pretty much humbled the rest of the day.  So many emotions.  It is hard to put into words.  Then, later that night, as the day was winding down, someone rang our doorbell.  Kevin went to answer, but no one was there.  He walked out and looked around the corner and saw someone jump into a car but has no idea who it was.  Whoever it was left a bag on our doorstep that said "Praise God from whom all blessings flow", and it had more money in it.  I had no words.  I had tears and laughter.  Number one, I am thinking God is so good.  He has blessed us abundantly.  He has already given more than we deserve.  Number two, I have been on the giving end before and I know how much fun it is to give to someone who really needs it, so I am thinking at this point, someone out there is really having fun doing God's work.  The blessings continued into the next day...a check we had been waiting on desperately from a previous catering finally arrived.  Our accountant waived his fee for doing our taxes this year.  The blessings are there everyday if we just take the time to look for them.
I share this story because when things like this happen, God doesn't want us to keep quiet.  It would be easy not to tell the story out of embarrassment for our money situation.  But that would be letting the devil win.  Instead, I choose to Praise Jesus as loudly as I can!!!  The devil had been working on me about tithing lately.  But, just when I needed it most, the preacher gave a message on obedience a few weeks ago.  I knew it was the right thing to do no matter how little we had.  We wouldn't even have that "little" without Him.   James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
I share this story mainly to show God's love.  To show Faith.  With everything we have, we have to trust in God and He will take care of us.  Trust.  He will never disappoint.
Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer


Book #2 of the Twilight series.  I am not sure why at this point my reading friends kept telling me I had to read this! ha!  This is the weakest leading lady EVER in the history of leading ladies!  Good grief!  I do like the vampire and werewolf parts, but the romance I could do without.  And, Bella is a HORRIBLE example for teenage girls.  She can't live without a boy.  I think Stephen King said it best:  "Harry Potter is all about confronting fears, finding inner strength, and doing what is right in the face of adversity.  Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend."

But of course, I am two books invested now.  So, I will read the other two to see how it all ends. :)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spring Day!

The weather was so beautiful on Saturday that we spent the day outside with the pups doing a little yard clean-up and gearing up for Spring!!  We made a quick trip to the feed store and got some straw and a doggie treat stick for each pup.  Then, it was "off to work we go".  
See our redneck patio we had going in the background of the picture below...that was from all the mud the pups were having to walk through to get back to the house.  Hence, the reason my floors look like they do.  So, we covered it all in straw hoping that it would help with the mud situation.

 After covering it all in straw, what does Bubba Bear do?  Crawls IN THE MUD PUDDLE under the deck to lay down and chew on his stick.  Seriously!?!
 In the end, we had a nice, quiet family day outside.  Our backyard and front yard are all cleaned up.  The storage building is cleaned out and organized and we had a good country burn pile by the end of the day.
 We need more days like Saturday.  Peaceful and productive!

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

First, I can't even believe that I am finally caving and reading this series.  I have boycotted these books since they came out.  BUT, I got tired of all my reading friends telling me I needed to read them.  So, I am doing it.  I am stuck in cheeseville of books at the moment.  I actually enjoyed Twilight.  I admit it, but I am reading the second one right now and well, it's like a train wreck that you can't look away from.  One on the one hand, they are cheesey and on the other, I can't stop because now I'm invested and want to see how it all turns out.  I won't even bother with a summary.  Everyone knows about Twilight! :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Posts on here....

...may be few and far between.  Life just isn't very fun right now.  We are in a valley at the moment.  I am escaping reality by reading as much as possible.  :)  So, as soon as we start climbing out of this valley and I don't bore or depress you with our troubles, I'll be back!  Nothing life threatening...just life.  For some reason, you know we can't catch a break no matter how hard we try. :(

Feel free to lift us up in prayer.  God knows our needs better than we do. :)

My verses of the week (month):  (because maybe someone else needs them too)

Matthew 11:28-30
2“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 6:25-34 (I have this one on my phone and ready at all times.  When I start to worry, I read it immediately.)

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Ok, my opinion only, but you can skip her first novel (Sharp Objects) and read Dark Places and Gone Girl.  Dark Places didn't grab me the same way Gone Girl did, but it was a really good read.  This author takes you on twists and turns that you don't see coming. I love it!  I had NO CLUE who did it until she revealed it.  I love books that keep me guessing and thinking.

Here is the summary:
I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club . . . and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.