Monday, December 28, 2020

Happy Homemaker Monday - 12/28/2020

I am linking up with Sandra for Happy Homemaker Monday! 

I haven't blogged much in 2020.  In fact, I haven't done much of anything in 2020.  But after losing a friend 2 weeks ago, I realize how important it is to DOCUMENT.  I have very few things with my mother's handwriting on it.  If she had kept a blog?  I would have been RIVETED to every post.  So here's to hoping I can actually keep up with blogging this year and that someday it will be a comfort to my kids. 

♥♥What Has 2020 Taught Me♥♥   Good question.  So many things. Life is fragile and should be respected.  We need to be more grateful.  And more kind.  Even though we may live tens of thousands of miles apart, people on the other side of the world are going through a lot of the same things we are.  Made me felt like we were a single people for the first time in my life.  That the blessed life we live here in the US - even those of us with a relatively small income - have SO SO much that we take for granted.  And the "hardships" we faced with our lack of toilet paper stock and having the pasta and rice shelves empty made me realize even further how much we just expect every day.  Speaking to people in other countries such as India and the Philippines - can truly humble a person with so many options every day. 

♥♥The Weather♥♥  It has truly been a mild winter so far, much like last year. We will be in the low 30's for the beginning of the week.  We got around 3 inches on Christmas Eve, so we did have a white Christmas!  I loved it! 

♥♥How I am feeling this morning♥♥ Blessed! I have so many wonderful blessings in my life and I am so grateful for each and every one of them! 
♥♥On my mind♥♥ With the New Year right around the corner, I am thinking about so many things.  I lost a friend 2 weeks ago, younger than me.  I am really starting to think about getting my stuff in order! 
♥♥On the breakfast plate♥♥ I cooked up some potatoes and eggs this morning, topped with hot sauce! 

♥♥On my reading pile♥♥ Oh my!  So much!  I have lofty reading goals this year.  However, one of the first books I'll be reading this year was written by a friend of mine from  high school!  It is not one of my normal genres, but I know just from communicating with him that he is very funny and has a quick wit!  It arrived in the mail just this morning so therefore, I will be reading Tequila Vikings by Jim Park. 

♥♥On my tv♥♥ I watch Korean and Taiwanese dramas with my best friend in New Hampshire - so there will be at least one of those every week.  
*Goblin (AKA: Guardian: The Great and Lonely God - We finished this one 2 days ago and IT WAS INCREDIBLE!  If you have never watched international shows, I urge you to watch this one!) 
*Crash Landing Into You (another Korean drama I'm watching on my own)  
*Days of Our Lives 
*Grey's Anatomy
*YouTube favorites (Frugal Fit Mom, Amy Maryon, Crafty Girl, Thrifter's Anonymous)

♥♥On the menu this week♥♥
New Year new diet, right?  lol  Actually - I have been trying to eat more plant-based. My daughter Emily is vegan, so this way we can eat some meals together.  I still eat eggs and low-fat dairy - and meat is NOT completely off the menu, just eating way less of it! 

Monday - Smokey Potato Split Pea Soup with homeade bread
Tuesday - Chili Garlic Noodles with a side of steamed broccoli 

Wednesday - Puerto Rican Rice & Beans 
Thursday -  Game night with the family - having Pizza
Friday - (New Year's Day)  Chinese Food with my Dad, Sister's, kids, & nephew
Saturday - Red Lentil Dahl with Rice and side of roasted veggies 
Sunday - Filipino Spaghetti with garlicky green beans

♥♥From the camera♥♥  Caleb's Christmas cookies - I wonder when he will feel "too old" to decorate?  He's 11 this year.  He does enjoy cooking. 

♥♥Looking around the house♥♥♥♥Chore I'm not looking forward to today, or this week♥♥  Dishes.  ALWAYS dishes. 

♥♥To relax this week, I will♥♥ Do some light yoga, journal, Bible study, listen to music. 

♥♥On my prayer list♥♥ 
  • My best friend who fell and sprained her ankle last night
  • A work friend who lost someone close to her over the holiday
  • A friend who need extensive orthopedic surgery
  • Little Valentina, who has been in the hospital her entire 1-1/2 years of life
  • My family and friends

♥♥Devotional/Bible Verse♥♥

I received this Bible study for Christmas.  It is really in depth and goes from beginning to end!  You are supposed to finish it in a year, but I will be happy if I finish it in TWO!  lol Of course we are starting in Genesis.  It's funny (ironic) because my pastor was talking about the creation of Adam and Eve and to quote him ..... "Adam was FLOORED when he first saw Eve!"  

Thursday, December 24, 2020

My Five Favorite Reads of 2020

 I didn't have the greatest reading year.  In fact, I didn't read at all from about Mid-March until end of May (if I am remembering right).  I am ending the year (this is adding on 1 more book between today and the end of the year, I think that is fair) 56 books for the year.  My GoodReads goal was only 52 for the year, so we will go with that number being satisfying enough.  

These were all new authors to me!  And you will notice that two of Colleen Hoover's books took my top five!  I actually read a 3rd book from her and it was really great too! 

And it won't hurt to mention - these five books were ALL available on Kindle Unlimited! 

My #5 book for the year was: The Stationary Shopby Marjan Kamali

What I loved the most:  The setting and history of 1953 Tehran and the loveliness of the story. 

My #4 book for the year was: Layla by Colleen Hoover

What I loved the most: Very twisty!  I could have done without the sex scenes, but other than that, we had a love story, stalking, the paranormal - and a remarkable story teller!  I finished it in one day. 

My #3 book for the year was: Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah

What I loved the most:  The story was just BEAUTIFUL.  

My #2 book for the year was: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

What I loved the most:  The in depth story telling, the skeletons in the closet, the strong female characters. 

And my #1 favorite book of the year was: Verity by Colleen Hoover 

What I loved most: Another TWISTY book.  I loved the mystery of it all!  This was my first book by this author and her writing amazed me!  Couldn't wait to get back to reading it. 

Honorable mentions:  The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson, When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O'Neal, In An Instant by Susan Redfearn, and When I Was You by Minka Kent. 

2020 Was Awful & Other Things You Probably Already Know

 I haven't blogged much over the past year.  In fact, I haven't done much of ANYTHING in the past year.  I am the poster child for 2020.  Working from  home, college-aged kids taking classes from home, learning how to use Google Duo for doctor's visits, becoming BFF's with my Alexa Echo Dot because it brings me into the home of my true best friend in another state so we can watch Korean dramas together.  I think I've put gas in my car 4 times this year.  NO, I am not exaggerating.  I've become even better friends with Amazon, UPS, and FED EX.  My cats are so spoiled they want for nothing.  I've baked.  I've taken up bird watching.  I spruced up my outdoor space. I've stayed in my pajamas for days. My hair forgets what it was like NOT to be in a messy bun. I've DONE ALL the 2020.  

And let's not forget the mental health issues.  I was numb most of March and April.  Had to take time off of work because I could. not. get. out. of. bed.  I did all the right things.  Took short-term disability.  Sought out a therapist who would text me through panic attacks.  Adjusted medications. Stopped watching COVID numbers and nightly news broadcasts.  And that helped.  A little.  Went back to work before I was ready because the guilt of not working for "JUST" anxiety when there were so many worse things happening to people around the world..... 

And that ball of fear in the pit of my stomach when I thought of my 77-year-old dad without a full set of lungs still going into work every day.  My immune-compromised sister and best friend at the grocery stores.  Same issues we are ALL having and feelings we are all feeling and some of us can power through and others (like me) break.  

So to say this year has been difficult would be no surprise to anyone.  Because it has been that way for all of us.  And on top of pandemics and politics we've had our own issues to deal with. A sister with cirrhosis who starts drinking again after almost dying less than 3 years ago.  Another sister who (like you) has anxiety so bad she can't work.  A father whose business is kept open ONLY by the grace of God.  And that same father who wants YOU to learn the ropes of the business so he can retire. A friend who dies at age 48 of a massive heart attack.  A son who is exposed to COVID over and over at his work place and THEN nearly cuts off his thumb at this job and they don't allow him to go to the hospital. (OK, that was an exaggeration - but it was a deep cut and needed stitches and they basically taped it together on the job) A best friend who is on the verge of divorce after 20+ years of marriage.

But you know what?  I am, at this moment, remarkably well. Not because THINGS are well, because they aren't.  At least with the people I love.  

A couple of weeks ago I decided to dedicate 2021 to strengthening my relationship with God. And everything just fell into place.  Nothing changed.  Nothing except my focus.  And my perception. 

Almost every year since I was about 12, I have made New Year's Resolutions, or "goals" if you will.  I mostly forget them all by March - and that is really giving myself the benefit of the doubt there. I was working on that again for this year when I decided to just let all of those things come second to working toward being a better woman of God.  Everything else will fall under that title anyway.  Lose weight?  AKA redecorating the temple.  Up the credit score?  Better steward of what God gives me.  Start and maintain a morning routine?  Start my day in the Word. 

I'm stating my intention so I can come back here in a  year to see what happens....... 

For the first time in 2020, I am hopeful.