2019 Reading Challenge

Every year, our little Facebook book club does a reading challenge.  Below is the list for 2019.  I’ve already finished 3 categories due to a little unexpected time on my hands, though I don’t expect to keep up the pace.

I often do internet searches to find my next read.  My first completed book of 2019 was found during such a search on a list of “books you cannot put down”.  I knew nothing about it other than the title and that it was fiction.  The book is called All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood.  And, it absolutely belonged on that list.  I almost didn’t use it for our reading challenge, though, because how do you explain how good a book is that is about an 8-year-old and a 19-year-old falling in love and not sound like a total creeper?  And, to make matters worse, I put it in category #8 A Romance Novel……yeah….here is my book club submission:

8. A Romance Novel: Okay. This may be a stretch. I found this title on a list called “Books You Cannot Put Down”. And, they were right. I read it in three days, and for me, that is saying something. I almost exclusively do audiobooks because it takes me forever to get through an actual book book. ANYWAY. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood is the story of 8-year-old Wavy, whose mother is a drug addict that usually can’t be bothered to take care of her, whose father cooks meth, and who is raising her little brother. One night, her presence on the road causes 19-year-old Kellan, an associate of her father’s, to wreck his motorcycle. This is the beginning of a long and complicated relationship that nobody truly understands but the two of them. If I had known the subject matter of this book beforehand, I probably would not have read it. BUT, it really is very well written and hard to put down and maybe not quite as creepy as it sounds…..I dunno….. 5 stars on Goodreads.


All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

I know that all sounds horrible.  But, it’s a good book.  It just is.

The second book I finished this year was I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios, which fulfilled category #2 A YA Fiction Novel.

2. A YA Fiction Book: I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios is about Skylar Evans’s attempt to escape tiny Creek View, California, and the life she’s living in abject poverty with her recovering addict mother. Only months away heading off to college, Josh Mitchell returns from Afghanistan with one leg missing, and all of her plans begin to slip through her fingers. 4 stars on Goodreads.

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios — Reviews ...

And, my third of the year is The Rooster Bar by John Grisham.  I usually enjoy his novels, but this one wasn’t my favorite.  I can’t even say why exactly.  Probably I wasn’t in the mood for it.  That may have something to do with the way my new year started off (by getting fired from my job of 16+ years).  I put that book in category #13.

13.) A book by someone named John/Johnson or variant: The Rooster Bar by John Grisham is about four 3rd-year law school students who are drowning in debt and are facing the very real probability of unemployment after graduating from the third-tier law school, Foggy Bottom. Gordy can’t take the pressure and leaps off of the Arlington Memorial Bridge. But, before he does so, he lays out the details of a complex and wide-spread law school and student loan scheme that he has uncovered. The remaining three friends must decide what they’ll do with the information and how they are going to face their bleak futures. 3 stars on Goodreads.

Rooster Bar (Unabridged) (CD/Spoken Word) (John Grisham ...

If you’re a reader, please join our group!  The more the merrier!

On a totally random and completely unrelated note, I saw that they’re coming out with Jalapeno M&Ms?!?!  Sign me up!  **drool**

2019 Reading List

Level 1:
1.) A book with a red cover
2.) A YA fiction novel
3.) A book under 300 pages
4.) A book in a genre you normally wouldn’t choose
5.) A first book of a series
6.) A book that takes place during the summer
7.) A book whose title starts with the letter M
8.) A romance novel
9.) A book that has been turned into a TV Show or Movie
10.) A book with a title done in alliteration (example: Pride and Prejudice)
11.) A New York Time's Best Seller (Past or Present)
12.) Free Space- Pick any book!

Level 2:
13.) A book by someone named John/Johnson or variant
14.) A Fantasy novel
15.) A book with a color in the title
16.) A book recommended to you by someone else
17.) A detective novel
18.) A book with a number in the title
19.) A book about dragons
20.) A book published by Penguin Random House
21.) A book found on Project Gutenberg
22.) A book about an artist (fictional or real)
23.) A book that was published in 1999
24.) Free Space- Pick any book!

Level 3:
25.) Book 1 in a trilogy
26.) Book 2 in the same trilogy
27.) Book 3 in the same trilogy
28.) A book recommended by a friend on Social Media
29.) A book about a librarian/library
30.) A book about breaking a code or a treasure hunt
31.) A book by a Brandon/Branden or variant
32.) A book that takes place in a large city
33.) A book suggested by What Should I Read Next?
34.) A book that someone else doing this challenge is reading
35.) A book with exactly three words in the title
36.) Free Space- Pick any book!

Level 4:
37.) A book over 500 pages
38.) A book about time travel
39.) A book with a form of weather in the title
40.) A book published in 1969
41.) A book authored by a Catherine/Katherine or variant
42.) A book by an Anne/Ann/Annie or variant
43.) A book from Time's All-time top 100 book list
44.) A coming of age novel
45.) A book involving mythology
46.) A self-published book
47.) A book with the word dream in the title
48.) Free Space- Pick any book!

Level 5:
49.) A book on a banned book list
50.) The most recent book in a series you haven't finished
51.) A book that you judged by its cover (either positively or negatively)
52.) A book that takes place in your home state
53.) A book that takes place before 1965
54.) A biography
55.) A book you've previously abandoned
56.) A book about a real or fictional politician
57.) A book set in Asia
58.) A book with a tree or forest on the cover
59.) A book with the letter Z in the title 
60.) Free Space- Pick any book!
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“Old” is Relative

I am the Safety Manager at my job.  So, it probably doesn’t make much sense that when the refinery located less than two miles from my office caught fire today, I hopped in a truck and rode over there to see what I could see.  Sometimes nosiness is a stronger reaction than self-preservation.  I did, very responsibly I might add, get on the horn with my drivers and tell them to get the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of there.  At least nobody else’s blown-up body would be on my conscience.  🙂  Luckily, it was a small fire, and nobody was hurt.  There is never a boring day at my job.  Ever.

Though I am much happier at my new job, I still feel like all I do is work.  Time is flying by at an alarming rate.  Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and wonder how in the world someone as young as me can have that many wrinkles.  And then, I have to be the bearer of bad news and tell myself that I am actually NOT that young and remind myself that several of my friends are GRANDPARENTS.  That’s GRANDparents.  With a GRAND.  As in gray hair and early bedtimes and jars of orange marmalade on their tables.  There is NO WAY that the people I graduated from school with–still cool, energetic, fun, stylish people–are grandparents.  But then, maybe we’re not so “cool” (as evidenced by my use of the word cool), nor as energetic as we once were, nor as fun, and, in my case anyway, maybe not so stylish.  Sigh……

But, that’s okay.  I am determined to enjoy all the time that God is granting me here in this life.  The Hubs and I did go see 2Cellos in Austin again a few weeks ago.  I was slightly less excited this time than last because this year was the “Score Tour”.  And, though 2Cellos are extremely talented, and everything they play is amazing, I thought there was no way that it would be as good a show.  They did start out playing several movie scores.  After four or five, one of them got on the mic and told us not to worry because they would only play one more “slow song”.  **insert excited grin here**  The scores were amazing, but 2Cellos are at their very best when they are rocking out.  And, they absolutely did not disappoint.  And their drummer!  That kid is WILDLY talented.  His name is Dusan Kranjc, and his playing was stunning.  You could feel his drumbeats reverberating through your entire body.  I have no idea how he played like he did throughout the entire show, but I guess that could be said about Luka and Stjepan as well.  I can’t wait to see them again.

Anyway.  I hope all of you are enjoying your God-given time as well.  I hope you remember that each day is a gift.  I have to remind myself sometimes, but it absolutely is.  Seize each day.  Love others.  Be kind.  You know…all that advice that either makes me sound like I spend too much time on inspirational Pinterest boards or that I have life figured out.  😉  But seriously…….

Song of the Day:

Mombasa by 2Cellos with Dusan Kranjc

Book of the Day:

See the source image

The Anatomist’s Wife by Anna Lee Huber.  I am just about finished with this audio book.  I didn’t have much hope at first, but it has definitely grown on me.  Lady Darby was married to an anatomist who forced her to illustrate the anatomy book he was writing.  In Scotland in the 1800s, her participation in these autopsies is deemed “unnatural” and has made her the focus of nasty rumors.  Following the death of her husband, she flees to her sister’s castle, where she finds herself caught up in a murder mystery.  Because of her past, she becomes everyone’s prime suspect and is forced to assist in the investigation to help prove her innocence.  So far, so good.  I have been looking forward to my commute each morning and afternoon so I can listen to it.

Recipe of the Day:

Dill Pickle Soup via Noble Pig.  I was skeptical, but this falls under my theory that if a recipe sounds really nasty, it’s probably pretty good.  Why else would anyone make it?  And, this was pretty durn tasty!

Ingredients

  • 5-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1-3/4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (smaller dice)
  • 1 cup chopped dill pickles (smaller dice ~ about 3 large whole dills)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups dill pickle juice*
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Garnish (optional)

  • sliced dill pickles
  • fresh dill
  • black pepper

Directions

  • In a large pot, combine broth, potatoes, carrots and butter. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender. Add pickles and continue to boil.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sour cream and water, making a paste. Vigorously whisk sour cream mixture (2 Tablespoons at a time) into soup. (This will also break up some of your potatoes which is okay. You might see some initial little balls of flour form, but between the whisking and boiling all will disappear. Don’t panic.)
  • Add pickle juice, Old Bay, salt (*see below), pepper and cayenne. Cook 5 more minutes and remove from heat. Serve immediately.
  • *All pickle juice is not created equal. Some is saltier than others. Taste your soup after adding the pickle juice and final seasonings. It’s possible you will not need any salt or would prefer more or less.

Back on Track

 

Hello.

It’s me….

So, it’s been ages since I’ve written.  The last few times y’all heard from me, my life was in a sort of state of limbo.  I’m happy to announce that things have improved.  I was able to escape that horribly toxic environment that I was working in.  I started a new job about two months ago, and I love it.  There is so much less drama.  Though the work can be stressful, everyone is laid back, and we all get along very well.  All around, I am so much happier.  The Hubs’ work is still sporadic, but business is picking up.  I am still trusting the Lord with all of it.  We’ve had a few things happen with our home that almost sent me over the edge, but I am placing it all in His hands as well.  Ah, the Joys of Home Ownership.

The other blogging project that I have been working on, has slowed down.  Neither my friend nor I have had as much time to round up contributors.  I really hope to get back into that.  I truly found it rewarding.  (If anyone has a story they’d like to contribute….hint hint hint……)

Did any of you make any New Years resolutions?  I didn’t.  I had decided a while back to make a conscious effort to be happy.  Period.  It wasn’t a New Years resolution.  It was a life resolution.  And, so far, so good!  🙂

We started a new reading challenge at the beginning of the year.  I am ashamed to say that I did not successfully finish the 2017 challenge.  **hangs head**  But, it’s a new year and a new reading list.  This go ’round should be fun.  I came up with a new format that should be interesting.  I think it has thrown some of the members off, but once they start putting books into categories, I think they will get into it.  If anyone cares to join, you are more than welcome!

To all of those who are under a winter weather advisory….stay warm & fuzzy!  For those of us who are not at all used to this level of cold….bless our hearts!  😉

Book of the day:

See the source image

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter.  Claire Scott thinks that she has a storybook life and marriage until her husband is murdered in front of her.  After the funeral, she discovers that she did not know her husband AT ALL.  This book is graphic and brutal, but is a very good read.  4 stars on Goodreads.

Song of the day:

&Run by Sir Sly.

Heavy as the setting sun / oh, I’m counting all the numbers between zero and one / happy but a little lost / well, I don’t know what I don’t know / so I’ll kick my shoes off and run.

Recipe of the day:

Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Soup via Chelsea’s Messy Apron
Ingredients
  • 1 can (10 ounces) green enchilada sauce
  • 1 can white beans
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 2 cans (4 ounces EACH) diced fire-roasted green chiles
  • 1 can (10.5 ounces) diced tomatoes optional
  • 4 teaspoons ground chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh cilantro optional
  • 2 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese softened
  • Pick your favorite add-ins: pepper-jack cheese, sour cream, fresh lime, additional cilantro
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Instructions

  1. In a large crockpot, pour in the green enchilada sauce, drained and rinsed white beans, drained and rinsed black beans, and fat-trimmed boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts.
  2. Add the undrained diced fire-roasted green chiles, diced tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, paprika, about 1 teaspoon salt, about 1/4 teaspoon pepper, coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, and chicken broth or stock.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours or high for 3-5 hours or until the chicken easily shreds.
  4. Remove the chicken from the crockpot and place in another bowl. Add softened cream cheese into the crockpot.
  5. Cover and cook on high for another 30 minutes or until the cream cheese melts completely and is easily stirred into the soup. Remove the chicken and transfer to a bowl. Briskly whisk to get the cheese completely incorporated.
  6. Shred the chicken with 2 forks and then add back into the soup.
  7. Serve with desired toppings. I love a big handful of pepper-jack cheese, fat-free sour cream, a wedge of lime, and some cilantro!

Goodreads Book Tag

I haven’t posted on this account in ages.  But, I saw on my active blog that there is a Goodreads Book Tag.  As someone who uses Goodreads all the time, I knew I had to participate.

What was the last book you marked as ‘read’?

Image result for blue highways william heat

Blue Highways:  A Journey Into America by William Least Heat-Moon

What are you currently reading?

I am reading two books at the moment.

Image result for witness to a trial john grishamImage result for the twelve justin cronin

On my Kindle, I am reading Witness to a Trial by John Grisham.  I needed a book and its prequel for this year’s reading challenge, and I finished The Whistler earlier this year.  (It was great btw.)  And at work, I am listening to The Twelve by Justin Cronin.  It is book two of The Passage series, which is a post apocalyptic series.  The series was recommended to me by a cousin, and I really liked the first one.  I believe there are four books total.

What was the last book you marked as TBR?

I don’t mark books as TBR on Goodreads because I never really know what I’ll be reading next.  I do, however, keeps books on my wish list on the online library that I use.

What book do you plan to read next?

Do you use the star rating system?

Yes I do.  However, I often wonder why I rated a book the way I did.  It’s really subjective and depends on mood, how good or bad recent reads have been, etc.

Are you doing a 2017 reading challenge?

I am.  This is the third year that I have participated in a reading challenge.  In fact, I created a reading challenge Facebook page with my cousin, and this is the second year of that.  Last year, I finished with one day to spare in the year!  This year is looking rather doubtful, but I’m not giving up yet.  My problem is that I read and read and read without much focus put on my challenge list.

Do you have a wishlist?

Yes.  The online library I use allows you to place books on a wish list.  This comes in handy if you already have the 10 books the site limits you to already on hold.

What book do you plan to buy next?

I almost never buy books.  I know that a lot of people probably consider that sacrilege or something, but it’s true.  Why spend money on books when I can borrow them from the library and then return them?  I very seldom re-read books.  I would, however, like to own a copy of The Fault in Our Stars.

Do you have any favorite quotes? Share a few.

 

“Power, time, gravity, love. The forces that really kick ass are all invisible.” – David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

 

“A grace is a thing you get from God. You use it to make a better world or not use it. You have to choose.” “Like your art,” I said, “like your beautiful drawings.” He said, “like your pancakes.” – Dean Koontz, Brother Odd

 

“And I urge you to please notice when you are happy….” – Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

Who are your favorite authors?

 

I didn’t even know this was a feature on Goodreads!  According to the site, my most-read authors are:  Janet Evanovich (21), James Patterson (19), John Grisham (18), and Stephen King (17).  I don’t know if I would call any of these my “favorites”, though.

Have you joined any groups?

No.

 

Do you use Goodreads? What are your favorite and least favorite things about it? Are there any cool bookish websites like Goodreads that you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments section below!

 

I’m still alive. In case you were wondering.

Hello, neglected readers.  I am sorry that I have been away for so long.  As usual, I started a project (this and one other blog) and then got distracted and left them shivering and alone and utterly abandoned.

I have been working on another blogging project, however.  This one with a friend.  It was her idea.  And, it has been quite successful and rewarding.  I really hope that we are helping people.  That’s our goal anyway.  http://theinnerviewweb.wordpress.com, if you’re interested.  We are always looking for contributors, btw.  Please reach out to me if you have a story to tell.  Anonymously or not!

Also, The Hubs’s new work project has been picking up speed.  And, we’ve had a lot going on in the home front:  another garage sale, family visits, family reunions, fantasy football draft parties, visits to my grandma, craft projects, road trips, etc etc etc.  Time is flying by at an alarming rate.

Our 20th wedding anniversary, which has forever seemed in the distant future, is only a month away now!  Goodness!  I can’t even wrap my head around being married that long.  But, we have.  The Hubs and I took a selfie Saturday evening while out to dinner with friends.  I almost gasped when I saw it.  We look….**insert tense, dark music leading up to a horrific reveal here**….middle aged!  Surely we don’t actually look like that in normal, everyday life.  SURELY I would have noticed…..

A small portion of my out-of-state in-laws recently left after a two-week visit.  That is always an ordeal.  The Hubs’s family is just so friggin’ massive.  We hosted a retirement party for my mother-in-law.  It was mostly local family that attended, and I would guesstimate that there were 50-70 people there.  We decorated for two hours.  Cooked for two days.  Planned for two weeks.  It was exhausting.  But, she had a good time, and that’s all that matters.  My right eye has finally stopped twitching.  (I kid….I kid….)

Anywho.  So, that’s my excuse for not blogging recently.  And, I guess that my 100 Day Song Challenge is a gigantic failure.  I’ll never catch up on that.  Oh well…..

Hope you are happy and peaceful and enjoying life.

Song of the Day

Numb by Linkin Park.  This is in honor of Chester Bennington, who committed suicide last week.  So.  Sad.  Suicide is NEVER the answer.  It breaks my heart to hear of anyone doing it…….

Recipe of the Day

Strawberry Jam-Filled White Chocolate Mousse Mirror Glaze Cake via http://www.casuable.com.  The Hubs and I tried to make this for his mom’s party.  It.  Was.  A.  Disaster.  In the end, we served a bowl of “cake salad”.  It was hideous, but very very tasty.  Sigh….

Ingredients

White Chocolate Mousse

  • 8 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar
  •  cups heavy cream (for the eggs)
  •  cups white chocolate (over 30% cocoa butter)
  • 2 cups heavy cream chilled (for whipping)

Mirror Glaze

  • 300 milliliters water
  •  cups sugar
  • 1 14- ounce can sweeten condensed milk
  • 15 gelatin sheets
  • 26 ounces white chocolate chopped (over 30% cocoa butter)
  • Gel food coloring of choice

Mirror Glaze Cake

  • 1 recipe White Chocolate Mousse
  • 18 ounces strawberry jam seedless
  • 2 round vanilla cakes prepared with box instructions and trimmed to 1 cm thick
  • 1 recipe Mirror Glaze

Instructions

White Chocolate Mousse

  1. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with a hand mixer until frothy and airy, then mix in the sugar slowly. Beat until lemon-colored and fluffy.
  2. Heat the cream in a pot over medium heat until steaming but not boiling, then slowly mix in half of the cream with the eggs – being sure to not cook the eggs by pouring too much cream inside before it’s mixed.
  3. Pour the warm creamy egg mixture into the pot with the rest of the cream and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon without dripping off too much.
  4. Mix in the white chocolate until smooth, then transfer the mix to a bowl and press cling film into the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill completely.
  5. Once the white chocolate mixture is set, beat the cold cream in a large bowl until stiff peaks. Be careful not to overmix, it’s safer to undermix than the over mix.
  6. Carefully fold in the white chocolate mixture into the cream, a little at a time, until folded in completely. Set aside for later use.

Mirror Glaze

  1. Boil the water, sugar, and condensed milk in a pot for 1 minute, then remove from heat.
  2. Bloom the gelatin in 8 cups of cold water for 5 minutes, then wring the gelatin sheets of excess water and mix into the sugar mixture.
  3. Pour the liquid over the chocolate, letting it sit for 2-3 minutes to allow the chocolate to soften.
  4. Using an immersion blender, carefully blend the chocolate and the liquid, making sure that you are not blending in air bubbles by lifting up the blender too high. It’s okay to go slow, just make sure it’s all blended with as little bubbles as possible, which will show up in the final product.
  5. Sieve the mix into a large jug or vertical container to remove any excess bubbles. If there are still bubbles, continue to sieve back and forth. A trick to remove air bubbles from the surface is to manually pop them with a toothpick or to press cling film into the surface and remove the bubbles.
  6. Separate the glaze into different containers and color them to your desire. We used red and white for this cake. Blend the coloring with the glaze until the color is distributed evenly, then cover each container with the cling film, pressing the film into the glaze to ensure that there is no skin when you are ready to use the glaze.
  7. When you are ready to use the glaze, make sure each one is around 90-96°F, then pour the colored glazes back into one container. Swirl them if you’d like, then glaze your cake!

Mirror Glaze Cake

  1. Spread the jam evenly into the bottom of a round 8-inch cake pan, then place one of the cake rounds on top. Freeze completely.
  2. In a 9-inch by 3-inch silicone round cake mold, pour ⅔ of the chocolate mousse then tap the mold on the table to release any air bubbles.
  3. Place the frozen cake & jam disc on top of the mousse, jam-side down. Press the cake down slightly, then cover it with the rest of the mousse. Place the 2nd cake round on top, pressing down until the mousse rises to the level of the cake. Carefully transfer to a freezer and freeze overnight. It is vital that the cake is 100% frozen through.
  4. Place a can on top of a baking sheet, then carefully unmold the cake onto the can. Make sure to work quickly and that the glaze is already prepared.

Book of the Day

Image result for a painted house john grisham

A Painted House by John Grisham.  I just finished this one today.  I love books set in the ’50s.  I think it’s because my parents were born in the ’50s.  Life seemed so much simpler back then.  It definitely was harder, but there was no social media.  People lived slower.  They seemed to have more values and treat people kinder.  This book tells the story of 7-year-old Luke and his family, who are cotton farmers in rural Arkansas.  I really enjoyed it.

My Most Common Topic: Randomness

Hi.  🙂  How is everyone?  I’m good.  I’m kicked back in the living room listening to The Hubs yell at the Texas Rangers game on TV.  Apparently Sam Dyson is the source of much suffering for Rangers fans.  (The Hubs takes his Texas sports seriously.)

I just thought I’d log in and ramble about a few random things.

Last night I was reading my Bible study, which included Psalm 37.  This is very relevant to my life right now.  If you’ve read many of my previous posts, you may know that I am a disgruntled employee.  Most of my disgruntledness (is that a word?) stems from the wrongful firing of The Hubs by my boss.  I have been making a true effort recently to let it all go and not hold any ill will toward my boss or any of the other involved cast of characters.  I have been mostly succeeding at this.  I have been able to just smile and shake my head and move on from things that would normally have me up in arms.  It is VERY freeing.

Do not fret because of those who are evil
    or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
    like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
    do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
    but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

This may sound like I am wishing bad things on these people.  I am not.  I swear.  Basically, the message is that I should not let their deeds bother me.  I need to worry about my own life and not let bitterness toward anyone eat me up.  I kinda felt that having that as part of my daily devotional was God telling me to keep it up.  I will continue to try!  I hope that you are able to do the same if you have poisonous people in your life.

A few posts ago, I mentioned having an MRI.  Well, the results of that came in, and they weren’t what I had hoped.  But, that’s okay.  I was diagnosed with MS 16 years ago, and I have been much healthier during that time than I deserve or could have ever asked for.  The disappointing part is that my neurologist (who I love, love, love) wants me to start taking medication again.  Boo!  Hiss!  I stopped taking all medications several years ago, and I have not missed any of it for a second.  The thought of getting back into all of that has been dragging on me.  I am yet to call him back and make the necessary arrangements.  Why do label side effects have to be so awful???

I love watching #LivePD.  I just wanted to throw that in there.

I also love Carpool Karaoke.

Two more days and that wonderful, awesome, three-word phrase that office workers around the globe rejoice in will be here!

THREE DAY WEEKEND!

Can I get a woot woot?  Do you have any fabulous plans?  I am going to go see my grandma and aunt.  I cherish every visit that I get with my grandma.  We live close enough to each other that I get to see her fairly regularly, but far enough apart that I can’t just pop in whenever I want to check on her or take her out to lunch or invite her over for dinner.  I don’t know what I’ll do with the rest of my time off, but I would bet good money that I won’t be spending too much time being a responsible adult and doing chores!  😉

May you and yours have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.  Much love to you all.

Song of the Day

When you are doing a 100 Day Song Challenge, it is downright difficult to pick a song of the day.  I’m just saying….  I think everyone needs to tap their toes to something.  Why not tap them to Square Dance Rap by Sir Mix-a-Lot?

Recipe of the Day

Beer Cheese Soup via http://www.foodnetwork.com.  (I have used this for the recipe of the day before, but I’m posting it again to add an important note.)  I made this for the second time last night.  The first time, I used a Coors Light.  Last night, I used some funky IPA that The Hubs had in the fridge.  Let me just say that beer choice matters…..

Ingredients
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
Pinch cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 bottle pale ale, such as Pabst Blue Ribbon
2 cups shredded sharp yellow Cheddar
1 cup shredded gruyere
1/2 cup half-and-half

Directions

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large saucepot over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, onions, mustard powder, cayenne and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sweat the vegetables until tender, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Pour in the stock, mustard and Worcestershire and simmer until the veggies are very soft, about 15 minutes. Add the ale, simmer, about 5 minutes, and then puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Add the Cheddar, gruyere and half-and-half and stir until melted through and smooth. Adjust the seasoning.  Enjoy with a 30-pack of your favorite cheap beer.

Book of the Day

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  Every book I have read by Hannah has been an absolute tear-jerker, and this one is promising to be no different.  I have a thing for books set during WWII for some reason.  I have no idea why.  They are so heart-wrenching.  I cannot imagine how people managed to survive the things they did.  I cannot imagine having to rely of food rations or having people take over my home and confiscate all of my belongings.  I cannot wrap my head around a whole group of people being denied the basics of life.  I would like to think that I would have the courage to lay my life on the line to stand for what is right, but I have not had that tested yet.  I am about 1/3 of the way through this book, and I am enraptured by it.

 

Bring on the Future

Hello, people.  I hope you have all been doing fabulously in the time I’ve been neglecting my blog.  🙂  Life has been non-stop busy busy.  It’s sad when you have to plot out rest weeks ahead of time.  I think, “I can take a day off this weekend….”  No.  Wait.  I have this going on.  Okay.  “I can take a day off the following weekend.”  No…..I have to go here.  Sigh….  No wonder life passes so quickly.  And no wonder my housekeeping has been seriously slacking lately….

On top of being busy, there has been a lingering air of uncertainty.  Mine and The Hubs’ future is up in the air….not our relationship….but with where we’ll be and what we’ll be doing.  I am all kinds of open to change.  The Hubs has had several opportunities open up in front of him, and whatever happens will dictate the next portion of our lives.  I, on the other hand, am not having the response I’ve hoped for in my job hunt.  I have 15 years experience in my field.  You’d think I wouldn’t have that much trouble finding a job in that field.  But, I have faith if I have nothing else.  I certainly don’t know God’s plan, but I’m open to finding out whatever it is!  The promise of life changing up some finally is rather exciting.

As always, I’ve been reading.  And eating.  Ha!  I’ve mentioned before my love of savoring well-written lines and paragraphs.  Here are a couple of unexpected physical descriptions that made me smile:

“Baffa was potbellied, with a sagging chest, thick jowls, a drooping forehead, and a downward-bending mustache, so that when he sat, he seemed like a layer of frowns stacked in a chair.” – Mitch Albom, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto

“Next to me, a lady nearing her seventh decade kept between us a white purse big enough for a mugger to hide in. She wore a black wig. Her devil-may-care red lipstick had come unhitched and slipped a notch; her layers of nail polish were chipped like paint on an old dory; and her hands lay in two piles on the bar, the slack skin taken up by plumpness. As for the Jungle Gardenia perfume, it was only a question of time before tsetse flies hit.” – William Least Heat-Moon, Blue Highways

Best wishes to you all.  May you find the ability to not take other people’s bitterness personally.  (This is something I face at my job every day.  It is so freeing when you can just let things roll off your back.)

Song of the Day

Like a Stone by Audioslave.  In memory of the late Chris Cornell.  Suicide sucks.  It makes me so sad that people get to a place where they don’t think there is any other option except to end things.

Book of the Day

Image result for illuminaeImage result for gemina

Illuminae and Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.  I used to despise sci-fi, but I have started to enjoy some of it in recent years.  These are the first two (and so far only, though there is an already-titled third book in the works) books of The Illuminae Files series.  The books are set 500 years in the future.  There are space ships, artificial intelligence, inter-galactic battles, and uber talented teenagers who outsmart the adults and save the day.  I honestly don’t think I would have liked them as much if I hadn’t listened to them in audiobook format.  They are performed by a full cast and are done very well.  I gave them three and four stars respectively on Goodreads.

Recipe of the Day

Oven-Baked Leek & Bacon Risotto via http://www.bbcgoodfood.com.  Back when my community had Bountiful Baskets (let’s take a moment to mourn……..), I got a basket with leeks, and I found this recipe as a way to use them.  It was my first experience with risotto, and I fell absolutely in love.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 6 rashers smoked back bacon, roughly chopped
  • 2 leeks, halved lengthways and finely sliced
  • 250g risotto rice

  • 700ml hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 175g frozen peas
  • 3 tbsp soft cheese
  • zest 1 lemon 

Method

  1. Heat oven to 200C. Tip the oil into an ovenproof casserole dish. Add bacon and fry for 2 mins. Add the leeks and cook until soft, but not coloured, for about 4-5 mins. Tip in rice and cook for 1 min more. Pour over stock. Cover and place in the oven for 20 mins, stirring halfway.
  2. When rice is just tender and all liquid is absorbed, remove from oven and stir in peas. Place back in oven for 2 mins more. Remove and stir in cheese. Add zest and season.