Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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2020 Word of the Year: STEADFAST

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Already, 2020 is here!

STEADFAST is my word for 2020. Last year, my word was treasure. The year before that, my word was roots.

As a wife, mother, and Nana, I realize that remaining steadfast in life is required to take care of what needs to be done. The work of this sort is repetitive. We all know this. Dishes, laundry, cleaning, driving, errands, cooking, loving, hugging, instructing. The list is the same for many tasks, but new in its application and settings (everyone grows and needs new interpretation of daily tasks). Facing each day with a steadfast heart will keep me moving in the right direction.

As a writer, I’ve read numerous times that the only writers who do not succeed are those who quit. Even when it seems nothing is happening, if I continue to be steadfast in my writing endeavors, seek to improve my craft, and be alert for opportunities to share, help, critique, improve, and submit my work, it’s going to happen. Every writing experience is a learning time. Nothing is wasted. Some things might be (okay, some things ARE) terrible, but learning takes place. Remaining steadfast and putting one step in front of the other will keep me from quitting.

As a believer, I’m happy to know that nothing I do is in vain, if I do it for the Lord. So my failures, successes, trials, errors, and general craziness of life done for the Lord are not a waste of time. I must be immovable, steadfast in my faith and purpose.

I’m looking forward to discovering more about my word of the year. STEADFAST.

What is your word or phrase of the year? I’d love to hear about it. Thanks for stopping by!

 


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Book Report: The Memory Keeper by Jennifer Camiccia

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The Memory Keeper

Written by Jennifer Camiccia

Aladdin, An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division; 2019

 

I received a copy of The Memory Keeper through Natalie Aguirre’s blog Literary Rambles. Thank you, Natalie and Jennifer!

I enjoyed reading The Memory Keeper. The cover is very attractive and captured my attention while also giving me a place of setting. The characters are really fun and engaging. I learned SOOOO much about brains in this book. Do not be turned off by that statement. This is a far cry from medical descriptions of brain information. Jennifer expertly wove brain facts into the story. Each chapter begins with a new bit of information relevant to that chapter, and then off we go!

The story of Lulu, a young girl with HSAM (Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory) and her grandmother, who might be beginning to suffer from dementia OR memory-related stress incidents, is a great read.

Why I Loved This Book:

~ The characters are fantastic.

~ I learned so much about brain science (in a fun, non-textbook sort of way).

~ Mystery, danger, intrigue!

~ I liked the friendship factor.

~ Dysfunctional family. Who doesn’t have one of those?

~ I enjoyed the history and inter-generational relationships.

~ The problem-solving and hidden secrets really upped the story intrigue.

~ Excellent writing and story telling.

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Amazon Blurb:

Fish in a Tree meets The Thing About Jellyfish in this heartfelt middle grade debut about long-buried secrets, the power of memory, and the bond between a girl and her gram.

All Lulu Carter wants is to be seen. But her parents are lost in their own worlds, and Lulu has learned the hard way that having something as rare as HSAM—the ability to remember almost every single moment in her life—won’t make you popular in school.

At least Lulu has Gram, who knows the truth about Lulu’s memory and loves her all the more for it. But Gram has started becoming absentminded, and the more lost she gets, the more she depends on Lulu…until Lulu realizes her memory holds the very key to fixing Gram’s forgetfulness. Once Lulu learns that trauma can cause amnesia, all she needs to do to cure Gram is hunt down that one painful moment in Gram’s life.

With her friends Olivia and Max, Lulu digs into Gram’s mysterious past. But they soon realize some secrets should stay buried, and Lulu wonders if she ever knew Gram at all. It’s up to Lulu to uncover the truth before the only person who truly sees her slips away.

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I hope you enjoy The Memory Keeper. Great read!

 

 

 


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Merry Christmas!

Joyeux Noël!

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Donavyn, Taylor, Jamie, Autumn, and Ginger (the 4-legged one)

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Hayden, Gage (shortest), Chelsie (tallest), and Khloe

From our family to yours,

Peace and joy!

Kevin and Angie

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“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

~ Luke 2:11-12

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Throwback Thursday: The Beginning of My Love of Horses

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The date on the photo reads May 1966. But I’m positive I’m not 3-4 years old in this picture. I will guess I’m 2 or 2 1/2 because I can just see the crib in the bedroom. That means my baby brother has been or soon will be born. We are about 2 1/2 years apart. Sometimes it takes a year or three to remember to take the film for developing.

So. Already I love horses. This one is special because I am carrying it, instead of the other way around. I’m looking pretty strong, the way I’m hauling my ride. I have my rocking chair, my horse, and I’m dressed for (guessing) church. Pretty styling with my navy coat and white hat and socks.

Signs of the times include rabbit ears on the television, the television, dish used for cigarette ashtray on the side table, glass decor, and pale yellow walls. This house was a rental as far as I know. During the early years, my dad was transferred quite a bit for his job, so moving was a part of our lifestyle.

What signs of the times do you remember seeing in old photographs from the year you were born?


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The Rock

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Not THE ROCK, Jesus. Or the Rock, Dwayne superstar Johnson. Not even the diamond rock.

Just the rock. As in, “the rock that bounced into my car.”

That rock.

It was HUGE. Grapefruit-sized. Did I mention it was bouncing?

The time: Tuesday morning, between 8:05-8:10 am. I know this because the Nana bus had just dropped off Khloe at her before school study group.

The location: west Wide Hollow Road, near Gromore Market

The perp: FedEx truck (AND the rock)

The victims: white Mazda Nana bus, shocked Nana and 4-year-old Gage riding in backseat; also the fog light grill, bumper, and inner shroud

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How it all played out: The Nana bus was headed east for home. After making the sharp corner around the market, we were barely going 30 mph. Nana spied a FedEx truck who was stopped road side up ahead with a driver who had just completed a delivery.

Said driver headed back onto road and took off headed west for more deliveries.

We were headed east, he was going west, when a huge clod of mud came bouncing out of his rear tires. It was odd, how round and bouncy that mud was. The first big bounce was easily over a yard high. It came bouncing directly into our lane and front bumper, but there were no shoulders on the road for avoidance and the distance was too close to slam on brakes. Crash! We hit the mud clod. Smash, crunch, crumble.

Whew. We were over it. Both Gage and I felt the driver side tires grind over the bits and pieces. But also, whew! The tires were not flat and the car was still driving.

The results: At home, Gage and I searched the car for damage. I noticed the smashed in grill. Gage found peeling paint on the rear license plate cover. 🙂 It was not a part of the rock incident, but good eyes, Gage!

The fog light grill, a very small opening in the front bumper, was smashed clean through and torn loose. Later examination led me to discover that the shroud right behind the grill plate had a huge hole smashed through it as well. Even later, when Papa came home, more pulling apart of the bumper and grill area led to the discovery of the rock still resting inside the shroud amidst shattered portions of thick plastic.

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Evidence! That was why the “mud clod” was bouncing so high. It was a ROCK. A very large rock, which if it had bounced one more time, would have come through the windshield into my head.

I am very thankful. God gave me my own little (BIG) miracle as I traveled my daily route in caring for my grands. Just one more blessing for which I can give Him credit.

Perfect timing, don’t you think? Thanksgiving is right around the corner. In just a few more sleeps, we will wake to excited taste buds ready for the feast that will be prepared. But this year I want to remember to give thanks for all the blessings, protections, and miracles the LORD has provided.

I pray you have a happy and blessed Thanks-for-giving. Look for the miracles.

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My First Birthday without Mom

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This birthday is bittersweet.

I’m thankful and so happy to complete yet another year of life on Planet Earth. But this marks the first year since I was born that I will not have my mommy calling me as early as she could to be the first to wish me a happy birthday. She loved to re-live and tell me all about my day 1 of being a human. My parents were so happy to bring home a baby girl, as my mom had miscarried my 5-month old brother before she became pregnant with me.

Ok. Logically, she did not call me when I was a baby or still living at home. But she celebrated my special day for 56 years before she joined daddy in Heaven.

AND, I can’t find the photos I scanned of my first birthday. That is the oddest thing. I KNOW I scanned them. Some day, some place, I will find them.

Must be because the number (of years) is creeping ever higher . . . I did find a photo of my daddy holding me. His little Angelina Popalina.

Giving thanks for another birthday and the good health I’ve been granted by God. Such blessings. This aging 57 year-old body is hanging in there, even though creaks and groans litter early morning adventures.

Happy birthday to all of my birthday buddies. If you celebrate November 20th, or any day in my favorite 11th month, have a fabulous day! May the LORD bless you!

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Welcome, November!

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I love November.

The scary stuff is gone. Pumpkins still hang out. Leaves whirl down and crunch underfoot. Nights and early mornings crisp any remaining plant life to bed. Birds flock and insects tuck in for the winter. November is perfect.

Also, let’s not forget Thanksgiving. When we lived in a house (bigger than the RV), I loved hosting Thanksgiving dinners. The good smells, tastes, and fun made the work all worthwhile. And after dinner, our traditional putting up and decorating a tree and watching a Christmas movie.

Notice I said “a” tree. Since I am a lover of Christmas trees, we usually had at least one in each room. Thanksgiving evening was just the harbinger of festivities in decor and traditional pastimes to follow.

AND November is my birthday. I’ve always had a fondness for my birthday month. So much fun anticipating not just my birthday, but also Thanksgiving with Christmas gaily tromping on its heels.

Apple crisp, pumpkin pie, juicy turkey, stuffed squash, toasty hot drinks. I guess I think and remember with my stomach. The nip in the air gives way to red noses and tingling fingertips. And if it’s to be perfect, the first snow falls. Just enough to whet my whistle.

November is also a time for me to focus on gratitude. Not only Thanksgiving Day, but each day of the month, I like to consider and remember the things for which I am thankful. God has been so good to me and my family. Giving thanks and naming the many blessings is the least I can do to honor Him.

Today, I am thankful for:

God and His provisions, my honey, my family, my veteran (our son), my RV (no matter how tiny), fall in all its glory, pumpkins, food, my health, friends, chocolate, our hunter kitty who keeps the fields free of tasty kitty morsels (mice and voles), warm clothes, music, and trees.

Which is your favorite month? How will you celebrate in November?

Blessings to you and your family.

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