Sunday, November 17, 2019

Dinner with the Smileys---A Book Review

In keeping with my passion for home and hospitality,  I wanted to give a shout-out about a really sweet, heartwarming memoir---Dinner with the Smileys---which I have recently read for the second time.

Written by Sarah Smiley, Dinner with the Smileys is a quick, easy, delightful, and inspiring read. It's about a year-long period in 2011/2012 when Sarah's husband, Dustin, was on military deployment. With Dustin gone, Sarah and her three young sons decided that they would fill the dinnertime void in their lives by inviting one person (or a couple or a family) to have a meal with them each week of his absence, thereby keeping Dustin's place at the table filled.

In this sometimes touching, sometimes funny, and always refreshingly honest memoir, Sarah recounts her family's experience with opening their hearts and home to others. By the end of the book, you will realize that hospitality isn't about impressing someone with a fancy meal and fine china---it's not even about entertaining them---it's about sharing your heart with others and allowing them to share theirs with you.

Fantastic read---4 out of 5 stars. I'm quite sure you'll find this lovely book at your local library.

Thank you so much for stopping by.  I hope your visit has encouraged or inspired you and that you will return again soon.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Does This Look Like a Naughty Face?

Look at this adorable face.  

This is my Gracie girl, whom I call "love of my life dog."  She is my everything.

Could this sweet, precious girl ever be naughty?

The answer is yes!!

Yesterday afternoon, Gracie was sleeping on the couch in the living room and I was in my office/craft room.  When I came out, my sweet girl was no longer on the couch.  

Get this...

She was on the kitchen counter, her nose deep into the little bowl of compost scraps I had there!

In recent days, my little love has begun jumping up onto the chairs at the bar.  I knew she was doing that, but she was only doing it when I was sitting at the bar.  She would squeeze in behind me and sit there as long as I was there.  When I got up, she got up too.

Alas, her little mind suddenly realized that from the chair, she could get to the counter.  And once on the counter, well everything there was hers for the taking!  Including the coffee grounds and apple cores in the compost bowl.

I have to admit to being shocked by this behavior.  Gracie is our third beagle, and neither of the others ever did that.   I guess I won't be allowing her on the bar chairs anymore!

What about y'all?  Do your furry friends ever shock or surprise you with the things they do?

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I hope you enjoyed your visit and that you will return again soon.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Born Out of Loneliness

Gary and I have been married since 1986, and for the first fourteen years of our marriage, we lived less than an hour away from his parents, my grandparents, and a few other extended family members.  Living so close, of course, meant that we always spent holidays with family.  Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and even birthday celebrations found us surrounded by many loved ones.  They were lovely days, filled with laughter and sweet memories. 

In May, 2000, however, Gary and I and our two children left Florida and made the cross-country move to Boise, Idaho. With thousands of miles between our loved ones and us, spending holidays with them was no longer possible. In fact, we haven't spent a single holiday with family since Christmas 1999, which means holidays can often be lonely and somewhat depressing. For several years, we whined about not being with family during the holidays, but we eventually realized that the best thing to do when you are lonely and sad and missing someone is to take your eyes off yourselves and reach out to others. Which is exactly what we did.

Two Thanksgivings found our family of four serving at the Idaho State Veterans' Home. We served a meal to the veterans and just spent time chatting with the men. It was a beautiful experience.

At Christmas, we began looking around for other families who were also far from loved ones, and we invited them to share in a Christmas Eve feast at our house. We opened our door to people we knew well and some we didn't---a co-worker of Gabrielle's; an older couple from our then-church; former neighbors; families whose children Gabrielle taught in Sunday School (but who Gary and I had never met). One time, we even invited a young man none of us had ever even laid eyes on until the moment he showed up at our door Christmas Eve---he was a new arrival in town, the friend of a Florida friend's daughter. Every single gathering was filled with joy and laughter and abundant blessings.

Our heart for reaching out to others and sharing a meal with them began with Thanksgiving and Christmas, then it was Memorial Day, then Easter, then the 4th of July. It wasn't long until it became what it is now---an open door any day of the year. We simply love opening our home to others, sharing a meal together, and extending the love of Jesus to them.

Although born out of loneliness and the longing for family, God had so much more in mind. So may I encourage you, if you are living far from loved ones and find yourself lonely and a little blue this Thanksgiving season, why not do what our family did---look outward, notice all the hurting souls around you, and open your home to one or two of them. I feel sure God will use your open heart to not only bless others, but to bless you as well.

Thank you so much for stopping by.  I hope your visit has encouraged or inspired you.

Linking to:

No Place Like Home
Home and Garden Thursday

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Journeying Back to the Classics


I have had a love affair with books since I discovered Nancy Drew as a little girl.  I devoured nearly every title in the series, reading some of them so many times they fell apart.

That titian-haired sleuth was my best friend for many years...

When I discovered Anne Shirley, Jo March, Mary Lennox, and Christy Huddleston, they became besties too, and while they have all remained beloved friends for over thirty years, Jo's sister, Meg, has also become a dear friend.

As an adult, I have found Elinor Dashwood, Elizabeth Bennett, Robinson Crusoe, and Much-Afraid joining the ranks as well.

 It's been a few years since I've spent time with any of my beloved friends, so I have decided that 2020 is going to be a year for reading the classics once more.  I'm going to start with Anne of Green Gables, then follow that up with the rest of the series.  After that, Little Women will be up, as I spend some time with the March sisters.  Then it's off to Appalachia with Christy.   I will then return to The Secret Garden, after which, I will visit with Robinson Crusoe on his island.  I'm going to travel to England, via the Dashwood and Bennett sisters, and will then journey along to the High Places with Much-Afraid and her Shepherd.

While there are dozens of wonderful new novels being published every day, I feel the need to spend some time with my old friends.  They have all enriched my life in so many ways, and I find that I am really missing them.  Just as time with a "real life" friend is important, so, too, is time with my book friends.

I am beyond excited for my journey back into the classics in the coming year.  While I will throw in a few memoirs and some hospitality books, the bulk of next year's reading is going to be spent in the classics.  I can hardly wait!

What about y'all?  Are you making a reading list for 2020?  Do you have characters who have become best friends?

Linking to:

Sunday, November 10, 2019

A Football-Filled Saturday

There's nothing like Saturdays in the fall.  It's college football all day long!

Gary and I had tickets to Saturday night's Boise State/Wyoming game.  Our hometown Broncos are #21 in the country and are boasting a 7-1 record, so it would have been an exciting game to attend.   Alas, Gary had put in a 16-hour work day on Friday and then another 9 hours on Saturday, so all he really wanted to do was come home and pretty much pass out.  Attending a football game with an 8:15 p.m. kickoff time just held no appeal for him.

So, we gave the tickets to Gabrielle and Scott.  They didn't mind the late kickoff at all!  In fact, they were really excited to don their orange and blue and head to the stadium for the late evening game.

What did Gary and I do?  

We stayed home, in front of the fire, and checked out a number of different games.  Plus, we went to bed early.  It doesn't get much better than that!

What about y'all?  Is college football a part of YOUR Saturday