Friday’s Fave Five (August 28, 2015)

FFF springSome weeks the body doesn’t do so well and all the senses have “issues.” This week allergies and asthma tackled my senses (I’m guessing b/c of all the fires in CA).

But I am fine now and am very grateful to have my senses back in working order. So in honour of them rallying, below are five ways my senses blessed me this week.

ONE. SIGHT – Watching a (new to be) series about the Celts (on Amazon). I have Scottish ancestry and boy was I surprised to learn that Celts hail from Central Europe.

Your Turn . . . What is your fave sight? Has anything about your ancestry surprised you?

TWO. HEARING – Ladies Night Out at a nearby church. Our ears were treated to a concert and comedian act – lots of great music by Danny Gokey and lots of clean, funny jokes by Kerri Pomarolli. What made this extra wonderful is that a friend had an extra ticket and invited me to join her and 2 others.

Your Turn . . . What is your favourite sound?                                                         Besides music, mine is a baby’s laughter, rain on a tin roof, and my grand-daughter asking me, “What you want, Grandma?”when we are playing in her kitchen.

THREE. TOUCH – Field trip to Ocean Beach (SF) with ladies from my church. My touch receptors worked overtime feeling the sand on my feet (I always walk barefoot across the shoreline). And our faces were chaffed by the sun and wind. Even though the wind does cause some skin damage, I LOVE the wind.

Your Turn . . . What is your favourite touch?                                          Walking barefoot on the beach is always a favourite. But then, getting a massage from someone who knows what they are doing, is also a fave.

FOUR. TASTE – Senior’s (from church) 4th Sunday meal was at The Spaghetti Factory.  There is always something lovely to enjoy from the opening act of the warm bread and garlic butter to the pasta dishes to the spumoni final act.

Your Turn . . .What is your fave taste?                                                                    Mine is ice cream. The only time I really want spumoni is when I am at The Spaghetti Factory. I don’t even know if you can but that flavour in the grocery store.

FIVE. SMELL – My fave perfume. I don’t wear perfume very often because so many folks at work (I work in  church) have allergies. But one night I treated myself and I wore it to bed. Even if I have to say so myself, I smelled good! I will have to do this more often – silly, I know.

Your Turn . . . What is your favourite perfume? Do you wear it very often?

Why don’t you share some way(s) your senses blessed you this past week? You can link up your own post at Susanne’s Living to Tell the Story.

PS. I am probably way late to the game in learning this tidbit of sense knowledge, but did you know that humans have more than 5 senses? I just found out while writing this.

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Friday’s Fave Five (August 21, 2015)

FFF springFriday’s Fave Five is a great opportunity to scan the week and share some of my blessings. I am soooooo grateful for many things, but these are the highlights. Go here to read other FFF posts and to link up your post.

ONE. Ideas from other FFFers. Reading other’s posts give me good ideas to copy. For example last week I read about 3 recipes. And because 2 of them were veggie-based (always trying to get more veggies in my diet) and because they sounded so good. I made them: Nikki’s ratatouille and Karen’s tomato pie.

My version of . . . 

  • Ratatouille – I read the comments and liked the suggestion about roasting the veggies before combining everything. However I didn’t do it the way that was suggested –  (each type of veggie separately). I roasted them all together like Ree from The Pioneer Woman suggests. I don’t know how this meal tastes without roasting the veggies, but let me tell you, THIS is so flavorful and worth the time.
  • Tomato Pie – I didn’t have mayonnaise so I looked at other recipes to see how they made their pie. I ended up combining this recipe with Karen’s recipe. HINT: The quality of your tomatoes really DOES matter. This is probably a “duh” for most of you, but I am new to this type of pie. I WILL make it again and with a gluten-free crust next time.

Your Turn …

  1. Do you like to try new recipes?
  2. Do you collect any type or only certain ones – I.e. I mainly look for vegetable, gluten-free and sugar-free recipes.
  3. What are some things you’ve learned from other FFFers?

TWO. Fancy nails. Last week my niece (Kadie) was sporting a gorgeous french manicure. When I learned that it cost $6.36 and not only did she do it herself, it was easy! I was intrigued. And even more so because she offered to be MY manicurist. They are press on nails (from Target). They wear well and still look great almost a week later. And I LOVE that you don’t have to scratch up your nails in order to get them to adhere. So once the fake nails come off, the nail bed still looks just fine.

Your Turn …

  1. I LOVE manicured nails, but I don’t do such a  great job on myself, nor does the polish last long without chipping.Do you have any tips?
  2. Do you have any family members that spoil you like my niece spoiled me?

THREE. Time with family.  Wow  –  a great week with family. Some of us met up in Grass Valley to go to the county fair. I went to Berkeley to see my son and his family. And I had the honour of speaking with my sister-in-law (in a different state) for almost an hour. I am grateful for all this family time that came about unexpectedly.

Your Turn …

  1. Did you have any unexpected family time this week?
  2. Have you been to a fair in your area this summer? It has been decades since I last went.

FOUR. Snowman ornament 2015. I LOVE snowman ornaments. I LOVE making snowman ornaments. Emily (another niece) and I made snowman ornaments this past weekend. Now that the prototype has been made, I am all set for when I get with the rest of the family in December for us all to make one.

Your Turn …

  1. Do you collect themed ornaments?
  2. Do you make ornaments? If, yes, are they themed? I’d love to see photos.

FIVE, Baseball game. I mentioned to a co-worker (Sydney) that I would love to go to a River Cats game this year. The River Cats feed into the San Francisco Giants (WINNERS of 3 World Series in the past 5 years) and so in baseball world, going to RC games is a big deal. Since Sydney LOVES baseball, she arranged for the staff to go (all except one). It was an enjoyable time of laughter, food and talk.  To top it off we got to YELL our approval at some of the plays and even won, 9-4. Such a satisfying evening of friendship and baseball.

Your Turn …

  1. Have you ever been to a pro baseball game? I haven’t. But going to this triple a minor league game was pretty awesome.
  2. Do you and your co-workers ever go out for fun? If yes, what have you done? We also go out for lunch after our weekly staff meeting. I LOVE spending time with them.

Your Turn  … What is a highlight from your week? SHARE in the comments. 

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Friday’s Fave Five (August 14, 2015)

FFF springThis week has not been one of outlandish joys but the quiet joys of relationships. I present to you 5 blessings from this past week, And should you care to recount your own, do so in the comments or go to Susanne’s Living to Tell the Story where you can link up with others as they also share their Five Favorite blessings. (aka Friday’s Fave Five).

ONE. Time with a friend and Tomorrowland – the movie not the place. Sunday afternoon a friend, Pam, texted and asked if I wanted to join her at the movies. She was going to see Tomorrowland. I didn’t know anything about this movie which starred George Clooney and Hugh Laurie. But I knew that time with this friend was a guaranteed hit.

Not only was it great to visit with Pam, I enjoyed the movie. It was inspiring, funny, and a feel-good movie. It had many quotes that were thought-provoking. Below are four especially thought-provoking quotes.

  • “You’ve got simultaneous epidemics of obesity and starvation, explain that one.”
  • “Find the ones who haven’t given up. They’re the future.”
  • “Even the teeniest of actions could change the future.”
  • “It’s hard to have ideas and easy to give up.”

TWO. Facetime. I love my cell phone especially when I get to Facetime those I love. This week I was able to have a chatty conversation with my son (which is almost never chatty) and at a different time one with my grand-daughter and daughter-in-love.

I also spoke with my daughter although not on Facetime. The reception in Yosemite wasn’t strong enough.

Catching up on the details of our lives and expressing affection are always a blessing.

THREE. Narrowing down a Christmas meal. I have friends that match various interests in my life. One of them (Gillian) is a great go-to person for figuring out menus. Before we know it, Christmas celebrations will be here. I  asked Gillian to help me with the menu for a Christmas dinner that I will oversee. We cooked some recipes and decided which one will be THE entree. Next time we will try out some dessert recipes.

It was so fun to be in her company and to get this planning done early.

FOUR. Women and Stuck – the study not the position. I am leading some women through this book. Not only do I appreciate the material and the opportunity to talk about God and my (imperfect) life with FREEDOM, I appreciate the insights, support, fun-nature, and love of God these women have.

I am a BETTER person not only because of regular time with God and His Word, but also because of regular time with these women!

FIVE. Another reading challenge. I am getting addicted to finding and participating in reading challenges. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I am part of the Austen in August Reading Challenge. It is going well. Next week I will start Emma.

My latest add is going through Knowing God with Tim Challies. If you haven’t read this book or it has been a while since you have, think about joining in the discussion.

Knowing God is an old favourite and is as dear to me as any person. Do you feel that way about some books? I KNOW I will rediscover many, many fine ideas and repeatable quotes that will enhance my spiritual life. It would be awesome if the same happened for you as well.

Share some blessing from your life, won’t you?

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Friday’s Fave Five (August 7, 2015)

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Whether my heart is feeling big or small, once I start listing my “gratitudes,” that list grows and grows. Below are just 5 items (and a bonus) from this past week that were captured on my gratitude list.

pumpkin cakeOne. New Recipe that is Gluten-Free & full of pumpkin. I am always on the prowl for an easy, quick recipe that allows my taste-buds to feast but not spike my blood sugar. This pumpkin cake recipe fits the bill.  Even though it is called “cake”, it is also a great item for breakfast or a snack.

Two. Something that encourages my reading. While reading Barb‘s site (from Stray Thoughts) I came across information about an Austen in August Reading Challenge. As I found it in time to start with everyone else and I was on vacation to and had plenty of time to read, I decided to join in.

I am currently reading Mansfield Park. I am soooo confused as to who is who. I hope I will like this book better as I muddle through it.

cinnamon waterThree. Delicious addition to drinking water. I am also always looking for ways to make my water more interesting so that I can consume my daily allotment. Evidently at the WoodSpoon restaurant in Los Angeles, you can get cinnamon drinking water. Cinnamon is reported to help keep blood sugar levels low, so of course I had to try this. And it is a keeper of a recipe that makes the house smell divine. It is also easy to make: simmer one cinnamon stick with 1 cup of water. Chill. Drink.

chilled Starbucks cardFour. A surprise in the butter keeper. When I gathered the ingredients for the above pumpkin cake recipe, I went to the butter keeper (in the fridge) to grab a stick. And to my surprise there was a chilled Starbucks gift card nestled among the sticks. I texted my daughter about my discovery and asked if it was from her. (It was just as likely that in a “senior moment” I had put it there.)

And, YES, it was from her! What a lovely surprise to find AFTER she’d gone away to her new job in Yosemite.

Five. Relief! Under advisement from my doctor I doubled (very slowly) my diabetes medication (Metformin). As the time progressed (4 weeks) I felt worse and worse (intestinal distress, fatigue, nausea). It wasn’t until about the 4th week that I thought it could be the medication.

Now my system is clear of the offending substance. My intestines and stomach are almost fine and my energy has almost been restored.

It was a great thing I had vacation last week so that I could get the rest I needed and get my health issues sorted.

My son and grand daughter at play

My son and grand daughter at play


My daughter-in-law and grand daughter being silly

My daughter-in-law and grand daughter being silly

BONUS! I got to spend a day with my son and his family. It was a GREAT way to spend the last day of my vacation.

FFF springPlease share some of your blessings from this past week. It is such fun to share and read these. If you’d like more of the above, check out this link to Susanne’s Living to Tell the Story. That is where this weekly meme is hosted.

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Austen in August Reading Challenge

What Austen book(s) will you read in August?

What Austen book(s) will you read in August 2015?

Are you a fan of Jane Austen? Do you have a favourite Austen quote?

I have seen most (if not all) of the movies based on Jane Austen’s books. But I have only read one of the actual books.

This August I will rectify that by participating in the Austen in August reading challenge hosted by Roof Beam Reader. Won’t you join us?

The Goal:

  • To read as many of Jane Austen’s works as you want or are able to during the month of August.
  • Biographies, audiobooks, spin-offs, and re-reads count.
  • There will be giveaways, guest posts, and other shenanigans, all of which are meant to inspire a great, interactive event.
  • Sign up here.Austen quote

Go to this link for more details and to read why Jane Austen is so interesting.

EDITED – My Goal: After reading Marsha’s comment about reading the books in a certain order, I decided to look it up and see what that order is. While there is no ONE order suggested, I am going to read them in the following order. I may or may not read all of the books.

  1. Northanger Abbey – I checked this out through Amazon’s unlimited Kindle reads.
  2. Pride and Prejudice – This is on my Tablet as a free ebook. 
  3. Mansfield Park – This was a library e-reader loan.
  4. Sense and Sensibility – This was a library e-reader loan.
  5. Persuasion – I have this on my Kindle already – from YEARS ago.
  6. Emma – Waiting for it to come in at the library.

Below are two other books I hope to read . . .

  1. Lady Susan – Of course I have to read a book with MY NAME in the title. I never even heard of this book before.
  2. A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewicz – This is a library eBook which I found while browsing through the Jane Austen collection. Hopefully after reading this title, I, too, will have learned about love, friendship and the things that really matter,

Your Turn . . .

  • What is your favourite Austen read?
  • If I read only one of her books, which one should it be?

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Friday’s Fave Five (July 31, 2015)

However many blessings we expect from God, His infinite liberality will always exceed all our wishes and our thoughts,” John Calvin. This week is FULL of blessings that exceeded my expectations. Here are 5 of them.

Elizabeth, Susan (me), and Mary: Mary has been a family friends for 30+ years.

Elizabeth, Susan (me), and Mary: Mary has been a family friend for 30+ years.

ONE. Unexpected meeting with a long time friend. Elizabeth and I were shopping for some last minute things for a potluck at church the next day. Then we happily came across Mary!

Mary was a dear friend of my mom’s. And we have many memories of these two. Mary and I made plans to meet up soon so she could share some more memories of my mom. I am soooo glad to have this updated photo of the 3 of us together.

Your Turn . . . Do you have a friend who has (some untold) memories of a dear departed family member? Mary is one such person for us. I want to journal what she tells me so I can include this information in our family history.

Marsha, Susan (me), and Giillian:We've been friends for years. But we;ve been birthday lunching for only several years.

Marsha, Susan (me), and Giillian: We’ve been friends for years. But we’ve been birthday lunching for only several years. I am looking forward to many more years together!

TWO. Birthday lunch group.

This time we celebrated Marsha. The birthday girl gets to pick the spot. We went to a restaurant that specializes in comfort foods: Dad’s Kitchen.

Marsha and Gillian are foodies and slowly I am learning a thing or two because of their conversation, time spent cooking with them,  and because of some of the places we have visited.

Your Turn . . .  Do you participate in a lunch group (birthday or otherwise)? If yes, why do y’all meet up? Are you a foodie?

My daughter and I sealed the can this week. We'll open it in July of 2018.

My daughter and I sealed the can this week. We’ll open it in July of 2018.

THREE. Sealed our memory can.

You could also call this memory can a time capsule. Completing a time capsule is something I had on my Birthday Bucket List for this year.

We brainstormed some questions that we’d love to know the answers to in three years. (I will be 60 in 3 years.)

  • Health
  • Prices of things
  • Dreams
  • Highs and lows of 2015 (so far)
  • Books read and projects completed in 2015 (so far)
  • Memorable photos

Your Turn . . . Have you ever made a memory can or time capsule? If yes, why and have you opened it yet? If you haven’t, is it a temptation to do so? Why or why not?

Next year my daughter and I wil do another one which we will open in 4 years because she will be 35 then. And I am hoping to get my son and his family involved in this. I can see myself becoming addicted to this activity!

Ken and Sydney hiked down Porcupine Trail.Although we didn't have a set meet up point, it worked out perfectly.

Ken and Sydney hiked down Porcupine Trail from Tuolomne Meadows to Yosemite Valley.

FOUR. Successful drop off and pick up at Yosemite.

Despite traffic congestion due to roadwork, Elizabeth (my daughter) made it to her orientation. After filling out paperwork and having a uniform fitting, I helped her move into temporary housing.

Elizabeth is now working at Tuolomne Meadows (TM) in Yosemite National Park. TM is the largest sub-alpine meadow system in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Ken and Sydney started at 8,600 feet and ended at 3,900 feet. We talked about us meeting (in the Valley) so that I had a place to stay for the night, I didn’t have to drive up the mountains (I was afraid it would be scary like Hwy 1), and so that they’d have a ride back up the mountains. Although we didn’t have a set meet up point or time (in Yosemite Valley), it worked out perfectly.

I KNOW that God helped us in this as we “just happened” to see each other at the same time. And it was crazy busy there; in fact I was told this year Yosemite has had record-setting visitations. So it still amazes me whenever I think about how “easy” it was to find each other without pre-arranged plans.

Your Turn . . . Share a recent miracle that you’ve witnessed.

Ken is a master of baking in a dutch oven, DELISH biscuits and blueberry muffins were on offer.

Ken explained that dutch oven cooking requires you to put coals on top of the oven as well as underneath. There are even dutch oven cook books. Who knew?!

FIVE. Common food in an unusual way. Ken is a master of baking in a dutch oven, DELISH biscuits and blueberry muffins were on offer. Add some butter and red raspberry jam and you have my version of ambrosia.

Outdoor cooking always seems to taste so much better. Even the humble hot dog or scrambled eggs taste so much better cooked on a grill.

Your Turn . . .  Have you ever used a dutch oven? Do you have a favourite camping food?

FFF springLink up your five fave moments from this past week at Susanne’s Living to Tell the Story.

Or leave a comment below sharing a blessing you had this past week.

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Friday’s Fave Five (July 24, 2015)

Hurray, today is Friday and so it is time to share five blessings from the last week. Read on and then comment with your own blessings.


I bought this at WalMart.

ONE. Chocolate that doesn’t spike my blood sugar. Since I am a diabetic, I am careful (most of the time) about what I consume. And when I find a chocolate I can safely eat, I am BEYOND happy. My favourite brand is Green & Black’s Organic Dark chocolate. I usually eat the one with 85% cacoa content. This week I ate the one with 60% cacoa and peppermint. YUMMMM.

Since I like nuts with my chocolate I also had a handful of pecans. Salted almonds are just as tasty. The nuts help to keep my blood sugar at a better level. Dark chocolate is such a satisfying treat that I don’t have to eat the whole bar in one sitting. I can actually eat it at the recommended “dose” (2.5 servings per bar).

Your Turn . . . Do you have a fave chocolate bar?

TWO. New Pj’s. I am not very fashion conscious and I don’t like to shop. So I have had the same pajamas for the past 10 years.  I wear these year round. They are okayish looking, but I was ready for a change and something cooler. So my daughter and I headed to her favourite thrift store: Thrift Town. Viola. Within half an hour I found some stylish and light weight jammies and at a GREAT price – $6.00. This was a win-win-win situation.

Your Turn . . . Is there some item in your wardrobe that could use a fashion makeover? If yes, what? Have you found any great deals at a thrift store (or retail store) lately?

THREE. Creating an Ideal Weekend. Up til now, I’ve thought of my weekend as a time to get caught up with life before it starts off the next week at a gallop. Then I read this post and I had an ah ha moment, 7 Steps to Create Your Ideal Weekend – Every Weekend. I LOVE this idea. (Okay, I am probably slow to not have thought of this before.) So this week I am pondering what it means to have an ideal weekend and making up my list.

Your Turn . . . Do you plan for your weekends to be ideal? What things would go on your ideal weekend list?

FOUR. Answered prayer and a new adventure. My daughter is starting a new job on Monday at Yosemite National Park. We are not entirely sure what she’ll be doing, but come Monday, she’ll know. She excited to start this new adventure and we are both relieved that this 2.5 month search is at an end.

Your Turn . . . When was the last time you went to Yosemite? Is one of your kiddos about to embark on a new adventure?


I always PILE on the toppings. I have discovered that I don’t like spinach and raw onions on a pizza only cooked for 180 seconds.

FIVE. Gluten-free pizza with goat cheese. My daughter has food allergies and lots of times it is HARD to eat out (without getting sick or finding a place that has good options). This past week my daughter and I ate at Blaze Pizza TWICE.

It is an assembly line ordering sysyem. You choose your dough (gluten-free is an option), sauce, cheeses (goat cheese is an option), meats and veggies. Then it is popped into the oven for 180 seconds. And OHHHHH, Yummmmmm.

I usually get 2 meals out of this. And as long as there is LOTS of meat on the pizza, my blood sugar stays at a reasonable number.

NOTE: Blaze does not have a dedicated area for making the dough or cooking the pizza. So some folks might not want to order pizza here if their bodies are more sensitive than my daughter’s is.

Your Turn . . . What is a new restaurant fave of yours? If you have food restrictions, how do you deal with eating out?

FFF springAlright, these are my FIVE BLESSINGS. To read more or to link up with link-minded folks, go to Susanne’s blog where this weekly meme is hosted: Living to Tell the Story.

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57 Thing To Do During my 57th Year

The Big DayMarch 12th, 2016
6 months to go.

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57 Things I’ve Done by March 2016

1. Bought Personalized 2015 Photo Calendar
2. Bought Personalized Stamps
3. Wrote 2 Blackout Poems
4. Movie Marathon: The Good Witch Films (7 of them) -watched with Marsha
5. Movie Marathon: Star Wars: Phantom Menace
6. Family Special Time (Lennon, Kadie)
7. Movie Marathon: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship, The Two Towers, and Return of the King - watched with Lori
8. Gathered contents & sealed a time capsule to be opened July, 2018,
9. Made snowman 2015 ornament.

57 Books I’ve Read by March 2016

1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.
2. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
3. Inspiration Sandwich by SARK.
4. A Man of Grit and Grace: Paul by Charles Swindoll
5. Prayer: Life's Limitless Reach by Jack R Taylor
6. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
7. The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
8. MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche
9. I'm Glad I'm a Mom: Inspirational Stories of Love, Laughter, and Everyday Life by Hearts at Home
10. The Great Divorce by CS Lewis
11. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
12. Lay My Isaac Down by Carol Kent
13. A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
14. Living Oprah by Robyn Okrant
15. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
16. What's So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey
17. Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
18. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
19. The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance by John Trent & Gary Smalley
20. The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter's 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds by Rip Esselstyn
21. The Pursuit of God Paperback by A. W. Tozer
22.-25. Last Light, Night Light, True Light, & Dawn's Light (a Restoration Novel Series) by Terri Blackstock
26.. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
27. The Hope Quotient by Ray Johnson
28, One Thousand White Women: The Journals of Mary Todd by Jim Fergus
29. Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding
30. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
31. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
32. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
33. Laddie; a true blue story, by Gene Stratton Porte
34. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
35. An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louise May Alcott
36. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
37. Miss Julia Lays Down the Law by Ann B. Ross
38. Persuasion by Jane Austen
39. A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewicz
40. Emma by Jane Austen
41. Thrush Green by Miss Read
42. The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
43. The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge
44. The Registry by Shannon Stoker

Stuff I’ve Written and When

Book of Braille Sculptures

By Elizabeth Symington



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