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
  2. Pride and Prejudice
  3. Mansfield Park
  4. Sense and Sensibility
  5. Persuasion
  6. Emma
  7. Lady Susan

Your Turn . . .

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

. at . 3 comments

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.

. at . 7 comments

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.

. at . 12 comments

Friday’s Fave Five

Every week at this time I think of my blessings. This week I wrote these down and shared them with the faithful at Susanne’s Living to Tell the Story.


Lori holding Bella: Yes, this is a real puppy and not a stuffed animal.

One. Lord of the Rings slumber party with a dear friend (Lori). Every now and again I MUST watch this trilogy although I don’t normally watch all three movies in consecutive hours. I love the “hope” theme throughout the movies. (Hope is my unofficial word for the year.) I cannot remember the last time I went to a slumber party.  Besides watching the movie we had many chats and DID NOT binge on junk food.

Two. Snuggling with a puppy. Lori has a new puppy (8 weeks old) and she shared Bella so I could get plenty of snuggle time. Bella’s puppy breath and sharp little teething teeth were a joy. And it was soooooo cute to see Bella’s morning antics: pounces, nibbles, and charges.

shepherd's pieThree. I brought my favourite meal to the slumber party: paleo shepherd’s pie. I have been eating it every week for the past month. Normally my daughter makes it, but this time I did. It is not a hard or complicated meal and it is the definition of comfort food. I am still flabbergasted that there really is no potato in this dish!


book coverFour. I’ve been on a reading spree. Although I am technically reading only classics this year, I am also sneaking in a few other books. The latest “other” book I read was One Thousand White Women: The Journals of Mary Todd by Jim Fergus. It was an intriguing read; find out the shocking reason Mary was put into an insane asylum and how she “gained” her freedom. It also portrayed a sad bit of American history (our dealings with Native Americans).

Five. My daughter discovered a new cleaning product: Folex. After using this product (with marvelous results) on upholstered chairs at church), she then cleaned the upholstery on my car seats. And MAN do they look excellent. Every time I get in or out of my car, I have to have an appreciation stare at the front and back seats! We got our bottle from Home Depot, but Amazon carries it as well. 

Edited to Add: My daughter said I should add the following info about Folex: It is non-toxic, doesn’t smell, you merely blot it off (no scrubbing) and because it doesn’t have chemicals you don’t have to use gloves.

FFF springI hope you take some time today to ponder your blessings from this past week. Be sure to share one (or some) in the comments. Also check out Susanne’s blog to read others’ blessings.

. at . 14 comments

6 Month Update: Classic Book Reading Plan for 2015

backtotheclassics2015BUTTONI am joining others in an online book reading club. In fact I am joining 2! This first one is a Back to the Classics Challenge hosted by Karen’s Books and Chocolate.

I haven’t read many classics in my life, so I am excited about changing that deficit. Below are the categories and what books I think I will read.

  1. A 19th Century Classic Any book published between 1800 and 1899. Moby Dick (1851) by Herman Melville. I am currently reading this on my Kindle. THIS BOOK WAS SUCH A STRUGGLE TO READ THAT I STOPPED HALF WAY AND READ A DIFFERENT BOOK FOR THIS SLOT: THE WOMAN IN WHITE (1859) BY WILKIE COLLINS  I READ IT IN JUNE 2015. Free on Kindle.
  2. A 20th Century Classic Any book published between 1900 and 1965. A Princess of Mars (1917) by  Edgar Rice Burroughs (Kindle). Here is Part 1 audio-book. MY DAUGHTER & I READ THIS OUT LOUD TO EACH OTHER IN JUNE 2015. Free on Kindle.
  3. A Classic by a Woman Author The Secret Adversary (1822) By Agatha Christie or An Old-Fashioned Girl (1869) By Louisa May Alcott. Both are on my Kindle. I READ THE SECRET ADVERSARY IN FEBRUARY 2015. Free on Kindle.
  4. A Classic Novella Any work shorter than 250 pages. Heart of Darkness (1960) by Joseph Conrad. I READ THIS IN FEBRUARY 2015.
  5. A Classic Children’s Book Pollyanna (1913) by Eleanor H. Porter (Kindle). READ IT IN JUNE 2015. Free on Kindle.
  6. A Classic with a Person’s Name in the Title Nicholas  Nickleby (1838) by Charles Dickens (Kindle). FINISHED JULY 2, 2015. Free on Kindle.
  7. A Nonfiction ClassicThe Innocents Abroad a travel book by Mark Twain (1869) FINISHED READING THIS JULY 22, 2015.
  8. A Forgotten Classic— Joseph Andrews (1742) by Henry Fielding. FINISHED READING JULY  25, 2015.
  9. A Humorous or Satirical Classic— Gulliver’s Travels (satire) by Jonathan Swift (1726). FINISHED READING JULY 29, 2015.
  10. A Classic in Translation— any classic book originally written or a published in a language that is not your first language. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. It was first composed in Latin ca.1418-1427. THIS SHORT BUT WORTHY READ WAS FINISHED AUGUST 3, 2015.
  • A Very Long Classic Novel— A single work of 500 pages or longer, regular-sized print. War and Peace (1869) by Leo Tolstoy (Kindle). Free on Kindle.
  • A Classic Play—  Your choice, any classic play, as long as it was published or performed before 1965.  The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams (1944)

2 NOTES: 6 of the above books are available for free for e-readers. . . . Article originally published 2.12.2015.

Your Turn . . .

  • Do you read many classics? Tell us your favourite book.
  • Do you have a suggestion for one of my empty spots?
  • To join us in the classic reading adventure, go here for more information.

Related Post . . . Reading to Know Classics Book Club 2015 . . . This blogger/reader has some good ideas for each category. As does this blogger. And one more blogger with great titles is here.

. at . Leave a comment

Babette’s Feast Shown on Tuesday, June 30


WHO:  All PEP 55+ folks are invited to attend this movie.


WHEN:  5th Tuesday, June 30, 2015

TIME: 2:30-5pm


COST: Free – Bring your own snacks,

Afterwards Pastor Mike will lead us in a discussion about this movie’s powerful themes.

Please RSVP. I want to make sure we have a chair for you.

. at . Leave a comment

Friday’s Fave Five

Some ministry and personal milestones happened this week which I also mentioned last week. We finished missions week and I had more birthday celebrations. I am looking for this week’s five favourite things because of a meme that Susanne from Living to Tell the Story does each week. Join us in sharing your week’s blessings.

Most adorable and tasty birthday dessert ever. The fruit on the Popsicle stick is 2 raspberries.

Most adorable and tasty birthday dessert ever.

ONE. GREAT BIRTHDAY FOOD. Again I had ice cream and waffles for breakfast although this time it was for MY birthday. And for MY birthday dinner we ate steak salad!

My niece made the most gorgeous dessert: dark chocolate covered fruit with a side of real whipped cream and more berries.  The fruit on the Popsicle stick is 2 raspberries.


There were 13 beautifully decorated tables. I sat at this table and our hostess, Rima, was a first timer and was awesome.

Rima used her grandma’s china. Gorgeous!

TWO. MISSIONS TEA. Oh, my, I could do an FFF just on the Tea! And I probably will.

Our speaker, Marcia, spoke on an oxymoron of God’s love: how we are protected by God and yet know we will suffer. Marcia is a senior citizen who has worked, mainly in Africa, for the past 36 years. She has seen PLENTY of protection and suffering and still loves, worships, and serves God.

My hostess, Rima, was one of 13 hostesses. She did an awesome job making us feel welcome & coordinating food for our table.


Go Giants! The game went into overtime to break a tie score. And then it was suspended because it got too dark to finish.

THREE. BASEBALL GAME. I attended a game because one of the players (who attends my church) invited me. I was surprised at how small the ball looked.  I’ve never attended a Little League game before. My kiddos were into soccer and softball.

It was FUN watching and cheering.

And I found a job that I want to have. I want to be in charge of the lights on the scoreboard. It would be even cooler if I could also be in charge of the fireworks when there is a home run. Although they  don’t have fireworks at Little League games, they should.


John's theology of pain has helped me to go though my own dark times better. It was awesome to be able to meet one of my spiritual heroes.

John’s theology of pain has helped me to go though my own dark times better. It was awesome to be able to meet one of my spiritual heroes.

FOUR. JOHN STUMBO VISITED. John is the president of our denomination. This week about 30 pastors and C&MA workers gathered at my church to meet with him. John encouraged us from 2 Corinthians 4, asked us questions about our ministries, and then he and another pastor prayed and said a blessing over each of us.

I first heard about John in 2009 when he was a pastor at an Alliance church in Oregon. He went through a mysterious and severe illness, that looked terminal, which God eventually delivered him from. I wrote a post about it here: Peace and Hope While in the Depth of Pain – John Stumbo’s Story

My online group helps e to not dunk my head.

My online group helps me to not dunk my head. This cartoon was found on

FIVE. HEALTH SUPPORT. When I was diagnosed with diabetes a year ago, I knew I needed support, lots of it. So I started a Facebook group called B.U.F.F.

We are B.U.F.F. stands for Brilliantly Utilizing Friends & Facts to combat diabetes. We use these two avenues to move ourselves towards a healthier lifestyle where diabetes doesn’t rule. We do!

At times I do really well at managing my health and other times not so well. When I am doing well, it is in part because of this support group. I am figuring out what works especially when allergies are hitting me so hard! This group encourages me to stay the course even though my numbers don’t always reflect my hard and diligent work.

FFF springPlease share your blessings by writing and linking your own FFF or share a blessing in the comments.

Happy FIRST day of spring especially to you folks where there is still some snow.

. at . 5 comments

Older Posts

57 Thing To Do During my 57th Year

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

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 575 other followers

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,

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

Stuff I’ve Written and When

Book of Braille Sculptures

By Elizabeth Symington



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 575 other followers

%d bloggers like this: