Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Day 404 June 27 - Top Ten Tuesday - Best Books You've Read In 2017 So Far


The Broke and the Bookish host this weekly meme that is my all time favorite!

This week's topic is:

"Best Books You've Read In 2017 So Far" 

I quit drinking in May of 2016, so by the beginning of 2017, I was still trying my best to keep my head above the water and crawl out of a pretty dark depression.  As I have many many times in my life, I turned to my Bible for solace and a view of the life I might could find ahead of me.  
I needed strength and I needed a reason to survive.  
My faith has always sustained me like that. 
My Top "Twelve" Tuesday of 2017 follows my progression in taking my life back through reading.

The Women Living Well Journals are more like guided notes than journals...I found by using the journals, I could keep my brain on track.  I learned to use a system of focusing on the words of the Bible, meditating on their meaning, pondering, and sometimes memorizing verses to repeat my myself like a mantra.  One of my doctors told me that with a long term drinking problem like mine had been, it could be up to 18 months before I really had myself back on track.  
The Women Living Well journals helped me immensely before I could really think about much on my own.  They also reminded me how to "write the word"...on the days when I could not stay focused at all, writing the word brought me much solace.




I love this Bible...in all fairness, I haven't read the entire thing, but there were many mornings when I would start here...hanging on for dear life.  



As I began to crawl out of my hole, I wanted to think a bit more so after reading my C. S. Lewis Bible chapter for the day and the Psalms, I would match my Women Living Well Journals with the deeper analysis found here.  I was learning that my brain needed something to think about.  The Life Application Bible doesn't just analyze things for you, it gives you the facts and let's you think as well.


4.  Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst


Terkeurst's book was the first book I've read in over a year.  Finally, I was able to focus and branch out a bit away from such a structured reading.  I still kept my Bible readings and journaling in the mornings, but at night I started adding a chapter a day of nonfiction.  I was blown away at the parallels between Terkeurst's description of a "relationship" with food and the "relationship" I had experienced with alcohol.  




5.  Wild and Free by Jess Connolly & Hayley Morgan


Connolly and Morgan's book fell into my lap at the point that I was beginning to think about who I was and what place I had in this world...without the ability to numb myself with alcohol. 
I wasn't sure anymore...and I'm not really sure if I was ever positive.
Wild and Free encourages women to be who they are without worry...using the parallels of the wild horses of Chincoteague Island...very similar to the lilies of the field and the sparrows Jesus taught His disciples about.




6.  Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst


I was a fan of Terkeurst by this point so Uninvited followed right along with the topic in Wild and Free.  What happens when you don't feel "wild and free'?




7.  Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst


Boy oh boy, did Unglued hit a nerve.  Every page.  Terkeurst might as well have been writing about me. 
Oy.




8.  Make it Happen by Lara Casey


Life was beginning to pick up at this point, and I was beginning to make future plans...it seemed life was going to be ok after all, and I was ready for the next steps.





Misery doesn't love company, but it has been so wonderful and so spirit settling to realize that I am not the only one to fight this fight...and I am not the only Christian woman to fight this fight.  Myers and Williams tell their stories here and help other women keep their eyes on Truth.  I led a group of women through a study of She Reads Truth and began to see that I might have a place in the world.


10.  The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender




The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake was my first foray into fiction in a very long time.  I ran across it when I started cleaning off my TBR shelves at home.  I told myself that for every book on the shelves, if I didn't immediately want to read it when I first picked it up, that I would not keep it.  Many many many books...many more than I ever imagined went to the library, but Bender's book was one of the first that I longed to read after looking at the cover...and then reading the synopsis.
Damaged people, damaged lives, children with special abilities...a daughter's intuition made real by the taste of her food...a satisfying end but not happily ever after either. 
I read it in two days, closed the book, and whooped that my reading mojo might be back after all :)





11.  Wild by Cheryl Strayed




I started listening to Wild on audio over a year ago and never finished it.  I remembered how much I love audio with a good narrator but how much I also love "Golden Lines" but have an incredibly difficult time with those when the only copy of a book is one I'm listening to.  I would probably like to have a hardcopy of Wild, so I've been keeping my eyes open for one. It seems silly to buy two copies of a book, but reading from a book or ebook and driving is against the law ;P


12.  Simply from Scratch by Alicia Bessette


I'm in a feel good mode right now...a damaged feel good mode for sure...but definitely cozy, life does get better kind of reading mode.
I'm still not looking for fairy tales or happy endings, but I'm not interested in the psychological thrillers I used to be either.  I think I just want to see somewhat normal people weathering the hard times of life...and coming out ok on the other end.



Monday, June 26, 2017

Day 403 - Key Largo - Menu Monday that really isn't a Menu Monday because we're on vacation



After a long day of traveling, and a one night stop in Miami, we have finally arrived in Key Largo.
After a bit of culture shock (bc we're that Southern family that's used to Orange Beach, AL and Destin, FL for vacation), we're settling in nicely and getting ready for our first big adventure on this trip! 



Saturday - Ride in the car forever and ever and ever and ever...take lots of naps bc Ed won't let anybody else drive.


We at WhichWhich sandwiches for lunch on Saturday on the road - I've given Which Which a couple of tries and I am not impressed :(

A Smith family vacation staple, Steak and Shake was supper Sunday night.
Yum!


Sunday - Miami Marlins vs. Chicago Cubs
We met up with our oldest daughter in Miami...she's here for an internship at Dolphins Plus for the summer.  
Poor Kendal has never been to a Cubs game and seen the Cubs win...we're not sure whose fault that is :/
We're Cubs fans btw...
Sorry Cubbies.

We did eat, hot dogs, pretzels, Cracker Jacks, and peanuts while at the game...oh and don't forget the $6.50 cotton candy
What the??





We did eat at a Pizza and Past place called Boardwalk Pizza Co. on Sunday night...this was my veggie pizza...and I ate every single bite...all by myself...sure did.
And I'm not even sorry. ;)




Monday - SNORKELING
The first time I snorkeled was in Jamaica and I was a tad nervous (ok, more than a tad)...my goal for today is to relax and enjoy this beautiful life I've been given and to be an example for my daughters to do the same.




Supper is scheduled for a place called Robbie's in Islamadora

Yellow Snapper fish tacos were for dinner...I scarfed em down so fast I forgot to take a picture.
Oy.
Then, the mosquitos proceeded to scarf us down.
Ack!

Tuesday - Key West and Ernest Hemingway - I'm a reader and an English teacher...this planned stop makes me happy, happy, happy!!!!





Fish sandwich and homemade potato chips at The Six-Toed Cat for lunch.


Key Lime Pie - The Six Toed Cat style - very creamy and delish.





Sloppy Joe at Sloppy Joes Bar for dinner in Key West...and old Hemingway hangout.
I keep biting my food before pics.
Not sorry ;)


Wednesday - Swimming w dolphins @ Dolphins Plus in Key Largo


Not even gonna lie, y'all...I'm so stinkin' excited about this experience! 
This is the place where our oldest is a summer intern :) 


Thursday - Head home and see anything we need to see on the way back.

Steak & Shake again, y'all...in the car...I hate eating in the car :( 


Friday - Home - pick up doggies from the vet :):):)
Started missing them from the moment I dropped them off.

**The husband is a regular Clark W. Griswold on these trips...with his agenda and all...so I don't know much ahead of time (and like it that way)!

Anybody out there have any recommendations I can pass along to "Clark"??