Friday, January 23, 2015

Share (Five Minute Friday)

Again I'm late with my Five Minute Friday post.  Last week the post was written, but then I had to rush out the door and couldn't post it until later.  Today I saw the prompt and was just not feeling it until now.

You know the drill:  Free-write for five minutes, no major editing, no perfectionism.  Today the prompt is SHARE.


Some things are easy to share:  a smile, a recipe, a story, a joke.

Some things aren't so easy. Chocolate might be on that list. ;)  And some things can be downright hard to share.

I've been able to share my heart with close friends since I was young.  As teens, my friend Meri and I would share our deepest secrets and dreams.  We still do.

But then I got burned a few times, and sharing my heart became more difficult.  "I'm good, how are you?"  After carrying around the burden of depression for many years, I've learned to fake it when necessary.  But depression is also what led me to learn again to trust people enough to share my heart.

I started counseling.  And obviously that's not going anywhere if I just keep saying, "Everything's fine," when obviously it isn't!  It took me a while to trust, but once I did, it was such a blessing to be able to unburden myself in a safe place.  In return I was encouraged and strengthened and given sound advice.

With whom are you able to share your heart?  What benefits do you see?


Come join us!  Click the Five Minute Friday link at the top of this post!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Starting the Day Right

What are the things you absolutely must do within 30 minutes of waking up, or your day will not go well?  I'm doing this as a five-minute free write, just for fun.

Surprisingly, since I like coffee so much, having a cup of coffee is not on my list.  I don't always have time, and I don't really miss it when I skip it.  Besides that, I've found that coffee plus carbs wreaks havoc on my blood sugar; I don't know why, but I've seen it enough to know to avoid it!

So what is on my list?

Pray.  Before I get out of bed.  Even if it's just a quick prayer, it makes all the difference.  My best days have started with a simple prayer to ask the Lord to help me honor Him with everything I do that day.

Shower.  Postponing it just feels wrong. :)  I'm not really awake until I've had a chance to stand under the warm water, inhale the steam, breathe in the scent of the soap.

Brush my teeth and take my meds.   If I don't do this first thing, as part of my routine, I don't always remember to take my meds, and that is a very bad thing.  One of them has severe withdrawal effects, and those start within hours of missing a dose.  I've missed it exactly once, which taught me never, never to do that again!

So what about you?  What must you absolutely do, first thing in the morning, to start your day off right?

photo credit (prayer): Josh Kenzer via photopin cc
photo credit (showerhead): gfairchild via photopin cc
photo credit (meds): incurable_hippie via photopin cc

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes (Book Review)

Disclosure:  I received an ebook of All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes, at no cost to me, for review purposes.

It's romance, it's cupcakes ... what's not to like?

This is the publisher's synopsis of All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes, from author Betsy St. Amant:
Kat inspected rows of the same old cupcakes. They seemed to blink back at her, as if they knew she was capable of so much more.
Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.
At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie’s bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.
But when Lucas Brannen, Kat’s best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on "Cupcake Combat," everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.
As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself—her—is suddenly in danger of slipping away.
The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat’s senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.
Kat and Lucas are best friends and twenty-somethings.  While Lucas is settled in his role as a football coach, Kat hopes to escape the family business and the limitations that accompany it.  Both are looking for love.  Each of them, however, is in love with the other, but neither wants to say anything and risk their friendship.

Without telling Kat, Lucas enters her in the "Cupcake Combat" TV competition.  Kat is shocked when she receives the acceptance email, and she persuades Lucas to join her in Los Angeles as her assistant.

The competition and the main characters' internal struggles all blend to create the suspense of All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes.

My take:  I've been reading nonfiction lately, and I was looking forward to reading something lighter, fictional, and fun.  This book was exactly that.  It's a quick and easy read, a fun escape.  I enjoy food-centered fiction and, since I'm limiting my intake of sweets these days, this story was a good "fix."

I liked the "behind the scenes" look at the reality show (even though this story is fictional).  The interactions among competitors were interesting to read, and maybe that's what it's really like.

A significant part of the book tells the story of Kat and Lucas's internal debates about whether to reveal their romantic interest.  I understand that this would be a difficult situation, but I felt as though after a while it got drawn out, even repetitive.  That's the only thing I would change about the book.

All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes isn't a life-changing book--it's as fluffy as the frosting on Kat's cupcakes--but if that's what you're looking for, this is a fun read.

Links for more information:

* If you click through my Amazon affiliate link and complete a purchase, I will receive a small commission.  Thank you for supporting my cupcake habit!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sending God's Love (Five Minute Friday)

Hey, time for another Five Minute Friday!  Visit Kate Motaung, our hostess, for all the details.

Today the word prompt is SEND.

So ... START!
Three years ago I was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.  I was blessed and, frankly, astonished by the number of cards I received.  I got cards from relatives, but the majority were from members of our church family.  What an overwhelming comfort and show of support that was!

In addition, our Deaconesses coordinated meals for us and sent flowers.  Even with the trials we were dealing with, we felt more loved than I could have imagined.

Since then I've been sending cards to others, those within our church and friends from other places.  Sometimes they're quick notes written on greeting cards, and sometimes they're longer letters.  I love to encourage people, and I know what a blessing it can be.

One friend from church, whose husband had received one of these cards after an injury, came over to me and said, "It was such a blessing!  We're going to start doing that for other people!"

I'm not patting myself on the back:  it wasn't my idea.  But I just love sending encouraging words, telling someone that I'm praying, and letting that person know that he/she is being thought of.


Ah, so I'm ending on a grammatical error, but whatever. :)