Friday, March 27, 2015

Mirror Image: Who Are the Five People ...?

I heard recently that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.  A few days later, I heard the same idea again.  So with that in mind, who are the five people you'd like to spend the most time with?  Whose reflection would you like to see in your mirror?

For my list, I'm disqualifying family members.  I don't want anyone to be offended!

This list took me some time to compile.  (It would have been easier to rattle off five celebrities that I wouldn't want to spend time with.)  But I was taking it seriously, so I stuck with it, and here is the result.  Other than the first two, these people are listed in the order in which I met them.
  1. Jesus.  Who's more precious to resemble?
  2. The apostle Paul.  He suffered much during his ministry, yet he never gave up.  Even more than that, he wrote this: "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."  I have hope, I have joy, and I generally have peace--but I'd be hard-pressed to say that I am "content in any and every situation."
  3. My friend Meri.  We don't spend a lot of time together in the literal sense, because she lives far away.  However, we email frequently, so we're in close contact.  She's the friend who has known me the longest--we've been through everything together!--and we just "get" each other.  She usually doesn't hold back her opinions and, while I don't always agree with her, I know that she always loves me and always tells me the truth.  She's a good example of showing love, being honest, and staying faithful through trials.
  4. My pastor.  I have learned so much from him, both spiritually and personally.  He shows compassion when I need it, shares wisdom when I need it, and offers encouragement when I need it.  He also speaks the truth, even when I don't want to hear it.  He makes me a better, stronger person.
  5. My friend Amanda.  I'd like to have her tender heart, her boundless energy, and her positive attitude.  Even when she's dealing with her own stresses, she finds a way to minister to many.
So, as I asked at the top of this post, Who are the five people you'd like to spend the most time with?  Whose reflection would you like to see in your mirror?

photo credit: eyes of vanity : vanity mirrors, restoration hardware, santa barbara (2006) via photopin (license)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Snow Globe (Book Review and Giveaway)

Disclosure:  I received a copy of The Snow Globe by Judith Kinghorn, at no cost to me, for review purposes.
Inside the glass orb was a miniature garden and a house. If she stared long enough, she could almost see the people inside. But whether they were trapped there, or kept safe, in that miniscule snowbound world, she couldn't have said... 

Christmas 1926 holds bright promise for nineteen-year-old Daisy Forbes, with celebrations under way at Eden Hall, her family's country estate in Surrey, England. But when Daisy, the youngest of three daughters, discovers that her adored father, Howard, has been leading a double life, her illusions of perfection are shattered. Worse, his current mistress, introduced as a family friend, is joining them for the holidays. As Daisy wrestles with the truth, she blossoms in her own right, receiving a marriage proposal from one man, a declaration of love from another, and her first kiss from a third. Meanwhile, her mother, Mabel, manages these social complications with outward calm, while privately reviewing her life and contemplating significant changes. And among those below stairs, Nancy, the housekeeper, and Mrs. Jessop, the cook, find that their long-held secrets are slowly beginning to surface...

As the seasons unfold in the new year, and Daisy moves to London, desires, fortunes, and loyalties will shift during this tumultuous time after the Great War. The Forbes family and those who serve them will follow their hearts down unexpected paths that always return to where they began...Eden Hall.
Daisy's snow globe is an apt metaphor for her sheltered life.  Everything changes when she discovers that her father is unfaithful to her mother.  As she tries to reconcile this with what she had always believed about her father, she struggles with decisions about her future.

Maybe it's the setting--England in 1926-1927--that demanded people keep their private thoughts to themselves.  I don't think one character in this book is completely transparent.  It's not what I would like in real life, but it makes an interesting story.  Just trying to keep track of who knew which secret and when was, at times, a challenge.  Some questions are not answered, even for the reader, until much later in the book.

The Snow Globe is fiction that requires some attention to read; it's not fluffy.  I like that.  The characters are multi-dimensional, interesting, and sometimes funny.  I also like that the story has many twists and turns that kept me guessing.  Just when I thought I had it figured out, the whole picture changed completely.

Note that The Snow Globe is not Christian fiction.  The themes are mature, at least two scenes are very suggestive, and profanity is used here and there.

Links for more information:
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Interested in this book?  Thanks to Penguin Books, I have the opportunity to give away one copy to a reader!  Enter through the Rafflecopter widget, and good luck!

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Keeping It Real (Five Minute Friday)

FMF Real
Another Five Minute Friday! I've missed a couple of weeks, because I simply didn't feel like writing.  I do this for fun, so if it's not, I'm not.

Anyway, the prompt for today is "Real."


For the longest time, I was reluctant to have anyone visit our home.  Maybe it stemmed from the time that my mother-in-law came over.  I'd cleaned extensively, yet after the visit she told her sister that I don't clean.  Okay, our house isn't as spotless as hers, but still.

But I've gotten better about having friends here.  I finally realized that when they visit, they aren't here to see the furniture or the kitchen table.  They're here to visit us.  Sure, I straighten up, but I don't fret over a little bit of dust or a reasonable amount of clutter.  I'm just keeping it real.

Similarly, for years I put on a happy face in spite of my depression and cancer and other "stuff."  I thought that people would stay away if they knew.  Some do.  But most of the time when I've been open, people respond in love.  People respond to authenticity.  I want to be an example of that, so others don't feel as though they have to hide what they're really going through.  It's a blessing to be able to help others as well as to receive compassion and encouragement, but we can't do either if we aren't showing who we really are.


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Monday, March 16, 2015

NOBLE (Giveaway) #DowntonAbbey

Disclosure:  I will receive the same prize pack for posting this giveaway.  All opinions are my own.

Fan of "Downton Abbey"?  This giveaway is for you!

Like to learn about women who do heroic things?  This is for you, too!

I have not seen the film NOBLE, so I can only share this snippet of the description:
They broke everything but her spirit. They took everything but her dream. NOBLE, the award-winning feature film, is the incredible true story of a fearless Irish heroine driven by her daring vision to escape the slums of Ireland and risk everything on the streets of Vietnam.
In anticipation of the May 8 theater release of NOBLE, which stars Brendan Coyle (Mr. Bates of "Downton Abbey"), I have the opportunity to offer this fun giveaway!

One winner will receive a prize pack containing these items:
  • One (1) photo of Brendan Coyle, autographed by Mr. Coyle himself!
  • One (1) The World of Downton Abbey hardcover book
  • One (1) signed NOBLE movie poster

This giveaway is made possible by the new film, NOBLE, about Christina Noble, an Irishwoman who's saved over 700,000 orphans in Vietnam. Deirdre O'Kane and Brendan Coyle (Mr. Bates on Downtown Abbey) star in the award-winning film.

For another chance to win, enter the She is Noble contest, inspired by Christina's story. Go to the website and nominate a heroic woman you know who's quietly changing the world around her. You could win a free 5-day/4-night trip to Ireland!

When you enter, use my referral code: FRUGALCREATIVITY

To enter for the photo/book/poster giveaway, just sign into Rafflecopter and get started!
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