“Life-Giving Inspiration from a Rustic Countryside”
My friend, Terri Kraus, recently released a new book, Farmhouse Retreat, from Tyndale House Publishers. The photography in the book is by Renee Baker, who also . I was privileged to receive an advance copy to take a closer look. The book is now available. Here is my review.
During stressful days and uncertain times, it was a privilege to sit still for a moment now and then to read each passage in this beautiful book. The writing about life on this lovely farm retreat in North Carolina calmed and engaged me.
The readings are brief which suits busy days. The photography enhanced the stories and took me deeper into such interesting events. The Scripture used broadened the impact of the stories. The format with floral borders was so pretty. Terri’s writing is inviting, warm, and thoughtfully makes connections to authentic faith in following Christ.
I found the journaling prompts to be a great way to stay with the impressions of each passage. Terri made the truth of life in Christ both gently challenging and accessible. This can be a light and pleasant read, a book club choice, or useful to launch discussions with a small group of friends over tea.
I loved the stories about sheep. Those were my favorite! The DIY articles tucked throughout were interesting, too.
Farmhouse Retreat is also a great gift book, housewarming present, or lovely book for a guest room.
To read more about the book from the author, Terri Kraus, here’s a link for you shared from Ann Voskamp’s website.
Here is a general list of some of the goldmine of places I like to go for good grub in the Uptown Whittier restaurant district, including the Greenleaf Promenade.
From time to time, a friend will ask what restaurants I would recommend in the Uptown Whittier, California area. This is a subjective list. What I like may or may not be what others are looking for. Just ask my husband. However, in compiling this list, I was amazed at the variety available within just a few blocks.
Let’s talk about parking. You will need to park and walk. This is an urban area. California Grill does have its own parking lot, but the rest are street parking (free), if you can find it. You can also take advantage of one of the two parking garages (not free). Enter one from Bright across from Phlight. Enter the other from Comstock between Philadelphia and Bailey. I think those are $2 or $3 to park, and you can often park inside which has the advantage of a cooler car upon your return. There is a larger outdoor parking lot near Chicken Koop and Off the Hook. Also, there is a smaller lot off Greenleaf north of Monty’s Camera and The Cellar, entered from the alley off Hadley or Bailey.
I have not included addresses. Your smart phone map app can help with that.
Currently, many restaurants have outdoor dining, which I have enjoyed. As the summer temperatures rise, however, that is losing its appeal. It seems, however, that when I dine outside the loudest cars and motorcycles seem to drive down Greenleaf Avenue. Annoying. But you might be a track-side NASCAR fan and thrive on that energy.
I have eaten at all these places and liked them. I’ve enjoyed some more than others depending on the food, service, and ambiance. Feel free to ask for more specifics in the comments or on social media.
There are some restaurants I have not tried yet. They are not on this list. I am set in my ways and just don’t have room for some of the new hot spots in my repertoire at this time. Some restaurants are missing simply because I’ve eaten there once, and that was enough. You can add your recommendation in the comments or on social media to expand this list.
For your reference:
Check Yelp or the restaurant website for the days and hours. Some are not open every day. Some are not open for lunch. Some are open for brunch only on weekends. Giving the restaurant a call will guarantee the most up-to-date information.
For some, it’s walk in and order at the counter. Some have servers that wait on your table.
Some are dark and pub-like. Others are open and light.
Some are loud. Some are quiet.
Some are old-school diner-style food. Some are interesting fusion cuisine and everything in between.
Have you tried Cloud Toilet Paper yet? With the one-year anniversary of the toilet paper panic, I thought I would honor that in today’s post and share what I found out about Cloud Paper.
I recently heard about Cloud toilet paper and decided to try it out. I like to save a tree when I can, so this bamboo toilet paper caught my interest. I never really considered the deforestation related to toilet paper. I ordered a box.
The box was 24-rolls for $28. Free shipping is included with a subscription. I chose to commit to just one box to try it out.
The box arrived in good condition.
I liked the pretty tissue paper that came inside.
I unpacked the box, with paper crackling. I prefer a crackling fire, but this was a nice touch.
Even the packaging is considerate of the environment. That is important.
The mission of Cloud Paper is to protect our environment.
Each individual roll is wrapped in a recyclable wrap.
All ready to roll!
Time to put it to the test. It is soft enough to the touch and held up as needed. The roll lasted long enough. I would never guess it was made from bamboo. I found it to tear well enough, too. Some other brands tear easier, but I was OK with this.
This label is certainly helpful! And subtle. Ha, ha.
And how could I resist! The box comes monogrammed with my initials!
I like it. I will switch to this brand.
Stay environmentally responsible, my friends.
P.S. If you’d like to try this yourself, I highly recommend it. I was quite pleased with the product, price, and the values.
Here is another review. This reviewer did not think the paper was soft enough. I liked the level of softness. So now you have another perspective. He compares it with Charmin and Kirkland (Costco).
I recently read a new award winning children’s picture book, All Because You Matter, written by former teacher Tami Charles and illustrated by award-winning illustrator Bryan Collier. It is important to share books that tell stories that may be different from our own. It is essential that all children see themselves in storybooks. I was interested in this story for those reasons, and found it to be a tender, timely, and important book.
All Because You Matter is a thoughtful love story written to a young child, affirming the beauty and richness that lives within the child. The story is strong and encouraging to the precious children among us who may not be part of the majority. For readers who grew up in different circumstances, this may bring some discomfort. If we can sift through that discomfort, and take in more of the reality of the world as experienced by others, then we will grow more loving and empathetic through this picture story.
And wouldn’t that make us better neighbors and the world a better place? All our children need this from us.
As is true for many of you, we recently watched Disney’s newly released movie, Mulan, a live action version of the earlier animated film. I don’t have clear memories of the previous Mulan (1998), so I was able to enjoy this movie on its own merits without comparison.
If you’ve seen the first version, you know the story. Disney did a good job refreshing it and keeping it engaging. Likable story. Most of the characters created a level of empathy in me. The conflict and resolution were satisfying. It is predictable to some level. Mulan’s struggle, to be so gifted yet so restricted in her culture at the time, gave it a universal theme. The lead actress in this role, Yifei Liu, brought the character to life.
As with most Disney stories, we watch for some humor and some darkness. Battle scenes and war are never relaxing, never the first choice in a movie for me, but predicting that the good will probably prevail helped. It’s Disney, after all. Not American politics.
Some will want to know what age group this movie would be appropriate for, would appeal to. Those are two different questions. It will depend on the child and the parenting style. The fighting and death might be of concern for younger kids. It is a movie filled with angst with more mature themes of hiding who you really are and the destructive pain of feeling alone. Some children will connect with that on their own level. Some may be too young.
For a better review of what age groups to share it with and major themes to consider first, check out Common Sense Media for their in-depth review and comments.
You’ve probably heard that Mulan (2020) is available on Disney + (Disney Plus) for a fee of $29.99, on top of your fee for channel access. So one has to decide if that is worth it. This streaming movies for a fee on top of subscriptions is new to me, and part of some business models since the pandemic closed the theaters. It could be a win-win. Here in the Los Angeles area, we need the movie industry to survive. It is a major employer in our area and does provide a service, for better or worse. Perhaps this helps the industry create some sort of income.
People have shared that it is cheaper than going to the theater. Perhaps, if you pay regular ticket prices. We are seniors, so we do not. They also mention adding in the cost of popcorn and drinks. True, that boosts the cost of the evening. So in this case, spend $30 and then make your own popcorn, pour your own drinks, and use your own bathroom.
If you have a family of even three or four, you’ve at least broken even by then, and still enjoy the convenience of your own home. Each person will determine if it is worth $30 or not. The cost does go down the bigger the viewing group, so there’s that.
Here’s another great article about Chinese culture captured in the movie, Mulan. For those readers interested in gaining further understanding into other cultures, this is a good article.
The twenty-first birthday is a milestone in the life of many young adults. Yet the big reward seems to be drinking legally. And probably drinking a lot in one night. Maybe we can do better.
What are we saying about adult life? Have we lost sight of truly celebrating our next generation as they grow to be adults? Have we taken the easy way out on creating a fun time? Is this what we really want them to look forward to? The legal drinking age seems to keep the celebration of reaching adulthood in the shallow end of the pool.
What kind of celebration would better honor this birthday, this rite of passage?
What if it were connected to life steps of accomplishment, instead of simply turning a page on the calendar. Achieving a goal or set of goals would be worthy of celebrating and instill a feeling of pride as one reaches their twenty-first birthday, like purchasing a car, getting car insurance, landing a job, getting a first apartment, finishing a college degree (not often doable by the twenty-first birthday), building a savings account, successful completion of military service, or volunteering or contributing to society. It is interesting to consider, instead of basically saying, “Now that you’ve survived to age twenty-one, have a brew, bro’!”
However, I think celebrating birthdays is celebrating life. Celebrating accomplishments feels like something separate. When we achieve our goals, that’s an additional reason to celebrate. We celebrate what we do at times, but birthdays celebrate who we are, who we are becoming. We pause to honor “being” over “doing.” So maybe accomplishments should be a separate reason to party.
What about those turning twenty-one who aren’t interested in drinking? Can we offer them anything amazing, beautiful, and empowering for them, too?
This can get more creative, especially considering drinking does not go so well for everyone. We can do better at designing a ritual or honoring celebration as we frame turning twenty-one differently.
Here’s one idea, though I don’t see it as a good one. At Purdue in the early 1980’s, the student turning twenty-one got tossed in the local Wabash River by friends. Hopefully, this did not occur in the winter.
Why is drinking the big buzz at twenty-one? Is reaching the legal drinking age what’s important? Let’s celebrate more than that, and make great memories that honor the birthday person with class and thoughtfulness. I’ll check for a Pinterest board to get more good ideas.
Not helpful. But then it’s not up to me, anyway. I’ve been over twenty-one a long time, and celebrated with a banana split on my big day.
Was your twenty-first birthday special? Have you heard any great celebration ideas?