Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas !

Wishing everyone a happy, safe and blessed Christmas!

May your Christmas holidays be filled with love and peace!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Multitudes on Monday

The list that never ends - what a lovely way to describe the list of what we are thankful for. These gifts that enrich our lives so often come from the heart and fill our lives with love and wonder.

This past week I am so thankful for:

81. all the Christmas cards with news from family and friends

82. hearing from all my children and making plans for Christmas

83. winning 2 giveaways - a book and a planner

84. a lovely supper together at East Side Mario's

85. still holding hands when we walk, after 10 years together

86. watching "It's a Wonderful Life" with my husband

87. celebrating the 2 oldest grandsons' birthdays on Saturday

88. sitting on the couch, looking at the tree all lit up, with our cat on my lap and Christmas music playing

89. feeling surrounded by angels when I drive the 30 min. to work each way, especially in iffy weather

90. being able to help others in need

Visit "A Holy Experience", for inspiration and for information.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Weekly Wrap-Up

A week til Christmas! Wishing everyone peace and love during this final week before Christmas and all through the Christmas holidays!

This past week has been a hectic one -again! At least my hubby is on the mend and back to work. At school we are busily preparing for our Christmas concert - singing 4 multicultural songs about light and peace.

I am trying to finish Christmas cards - got out half of them today. The past few weeks put my agenda for Christmas way out of whack. Oh well - at least the rest of the cards should be mailed by Christmas!

I haven't even started my baking yet - which in some ways is good as I would probably have been eating too many by now.

Art this past week was limited to viewing rather than actually doing.

I won 2 giveaways this past week for which I am extremely grateful and excited.

1. The book "The 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women" by Gail McMeekin", a giveaway hosted by Jamie Ridler.

I loved Gail's first book and I know I will love this one. A big Thanks to Jamie and Gail!

2. A planner pad from Glenda Myles, of "Myles Ahead", who is hosting a wonderful "planning for 2012" workshop over 4 weeks. I am loving it!

The Artist's Way

Today is the last check-in. We have now finished the book, with this last chapter. Chapter 12 is very encouraging.

Several quotes really struck me:

"Creativity requires faith."

"Each of us has an inner dream that we can unfold if we will just have the courage to admit it. And the faith to trust our own admissions."

"Our truest dreams for ourselves is always God's will for us."

"There is a path for each of us. When we are on the right path, we have a surefootedness."

I love the idea of the God Jar and placing all our doubts, fears, worries into it. Then we can truthfully say - "God's got it".

I now will have to reread the book and complete many of the tasks I skimmed over. This will be a 2012 task. I also intend to do a much better job of the morning papers as I reread this book.

It has been a very worthwhile journey through the book with such a supportive group of people. Thank you to all of them who have made this a wonderful journey of discovery.

Check here to stop by and visit at Paula's blog.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday

Time for sharing of shadows - that super fun meme created by Tracy at Hey Harriet!

We have new hosts for Shadow Shot Sunday with a new logo!

Here it is mid December and we were getting crazy weather - lots of sun too. Couldn't resist the tree shadows across the street.

This little angel was a fundraiser for a local business and I couldn't resist the faint shadow she cast.

This last shot was taken before I put on the flash - I like this shot though of our old cat cast in darkness.

Be sure to check here for awesome shadow shots from around the world.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Book Challenges for 2012, Part 2

More Book Challenges

There are several more book challenges that have really appealed to me. Here is a summary and what I hope to accomplish in 2012. It will definitely be a "reading" year!


5. Read Canadian Award Winners

I would like to be a "Can-Lit Lover" and so I will be reading one book from each of the five award lists (check the website for all the lists)

I’ve been trying to incorporate more Canadian writing into my 2012 reading list so I’ve decided to spotlight winners of Canadian literary prize.
I’ve chosen what I think are the most heralded of Canadian book honours: the Governor-General’s Award for Literature and the Giller Prize. Because the Giller hasn’t been around all that long, I’ve added in the prestigious Canadian Authors’ Association Literary Award. I’ve picked the main fiction category in all of those.
In addition, the (formerly Books in Canada) First Novel Award is widely-known and, over the years, has brought to the forefront many who have become major players in Canadian literature.
Finally, I can’t host this challenge and not promote my adopted home, Nova Scotia, so I’m also drawing attention to the Atlantic Book Awards’ Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize.
Here’s the scoop on the ways you can enter:

Toe-dipper: one book from the list of award winners of each of “main” prizes: the Governor-General’s Award, the Giller Prize, and the CAA Prize. (Total 3 books)

Chance-taker: one book from each of the “main” lists plus one from the First Novel Award winners. (Total 4 books)

Bluenoser: One book from each of the “main” lists plus one from the Atlantic Book Award winners. (Total 4 books)

CanLit Lover: one book from each of the five lists. (Total 5 books)
Here’s a list of the prize winners:

Governor-General’s Award for Literature

Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction

Giller Prize First Novel Award

Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize

Be sure to check here for more information.


6. Mystery & Suspense Challenge 2012

I thoroughly enjoy a good mystery. I have read all of Sue Grafton books (except for the last which I am sure is under the tree!), most of Kathy Reichs and am just beginning reading Louise Penny's.

I am choosing the first level and so plan to read 12 books for the year - one a month.

Welcome to the Mystery & Suspense Challenge 2012! I didn't do very well this year (again!) even though it is my own challenge, but I hope to do better this in 2012. However, it seems many of you did very well, so congratulations for completing the challenge. For those of you who were more like me, here's your chance to beat this challenge!
Challenge Details
• Timeline: 01 Jan 2012 - 31 Dec 2012
• Rules: There are TWO LEVELS you can choose from:- Read TWELVE (12) mystery & suspense novels in 2012 - Read TWENTY FOUR (24) mystery & suspense novels in 2012
• You don't have to select your books ahead of time, you can just add them as you go. Also if you do list them upfront you can change them, nothing is set in stone! The books you choose can crossover into other challenges you have on the go.
• You can join at anytime. All books read in 2012 count towards the challenge regardless of when you sign up.
• At the beginning of Jan 2012, you will find a link to specific month to add your reviews.
• Audiobooks do not count, but all other formats are accepted.
• This challenge can crossover to other challenges.
• At the beginning of Jan 2012, you will find a link to add your reviews.
• You don't have to have a blog to join in - for those without a blog justFILL IN THIS FORM and I will add you to the list - just join the discussion in the comments section to let us know when you've read a book and what you thought of it! :)
• You can choose from the numerous sub-genres of mystery and suspense, from cosy mysteries such as Agatha Christie to the more hard-boiled kind like V I Warshawski by Sara Paretsky, or romantic suspense written by the likes of Linda Howard, forensic crime such as those written by Kathy Reichs and even paranormal/supernatural suspense such as Kelley Armstrong. I'm sure this challenge will have something for everyone! :)
To help you figure out and decide, I have updated a sub-genre list - to view this list go HERE.

For more information and to sign-up, please see this post.


7. Illustrated Year 2012 in Picture Books

As a teacher I am always on the lookout for good picture books that can inspire children to write and to think. This challenge is a natural fit.

I plan to select Level 3 and read 24 picture books during the year.

A few of us participated in my picture book reading challenge during 2011. I had a fun time with it and wanted to give it another try. I love picture books, and was collecting them long before I became an elementary librarian. Sometimes it's the story, sometimes the illustrations, and a lot of the time it's the fun of reading them out loud to kids that makes picture books so enjoyable. I thought it would be fun to create a reading challenge for this shorter, though just as entertaining, genre. Picture books are a great way to share stories and the experience of reading with children. If you're reading the books with kids, I encourage you to add their opinion of the books as well! I love the way the family at Bookie Woogie reviews books. That being said, not all picture books are for children. Picture books for older audiences are also welcome.
I will be using the thumbnail inLinkz form for participants to link their monthly reviews to. This way we can see the books you've reviewed!

To Sign Up

· IF YOU BLOG: Please make a post on your blog about participating in the challenge. Then use the URL for your CHALLENGE POST when signing up using the inLinkz below. IF YOU DO NOT BLOG: Please link to your GoodReads, Library Thing, or similar profile.
· You must add the button to your sidebar - make sure that it links back to this post so others can join the challenge if they wish. Just copy and past the code displayed below!

The Details
· Timeline: January 1, 2012- December 31, 2012
· Select your level:
Level 1 - Read 12 picture books
Level 2 - Read 16 picture books
Level 3 - Read 24 picture books
· You don't have to select your books ahead of time, you can just add them as you go. If you do list your books in the beginning, you can always change them later on.
· Crossovers with other challenges count.
· Digital books count
· Re-reads count as long as you read them in 2012 and you post a new review for the book.
· You can join anytime

Be sure to check the post here for more information.


8. Young Adult Reading Challenge

There are so many good young adult novels and I do read these for my class. Another good fit.

I am aiming for the first level - 12 books for the year. (I hope to read more though.

Challenge 2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge

January 1, 2012 - December 31, 2012
The Rules:
Anyone can join.
You don't need a blog to participate.
Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post on Jamie's blog.
Audio, eBooks, paper, re-reads all count.
No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.
There are four levels:
The Mini YA Reading Challenge – Read 12 Young Adult novels.
The "Fun Size" YA Reading Challenge – Read 20 Young Adult novels.
The Jumbo Size YA Reading Challenge – Read 40 Young Adult novels.
The Mega size YA Reading Challenge – Read 50+ Young Adult novels.

For more information and to sign-up, please see this post.


I know, I know - it does seem like a lot of reading and a lot of challenges. But this past year, I really did miss reading. I did not read what I had hoped. The "Off the Shelf" challenge will provide a lot of the titles for the other challenges - so there will be overlap.

Check out here for a great overview of hundreds of book challenges.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wishcasting Wednesday

Today at Jamie Ridler Studios, Jamie asks us:

What is your deepest wish?

(I love this image from Jamie's post today!)

The first thing that struck me was that I wish my 60's to be happy, healthy and productive. I wish for joy, peace, and contentment. A simple wish but one that will require me to work especially on my health.

As Jamie says:

"You can be a maker of magic and a tender of wishes. It’s easy. Answer the wish prompt above on your blog. Support wishes by visiting other participants. It’s that simple. There is great power in wishing together."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Exciting Book Challenges

Book Challenges for 2012

While visiting a new blog, I rediscovered book challenges. I had signed up last year but life (and especially school) interrupted the direction of my reading. I still read, but needed different books.

There are so many book challenges this year and I am eager to take part in several of them. One in particular (Off the Shelf) will help me clear my shelf of many books that are just gathering dust!

My biggest weakness is books. I have well over 1000 here at home and an equal number at school. Every time we enter Costgo, I vow I will not buy another book. I usually end up with 2!

I keep lists of books I want to read and love getting recommendations. I always have several books on the go.

Here are the challenges I am joining in on. (I will probably post over several days or this post will be way too long!)

What I especially like about these are that they're supportive of what you do accomplish. I hope in the end that I have read many different genres and that my shelves have room for new books!

(The descriptions of the challenges come from the actual posts)

1. Off the Shelf:

My goal is to read 15 books (Trying level). I will be able to use many of these books I hope with other challenges. The goal though is to clear my shelf!!

Off the Shelf 2012 Reading Challenge (Jan.1- Dec.31, 20012)

This is the second year running for Off The Shelf!, with last year being an overwhelming success (over 300 participants), and we hope this year it does just as well!

There are some differences this time, thanks to a new year, new place, and some experience. Have a read below, if you have any questions ask away, and the most important part of it is to have fun!
What It’s All About
Do you love books? Do you love them so much your to be read list seems to keep growing, and growing, and growing? Is space on your bookshelf taken up with unread books? Is your eBook library burgeoning with unread stories? We’ve been there at BA and we still are!

This challenge is to read those books you own a copy of, print, digital, and audio, you have been meaning to read, but never gotten to. If you don’t own enough books for the challenge you can read your TBR list instead. And no, you do not need to get rid of your books afterwards, that’s completely your choice, this challenge is only to read them.

The Deets
The Main Rule
: Do not include books acquired during 2012, it defeats the purpose, read those books from before 2012 started!
Running Dates: 1st of January – 31st of December 2012
When Can I Sign Up: All the way up to the last two weeks of December!
Crossover Genres: Anything! The name of the game is to turn those unread books into read ones.
Mr Linky: To use the Mr Linky you’ll need to click on the graphic then enter your link. These will be updated and posted into this page every couple of weeks or so.
Further Details: Crossover challenges are fine, you can change levels at any time, this is eBook, short story, and graphic novel friendly, and you don’t need a blog to join in (read further for details).
The How To
Choose Your Level:These are listed further down and you can change levels at any time.
Grab The Badge: Place it somewhere on your blog, profile, or in a signature where possible and link back (main page or this page, it’s up to you).
Sign Up Post: Create a post on your blog, in a group, or on a forum (only if allowed) to let others see what you’re aiming for (a predefined list of books is optional).
Link Up: Grab the direct URL to your sign up post, not your blog, click the Mr Linky graphic and enter your link!
Blogless? Don’t worry, you can sign up with your social network profile (YouTube, Twitter, GoodReads, Shelfari included), just make sure you link to your review list, shelf, tweet, or category. If you don’t have any of those feel free to comment!
Your Reviews: Reviewing is optional! But if you do review we’d love for you to share them by submitting them on the Review Page (including social networks).
Finished: When you’re done it’s completion post time and you can share these on the Completion Post page!
Challenge Levels
Tempted– Choose 5 books to read
Trying – Choose 15 books to read
Making A Dint – Choose 30 books to read
On A Roll – Choose 50 books to read
Flying Off – Choose 75 books to read
Hoarder – Choose between 76-135 books to read
Buried – Choose between 136-200 books to read
For more information and to sign-up, please check this post.

2. Non-Fiction Non-Memoir

I want to read more non-fiction this year and already have a number of books I want to read (including the Steve Jobs' biography)
This may be the only way I will achieve a Master's degree (lol), so I am aiming high on this one!
Non-Fiction Non-Memoir Reading Challenge

I've decided to host a challenge to motivate myself and others to read more nonfiction. To make it more of a challenge, the Non-Fiction Non-Memoir Reading Challenge will exclude memoirs, which seem to be the most read type of nonfiction among the book blogs I follow. Instead, we'll focus on learning about a variety of different topics and discovering new facts. The challenge will run from January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012.
What Counts:
- Books can be any format (bound, ebook, audio) but must be written for adults or young adults.
- Books can cover many different topics, including science, technology, religion, sociology, business, biography, politics, economics, history, food, art/design, etc.- How-to, self-help and travel books are permitted, as long as you actual read them cover to cover, and don't just use them as a reference.
- Crossovers with other challenges are permitted.

What Does Not Count:
- Reference books, cookbooks and instruction manuals that are not meant to be read cover to cover
- Essays and articles
- How-to, self-help or travel books that are not read cover to cover
- Memoirs, journals and autobiographies
- Books written for children
- Re-reads don't count since the point is to learn something new

Elementary - 5 nonfiction books
Diploma - 10 nonfiction books
Bachelor's Degree - 15 nonfiction books
Master's Degree - 25 nonfiction books

Details:- Write a starting post that states which level you will be working toward, including a link back to this post. You can include a list of books, but it is not required. Link to your post in the Linky below.- If you don't have a blog, leave your information in the comments on this post.- Reviews are not required, but I will have a post set up where you can link up to your reviews throughout the year.- There will be quarterly update posts to which you can link up, and at least one giveaway at the end of the year. I may host others throughout the year as well. [Note to authors: I'll gladly accept your nonfiction books as giveaways.]- A wrap-up post at the end of the year will be required to be considered for the final giveaway. If you don't have a blog, you'll need to comment on the wrap-up post with your accomplishments.- You can sign up for this challenge through November 30, 2012.This is my first time hosting a year-long challenge so please let me know if you have any suggestions or questions! And here's a button to grab for your sidebar.

For more information and to sign-up, please check post here.

3. Book 2 Movie Reading Challenge

I love the idea of this challenge. Most of the time I read the book before I watch the movie.
Here are my choices so far:
1. Movie is more famous than the book: "Time Traveller's Wife"
2. to a TV series: "Jane Eyre"
3. Main characters are animals: "Silverwing" by Ken Oppel
4. with favourite actress: "Julie and Julia"
5. book classic made into a movie after 1990 : "Emma"
6. book written for the movie: "I am Number 4"
7. from an author not of your home country: ?
8. about love and you'll probably cry: ?
9. social issue: "The Help"
10. story from over a 100 years ago: "The Pillars of the Earth"
11. playing in Asia/Africa or future: "Memoirs of a Geisha"
12. movie coming out in 2012: "The Hunger Games"

The goal for this challenge is to read a book/ watch a movie in each of the 12 categories, which are further down, during the year of 2012 (01.01.2012 – 31.12.2012) + 1 bonus category, if someone can’t find a book in one of the 12 categories..
This means: 12 books + movies in 12 months, as a result 1 book/ 1 movie per month. (Book can be read/ movie can already been watched – but just one of each)
You want to join?:Then please write me an e-mail to: with your book choices with the category #number and your blog address and the name, which I should use in this post.

Check this post for more information.

4. Memorable Memoirs
I love memoirs and this challenge looks perfect.
I am aiming for: the Autobiographer level.

The 2012 Memorable Memoirs Reading Challenge (Jan.1-Dec. 31. 2012)

It's back again for the 3rd year! If you love memoirs or if you simply want to add more memoirs into your reading life, then the 2012 Memorable Memoirs Reading Challenge is for you!

What Counts as A Memoir?I know there's a difference between memoir and autobiography, but for this challenge, we're going to define memoir as a record of events written by a person having intimate knowledge of them and based on personal observation.

Published letters, diaries, journals, autobiographies, nonfiction books on the craft of writing memoirs ... in my book, they all count as Memorable Memoirs for this challenge. (Generally, biographies don't, but I could always be convinced.)

The Rules:Books, e-books, audiobooks, ARCs, NetGalley books are allowed.

Overlaps with other challenges are also allowed.

Re-reads are allowed.No need to create a list of books in advance (but if you want to, please feel free!)

You don't need a blog to participate.

You must select a level. You can increase your level, but you can't go back down.

The Dates:January 1 - December 31, 2012. You can sign up anytime between now and throughout 2012.

The Levels (new this year!)

Diarist: read 1-4 memoirs

Autobiographer: read 5-9 memoirs

Memoirist: read 10+ memoirs.

For more information and to sign-up please see this post.


Check here for a huge overview of hundreds of book challenges. It is a fantastic resource.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Multitudes on Monday

t is time once again to express gratitude for the many wonderful things that have happened this past week. It is sometimes the simplest things that bring the most happiness.

This week , I am very grateful for:

71. my husband feeling better

72. receiving Christmas cards from friends and hearing all their news

73. receiving ATCs in the mail

74. birthday celebrations

75. hearing from my youngest, phoning just to say hello

76. a decorated Christmas tree, with all the lights shining

77. a beautiful cake created by a young woman starting a new business

78. prayers being answered

79. a beautiful full moon

80. LOVE and kindness from others

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday

Time to share shadows - that super fun meme at Hey Harriet!, created by Tracy. It is definitely addictive! last night, I saw Christmasy shadows and of course had to grab my camera.

Be sure to join in the fun here!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Multitudes on Monday

Once again it is time to express gratitude for the many wonderful things that have happened this past week. It is sometimes the simplest things that bring the most happiness.

This week , I am very grateful for:

61. my three children, who all were in touch

62. my step-children, who all jumped in to help their Dad

63. caring co-workers

64. Christmas lights and decorations

65. delicious treats

66. Fluffy, who gives purrs and cuddles

67. good movies that entertain

68. quick help at the hospital on Saturday for my hubby

69. a good night sleep

70. hugs and kisses and just holding hands

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday Weekly Wrap-Up

It has been an unsettling week. My hubby had surgery Monday, was in hospital for 2 nights and then went back yesterday. He is doing okay - just some complications. We missed 2 special Christmas celebrations and decorating our tree. At least it is up - with lights. And we have gotten some extra time together. Even sat and watched "Larry Crowne" last night.

I have read a lot this week ( I discovered and read "Kate Morton's "The Distant Hours"), with just a bit of art done .

After 2 1/2 days away from school, my class were quite happy to have me back Thurs. (and I was very happy to be back).

Now we just have to wait for follow-up and for my hubby time to heal.

The Artist's Way

I did a few more tasks with Chapter 11. It was by far the most enjoyable.

My journal is slowly filling up with lists and tasks done. I still have to go back and do a number of tasks throughout the book. My art dates were the few times I actually got to create art.

The morning papers still elude me. I was able to write a few times at night - still my preferred time.

It is hard to believe there's only one chapter to go.

Heart Exchange

I took part in the "Heart Exchange" through Louise Gale's blog. What a lovely experience. We each had a partner for whom we made something from our heart to theirs. I received a gorgeous heart book from Jenna. What a thoughtful gift - one that I am going to use to inspire me in 2012!

(thanks so much Jenna and Louise!)

Planning for 2012

There is so much available to help in planning for 2012.

I just signed up for Ali Edwards "One Little Word 2012" online course, which will run all year. I have been choosing a word to help guide me with intention throughout the new year for a couple of years.

For 4 weeks in December, at "Myles Ahead", you can start a weekly process of visioning for the year ahead.

The 100 questions exercise was very interesting and has resulted in 10 questions/themes I hope to pursue in 2012.

Reverb 2011 has begun again, although through a different organizer than last year.

With all three of these groups, the primary goal has been to choose a word of intention for 2012. I made a preliminary list of 20 words and have finally chosen my word. Actually, it is one small phrase, as it encompasses so much of what I want 2012 to be.

I turn 60 in early January and so begins a a new decade, one that I want to be healthy, eventful, and exciting.

The phrase is "Seize each day" from the Latin "Carpe Diem". (A fellow teacher has this as her license plate and I always feel it deep inside when I see it.) It can mean so much. I hope it forces me to reach out and do more and see more.

The 2 ATCs I created above hold 2 quotes that very much fit this phrase.