Top Ten Books on My To-Read List

A week or two ago, I set about trying to make a list of all the books I’ve been given for review or borrowed over the past four months. I was prepared for a decent-sized list, but I admit I did have to gulp a little when I saw the full extent of it. I’m a little more behind than I thought. However, since making this list, I can see progress! My hope is that by November, I’ll be mostly through this stack. There are thirty-two books altogether there so far, with fourteen of them being physical copies and the other eighteen being ebooks, mostly “e-review” copies, which means most of them were given to me in exchange for my honest review (and, obviously, the authors hope that I’ll get it done in good time!).

Top 10 To-Reads

My want-to-read list, however, isn’t just contained on this page. If I would write out all of those, I’d easily have somewhere between 1 and 500 books written down!

However, the top ten books I’m looking forward to reading over the next couple months are as follows:

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#1. Love Lifted Me by MarJanita Geigley. Borrowed from my aunt’s shelf, this is a story of two people from tough pasts finding the Lord. I love salvation stories, and I think I’ll love this!

#2. Savior, Like a Shepherd by Faith Blum. I read the sequel, All the Way My Savior Leads, and participated in the blog tour back in May. When I was sent the latter book, Faith kindly included Savior as well, and I can’t wait to read it. I really enjoyed All the Way!

#3. Such a Tease by Chautona Havig. I read the prequel to this story, Sweet on You, back when it was released—and got this one to read and review at this one’s release, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. Seeing as it’s written by one of my favorite authors, and I loved Sweet on You, I can’t wait to read this as well!

#4 and #5. None So Blind and Will Not See by Chautona Havig. I’ve been eyeing the first book in the Sight Unseen series for months now, and just this last month the second book was released! Which is so exciting, but now I’ve got two stories to read instead of one (yay!). Next time I’m ready to lose my afternoon to reading, I’m planning on picking one of these up.

#6. The Last Jew of Rotterdam by Ernest Cassutto. World War II story? Jews? Hope in the midst of despair? Yes, please! Another book borrowed from my aunt, I can’t wait to dive into it!

#7. They’re Rugby Boys, Don’t You Know? by Natalie Vellacott. I’ve been following this author’s blog for a while, and wanting to read her books, and I was absolutely delighted when she contacted me one day after I added several to my Goodreads want-to-read list, asking if I’d like to read them. What? YES, PLEASE! Can’t wait to pick these up!

#8. Dreams and Devotion by Sarah Holman. Although this hasn’t been my most favorite series by Holman, I do enjoy getting to read her books, which are generally very clean and family-friendly. According to my brother, who happened to read this before me this time, it’s very good.

#9. Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland. I’m really wanting to improve my writing, especially in the plotting/outlining area. To that end, I’ve started reading this book, and also bought the workbook to go along with it. Although I’ve only made it part-way through the second chapter so far, it’s excellent!

#10. The Savvy Solopreneur’s Guide to Content Creation by Karen Banes. I’m always looking for ways to better my knowledge of writing, online basics, etc., and I’ve sort-of followed along with Karen Banes for quite a while. I can’t say I’ve learned a lot from her (yet!), but I’m looking forward to what I can learn from this book!

And a bonus: #11. Where Dandelions Grow by Lydia Howe. Okay; I admit—I just finished reading this book Monday. But before that, it was at the top of my list. This book was so good. A young adult book without a romantic element, a family story without being too ridiculous or tedious, and a Christian story with a fairly good Christian element without feeling preachy or too “fluffy”—one character, especially, was excellent this way. Overall, I loved it. Can’t wait to share my thoughts about it at the end of the month when the book releases!

Although it’s hard to choose what my top books are, these are the ones that I believe I’m most looking forward to at the moment. Five fiction, three biographies or biographical-type books, and two non-fictions. The non-fiction titles will probably be the hardest for me to get through, but I’m looking forward to what I’ll learn from them. And if I mix them up with the other books, it’ll definitely be doable!

What books are on your to-read list right now?

In Which I…Embark on Being a Writer Again

Eleven days ago, I started a journey I’ve been pondering for quite a few months now, but hadn’t figured out how to do until then. But once I did figure it out—at least, the first step—I jumped in. And I haven’t looked back. Until today.

If you had known me back in 2012, you would have found me a girl who was just discovering the beauties of creative writing. Just testing the waters, starting to feel the potential, excited that my dreams, thoughts, and ideas could be expressed in such an exciting way. I signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, or NaNo for short) that year, and my first task was researching what this “novel” thing mentioned in the website’s name was. The next year, I read every writing blog I could find, and grew by leaps and bounds in my knowledge. I loved it.

In 2013, I went into NaNo with a much better idea of what this whole thing was about, eager to tell the story I’d been trying to write for a year and a half at that point. I lost myself in the story, reveling in the descriptions and characters that seemed to leap from my head to the page. For those first three weeks of November, I lived the rest of my life as an automaton, completely caught up in my story. Then I won NaNo, finished the book, and suddenly realized…what do I do next?

Writing Again

Over the course of the next few months, into early 2014, I edited the novel, and dreamed about the new ideas I had as a result of all the creative writing I’d been doing.

Then I stopped. I had a new story idea that I loved, but I couldn’t figure out how to make it work—so from early 2014 until now, mid-2017, I barely ever picked up the creative pen, so to speak. Last November, I briefly tried again for NaNoWriMo, but almost immediately got stymied because I couldn’t figure out where the story was going.

This month, I’ve started again.

I decided to be simple, but intentional about writing. I’ve really missed using my imagination in the story realm, and the longer I let it go the more I miss it, so I’ve decided to simply write 100 words per day—so that if nothing else, I can practice the craft at least a little every day. You know, the old “practice makes perfect—or at least makes you better at it”.

I asked a dear friend if she’d be willing to be my accountability partner for this goal, and (thank you, Rachel!) she agreed. So now she’s getting an exorbitant amount of emails from me now, but it’s keeping me on track. I’m thankful—and loving to be back “in the saddle” again!

(By the way—you should totally check out her blog. I love it, and she tends to do an excellent job of stepping on my toes, too, in that excellent way she has. She’s shared some very good articles lately.)

Do you enjoy creative writing? What have you written recently?

Hospitals and a Little Thing Called Thoughtfulness

Hospital waiting rooms are notoriously tiring. And actually, that’s one statement I agree with—because I’ve experienced it! Three hours doesn’t hold a candle to the many, many other people’s experiences in such things. But as for me, while I did find it somewhat tiresome, I did have a book to read and interesting people to talk to, so that made the time pass faster.

For a lot of my time in there, there was another couple waiting as well whose fourteen-year-old son was in for a complex procedure. We got to talking a little, and I enjoyed the glimpse into their lives. Very sweet couple. At one stage, the husband decided he needed his morning coffee, so he made himself one with the service provided in our room (very nice of the hospital, in my opinion!). After downing his first cup, and another hour or so passing, he said something about maybe having another cup.

“Maybe I should join you,” I half-jokingly replied, “this instant stuff isn’t nearly as good as the real, but at least it’s caffeinated.”

Bouquet from Little Brother

He set to work making himself another one, and soon a steaming hot beverage came my way as well. I was surprised; strangers, even ones you’ve talked to some, don’t normally do things like that for you! And while, yes, that coffee was not nearly as good as what I’m used to, his act of kindness really blessed me while I waited. Which totally made up for it!

Last evening, I walked into my room, tired and ready to finish up for the night—and discovered a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a mixture of daffodils and plum blossoms, sitting on the table under my window! One of my youngest brothers gathered it for me as a surprise, found a container to put it in, and even found something to set under it so it wouldn’t mark the table. What a beautiful, cheery gift to give! In my opinion, that’s one of the best bouquets I’ve ever received—I know the heart behind it is pure gold. Or close to it, anyway.

All that to say that on two different occasions just recently, I was very blessed by little things people did for me. So next time you see an opportunity (and this goes for me as well!), do something for someone else. Be that blessing to them. You never know how even a little thoughtfulness might brighten someone’s day considerably!

What was one time you remember someone did something special for you, even if it was small?

Rest in Jesus…Despite the Rapids

It was a gorgeously sunny day as my cousin and I drifted down the creek in our canoe. I was the lookout in front, and despite the fact that this was only my second-ever canoe trip, I was enjoying the blue sky powdered with puffs of clouds, birds trilling along the banks, and the lush green of the leafed-out summer trees. Compared to the last time I had sat in the front of a canoe, on my first-ever canoe trip, water rushing beneath me, this was blissfully relaxing. The last time?—not so much, as, unbeknownst to us before we started, the river was in flood stage.

This time, though, as I breathed in the clean scents and reveled in the day, I really enjoyed it—and tried to push away the fear that this time would end up like last time, with several of us clinging to a drowned log for dear life. The creek we were on had been in flood two days before, following a violent storm that dumped sheets of rain on the land. But today, with the creek down to manageable proportions and actually more perfect conditions than normal since the water level was still on the higher side, we glided through with ease. There were a few rapids to pass through—short stretches of tumbling, sometimes white-capped water—but thankfully even the one semi-trouble spot wasn’t too bad.

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First canoe trip. Notice our relaxed positions, as this was before we were tipped into the river!

“You know,” I mused to Beth as I shipped paddle for a bit on a particularly straight, gentle stretch in order to enjoy the experience more, “it’s interesting that these flat, smooth spots come right before some more rapids.”

We were silent for a little, as we glided past small cliffs for banks with tree roots embedded in them. “That’s true,” she said at last. “It’s a little like life, isn’t it? Things seem to be going along so well when—bam!—something happens, and we’re in the midst of trials again.”

We laughed, as we realized our thoughts had both been following the same direction. But as we paddled on—and yes, did have another short piece of rapids to go through—I was thankful for the time to spend with her, for the gorgeous day, and even more for the beautiful memories we were making together.

No matter what happens in the intervening time between when we said goodbye not long after that canoe trip, and when we say hello again, we know the One in control of the creeks of our lives…of our flimsy canoes, of our paddles, and, ultimately, of how we will respond to the rapids. And despite the uncertainty of the terrain, of what might be around the next bend, we can rest assured that in knowing Him, we know all we need to know for today. Isn’t that precious?

Have you gone on a canoe trip before? Did you enjoy it?

Book Review of A Name Unknown

We sat there, Mom and I, in the too-clean feeling hospital room, with the stiffly starched sheets and the stinky hand cleaner. I’ve always read that hospitals have an awful “clean” smell. I submit that perhaps it’s just the overall too-clean feeling. We were both reading, trying to pass the time until the ward doctor came by for one last check on Mom before we were given her discharge papers. It’s hard to focus on reading when you’re anxious to get out to fresh air, green grass, and blue skies again—even if the stay was pleasant enough, and not nearly as long as other people’s! (Now, I’m not complaining—I am thankful for modern medicine, hospitals, and all that. I’m just a terrible homebody!)

“It’s hard to focus on finishing a book,” I sighed to Mom as I set the book aside, “when you’re tired of reading and you already know what the ending will be.”

She agreed with me, but went back to reading. There wasn’t much else to do between those four walls with several curtains designed to give each patient a little privacy!

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Several months ago, a book came up on a book reviews site I follow, and it immediately piqued my curiosity. Roseanna M. White is a co-author of the Go Teen Writers blog, and as such when I saw her most recent release available in exchange for review, I decided to try it. I was really interested to see what kind of writing style she had, so I was glad for a way to find out! I did know that the book was a romance, so thankfully that wasn’t a surprise.

What I Thought of A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White:

A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. WhiteI loved this book! And…in some ways, got quite annoyed with the story, but that’s a side point right now. I loved the setting. I can’t remember when the last time was that I read a historical fiction about England right before the First World War, so that was extra special (probably partly because I’ve always had a bit of fascination for English history anyway!). I loved the tension as it built between the different characters as they tried to prove (or disprove!) one of the main character’s loyalties—whether to the Crown, or to the enemy, the Germans.

I also loved the fact that this felt like Oliver Twist retold in some ways. Different, of course, but some elements were very striking in that area. And since I loved Oliver Twist when I read it for school several years ago, this naturally felt like meeting an old friend once again.

The whole librarian thing is, of course, an intriguing element for me since I love books as well. And I LOVED the fact that one of the main characters was a writer! It gave an interesting, sometimes humorous twist to the story—and one that’s all too relatable! At one point, he got distracted with an idea for his story, and ended up ignoring someone for about five minutes. I couldn’t help laughing! Been there, done that!

Despite all the fun parts, though, the history, the semi-classic feel, the fun characters (some really made me crack up!), the bookishness (if that’s a word!) of the story, I was disappointed in some ways. The romance was actually okay—only one kissing scene made me gag a little, and I’m thankful that was confined to just over a page. Overall, though, it wasn’t icky. I appreciated that.

(POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT) My main gripe with the book lies in its predictableness—or, at least, what felt like that when I was reading it. I knew from the first page who would marry whom, and what the ending would be—down to some of the less important parts—and that kind-of ruined the ending for me. I’m not sure I would have even finished the book once I got past the climax, except for the fact that I wanted to finish for the review’s sake. I also didn’t like the fact that the villain (or supposed villain) didn’t actually end up bad in the end. It was understandable, but disappointing. (END SPOILER ALERT)

In all, while I did enjoy this book, I don’t see myself coming back to read it again very soon, which I find to be somewhat disappointing. However, I do hope I’ll be able to read more of White’s books in the future, because I loved the rhythm and wording she used. In many ways, this book was a cozy, relaxing read for me—some parts were outright funny, some sad, and overall it was a good story.

There were two things that I learned from A Name Unknown I thought noteworthy: First, have you ever heard of these landscaping things called ha-has? I hadn’t, until I encountered it in chapter thirteen—and had to look it up. Very neat idea! (You can find out about them here.) I was glad, this week, I had taken time to look it up—while I was listening to Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, a ha-ha was mentioned several times. Never would have picked up on that otherwise! Second, I enjoyed the mention of New Zealand cabbage trees, of all things, being in Cornwall back in the early 1900s—and looked that up as well. Apparently there are places in the UK that have them. So I did find it neat to have two different minor things confirmed as being realistic parts of the setting.

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About the Book:

She’s out to steal his name. Will he steal her heart instead?

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets—now they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary’s challenge of a lifetime comes when she’s assigned to determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

Rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can’t help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the crown—so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstop pretending to be a well-credentialed historian, Peter believes she’s the right person to help him dig through his family’s past.

Anger and danger continue to mount, though, and both realize they’re in a race against time to discover the truth—about Peter’s past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

Note: I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

There were maybe twenty of us youth together that December evening eight months ago—perhaps a few less; I’m not certain. Together, we had just come through a week-full of meetings at a youth conference, each day, on average, infusing us and the many other attendees with four Biblically-rich, challenging sermons. I don’t know if my sentiments then could express what the others were feeling or not, but I felt full. Spiritually fed, my soul enriched far beyond what I normally encountered in my everyday life. The Lord had shown Himself faithful in the days leading up to that chilly Saturday evening, showing me areas where I wasn’t serving Him to my fullest extent, and overall just drawing me closer to Him.

I felt full. And as I looked around the room at all the other youth—spread across the assortment of couches in the spacious, yet cozy-feeling living room, I felt so blessed to be there. To be able to spend a bit of time with these special people, some of whom were very close friends, some friends from years past, or relatives—and grateful to have shared the enriching week with them.

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude 01

Someone—our evening’s host, perhaps, who happened to be one of the speakers at the conference—suggested we all write down one thing we really appreciated or were challenged by in the previous week. As we each took time to look back, I know many of us remembered fondly different scenes from the week, and the room grew silent apart from the occasional humming as someone tried to put their thoughts onto paper.

Soon all the papers were gathered up into a plate, mixed together, then passed out randomly, and we each took turns reading what was on our particular note, then tried to guess who had written it. Some of the notes were quite in-depth, with several sentences dedicated to whatever the person was thankful for. One, I remember, simply said “Food!”—it was submitted by a younger guy in the group! While that provided humor for some of us, the thing that really struck me was how many people said they were thankful for the encouragement to be grateful. That was a theme that had been running throughout the different sermons that week, unintentionally (or intentionally by the Lord?) tying together each of the four different speaker’s messages. Although by far that wasn’t the only thing we learned it was one of the most memorable thoughts. And I’d hazard to guess that at least half of us there that night mentioned something to that effect.

Fast forward to last Friday, when I was trialing a new pattern on a jumper (online dictionary says this should properly be called a pinafore—new word usage on me!). The first attempt failed, and it was late that evening when I finished a second top, only to find out that it was way too small as well. To say the least, I wasn’t in the best of moods. Twice, the solution had eluded me, and frankly, I was quite disgusted.

The worst part about it? I had posted on Instagram earlier that afternoon—before, you can be sure, I found out that both attempts weren’t right—saying something about being thankful I could sew. That evening, I wasn’t feeling very thankful.

A latte and time for sewing this afternoon. #Thankful #littleblessings

A post shared by Esther Filbrun (@estherfilbrun) on

So yesterday, as I was happily sewing along, making my third try at getting this pinafore top done, I started thinking over what I’d learned at youth conference about being grateful. Then I thought about the gratitude list I had started right about the same time as the two failed attempts…and how, for some inexplicable reason, those two pinafore tops were not included in said list.

Any coincidence? I think not. After all, why would I be thankful for something I was decidedly not grateful for at the moment? Yes, I had appreciated the moment earlier—back when it was (ahem) social media-worthy.

But I knew it was a double standard.

So while, yes, I did write down gratitude for the completed one, I’m going to make sure to add the two failed attempts to the list, too—I learned something from them as well.

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Because if there’s one thing I learned from the youth conference, we as God’s temple* have something priceless at our disposal. Back in the Old Testament, under the old law, the tabernacle held something precious: The altar of incense. Today, under the New Covenant, we as God’s priests (see the 1 Peter reference below) are in charge of our individual altars of incense—praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. This is a task that should be attended as our highest joy, an outflowing from our hearts because of the inflowing of the Spirit as He does His work in us.

It’s a precious thing, one I want to keep practicing. So next time my side seams don’t match up, or the garment ends up fitting much differently than I had intended, perhaps I should post a picture of that and start a trend with the hashtag #ThankfulForFailure …and a chance to try again.

Have you been practicing being thankful for things lately…even if it’s things that really didn’t turn out the way you wanted them to? What has the Lord been teaching you through failure recently?

*See 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, Ephesians 2:19-22, and 1 Peter 2:4-10

Home, Sweet Home

One thing I love about being away is that I can thoroughly enjoy being home again. In saying that, though, I thoroughly enjoyed my time away…the sweet, albeit brief, reunions and all the precious memories made with our friends and family. It was so good.

Home Sweet Home 01

Little sister enjoyed petting the donkeys at the Creation Museum when we visited!

But near the end, especially those last few days as we were packing up, saying our last goodbyes, and realizing that our time had already past—like that!—it was bittersweet to realize we’d soon be home. Back to “normal” life, to a normal routine again, to just being us again. I looked forward to that. But as I looked back over the seven weeks, I knew that my heart would always be partly there—with those dear family members. Those that though I only see them once every few years, they’re still some of the nearest, dearest friends I have on this earth.

When I think of that, I know I’m so blessed.

We’ve been home just over a week now, and it’s been so, so good to be back. So good to say hello to the dear friends here, to have the comfort of my own bed (even on the nights when it gets quite frosty out!), to have my own space and just be able to be with my own family.

And as I think of all I enjoy about this temporal home, I can’t help but think of the heavenly—if I enjoy this so much, how much more should I look forward to Heaven, where we’ll forever be with Jesus? If I looked forward to being back in New Zealand, how much more should I long and yearn for the better Home? It’s then that I see how shallow I can be in my Christian walk…and how much growing I still have left to do.

In our family devotions recently, we’ve been studying Jesus’ crucifixion. And despite how horrific that ended up being, it was really interesting to discuss some of the different traits Jesus displayed during His trial and death. Love, peace, patience, and courage, just to name a few. Dad pointed out that Jesus wasn’t focusing on the next whiplash, though—He knew it was coming, but instead of looking at the “now”, Jesus was looking far ahead to the “joy that was set before Him”. In part, that’s us—and all the other courageous saints through the past ages. That’s how He could endure. How He DID endure. Partly because He knew He had to, as there was no other way to redeem us, but also partly because He knew the reward at the end would be so sweet it would be more than worth the pain.

Home Sweet Home 02

A version of The Great Bible, printed in 1566, as seen in the Ark Encounter.

As my mind raced ahead, following that “joy that was set before Him” path, a thought clicked in place that I hadn’t quite considered before. That’s how God’s saints endured, all through the ages. That’s how they stayed strong, even when they knew they were going to the stake.

It was the joy set before them. They knew about and reveled in the Home that was waiting for them on the other side, so no matter what temporal struggles they had to face on this side, they knew it was worth it all…and more. Our Lord had gone through it already, setting an example for us, and they were just treading in His footsteps. They knew, without a doubt, where they were going, and what they’d get when they got there.

Oh, that I might have faith like that when my day of testing comes! And may we all follow the Lord ever more closely, so we can spend our eternity with Him, and with all our precious brothers and sisters that have gone before us. What a reunion that will be!

State Park Visit

One Sunday afternoon when we were up north a ways, one of our aunts took us five oldest out to a local state park. There’s a lovely trail through some woods around different water courses, and we really enjoyed our time walking and talking. It was a good way for us to get some quality time with her.

Just after we started off, a kind woman offered to take our picture for us. I was thankful! It’s not often that we get to get a picture with our aunt!

State Park 01

The irises there were gorgeous!

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State Park 03

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At one point along the trail, it opened out into a small sand dune. The boys loved running down to the water and climbing back up!

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State Park 08

Flowers and Family Time

We’ve been in Michigan for nearly three wonderful weeks now. The main goal of our family trip was to attend my grandma’s 70th birthday celebration, and all my aunts, uncles, and cousins were here for a few short days last week. Despite the hand, foot, and mouth disease that almost all the younger children caught, we had a wonderful catch-up time and made memories that I’m sure will last for many years.

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Grandma had some beautiful flowers in her garden!

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Flower 03

Last Friday, a lot of us headed to a local beach to cool off. It was a warm day, and most of us hadn’t seen much of Lake Michigan yet (at least not enough to have time to spend in it!), so we really enjoyed the chance to play in the beautiful golden sand and wade. I don’t normally swim, but I did get in a short water-fight with one of my brothers, so I ended up soaked too. It was a gorgeous, fun day!

Beach 01

Afterward, a good part of our group climbed the Little Sable Point lighthouse there. I’d climbed it years ago, before we moved, so I decided to stay behind with little sister. The rest of the family seemed to enjoy it, though!

Beach 02

Last Saturday, the last day we had with most of the family before they headed home, we went out to a local pond created by a dam. This is one of Grandma’s favorite nature spots; a lovely walk through good ‘ole Michigan woods, with great views of the pond and sometimes the wildlife that lives on it. We used to go there fairly often before we moved, so it was fun to see it again.

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Then Mom spotted a fully grown Monarch caterpillar! We got to looking closer at the milkweed on the edge of the road, and I think in total we found about eleven or twelve caterpillars. That was pretty exciting! They ranged from a few mm long (just hatched out) to just over an inch long (basically ready to turn into chrysalises). We got five that were almost ready to turn, which are all chrysalises now, and are hoping we will get to see them hatch out as butterflies sometime when we’re in Ohio. Very fun!

Caterpillars 01

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What the chrysalises look like now (above), and what our baby worm that was just a couple mms long when we found him looks like now (below). He’s still not very big!

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I’ll end with an answered prayer for my brothers—they had wanted to see a snake while we’re here in America, since we don’t have any in New Zealand. It just so happened that there were about five garter (nonvenomous) snakes hanging around the dam that day, so we enjoyed seeing them slithering around for a while!

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I’m so thankful for the time we’ve been able to spend together! Thank You, Lord!

Jandal Weather

We’ve been in Michigan for a week and a half now, and yesterday the rest of Mom’s family arrived for the reunion. All eight siblings, the inlaws, and all 22 grandchildren are here. It’s been a blast. It’s so good to catch up again!

Today, a lot of the younger generation went swimming. It’s been a lovely warm day (hence the title!), and now it’s time to get ready for supper. I count myself really blessed!

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