Late Summer TBR list

I can’t believe summer is almost over. As a teacher, I have one more week–to read freely, to write, to do whatever I want to do. Then, back to work for me. Yet, that will not stop my reading.

IMG_4549I’m excited about the next books on my list. They have been staring at me from my pile for a few months. Perhaps you will join me in reading some of them.

IMG_4550The first, and the one I am currently reading, is A Loyal Heart by Jody Hedlund. I always enjoy a romance from the Middle Ages, 1392. So far, Lady Olivia’s story is full of intrigue and surprises.

The Backcountry Brides Collection features 8 novellas by authors I follow such as Carrie Fancett Pagels, Angela K. Couch, and Denise Weimer. These stories take place in Colonial America. A historical time surrounding my own research.


Melanie Dickerson retells the story of Aladdin in The Orphan’s Wish. If you haven’t read any of Melanie’s novels, she has a long list of fairy-tale retellings. 

I’m going to try a new author, Kimberley Woodhouse, with The Mayflower Bride. I’m ready to join the passengers of 1620.

I’m continuing the Uncharted Beginnings Series by Keely Brooke Keith with Book Three All Things Beautiful. It is 1868 in a hidden island country. Her novels are always creative and inspiring.

Although I’ve not read much about the 1920s, I’m looking forward to learning something from Ain’t Misbehavin’   by Jennifer Lamont Leo. I’m sure I’ll be entertained by Chicago’s vibrant history.

To get me in the spirit of Christmas, I am going to read the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas Series by Michelle Griep. The first one is 12 Days at Bleakly Manor. Ready for a mystery!

What are your reading plans?



Kindness reaps bundles of love

Perhaps you do not understand that God is kind to you so you will change your hearts and lives.  Romans 2:4

Good people have good thing in their hearts. Matthew 12:35

IMG_4913On July 2, I left for 20 days with my daughter on a road trip through France. It was an adventure with tons of awesome memories. I’ll share about a few of those later. What I left and came back to deserves my attention now. I’d like to share that journey, a journey of kindness and love. On July 1, the night before I left, my stray cat, now named June, gave birth to six precious kittens in my closet.

IMG_4494June’s story with us began in late May when she adopted us. Not much more than a kitten herself, she decided to visit my house daily. So loving, so pretty and small. I loved her instantly. And how I had missed the cuddling and purring. My cat Cleo (17 years with me) died last summer, so my arms have been empty for almost a year. To me this was God’s gift!

Before I could take her to the vet, she let us know she was expecting little ones. I have always had our pets fixed so this was a new experience for me. What to do? Accept the blessing of June and do our best for her litter. What I didn’t expect was the true kindness my husband showed during the whole process. He has always just “tolerated” my desire to have a cat. At least at the beginning, then he forms an attachment. I was asking him to stretch his toleration to the extreme.

IMG_4539I know the scriptures above speak of showing kindness to people, but I can see that it applies to animals too. My husband’s kindness to one of God’s creatures shows how the act of kindness does change the heart. June knew it also, for almost immediately she became my husband’s companion, preferring his lap to mine. I wonder if she knew we needed her as much as she needed us.

How could I leave the newborn kittens? Would they survive without me? Of course, nature and instinct were all they needed along with some food and a safe place to live provided by my husband. I missed their little eyes opening and their learning to walk. I sound like a busy, absent parent. I guess I was.

There was only one major mishap when one of the kittens fell between walls in the attic (the mother was not very smart when she moved the kittens to the attic!) My husband out of the kindness he continued to show made many holes in the wall in order to save the tiny, blind kitten. Daddy to the rescue. He took away the mother’s decision-making powers at that point.

IMG_4427I’m home now loving on my six awesome kittens and June. I’m praying there are five other people wanting to show kindness for God’s creatures in the next few weeks as we need some adoptive parents!

What acts of kindness have you witnessed?

The Ultimate Road Trip

france-largeI’m so excited! My daughter and I leave Tuesday for 17 days in France and one day each in Andorra, Italy, and Switzerland. What a summer road trip as we rent a car and follow our planned route with many unplanned detours. As always, the six months of planning leading up to departure has been an attempt to find a way to capture some dreams.

When-to-visit-AndorraI hope to be able to write a weekly blog while on the voyage. You can follow our adventure on FaceBook–Marguerite Gray.

rome-to-cinque-terre-hero.jpgFor now–Bon Voyage!