Happy Saturday, friends! Is it feeling like fall for you guys yet? It sure made the transition this last week for us - we went from 96-100 to barely 71 the past couple of days, and the first rain in months came last night. The sun is at that angle and you just know it…summer is on the way out.
But I'm hopeful for a few more nice weeks - Oregon is known for our beautiful autumns - and of course there's still lots of harvesting and preserving if you have a garden. I am starting to think about pumpkins - though only in decorating, never in food (this whole pumpkin recipe time of year is a real trial to me, ha!).
On to this week’s things I’m loving – and a few links I think you’ll love! (affiliate links may be found ahead - thank you if you use them!)
Enjoying beautiful lakes in Oregon's High Cascades. We finally made it to central Oregon (LaPine area) to visit my dad and sweet stepmomma - I've been so looking forward to spending time with them and on the lakes around their house. (Sorry for the fuzzy photo quality - we were using the waterproof phone protectors for the first time and I guess they don't photo as well in them!)
If you've ever been to this area, you know there are many lakes on the Cascade Lakes Highway to choose from and all are gorgeous. There are little lakes that you can swim in, larger ones for boating, and most have incredible views of the surrounding mountains. The lake pictured above is Big Lava Lake (and yes, there is a Little Lava Lake right next to it…). It was really windy, but breathtaking with the three-mountain view.
The next day just Brian and I kayaked on South Twin Lake, a small almost perfectly round lake with a popular resort and good swimming (which means slightly warmer than frigid...). The water was so clear, you could see most of the way to the bottom and it was calm and peaceful - just what we needed!
My growing "books read" list. I haven't mentioned any books in awhile, so I've got a few to share with you! I'm up to 28 books read so far, which has surpassed my "2 books a month" goal, so now I guess I'm aiming for the "3 books a month" goal, lol.
So, here are 5 of the books I read in July and August and a few thoughts on them:
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper. I had never heard of this book, but was looking for something to listen to while picking and freezing green beans one weekend on Hoopla and this looked good. And I LOVED it - it is just one of the sweetest, most charming books I've read in awhile! Arthur is a widower in England who even after a year is having a hard time moving on with his life. He finds an old charm bracelet of his wife's that he didn't know about and sets out to discover the meanings of the individual charms. He finds out surprising things about her - and he finds himself again. I'm telling everyone to read this - it's very life-affirming!
Love The One You're With. After seeing many recommendations for Emily Giffin books, I decided to try the author with this book about a 20-something, married-for-a-year woman who runs into an old college flame and starts questioning her choice. Ho-hum. I got SO very tired of her "what-if" coverstations in her head (pages and pages of it…) that by halfway through I just wanted her to get on with her life already. Actually, I just wanted to skip to the end - which I did. Obviously, I'm not recommending this book like the first, ha!
If, Mark Batterson. This was a super challenging book about finding your passion in life - about not being afraid of dreaming big for God. By allowing ourselves to say "what if…" and then going for it, we can experience amazing, faith-building things. And not have a ton of regrets. While I love audiobooks, this is one I wish I had read in a physical book so I could underline and go back through - so I may just read this again!
A Thousand Splendid Suns. I loved the imagery and spirit of this novel, even though some of it was hard to read. It is set in Kabul, Afghanistan during the time before and after the Russians came in and the descriptions of the shooting, tanks, and bombs are all very real - and I'm afraid very accurate. This was the author's follow up to The Kite Runner and he describes this as a mother-daughter story while The Kite Runner was a father-son story. It was very good and I am glad I have a small glimpse of what being female in Afghanistan looks like.
Ready Player One. This is a fun sci-fi-ish novel set in a dystopian near-future where most of the poor people escape real life in a virtual reality called The Oasis. There's a lot of 1980's references to movies, video games, and books as the players in an Oasis contest work to find a hidden 'Easter egg' left by the deceased creator. Brian, Emma, and I all listened to this as we drove to Central Oregon and then continued listening to it when we got back home. It was like we were gathering around the radio like they did in the 1940s! Can't wait to see this one brought to the big screen - by Steven Spielberg, no less!
A different way to do church. Last Sunday instead of going to our church building, 1000 of our congregation headed out into our community to paint, plant, wash, and do whatever else was needed. We went to schools and various community service organizations in our town armed with tools, talent, and time (oh, and TONS of donations from stores and businesses!!). It was a time to show our love in action and not just give it lip service, and I LOVED it.
We called it "Servefest" and apparently it's being done in more communities around the country, and while it took many months of planning and preparation, I encourage anyone to explore this. My whole family weeded and planted new plants and spiffed up the outside areas of the organization we were stationed at and we were incredibly blessed even though we were supposed to be blessing others (funny how often it works that way, huh?).
Links To Check Out:
Finding hope in the hard.
A fun lunch idea.
Hmmm, chipotle-maple popcorn, anyone? (And how to make popcorn in a brown bag!)
Guide to great tomato bruschetta.
I hope I get enough tomatoes from my smaller garden to try this canned soup concentrate!
Would you make a lemon cake with this ingredient?
12 common garden plants poisonous to pets.
Like these links? I'm always pinning these and lots more - follow me on Pinterest for more inspiration and ideas!
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