Not By Sight | A Book Review


I was gone all summer, and while I was gone I read 11 books.  I thought I had created this great new habit in myself, until I got home and discovered that the only reason I was able and willing to sow such a great habit was that I didn’t have the Internet available to stream Netflix.

Before I left, I started reading “Not By Sight” by Kate Breslin.  As much as I read so much so quickly in the two months between school ending and starting back up, this book was not one of them.  I found that it started very slowly.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a feminist and I love how far we’ve come as a gender in gaining recognition as not being sub-human.  So when I read the description of a book about a suffragette who desperately wanted to help with the war effort in World War 1 England, I was very excited.  I was a little disappointed though because it started off so slowly.

It did pick up.  Once Grace joins the war effort in her own way, and her life gets entangled into Jack’s (I won’t say more than that), it does get interesting.  I dare say that Kate Breslin has quite a way with words in the way she has Grace use them.  I loved that part.

It struck me very much as reminiscent of Downton Abbey, which I like but don’t find it has enough action to it… and that’s probably where my review comes from as well.

Once the book got to the end, I found I was left wanting more.  I suppose what I wanted was more World War 1 detail, and more battle-style conflict.  To me, when I read a WWI or WWII era historical novel, I always revel in the historical details.  This being a historical romance though, that wasn’t the focus and I understand that.  The book was decent if you stick through the slow start, I just wish there had been more action.  The historical details were thoroughly researched, and Breslin paints a brilliant picture of what Britain would have looked like in 1917.

If you’re looking for a good romance with characters that will fight their odds and the circumstances that life throws at them, then “Not By Sight” would be a good choice for you.

This review was written in exchange for a copy of the book, provided by Graf Martin Communications, Inc. and Bethany House Publishing.  I did not have to provide a positive review.

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Finding My Place


I started a new job today.  Well, kind of.  We haven’t met any of our kiddos yet, because it would be really overwhelming to start English Language Support on your first day.

I’ve transitioned from Grade 1 and 2 Science and Social Studies to Grade 1-8 English Language Support.  I couldn’t be more excited.

But with change always comes a bit of trepidation and fear.  As I wrote earlier this week, change kind of terrifies me.  I have to find my place in this new universe.  One where all of a sudden I don’t really know what I’m doing like I have in the last couple of years, but instead I don’t have a clue what I’m doing and I’m by far the youngest person on the team.

Have you ever been the newbie on a team, and found yourself in a position where you’re relying on everyone around you to help you through your new task?  That’s where I feel like I am.

I don’t know what to do in this space — find my place and fit in, I suppose.  I don’t have much of a choice.

But in other, exciting news, I get to meet all my kiddos next week, and while I don’t have any clue what I’m doing, I’m sure I’ll learn quickly!  I miss kids.  I found myself all day today (during the first day of school) being jealous of everyone in a classroom getting to hear all the hilarious things kids come up with!

That time I nearly quit Facebook


Quitting Facebook seems to be the thing to do to make a statement these days.  Tired of the drama?  Pull yourself out of it by deleting your Facebook account.  The truth is, I know very few people who don’t have a Facebook account, and I can’t say I ever handle it gracefully when I find out.

The conversation usually goes pretty much exactly like this:

Me:  I’ll be in touch.  I’ll add you on Facebook and then just send you a message.
My Conversation Partner (CP):  I don’t have Facebook
Me:  *stunned silence* You don’t… have Facebook??  Why not??
CP:  It’s a big waste of time and I just don’t like dealing with all the drama.

(or something fairly similar to that)

I think that the reason it always shocks me so much is that I absolutely love Facebook.  To be honest, I spend an inordinately large amount of time on Facebook, and while the drama has gotten to me from time to time, I find I can usually solve the problem by unfollowing something or taking a break.  I have never wanted to quit before.

Until about two weeks ago.

I couldn’t bring myself to actually cut the cord, because the reasons I love Facebook are that I can keep up with family and friends that I don’t see regularly, and the idea that I wouldn’t be able to see what those peeps were up to broke me a little bit.  But those same reasons that I love it are also the reasons I was hating it.

I’m mostly an extrovert.  For the past 6 years, my entire summer has been spent at Camp, surrounded by people, and at most times with not enough alone time.  I’ve got a few introverted tendencies that pop out when I’ve just spent too much time surrounded by people, but I just need a couple hours to myself (usually with a book), and then I’m good to go again!  I would hands down consider myself an extrovert.  This summer though, I came home early.  I wasn’t working very hard and I missed my friends, so a week and a half before the end of the ministry season, I packed my car up and made the trek back South.  The first two days of unpacking, cleaning, and organizing while getting ready for another school year to start were amazing.  They were what my tired body and soul needed, even though it was exhausting.  I’ve never gone into a school year all unpacked with a clean house before…. likely because I tend to get home from Camp at 11:30 pm on Labour Day, and have to get up 7.5 hours later and go back to work.  I was loving every moment of my solitude, and I wasn’t spending a lot of time on Facebook OR Netflix (which was precisely what I told everyone I was going home to do).

Then I got lonely.  So, so lonely.  I had nothing really to do once I was unpacked and my basement was clean and organized, so I collapsed onto my couch with a bag of chips and logged into Netflix.  While binge watching Being Erica, I scrolled mindlessly through Facebook to catch up on things I’d missed from having limited and unreliable Internet access for 8 weeks.

But it made me sad!  Facebook isn’t supposed to make me sad, but I found that while I sat by myself, after more than enough alone time for an extrovert, I started looking at the cool things my friends were doing, and instead of being happy for them and enjoying the adventures of the people I care about, I got jealous.  And sad.  And lonely.

After a day or two of mindless scrolling, getting sadder and sadder and more and more lonely, I came to the fed-up conclusion that I needed to take a break from Facebook.  I needed to quit.  I needed to walk away from it, and even though I’d be sad not to see updates, it would better for my mental health.

Except I made it only a few hours before I wanted to share a picture.  And then I made it only another half an hour before someone commented on the picture and I wanted to see what they said… and so on.

What I discovered was that I didn’t need a break from Facebook.  Sure, I probably needed to not spend hours at a time just scrolling through my feed while I binge-watched Netflix…. I did go play my violin, play with my dog, write for a bit, organize more things, and get my back to school shopping done… because that much screen time isn’t helpful or healthy no matter what the circumstances… but I didn’t quit Facebook.  I discovered that it was my attitude toward the information I was receiving that I needed to change.

While I was scrolling, I came across this post from Blog Her written by a woman apologizing to a friend for unfollowing her on Facebook because she was jealous of the great life she appeared to have.  When I read it, I remembered some of the statistics I’ve read while looking into the effects of Social Media on my students.  Apparently I’m vulnerable to the effects myself….

If we compare ourselves to others, regardless of the circumstances, we will never be satisfied with what we have.  And how can we be happy and content when we’re constantly jealous of what others have?  But what I have to remember is that while I’m sitting on my couch and I’m sad because I’m bored and lonely, I’m comparing myself to the version of reality everyone else is posting.  Their best faces go forward on Facebook, just like mine does, and that’s what I think is one of the biggest dangers to the comparison game.

I stumbled across this yesterday, which is also apt here.


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The reality is that somewhere, someone may be scrolling through their feed and wishing their life was as cool as mine, but that doesn’t mean it’s ok for me to compare my life to anyone else’s.

My life is great.  I have fantastic friends, and an exciting new job adventure starting on Tuesday, and so I don’t need to read what my friends, family, and acquaintances are up to and be sad.  I instead can praise God for the great things they have going for them, and I can be thrilled for their successes.

It’s when I stop being able to do that that it may genuinely be time to get off Facebook… because otherwise what’s the point?

There’s nothing to fear except, well, everything.


I’ve got a confession to make.  I’ve stared at this blank “new post” screen probably 8 times in the last week.  I sit and I stare at it.  I might write the first paragraph of this post, and then I chicken out and I delete it.  We’ll see where I get today.

I’ve come to the conclusion recently that I am a great big chicken.  In life.  In pretty much everything that I do… I’m just scared.  I’ve been feeling restless and uneasy and it all boils down to this:  I’m terrified of my life.  Maybe not terrified.  Maybe that’s extreme.  I’m generally apprehensive of my life.  That’s better.

I digress.

I know I haven’t been given a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7).  I get that this does not come from God, and that I should be fighting this with everything in me (partnered WITH God).  But I don’t seem to be able to bring myself to do it.

Know what I’m scared of?

Happy Go Lucky 358
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Everything.  Well, and…. Change.

You see…. things keep changing.  But I want them to stay the same.

My friends get engaged, they get pregnant, they get married, they go back to school, they get into serious relationships, they get new jobs, they move away, we never talk anymore…. these things just happen.

I got a new job.  Now I have to face my fear of driving in the winter because some of the schools I have to go to are 75-80 km away from my house.  Each direction.  And right on Lake Erie.  That means snow storms!  And that means fear.  And I don’t like it.

I’m afraid to follow wholeheartedly after God because I’m afraid of what He might ask me to do.  I just spent an entire summer at Camp where I was supposed to learn and grow, and instead I stayed the same.  I sat in my comfort zone and wouldn’t let myself leave it because… well… it’s scary.

And now I have this new job, and I’ve left my work friends, and I feel a touch like I’m in over my head.  And I don’t know how to process that because in 2014-2015 I was comfortable.  And now I’m not.

I’m afraid to try to play the guitar because what if it’s too hard?  Even though I learned to play the violin as an adult… my skills combined with God’s faithfulness in the past has proven that I legit have nothing to be afraid of, and that fear isn’t worth the effort or the hassle… yet here I am.

I’m afraid to try dating because… well that’s a whole other world of crazy right there.  Every time I do it I seem to end up with nothing but ridiculous stories that would make me more of a successful author than a successful wife.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/celestinechua/10725012123/
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Dorothy Thompson Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live
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Karen Salmansohn When your faith is stronger than your fears, you can make your dream happen
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If you read this blog and you know me personally, please don’t feel like you need to call me and say “I read your blog.”  I am working through this.  But if you know me personally, you also know that I write better than I think or talk (which I don’t understand but whatever), and that this is how I process.  I am processing.  I don’t need to talk about it, because I’m doing the equivalent of that right now.

Fun Fact:  I’m also afraid to hit publish because this feels like a big confession right now… that I’m scared of everything… but it feels kind of like if I don’t hit publish and put it out there for the world to see and comment on (all 18 of you who actually read my posts…) then I’m going to have to pay someone for a therapy session where I sit and fumble my way through explaining this less articulately, when I could have just spat it out in writing on the interwebz and achieved the same result.  (longest sentence ever, man alive… maybe I’m not even a good writer…)

Ok…. time to hit publish save draft and go have a shower.  Cuz…. I might as well mull on this some more.