Five Minute Friday: Heavy

The world feels so heavy right now. I talk to people every day who are struggling with loss, sickness, and grief. I can’t watch the news because it’s all too much to bear: war, death, cruelty, hatred. Evil seems to be winning every battle. The heaviness can all too easily leave me feeling hopeless. The burdens, from nearby to halfway around the world, feel almost unbearable.

In the Sunday School class I teach, we recently studied Jesus’ return—one day, He’s coming back to make everything right again, the way it was meant to be. Can you image? All of our heaviness lifted. No sin, no pain, no death, no sorrow—our heavy burdens gone forever. An eternity of peace and joy and delight.

Revelation 21:4-5 says, ‘and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”’

I long for that day. One day, the suffering will end and all be made right. 1 Peter 5:10 says, ‘After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.’ The heaviness won’t last forever. We have hope.

My 2022 Creative Goals

I love setting goals at the beginning of a new year! A few years ago, I decided to set creative goals for myself.

1. Finish my unfinished projects

Well, my goal is to finish as many as I can, because I have a lot. Some are projects I’ve already started, like the loom knit blanket I’ve promised my oldest (and youngest, but I haven’t even started his) and the Breezy Summer Crochet Blanket that I started over the past summer. Others are project kits or patterns I’ve picked up and never even started, like the Overnight Twist Cowl from one of my last KnitCrate boxes or the rose embroidery set I bought.

2. Learn new crochet skills

I found a checklist years ago that helps you figure out your crochet skill level, and I’m using that to find what I need to learn. The skills I want to work on most this year are:

  • Working with lightweight yarn (1 or 2 weight)
  • Learning to read crochet charts
  • How to make a chainless foundation row
  • Corner to corner crochet patterns

3. Learn new crafts

Once I discovered crafting, it opened a floodgate. There are so many crafts I want to learn! I want to learn some new things this year, like:

  • Cricut Maker—my husband and boys surprised me with one for Christmas and I want to learn more about what it can do
  • Drop spindle spinning—I took part in great craft swap last year, and my swap partner gave me a drop spindle. I’m just beginning to learn how spinning works, but it’s so fun and so relaxing!

4. Write more

Writing is my passion. I’ve had five short stories published, but my dream is to write novels. I have so many ideas. This year I have one idea in particular I want to pursue—a romantic suspense novel. I have a first chapter and a basic outline. This year my goal is to finish the book.

What are your creative goals for the year? Is there a new craft you want to learn?

What’s Saving My Life: February 2022

This year did not start off great for me. Less than two weeks in, I found out I would have to have my thyroid removed. At 42 years old, I had my first ever surgery. Thankfully, I had a stack of books to keep me occupied, and I’m now several books ahead on my Goodreads goal for the year. I may get further ahead—as I post this, we’re bracing for a major winter storm, with a possibility of several inches of combined ice and snow. I’m prepared, though. My iPad is charged, along with my book light.


When I taught myself to knit a few years ago, I fell in love with crafting. Knitting changed to crochet, and it clicked—it became a favorite hobby. Then I learned to cross stitch, and now I’m learning more crafts. It’s fun to make things I can use or wear or decorate my home with. But most of all, crafting is relaxing.

Crochet and cross stitch in particular are so soothing and help reduce anxiety when I’m really stressed. They require just enough concentration, and they engage my hands and mind just enough to calm me down. The morning of my surgery, I crocheted before I left for the hospital. It really helped settle my nerves.


I wasn’t a tea drinker until a few months ago. My oldest son loves hot tea. He kept asking me to try it, and I finally gave in. I wasn’t sure at first, but as I tried different flavors, I discovered I really love hot tea. I tend to go for fruit flavors and dessert teas, but I’m still trying new things all the time.

I generally stick to decaf teas, since I often drink them at night. I love orange and raspberry and pretty much anything with hibiscus. Currently, my favorites are Tazo Wild Sweet Orange and Celestial Seasonings Tangerine Zinger. I also tried Tea Forte Raspberry Ganache recently, and it’s so good! The Harney & Sons tea in the picture is perfect with a little milk and a dash of vanilla.


I know, leave it to a dental hygienist to say floss is life changing—but seriously, y’all, this is. I’d heard hygienists talk about Cocofloss at every CE event I’ve been to, but I just didn’t try it, partly because of the cost. At $8-10 for a spool of floss, it’s a little pricy, but after finally trying it, I’ll never go back to other floss. My teeth are so much cleaner when I use this. Plus, the flavors are really fun. So far, I’ve tried coconut, strawberry, and orange.

This hot/cold eye pack

My 40’s are not being kind to me. Becoming lactose intolerant, having my thyroid removed, and developing plantar fasciitis and migraines. My mother has migraines, so that doesn’t come as a surprise, but I’d never had problems with them until my 40’s. This hot/cold eye mask from Amazon is amazing. The ice pack is perfect for soothing a migraine, and the heat helps with neck pain during and after an attack.

Hoopla audiobooks

I’ve always been an avid reader, but I didn’t fall in love with audiobooks until a few years ago. For years, I had a long commute (an hour or more per day), and I would listen to audiobooks on my drive. Now I have a short commute, but I still listen. I also listen when I’m crafting for doing housework or any other time I get a chance. I love Hoopla! It makes it so easy to get books, and our library system has a great selection.

What’s saving your life right now?

Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2022

One of my favorite parts of a new year is planning. I know, it sounds weird, but lists and planning make me happy. One of my favorite lists to make is my book list: what I want to read, books for reading challenges, and new releases. Today I’m linking up with Top Ten Tuesday to share my most anticipated new releases for the first half of 2022.


Twilight at Morington Cross by Abigail Wilson

I discovered Abigail Wilson’s books last year and love them! If you love Regency novels and mysteries, you’ll want to read this one. I hope to read this and catch up on her backlist this year.

High Wire Heartbreak by Anna Schmidt

I love the Doors of the Past series! I’ve been especially excited about this one. The circus has fascinated me ever since I read Kristy Cambron’s The Ringmaster’s Wife.


In Search of a Prince by Toni Shiloh

Thanks to Rachel Hauck, I’m a sucker for a royalty romance. I’m so excited about this new release from Toni Shiloh—and isn’t the cover just gorgeous?

The Lady’s Mine-Francine Rivers

The newest Francine Rivers book—need I say more? She’s an amazing author.


Malicious Intent-Lynn H. Blackburn

Lynn H. Blackburn is my favorite romantic suspense author right now. I loved the first book in this series and have been eagerly awaiting book two.

The Do-Over by Bethany Turner

Nobody can write a rom-com quite like Bethany Turner! Any time she releases a new book, I’ll drop everything to read it.

False Pretense by Heather Day Gilbert

I love this series and I’ve been waiting a long time for the newest installment! I am so excited to finally rejoin Tess on a new case.


The Souls of Lost Lake by Jaime Jo Wright

Jaime Jo Wright is another author I’ll drop everything to read. And this cover, y’all—this is her best cover yet. It gives me goosebumps just looking at it. I can’t wait for this!

A Perilous Perspective by Anna Lee Huber

I binged almost the entire series in the last three months of 2021. I’m anxiously awaiting the audiobook, because the narrator is just so good.


My May list is empty. If you have any great suggestions for this month, I’m listening. If there’s nothing, I’ll play catch up on some of last year’s great releases that I didn’t get to.


new Charles Martin

I haven’t found a title or a cover for the third and final book in the Murphy Shepherd series, but honestly, I don’t care—I just want this book in my hands. This series and this main character are some of my all time favorites and I just want more.

What books are you most excited for in 2022?

Book Review: The Debutante’s Code

I’m so excited to be part of the book tour for The Debutante’s Code! Read about the book below, check out my review, and enter the giveaway at the end of the post!

About the Book

Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes in this new Regency mystery series

Newly returned from finishing school, Lady Juliette Thorndike is ready to debut in London society. Due to her years away, she hasn’t spent much time with her parents, and sees them only as the flighty, dilettante couple the other nobles love.But when they disappear, she discovers she never really knew them at all. They’ve been living double lives as government spies–and they’re only the latest in a long history of espionage that is the family’s legacy.

Now Lady Juliette is determined to continue their work. Mentored by her uncle, she plunges into the dangerous world of spies. From the glittering ballrooms of London to the fox hunts, regattas, and soirees of country high society, she must chase down hidden clues, solve the mysterious code her parents left behind, and stay out of danger. All the while, she has to keep her endeavors a secret from her best friend and her suitors–not to mention the nosy, irritatingly handsome Bow Street runner, who suspects her of a daring theft.

Can Lady Juliette outwit her enemies and complete her parents’ last mission?

Best-selling author Erica Vetsch is back with a rollicking, exciting new series destined to be a hit with Regency readers who enjoy a touch of mystery in their love stories. Fans of Julie Klassen, Sarah Ladd, and Anne Perry will love the wit, action, and romance.

About the Author

Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling author and ACFW Carol Award winner, and has been a Romantic Times top pick for her previous books. She loves Jesus, history, romance, and watching sports. This transplanted Kansan now makes her home in Rochester, Minnesota.

The Serendipity & Secrets trilogy, her first Regency series, launched in 2020 to rave reader reviews. Her latest release, The Debutante’s Code is the first of the Thorndike & Swann Regency Mysteries.

Learn more about Erica at or find her on Facebook.

My Review

This is my first book to read from Erica Vetsch, but I was excited to try it. I love Regency books, and I’ve heard a lot of good things about her. I wasn’t disappointed. I really enjoyed this book. The characters are great, there are lots of surprising twists and turns, and the ending left enough unanswered questions to make me really look forward to the next book in the series!

The Giveaway

Don’t miss the giveaway! Tap the photo and follow the link to enter.

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