Sunday Bookends: Enjoying Spring weather, Magpie Murders, and new book series

It’s time for our Sunday morning chat. On Sundays, I ramble about what’s been going on, what the rest of the family and I have been reading and watching, and what I’ve been writing, and some weeks I share what I am listening to.

What’s Been Occurring

I sat out on the back porch today. Literally sat on it — my plump rump right on the porch, the soles of my feet together as I did a type of Yoga pose and tried my best to breathe in slowly through my nose (which is a big clogged thanks to allergies). The sun was very warm, and the breeze cool but not too cool. On the side of the house, crocuses are blooming and the buds are up for the tulips that will soon bloom.

As I sat with my eyes closed, I heard birds – which I guess might be robins since I’ve seen at least four this month, two in the last week since the first day of Spring – chirping off to my left. I heard the wind blowing across the trees on the hill above the house.

Little Miss is recovering from a weather-change illness she gets every year this time of year and she shifted herself to sit between my legs, leaning back against me. Zooma the Wonder Dog joined her and there we sat, grateful for the sun and still recovering from the ups and downs of winter – weather, emotionally, and physically.

About ten minutes before we’d walked around the yard, and tossed the ball, a toy, and a stick for the dog. I had bent my toes into the grass and enjoyed the coolness and slowly expanding softness of it as green works to replace brown.

Little Miss walked a little, even tried to run, then realized she still hasn’t recovered from feeling unwell Friday and Saturday so she sat on the edge of the porch, looking – I hate to say it – miserable and not herself. I sat next to her and we talked about how we wanted a garden this summer. She asked first if we could plant a flower garden instead of a regular one, but I suggested we do both and just plant a few things in the vegetable garden. She agreed and we are going to make a list this week of what we want.

The sun helped her feel a little better and I am hoping by Monday or Tuesday she will be well on her way to full recovery.

She hasn’t seen her grandmother in two weeks for various reasons and would like to go visit her but we decided to wait a couple more days in case she is still contagious.

This week we don’t have a ton on tap, other than getting her to her makeup gymnastics class she missed yesterday if she feels better and Awana on Wednesday.

I rambled about our trip to our old stomping grounds in yesterday’s post.

What I/we’ve been Reading

The weather is so nice today that I may go back outside after I post this and read a little bit.

I finished The Burning Issue of the Day last night and am working on Meant to Bee by Storm Shultz for a book tour while also reading A Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie and listening to The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien.

I want to read some books with a spring feel after next week so I hope to go back to Anne’s House of Dreams.

The Husband is reading All Kinds of Eden by James Lee Burke.

Little Miss and I are still reading the Land of the Big Read Apple by Roger Lea MacBride in the evening and during the day we were reading Soft Rain, the story of a Cherokee girl who is forced out of her home during the Trail of Tears. I know it is important for Little Miss to know this history but the book is pretty heavy and I’d love for her to hold on to her innocence a little longer. We may set it aside and pick it back up in a couple of years.

What We watched/are Watching

Last week The Husband and I finished up the Magpie Murders mini-series on PBS Masterpiece. It’s based on the book of the same title (Magpie Murders NOT THE MAGPIE MURDERS! Watch the series or read the book to know why that is important) by Anthony Horowitz.

It was very well put together and not a lot of gore, sex, or language. There was one “f-bomb” in the entire six-part series, if I remember correctly.

Saturday I kicked off my Spring of Cary classic movie series with A Awful Truth. It wasn’t too bad but toward the end I realized I had seen the movie before, but years ago – like probably over a decade ago. It was funny and quirky but not really one of my favorites of his.

I’ll have a post later this week sharing what other movies of his I plan to watch throughout April and May.

I started watching a new mystery show that I had hoped would be a bit funny but was a bit more on the depressing side instead: The Madame Blanc Mysteries. It follows the story of a British woman whose husband dies while in France. She moves to France to investigate what happened to him and stumbles into other mysteries along the way.

The first two episodes were very good and I’m interested to see if the first season wraps up the storyline with her husband or not.

What I’m Writing

As I mentioned on Friday, I am working on the first book in the Gladwynn Grant Mysteries, Gladwynn Grant Gets Her Footing, which is tentatively being released on June 20 of this year.

I am also working on a few other projects and you can read more about them in this post:

This week on the blog I shared:

What I’m Listening to

I like to listen to jazz when I work on Gladwynn’s story and last week I was reminded of an album by Harry Connick Jr. that I listened to in my teens when I first discovered Harry – Red Light, Blue Light. I have been listening to that a lot this past week.

Now it’s your turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

Saturday Afternoon Chat: Dog grooming, visit to a museum, and annoying cold thwarts our plans

I’m back to peppermint tea this Saturday for our afternoon chat.

I’m glad you could come for a visit. I really needed some adult conversation after a week of mainly being inside and working with children. Okay, one child. My eight-year-old who isn’t a fan of homeschool right now.

I had planned on adult conversation yesterday during a homeschool gathering, but Little Miss woke up with a sore throat so that was out. I spent my day trying to get her to eat despite her sore throat, writing a little, doing a little bit of school work with her, doing some dishes, cooking dinner, and only talking to adults online through Discord.

It isn’t that I like being super social. I can take about an hour or two of being social with other people and then I’m good for a few more days, sometimes a week.  

On Tuesday the kids and I traveled 45 minutes north to have Zooma the Wonder Dog groomed. While we waited for her, we visited the local library, which has a museum of local artifacts upstairs. To turn the day into a little bit of an educational field trip, the kids walked upstairs to visit the museum.

Little Miss and I have been studying Native American culture and history so it was fun to see some actual Native American artifacts that the museum has.

She was more interested in the fossils of animals they had, however. That and the star fishes and shark teeth.

The building was built in 1897 by Jesse Spalding in honor of his son. He asked for the building to become a library and museum.

It was renovated in 1927 but as far as I know, the marble staircases and impressive high windows are the originals. There is something both comforting and creepy about the building. I don’t know how to explain that.

Like most libraries these days, they have a permanent book sale out front, and I couldn’t help picking up a couple new books – a cozy mystery and a Christian fiction book by Bodie Thoene.

After we picked up Zooma we headed to the playground, which was packed since it was the first nice day our area has had in weeks. That may be where Little Miss picked up this little virus she’s got going on now.

Zooma and I wandered in the parking lot while The Boy and Little Miss played on the playground equipment.

Thursday it was raining so we didn’t do anything, and we were grounded again yesterday because of Little Miss’s sore throat.

I felt like I was washing dishes and cooking meals all the time this week, which left little time to write blog posts or read or even work on my latest book. I hope I will have more time for all those things next week, since, so far, we don’t have any big plans.

It looks like our plan to see Jesus Revolution tomorrow might be canceled because my parents were going to watch Little Miss for us since The Boy is staying at a friend’s house.  I don’t want to expose my parents to something that might be mild for Little Miss and major for them.

For now we will plan to stay home and watch movies like we did today. Little Miss said the movies we watched were too dramatic and after I cried through Brave she said, “well, I’m proud of you. You’ve had an emotional breakthrough.”

Hopefully we will all be well by Friday because I am looking forward to going to a book sale at a library near us.

Because I need more books I’ll never read. Ha!

So how was your week last week? Any big plans for this week? And what are you drinking while you was this? I have a list of teas I want to try thanks to all of you now.






Fiction Friday: A writing update. A new series and new projects on the horizon.

If you are a regular on this blog, you may have noticed that I haven’t been posting as many blog posts as I sometimes do.

Part of that has been due to a lot of stress in my life, but part of the reason for me writing less blog posts is that I am working on a new book series.

This series will be a cozy mystery series called The Gladwyn Grant Mysteries.

The first book in the series is called Gladwyn Grant Gets Her Footing.

I’ll tell you more about Gladwyn in the coming weeks but for now, I do have a description:

After being laid off from her job as a librarian at a small college, Gladwynn Grant isn’t sure what her next step in life is. When a job as a small-town newspaper reporter opens up in the town her grandmother Lucinda Grant lives in, she decides to take it to get away from a lot of things – Bennett for one.

Lucinda has been living alone since Gladwynn’s grandfather passed away six years ago and she isn’t a take-it-easy, rock-on-your-front-porch kind of grandma. She’s always on the go and lately, she’s been on the go with a man who Gladwynn doesn’t know.

Gladwynn thought Brookville was a small, quiet town, but within a few days of being there, she has to rethink that notion. Someone has cut the bank loan officer’s brakes, threatening letters are being sent, and memories of a bank robbery from the 1970s have everyone looking at the cold case again.

And what, if anything, will Gladwynn uncover about her new hometown and her grandmother’s new male friend?

Find out in Gladwynn Grant Gets Her Footing, the first in the Gladwynn Grant Mysteries.

Here is the planned cover:

I have not yet decided if I will share this story as a serial on the blog or not. I’ll let you know in the future if that is going to happen. For now I have set the tentative release date as June 20th.

I had hoped to release the first three books in the series about four months apart, but I’m not sure that will happen since I am also working on some other projects. The Gladwynn books will be shorter than my previous books. They will be clean, but not strictly Christian fiction. There will be a Christian overtone here and there since Gladwynn’s late grandfather was a Methodist minister.

A Biblical fiction story I am also working on will, of course, be Christian Fiction. I do not have a release date for that one.

If I didn’t have enough going on, I am also writing a book that will come out in August of 2024 and is entitled Cassie. It will also be in the Christian Fiction genre.

I am very excited for Cassie since it will be part of a multi-author project called The Apron Strings Book Series and it will follow twelve women and a recipe book that connects them all. Each book will focus on a different woman from a different era from 1920 to 2020.

My decade is the 1990s and my character, whose stage name is Cassie Starr, is a popstar who has hit her 30s and isn’t as popular as she once was. With no jobs coming her way and her record label dropping her, she heads up at the behest of her sister to help their mom with the family farm to table restaurant. While there Cassie will find out her mom’s health is not as good as she thought it was, that her feelings toward her father isn’t as resolved as she thought and that the owner of the local vegetable farm that supplies her mom’s business with food isn’t as annoying as she once thought.

I have not forgotten that I still have a fifth book I have promised and want to write to close out The Spencer Valley Chronicles and I will get there at some point. The final book will be the story of Alex Stone and his relationship with his father, as well as his continuing relationship with Molly Tanner. It doesn’t have a title yet.

So that is my writing update for now. I’m sure it will change in regard to timing and titles, etc. as the months go on.

Do any of the projects sound interesting to you? Let me know which one you are looking forward to.

Finding Joy with An Invisible Chronic Illness Book Tour with JustRead Publicity Tours

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness by Christopher Martin, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

Title: Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness

Author: Christopher Martin

Publisher: Martin Family Bookstore

Release Date: November 15, 2021

Genre: Christian Nonfiction; self-help; chronic illness

A 2022 Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner

“Finding Joy is a vital guide on how to best manage and navigate life with a chronic illness.” —James Nestor, New York Times bestselling author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art

Finding Joy presents a comprehensive, practical guide for living your best life with chronic illness. This psychology self-help book integrates personal and professional insights to give you tools for handling various aspects of living with a chronic illness. There is also a chapter specifically for the loved ones and caregivers of the chronically ill. While this book is designed for anyone with a chronic illness, the spiritual content early in the book suggests the value of sticking to your faith and offers several Bible references.

Ultimately, Finding Joy is an A-to-Z guide that critiques the literature and empowers the reader with:

  1. Positive psychology techniques. These range from self-compassion, positive reappraisal, positive self-talk, and pacing to positive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors such as optimism, humor, and volunteer work.
  2. Stress-reduction methods. These include tools such as mindfulness, breathing exercises, simplification, and (therapeutic) journaling.
  3. Proven therapies. Examples include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
  4. Effective communication strategies and their impact on relationships and even the ability to access quality healthcare.
  5. Numerous tips to both access and optimize your experience with high-quality healthcare.
  6. Important considerations for loved ones of the chronically ill, so they too can know how to best support their loved one and take care of themselves in the process.

“This book offers great value for anyone with chronic illness as it contains clear, practical, and actionable insights and steps that can be naturally implemented into daily life. An engaging, easy, and helpful read. Highly recommended.”—Alla Bogdanova, MSc, MIM, co-founder and past president of the International Empty Nose Syndrome Association

“The thing that sets it apart from others is that it’s written by afellow sufferer who can also give valuable insight as a psychologist.This topic could easily be heavy-going, but it is mainly an upbeat, positive read. Saying that, the author has taken care to balance positivity with reality.”—Elsa Bridger on

“What I loved the most about this book is theauthor has his own chronic illnessesso all methods are tried and tested. I really like the way this book was written as it didn’t feel like any other self-help book I have ever read; it felt more relaxed.You knew that the author understood you and his manner made me take more in.”—Ladyreading365 on

“I have had various invisible chronic illnesses for nearly forty years, but I was still able to find suggestions that will help me. So many of the things I have gone through are reflected in this book. I highly recommend this comprehensive book.”—Sue on

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | BookBub

My Review

Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness by Christopher Martin is a book that will help anyone who is facing a chronic illness for themselves or knows someone who is dealing with a chronic illness.

As someone who deals with a couple of chronic illnesses that are invisible to others, one of the most powerful reminders for me in this book is the importance to accept the illness we have been diagnosed with or deal with.

This acceptance doesn’t mean you give up on treating your illness or that you are happy about the illness, but by accepting it you can set goals in your life that are realistic to your situation.

I also really related to the section of the book where Martin urged those of us with chronic illness to show compassion to ourselves. This one hit home hard for me because he wrote about how people who deal with chronic illness blame themselves for their symptoms and perceived shortcomings which further adds stress to them, which further perpetuates the effects the illness.

This also opens the door for family members to join in on the criticism or suggest that maybe the person can do more than they feel they can. Family members can sometimes, though meaning well, try to push the person beyond their limitations to try to bring them out of depression about what they cannot do.

There are several other strong pieces of advice for those with chronic illness and their family members throughout the book. It is a book I plan to get an extra copy of to give to those I know struggling with chronic illness.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Christopher Martin is a school psychologist, husband, father, and an award-winning author who has lived with multiple debilitating chronic illnesses and their hidden effects – from chronic fatigue to significant pain to seemingly endless infections – for 25 years. As a result, he is all too aware of how disruptive and life-changing they can be to our daily lives.

But don’t let what was just shared fool you: while he is far from cured of his illnesses, he still maintains a fulfilling life and experiences ongoing joy, peace, and happiness. He appreciates the small things in life such as drinking hot tea, going for walks with his family (when he is feeling up to it), and reading inspirational books. It was his goal, in turn, to give back to others by doing what he loves to do: authoring books on these conditions.

He wrote his most recent book, Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness, because few books exist that offer comprehensive, practical guidance on chronic illness. And even fewer books exist that include mental health tips from the perspective of a psychologist and sufferer. Christopher enjoyed integrating his background in psychology with his experiences as a patient into realistic, easy-to-understand and apply strategies. His deepest hope in writing Finding Joy is to inspire the reader to live a more abundant life.

Learn more by visiting

Tour Giveaway

(2) winners will receive $25 paypal cash and an audiobook download of the book!

(3) additional winners will receive an audiobook download of the book!

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight March 22, 2023, and will last through 11:59 PM EST on March 29, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

Did you know I have a newsletter for my writing?

In case you didn’t know I have a newsletter for my writing stuff, well…I do. You can find it HERE and there is an update this week about my newest book that will release this summer. I shared a description and a cover reveal!

I’ll also share about it a little bit more here on Friday, which used to be “Fiction Friday” around here.

If you sign up for my Substack, you will receive an update about my writing, as well as some other writers, in your email once or twice a month. I may occasionally send an update more often if there is something super exciting going on, but otherwise, I’ll do my best not to clog your inbox up!

Educationally Speaking: Homeschooling allows for the down time some kids need

I’ve written before about why I like to homeschool, and this past week highlighted a couple of those reasons perfectly.

When Little Miss had a major dental procedure due to a soft enamel issue the week before last, I backed off strict homeschool lessons for a few days afterward. Giving her time to recover was possible because of the flexibility of homeschooling. There was no pressure for her to get back into class even though she was having some discomfort and trouble eating.

We spent a lot of time reading books, picture and otherwise, snuggling, watching educational shows, playing with Legos or outside, making slime, painting or just chatting.

On Tuesday Little Miss’s friends were off school because of snowy weather. This gave her a chance to visit with them via the phone and cheer her up after a difficult few days of recovering. We did a little bit of school that day but not as intensive as some days.

We were grateful that pain wasn’t a large part of Little Miss’s recovery. Being unable to eat normally was part of the recovery process, unfortunately.

This left me anxious for two or three days until I decided to make some soups from scratch that would add protein and nutrients to Little Miss’s diet.

She lived on Jell-O, pudding, yogurt drinks, and my homemade soups for about three days. On the fourth day, she discovered she could eat tater tots without pain. On Wednesday she was back to eating almost completely normally.

As someone who was educated in public school, it has been hard for me to change my mind about school needing to be six hours of instructional time, even though that isn’t how many hours students really spend on academics in public school anyhow when you figure in time in  homeroom, lunch, extracurricular activities, study halls, and for the younger children, recess.

When you cut out the time on the bus, homeroom, recess, etc., school really only takes 1-3 hours depending on the day. Children who are homeschooled can do their work without having to wait for the rest of the class to catch up or slow down. They can get their lessons done and the rest of the day is theirs to do what they want with (within reason, of course).`

I’ve really had to work hard to change my mindset about education overall in the last couple of years actually. I’m very much still stuck in the mindset that we have to do “book learning” during our school day, every day, versus simply reading books, doing art, or exploring nature and learning on some days.

However, last week I let a lot of that go. I reminded myself that educating a child is a long  term commitment that goes beyond what they learn from a textbook.

I also reminded myself that healing from something that was traumatizing to a child is about much more than physical healing.

Little Miss needed emotional comfort as much as she needed her gums to be comforted and in order to do that I had to back off heavily pushing math and science lessons that she could easily make up after her recovery was complete.

The time we spent cuddling on the couch with a book or watching an educational show instead of opening up the textbook was even more important than academic learning.

There are many ways you can enrich your child’s education without doing set curriculum for times when they need some one on one time.

A few ideas:

  • Read educational or simply entertaining books to them.
  • Watch educational or enriching shows together.
  • Create art together  
  • Take a walk together in the woods or somewhere outside to see what you find and can turn into a lesson.
  • Do only the simplest lessons from your curriculum
  • Visit their grandparents
  • Simply hold them and cuddle them as much as they want

Sunday Bookends: Reading mysteries, watching mysteries, and little girls running wild

It’s time for our Sunday morning chat. On Sundays I ramble about what’s been going on, what I and the rest of the family have been reading and watching, what I’ve been writing, and some weeks I share what I am listening to.

What I/we’ve been Reading

I finished Confessions To A Stranger by Danielle Grandinetti last week and hope to finish The Burning Issue of the Day (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery) By T.E. Kinsey today or tomorrow.

I’ve already started Murder at the Vicarage which is a Miss Marple Mystery by Agatha Christie. I had started watching this episode on BritBox until The Husband let me know it was based on this book he picked up for me a few weeks ago. I decided to try to read the book instead.

I’m also still reading/listening to The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien with The Boy.

Little Miss and I are reading Land of the Big Red Apple by Roger Lea MacBride. This is a book loosely based on the childhood of Rose Wilder, the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Almanzo Wilder. Roger was adopted by Rose when she couldn’t have children and later became the sole trustee of the Ingalls-Wilder estate. He also wrote a series of children’s books based on Rose and the women in her family. We found this book at our local library.

The Husband was taking his Sunday afternoon when I was writing this so I don’t know what he is reading this week.

The Boy is reading The Fellowship of the Ring with me, along with text from the various school subjects he has.

What’s Been Occurring

I rambled a bit about what’s been occurring in my post yesterday. In that post I gave an update on Little Miss’s recovery since her dental surgery.

I’ll share that again here for those who are like me and just can’t read every single blog post a blogger writes.

Little Miss recovered well this week after her dental surgery last week. I was really a mess for a few days while we tried to figure out what she could eat without some of her important molars.

I kept offering her different foods to eat but some days she didn’t want anything. She would say she wasn’t hungry. I was worried she was in pain, but she told me she wasn’t. Still, she was very down and not bouncing around like she normally does, which I did expect but still didn’t like to see.

Over the weekend I made homemade potato and cheese, sweet potato, and cream of chicken soups. Not only did they give her something with some protein and nutrients in it but it reminded me how easy soups can be to make and that I need to make them more.

I cut up meat really tiny on Monday and offered it to her along with some French fries, which she found she could eat fairly easily.

She looked up at me and said, “Mom. Stop. Let me go at my own pace.”

So I stopped and let her ask for what food she wanted. By Tuesday she was back to eating sandwiches and pretty much the food she’d been able to eat before. On Wednesday she was able to eat potato chips and she was so excited.

Yesterday Little Miss had two of her friends over for the first time in a few months and they had a blast playing together both inside and out.

They didn’t stay outside too long because it was very cold, especially the wind. It is even colder today. I’m guessing we won’t see real spring weather until April, or at least I hope we will see some in April.

Our cat Pixel is not a big fan of noise or a lot of people being in the house so at one point I watched her crawl across the floor, low to the ground, her ears laid back and clearly traumatized by all the craziness going on around her. I let her out the back door and she spent the afternoon curled up somewhere by our garden shed. She was forced to return to the house before the girls left because the temperature dropped very fast and the girls were picked up late, but she hid somewhere in the house, coming out only when all was quiet again.

Little Miss had had a full day with gymnastics early in the day and playing hard all day with her friends. I thought she’d fall asleep early but she fought it and wanted to stay up late with me and her brother. Her dad had already collapsed after having a busy day himself.

I said yesterday that we don’t have anything we have to do this week other than Kids’ Club, but I forgot that on Tuesday we have to drive about 45 minutes north to get Zooma the Wonder Dog a much-needed grooming and nail trimming. After that our week is fairly clear.

Today I am making corned beef, cabbage and pre-made mashed potatoes for our belated St. Patrick’s Day. We were going to share this with my parents but they had a busy week and are resting up.

What We watched/are Watching

The Husband and I have been watching Magpie Murders, a mystery mini-series on PBS Masterpiece. It is based on a book by Anthony Horowitz that The Husband has read, but I have not yet.

We also watched an episode of Miss Scarlet & The Duke and I hope we can finish season one this week.

On Friday I watched The Quiet Man for St. Patrick’s Day. This movie has become my favorite movie over the last several years, replacing Singing in the Rain, which is now second.

I’ve also found a new vlogger to watch:

What I’m Writing

In the last 17 days I have written 17,000 words on Gladwynn Gets Her Footing. I don’t know if I’m going to keep all those words and may decide I have to rewrite half of it, but it’s been fun to dive into a different world for a bit. This one will be a cozy mystery, which I’ve read a lot of, but never written one of. We will see if it is an utter failure or not.

I will share more about expected release dates and a cover for the book later this week.

Last week on the blog I shared:

What I’m Listening To

The Husband found a jazz duo – Rachael and Vilray on Apple Music last week so I’ve been listening to them a lot when I write. Their music is calming and I found several videos on YouTube so I can just plug my headphones in on the laptop and write away while they sing away.

If you’d like to see them live, you can watch this YouTube video. It’s similar to listening to their recorded albums:

Now it’s your Turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

Saturday Afternoon Tea: Confused weather (again), recovering kids, and library visits

It’s a chilly March day and I’m enjoying a bit of organic peppermint tea today for my beverage as I sit down to chat with you. I plan to have some lemon in hot water later on in the day, if I still have lemons.

As we head toward the meteorological Spring, Pennsylvania still isn’t ready to leave winter weather completely behind.

Early last week we had snow, then we had one day of sun and then we were back to winter again with dropping temperatures. Today the weather promises to be gloomy and chilly but at least no snow.

I’ve grown weary of trying to start and keep fires going in our woodstove, even though I’m glad to have it. My sinuses struggle when I have to lean over the fire and try to get it going after it has decided it isn’t going to take. I like the fire, though, when I (or someone else) gets it going. It helps our heating bill, for one, but the house also feels cozier with it lit and roaring. Last night I turned around as I went upstairs and smiled at it and realized how much I’ll miss seeing it when the weather warms up and there is no need for it.

Little Miss recovered well this week after her dental surgery last week. I was really a mess for a few days while we tried to figure out what she could eat without some of her important molars.

I kept offering her different foods to eat but some days she didn’t want anything. She would say she wasn’t hungry. I was worried she was in pain, but she told me she wasn’t. Still, she was very down and not bouncing around like she normally does, which I did expect but still didn’t like to see.

Over the weekend I made homemade potato and cheese, sweet potato, and cream of chicken soups. Not only did they give her something with some protein and nutrients in it but it reminded me how easy soups can be to make and that I need to make them more.

I cut up meat really tiny on Monday and offered it to her along with some French fries, which she found she could eat fairly easily.

She looked up at me and said, “Mom. Stop. Let me go at my own pace.”

So I stopped and let her ask for what food she wanted. By Tuesday she was back to eating sandwiches and pretty much the food she’d been able to eat before. On Wednesday she was able to eat potato chips and she was so excited.

Little Miss, The Boy, and I visited the library that same day to pick out some books for Little Miss’s unit on birds that we are doing and just to get out of the house.

It was nice to sit in the children’s section and reach behind me and just pluck books off the shelves to look at while Little Miss and the Boy built creations with the Legos there. I don’t know why they don’t play with the Legos we have at home as much as they will there, but whatever.

I truly could spend most of my day at the library if people weren’t there. I know. That’s awful, isn’t it? As an introvert, though, sometimes I get drained just by making myself talk to people. We were there a couple of hours and I talked to the library assistants for quite a while and by the time we got home I needed a nap. Sadly, I couldn’t have one because I had to make dinner and then we headed back out for Kids Club at the church my parents used to go to. The program used to be called Awana.

The rest of the week was homeschool or hanging out until I kicked the kids out on Thursday to go pick up sticks in the yard that we can use to start fires. It was close to 60 that day. By Friday the temps had started to drop again.

Soon the temps will be rising and staying up and I’ll feel guilty if I don’t take the kids outside to do things so I better enjoy these cooler temps for now anyhow. I put too much pressure on myself when the weather is warmer out. I think I have to be super mom and expose my children to outdoor activities every day. I do like being outside, but I need to get over feeling like we have to do “big” things on nice days – like trips to parks or lakes or something. Doing that once in a while is very nice, though.

This upcoming week doesn’t have anything too exciting going on so far.

The Husband and I are going to try to head out tomorrow to see Jesus Revolution at a theater about 40 minutes from us. After that I have a pretty open week, other than Kids Club on Wednesday and gymnastics on Saturday.

Today I brought an extra child home with me from gymnastics. One of Little Miss’s friends came to play for the day.

So how about you? How does your upcoming week look? Is anything exciting planned? What warm or cold beverage will you be drinking to get you through the week?

The remarkable life of Charles Reynolds: pastor, missionary, troublemaker, stubborn Irishman, thorn in the side, devoted friend

On St. Patrick’s Day, I think of him . . .

Boondock Ramblings

I pulled into the driveway of a little house that looked as if it had been lifted out of Northern Ireland and dropped, unscathed, into the hills of Pennsylvania. The ceilings were low, the windows were small and cute and the stone fireplace had been built by hand.

On one side of the house was a cow pasture and on the other a tiny, century-old cemetery with a sign on the metal gate that read “Enter At Your Own Risk.”

I blew my nose as I parked and began to rehearse what I would say to the elderly Irishman inside, determined to not let him talk me into staying for tea. I did not want tea. I wanted to go home, lay down and fall asleep after a long day of work at the local weekly newspaper and catching a cold that had only gotten worse as the day went…

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