Sunday Bookends: Books finished and started; the never-ending house showings; and Ancestry.com’s rabbit holes

This past week was fairly tame, for the most part, with things speeding up toward the end of it while we prepared for yet another house showing. I think we are on number 14, if you count the one buyer who came to look at the house three times but still didn’t buy it. We are all suffering from a bit of battle fatigue with this house selling thing, as I’ve mentioned several times before (have I whined about this enough yet? Yes, I think so too.). However, we recognize many houses are on the market for months of years before they sell so it could be much worse.

What’s difficult about house showings, as anyone who has sold a house while still living in it knows, is trying to keep the house clean and then leaving it for an hour or so to allow perfect strangers to walk through it and judge you. I’m sure most people truly aren’t judging, but as the homeowner, it can feel that way and that’s the man stress-inducing part of it all.

I actually welcome the requests for the showings, even if we have had a lot in only a couple months, hoping someone makes an offer and buys it, allowing us to move closer to my husband’s job and my parents. I do like our neighbors but we don’t have friends or family up here, making it a rather lonely existence.

I distracted myself from all the weird news this week by going down several rabbit holes on Ancestry.com. I seem to discover something new about my family every time I go on and this past week I found out even more about the people I loosely (very loosely) basedA Story to Tell’ and ‘A New Beginning‘ on.

I’ll ramble about that in a blog post later this week when I tell a little bit more about the real story of Blanche and “Hank” (whose actual name was Howard.). What I will say is that Howard, my biological great-grandfather, isn’t looking too good at the moment, but, hey, it was all almost a century ago and I wasn’t there so who knows what really happened. He did seem to be a bit of a cad, however.

The problem with me and Ancestry.com is once I get on there, I can’t stop looking up information, I guess because I’m a storyteller and I want to know the stories of my ancestors. I get way too wrapped up in the digging and I’m sure at some point I’ll get myself in trouble with asking questions like “What was this person or that person really like?” from anyone who might still be alive and knew one of my relatives.  It might be better to simply read about them on Ancestry instead.

On the book front: I finally finished a book this week! Okay, so I’ve finished books before but lately, I’ve been reading very slow. This past week I finished the book I talked about last weekBorders of the Heart by Chris Fabry and started a new one by him, Under a Cloudless Sky.

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For anyone interested in Borders of the Heart, here is the description on Goodreads:

Desperate to escape haunting memories, J. D. Jessup travels from Nashville to Tucson and volunteers on an organic farm. The hardened landowner has one prevailing rule: If J. D. sees an “illegal,” call the border patrol. But when an early morning ride along the fence line leads him to a beautiful young woman named Maria, near death in the desert, his heart pulls him in another direction. Longing to atone for the choices that drove him to Tucson, J. D. hides her and unleashes a chain of deadly events he could never have imagined. Soon they are running from a killer and fighting for their lives. As secrets of their pasts emerge, J. D. realizes that saving Maria may be the only way to save himself.

The book was definitely fast-paced. I thought a couple of the last chapters were unnecessary in some ways, but it still added to the suspense and I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book.

The description for Under a Cloudless Sky:

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A charming and engrossing novel for fans of Southern fiction and the recent hit memoir Hillbilly Elegy about a lush and storied coal-mining town–and the good people who live there–in danger of being destroyed for the sake of profit. Will the truth about the town’s past be its final undoing or its saving grace?

1933. In the mining town of Beulah Mountain, West Virginia, two young girls form an unbreakable bond against the lush Appalachian landscape, coal dust and old hymns filling their lungs and hearts. Despite the polarizing forces of their fathers–one a mine owner, one a disgruntled miner –Ruby and Bean thrive under the tender care of Bean’s mama, blissfully unaware of the rising conflict in town and the coming tragedy that will tear them apart forever.

2004. Hollis Beasley is taking his last stand. Neighbors up and down the hollow have sold their land to Coleman Coal and Energy, but Hollis is determined to hold on to his family legacy on Beulah Mountain. Standing in his way is Buddy Coleman, an upstart mining executive who hopes to revitalize the dying town by increasing coal production and opening the Company Store Museum. He’ll pay homage to the past–even the massacre of 1933–while positioning the company for growth at all costs.

What surprises them all is how their stories will intersect with a feisty octogenarian living hundreds of miles away. When Ruby Handley Freeman’s grown children threaten her independence, she takes a stand of her own and disappears, propelling her on a journey to face a decades-old secret that will change everything for her and those she meets.

I’m not sure if some of my blog readers are familiar with the movie War Room, or not, but if you are, Fabry also wrote the book version of that movie. The screenplay was originally written by the Kendrick Brothers, of course. If you haven’t seen the movie, and you’re a Bible-believing Christian, I highly recommend the movie and the book and I also recommend Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer, by Priscilla Shirer, who is also in the movie.

I’m also reading (and hoping to finish this week) The Misadventured Summer of Tumbleweed Thompson by Glenn McCarty, a middle school level book my son read for English, and starting In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar.

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My son finished Tumbleweed this week and said: “My life feels so empty now that it’s done.” I love to hear that because it means it was a good book and he was completely engrossed in it. I plan to write a separate post about the book later in the week.

My daughter and I are switching between the first Paddington Bear book (rereading it) and

The Cat Who Went Up the Creek because she found out The Cat Who books are about . . . cats. I think she quickly realized most of the books are about the newspaper reporter Jim Qwellerin after the first night because the next night she asked for Paddington again. She’s five and there are more accents I have to do in Paddington, plus Paddington is about a cute bear and his crazy adventures. If I was five, I’d choose Paddington too.

So how about all of you? What have you been doing this past week and what is on your reading list? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

8 comments

  1. I just love your descriptions of reading to your daughter, and your son’s homeschool adventures too. It brings back such sweet memories for me, now that my kids are grown, and have their own children to read to. Even though I tried to pause and ponder the impact that those times were having, the days still flew by so fast. You are doing great things with your children, and I pray for you to be encouraged in all of your moments.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, I sure remember those feelings of failure as well! Every week, for so long in fact, I knew that it was only God’s grace that kept me from quitting. Looking back I can see it was all His faithfulness. And now I pray that same faithfulness for you too. It is so worth it to keep pressing on, because He is so worthy. I am praying for you!

        Liked by 1 person

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