Random Thoughts: The TiddlyWinks Championships And Other Random Thoughts

Welcome to my weekly Randomly Thinking post where I share random thoughts that pop into my head throughout the week. Enter at your own risk. There is a lot of saracasm, teasing and jokes and a little bit of seriousness.

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I don’t know how the topic came up, but my son mentioned Tiddlywinks the other night and at some point he said he thought was what “old people were referring to when they think a couple is doing something inappropriate.”

I said, “Honey, no. Tiddlywinks is a game.”

So we looked up Tiddlywinks online and not only did we find what the game is but we found a Youtube link to the Tiddlywinks Singles World Championships. Yes, I’m serious.

In case you don’t know what Tiddlywinks is, here is a photo:

I offered commentary for the Tiddlywinks singles championship in a British accent because for some reason it needed to be narrated that way.

“Here we are, ladies and gentlemen. The Tiddlywinks singles championship. This is a tense moment for our finalists. Will Bob be able to flip that disc and hold on to his reign as winker of the world?”

No kidding. The term is “winker of the world.” That’s what the man who won the championship said, anyhow.

“It’s great to be the winker of the world again,” he said.

In case you need some fun, I’ve linked to the video for you, and please notice how the one man is squinting the entire time, which I think may be because he’s squinted so much trying to line up his shots. Also, full confession, I don’t remember ever playing Tiddlywinks. If you just really must know more about the game, you can find more information on this site.

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I’m plugging through Rescue Me by Susan May Warren despite the fact that she wrote that her characters ate chocolate donuts with orange juice.

Ew. Who does that? I asked my husband that and he said “People who worship the devil.”

I mean, something sweet like that with the organge juice and making the orange juice have a bitter aftertaste. Yuck.

I was reading the section and crying, “No! Why is she pouring orange juice?! She just offered him a cake donut with chocolate icing. They’re not going to drink that are th– Oh my gosh! They drank it! She actually wrote they drank it!”

I then warned my son against the evils of people who drink orange juice while eating a chocolate donut. He promised me he would never marry a woman who believed such a thing.

“Only milk with chocolate donuts, okay?”

“Yes, Mom, I agree.”

Whew. Crisis averted. I’ll keep reading the book but this woman is on very thin ice with me right now. If she has someone drinking milk with potato chips then it’s over. Book closed and put aside.

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I listen to this old late 40s/early 50s sitcom/radio show called Our Miss Brooks at night as I fall asleep as a way to focus my brain on something other than every day worries. I wake up at night and the show is still going. It plays through the next episode and I listen along until I pass out again. I’ve mentioned the show here before.

The plot of the show is about a teacher named Miss Brooks who lives with her landlady, Mrs. Davis, and interacts with her principal, Osgood Conklin, his daughter Harriet Conklin, Harriets boyfriend Walter Denton, and Miss Brook’s crush Philip Boyton, who is a total uptight moron who never gets how much Connie (Miss Brooks) is in love with him. He says so many stupid things that anyone walking by my room at night might hear me say things like “Good grief, you’re a moron,” or “Give up on him, Connie. He’s never going to get it!”

Anyhow, some guy transferred these shows from old reels or … I don’t know what.. to podcast form. He started uploading them in 2007 on Apple (which I didn’t realize until I looked it up for this post) and when he first did it he was all chipper like “Hey! Enjoy these reproduced old shows! If you want to buy the collection, you can go to my site here!”

By the time he hits 2019, it’s obvious the whole idea of making money off this endeavour has tanked and instead of being chipper, he starts sounding threatening: “Hey, I put all these on for you and why am I charging more now? Well, because I’m losing money on trying to be nice and I’m really tired of it. So I’m not going to be nice anymore. You want this stuff, buy it, or this podcast is gone.”

That’s not exactly what he says, but close. He does really say the thing about “I lost money on this whole thing last year,” like that is somehow the fault of the listener. It’s so depressing, I just skip over his intros now. But I guess he learned the hard way, like newspapers, that if you give people for free and then try to go back to charging them for it, they aren’t really going to be very willing to start paying for it.

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We visited my neighbor this week because she has been very down since her grandchildren were shipped across the country to live with their dad (my daughter has also been down because these were her only in-person friends). We went down to play a round of Yahtzee. She wanted to play two but the one round made the minds of us Math/Number Illiterates (me and my son) hurt so we declined. When we walked into the house, my neighbor immediately handed me a small bag of green leaves. If it had been anyone else I would have been worried. I actually thought she was handing me loose tea, because she drinks tea, but it turned out it was catknip for our cats.

I shoved it in my pocket and didn’t think much about it until later that night at home when I walked by where I had hung up my coat and it was laying on the floor with two cats pawing at it and rubbing themselves all over it. The kitten (Scout) had been sniffing the pocket when I first hung it up but I didn’t even remember the baggie with the cat drugs at that point.

It wasn’t until I saw the fat one (Pixel) had removed the baggie from the pocket and was trying to rip into into it that I remembered. I gave them part of the catnip and decided to save the rest until later. I have to becareful, though, and make sure the drawer with the bag in it is tightly closed because the last time I had catnip and kept it in a kitchen drawer and didn’t shut it all the way, the older cat found a way to pry the drawer the rest of the way open and dig out the bag.

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Some thoughts for world events right now: “If you’re a common sense person, you probably don’t feel you have a home in this world right now. If you’re a Christian, you know you were never meant to.” – Patricia Heaton, actress.

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I liked this take from Fuel From the Race on all that is happening these days :

“My knees bend to no one but King Jesus. Through the mix of hatred and political haze of confusion, I know the One Who still has His place on the throne of the universe. Kings and kingdoms will all fade and vanish and yet, He will still be sovereign.”

Faithfully Thinking: Peace Be Still

I don’t want to be afraid
Every time I face the waves
I don’t want to be afraid
I don’t want to be afraid
I don’t want to fear the storm
Just because I hear it roar
I don’t want to fear the storm
I don’t want to fear the storm

Peace be still
Say the word and I will
Set my feet upon the sea
Till I’m dancing in the deep
Peace be still
You are here so it is well
Even when my eyes can’t see
I will trust the voice that speaks

I’m not gonna be afraid
‘Cause these waves are only waves
I’m not gonna be afraid
No, I’m not gonna be afraid
And I’m not gonna fear the storm
You are greater than its roar
Oh, I’m not gonna fear the storm
No, I’m not gonna fear at all

Peace be still
Say the word and I will
Set my feet upon the sea
Till I’m dancing in the deep
Peace be still
You are here so it is well
Even when my eyes can’t see
I will trust the voice that speaks

Peace, peace over me

Let faith rise up
O heart believe
Let faith rise up in me
Let faith rise up
O heart believe
Let faith rise up in me
Let faith rise up
O heart believe
Let faith rise up in me
Let faith rise up
O heart believe
Let faith rise up in me

Peace be still
Say the word and I will
Set my feet upon the sea
Till I’m dancing in the deep
Peace be still
You are here so it is well
Even when my eyes can’t see
I will trust the voice that speaks

Sunday Bookends: Book abandoned, cold winter days, and Social Media Changes

This is my weekly post where I share what I am reading, watching, writing and occasionally what I am listening to.

What I’ve Been Reading

I had to abandon Maggie this week. Charles Martin is a really good writer, and I enjoyed The Dead Don’t Dance, but this book had to go a little more than half way through. It was like he was trying to see how much he could beat this woman down – literally and figuratively- and I just couldn’t handle it. She’d lost one baby and in the second book she lost another one after she was beat up by criminals. I was like “I get books need a lot of drama to keep a reader hooked, but this is ridiculous.”
With all the sadness and darkness and anger in the world, I just didn’t need to read it in my books too. Again, I love Martin’s writing, but I don’t get books that have to have so many bad things happen to the main characters that you just wished they’d die so they didn’t have to feel the pain anymore.

I started reading another book by Amy K. Sorrels called, How Sweet the Sound, on my Kindle so I have something to read at night when I turn the lights off. This is the second book I’ve read by her and so far I am enjoying this one, even though it isn’t super uplifting so far.

I’m also still reading a paperback copy of Rescue Me by Susan May Warren and a couple chapters a week of The Lord of the Flies with The Boy and Paddington at night with Little Miss.

What I’ve Been Watching

We had been continuing to watch Doc Martin together as a family until we hit an episode with an unexpected sex scene and traumatized my 14-year old son before we could get it turned off. Honestly, it traumatized all of us because of who it involved but that’s all I’m going to say about that. We will cautiously watch future episodes with my husband and I probably screening them from now on before our son watches them with us.

This last week I also started McLeod’s Daughters which I think is an Australian show, but then they also said something about living in New Zealand so I am confused where it takes place. I don’t know if I will stick with it or not but it is a nice distraction from all the weirdness of the world right now.

For Family Movie Night tonight we plan to watch The Goes Wrong Show’s Peter Pan Goes Wrong on a trial of Broadway HD.

What’s Been Occurring

I made sure my Facebook account was wiped and deleted last week and moved over to MeWe.com but won’t be on there much. Social media is too distracting and I have a lot of writing I want to get done. I went to MeWe.com to connect with homeschooling moms and readers of Christian or clean fiction and I found them. I found less political strife and censorship of conservative beliefs there so far.

We’ve been stuck inside the house lately either due to weather or the battery in our van dying. The time at home has been filled with homeschooling, me working on the final draft of The Farmer’s Daughter (rewriting, proofing, etc.), reading, learning how to light fires in the woodstove and of course worrying about the state of the world . I printed part of The Farmer’s Daughter out last week and am now taking it page by page and making corrections and will then print it again and have my mom and husband read through it before I kick it up on Amazon in February.

Saturday we woke up to more wet, heavy snow on the trees and ground, covering the grass that had started to appear as our previous snow started to melt at the end of the week.

I haven’t been taking a lot of photos lately since we’ve been inside so much but I’ll share a few here at the end of the blog. We did try a little sledding at my parents last Sunday but Little Miss hadn’t brought her winter coat or gloves (I thought we had them with us) and doesn’t really like sledding anyhow. The Boy decided he liked the sledding and Zooma the Wonder Dog decided she did too because she could chase The Boy and bark at him all the way down the hill. He almost ran her over more than once and she also dragged him down the hill by grabbing on to his boots at one point when the sled stopped sliding. While my dad often sleds with the kids, I think he decided that day it was too cold so he decided to watch instead.

With all the cold weather, we’ve lit our woodstove almost every day to keep the house warm and also cut down on our heating oil bill. Heating oil is new for us since we had natural gas at our other house. The animals love the warmth of the stove and some nights we find them passed out in the floor near it like they’ve been drugged.

What I’ve Been Writing

Last week I didn’t share a lot of blog posts, partially because I am dealing with issues with my eyes watering every day but the allergy medicine I usually take making me dizzy, and partially because I was flat out depressed by the state of the world.

I did share a post about homeschooling one day and enjoyed all the encouraging responses from other homeschooling moms and others who don’t even homeschool. Having a supportive blogging community is one of the bright spots in the world today and for that I am thankful.

As I mentioned above, I’m also editing The Farmer’s Daughter and have started writing more on The Farmer’s Son, which will be the story of Molly’s brother Jason. I’m trying to decide if I want to go back in Jason’s story or pick up around Robert’s accident. I’m not sure yet so I will be working through that this week.

What I’m Listening To

My husband pointed out a new song by Zach Williams this week called Rise Up, where he joined with someone called CAIN (not sure if that is a band or a singer) and Elevation Worship also released a new album we’ve been enjoying. I also found a new video by Zach Williams on YouTube.

So that’s my week in review. What have you been reading, watching, listening to, writing or doing? Let me know in the comments.

Educationally Speaking: Homeschooling updates or why I have more gray hair now

Based on the title you might think my children are causing me stress during our homeschooling journey, but they are not.

I’m causing my own stress by worrying I’m not teaching them correctly and comparing our journey to the journey of other other students, homeschooling and otherwise.

Or at least this is what I had been doing for part of our school year but in the last month or so, something clicked and I realized my children are following their own educational path and that’s not only okay, but a good thing.

In addition, the students who are attending public school around us right now aren’t even receiving a consistent education with students being pulled in and out of the classroom and tossed onto virtual learning on a whim. I can’t even imagine how hard it is for public school students right now to figure out whether they are coming or going in their subjects.

I think some parents who do not homeschool their children, see homeschooling parents as being foolish, unqualified, and unable to provide their children an actual education. In some cases, this may be true, but in the majority of cases, a parent truly can provide a very well rounded, high quaility education for their children at home. One reason they can do this is because of the plethora of homeschooling and educational resources available to parents, students, and teachers in book form and online.

Another reason they can do this is because of all the support available within the homeschooling community. Homeschooling parents love to see other homeschooling parents succeed, no matter why a parent has decided to homeschool.

One thing I have had to overcome with the idea of schooling at home is my preconceived notion that children have to be sitting at a desk with school work for six hours at time to be properly educated . This really isn’t realistic and isn’t even how children are taught in public schools. In public schools there are breaks for recess and lunch and extracurricular activities, so a child isn’t strapped to a desk for such long periods, but somehow new homeschooling parents seem to think our children should be.

One of the benefits of homeschooling is that it isn’t traditional schooling, which means it doesn’t have to operate like traditional school.

I find that Little Miss (6) does much better with short spurts of learning and breaks in between for art, creating or playing. Since we are homeschooling, we have that luxury and flexibility to allow that for her.

She’s also learning a lot more with this style of education than I first realized.

During the beginning part of the school year, I really felt like I was failing her because she is behind on her reading, or at least I feel she is behind. On one particulary frustrating day I wanted to cry I was so frustrated. I gave up on reading for a bit. Instead, I handed her a paper about sea animals and said she could color the animals. The paper suggested the child look at how plants and animals rely on each other, but also how some animals rely on another animal to survive.

I explained this to her and she said, “Oh, you mean like this Oxpecker bird and the crocodile.”

I looked at her with wide eyes and waited to see what else she would say.

Without prompting she said, “So, the Oxpecker bird helps the crocodile because it cleans its teeth and the crocodile helps the Oxpecker because it gets fed. Symbiotic.”

“What’s symbiotic?”

“Their relationship. It’s symbiotic.”

Symbiotic? Whoa. Where had that word come from?

“Where did you hear that word?”

“Wild Kratts,” she announced.

If you don’t know, Wild Kratts is an animated show on PBS about wild animals. It is a shoot off of other shows with the Kratt brothers (Zomoomafoob, etc. ). The brothers travel the world (or at least pretend to) and encounter different animals and teach their young viewers about the animals. Wild Kratts presents them as animated characters who have joined with other characters to rescue various wildlife.

It wasn’t only that she had learned the word that startled me, but that she had retained the information, was able to repeat it clearly, and also remembered the rather large word to describe the relationship.

She moved on as she pointed to a fish on the page and slid her pencil across the paper to indicate it was related to the shark on the page.

“So this is a Remora fish,” she announced, pointing to the picture of the fish, which was not labeled. “Remoras hang on to the shark and when the shark kills something there will be little bits of food for the Remora to eat. It swims underneath this shark because it gets the pieces of food that drop from whatever the shark is eating. They have a symbiotic relationship. Their relationship is kind of different from the others. I mean, Remora is a fish and the shark is eating fish so it’s a little weird for him, but it still gives him a meal and it’s still a symbiotic relationship. It’s good for the environment. It’s how everyone survives.”

I just sat and stared at her and wanted to cry, this time from joy. Thirty minutes earlier I had been in tears because she was writing her “c” backward and blanked on identifying “s”, but here she was now defining symbiotic for me. And when she couldn’t figure out I wanted her to combine the sounds of letters together to create words? I was like “Oh my gosh. She probably has a learning disability.”

Mind you, this was the first week we were really focusing on blending sounds so why my mind went to her having a learning disability, I have no idea, other than I knew I’d have to research how to teach her differently if she did have a learning delay. I wanted to nip it in the bud early so she doesn’t struggle later.

I should have realized she is learning a lot more than I thought by how she speaks about activities or crafts, such as when she was making slime and was explaining to me, “You mix it until, well, you know, you get the right consistency.”

She couldn’t explain what consistency was with an official definition, but she knew that her slime had to be either thicker or thinner and knew that was somehow related to the word consistency.

My son was similar at her age. Reading letters wasn’t really his thing but his comprehension and verbal skills were way beyond his age. It’s the same now, which is why at 14 I have him reading books he probably wouldn’t be reading until 10th grade, at least at the public schools in our area.

Right now we are reading Lord of the Flies, which I think I read in 10th grade, but maybe 9th. I can’t remember.

In the first part of our school year we read Silas Marner by George Elliott, which isn’t really a book I hear about a lot of 14-year old boys reading.

We will read To Kill A Mockingbird in the last half of our school year.

In addition to reading and comprehension, I will be starting a new math program through The Good and the Beautiful with my daughter once it arrives in the mail. The program incoporates storytelling in teaching math and since Little Miss loves storytelling (making them up, reading and watching them) I think she will love this curriculum. I bought it on sale last week because they are going to be phasing it out for a new curriculum sometime this year.

We have also started a science program that I can use for both of the children. It offers an extension for my son to answer questions from for additional information from each lesson. It is also through The Good and the Beautiful.

For my son’s history, we continue to use Notgrass’s From Adam to Us and I continue to supplement with various videos, books, web sites, or activities. We also use resources they provide through their history site.

Two weeks ago I started adding open-book quizes to his History lessons by developing the questions and answers myself. I allow him to use his books to find the answers as I feel it will help to solidify the information for him. It means I have to sit and read every section I assign him and take about 30 to 45 minutes to develop the quiz, but I like the idea of getting even more out of the reading than he can simply by reading the section.

I am trying to add more to his schedule, but I am also trying to not stress if he either misses an assignment or we both forget to complete one. I have learned that homeschooling is a journey in education and the more relaxed we are about it, the better the kids and even I learn, because through homeschooling I am also learning more about the subjects they are studying.

I either forgot a lot of what I was taught in middle and high school or my school did a horrible job at teaching history especially.

I would like to add a government course to my son’s classes in the spring, but we will see if that happens or if we push that off until the fall. With all that is going on in the world I think it would be a good idea for him to know how our government is supposed to work instead of how it is working right now, which isn’t great.

I’m finding one of the benefits of homeschooling is being able to take the time to show my children what actual adults should act like and that bullying, while glorified now by Hollywood and all of the media, is not what we should be doing. In some ways I am sheltering them from this by keeping them in a home education environment versus a public one but in other ways I am exposing them to the cruelty of the world in a slower, less overwhelming and panic inducing fashion.

There are a lot more the kids are learning this year that I haven’t mentioned in this post, but I plan write about that in some separate posts in the next month or so.

Sunday Bookends: Cabin Fever, Lord of the Flies, and hooked on Doc Martin

This is my weekly post where I share what I am reading, watching, writing and occasionally what I am listening to.

Ice on our steep driveway kept the kids and I in the house all week until I braved backing the van down it on Friday to alleviate Little Miss’s severe cabin fever (and mine actually). Backing out wasn’t the issue in the end; getting back up was.

We didn’t go far, just down the street to a local restaurant that is also a store that offers a variety of gifts, including toys and board games. After our lunch I headed up the driveway with complete confidence that van was going up and into our garage. I’m a country girl, even if I did live in town for 18 years, and my parents have a very steep drive, I know how to pull a van up a steep incline. Unfortunately, ice and snow on part of the driveway sent the wheels spinning in place and it took parking the van at the bottom, spreading stone on the ice and breaking some of it up for me to finally pull the van in. I also had to pull it further over to avoid hitting snow along the edge.

Aren’t you so glad I explained that boring story to you?

Well, that’s just how our week was, fairly boring, even as we started school again.

What I’m Reading

This week I will be reading Maggie by Charles Martin, Lord of the Flies with The Boy for school, and hopefully starting And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie because my husband wants to watch a mini-series of it on Acorn this week.

I haven’t read Lord of the Flies since tenth or eleventh grade so I don’t remember a lot of it. I do, however, remember it’s not the happiest book. Somehow reading a book about a group of young boys who go all crazy on an island while trying to figure out how to live without adults seem to fit in with the news of this week. I think a lot of us have realized we are out here in this country being told what to do by a bunch of children arguing over who gets to hold the conch shell.

Little Miss and I were totally thrilled this week when we discovered we have not read all of the Paddington books yet. She didn’t want to go to bed one night until I told her I had downloaded a new one into the Kindle that we could read before bedtime. She didn’t make it very far into the book before she fell asleep so we will read some more each night this week. The only nights we don’t read is when we get to bed too late. On those nights we listen to Frank Sinatra’s In The Wee Small Hours, which we have listened to since she was probably a few months old.

What I’m Watching

The husband and I are watching Doc Martin in the evenings and The Boy has discovered even he likes it. He now scolds us if we watch it without him. We aren’t used to him liking the shows we watch and for a long stretch he spent his evenings upstairs in his room, online with his friends (most of which he met online through a couple of “in real life” friends), watching memes, or, occasionally, reading a book.

I swear I spend most of my time watching Doc Martin yelling at him to stop being such an odd duck and get some therapy for his Aspergers. I hope that comment isn’t read as a negative comment toward people on the spectrum, but just to say Doc has issues and he could use some guidance to help him communicate with people.

I think my family is tired of me saying things like, “well, just tell her you didn’t stand her up, you had to meet a patient! How hard is that?!” Or “just tell her ‘thank you,’ Martin!! Argh!” I know all Martin’s rudeness and anti-social behavior is part of who he is but it’s fun to tell him off once in a while. I know I yell at him because I love him. (Don’t tell me he’s not a real person. I know he is! Right here — in my mind!)

I’m also trying to finish Beecham House before our subscription to PBS Masterpiece runs out at the end of the month. We switched Masterpiece for Acorn TV, which has a lot more British shows we like. We also have Britbox.

Yes, we like a lot of British television. It is all that British blood in us, I suppose. I have a lot of British ancestry in my family’s background (some Scottish) and my husband’s family was both British and German. Interesting tidbit about my husband’s family is that he is somehow related to Eric Idle from Monty Python fame but so far we haven’t been able to figure out how. The connection is family lore, I guess you would say. My husband’s grandmother was an Idle, but he never met her or his grandfather.

What I’m Writing

I’m currently editing The Farmer’s Daughter and writing some on The Farmer’s Son and also adding sections to other books in the series as they come to me. I really, really, really can’t wait to write The Librarian. I have so many ideas for Ginny and she’s been tapping me on the shoulder all week, asking me when I’ll tell her story. I told her to shush, I still have to finish this part of Molly’s story, wrap up Jason’s drama, and then I’ll get to her.

So that’s me this week. How about you? What are you reading, watching or writing and what have you been up to? Let me know in the comments.

Freedom

I am not afraid of sharing my views of the world or politics, but I like to keep my blog fairly light for me and my readers (if you want politics go to any other site and you can find it there. It won’t be a normal thing here.) I really wanted to share this, though, because there is a lot of scary things happening that are a strike on our freedoms in this country. At least on our freedom of speech (and no, this isn’t me being upset about Trump, because for God sake he needed to hush, but things that have stemmed from that. It’s a pretty slippery slope downhill at this point and other conservative voices, even those who don’t agree with him, are being locked out of discussions, which seems to be the norm anymore.).

Freedoms for ALL of us will eventually be threatened but for right now they are affecting a certain group mainly. My idea is if you don’t like what a person says then don’t read it or listen to it or watch it.

The fact that people I know who once cried out for free speech are now crying out for speech to be silenced has been a hard thing for me to wrap my mind around. I still have not processed all of that so I’m focusing on mainly sharing fiction and “nothing ” posts. Except for this one. Watch it before Youtube censors it for too much free thought.

Fiction Friday: He Leadeth Me Excerpt

This is a story I’ve shared a bit of here before and that I work on off and on. I haven’t worked on it in a while but thought I’d share part of it today as a distraction from so many bad things going on. It is something that will need a lot of work on, so bear with me, friends. This is an excerpt from in the middle of it.


He’d asked her if she would take a walk with him after dinner and she’d been nervous, but she’d agreed. They walked for half an hour, chatting about the dinner they’d had, the weather in India, the weather in their perspective countries, the work they were each doing in India and then suddenly he stopped, turned toward her, and held his hand out.

“Have you had the chance to dance in the moonlight in India yet?”

His uniform had been replaced with khakis and a plain white button up shirt like those commonly worn by the Indian men. His dirty blond hair was combed over to one side and though she couldn’t see his eyes clearly in the moonlight, she knew they were blue because she’d caught herself staring at them before when they were talking.

She looked nervously at her feet, unsure how to react to this pivot in their conversation. “I can’t say I have.”

“Well, come on,” he said with one corner of his mouth turned up. “Let’s be brave and see what happens.”

“There’s no music.”

“I can hum a tune or two.”

His hand was warm, the palms rough from days of working hard to build hangers for the Indian Air Force planes. He gently pulled her closer and placed his other hand lightly against her waist but pulled it back again.

“My apologies. Is it ok if my hand rests there?”

She immediately felt embarrassed and looked down at her feet.

“Um… yes? I guess so.”

She was ashamed to admit she had no idea how to dance and had never had a man ask to dance with her.

His hand barely touched her as he began to sway and gently guide her movements.

“Over in Killarney

Many years ago,

Me Mother sang a song to me

In tones so sweet and low.

Just a simple little ditty,

In her good old Irish way,

And l’d give the world if she could sing

That song to me this day.

“Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li,

Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, hush now, don’t you cry!

Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li,

Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, that’s an Irish lullaby.”

She couldn’t look up as he sang.

Her heart was pounding and her head felt light.

What would her father think if he knew she’d come to India to care for orphans and tell others about the love of God but now she was dancing in the moonlight with an Irish airmen? And if Pastor James saw them? What might be said? Thoughts raced fast through her mind but she couldn’t seem to pull away, reveling in the feel of her hand in his and the smell of his cologne. She’d met him only a couple weeks ago before at the market, looking for vegetables and lamb for the mission and orphanage kitchen, and now here she was letting him lead her in a dance in the heat of the Indian summer.

He stopped singing, leaned back so he could look into her face and she looked up to see his blue eyes staring into hers.

“Tell me Emily Grant, the American girl with the very Scottish name, have you ever thought that God has made you for something more?”

The muscle in his jaw jumped a little as he started talking about what he expected for his future, not waiting for her answer.

“I mean, I grew up with my family, on a farm, thinking ‘There must be more to life than this.’ My brother loved farming, the shoveling of manure, and rounding up cows, but I just knew there was something more for me and I knew when I saw those children at the mission, my something more was here in India or at least in helping others.”

“Does it sound arrogant to say I believe God has a plan for me? A plan to show others His love not by what I say but by what I do? Is that what brought you here to India with your mission group? Did you think God would do something grand? That life could be something more and beautiful; the more you showed love and felt it back?”

Emily didn’t know what to say.

She felt her face growing warm.

She knew exactly what Henry meant but she’d never known how to explain it. Her parents couldn’t understand why she had signed her name to the list to travel to India with the missionary who had been visiting their small rural church in Pennsylvania. They were worried for her safety, terrified she’d be killed by people her father called “Devil Worshippers” and “dark skinned heathens.” Emily had read the Bible. She believed God had created all humans and if that was true, then he had also created the Indian people and He loved them as much as he loved a white-skinned American farmer’s daughter.

“It doesn’t sound arrogant,” she said. “It sounds true and real and wonderful. I believe God has a plan for me, but I truly don’t understand it yet. All I knew was something inside me said I needed to follow Pastor James and Margaret here.”

Henry was still looking at her, eyes intensely focused on hers.

When his eyes glanced to her mouth as she spoke she tensed, suddenly self-conscious.

“Maybe God meant us to be here at the same time. For us to experience all this beauty together, ” he said, his voice slipping into a whisper.

He was too close.

Her heart was pounding too fast.

And when his lips touched hers it was too soon.

They’d only known each other two weeks and she hadn’t come to India to fall in love. She’d come to learn more about God’s will for her life.

She pulled away from him quickly and looked quickly at the ground.

“I’m past curfew at the mission. They’ll be concerned about me.”

She walked into the darkness before he could speak.

“Let me at least walk you home,” his voice followed her. “It’s dark and dangerous here at night.”

She paused and nodded an acceptance of his offer.

He fell in step beside her, silent as they walked. When they reached the gate of the mission she placed her hand on the gate and he reached out and wrapped his fingers around her hand.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to overstep. I’ve never been so bold before. Will ya’ forgive me, Emily? I’ve enjoyed our time together. I hope you won’t disapprove of seeing me again.”

“It’s okay. I’m just – it’s – I’m here to be a servant to the mission. I shouldn’t get distracted. I don’t know – I just – wasn’t ready.”

She felt foolish as she spoke.

Wasn’t ready for what? To be loved? To let this young airman who spoke of wanting to serve God love her?

“I have to get to bed. We have open clinic in the morning for the village women. Thank you for the dance Henry.”

She pulled her hand from his and rushed through the gate, closed it and walked down the path toward the mission.

In her room, with the door closed behind her, she touched her fingertips to her lips, closed her eyes and remembered the warmth of his mouth on hers. She breathed deep, shook her head to clear her mind of the memory, and reached for her Bible to take her mind off the distraction she felt God didn’t want her to have.

Photos of the Week And When you Feel Like You’re The Lorax

Snow has been the name of the game for the last two weeks in our neck of the woods.

First, we were hit with 22 to 24 inches a few days before Christmas.

Then it rained for 40 days and 40 nights — wait, no – it only rained for a full day and night on Christmas Eve. It just felt like 40 days. We had threats of flash floods, but in the end there was no significant flooding.

On Christmas morning we had a dusting of snow so we got our white Christmas and that night we had a flash freeze with some more snow.

Then we had an ice storm on New Year’s Day. The ice encased the trees and roads and everything in its path but I didn’t take any photos of it because I didn’t want to fall on my rear trying to get the photos.

Two days after the ice storm, we had a wet, heavy snowfall that was only supposed to bring us about four inches but ended up dumping up to 14 inches on part of our area, but not at our house. We got hit with about six inches that piled mainly on our trees and electric lines.

The snow that came on Sunday was wet and heavy and clung to the lines and trees. We were certain the lights would go out and they flickered and went off for less than 30 seconds in spurts a couple of times, but never went all the way out.

When it started the snow flakes that fell were as big as fifty cent pieces and my cat tried to catch them through the window, which was pretty funny to watch.


After we were originally told 2-4 inches, the storm stalled over our neighboring county, where my parents live. The next county’s border is literally a mile from our house, but somehow we ended up with less, which was the same with the bigger storm the week of Christmas. My parents received about eight inches when all was said and done and we probably had about six.

Apparently I have become The Lorax this winter.

During the heavier snow this past weekend and the Christmas week storm I became worried about the trees around our house because the snow was so heavy on their limbs.

On the week of Christmas the lower limbs of the pine tree that is on our neighbor’s property but is right by our driveway looked like they were about to break off.

“Should I go out there and clean that snow off?” I asked no one in particular.

And no one in particular answered me either.

“I think that snow is breaking the lower limbs.”

“Hey, Mom, look at this meme,” my son said.

So Sunday night before bed I saw ten inches of heavy snow on my little cherry tree (I actually don’t know what it is), bending it’s branches over and I said “Oh my gosh! Should I go out there and clean that off? It’s going to break it’s little branches.”

“Mom,” my son said. “It’s a tree. It’ll be fine.”

So while I felt the need to rescue the trees I didn’t (it was cold and wet, okay?) and the morning after the storm I saw one of the branches on the cherry tree had broke. I felt like I had failed my little tree. The Lorax – I mean — I, was sad, but I think the tree will make it. I think the lower limbs of the pine tree might make it as well, luckily.

On Monday morning the snow fell off the tree limbs in clumps that dissipated into a fine mist on the way down and some of that mist fell down on me when I was taking photos.

I made myself get up earlier than I might would have to try to capture photographs of the snow still on the limbs and lines, but a lot of it had fallen off already.

Luckily my husband grabbed a few photos on the way to work.

I was still able to grab a few shots before all the snow fell off.

Zooma The Wonder Dog enjoyed running along behind me as I took photos. She loves the snow and sleeps hard after a day of playing in it.

The kids also enjoyed building a snowman and a snow fort with the wet snow since the snow from two weeks ago was more like fluff.

I honestly didn’t take very many photos at all on Christmas Day, instead just enjoying the moments of our first Christmas in our new house and with my parents.

By the way, the photo below is the real life photo of the above capture of my dad reading a Christmas story about the making of ‘Silent Night’ to Little Miss. The first photo is the cute, sweet, “blog worthy” photo. The one below is the real photo of how my daughter looked much of the time during the reading because she had been too excited to sleep the night before and was super tired Christmas morning.

Favorite Books Read in 2020

I thought about sharing a list of the books I read this year, but I share an Amazon and Goodreads account with my mom (it makes it easier for me to add books to her Kindle for her) and she read a lot more books than me so sifting through what she read and what I read was a little overwhelming. My Kindle list also includes books from my husband’s account and he’s also read a lot more books than I have this year (as he always does.)

I’ve been lesson planning for when school starts for the kids next week so I didn’t have time to sit and figure out what I read, what she read, and what he read. I do know she read around 200 this year (some of them short, some of them awful Kindle books, poor lady) on her Kindle and he read 80 on his Kindle. They both also read a few hard copies of books.

Since I didn’t want to try to make a list of all the books I read, which would have been short (maybe 20), I thought I’d list some of my favorites of what I read this year instead.

My favorite reads this year were:

A Long Time Comin’ by Robin W. Pearson

Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrells

Falling Home by Karen White

About Your Father And Other Celebrities I Have Known by Peggy Rowe (the only non-fiction book I read all the way through.)

A Longmire Mystery: The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish by Bethany Turner.

The Dead Don’t Dance by Charles Martin


Honorable Mentions:

Borders of the Heart Chris Fabry

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

Silas Marner by George Elliot

The Knife Slipped by Earl Stanley Gardner

A Cord of Three Strands by Christy Distler

I know a lot of readers announce a reading goal for the new year, but I find goals like that distract me from simply enjoying reading. I guess I could set my goal at 20 and see what happens, but . . . that just sounds so organized, so I don’t think I’ll really set that as my goal. Pretend I did, though, so I fit in with all the book bloggers of the world.

So how about you? What were some of your favorite reads of 2020? Let me know in the comments.