Enjoying Every Sandwich

By Warren Howeler

Originally Published in The Rocket-Courier, Wyalusing, Pa.

About 20 years ago, I was flipping through channels due to a bout of insomnia when I came across Late Night with David Letterman, whose guest that night was the late Warren Zevon.

At the time, I had a vague knowledge of Zevon’s work, but I didn’t feel like flipping anymore and decided to leave it on CBS in the hopes that I would eventually fall asleep.

A little background on Zevon’s visit that night—he had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer and was performing one last time on his favorite late-night show.

I learned about those facts as I watched his interview with Letterman, who then asked him if there was anything he would like to say to people.

“Enjoy every sandwich” was Zevon’s response.

It is such a simple phrase, but it is something that I have just recently been taking to heart.

As I hit my mid-40s, I hate to admit it but I’m starting to get a little more conscious of my own mortality.

And, if we’re being honest, it terrifies me.

There are nights that I have trouble getting to sleep because I’m scared that I’m not going to wake up.

My mind sometimes is flooded with questions like how is my family going to be taken care of if I do pass away? Did I actually make a difference in my children’s lives? Did I remember to close the refrigerator door?

Sorry. Felt that I needed to inject a little levity before I thoroughly depressed the readership.

Back to the point, I am worried that I haven’t done anything with my life, but then, well, let’s bring back Mr. Zevon for a minute.

I only own one Warren Zevon album. It is the one that he recorded just before he passed. It is called The Wind.

The album itself is brilliant. His cover of Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door is beautiful and his duet with Bruce Springsteen—Disorder in the House—is a great rock song.

But it’s the last song on the album that has stuck with me the longest.

It is entitled Keep Me in Your Heart.

Essentially, the song is Zevon’s farewell to the world and encourages those he left behind to live their life to the fullest.

It is that last thought that I’ve been trying to take more to heart these days.

We should all be doing that. As I read one day when I was young, “you only get one chance at life—grab for all the gusto you can.”

Sadly, when I was younger, I didn’t appreciate that sentiment much.

I was always scared about trying something new. I would always come up with an excuse to not enjoy a particular aspect of life.

But over the last couple of years, I’ve wanted to expand my horizons—and I have wanted to become a better person not only for myself but for my family.

Two years ago, I went into the water and back up again at church. I want to think that I did change a little when I came out, but time will tell.

I’m trying to have more experiences with my family and make some new memories as we go forward.

I even got on the stage this last summer, which was a blast. I may do that again. We’ll see.

And there’s still a lot that I want to accomplish going forward.

I’m not looking at my age as the halfway point of my life.

I’m looking at it as the beginning of something new.

We only have one life to live. 

Let’s have some fun with it.

Enjoy every sandwich.

Little Miss Reading Corner Update

The last time I shared what Little Miss and I were reading, or going to read, I shared a couple of books we hadn’t read yet so today I thought I’d let you know what we thought of the books.

First up was Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle

Little Miss loved this book so much that we had to read it three times in a row. We may even read it a couple of more times before we take it back to the library later this week.

She also loved Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson. We read this one three times, with her doing the voices of the animals and me reading the narration a couple of the times. This is a truly adorable book, and we might even buy a copy to add to our collection.

Neither of us really liked the book Eat Like A Bear by April Pulley Sayre (incidentally it was interesting to see the last name Sayre, as that is the name of the town I first lived in when I married The Husband). This was a conservation book and it was just … well, odd. We didn’t enjoy it and only read it once and then put it back in the bag to go back to the library.

I picked Sachiko Means Happiness by Kimiko Sakai up at a book sale and I decided to put that one aside because it deals with Alzheimer’s in a grandparent and I really didn’t like the way it was written.

We did not get a chance to start Match Wits with Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of Black Peter and The Gloria Scott by Murray Shaw but I may try to read that this week. I renewed it from the library, so we have it for another couple of weeks.

I also renewed Spirit of the West by Jahnna N. Malcom, which is a chapter book, because we are using it for history and are learning a lot about the Nez Perce tribe, which I didn’t even know anything about before reading this book. I have used it as a jumping-off point to videos about the Nez Perce so we can learn even more about them and their life in Washington and Oregon before they were driven off their land by white settlers. This tribe was well known for their work with the Appaloosa horse breed, which the white settlers eventually decided they wanted to take from them, sadly.

We have not got to Little Town in the Ozarks by Roger Lea MacBride and I don’t know if we will or not because we have been reading Spirit of the West and the Imagination Station books and Little Miss has been listening to Fortunately the Milk each night before bed.

I have placed four books on hold at the library and have just been told they are available for us to pick up.

Snowmen at Night by Caralyn (sic) Buehner

Monarch Butterflies by Ann Hobbie

The Squirrels Who Squabbled by Rachel Bright

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig


What The Dinosaurs Did Last Night by Refe Tuma

I will keep you updated on what we think about these latest books as well.

What have your littles or grand-littles been reading lately? Anything good?!

Sunday Bookends: Dentists, snow, comedies, and other stuff

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, and what I’ve been writing, and some weeks I share what I am listening to.

What I/We’ve Been Reading

I am finishing up a book by Danielle Grandinetti this week. It’s called Confessions To A Stranger and it will be out on Tuesday. I will have a review up for it on Thursday on my Instagram and probably here. It’s quite good.

I am also still reading The Burning Issue of The Day by T.E. Kinsey and The Fellowship of the Ring, but I didn’t get any of The Fellowship of the Ring read last week. I hope to get more done this week as it would be nice if The Boy and I finished it by the end of the school year at this point. Sigh.

This week I’d love to finish the books I’ve started and then go back to Anne’s House of Dreams and start another Walt Longmire book.

I did have a family friend as me how I read more than one book at once and in case you’ve ever wondered – I switch between books and sometimes I’ll end up reading one more than the other ones, which is why you’ll read on here that I am STILL reading certain books. Ha! There are also times I am reading a chapter here and there of a book, especially the L.M. Montgomery books which are more like little stories in each chapter rather than a book that flows from plot point to plot point.

Little Miss and I are reading Emily’s Imagination by Beverly Cleary again at night and also listened to Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman (and narrated by him) several times this week, including on the way home from her procedure.

During the day for school, we are reading Spirit of the West.

The Husband is reading Upgrade by Blake Crouch

What’s Been Occurring

Friday and yesterday we received some more snow. Earlier in the week we were supposed to receive up to seven inches of snow in a surprise storm but we only ended up with two. Now, watch — tomorrow night we are supposed to get two to four but we will probably get much more because the area 30 miles above us in Upstate New York is supposed to get up to a foot of snow. If the storm slides down just a bit, we could get that amount too. We will just have to wait and see. You’ll have to read yesterday’s post if you want to know my children’s theory on why we are getting nailed by snow.

Also in yesterday’s post, I wrote about Little Miss’s dental procedure. That was our big ordeal of last week. It happened Friday but cast a cloud over our entire week in some ways. It went well, for the most part, but the aftermath of her not being able to eat well has not been fun. I did make her some potato soup with lots of milk and some cheese last night and that was a big hit. I think that’s something I’ll be making for myself from now on too.

I also made sweet potato soup the same way this morning.

I don’t know if I mentioned it yesterday or not, but she has developed a lisp after this and I’m upset by it. No, I don’t love her any less and yes, I am very ecstatic that she is still my same fun-loving kid (though a little more subdued and down with being unable to chew right now), but I was never told this could happen. In fact, I wasn’t told a lot of what would be happening and the fallout.

See that tiny speck of dust on the windowsill over there? (Oops…shouldn’t have mentioned it. The Husband has jumped up to take care of it). That tiny speck of dust is how much I trust dentists at this point in my life. To me they are scammers, liars, cheats, and backstabbing money-grubbing creeps. I’m pretty much over them and how they take advantage of people.

I feel like all some of them are about is money, money, and more money and how to cheat systems so they can get bigger payouts. That’s how I feel about them right now and it’s going to take a lot to change my mind. Sorry for any of you who have family members as dentists. I’m sure they are the exception to my personal rule and feelings about their profession.

People say they don’t know why dentists have the highest rates of suicide. I say it’s because they scam people and they know it and the guilt finally catches up to them.

Pray for me and my disgust with the profession and the people in it! It’s a real hang up for me. I’m serious. Pray for me about it. I know they aren’t all horrible people but we’ve had some really bad experiences of late and it’s left a bad taste in my mouth – in more ways than one.

What We Watched/Are Watching

This week I watched more Miss Scarlet & The Duke. I try to wait and watch certain shows with my husband, but he had a lot going on this week, so I did go ahead a bit with the show and now I’m dying to watch the next episode. I can’t promise I’ll wait for The Husband on this one. We are in season one.

Little Miss and I watched a lot of Bluey this week. A lot. A lot. A ….. loooot.

Hopefully we will take a break this week as I practically have the episodes of all two and a half seasons memorized.

Last night we watched a lot of Studio C, which is a comedy group out of Brigham Young University. We watched the original cast because we haven’t really liked the show since they left.

Friday night we watched the new Puss and Boots movie which is currently free with a subscription to Peacock. It was actually quite good, but I could have done without the bleeping of characters who were obviously saying very nasty swear words, something “kids” cartoons have started to do to try to entertain the parents who are watching with their kids.  Before long they’ll simply be saying the words. Mark my words. It will happen.

What I’m Writing

I wrote some 5,000 words on Gladwynn Grant Gets Her Footing this past week to try to keep my mind off all the stuff in my life. It was a lot of fun and I hope to do the same this week. I am doing a challenge with a group of other writers and I think I set a goal of 20,000 words for the month. Or maybe it was 15,000. I need to look at the sheet again. All I know is I wrote 10,000 words on the book in two weeks so I think I might make my goal. I’d love to have the book out by the summer.

On the blog I shared:

What I’m Listening To

This week Little Miss and I were comforted by listening to Matthew West a lot. We really needed his music.

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.

Spring Into Love Giveaway!

This is not the type of post I usually share on the blog, but I wanted to tell you that I’m so excited to be part of a GIVEAWAY with 19 other authors!

Join all of us in our massive Spring into Love e-book giveaway!!

How to enter (March 11 to 13): follow this link: https://kingsumo.com/g/kuwvcy/spring-into-love-giveaway

There will be bonus entries for each follow on Instagram as well. See my Instagram (www.instagram.com/lisarhoweler) for the list of authors and their accounts.

✅Third Place Prize Winner will receive 1 e-book of their choosing from the list below.

✅Second Place Prize Winner will receive 2 e-books of their choosing from the list below.

✅Grand Prize Winner – (all the e-books below – yup that’s all 19 e-books) AND Gift Cards to The Flourished Mustard Seed ($35) (@theflourishedmustardseed )and Sweet Sequels ($55) (@sweetsequels)

The books you could win: In the Midst of the Storm by Latisha Sexton,

In the Night Season by Jennifer Q. Hunt,

Confessions to a Stranger by Danielle Grandinetti,

The One Who Got Away by Tara Grace Ericson,

Last Wish by Valerie Howard,

Some Through the Fire by Jennifer Q. Hunt,

A Battle Worth Fighting by Sarah Hanks,

The Farmer’s Daughter by Lisa R. Howeler,

The Uncertainty of Fire by Stephanie Daniels,

Halos by Amber Lambda,

A Summer in Shady Springs by Sarah Anne Crouch,

Shores of Mercy by Lisa Howeler,

The Prodigal Sons by Aubrey Taylor,

Until We All Run Free by Heather Wood,

The Secret of Drulea Cottage by Claire Kholer,

The Darkening Dragons by Sarah Everest,

For a Noble Purpose by Kelsey Gietl,

In the Midst of the Darkest Storm by Latisha Sexton,

Potential Threat by Tara Grace Erickson

Saturday Afternoon Chat: Dental procedures, branching out with different teas, and more snow

Today I am taking it easy while snow hangs out on the trees around our house. I am not sipping tea while I write this but later I plan to be sipping tea sent to me by Bettie G. of BettieGsRAseasons. The tea is cassia cinnamon from Vietnam and made by The Republic of Tea.

Yes, I am branching out from my regular peppermint tea. Shock. I know. I’m a creature of habit.

Right now, I am sipping just plain water because yesterday I did not drink enough and I can tell I am a bit dehydrated.

I’m not the only one taking it easy today. Little Miss had a dental procedure yesterday so she is also taking it easy while also still sort of being her crazy self.

As you recall, I was very nervous about the procedure and not happy it had to happen. Long story short, Little Miss had some damage to her baby teeth caused by soft enamel. There is a lot more to this story that involves dentists who misled me, dentists who pushed us off, dentists who tried to accuse us of being bad parents, problems caused by Covid lockdowns, dentists who wouldn’t take our insurance, dentists who walked out of the room while I was asking questions, and a lot more. It’s been a rough last several months.

I have a lot of anger at a lot of people, even myself for not making a bigger stink about it all when I started to saw the issues developing, but having Covid in 2021 and suffering for a while from that didn’t help the situation either.

Also long story short, the procedure was less than ten minutes long and Little Miss recovered quite quickly, but she and I both are very sad about her missing teeth. We are very thankful that her front teeth are her adult teeth and they are looking great, which hopefully means the soft enamel was only an issue for her baby teeth.

I expected Little Miss to be a lot more out of it after the teeth were removed because they used a small amount of sedation, but she was actually very alert. She was crying, of course, and shaking, but after a few minutes, she walked herself out of the office and to the van. She cried more on the way home, especially because there was gauze in her mouth and she was angry about the whole thing, sort of like me.

At one point The Husband said to go easy on her because she was out of it and didn’t know where she was.

We could understand her, despite the numb mouth and the gauze, when she said sharply, “I know where I am and I am not out of it. I am in the van.”

She slept for about 30 minutes on the way home and then she was up and bouncing around most of the day. She wasn’t able to eat normally but she did enjoy a few bowls of ice cream and a couple cups of pudding. We both also had a good cry over her lost teeth and the weird feeling without them and the discomfort she was having because of all this.

First, I comforted her and then told her that her dad and I did what we felt was right to make sure her adult teeth come in healthy and then I cried and she comforted me. It wasn’t a pity cry on either of our parts. We both really needed that time to mourn all we have been through for the past six, almost seven, months since our local dentist said they wouldn’t help us.

We cried again this morning, or rather, I did. I looked to see that things are healing and it just broke me to see all those holes in there. She was so sweet. She took my face in her hands and said, “Mom, this isn’t your fault, okay? This isn’t any of our fault. I just had soft enamel. It was for the best.”

Hopefully, she will continue to heal well.

With this behind us, I hope to be able to share more on the blog, finish writing and reading a couple of books, and catch up on blog posts from my favorite bloggers!

We had so much support and prayers from so many people leading up to this procedure. I truly think we both felt so calm walking in there because I told her how many people were praying for her. For those of you who prayed for us, contacted us and encouraged us in a variety of ways – thank you so much! I was simply overwhelmed with the kindness and I know she was very touched too.

We were happy that her gymnastics class was canceled today because of the weather, but we probably wouldn’t have gone anyhow so she could have more time to just take it easy.

Yes, as I predicted, we are getting more snow in March than we probably had in February and it’s only two weeks into March. That’s Pennsylvania for you. When everyone else is anticipating spring, we are still slugging through winter.

My children insist that I angered the weather god known as Phil the Groundhog because I call him a rat and refuse to recognize his weather-predicting authority. I don’t even remember what that fat rodent said this year. Was it six more weeks or winter would be over early? I’m pretty sure he always says six more weeks so whatever. I never listen to him. The Husband and I could have taken that little jerk out years ago when we visited Punxsutawney but I’m sure those guys in the top hats would have just dragged some other poor unsuspecting creature out of it’s hole in the middle of winter for that ridiculous spectacle they do every year.

Every time it’s snowed since I dared to “disrespect Phil’s authority” my son has turned to me and cried, “It’s because of you! Because you’re not a believer in the greatness of Phil! Now he has brought his winter wrath down upon us!”

So this weekend Phil is spitting some snow at us (though much less than forecasters keep saying we are getting) and I believe some more snow is coming Monday night.

Our area should see spring sometime around the end of May at this point.

Earlier in the week I kicked out about 5,000 words in my latest book to keep my mind off things. Other than that, I wasn’t able to think about much else other than the procedure so I accomplished very little. We did a little bit of schoolwork this week but I really took it slow. This next week I’ll be adding a lot more to our plate and hopefully Little Miss and I can avoid more math-related breakdowns. She knows how to do a lot of it so she feels bored but then when I show her something she doesn’t know she still says she is bored. I guess we are just not a math-loving family and I need to accept that.

I was sipping water when I started writing this post but now I am sipping hot cocoa sweetened with maple syrup. Little Miss poured four tablespoons of maple syrup in for me. I will be making my cinnamon tea next for writing this afternoon.

So how about you? What are you drinking on this fine day? And how was your week? I hope it was a little less active than ours was.

Faithfully Thinking: I can’t do it on my own

Things have been heavy lately in my life. Heavy. Heavy.

Deaths of those we love.

Threats to the safety of our children.

Impending surgeries for someone way too young.

Overwhelming medical diagnoses.

I can barely stand up under it all some days.

I have said more than once, “I can’t take any more.”

I’ve asked God to remove it all.

I’ve asked him to fix things.

I’ve asked for comfort when I realized some of what is happening was what happens when our earthly bodies fail us.

And I’ve said it more than once: “I can’t do this. God, please. I can’t do this.”

I can’t do it. I’m right.

I can’t do it. Not on my own.

Since I was very young my mom has spoken over me a verse that many Christians say without thinking about.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Laying in the dark of the wee hours of the morning one day I thought to myself, “I’ve been up a lot during this night, Lord. How am I going to do all that I need to do?”

I was drifting off as I thought this and the words, “I will sustain you” came into my mind.

I don’t know where that thought came from. I don’t use the word “sustain” on my own very often. Hearing it in my mind makes me truly feel that it came from a supernatural realm.

And the next day I was sustained. I was able to get through that day and many days since then after rough nights of sleep.

So often we want to do all we need to do in our life on our own. We act on our own strength.

We expect we can do it in our human strength, our human willpower. We can’t.

God made us to have a symbiotic relationship to him.

He created us to walk with him, every step of the way. Not two steps and do it on our own like a baby learning to walk.

He is with us every step of the way – all the way to the end of the race.

 He never intended for us to do it all on our own.

And we need to remember that we are never on our own or alone – that he will sustain us when we fill the most unsustainable.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:4

Sunday Bookends

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 started a new cozy mystery book in a familiar-to-me series last week. I’ve read four of The Lady Hardcastle Mysteries and last week I started the fifth book, The Burning Issue of The Day.

These books take place in the early 1900s in England and are a lot of fun because of the two main characters, Lady Emily Hardcastle and her lady-in-waiting, Florence or Flo.

The books are written from the perspective of Flo and have a huge helping of humor but also complex and intriguing mystery.

I’m switching between the Lady Hardcastle book and a book by Danielle Grandinetti called Confessions To A Stranger that comes out March 14.

And as if I didn’t have enough to read, I am also reading The Fellowship of the Ring with The Boy. I’m enjoying it very much and will most likely start reading it exclusively soon. I have listened to parts of the chapters on Audible. Once in a while I read a chapter from Anne’s House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery but I didn’t this week because I misplaced the book. Again. Ha!

At night, Little Miss and I are reading Imagination Station books. We finished a book about Vikings last week and this week we are reading one about Mongolians. These are short chapter books and Little Miss really enjoys reading them to me and then me reading them to her as she drifts off to sleep.

The Husband is reading  something but I’ll have to add this later as he has gone to lay down with a sore back.

What’s Been Occurring

I wrote a bit about what’s been occurring yesterday in my Saturday Afternoon Tea post. You can find that by clicking HERE.

 In that post, I mentioned Little Miss had oral surgery on Friday morning and that I’d love some prayers because she will be going under general anesthesia for the first time to remove several problem teeth. To say I am nervous about all of this is an understatement. My mind has swung back and forth between absolute, illogical terror to slightly more logical contemplation but for the most part, the pendulum has rested right on the terror line.

Little Miss and I spent yesterday afternoon watching Anne of Green Gables The Sequel with my mom and dad. Last night I spent two and a half hours working on my latest book during a writing sprint with a group of Christian mommy writers. It was a lot of fun, but it showed me I need a lot more direction for this book before I can start adding to the word count.

What We watched/are Watching

Last week The Husband and I watched the first episode of Beyond Paradise which is a spin-off of Death in Paradise. It features Detective Humphrey Goodman, who was a favorite DI on Death in Paradise that left a couple of years ago. It was okay, but I wasn’t bowled over by it. I think we will probably return to Grantchester and Foyle’s War this upcoming week, but we also need to return to Magpie Murders, a mini-series based on a book by Anthony Horowitz.

I started to watch a show called Kirstie’s Vintage Homes on Britbox. It is a British home renovation show where they use vintage items to bring new life to modern homes. I got interrupted but will probably watch more of that this week as I try to relax and keep my mind from spinning.

Little Miss and I also watched some Mary Berry because there are days we just need some Mary Berry.

What I’m Writing

As I mentioned above, I am working on Gladwynn Grant Gets Her Footing, which is the first book in the Gladwynn Grant Mysteries. I shared a little bit about the series on Friday in an update on my writing projects. You’ll notice Gladwynn has one “n” in Friday’s post and two here. That’s because I’ve been going back and forth on whether I wanted her name to be with two or one n and last night I decided it will be two because one of the ladies in the writer’s group said she liked the look of two “n’s”, and I agreed. I don’t know. What do you think? One n or two?

Anyhooo… I worked on that book most of this week and also worked a little bit on Cassie, the book I am writing as part of a multi-author project. That book doesn’t come out until August of 2024.

This week on the blog I shared:

What I’m Listening To

I’ve been listening to the new Matthew West album and really enjoying it. My husband also shared an artist named Marcus King with me.

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 and a Cup of Tea: Gymnastics and grumpy old farts

Good afternoon!

I hope you are having a wonderful Saturday afternoon, or evening, whenever you are reading this.

Here in Pennsylvania it is a cold Saturday afternoon and as I write this I am planning to spend it watching the third Anne of Green Gables movie with my mom, and maybe Dad too since he got caught up in the first one with us.

Before I go there, however, I will take Little Miss to her gymnastics class.

Speaking of gymnastics, she attended her first competition last weekend. It was a home competition and for her age it was mainly to get her some experience in that realm.

She earned a fourth and sixth place trophy and got a special award for her cute pajamas since this competition was called Pajama Rama. The participants were asked to wear their pajamas to it. Of course, they took them off to complete their activities.

The rest of the week was mainly homeschooling and then Kids Club on Wednesday. Kids Club is what they are calling it now instead of Awana. On the way there, I picked up a little boy whose grandmother helps with the club but who was on vacation. The little boy lives in his great-grandfather’s house and it brought up a lot of memories for me since my family knew his great-grandfather, Karl, well. His great-grandfather was good friends with my grandfather and my dad. He worked with my dad for many years.

My parents would go to their house to play cards often when I was a young kid and I would be taken along because there was often no one at home to watch me. I have no idea where my brother would have been at that time, but he was eight years older than me so I guess he was doing teenage stuff. Maybe track practice since he did run track.

My mom does not like playing cards but she would go anyhow for something different to do. I’d sit in their living room with their fake fireplace and 70s-style lava lamp and for a while a real-life fluffy, sleeping, Siamese. Later that cat was replaced with a fake one after it died. That fake one was a little creepy, to say the least. No, I don’t believe they had the Siamese stuffed.

The entire house smelled like Karl’s pipe, which was a sweet and pleasant aroma. I’m glad he didn’t smoke cigars. The house was immaculate, and I was always worried I’d mess something up or spill the soda Karl’s wife, Blanche, would give me. Soda and chips were a treat for me because even though we were a Pepsi family through and through since my mom’s dad worked for them for 30 years or more, we didn’t have soda all the time at my house.

Blanche would set the glass of soda on a clear glass coaster so it didn’t stain their coffee table.

Sometimes I would watch a game show on TV while they played cards – usually wheel of fortune.

When I dropped the little boy off, Karl’s grandson and I chatted about my memories of the house. He laughed and said he understood about the pipe smell because he had those pipes and that tobacco in a canister in the enclosed front porch and in the summer the heat would heat the tobacco and make the whole porch smell like it.

To this day, I can’t smell pipe smoke or tobacco without thinking of Karl. My husband is the same with his grandfather, who also smoked a pipe for many years.

In many ways, Karl was like a grandfather to me since I had lost mine when I was only two and my other one when I was 9.  Karl could be grumpy at times and most people just let him go but one day when I was a teenager, I was over there and he was super grumpy about something. I don’t remember what had set him off but I let him know that whatever it was, it wasn’t that big of a deal. He was simply being a “grumpy old fart,” I told him.

As the words flew out of my mouth, I couldn’t believe I’d said it. It wasn’t that Karl was a mean man, but people simply didn’t talk back to him very often. I stood motionless for a few seconds, afraid that he was going to blow up on me but instead he simply looked shocked for a few seconds and then burst into laughter, that pipe propped in the corner of his mouth.

“Well, you’re a sassy thing today, aren’t you?” he said.

After that, we joked hard with each other and it became the norm.

Losing him, and then years later his wife, was hard and I find myself often unable to look at his house where his grandson now lives without tearing up. The tears are happy tears, though, I tell Little Miss. They are tears filled with a lot of good memories I am glad to have.

This week should be fairly low key until the end of the week. On Friday, Little Miss is scheduled for oral surgery to remove several problematic teeth. She will be having it done under general anesthesia and to say I am nervous would be an understatement. I may have to be medicated that day (I’m only half-joking here) so please, if you wouldn’t mind, pray for that procedure and my already frayed nerves.

Does your tea need a warm up? I know mine does.

I’m going to be looking for some new teas here shortly. I was just telling a friend how I don’t like it when herbal teas have a bunch of other ingredients in them. I don’t want rose hips and lemongrass and some other herb. The only reason for that is that I had a reaction to a tea one time and it took me a while to figure out that might be the cause of my itching. In the end, I wasn’t sure which herb might have caused the issue. We’d also had a laundry detergent change that I was unaware of (since The Husband does a lot of our laundry and had used something new) around the same time, so it may have been that causing the itching all along.

Some teas with all those extra things in it (dandelion leaves, etc.) make my throat feel odd too. Plus, I can’t have caffeinated tea since I seem to be allergic to caffeine. Yes, I know, it’s completely bizarre.

So, for now I stick to the peppermint tea, but I’m really going to try to be brave and try something new soon.

Leave me a list of your favorite teas in the comments and let me know what you are drinking and doing today.


A writing update: A new series 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 fewer blog posts is that I am working on a new book series.

This series will be a cozy mystery series called 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. 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.

I hope to release the first three books in the series about 4 months apart starting in either May or June. These books will be shorter than my previous books. They will be clean, but not strictly Christian fiction.

A Biblical fiction story I am also working on will, of course, be Christian Fiction.

And 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 aren’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 regards to timing and titles, etc. as the months go on.

Do any of the projects sound interesting to you?