Looking back at April in photos and otherwise

April was torture weatherwise. Not only did it snow in late May, leaving heavy wet snow, but the rest of the month was mainly cold, wet, and gloomy.

We did have a few nice sunny days and we took advantage of them as much as possible.

We didn’t really do too much exciting in April. We picked up some local beef at a butcher. That was about the extent of our excitement.

If you want to see what blog posts I shared last month, you can access them on the archive drop down menu in the sidebar at the right.

I did share a post about why I had been writing less fiction and a few other ramblings about my writing and fiction. I also shared a post about how to find your creative spark again when it comes to writing.

I hope to share more blog posts in the month of May. For some reason, May often seems to be a productive blog month for me.

How about you? How was April for you? Productive? Wet? Cold? Warm? Stormy? Dull? Or Exciting? Let me know in the comments.

In the meantime, here are some photos from our month, including a few from today, the last day of April, when we noticed our tulips were finally blooming. We also watched a bee buzzing around looking for flowers to take pollen from and let him know he will probably have to wait another week or so.

Sunday Bookends: Winter’s last blast? Remembering family. Jane Seymour with a potty mouth?

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing and listening to.

What’s Been Occurring

Friday and Saturday we remembered a couple of people in our family. Friday was the tenth anniversary of the day my husband’s grandfather passed away. He was a good man and we miss him and my husband’s grandmother very much.

Yesterday was my Aunt Dianne’s birthday so Mom and I plan to make sausage balls in her memory today because she loved to make them every year for Christmas. I tried to make them for Christmas this year, but I didn’t do such a great job. I think the key might be to not make them with gluten-free Bisquick, even though that means I can’t eat them, since I can not eat the corn in the Bisquick.


I don’t actually like remembering people on the day they died. I like to remember them the way they lived and when I picture Grandpa, I picture him smiling like he was on the day of our wedding. I picture my aunt with smiles as well and I hope they are in heaven together now smiling as they wait for us to meet them someday.

I mentioned in a post last week that we had unexpected snow in the beginning of the week. Our town received about nine inches of very heavy snow which left trees broken, wires down from the weight of the trees and snow, and more than 13,000 people out of power.

Our local power company posted these photos of what they had to deal with to get to the lines they needed to fix:



I took a few photographs, but, honestly, I’m so over winter weather, I wasn’t interested in photographs of snow. I did take a few of the kids when The Boy decided to run out and build a snow Batman.

Luckily the snow melted a day or so later. Little Miss enjoyed sitting in the grass with the snow surrounding her. The grass was left from The Boy shoveling a path for the dog the first day after the storm.

Today the temperature is supposed to be almost 80 with a drop into the 40s later in the week. Yes, my sinuses are suffering.

What I’m Reading

Last week I finished Miss Julia Rocks the Cradle, a cozy Southern mystery written by Ann B. Ross.

I also finished a book by indie Christian Historical Fiction author Jenny Knipfer, which she plans to release this summer. She had asked members of her group if they would help her proof it, in addition to her editor. I will be starting an ARC of a novella by her, Violet’s Vow, this week or next as well.

I started Open Season by C.J. Box so I would have something a little different up on the reading block. The book is the first book in the Joe Picket series. This is my first crack at one of his books. We will see how it goes since it isn’t something I usually read.

Depending on my mood I may move to The Lord God Made Them All by James Herriot. I am also still reading Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain here and there before bed.

Little Miss and I will be finishing Plum Creek this weekend and hopefully moving on to a book other than one by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The husband is reading Slow Horse by Mick Herron.

The Boy may finish Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde sometime before the end of the century at this point, but I’m not holding out much hope.

What I’m/We’re Watching

We tried out Harry Wild, a new mystery show with Jane Seymour this week. Dr. Quinn has a wee bit of a potty mouth in this one, but we still enjoyed the premise and her acting. I told my parents she was in a new show we are watching. I said, “She’s looking pretty good for 71.” My dad said, “Oh, really, what’s that show on?”

My mom said I didn’t need to tell him.

I started rewatching As Time Goes By, one of my favorite British sitcom to try to get me through some of the down moments of the week.

I also spent way too much time watching the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard defamation trial. Don’t ask why. I have no idea, other than it was a distraction from the rest of the craziness of the world. What I learned from all of that mess is that hurt people hurt people and Hollywood actors are some seriously messed up people. I also think Amber Heard is vindictive and nuts and Johnny Depp medicates his emotional pain way too much.

What I’m Listening To

I’ve been listening to comedians like Chonda Pierce lately and then some worship music.

What I’m Writing

During the week I worked on Mercy’s Shore, the next book in my series.

Now It is Your Turn

What have you been reading, watching, listening to, or doing? Let me know in the comments.

Randomly Thinking: Talking to cats, losing my mind, memories of Christian music festival

Welcome to my Randomly Thinking post where I ramble about, well, whatever.

***

Recently my daughter was reveling in the fact that she has soft, lovely, young skin. This was after I was lamenting about my old, dry, scaly skin.

“My skin is soft, isn’t it?” she said with a thoughtful expression.

She sighed and rubbed her hands against her cheeks, then said, “Do you know what calms me? Rubbing my hands across the baby-smooth skin of my face.”

Yeah, yeah. Rub it in, kid. Also — enjoy it while you can.

***

Anyone who reads Erin’s blog at Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs probably knows she listens to true crime podcasts, but maybe you don’t know she actually listens to them while falling asleep. I was laughing about this a few weeks ago and she told me, “The people’s voices are so soothing as they say the worst things.”

It totally cracked me up, but my son said he totally understood what she meant because sometimes he listens to similar podcasts, though not quite as dark as what we adults listen to at times.



***

A recent post from The Babylon Bee referencing an old song by the Veggie Tales reminded me of the time I was at a Christian music festival and over 80,000 people (some estimates had it at 100,000) sang Where Is My Hairbrush at the top of their lungs. In case you aren’t familiar with this song, I am leaving a clip of it below.

All of those people singing this child song at the same time was surreal.

There was a guy in front of us who sang it as if he was in an opera, with an amazing voice and all the gestures to go along with it.

Up until that point, I had never even heard of Veggie Tales, let alone the song.

The video was played while we all waited for Amy Grant to come out on the stage. This was shortly after the success of her song Baby, Baby, which by the way I never liked that much.

During her concert, the power actually went out. Eventually, they were able to get the sound back, but not the lights, so she ended up singing by flashlight and candlelight for part of her performance.

***

I went to this music festival, Creation, a few times over my life and always seemed to have a story to bring back with me. One year I ended up with a bladder infection and almost passed out from the heat. I was in pain all the way back home (about three hours) and we had to find a doctor immediately to get me on antibiotics.

 Another year we took a friend and she passed out and she was taken to the first aid tent but then by ambulance because she was extremely disoriented. She was extremely dehydrated and may have had some other health issues because years later she was involved in a horrible accident and could never remember what happened. She suffered massive head injuries, but we do wonder if she might have blacked out before the accident like the day at the festival. She’s doing very well now, by the way. She’s a miracle, quite frankly.

The first year we ever went I lost my first Teddy Bear somehow. I was in the back of a pick up which my dad had stretched a tarp canopy over (it was the 80s, peeps), Dad pulled over to adjust something, and when we got to our campsite (yes, you camped at this festival), my bear was gone. There is a long story after that about meeting my aunt somewhere to conduct a type of drug deal so my grandmother didn’t find out I had lost this expensive bear, but I’ve either told that story here before or I’ll tell it again another time.

One other time I was at the festival with my brother and sister-in-law and their friend, Chris. My sister-in-law disappeared for a brief time and Chris, my brother, and I stood in one place and looked around for her. We couldn’t see her for a long time until Chris said, “I don’t know. Maybe she’s down there somewhere, getting a cold cup of iced tea, fresh brewed, with just a squeeze of lemon and the perfect amount of sugar, wearing a —”  Yeah, Chris has found her and was using a creative way to tell us. That was Chris though, funny, smart, and a jokester. He’s a blog post in himself, but not by me, by my brother who knew him best. Hint, hint, brother.

***

A couple of weeks ago I was in the kitchen when my podcast stopped playing while I was cooking dinner. I looked at the phone and it said our Wifi was out. I went to the living room to investigate. Soon my children were standing next to me as we all stared at the modem, which was dark.

We were like lost little puppies without our internet. It was very sad, actually.

There is usually at least a power button blinking on the modem. Not this time. The modem looked dead.

We pondered this predicament for a few moments and then I looked at the power strip behind the TV. It was also dark. It usually has a glowing red light.

I pointed this out to my son who turned it back on and just as I started to wonder how it had been turned off, I looked up to see Pixel, who I also call Fat Cat, watching us from the windowsill. I knew then how the power strip had been turned off. She had apparently put her foot there when she jumped up into the front window.

Our investigation seemed to entertain her and sometimes I wonder if she does this stuff on purpose.

***

A friend of Little Miss’s, who is a year older, says the most interesting things sometimes. For one, she loves to be outside, loves to have fun, and is full of a confident spirit that matches Little Miss’s, which either strengthens their friendship or creates friction between them.

I told the little girl we had a playground near us, but it wasn’t very exciting. It’s very small without many things to play on.

“I don’t care what kind of playground it is,” she told me. “It doesn’t have to have a lot of fun things. I’ll make it fun.”

I wish more of us adults had her attitude.

***

I have been forgetting things lately, mainly because I am distracted when I am doing them. Or maybe I still have Covid-brain. I don’t know. Anyhow, one day my husband placed the ibuprofen on the counter in front of me but a few minutes later I went to the medicine cabinet to retrieve it. He told me it was in my purse, where I had tossed it. I didn’t even remember doing that. Well, I vaguely did, but I was also talking at the same time and thinking about the fact I had to get our daughter to gymnastics on time. It was also PMS time (I know. Too Much Information.)

Later that night my daughter asked me to open a water bottle. Apparently, I did and handed it back to her but five minutes later I told her to get a water bottle so I could open it for her. She reminded me I already had.

Two nights later I reached for my toothbrush, brushed my teeth, and went into my daughter’s room to read to her. The Boy came in a few minutes later and asked me why his toothbrush was wet.

“Did you use my toothbrush?” he asked.

I told him I used mine but when I went in to look, he was right, his toothbrush was wet and mine was dry. By this time, I was starting to freak out a little. Was I losing my mind?

I’m still not sure and it is possible. I do have hormone and thyroid issues. For all of the incidents, though, I was pretty distracted at the same time I was completing the task.

I told my husband about the toothbrush incident and said I was talking to Pixel, who likes to jump up on the sink and drink out of it before bed, at the time.

“She must have distracted me,” I said.

I said I was asking her if she was going to take a drink or not because I needed to get to bed and while I was talking to her, I was reaching for my toothbrush. I must have simply grabbed the wrong one. This made me feel better because then I could be assured I wasn’t losing my mind. That was until my husband looked at me in confusion.

“You have conversations with the cat?” My husband asked. “I never talk to our cats.”

I shrugged. “That’s why they like me better than you.”

And it’s true — I do have conversations with our cats. Very often, in fact.

They also seem to communicate back with me, even if it is a leg rub or a nose bump or a good, long, hard stare.

Then again, I have been having brain fog issues. Maybe I just think they’re communicating with me.

***

When my son shows me a gaming-related meme, I am torn between telling him I have no idea what the meme means and just smiling and nodding. If I smile and nod at the Gen Z humor, then he laughs and moves on. If I tell him I have no idea what that is referring to, I may be trapped for 20 minutes while he explains to me what the meme means. I usually just smile and nod.

***

Earlier this week, I told my son I thought I might try my hand at meatloaf again for dinner. I’ve only tried to cook it once before — three years ago — and apparently the experience was so traumatizing to my son he couldn’t bring himself to admit to me how bad it was until now.

He said it was a hunk of meat with crushed bread inside and no flavor. It was so awful he couldn’t eat it, so he took the plate upstairs and hid it under his bed for two days until I left the house and then dumped it in the trashcan. I asked him why he didn’t just tell me, and he said it was because he didn’t want to hurt my feelings.

He honestly looked quite pained telling me this story. He had backed himself against the wall and was rubbing his face, as if the memory of the wretched meatloaf had left him scarred for life. I was waiting for him to hug himself while rocking back and forth.

“Okay, then,” I said, turning to go back down the stairs. “Tonight we’re having tacos.”

***

My son decided he would have stuffed rabbit for Easter dinner this year:

***

I forgot about this hilarious moment from the Fall but found it in some notes this week:

One of Little Miss’s friends tried to call her early one morning, but Little Miss was barely awake. She reached for the phone anyhow. I told Little Miss she needed to be awake before she could talk to her friend, so to take some time to wake up and then answer the call.  Little Miss looked at me for a second, slammed her head off her pillow, face-first, twice, looked back up and me and said, “Okay. I’m ready now. Hand me the phone.

***

Those are my random thoughts and events for the week. How about you? What random events have happened to you recently? Let me know in the comments and maybe I’ll share it in my next post. 😊

Winter refuses to let go and a nice Easter

We had a nice Easter, just in time for a snowstorm to hit our area. Yes! You read right. A snowstorm in mid-April. I can’t even believe it at this point. It’s like winter will never end.

Hopefully, most of that snow will be gone by tomorrow morning, but in the meantime, my husband pulled out the kids’ winter boots that he had already put in the closet and his snowblower. Much of the area was out of power this morning, including my parents, but we somehow managed to only lose it for about three hours in the night at our house.

We did actually have snow very much like this on the same date two years ago but it’s still surreal for me to see snow this late in the year. Maybe such things happened when I was a child too and I simply don’t remember it. I’m not sure since I seemed to live my life in the clouds back then and sometimes still do.

Even though I am sick of winter, I do enjoy huddling under a blanket with a good book or while working on a blog post so I am handling this unexpected storm a little better than I otherwise might have.

For the second week in a row, we missed Little Miss’s gymnastics class due to unforeseen circumstances. Last week her nose was all messy from a little bug we had and this week the snow started just as we were getting ready to leave.

Luckily her gymnastics studio allows her to make up classes later in the week.

On Easter Sunday we held a short egg hunt for the kids, even though Little Miss was more excited than her brother, who simply picked up the obvious eggs she missed — like those sitting out in the open that she ran past.

The Boy was suffering from the virus that Little Miss and I had had the week before. No, not the Dreaded Virus. Thank God.

We are having a short spring break part of this week from schoolwork and then it is back to the grindstone to finish out April and May.

As for the weather, it is supposed to warm up by this weekend and hopefully, we will soon have some nice days when we can play outside and open the windows in the house.

I hope the weather is a little nicer where you are, but if it isn’t, I am sure it will be soon.

Sunday Bookends: Happy Easter! Spring tries to come but winter says “No!” and watching authors talk about their job

Today is Easter Sunday! Happy Easter! Or for Christians, happy Resurrection Day! He has risen! He has risen indeed!!

It is hard to imagine that around this time two years ago, my family was living with my parents until the financing worked out for the house we are living in now.

It was an interesting time and I love my parents, but I am glad to be in our own house and I am sure they are as well. We are also glad, however, to live only ten minutes away so that we can see them often, including today when we will have Easter dinner with them, followed by an egg hunt in the yard for the kids.

The weather warmed up this past week and it was so needed for the physical and mental health of not only me and my family but so many others.

On Tuesday, Little Miss and I spent most of the afternoon and evening outside. She made her nature salad (which consists of her gathering grass, leaves, flowers, and other natural substances to make a type of salad we pretend to eat), the animals explored outside, and then we did our schoolwork outside as well.

Before dinner and then during it, I read on the porch and listened to Aaron Watson (a country singer)  while my husband cooked pork chops on the grill.

It was such an awesome and relaxing day, and I didn’t want it to end. I especially didn’t want it to end when I saw the weekend was bringing rain and more chilly weather.

What I’m Reading

I wish I had something more exciting to report on the reading front, but I’m still reading the same books I have been for a while.

I should finish Miss Julia Rocks the Cradle this week and a book by Jennifer Knipfer.

I’m also still reading Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain when the mood strikes me.

The husband is reading a book that I’ll add here if he tells me before I post this. Last week he told me after I posted and after he read that I didn’t know what he was reading. (Update: my husband is reading The Long Legged Fly by James Sallis.)

Little Miss and I are still re-reading the Little House on the Prairie books and are currently on On The Banks of Plum Creek.

What I/We Watched/Are watching

This week I watched parts of the livestreams of The Chosen seasons one and two, including this very important scene:

If you haven’t seen the show, here is a preview for season two, which is already available in a variety of places, including The Chosen app on your phone.

To reignite my love of writing, I’ve been watching a lot of interviews with authors, including this one with Lee Childs, author of the Jack Reacher books:



And this one with Craig Johnson, author of The Walt Longmire Mysteries:


I loved Johnson’s interviews the most because he’s so much like the characters he writes about. He’s the real deal – writing about a sheriff in Wyoming while living there himself and basing the characters on people he knows.

What I’m Writing

As I mentioned on Friday in my Friday Fiction post, I am moving forward on Mercy’s Shore, the next book in the Spencer Valley Chronicles, while also making revisions and fixing issues with Beauty From Ashes. I’m only a chapter in on the next book so I have a long way to go and I’m fine with that. I’ll be taking my time and maybe sharing some of it on the blog down the road.

Other posts I shared last week included:

What I’m Listening To

It’s Easter Sunday so of course I have to listen to:

And here is a fun version of the classic Because He Lives:

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.

Fiction Friday: Some thoughts about when I know a story is starting to click

The best part of writing a fiction story is when the characters start to come to life in my mind. When that happens, I start to daydream about them— including their interactions, personalities, and conversations they might have with other characters. The magic really happens later on the page as I start to write it all down and the character starts to tell me their story from their point of view.

The daydreaming phase has started with Mercy’s Shore, book four in the Spencer Valley series, when I thought it might never come. This week I started to get to know Ben Oliver, the main character, better Now that we are getting a feel for each other, I’ll be able to tell his story.

It will take me a few more chapters before I really know Ben, obviously, but he’s starting to give me a peek at who he is, which he also did when I started to write a character biography for him a month or so ago.

Only through his actions, conversations, and interactions with those around him will I really find out who he is, though, and that will require me to just write.

As I write scenes begin to piece themselves together, other characters begin to show themselves, and conversations evolve from one piece of dialogue to the next as I imagine what one person would say and what the logical, or more interestingly, the more illogical response will be.

Before I know it, I’ll have Ben’s full story down on the page.

Now I just have to get to know Judi even better than I did in Harvesting Hope and add her story to the mix. Or maybe I’ll just stick with Ben telling the story. I plan to make that decision this weekend, but I have a feeling that Judi is the kind of person who isn’t going to let someone else tell her story. Not again that is. Ellie told it for the most part in Harvesting Hope. Now it’s Judi’s turn to speak out.

Now a little update for my blog readers on future plans for the Spencer Valley Chronicles:

As it stands now, I have (possible) plans for at least one more full-length novel and three novellas.

One novella will focus on the story of Molly’s grandparents Ned and Franny Tanner and will be historical in nature as we go back to when they first met.

Another novella will focus on the origin story of Robert and Annie, Molly’s parents.

A third novella will focus on Ginny and Stan Jefferies’ (you will learn more about them in Beauty From Ashes if you didn’t read the chapters on here) daughter Olivia and . . .well, you’ll have to wait to find out.

The full-length novel will feature Alex from The Farmer’s Daughter as the main character as he works through issues with his father, who, if you remember from The Farmer’s Daughter (spoiler if you have not read that) had been diagnosed with cancer.

I won’t give a time frame for when all these books and novellas will come out since I do have a couple of stand-alone books I am interested in writing in between.

I had considered writing a book about Spencer’s newspaper editor, Liam Finley, and I may still do that but I don’t know if I will include that book as part of the Spencer Valley Chronicles, or make it a separate, stand-alone novel. That story is starting to capture my attention more and more, probably because of my own background in newspapers and my current connection to them as well.

If you’ve been following along with these stories, what storyline most intrigues you? And are there stories of other characters you would like to see expanded on as well?

Book Tour with Celebration Lit: Anything But Simple by Lucinda J. Miller

About the Book

Book: Anything But Simple

Author: Lucinda J. Miller (Last name now Kinsinger)

Genre: Memoir

Release date: July 25, 2017

AnythingButSimple for web

Plain? Yes. Simple? Well…

If you live in a conservative Mennonite community, edges are sewn shut and questions have answers. So if you’ve got a saucy tongue and a roving curiosity about the world, you’ve got a story to tell.

As a schoolteacher in a small Mennonite school in rural Wisconsin, Lucinda J. Miller wears long dresses and a prayer covering. But she uses a cell phone and posts status updates on Facebook. So why would a young woman with access to all these technologies remain in a sheltered community like the Plain Mennonites? How can someone with an eye for beauty and a sometimes sardonic wit stay within a tradition that values discipline and submission and uniformity?

Anything But Simple is the stirring memoir of a young woman’s rich church tradition, lively family life, and longing for a meaningful future within her Mennonite faith.

Click here to get your copy! ”

Review


As I began to read Anything But Simple I saw so many similarities between the author Lucinda J. Miller and me that I found myself glued to the pages. Our life similarities include her ideas about writing, her experiences with her family, her view of her father, and her many questions and doubts about her faith, though she never left her faith and neither have I. I found those similarities despite the fact I did not grow up as a Mennonite and Lucinda did.

When I was reading this book, I saw another review for it where the reader said they were bothered the book didn’t offer any explanations of what the difference between the Amish and Mennonites was. I was baffled by this review because the book’s subtitle is “My life as a Mennonite.” I bring this up not to criticize the reviewer, who may have sure misunderstood the goal of the book, but to bridge into the issues Miller herself dealt with while writing the book.

When she was writing this book, she had a friend suggest she write about how Mennonites are “different from everyone else.” Miller doesn’t feel different from everyone else, other than how her faith shapes how she looks at life. In many ways, her family is the same as every other family, so her goal in this book is not to show how Mennonites are different from others but how they are the same.

This book does a very good job of showing how similar humans are no matter what faith they are a part of. The human condition isn’t something limited by the faith we were brought up in.
Miller tells us her personal story in an entertaining way that delicately balances triumph and heartache. There are times I can’t help but feel heartbreak for the internal struggles she faced during her teen and early adult years, probably because they so closely mirrored mine. These struggles — the feeling she didn’t fit in and how she often felt shy and withdrawn — though tough, was what helped shape her foundation for a fulfilling adulthood.
Seeing her spread her wings and step into a future as a writer, one she wasn’t sure she could have with the background she was brought up in, was very satisfying, again because I could relate so viscerally to what writing represents to her.

“Writers did not have to be pretty,” she writes. “They were very often odd-looking, according to their pictures. And the odder the writer, the better the writing. Reclusiveness, for a writer, was expected. Unhappiness was just a bonus that gave you something to write about and opened up the wells of passion within your being. If you were miserable, ugly, hated, alone, still you were okay. Because you still had the Dream. No one could take it from you.”

Some memoirs turn into a negative look back at their childhood, but Miller’s book doesn’t do that, or at least not often. For the most part, she looks back at her life as a Mennonite as a positive experience, not as something to be spurned or mocked. She writes about her journey through life, and how being a Mennonite affected that journey, but also about Mennonites in general and how they look at life and relate to others.

Miller’s prose is poetic, making what could have been a mundane retelling of a life feel more like a majestic journey into the mind of an intellectualist who has finally allowed herself to be an intellectual and not feel guilty about it.

About the Author

Lucinda J Miller Kinsinger has always viewed herself as a shy little Mennonite girl, but refuses to let that stop her from pursuing what she loves—whether that’s writing with honesty and vulnerability or traveling to a remote village in China. In 2019, she married Ivan, the love of her life, and moved from the flat, tree-lined fields of her childhood home in Wisconsin to the rolling hills of Garrett County, Maryland. The couple has a baby daughter, Annalise. Since the publication of Anything but Simple, Lucinda has published a second memoir, Turtle Heart: Unlikely Friends with a Life-Changing Bond. She is a columnist for Anabaptist World and blogs at lucindajkinsinger.com.

More from Lucinda

Me, and The People Who Shaped Me

My dad used to say that every person in your life is placed there by God for a reason. Even the ones you don’t like are there to teach you something.

Learn.

If you don’t, God may send someone else to teach you the same lesson you couldn’t learn the first time around.

Anything But Simple is my story, the story of a shy little Mennonite girl growing up to be a writer and asking questions along the way. It is also the story of the many people who enriched my life.

My dad, with his black hair and handsome face and stories from his past.

My mom, with her smooth sweaters and her sure and solid love.

My bishop with his mouth that turned down like a turtle’s.

My creative writing professor who loved words in a way I had never seen in anyone but myself.

Charlene.

Mara.

Deqo.

Jake.

From these people and alongside these people I arose, breathing, questioning, earnest.

Our journey, like the journey of all the squiggly and intricate humans that wander the face of the earth, is anything but simple.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, April 2

A Reader’s Brain, April 3

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 3

Inklings and notions, April 4

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 5

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 5

She Lives To Read, April 6

deb’s Book Review, April 7

A Melodious Sonnet, April 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 8

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 10

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, April 10

The Avid Reader, April 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 11

Rebecca Tews, April 12

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 12

Sodbuster Living, April 13

Boondock Ramblings, April 13

Vicky Sluiter, April 14

For Him and My Family, April 14

Spoken from the Heart, April 15

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lucinda is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1c574/anything-but-simple-celebration-tour-giveaway

Creatively Thinking: Five tips to find your love for writing again

There can be a variety of reasons writers lose their love of writing. Maybe it’s an illness, a critique, or simply the busyness of life, but writers often lose their love of writing and desperately want to find it again.

Writing is therapy for many people, even those who don’t consider themselves professional writess. It’s a way for them to escape from the stresses of life, but also to express their creativity. In many cases, writing is more for the writer than it is for the reader, even though the reader is a very important component of the writing process.

  1. Watch other writers talk about writing

As I mentioned recently here on the blog, I have been struggling with getting back into writing for various reasons, so I’ve found myself watching videos by other writers, of all levels — from amateur to professional.

I enjoy watching writers talk about their projects, their process, their love of other writers, their routines, their love of writing in general.

In the past, and recently, I’ve found myself caught up in watching New York Times Bestselling author Jerry B. Jenkins who writes a lot of Christian fiction, especially end times stories. He is most famous for co-writing The Left Behind series. I watch his videos on Youtube, including this one:

2. Read

It is true what other writers say, if you want to write well then you need to read and read a lot. Read in the genre you are writing, read beyond the genre you are writing in, read fiction or non-fiction. It doesn’t matter what you read, just read. Learn about different styles of writing and how other authors put together their stories.

Yes, you can read books about the act of writing as well, but reading completed works, those celebrated and even those not, can help you learn both how to write and how not to write, or maybe it would be better to say how you want to write and how you personally don’t want to write.

3. Experience life away from the computer or notepad

Sometimes the mere act of going out and experiencing life, whether that be taking a walk in nature or a visit to a busy area of your town or city, can be enough to reignite your desire to write again.

An interaction you witness between two people or an interesting character you meet might inspire a new story or blog post. Going out and taking your mind off writing could also simply clear your mind of all that mental clutter that’s clogging up your creative flow.

4. Turn off the news and social media

Nothing saps my creativity quicker and more completely than losing myself in news sites or social media. Even quick glances at either of these medias can send me mentally spiraling out of control. I’m either mired in a depressive, hopeless state after doom-scrolling through the news or I am overwhelmed with the comparison game or the melancholy tendencies of social media.

I even wrote two blog posts about this in the past:

Creatively Thinking: Social Media Kills My Creative Buzz, Man

and

Creatively Thinking: Too Much Social Media Kills Creativity

5. Just Write

For me, one of the best ways to find my love of writing again is to simply start to write. I don’t necessarily go back to writing what I was writing when I lost my passion for writing, of course. Sometimes I do, simply to try to break through the wall I’ve hit in a piece.

When an artist feels stunted in their creative endeavors, they sometimes walk away from the medium they are most familiar with in an effort to recapture the creative spark. It can be the same for writers. If a writer is more familiar with fiction, they might try their hand at writing non-fiction or a blog post, or even journaling to try to break the creative dam open again.

Bonus Tip: Journaling

Journaling can give a writer who worries too much about making their writing perfect the freedom to express themselves in private. Journaling allows them to write, knowing they never have to share what is in their journal if they don’t want to.

Whatever it is that has squashed your love of writing, don’t let it stay squashed. If it brought you joy to write, to string words together and see how they sound rolling off your tongue, then continue to write. Find your way back not only to your writing but to your joy.

Sunday Bookends: Winter Will Never Go Away! And other ramblings about this past week

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing, and listening to.

What’s Been Occurring

We enjoyed some warmer weather last week, which was followed by rain that led to some cold symptoms for Little Miss and me. That lasted three days and was not fun but at this point, we are used to it. The weather changes have been doing this to us every time and we’ve had these drastic weather changes about four times in the last couple of months.

It is very frustrating as we end up trying to figure out if we are actually sick or if our bodies are just trying to adjust to the temperature drop. Then, once we figure out it is the temp drop, the temperature rises and then we feel better — then the next week it drops again and we are back to feeling miserable. We just need some weather stability.

The kids were able to get outside at least one day during the week to have some fun in the yard before the cold and rain came back.

Honestly, I’m completely over the winter weather and my body is as well. The up and down in the temps and barometric pressure are affecting me both mentally and physically and I’m really looking forward to actual spring coming this year.

At the end of the week, we traveled an hour north to where we used to live to get our dog groomed at a new groomer and I stopped by to visit our former neighbor.

My husband and the kids also went to a local playground that has been torn down and remodeled from when we used to live there.

Last week wasn’t much to write home about, to be honest, so not sure why I am writing about it here. *wink*

What I’m Reading

I’ve been reading Miss Julia Rocks the Cradle by Ann Ross in the evening and it’s finally picking up a bit.

I got distracted by Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain one night this week when I saw it in my Kindle and have been enjoying reading that before I fall asleep at night.

Alas, I do have a book to finish for a book tour next week, but luckily I only have a couple of chapters of Anything But Simple by Lucinda Miller left to read.

After that I am reading through a book for an indie author to catch any typos and then I have an advanced reader’s copy of her upcoming book to read.

I will probably finish the Miss Julia book before I start the novella so I’m not reading a bunch of books at the same time yet again.

Little Miss and I are reading On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder again, which is fine with me because this is the book where they meet Nellie Olson. I love the stories about Laura and Nellie.

The Boy is reading a collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman called Smoke and Mirrors.

I’m not sure which book my husband is reading right now. He reads much faster than me and it’s hard to keep up with which book he is on sometimes. Plus, I couldn’t ask him because he had taken our daughter to an Easter egg hunt while I was writing this.

What We’re Watching

I’ve been watching a lot of The Mary Tyler Moore Show this past week  (again) and that is pretty much all I’ve been watching, except for sermons. I’ve been putting sermons on and listening to them throughout the day to try to keep myself focused on things other than the craziness of life and health concerns.

We also watched a couple Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes. One of them was a premiere of a new episode thanks to a Christmas gift from my brother and sister-in-law. We receive new episodes ever two weeks on the Gizmoplex, a app on our Roku, or a site online.

If you don’t know what MST3K is about, it is essentially where the characters from the show watch a horrible movie and mock it while the viewer watches them mock it and then usually mocks the movie along with them.

Last weekend my husband, son, and I watched one that was truly horrible and had a blast making fun of it along with the MST3K group.

What I’m Writing

I have not been writing a ton, fiction or otherwise, but I hope to rectify that this week. I have been planning the next book by jotting down an actual — gasp! — outline but felt something was off as I started to write it. I hit on the reason for the off feeling and have changed the start of the book to reflect the plot and main characters better so hopefully, I can get going on it this week. I had my main characters becoming involved way too late and was also still struggling with getting to know my main character.

I’m not stressing about the delay in my fiction writing, but I do notice that when I get into a book, I feel less stressed because I am having fun focusing on something other than my health or whatever else is making me anxious.

I did share a fiction update on Friday and a Faithfully Thinking about depression earlier in the week. Earlier today I also shared a book review of Every Star in the Sky as part of a book tour.

What I’m Listening To

The Husband introduced me to a new band this week called The Shires:

He also introduced me to Aaron Watson, a singer who sings more classic country than the pop stuff that is on Country radio today.

Then I fell into some worship music including this one:

https://youtu.be/AwgWbIOt0ko

And this one:



And this awesome relaxation video for when I take my bp.

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.