Boondock Ramblings

Seeing the Reflection of A World Gone Mad in the Pages of Lord Of the Flies

You know the craziness of the world has finally got to you when you read Lord of the Flies with your 14-year old son for his school and see so much of the world today in its pages that you literally break down. The theme of this book definitely made more sense as an adult than it ever did as a tenth grader.

Slogging through this book the last month has been tough, not because William Golding was a horrible writer, but because his book is so accurate to what happens when people are overcome by the savagery of power and forget to be civilized.

We are not stranded on an island, no, but our world, especially our country right now, is in the throws of two warring sides fighting for power and not caring who gets killed in the process. People with common sense who just want to live their lives without being accused of being racist, homophobic, transphobic, or Grandma killers simply based on the color of our skin or the way we worship are Piggy on the rocks with his head split open.

Everyday citizens who want to go to work, earn money, support their family, and spend time with that family are Simon bleeding on the beach and being washed out to sea while savages watch with wild eyes and blood-soaked chests, breathing heavy and ready for the next kill.

Politicians scream it at each other from across the aisle, across the hallways of our government buildings, “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!”

People who don’t want to hear a dissenting opinion, so they demand the removal of books, of entertainment, of people, “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!”

No longer do we just want to tell someone they are wrong, we want them to die, and when they die we dance around their bodies chanting our joy at their demise.

“He was a conservative! I’m glad he’s dead!”

“He was a leftist and hell is now where he burns!”

“He killed babies in the womb and we should rejoice he is rotting in the ground!”

“She said she loved babies but really she hated women and didn’t want them to have freedoms! We will dance around this fire with her blood on our hands and laugh at her destruction!”

I read the last few chapters of Lord of the Flies, horrified, sick to my stomach, literally ready to run from the house and find somewhere to hide so the beast couldn’t get me. Only, in reality, the beast isn’t a dead parachuter who fell from the sky during battle.

The beast is the ugliness this world espouses at us every day now.

The beast is the darkness of the souls of men that we see every day on social media when someone says we should lock this person up and watch them die, or we need to remove this or that group from our world so they can do no harm.

The beast is wanting voices different from our own to be silenced.

The beast is using children as pawns in our ridiculous political fights – sacrificing their mental and physical well-being to gain political points.

The beast is “got-you” statements on social media that replace real compassion, real hope, real efforts to help those hurting and in need.

Headlines declare, “So-and-so blasts so-and-so” and the tribe cheers. “That’s right! You tell them! You grab the conch and give ‘em hell!”

All the while no one realizes that words mean nothing until eventually, they mean something when they stir the tribe into a frenzy and the tribe members lash out in violence, burning entire forests down to get to one person, not even caring who dies to flush out that one thing, that one belief, that one dissenting opinion the tribe wanted destroyed.

“And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.”

The saying is true. We don’t know what we had until it’s gone.

Do you miss it yet?

Creatively and Faithfully Thinking: God Can Fill In the Gaps

What I like about writing is what I like about photography. In photography you create your vision through the lens, including composition and framing. After you create the image in the camera, you transfer it to your computer and in your computer you can use various programs to further transform the image and complete your vision, if you so choose.

In writing you start with a rough draft, and that rough draft is the basic foundation of what you want to write. It’s essentially the skeleton of your blog post or short story or novel or book. The second, third, fourth and final drafts are building around that initial frame until you have a final product that is well built, polished and pretty to look at. Well built, polished and pretty to look at it doesn’t mean what you photographed or wrote has any feeling to it, though, and here is where I run into problems as a creator.

When I was attempting to be a professional photographer, seeing my services to families, people wanted well-polished and pretty. They didn’t care so much about emotion, and that’s where the disconnect came for me. I cared more about emotion and storytelling than well-polished and pretty. I find I have this same issue in writing. I’m not always great at being technically perfect in my writing. I don’t always add the descriptions or flowery language that others do. I don’t always explain myself or my story well. It’s not always “technically perfect”. I’m more concerned about emotion and the story than nitty-gritty details.

I have to learn to slow down in writing and focus a little more on the description, though, because in writing, descriptions help the emotion and the storytelling. We all have areas to improve on in our creative endeavors and there are times I focus too much on what I’m not doing well instead of on what I hopefully will do better in the future.

Sometimes I worry, like so many of us do, that the shortcomings I possess when I create will affect how God uses my creation. The good thing is that God can use anyone no matter their shortcomings, or the shortcomings they perceive they have. Dallas Jenkins, writer and director of The Chosen series, talks often about how he is giving God his loaves and his fishes, and that God will multiply what he gives for God’s glory. He is, of course, referencing the story in the Bible where there were only five loaves of bread and two fix and Jesus multiplied that food so there was enough to feed a multitude of people.

What an amazing idea that God can take our offering, no matter how small, and multiply it so it touches someone else. When God gets ahold of what we create, even if it isn’t technically perfect and pretty, he makes it beautiful, powerful, and exactly what we need to convey his message of hope and love to a hurting world. If he can create beauty out of ashes, then he can create something outstanding out of what we perceive as barely standing.

Of course, we should always strive to improve, to learn more, to hone our craft, but while we do, we (I) have to remember that God will fill in the gaps and make our meager offerings even more than we could have ever hoped for.

Book review: Sweeter by Jere Steele

Description:

“Carole arrives in a community that hasn’t moved past the loss of one of its most beloved members. When she falls in love with Charlie, the man who was left behind, will her new friends be able to accept their relationship?”

Carole Allen is a widow who has moved to Davidson, Texas, to start a new life. Charlie North is a widower and long-time resident of Davidson who hasn’t moved past the death of his beloved wife, Honey, five years before. Honey was the children’s pastor at their church, and the church community hasn’t moved past her death either.
——
Jere Steele’s debut novel explores the implications of a contemporary May-December romance between two characters who both need healing, while also taking a nuanced approach to grief, community, and heritage from a Christian perspective.

Review: This is the story of Charlie and Carole who fall for each other even though some in their lives think they shouldn’t. It’s hard, considering how loved Charlie’s late wife Honey was. Then there is the age gap between Carole and Charlie. Is this relationship going to work? Both of them are bringing baggage to what starts as a friendship. Charlie is still carrying grief, five years after the loss of Honey. Carole is carrying grief and guilt after her own loss that led to an abrupt end to her abusive marriage. She’s now a single mom to a bright 6-year old son who has moved to another state to start life over. Charlie, though, hadn’t thought about starting over. Not until he met Carole and Cal at church.

To complicate things even more, Carole has befriended Amy, Honey’s best friend. In fact, Amy is the only friend Carole has in this new town — well, other than Charlie, of course. What will Amy think when she finds out that Carole has fallen for Amy’s good friend Charlie? Amy promised Honey she’d watch over Charlie and their two, now-grown daughters. She takes the job seriously and oversees it with her husband Ford.
Amy, Ford, Charlie, and Honey were a tight foursome from their college days. Is there room for someone else in the group, even though Honey has been gone. No one can replace Honey so the idea that someone might will one day has always rubbed Amy the wrong way. Carole knows this so if she tells her how she feels about Charlie, she worries Amy will be upset.

If you like easy-going stories with a bit of sweet romance and low-key tension thrown in then you will enjoy Sweeter. It is a nice, relaxing read, but it is also a wonderful reminder that beauty can come from ashes, that forgiveness is possible, and that friendship is a bond stronger than death.

Some Good Reading And Listening For Your Week

Today I wanted to share some uplifting, encouraging, or inspirational blog posts I’ve read or sermons I’ve listened to in the last few weeks. We read and hear so many depressing things these days, it’s nice to put all that aside and read or listen to something more uplifting.

Putting this collection together has also helped me focus on some more encouraging or positive thoughts so thank you to my followers who made me want to create this post.

Lessons from Grandpa Fred’s Early Turn Signal from For His Purpose

Sharing a Lenten Prompt by Bettie G

Texas on Ice by Fuel For The Race

Breaking Free by Big Sky Buckeye

The Voyage of Bygone Days by Creative Wending

Scribble Pad by Alethea’s Mind

Living the Life by Mama’s Empty Nest

Relying on God More Than Ever by Alicia at For His Purpose

Holding On To What We Know by Heather at Every Small Voice

Sunday Bookends: The Moonstone, Finally reading A Classic, Bookstore Bliss, and Warmer Temperatures Come Upon Us

Welcome to my weekly post where I recap my week by writing about what I’ve been reading, watching, writing, doing and sometimes what I’ve been listening to.

What’s been occurring

The weather has finally started to warm up and has helped to take the foot and a half of snow we had left on the ground to about 8 inches. I can see the corners of my garden boxes now and there is grass peeking out of the snow on a hill on the other side of town. We’re hopeful to see the grass in our yard for the first time in two months.

Our cats seem to have some sort of cabin fever. They’re so bored with looking at the snow they now come into the bathroom when I’m taking a bath and just stare at me, which is creepy. Pixel is getting used to Scout, the kitten we brought home in August. She still doesn’t love her, but she tolerates her and Pixel is either enjoying chasing Scout or is hoping to kill her. I’m not sure which.

My animals have teamed up now too. Pixel and Zooma did it before, but now Scout gets in on the action when she can. Pixel is very adept at opening doors and if Zooma wants to get in a room, Pixel finds a way to open the door for her. My daughter has a door that slides open and closed and in the morning, when I get up for my third trip to the bathroom, either I or my husband close it to keep the animals from waking Little Miss up too early. Pixel knows how to open the door so she slides her paw under it, moves the door and Zooma runs in and jumps on the bed for cuddles. Scout seems to be learning how to do the same thing from Pixel because my husband found her in my daughter’s room one morning after he’d already closed the door.

On Friday we took a family trip to a book store. Yes, we are that boring. We live in a rural area and there aren’t a lot of malls or bookstores around us so we took a 45-minute trip to eat at a Cracker Barrel and walk around a Books-A-Million at a small mall down the road from the restaurant. I had been wanting to go to this store since my husband visited it and sent me photos. So many books in one place! I haven’t been to a bookstore in years but my husband and I used to go to Barnes and Noble near our old home (near in this area means a 30 minute drive), walk around, look at books and sip coffee (coffee for him, milk and sugar with a splash of coffee for me) so this brought back memories.

When we walked in to this store I seriously almost cried to see so many books. I kept going, “Oh. Oh. Oh it’s amazing.” I don’t know if I am sheltered or what but the idea of so many worlds under so many roofs was exhiliarating to me, especially since I have gotten back into reading again in the last couple of years. The Boy was embarrassed by my exuberance and wandered into the fantasy section so no one would know we were together.

I couldn’t find a section for Christian fiction and thought they might have slid them into the regular fiction section, or removed them all together, but a half an hour into our exploration of the store (it was fairly large), I found an entire corner dedicated to “religion”, which was mainly Christian-based books.

There were four or five sets of shelves of journals, Bibles, devotionals, Christian living books and an entire wall of Christian fiction. Sadly, since I found the section so late, I didn’t have as long to peruse the books as I would have liked. Print books are so expensive anymore ( trust me, I know why — when I price mine on sites, you have to set them high or you will make next to nothing as the author from their sale), but I did find a used copy by a new-to-me author, Nancy Mehl.

I also grabbed a couple of bargain classic books. I originally had a larger pile, but we have bills so I put two back. I grabbed Emma by Jane Austen and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and I was going to buy Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but for financial reasons (like I was trying to spend too much on the week before we pay our mortgage) I put that one back, hoping I’ll still be able to buy them after all the ranting and raving some in our country are doing about what is racist and what isn’t. I want to make sure I have these books in print in case some try to ban them and in case Amazon decides to remove them from my Kindle, which I learned this week they are doing with books they have deemed “unacceptable.”

What I’m Reading

It seemed like a good transition to move from the bookstore visit to what I’ve been reading. This week I finished Sweeter, a book by an indie author, Jere Steele. It was a nice, easy-going and light read. I’ll have a review for it on the blog later this week.

I enjoyed Sweeter but decided to switch to Death Without Company: A Walt Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson for a little more grit and suspense. I shouldn’t read Longmire books before bed, though, because then I have very intense dreams about being chased or trying to solve a murder in Wyoming.

I will probably start Emma this week as well to keep me to my plan to read more classics this year.

Little Miss and I are still reading Stormy: Misty’s Foal by Marguerite Henry. This book is a little tougher than some since it deals with the aftermath of a winter storm that wiped out more than half the pony population of Assateague Island. I’ve been skipping the many references to “airlifting dead ponies off the island” and instead reading “lifting debris off the island.” I don’t think the 6-year old needs to go to sleep picturing dead ponies being dragged onto the backs of trucks.

The Boy and I took a break from reading The Lord of the Flies this week, but will pick it back up on Monday.

What I’m Watching

We’ve been watching The Muppets and Friday we watched episodes with John Cleese, Peter Sellers, and Steve Martin. I loved all three but enjoyed Sellers the most. He was such a versatile talent.

We also went back to Doc Martin this week. We started season 4 and I don’t know if I will enjoy these later seasons as much as the first. I’m finding Louisa annoying and sort of want to throttle her and hug her all at the same time. Continuing on the British show theme, I started Agatha Raisin this week on Acorn TV and enjoyed the first episode. I will not, however, watch this series with my kids. It is not graphic so far but there are some adult themes featured that I’d rather not discuss with them.

What I’m Writing
Last week I shared some random thoughts, but not much else. I shared some photos from February as well. I have a few posts lined up for this upcoming week, however. I am also working on a couple of fiction stories, The Farmers’ Sons (notice the name change there. I had meant to change that before. It’s a book about at least three farmers’ sons, maybe a couple of more), and Lily. I may share the prologue of Lily sometime in March, but I’m not sure I’m ready to share this one yet. It’s going to be a tough one for me, dealing with some tough topics, but I still hope to have some joy in it.

As I mentioned Friay, The Farmer’s Daughter, is available now on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple iBooks, Scribd, and Smashwords.

For blog readers, I am offering the first two chapters free HERE.

I shared photos of our week yesterday in the February recap post, but here are few from the past week.

The hills are bare but still pretty impressive from this overlook. Our area isn’t called the “Endless Mountains” for no reason.
My dad decided to take us up to the overlook on this road, covered completely in snow. The higher we got the more snow was on the road and I was starting to get nervous, but Dad has a 4-wheel drive truck so he seems to think he can go wherever he wants. Luckily we made it down the road safely.

So that is my week in review, how was yours? Let me know in the comments!



Sunday Bookends: Balancing Books and Feeling like we live in Antartica

Welcome to another Sunday Bookends where I share what I’m reading, watching, writing, eating, seeing, smelling — no, wait. Only what I’m reading, watching, writing, sometimes what I’m listening to and a little about what we’ve been up to. Feel free to let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments.

What’s Been Occuring

Aparently we are never going to have warm weather again. Or that’s how it feels right now, anyhow. I know we will eventually have warm weather, of course, but this has been one long winter.

Most of the 21 inches of snow that fell on us the week before last is still here and now they are calling for several more inches on Monday and Tuesday. We just got our driveway cleared from the last storm and now more snow is coming. I can’t even wrap my head around it. While the snow can be pretty, there has been anywhere from 2 to 24 inches of snow in our backyard since the end of December and at least a foot of it there since the beginning mid-January. There is so much snow that the deer are now coming into our yards to eat our bushes and trees.

We were able to get out of the driveway last week to go to my parents for a game night and the little supermarket downtown. Saturday my husband took me out for Valentine’s Day and we were able to get out of town and explore an area about 45 minutes away from our house. We had a late lunch at a restaurant we hadn’t been to before and then we – I can’t believe I am writing this but we went to buy cat food and cat litter at Walmart.

Yes, that was part of our Valentine’s Day date. This shopping trip for necessities was promptly mocked by The Boy who texted to me (after I told him where we were):

“Ah yes Walmart the most romantic place in the world. It’s the only place where you can find scented candles right next to the guns. Waiter: here are your Walmart specials pulls out Twinkie’s and a half warmed up frozen pizza.”

He’s quite funny and we’re hoping that he’ll be a famous comedian one day and puts us in a nice nursing community. You know, if the world allows us all to have humor again.

What I’m Reading

I’m almost finished with ‘Til I Want No More by Robin W. Pearson, which I am really enjoying, even though Maxine (the main character) was really driving me nuts in the first part of the book. When you read it, you’ll know what I mean. This story of redemption is very complex and a little heavy at times, but Robin is such a wonderful writer, it makes it all easier. Plus, we get to see Evelyn again from Robin’s first book A Long Time Comin’. The two books are not connected, other than Evelyn and Maxine being friends and both facing difficult secrets in their lives they needed to address.

I will probably finish Harriet Beamer Takes A Bus in the next couple of days as well. This book is so charming and sweet, I don’t want it to end, but luckily I have discovered that there is a sequel.

Little Miss and I just finished Misty of Chincoteague by Margaurite Henry last week and have moved on to Stormy, Misty’s Foal.

The Boy and I continue to suffer through The Lord of the Flies (good book, but a bit depressing with all the craziness going on in today’s world). It’s taking us a while because he has chapter questions and quizes every two chapters and I am really not in any rush to read it since I know how it ends.

What I’m Watching

I’ve been watching McLeod’s Daughters, an old Australian show on Amazon. It’s essentially a soap opera set out in the bush of Australia but without graphic sex or violence.

My husband and I are also watching Lovejoy, an older British show about an antique dealer who often gets wrapped up in some sort of criminal situation when trying to sell or buy antiques. It is much more interesting than I just made it sound. I promise.

We continue to watch Wanda Vision (a Marvel show on Disney), which is getting better each week.

What I’m Writing

Last week I wrote about censorship and freedom of speech;

Some random thoughts

And, the second part of chapter 1 for The Farmer’s Son.

I’m also finishing up edits on The Farmer’s Daughter and it will go live on Kindle on February 23rd.

What I’m Listening To

I am try to listen to more sermons and will continue that this week. I listened to a good sermon by Holly Furtick from Elevation Church, which I missed Sunday because I watched Robert Morris from Gateway Church. Here are links to those sermons in case you need some spiritual guidance or Biblical thoughts to chew on this week.

I’m also trying to make more time for podcasts and this week I hope to listen to more of Relatable by Allie B. Stuckey and The Babylon Bee podcast.

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

The Awkward Day My Dad Showed Me Where He’s Going to Be Buried

I wrote this post 7-years ago. I don’t know why, but I wanted to share it again today. Certain conversations with my dad lately reminded me of this one. I don’t think I ever shared this post on this particular blog so – yeah, you’re welcome for this one.


A walk in the local cemetery is always a source of great joy in our family.

Not really, but we can pretend.

It seems like sometime around Memorial Day every year Dad and I end up at the cemetery down the road from his house, looking at the gravestones of dear departed relatives, most of which died before either of us were born.

The trips used to be a chance for Dad to tell me about the people buried there and how I am related to them. Always interesting, but the older my dad becomes the more morbid and depressing these trips become.

I’m also suspecting that some kind of internal switch has been switched off in Dad’s head the older he becomes because on our most recent trip he decided to regale my son and I with the story of how one of our relatives departed this earth. My son is six.

“That’s cousin So-And-So. She burned up in a barn fire.”

“Um…yeah…Dad…maybe not now…” and I jerked my head toward my son whose mouth was hanging open.

My Dad didn’t catch the head jerk. He squinted his eyes at me and looked confused. “Huh? No. I said she burned up in a fire. In a barn.”

Apparently being subtle wasn’t going to work here.

“OK. I got that but maybe saying it in front of the six year old wasn’t the best move,” I said and stared at him for a bit.

“Oh. Yeah. Ok.” He shrugged and kept walking.

Before long we found some ground under two big trees, away from some other stones.

“I bought two plots here years ago,” he said walking around the spot and making gestures with his arms in the pattern of lines while he looked down. “I think it was….” He stepped over a couple of places. “Right here.”

He stood looking at the ground a few moments. I shifted nervously next to a gravestone dated 1863 and hoped he would suggest we head back home now and end this awkward moment.

“Yeah. I think it was here. Not really a lot of space. I guess they can have my feet face the roots of these trees I helped plant when I was in Boy Scouts. Then my old body can feed the tree as it decomposes.”

The next time he suggests we visit the local cemetery I am going to emphatically say “no.”

Photos of the Week: A Whole Different World

This intro is a re-share from part of my Sunday Bookends post.


When we moved to this rural Pennsylvania county last year, I told my husband how it was like living in an entirely different world. I grew up two miles from the county line and we could drive from our house to this town and it would be dry with green grass in our little village and a foot of snow in this town. I’d said it before and I don’t think he believed me until we moved here. Honestly, I don’t think I believed me until we moved here. It shouldn’t be any surprise to me that there has been snow on the ground here since Christmas Day (the week before 24 inches was dropped on us) but when my husband said the other day that the town he works in, which is only about 20 minutes away, doesn’t have any snow, reality hit me hard. I knew winters here would be a challenge and they are, but, hey, at least the snow is pretty. I don’t actually mind the snow that much, but the ice and the bitter cold temperatures? I could do without them. On Thursday of last week, the high was 16, the low 3. On Friday the high was 19, the low 3. Temperatures warmed up some for Saturday, with a high of 27 but Saturday also came with a Winter Storm Warning for Sunday through Tuesday. And here we are now: under several inches of snow and ice (the ice from last week) — again.
But, hey, I could live in Manitoba. Or I could be in the Northern Territory of Canada and never see green again! Winter will soon pass and while we won’t miss the cold, we will miss the pretty snow.

Sunday Bookends: Father Tim, Bitter Cold, Finally Trying to Read Non-Fiction

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

What I Am Reading

The problem I am having right now is there are too many books I want to read. I don’t know which one to pick first so I’ve just been reading a little bit of all of them.

I finished my first Agatha Christie book, And Then There Were None this week. I told my husband I would and I did. I finished it because he wants to watch a mini-series based on it and I said we couldn’t until I finished it. My mom, him (he?) and I all read the book in January — I think it was the first time for all three of us.

While her writing seems simple on the surface, she writes some profound things in a very short space.

Some favorite quotes from And Then There Were None:

“Emily Brent said in a clear voice: ‘In the midst of life, we are in death.'”

“There was nothing hidden in this house, nothing concealed. It had no atmosphere about it. Somehow, that was the most frightening thing of all. . . They exchanged good-nights no the upper landing. Each of them went into his or her own room, and each of them automatically, almost without conscious thought, locked the door . . .”

“The little eldlerly spinster was no longer slightly ridiculous to Vera. Suddenly — she was terrible.”

That last one reminded me of a family member, but we won’t go there.

I also started reading Bathed in Prayer by Jan Karon, which is a collection of Father Tim quotes from her Mitford series.

I enjoyed several parts from Jan’s introduction to the book including the following quotes:

“Over the years, I have learned to bathe my work in prayer. Say the word ‘bathe.’ It is a soft and caressing word. At the end of it, the tongue barely touches the upper teeth. I could dunk my work in prayer, or dip it, as into a vat, but bathing seems to work best.”

“A lot of readers wonder if Mitford is real. In truth, Mitford is everywhere. You can even find it in the heart of darkness. But we must do our part. We must give a hand we must learn to console and uplift and encourage and be courageous. Bottom-line, we simply can not wait for others to reach out. We must reach in.”

I also started 12 Rules for Life from Jordan Peterson which is one of the few non-fiction books I’ve read in my life.

Within the first few pages I realized I will have to read this book very slowly because it’s much too intellectual for my puny, brain-fogged brain. Right now I’m skimming through it, lighting on things I like, and will go back to the beginning in the future.

If you’ve never heard of Jordan Peterson, you can look him up on YouTube or Google him. He’s been caught up in some politically-motivated drama in the past, so some consider him controversial, but even if you don’t agree with him politically don’t dismiss him right away. Listen to his lectures and you will find yourself pondering life in a different way. I’m not a “follower”, no, but he does make me think.

Here are a couple of quotes from his book that caught my attention:


“But Christ’s archetypal death exists as an exampe of how to accept finitude, betrayal and tryanny heroicaly — how to walk with God despite the tragedy of self-conscious knowledge — and not as a directive to victimize ourselves in the service of others. To sacrifice ourselves to God (to the highest good, if you like) does not mean to suffer silently and willingly when some person or organization demands more from us, consistently, than is offered in return. That means we are supporting tyranny, and allowing ourselves to be treated like slaves. It is not virtuous to be victimized by a bully, even if that bully is oneself.”

“Random wandering will not move you forward. It will instead disappoint and frustrate you and make you anxious and unhappy and hard to get along with (and then resentful, and then vengeful, and then worse). Say what you mean, so that you can find out what you mean. Act out what you say, so you can find out what happens. Then pay attention. Note your errors. Articulate them. Strive to correct them. That is how you discover the meaning of your life. That will protect you from the tragedy of your life. How could it be otherwise? Confront the chaos of Being. Take aim against a sea of troubles. Specify your destination, and chart your course. Admit to what you want. Tell those around you who you are. Narrow, and gaze attentively, and move forward, forthrightly. Be precise in your speech.”

He has another book due out in March and people are – surprise, surprise – protesting it because that is what people do now when they disagree with someone. God forbid they use their disagreement as the basis for a conversation instead.

For fiction this week I am reading Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus by a new to me author, Joyce Magnin.

And Northwest Counter-Terrorism Task Force Book One (First Wave) by Lisa Phillips. It’s a fast-paced, quick read so far.

I’m also continuing to read Lord of the Flies with my son for school.

What I’m Watching

This past week we distracted ourselves from life with clips from the IT Crowd (we don’t watch entire episodes now because some of the topics of shows aren’t appropriate for the kids to watch with us.). This is one of my favorite scenes from that show. It reminds me a lot of my life.

We also started a mini series on AcornTV: Agatha Christie’s Partner’s in Crime. It is six episodes of a espionage mystery.

Of course we also continue to work our way through 14 seasons of the Canadian show Murdoch Mysteries.

What I’m Writing

I shared a Randomly Thinking post this past week and also shared the first chapter in The Farmer’s Son for Fiction Friday. I’m finishing the editing of The Farmer’s Daughter and it will go live on Kindle on February 23. You can pre-order it here. For those who followed the story here on the blog and would like a epub or mobi copy so you can read it in full, let me know by emailing me at lisahoweler@gmail.com so I can send it to you. If you would be willing to read it and leave a review on Amazon that would be awesome as well.

What’s Been Occurring
When we moved to this rural Pennsylvania county last year, I told my husband how it was like living in an entirely different world. I grew up two miles from the county line and we could drive from our house to this town and it would be dry with green grass in our little village and a foot of snow in this town. I’d said it before and I don’t think he believed me until we moved here. Honestly, I don’t think I believed me until we moved here.

It shouldn’t be any surprise to me that there has been snow on the ground here since Christmas Day (the week before 24 inches was dropped on us) but when my husband said the other day that the town he works in, which is only about 20 minutes away, doesn’t have any snow, reality hit me hard. I knew winters here would be a challenge and they are, but, hey, at least the snow is pretty.

I don’t actually mind the snow that much, but the ice and the bitter cold temperatures? I could do without them. On Thursday of last week, the high was 16, the low 3. On Friday the high was 19, the low 3. Temperatures warmed up some for Saturday, with a high of 27 but Saturday also came with a Winter Storm Warning for Sunday through Tuesday. And here we are now: under several inches of snow and ice (the ice from last week) — again.


But, hey, I could live in Manitoba, right, Lisa? Or I could be in the Northern Territory of Canada and never see green again! Winter will soon pass and while we won’t miss the cold we will miss the pretty snow.

Saturday I was sitting on the couch, depressed after my dad dumped a bunch of political stress on me (I’ve been doing a very good job avoiding all of that in the last week or so), so I decided to get off my computer and go find some life outside the house (even if I can’t pull our van out of the driveway right now.) My daughter and I braver the cold to some kindling for the fire in the woodpile.

We gathered some wood, found some kindling, explored the yard, and froze our faces off before we came back in – refreshed with the escape to the real world.

You know, the real world.

The world where wood stoves need to be filled, where driveways need to be shoveled, dogs played with, children laughed with. The longer I live, the older I get, the more I realize that the world of politicians and national media is some kind of alternate universe where everyone functions in fear, anger, and the desire for power. Trust me, the real world is much more calming.

So that was my week last week. How about you? Reading anything interesting? Watching any good shows? Doing anything fun? Listening to any new music? Let me know in the comments.