Living our dreams for the people whose dreams were cut short

Once again this week I found myself thinking about how I am living out dreams that many others I knew or knew of couldn’t do.

No, I’m not a famous author or photographer or a famous anything. I don’t have throngs of fans or tons of money. I’m a simple homeschooling mom who writes some stories and self-publishes them (and sometimes feels a bit silly doing it.).

But I’ve started to try to look at it as I have been given the opportunity to write and blog, take photos of my family, and teach my kids at home. I “get” to do all this. I don’t “have” to write or teach my kids – I’ve been given the gift of being able to do so.

I’ve been given a gift that many others never had the opportunity to have.

Saturday afternoon I was at a memorial service for a woman who spent a large part of her adult life in a nursing home – not because she was old but because Lyme Disease stole her life from her.

She wasn’t there of her own free will.

In fact, someone essentially incarcerated her there because he didn’t want to take care of her.

She spent the next 20 years deteriorating physically and mentally. Her mother tried to get doctors to care for her, to find out what was going on and why this was happening and eventually, doctors did feel they found the cause. The only problem was they had no idea how to stop it.

What was happening to this young woman also happened to her brother. Both of them suffered from damage to the brain from Lyme Disease, but doctors couldn’t figure out why they were the only family members it had affected this way.

Genetic testing was even done and not many answers came from that.

The brother, Gary, passed away a few years ago. He was in his 40s. Mechelle passed away a month ago in her early 50s. She caught an infection that her body couldn’t fight off.

She spent most of her life in a bed, watching her children grow up and have children of their own and then eventually she didn’t see much of at least one of those children who refused to see her before she died or come to her memorial service. Any dreams she might have had for her life were gone even before her life was physically gone.

It was heartbreaking to hear about it because I never visited Mechelle in that home. I feel awful but she was older than me, I didn’t know her well, and there was a lot of family drama that left me unsure of what I should be involved with and what I shouldn’t.

Mechelle and Gary had their lives cut short. They couldn’t live the way others could.

Their stories make me think of my great aunt who had mental issues and was placed in a mental home in the 1940s and never allowed to come home.

I’m not sure what my grandmother’s sister actually had but some said it was schizophrenia. She wrote letters begging to come back home but the family didn’t know how to care for her. They were also afraid she’d hurt my dad, who was a baby at the time. Not that she would hurt him on purpose, but when she had her breaks, I would guess, she didn’t think clearly and may have accidentally hurt him.

I believe having their daughter committed was very hard on my great-grandparents and maybe it was a guilt they lived with for their entire lives.

My grandmother’s sister died in state care sometime in the 1990s. I can’t even imagine it. Over 50 years living in a mental hospital, then a care home when the state shut down the mental hospitals – not with family or those you were familiar with and definitely no chance to live a somewhat normal life.

My grandmother and the rest of the family did visit Onieta and my aunt was there when she died, holding her hand, but my heart breaks when I think of the life she didn’t get to live – either because of actual mental illness or because doctors simply didn’t know how to help  her back then.

When I get down about my life and think things along the line of how boring or plain it is, I try to remind myself of Onieta, Mechelle and Gary, and even my aunt Dianne who suffered from heartbreak, rejection and health issues for her entire life.

I think how I’m lucky and how I’m able to explore and pursue my dreams, despite some health and financial limitations.

I may never be famous (gosh, I hope I’m not. I like my quiet life.), rich, or popular, but I’m blessed and lucky and I have the freedom to pursue what I love to do in life.

I have to stop squandering that opportunity – the gift God has given me.

No, not the gift of writing or creativity, or being a parent, but the gift of freedom that others either didn’t have or didn’t have for very long.

Sunday Bookends: He Has Risen! And other less important stuff

It’s time for our Sunday morning chat. On Sundays, I ramble about what’s been going on, what the rest of the family and I have been reading and watching, and what I’ve been writing, and some weeks I share what I am listening to.

First: Happy Easter! He has risen! He has risen indeed!

Now on to the less important stuff.

What I/we’ve Been Reading

This past week I finished Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie and would definitely recommend it. I loved the witty comments from Miss Marple and the humor woven in throughout the book. I don’t know if the ending was my favorite, but it was definitely an interesting way to be led to the guilty party.

The rest of the week I read a few chapters of The Lord God Made Them All by James Herriot and tried to decide what other books I might want to read from my TBR. I think I’ll start Little Women this week.

Other choices I have for later in the month and May:

Hell is Empty: A Walt Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson (I did start this one so might continue reading it)

Midwinter Murder by Agatha Christie (I was supposed to read this during the winter. Oops)

Deadly Ever After by Eva Gates

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

Death by the Seaside by T.E. Kinsley

All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese

I tried to read a little of Anne’s House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery, which I started months ago, but the old way of writing is a little annoying to me right now, especially when it is used to tell horribly sad stories about the characters in the book. The one girl’s father committed suicide and she found him. Her brother also died being run over by a wagon and she saw that too.

It was like Montgomery just wanted to throw in as much sadness, depression, and drama in there as possible and it is just a bit much. I may skip ahead and read other parts of the book but I guess I don’t like this book as much as I hoped. There is too much about the other characters in the little town Anne and Gilbert moved to and not enough about Anne herself so far. I will probably still try to finish the book, however.

I am still reading The Fellowship of the Ring and I feel like I will never finish it because it is so dense,   and I keep getting interrupted when I try to read it.

 Little Miss and I will be finishing Land of the Big Red Apple this week because it is due back at the library and we’ve had it out long enough and simply because we’ve been working on it so long.

The Husband is reading a collection of novellas called Standing by the Wall by Nick Harrington.

What’s Been Occurring

I didn’t have time to finish my Saturday Afternoon Chat post yesterday because I attended a memorial service about 45 minutes from our house for a family friend. The day before I went grocery shopping and then worked on Gladwynn Grant Gets Her Footing, forgetting that I had a blog post to finish. So, I will include what I was going to share in that post in this section of this post this week.

This past week we finally had warmer weather. Sure, we had two days of rain, but at least we had some sun before that.

I thought Tuesday would be a more relaxed day than my Monday, but it actually turned out to be a busier day. On Monday, Little Miss had a gymnastics make up class and The Boy had a guitar lesson 45 minutes north. My dad took The Boy to his guitar lesson, and I took Little Miss to hers since they were one right after another.

On Tuesday I was ready to work on my book, read, do homeschool lessons and just hang out but the day became busy when Little Miss asked for glue to make slime and we headed to the dollar store. Then from there we came home, and I did a little writing and prepared homeschool but then my neighbor called and told us to come down and see her daughter’s new boxer puppy. Little Miss was very excited to do this, so we headed out the door into the sunshine and warmth.

After that visit we returned home to do our homeschool lessons and then it was time for me to cook dinner. Little Miss wanted to go back outside again so we went into the side yard and I burned our trash. The other neighbors walked by with their little Shih tzu dogs, so we visited with them a few minutes. My bacon got a little overcooked, but not burned while we were doing that. After that, we had some dinner, listened to the Family Hour on our local radio station (Adventures in Odyssey and Lamplighter Theater, The Pond, and other such programs), and I folded one load of laundry from the four loads I needed to fold.

The Boy also headed downtown for his job that afternoon.

And I already mentioned that on Friday we went grocery shopping.

The funeral service was sad and difficult since it was a younger woman (in her 50s) who had been a nursing home for many years because of Lyme that attacked her brain.

What We Watched/are Watching

This past week I watched Houseboat to write about on the blog.

The Husband and I watched the last episode of season one of Miss Scarlet & The Duke.

Then we watched a couple episodes of a British sitcom called My Family. This is the show that Kris Marshall from Death in Paradise and Beyond Paradise got his start on.

We also watched an episode of Yes, Minister.

On my own, I watched episodes of Forgotten Way Farms on YouTube.

What I’m Writing

This week on the blog I shared:

What I’m Listening to

Little Miss and I have been listening to a lot of Matthew West lately and I just heard this song and loved it:

And today I’ll be listening to this at least once:

Blog Posts I Enjoyed This Past Week

Fuel for the Race, Our Millstones

Mama’s Empty Nest, What’s So Good About Good Friday

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 Tea: Book sales, good food, and impatiently waiting for spring

Good afternoon!

I’ve pulled out the mugs and the electric kettle and the new jar of honey for you! I also have a couple different teas to choose from – peppermint, cinnamon, elderberry, peach, and a lemon chamomile mix. I also have a sleepy-time tea but it’s the afternoon so I would hold off on that until this evening.

Which tea can I get you?

And can I offer you one of the cupcakes Little Miss made with her grandparents yesterday? They’re unicorn colored so lots of pink and light blue and some purple inside.

What kind of snacks do you like on a Saturday afternoon while you are reading or relaxing (if you’re able to do that)?

I like to munch on dried cherries from Aldi and sometimes I pour milk over frozen blueberries. The milk crystalizes around the blueberries making a cold, sweet treat. This snack isn’t the best thing to have when it is cold out, but I still eat it when it is cold.

So, how was your week? Ours wasn’t super busy until Friday, thankfully. Part of that was because Little Miss was recovering from her sinuses trying to adjust to the weather change. We thought it was a cold last Saturday but based on the fact none of us got it (and I get everything she gets) and she has this reaction to the weather change at least once every year, if not twice (since Pennsylvania likes to toy with us and have it be warm for a couple days, then cold, then warm, then cold and … you get the idea), we are now pretty certain it was because of the weather.

On Friday, The Husband and I had a date afternoon. We visited a library near us that was having a huge book sale, attended a groundbreaking The Husband had to take a photo for his job as a small town newspaper reporter, and then had lunch at a cute little restaurant in the middle of nowhere.

I didn’t find as many books as I hoped I would at the sale, but I did find a few classics I had been wanting to read.

I was most excited to find Little Women because I have been determined to actually read it this year. I also picked up A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens, Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park by Jane, and A Red Badge of Courage. For the non-classics, I picked up the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers and a Hamish Macbeth Mystery.

The restaurant was very small and cozy featuring rustic décor.

I kept taking photographs of the walls and set up. The food was delicious and delivered on simple paper plates, which I’m sure saves them a lot of money.

After we left there The Husband showed me the outside of the little village’s tiny library but didn’t let me go in. I think he figured we have enough books right now. Next to the library are the cutest little houses that were built for seniors. I don’t know what has happened to me but when I saw the library I said, “Oh! It’s so cute!” And then when I saw the little houses I said “Oh! They are so cute!”

I looked at The Husband and said, “Good grief! What has happened to me? Why do I keep saying things are so cute?”

But, well, they were cute. So there.

No April Fool’s jokes here. Spring is indeed taking its time to get to Pennsylvania and I am a bit impatient. We haven’t had much more snow but the other night we had snow squalls and freezing temps, it rained all day yesterday, and today it is supposed to get up to 68 and then drop fast to 27 after thunderstorms! It’s nuts but this is Pennsylvania weather, I guess.

I am writing this with our windows open to soak up the warmth and sun before it all goes to Hades in a handbasket around the time my son goes downtown for his job, which is only a couple of days a week for three hours a day right now. He was so excited to get the job, though. He went around town a few months ago putting in applications but not receiving any calls back.

He received a call last week from the owner of a local deli/diner/restaurant, asking if he would like to work part-time as a dishwasher.

Our town is super, super small if I haven’t told you before. The census says there are 600 people in our town, but I question if it is even that many. I guess there could be since we have a large apartment building in town. That small size means there are only about nine businesses in town and part of them do not hire anyone under the age of 18.  

The Boy doesn’t have his license yet, but he is studying for his permit.

The Husband took Little Miss to an Easter egg hunt today. It was funny because the weather forecast said it would be very rainy and windy today as storms move into the area. About two hours before the egg hunt was supposed to start, though, the sky opened up and it became a beautiful sunny day with hardly any clouds at all. It looks like the sun is going to stay out until after the hunt is all over, which is good for the little community that holds it because The Husband says they go all out and put a huge effort into the hunt, even offering other activities afterward.

Little Miss’s friends live near the little town it is being held in so she will be able to see them. (As I write this I have received a text from The Husband and apparently one of the friends is coming home with her. I’m guessing The Husband caved into that request because he had a bad night of sleep last night and is delirious.)

 As we look ahead to spring maybe, someday, possibly coming to Pennsylvania, Little Miss and I have already decided we want to try our hand at a garden again this year. Wish us luck because she and I both often get excited about such things in the beginning and then lose interest as the months go on.

As I wind down here, I thought I’d mention how I’ve been feeling a little guilty lately about that rant I had on here about dentists a few weeks back. I know dentists can be good people – but then why aren’t they? *cymbal clang* I’m kidding, of course. That last part just popped into my head, and I had to write it down even though I really know there are good dentists. I’ve just had some bad experiences and that’s tainted my view more than a bit.

Tomorrow in my Sunday Bookends I will share what I’ve been reading and about some ideas I have for my newsletter (there will be a new feature I’m going to offer, but am a bit afraid to do so), and also about some Youtube channels I am watching and what else I watched during the week.

Let me know what snacks you are enjoying this fine Saturday and what tea you are drinking – or whatever other beverage. I’m sure we will all be drinking cooler beverages as the weather warms up soon. I mean, if that little rodent in Punxsy ever stops holding spring hostage!

Saturday Afternoon Chat: Dog grooming, visit to a museum, and annoying cold thwarts our plans

I’m back to peppermint tea this Saturday for our afternoon chat.

I’m glad you could come for a visit. I really needed some adult conversation after a week of mainly being inside and working with children. Okay, one child. My eight-year-old who isn’t a fan of homeschool right now.

I had planned on adult conversation yesterday during a homeschool gathering, but Little Miss woke up with a sore throat so that was out. I spent my day trying to get her to eat despite her sore throat, writing a little, doing a little bit of school work with her, doing some dishes, cooking dinner, and only talking to adults online through Discord.

It isn’t that I like being super social. I can take about an hour or two of being social with other people and then I’m good for a few more days, sometimes a week.  

On Tuesday the kids and I traveled 45 minutes north to have Zooma the Wonder Dog groomed. While we waited for her, we visited the local library, which has a museum of local artifacts upstairs. To turn the day into a little bit of an educational field trip, the kids walked upstairs to visit the museum.

Little Miss and I have been studying Native American culture and history so it was fun to see some actual Native American artifacts that the museum has.

She was more interested in the fossils of animals they had, however. That and the star fishes and shark teeth.

The building was built in 1897 by Jesse Spalding in honor of his son. He asked for the building to become a library and museum.

It was renovated in 1927 but as far as I know, the marble staircases and impressive high windows are the originals. There is something both comforting and creepy about the building. I don’t know how to explain that.

Like most libraries these days, they have a permanent book sale out front, and I couldn’t help picking up a couple new books – a cozy mystery and a Christian fiction book by Bodie Thoene.

After we picked up Zooma we headed to the playground, which was packed since it was the first nice day our area has had in weeks. That may be where Little Miss picked up this little virus she’s got going on now.

Zooma and I wandered in the parking lot while The Boy and Little Miss played on the playground equipment.

Thursday it was raining so we didn’t do anything, and we were grounded again yesterday because of Little Miss’s sore throat.

I felt like I was washing dishes and cooking meals all the time this week, which left little time to write blog posts or read or even work on my latest book. I hope I will have more time for all those things next week, since, so far, we don’t have any big plans.

It looks like our plan to see Jesus Revolution tomorrow might be canceled because my parents were going to watch Little Miss for us since The Boy is staying at a friend’s house.  I don’t want to expose my parents to something that might be mild for Little Miss and major for them.

For now we will plan to stay home and watch movies like we did today. Little Miss said the movies we watched were too dramatic and after I cried through Brave she said, “well, I’m proud of you. You’ve had an emotional breakthrough.”

Hopefully we will all be well by Friday because I am looking forward to going to a book sale at a library near us.

Because I need more books I’ll never read. Ha!

So how was your week last week? Any big plans for this week? And what are you drinking while you was this? I have a list of teas I want to try thanks to all of you now.






Finding Joy with An Invisible Chronic Illness Book Tour with JustRead Publicity Tours

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness by Christopher Martin, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

Title: Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness

Author: Christopher Martin

Publisher: Martin Family Bookstore

Release Date: November 15, 2021

Genre: Christian Nonfiction; self-help; chronic illness

A 2022 Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner

“Finding Joy is a vital guide on how to best manage and navigate life with a chronic illness.” —James Nestor, New York Times bestselling author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art

Finding Joy presents a comprehensive, practical guide for living your best life with chronic illness. This psychology self-help book integrates personal and professional insights to give you tools for handling various aspects of living with a chronic illness. There is also a chapter specifically for the loved ones and caregivers of the chronically ill. While this book is designed for anyone with a chronic illness, the spiritual content early in the book suggests the value of sticking to your faith and offers several Bible references.

Ultimately, Finding Joy is an A-to-Z guide that critiques the literature and empowers the reader with:

  1. Positive psychology techniques. These range from self-compassion, positive reappraisal, positive self-talk, and pacing to positive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors such as optimism, humor, and volunteer work.
  2. Stress-reduction methods. These include tools such as mindfulness, breathing exercises, simplification, and (therapeutic) journaling.
  3. Proven therapies. Examples include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
  4. Effective communication strategies and their impact on relationships and even the ability to access quality healthcare.
  5. Numerous tips to both access and optimize your experience with high-quality healthcare.
  6. Important considerations for loved ones of the chronically ill, so they too can know how to best support their loved one and take care of themselves in the process.

“This book offers great value for anyone with chronic illness as it contains clear, practical, and actionable insights and steps that can be naturally implemented into daily life. An engaging, easy, and helpful read. Highly recommended.”—Alla Bogdanova, MSc, MIM, co-founder and past president of the International Empty Nose Syndrome Association

“The thing that sets it apart from others is that it’s written by afellow sufferer who can also give valuable insight as a psychologist.This topic could easily be heavy-going, but it is mainly an upbeat, positive read. Saying that, the author has taken care to balance positivity with reality.”—Elsa Bridger on

“What I loved the most about this book is theauthor has his own chronic illnessesso all methods are tried and tested. I really like the way this book was written as it didn’t feel like any other self-help book I have ever read; it felt more relaxed.You knew that the author understood you and his manner made me take more in.”—Ladyreading365 on

“I have had various invisible chronic illnesses for nearly forty years, but I was still able to find suggestions that will help me. So many of the things I have gone through are reflected in this book. I highly recommend this comprehensive book.”—Sue on

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | BookBub

My Review

Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness by Christopher Martin is a book that will help anyone who is facing a chronic illness for themselves or knows someone who is dealing with a chronic illness.

As someone who deals with a couple of chronic illnesses that are invisible to others, one of the most powerful reminders for me in this book is the importance to accept the illness we have been diagnosed with or deal with.

This acceptance doesn’t mean you give up on treating your illness or that you are happy about the illness, but by accepting it you can set goals in your life that are realistic to your situation.

I also really related to the section of the book where Martin urged those of us with chronic illness to show compassion to ourselves. This one hit home hard for me because he wrote about how people who deal with chronic illness blame themselves for their symptoms and perceived shortcomings which further adds stress to them, which further perpetuates the effects the illness.

This also opens the door for family members to join in on the criticism or suggest that maybe the person can do more than they feel they can. Family members can sometimes, though meaning well, try to push the person beyond their limitations to try to bring them out of depression about what they cannot do.

There are several other strong pieces of advice for those with chronic illness and their family members throughout the book. It is a book I plan to get an extra copy of to give to those I know struggling with chronic illness.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Christopher Martin is a school psychologist, husband, father, and an award-winning author who has lived with multiple debilitating chronic illnesses and their hidden effects – from chronic fatigue to significant pain to seemingly endless infections – for 25 years. As a result, he is all too aware of how disruptive and life-changing they can be to our daily lives.

But don’t let what was just shared fool you: while he is far from cured of his illnesses, he still maintains a fulfilling life and experiences ongoing joy, peace, and happiness. He appreciates the small things in life such as drinking hot tea, going for walks with his family (when he is feeling up to it), and reading inspirational books. It was his goal, in turn, to give back to others by doing what he loves to do: authoring books on these conditions.

He wrote his most recent book, Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness, because few books exist that offer comprehensive, practical guidance on chronic illness. And even fewer books exist that include mental health tips from the perspective of a psychologist and sufferer. Christopher enjoyed integrating his background in psychology with his experiences as a patient into realistic, easy-to-understand and apply strategies. His deepest hope in writing Finding Joy is to inspire the reader to live a more abundant life.

Learn more by visiting

Tour Giveaway

(2) winners will receive $25 paypal cash and an audiobook download of the book!

(3) additional winners will receive an audiobook download of the book!

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight March 22, 2023, and will last through 11:59 PM EST on March 29, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

Did you know I have a newsletter for my writing?

In case you didn’t know I have a newsletter for my writing stuff, well…I do. You can find it HERE and there is an update this week about my newest book that will release this summer. I shared a description and a cover reveal!

I’ll also share about it a little bit more here on Friday, which used to be “Fiction Friday” around here.

If you sign up for my Substack, you will receive an update about my writing, as well as some other writers, in your email once or twice a month. I may occasionally send an update more often if there is something super exciting going on, but otherwise, I’ll do my best not to clog your inbox up!

Sunday Bookends: Reading mysteries, watching mysteries, and little girls running wild

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 finished Confessions To A Stranger by Danielle Grandinetti last week and hope to finish The Burning Issue of the Day (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery) By T.E. Kinsey today or tomorrow.

I’ve already started Murder at the Vicarage which is a Miss Marple Mystery by Agatha Christie. I had started watching this episode on BritBox until The Husband let me know it was based on this book he picked up for me a few weeks ago. I decided to try to read the book instead.

I’m also still reading/listening to The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien with The Boy.

Little Miss and I are reading Land of the Big Red Apple by Roger Lea MacBride. This is a book loosely based on the childhood of Rose Wilder, the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Almanzo Wilder. Roger was adopted by Rose when she couldn’t have children and later became the sole trustee of the Ingalls-Wilder estate. He also wrote a series of children’s books based on Rose and the women in her family. We found this book at our local library.

The Husband was taking his Sunday afternoon when I was writing this so I don’t know what he is reading this week.

The Boy is reading The Fellowship of the Ring with me, along with text from the various school subjects he has.

What’s Been Occurring

I rambled a bit about what’s been occurring in my post yesterday. In that post I gave an update on Little Miss’s recovery since her dental surgery.

I’ll share that again here for those who are like me and just can’t read every single blog post a blogger writes.

Little Miss recovered well this week after her dental surgery last week. I was really a mess for a few days while we tried to figure out what she could eat without some of her important molars.

I kept offering her different foods to eat but some days she didn’t want anything. She would say she wasn’t hungry. I was worried she was in pain, but she told me she wasn’t. Still, she was very down and not bouncing around like she normally does, which I did expect but still didn’t like to see.

Over the weekend I made homemade potato and cheese, sweet potato, and cream of chicken soups. Not only did they give her something with some protein and nutrients in it but it reminded me how easy soups can be to make and that I need to make them more.

I cut up meat really tiny on Monday and offered it to her along with some French fries, which she found she could eat fairly easily.

She looked up at me and said, “Mom. Stop. Let me go at my own pace.”

So I stopped and let her ask for what food she wanted. By Tuesday she was back to eating sandwiches and pretty much the food she’d been able to eat before. On Wednesday she was able to eat potato chips and she was so excited.

Yesterday Little Miss had two of her friends over for the first time in a few months and they had a blast playing together both inside and out.

They didn’t stay outside too long because it was very cold, especially the wind. It is even colder today. I’m guessing we won’t see real spring weather until April, or at least I hope we will see some in April.

Our cat Pixel is not a big fan of noise or a lot of people being in the house so at one point I watched her crawl across the floor, low to the ground, her ears laid back and clearly traumatized by all the craziness going on around her. I let her out the back door and she spent the afternoon curled up somewhere by our garden shed. She was forced to return to the house before the girls left because the temperature dropped very fast and the girls were picked up late, but she hid somewhere in the house, coming out only when all was quiet again.

Little Miss had had a full day with gymnastics early in the day and playing hard all day with her friends. I thought she’d fall asleep early but she fought it and wanted to stay up late with me and her brother. Her dad had already collapsed after having a busy day himself.

I said yesterday that we don’t have anything we have to do this week other than Kids’ Club, but I forgot that on Tuesday we have to drive about 45 minutes north to get Zooma the Wonder Dog a much-needed grooming and nail trimming. After that our week is fairly clear.

Today I am making corned beef, cabbage and pre-made mashed potatoes for our belated St. Patrick’s Day. We were going to share this with my parents but they had a busy week and are resting up.

What We watched/are Watching

The Husband and I have been watching Magpie Murders, a mystery mini-series on PBS Masterpiece. It is based on a book by Anthony Horowitz that The Husband has read, but I have not yet.

We also watched an episode of Miss Scarlet & The Duke and I hope we can finish season one this week.

On Friday I watched The Quiet Man for St. Patrick’s Day. This movie has become my favorite movie over the last several years, replacing Singing in the Rain, which is now second.

I’ve also found a new vlogger to watch:

What I’m Writing

In the last 17 days I have written 17,000 words on Gladwynn Gets Her Footing. I don’t know if I’m going to keep all those words and may decide I have to rewrite half of it, but it’s been fun to dive into a different world for a bit. This one will be a cozy mystery, which I’ve read a lot of, but never written one of. We will see if it is an utter failure or not.

I will share more about expected release dates and a cover for the book later this week.

Last week on the blog I shared:

What I’m Listening To

The Husband found a jazz duo – Rachael and Vilray on Apple Music last week so I’ve been listening to them a lot when I write. Their music is calming and I found several videos on YouTube so I can just plug my headphones in on the laptop and write away while they sing away.

If you’d like to see them live, you can watch this YouTube video. It’s similar to listening to their recorded albums:

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 Tea: Confused weather (again), recovering kids, and library visits

It’s a chilly March day and I’m enjoying a bit of organic peppermint tea today for my beverage as I sit down to chat with you. I plan to have some lemon in hot water later on in the day, if I still have lemons.

As we head toward the meteorological Spring, Pennsylvania still isn’t ready to leave winter weather completely behind.

Early last week we had snow, then we had one day of sun and then we were back to winter again with dropping temperatures. Today the weather promises to be gloomy and chilly but at least no snow.

I’ve grown weary of trying to start and keep fires going in our woodstove, even though I’m glad to have it. My sinuses struggle when I have to lean over the fire and try to get it going after it has decided it isn’t going to take. I like the fire, though, when I (or someone else) gets it going. It helps our heating bill, for one, but the house also feels cozier with it lit and roaring. Last night I turned around as I went upstairs and smiled at it and realized how much I’ll miss seeing it when the weather warms up and there is no need for it.

Little Miss recovered well this week after her dental surgery last week. I was really a mess for a few days while we tried to figure out what she could eat without some of her important molars.

I kept offering her different foods to eat but some days she didn’t want anything. She would say she wasn’t hungry. I was worried she was in pain, but she told me she wasn’t. Still, she was very down and not bouncing around like she normally does, which I did expect but still didn’t like to see.

Over the weekend I made homemade potato and cheese, sweet potato, and cream of chicken soups. Not only did they give her something with some protein and nutrients in it but it reminded me how easy soups can be to make and that I need to make them more.

I cut up meat really tiny on Monday and offered it to her along with some French fries, which she found she could eat fairly easily.

She looked up at me and said, “Mom. Stop. Let me go at my own pace.”

So I stopped and let her ask for what food she wanted. By Tuesday she was back to eating sandwiches and pretty much the food she’d been able to eat before. On Wednesday she was able to eat potato chips and she was so excited.

Little Miss, The Boy, and I visited the library that same day to pick out some books for Little Miss’s unit on birds that we are doing and just to get out of the house.

It was nice to sit in the children’s section and reach behind me and just pluck books off the shelves to look at while Little Miss and the Boy built creations with the Legos there. I don’t know why they don’t play with the Legos we have at home as much as they will there, but whatever.

I truly could spend most of my day at the library if people weren’t there. I know. That’s awful, isn’t it? As an introvert, though, sometimes I get drained just by making myself talk to people. We were there a couple of hours and I talked to the library assistants for quite a while and by the time we got home I needed a nap. Sadly, I couldn’t have one because I had to make dinner and then we headed back out for Kids Club at the church my parents used to go to. The program used to be called Awana.

The rest of the week was homeschool or hanging out until I kicked the kids out on Thursday to go pick up sticks in the yard that we can use to start fires. It was close to 60 that day. By Friday the temps had started to drop again.

Soon the temps will be rising and staying up and I’ll feel guilty if I don’t take the kids outside to do things so I better enjoy these cooler temps for now anyhow. I put too much pressure on myself when the weather is warmer out. I think I have to be super mom and expose my children to outdoor activities every day. I do like being outside, but I need to get over feeling like we have to do “big” things on nice days – like trips to parks or lakes or something. Doing that once in a while is very nice, though.

This upcoming week doesn’t have anything too exciting going on so far.

The Husband and I are going to try to head out tomorrow to see Jesus Revolution at a theater about 40 minutes from us. After that I have a pretty open week, other than Kids Club on Wednesday and gymnastics on Saturday.

Today I brought an extra child home with me from gymnastics. One of Little Miss’s friends came to play for the day.

So how about you? How does your upcoming week look? Is anything exciting planned? What warm or cold beverage will you be drinking to get you through the week?

The remarkable life of Charles Reynolds: pastor, missionary, troublemaker, stubborn Irishman, thorn in the side, devoted friend

On St. Patrick’s Day, I think of him . . .

Boondock Ramblings

I pulled into the driveway of a little house that looked as if it had been lifted out of Northern Ireland and dropped, unscathed, into the hills of Pennsylvania. The ceilings were low, the windows were small and cute and the stone fireplace had been built by hand.

On one side of the house was a cow pasture and on the other a tiny, century-old cemetery with a sign on the metal gate that read “Enter At Your Own Risk.”

I blew my nose as I parked and began to rehearse what I would say to the elderly Irishman inside, determined to not let him talk me into staying for tea. I did not want tea. I wanted to go home, lay down and fall asleep after a long day of work at the local weekly newspaper and catching a cold that had only gotten worse as the day went…

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