Boondock Ramblings

Sunday Bookends: Too much depressing news, but also fun on birthday

Welcome to my Sunday Bookends post where I ramble about what I’ve been doing, reading, watching, listening to, writing, etc. each Sunday.

 What’s Been Occurring

Last Sunday was my birthday and we spent it with my parents. They bought steaks to cook on the grill and then my dad built a fire in the side yard and the kids made s’mores.

I ate some of the chocolate but can’t do full s’mores because of my weird food allergies (I know. I’m so weird. I swear I only mention it because my weird food issues just crack me up sometimes, not to try to paint myself as a victim. It is not the end of the world I can’t eat s’mores. Really. I can eat plenty of other things that are bad for me, including chocolate. . . as long as said chocolate doesn’t have corn syrup).

The rest of the week was very tame, other than the fact cold, wet weather moved in and as it always seems to happen when that happens, Little Miss got sick. As of last night she was running a 102-degree fever off and on, pretty run down, but still insisting she was getting better. She might be right because each year when the weather changes from warm to cold, this happens to her, including the fever. It lasts about a day and then it’s gone. I am hoping this keeps the same trend.

If she is feeling better by Thursday, and no one else comes down with anything, we will be going to a science class at a local Christian camp and then next Saturday we will go back to the camp for their fall open house, which will also be on her seventh (hold me!) birthday. Next Sunday we will celebrate her birthday with my parents.

 What I’m Reading

 I finished the fifth book in the Rembrandt Stone series and am now impatiently waiting for book six, which is supposed to be the last. Boy, I hope they clean up this guy’s timeline mess-ups in the last book or my head is going to explode!

It’s a good series. Easy to read and captivating. I recommend it to anyone. It is clean but does mention some crimes that are hard to read about.

It is written by two Christian fiction writers and one of the writer’s sons, but it is not Christian fiction.

I am planning to exclusively read The Weather Girls Book One: Sunny this week, but also finish up Creative Fusion, a book about how creativity is given to us by God. Both of these books are for book tours for Celebrate Lit and I will provide reviews for them, and the Rembrandt Stone books, in October.

So far, The Weather Girls is a good book and capturing my attention more than Creative Fusion. I think that’s because Creative Fusion has some very deep thoughts and I am having issues focusing on anything too deep these days. It is extremely well written, and it is a book I will most likely go back to from time to time in my writing/creating journey.

I really hope to finish the Longmire book next week, but I will probably take a break this week because it has a heavy subject matter and after reading way too much about the Gabby Petito murder case, I can’t really handle a book about the murder of a young girl. It makes me extremely down, depressed, and anxious, so I will take a break and pick it back up next week. I really do want to find out what happens and I enjoy Craig Johnson’s writing.

What I’ve Been Watching

I’ve been watching way too much on the Gabby Petito murder case this week, but then I started to break it up with The House of Eliot because that show has a much lighter subject matter.

Hubby and I also watched more of Upstart Crow, a British sitcom about the life of William Shakespeare. It’s ridiculous and I need that right now with all the craziness of the world.

I barely check the news anymore. Just can’t stomach it and I have no idea who is telling the truth any longer.

What I’m Writing

I’m working on The Next Chapter and shared a chapter this week that I found a ton of typos in after I posted it. Argh! I will probably replace what I posted with a corrected version later this week. Oh well, my fiction is a work in progress, as I often explain. And it is just fiction I am posting for fun on my blog, so I am not going to stress too much.

On the blog this week:

Comfort reading with The Cat Who . . . book series

Randomly Thinking: Florida men stories, murder case obsessions, behind on blog reading and other random thoughts

Fiction Friday: The Next Chapter Chapter 4

Blog Posts I Enjoyed This Week

I mentioned in my Randomly Thinking post this week that I am very behind on reading blogs. I did, however, read a few good ones this week as I caught up on my favorite bloggers and thought I’d share a few of those posts with you.

Erin’s After Dark Musings hit a nerve with me because it sounded a lot like how I have been feeling lately.

I also enjoyed this post from Words From Annelli about entire houses being moved.

Our Little Red House wrote about her adventures going to five stores in one day. She always makes shopping sound fun.

Mama’s Empty Nest wrote about her love for lighthouses and one she visited in Rochester, N.Y.

So that is my week in review. How about you? Let me know how and what you have been doing in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: My birthday ice cream, Addicted to Rembrandt Stone, and I’m not leaving my house this week

What’s Been Occurring 

Today is my birthday and I’m old. 

That’s all I’ll say about that.

Along a similar line of thought, I am a very introverted person. Even when I worked for newspapers, I had to force myself to talk to people and do the interviews necessary to get the story. I essentially became another person for as long as it took me to talk to the person and then I withdrew back into my shell. I have no idea how I did it for 14 years and it is no wonder I almost mentally cracked at the end. Or maybe I actually did crack, which may explain my mental status some days. *wink*

Now, ten years or so after leaving the paper, I am even more introverted than before.

If I am forced to attend something in public, it can take me three days to recover from the mental stimulation. I am not kidding. I am mentally, emotionally, and physically drained after events where I have to speak to or interact in some way with people. Therefore, I only plan one outing a week, if that, any more. We have not been attending a physical church, which has lifted one interaction from my shoulders. All that smiling and saying “I’m fine. I’m great. Things have been so good,” for an hour or more is exhausting.

I had one event planned with my daughter. A science camp 35 minutes away at a local Christian camp. We went, we met up with some of our friends we hadn’t seen in a while, we came home. I breathed a sigh of relief because I had a day in between when my husband wanted to take me out to dinner for my birthday.

I wouldn’t have minded mind if we’d had dinner at home and just hung out and did nothing, but my husband was brought up that when there is a birthday, there is a trip to a restaurant to celebrate, so we went to a restaurant. Once I get to the restaurant, I usually have fun, but leading up to it I’m always stressed the entire time drive, thinking I am going to do something stupid in public like pass out, trip over something, get sick and shaky or have a full-blown panic attack.

That’s normal right? 

I know. 

I didn’t think so either.

So, I’m mentally preparing for the Saturday event with my husband (we also had to go to a wine festival he had to cover for the paper. Wine might have helped relax me, but I don’t drink alcohol. I know. I’m such a weirdo.), when my dad calls and wants me to take my children to an event at a church 45 minutes from our house on Friday night. I’m thinking, “No. Sorry, my human interaction quota has been reached. My tank in that area is full while my emotional and mental tank is drained.”

But how do you say ‘no’ to a very persistent man in his late-70s? You don’t, sadly.

And just for the record, I did have fun at the restaurant, but I am still going to do everything I can to not interact with any humans outside my own house this next week. Okay, I probably will have some interaction, but not on a big scale, because my brain and heart really can’t take it. Give me a cup of tea, a good book, and my computer to write my silly little stories on and I am happy. Thank you very much.

My biggest excitement for my birthday weekend besides my dinner out with my husband wasn’t any gift — it was ice cream. Häagen-Dazs ice cream to be specific. I haven’t been able to find Häagen-Dazs locally for almost 18 months. In a way that has been a good thing. I try not to eat too many high sugar items and Haagen-Dazs is a weakness of mine. The tiny stores in our tiny town don’t carry it and I never think of it when I am in a bigger store.

But this past week, I knew what I wanted for my birthday. A pint of chocolate Haagen-Dazs. This is sad to say but when I took a bite of it, I actually teared up. I’d forgotten how amazing it is. An ice cream with only a handful of ingredients, no high fructose corn syrup, or anything else I can’t eat. Plus, I used to eat Haagen-Dazs when I was pregnant with my son and he’s about to be 14 in another month and a half so . . . my emotions are high right now. 

I rarely treat myself to anything so decadent. I always feel guilty but yesterday I managed to feel guilty for only a few minutes before devouring half a carton on the 40-minute drive home by taking tiny little bites and savoring every single bite.

It had been so long since I’ve had it, they had actually changed the design of the cartons. I also almost panicked because when we were looking for it, all I could find were a bunch of weird concoctions. I just wanted plain chocolate, not cookie dough, caramel and chocolate, etc. I was afraid I’d have to go home with plain vanilla, which is okay, but not chocolate. 

Anyhow, enough about my favorite ice cream . . .                                                       

What I’m Reading

I am ripping through the fifth book in the Rembrandt Stone series by David James Warren, Blood From A Stone. I’m sure I’ll finish it this week and probably cry a lot while I wait for book six, the final book in the series.

I wrote a review of the fourth book in the series last month. To give you a little background, the books are from a time traveler series and focus on detective Rembrand Stone who goes back in time to solve a series of cold cases and in the process messes up his life. I find myself chewing my nails and yelling at the book often. “No, Rem! Stop!” The book includes some romance with Rem’s wife as he fights to keep his life with her, but also keeps messing it up with the changes he makes in the past. Mixed in it all is an unsolved mystery by a serial killer.

I will probably continue and finish The Weather Girls, Book 1: Sunny, as well as it seems an easy read.

I would love to finish Craig Johnson’s Another Man’s Moccasins as well because I want to know what happens! I am reading the other books for a book tour so I need to finish them first.

Little Miss and I are reading Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder at night and during the week we are reading Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry.

 What I’m Watching

This weekend we watched a couple more episodes of Season 1 of Yellowstone (which we can’t watch when the kids are around) and earlier in the week I watched more of The House of Eliot.

What I’m Writing

 I didn’t share much on the blog this week because I either had events with the kids, had homeschool to do, or was working on The Next Chapter (the third book in the Spencer Valley Chronicles). 

I did share Chapter 3 of The Next Chapter on Friday.

 What I’m Listening To

I’m discovering music by accident these days when I leave Youtube on while writing and it skips to a new artist like Jimmy Allen singing with Abby Anderson.

Sunday Bookends: A day out, new books, and addicted to The House of Eliott

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

What’s Been Occurring

After our scary incident with Little Miss last week, we didn’t do much this week except take it easy and schoolwork. Little Miss didn’t have to do too much schoolwork on Tuesday, but we picked up our work the next two days and then both kids had Friday off for a family day. We used our family day for something simple — a trip 45 minutes south for some lunch from Weis Markets and playing at a small playground we all like near the store.

Our view on the drive.

This week it will be more of the same with schoolwork planned and then maybe a day out for the husband and I on the weekend for my birthday.

There is a science class being held later in the week for homeschoolers at a local camp about 40 minutes from us (probably a little less) that I plan to take Little Miss too as well.

What I’m Reading

I’m finishing up Anne of Green Gables this week and have also started a book for a book tour called Sunny: Book 1 of The Weather Girls.

I am also continuing to read Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson which keeps getting pushed back because of books I’m reading for book tours. I don’t have to have future books finished for another couple of weeks, so I hope to finish that book as well this week.

But it may get put aside again because I was just sent Blood from a Stone, the latest by David James Warren – the next book in the Rembrandt Stone Series. I am going to be reading it for a blog tour and I can’t wait to get into it after the cliffhanger in book four. This is the fifth book in the series and then we have one more book after this one before it is *sniff* all over.

Little Miss and I will finish The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder this week and are also continuing a book about Quacker Artist Benjamin West for her social studies/English curriculum.

The Boy is reading Know What You Believe by Paul Little for school and will move on to a different book in the next couple of weeks.

The husband is reading The Wheel of Time.

What I’m Watching

I’m completely hooked on The House of Eliott, a British drama on Britbox about two sisters who start a fashion business in the 1920s. I think there are only three seasons of it so I will enjoy it while I can.

I talk to the computer screen when I watch it. It’s sad.

“Oh, yeah, Arthur? You think so? Because I don’t. I think you’re going to be sent packing, you arrogant oaf.” (I didn’t actually say oaf, but it sounded funnier if I claimed I did.)

“That’s right, Sebastian. You’re going to Paris on your own because you are a total jerk.”

“Sheesh, Evie. You are so blasted dramatic. You’re seriously a big baby. Grow up.”

The kids look at me confused and I just say, “Oh, it’s just mommy’s show.”

Only I don’t really say “mommy” because both of my children stopped calling me mommy around the age of 3. One called me “mama” until he was 8 or so and the other one started calling me “Mom” in a very adult tone at the age of 2 and a half. It was creepy and still is.

The husband and I have also been watching Upstart Crow, a British sitcom about the life of William Shakespeare. It’s just the level of ridiculousness we need right now.

What I’m Writing

I’m working on the third book in the Spencer Valley Chronicles and this week things finally started to click. I got so into writing the story Friday that I wasn’t even very interested in looking at all the crazy, scary news. I have to keep writing so I know what happens to my characters. Say what? Yeah, sounds crazy. I’m writing the book, but I seriously have no idea where this one is going.

I mean, I know somewhat where it is going. I have some of it mapped out, but not all of it so it’s fun discovering who my characters are and what their stories are. I’m excited for this one. I think it might be a little different than the first two.

There will still be some romance, but romance isn’t going to be the main focus of this one – or will it?

Maybe there will be some romance, but it won’t be the same as a traditional “romance”, if you know what I mean. Anyhow, I am having fun writing it and I hope readers will have fun reading it.

I am sharing the chapters on the blog on Fiction Friday as I did with my other books. As usual these are rough drafts, of sorts, with typos, plot holes, that will be fixed and changed before the final book is published. You can find a link to the first two chapters HERE.

On the Blog Last Week

What I’m Listening To

I’ve discovered a new artist who doesn’t seem to have an album out yet, but I love her style. Victory Boyd.

Recent Blog Posts I enjoyed from Other Bloggers

Living Water: Our Story, Chapter 8

Thoughts and Hope for the Times

16 Mind-Blowing Uses for Coffee Filters

So that’s my week in review. Let me know what you are reading, watching, listening to and doing in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: The Last Swim, Cooler Nights, Family Visits and classic books

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’m reading, writing, doing, watching, blah, blah. Feel free to share what you are reading, writing, doing, watching, blah, blah, blah in the comments or a post of your own. And don’t worry, this week I’m not focusing on anything political or stressful like the other day. That’s not a usual thing for my blog, luckily.

What’s Been Occurring 

This week temperatures dropped in our area, and it was wonderful. We pulled out the comforters at night even. We were finally able to shut off the air conditioners after weeks of humid weather that made me feel like a wet noodle and simply out of it. I will miss being able to swim in the pool, but other than that, I won’t miss the humidity of our summer.

We had our last swim in the pool last Sunday. I stayed in as long as I could because I knew it would be my last time to feel the water cool around me and instead we will soon feel cool air around us. I don’t mind that as long as I am inside with a good book or show, of course. *wink*

My dad even got in for a bit, which he rarely does.

We started school this past week, as I mentioned in a previous post, and spent time outside almost every day with hands-on learning with Little Miss because she’s really not a fan of bookwork. We still did bookwork, but we just did less this week than she would have done in a traditional school setting, which is what works for her.

Friday night my dad suggested we all go to the county fair for the truck pull. The kids, dad and I, and a friend of my son’s, went to the tiny fairgrounds and ate some fair food, bought a few used books, rode some kiddie rides (Little Miss), saw people we knew, and then the boys watched the truck pull with my dad. The noise was too much for Little Miss who opted to go into a jump house and eat ice cream instead.

The stands were packed for the pulls on new concrete barrier seats which made the site look like a mini collesium.

Even though the fairgrounds aren’t that large, Little Miss’s legs were tired after a few trips back and forth across it. After we got to the rides, I realized The Boy had my keys, so I had to walk all the way back to where he was to get them. There is no – *gasp* — cell service at the fairgrounds so I couldn’t text The Boy to ask them to bring the keys to me. This fair is literally, in the middle of nowhere.

I didn’t eat the fair food because of all my health stuff, but I did break a couple of pieces of Little Miss’s pizza off. It wasn’t too bad, but I can’t say it made me miss pizza that much. It left me with a little bit of acid reflux, as wheat products often do when I sneak them, but that also could have been the chocolate and chips I snuck earlier in the day. Yes, I try to eat healthy but even I snap at times, especially lately for some reason.

I found a book sale there, which was fun for me. I’ve started seeking book sales out now that I’m reading more than I used to. I love finding some gems. This week I found the last two books in a series by Ted Dekker. I apparently have a talent for finding the last books in a series. Last time I found the last three in a Terri Blackstock series and later found the first one on sale on kindle. I would still like to find the paperback of the first to go with the other three I have in paperback. Now I will have to find the first book in this series, which may have been at that sale if I had looked closer, but I was tired of looking.

My husband had a different fair to cover for the newspaper and he grabbed this awesome shot at a horse show during it.

Yesterday we traveled two hours away to visit my aunt who will be 89 in November. She’s being moved into a nursing home some time in the near future so we wanted to try to see her at home before the nursing home rules made it more difficult.

She had a small stroke a few years ago and she isn’t able to smile much so her expression may have appeared stoic, but she told me she really enjoyed the visit. This is the first time we have visited her in a couple of years for a variety of reasons, mainly because of You Know What, but also because the last time we planned to see her, earlier in the summer, she ended up in the hospital and we were told she wasn’t doing well. We honestly thought that we would not see her in her house again, or even alive again.

My dad prayed for her and asked the church to pray. When he reached the hospital she was responding to antibiotics doctors had started because it turned out she had a severe urinary tract infection. I had suspected that, hoping it was that and not another stroke, and luckily the doctors had as well. UTIs in the elderly are known to lead to hallucinations and delirium. There is your medical tip for the day.

She’s doing well now and they are working on getting her into a home, but there have been some complications (the staff is on strike, for one). Currently, she lives at home with 24-7 nurse care.

She can’t walk well and tires easily but she’s mentally sharp, just like her mom, my grandmother, was at the same age and beyond.

Leaving her was a bit heartbreaking. My daughter loves going to see her and gave her a big hug and my aunt said as they hugged. “I wish I was young again like her.”

We enjoyed exploring my aunt’s yard while the adults visited. Wait. I’m supposed to be an adult too. I forgot. So, I did visit some, but also spent time in the yeard with Little Miss.

What I’m Reading

I’ve been reading a couple of chapters a day of Anne of Green Gables, savoring and enjoying how I can escape inside a book, leaving the craziness of the world behind.

I am reading a couple of books for book tours, one for an author friend, and, yes, I am still reading Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson.

Little Miss and I are reading Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry during the day for school and The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder at night before bed.

The Long Winter is stressing me out. I’m sure I read it as a child but I can’t remember what happens or how they get through this winter. Of course, I know they do because Laura lived to write the books. What’s really driving me crazy is how Almanzo (who she is not yet married to) and his brother Royal offer food to Charles Ingalls and Charles eats it, knowing his family is across town starving to death.

 Laura and her sisters and Ma are eating brown bread and potatoes for months while Royal and Almanzo are eating bacon and pancakes and all kinds of wonderful food. It makes me want to scream! Of course, it is becoming clear that Almanzo will save the town by finding wheat for them during some seven months of back-to-back blizzards, but in the meantime, I’m just flabbergasted that Pa didn’t take meat home to his family since they had been craving it. I know the book doesn’t include every detail so it’s possible that in real life he did take them home some bacon. I should probably calm down and cancel that whole campaign to have the book canceled. *wink*

I’ve been reading even after Little Miss falls asleep, but then I feel guilty and bookmark it until the next night. The cold weather we’ve been having has actually fit in well with reading a book called The Long Winter.

The Boy is reading a book called Know Why You Believe by Paul Little for school. In a couple of weeks, he will be reading about Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence, which I think a lot more of us Americans should read in our lifetime.

What I’m Watching

My son and I started To Kill A Mockingbird for school this week and have not finished it yet together. I did watch the end of it myself. We read the book last year for school. The acting in the movie was amazing and I am not surprised Gregory Peck won the Oscar for best actor for it.

The Boy and I watched The Russians Are Coming. He and his friend are fascinated with Russian history. If you haven’t seen this movie it is a comedy, or. . . what. It was made in 1966 at the height of all the drama between the United States and Russia. I’m not sure what to make of it. I can’t say it was good. I can’t say it was bad. It was just . . . uh. . . interesting.

It stars Carl Reiner, Eva Marie Saint, Alan Arkin, Jonathan Winters, etc.

I also continued to watch some The House of Eliot, about sisters who start a fashion business in the 1920s.

What I’m Listening To

This week I enjoyed listening to Elevation Worship’s album Graves Into Gardens (Morning and Evenings) and some more of Danny Gokey’s latest.

What I’m Writing

I’m working on The Next Chapter (the third book in the Spencer Valley Chronicles). I posted the tentative first chapter Friday.

Blog posts this week on my blog included:

Homeschooling Notes: Learning doesn’t have to happen at a desk

The fallacy of the current narrative that the unvaccinated deserve to die

Fiction Friday: The Next Chapter Chapter 1

Looking back at August through photos

Blog posts I liked this week

I enjoyed a few blog posts from other blogs this week, including:

Pain Awareness Month from Brainless Blogger.

Let Go and Let God by For His Purpose

The Vaccine Requirement by Manitoba Blog

Good Grief by Fuel For the Race

So that’s my week in review. How about you? What are you reading, watching, listening to, or doing these days? Let me know in the comments.

Little Miss found a grasshopper in the yard the matched her pants.

Sunday Bookends: Rom-coms and classics, mysteries and homeschool

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I share what I’m reading, watching, listening to, writing and doing.

What I’m Reading

I finished Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong this week and enjoyed it. The ending was not what I was expecting, which was a bit disappointing, but also refreshing. If you read the book, you’ll know what I mean. It was a well-written, romantic comedy with a Christian message, but not a “beat you over the head” Christian message. The message was more about how God wants us to approach marriage and that didn’t come until toward the end of the book. The rest of the book was full of humorous and witty exchanges among the characters.

I’ll offer more of a review in a couple of weeks during a blog tour I am a part of.

I have a couple more books to read for blog tours in the next few weeks. The next one is a children’s book, so it shouldn’t take me long.

I am determined to finish Anne of Green Gables this week after I set it aside a few weeks ago and never got back to it.

I am also hoping to read more of Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson.

What I’m Watching

I started watching The House of Elliott, a show on Acorn TV about two sisters who are searching for ways to support themselves after their doctor father dies and they learn he spent his money on a life they didn’t know about.

The show is from the early 90s and I don’t know much else because if I look it up, it will ruin the story for me, I’m sure.

It’s very interesting so far.

My husband and I have also been watching Poirot and To the Manor Born.

We also started watching McDonald and Dodds, a British crime show and so far we really like it. We especially liked Dodds character.

What’s Been Occurring

This past week I started writing down lesson plans for our first week of school next week, which will actually be a half week. We start on Wednesday.

My son’s assignments overwhelmed me a little because there is so much to his Social Studies. The curriculum doubles as English and I already know I’m going to have some arguments about the books he’s being asked to read, but hopefully he will get over it without too much drama.

I also panicked a little because I didn’t have a science curriculum for Little Miss yet but then I discovered I had picked up a science book last year that will work perfect for her until I decide on a set curriculum. She’s in first grade, so I’m not as stressed about her science as I was my son’s.

I think reading will probably be the easiest for my daughter to tackle this year since she’s been reading and typing full sentences this summer while playing online games or games with her brother.

Then again, she also really loves math, so that may go pretty good as well. We shall see.

The big goal this year is for me not to freak out and feel like I’m not doing enough, which is my usual trap throughout the school year.

What Was on the Blog Last Week

Last week I posted Hometown Views: Main Streets with Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs;

Scranton? Why? What’s in Scranton?

Randomly Thinking: Brutal cats, black and white pets, the neighbors’ water hose and other random thoughts

This week I am hoping to work more on The Next Chapter so I can hit a February deadline and maybe release the book in April of next year. I might start to share it on the blog for Fiction Friday, but I haven’t decided yet.

That’s my week in review. How about your week? Reading anything interesting? Watching anything good? Let me know in the comments.

And if you would like to join me in the future for Sunday Bookends, write your post and leave me a link in the comments. I hope to figure out a way to add a sign up link to the posts, but I haven’t figured that out yet. Hopefully in a future week.

If you want to keep up on my fiction writing, you can follow me on Instagram or Facebook or MeWe.

Sunday Bookends: An old barn, busy reading, and new music to listen to

Sunday Bookends April 21

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I share what I’m reading, watching, listening to, writing and doing.

What’s Been Occurring

This past week we mainly recovered from last week, which was fairly busy. We didn’t do much until Saturday when we traveled to Scranton to visit, well, Scranton. I will write about this more in depth later in the week. Suffice it to say, when we told my parents we were traveling to Scranton we received the question most people in PA ask when someone says they’re going to Scranton. “Why? What’s in Scranton?” I’ll expound on that further in my post later this week.

On Friday I went to my parents to look at some books Dad had in the barn and wanted me to look at to see if I wanted them. They were crawling with spiders and dusty and mainly Reader’s Digest books, so I was not interested. They are now going to the dump. While in the barn, I had a bit of a panic moment when I felt the floor of the barn bounce up and down, wondering if it would cave underneath me.

The barn is very old, and my dad has been considering having it pulled down. He and The Boy recently cleaned it out to prepare for such an eventuality. For now, there are still a few pieces of antique furniture and, of course, old books, stored there.

When my son saw my panic, he thought it was pretty funny and proceeded to bounce on the boards to make it move more. A few minutes later he told my dad about my panic and my dad proceeded to do the same thing with the boards. Those two are very similar in their behaviors and personalities. They also think they are actually funny.

What I’m Reading

This week I finished Rose Among Thornes by Terrie Todd, after skipping through much of it because I didn’t enjoy the style of writing, which was mainly telling the entire story like a person relaying what happened instead of showing what happened through description. I did, however, enjoy the story overall and the subject matter about Japanese internment camps in Canada during World War II. Just because I didn’t like the way the story was told, does not mean the book is not good. It was just not a style of writing I enjoy. My mom disagreed with me and did enjoy it.

I am continuing the Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong, which I will probably finish this week. So far, I am enjoying it.

I will have reviews for both of these books in a couple of weeks.

When I am in the mood for something a little deeper than the above mentioned clean rom-com, I delve into Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson.

Later this month, and into September, I hope to finish Double Minds by Terri Blackstock and for something totally different, Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.

Little Miss and I are reading The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder before bed.

The Boy is listening to H.P. Lovecraft stories on audio.

What I’m Watching

The husband and I have been watching a British comedy, Upstart Crow and I’ve been re-watching To the Manor Born. We also watched some Rockford Files. I started a couple of movies, but didn’t finish either of them for a variety of reasons.

What I’m Writing

This week I plan to write a post about our trip to Scranton and then join up with Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs for a post about our respective Main Streets. I also plan to finish a Randomly Thinking post I have started but never finished.

Last week I shared a book review of Rahab’s Courage by Naomi Craig and also a post about the outhouse races in our small town.

I also made a small amount of progress on my next book, The Next Chapter.

What I’m Listening To

This week I am listening to the new song by Elevation Worship, Might Get Loud,

and the new album by Danny Gokey.

I’m also enjoying Larkin Poe, a new sister-duo by husband turned me on to.

So, that’s my week in review; how about all of you? What are you doing, reading, writing, or listening to these days? Let me know in he comments.

Sunday Bookends: Yard sales, too many books to read, and my book is out there

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I share what I’m reading, watching, listening to, writing and doing.

Last week I spread myself way too thin.

I committed to too much and as a result, my mind and body are still trying to recover. Today, as I write this, my feet are throbbing from holding a yard sale with my neighbor yesterday. We got ready for the yard sale throughout the week and held it for one day and made almost no money. I will never do a yard sale again. This is what I said three years ago when I helped my dad sell a lot of my aunt’s belongings after she passed away, but after yesterday — yeah — I’m holding to it.

It’s not that anything bad happened. In fact, I met several interesting people, which I will write more about later this week. The issue was the waiting, standing, straightening and pulling out items for very, very little return (under $50).

So, no more yard sales.

After the yard sale, I kept moving and went downtown to watch the outhouse races, which I’ve mentioned before on this blog. I will be sharing a full post about the races later this week, including the history of it in our smalltown and more photos.

I know I had a couple of readers who wanted to see photos and learn more about it. I’ll even include a video in the post I share about it.

I did miss the other events of the day, including the keg roll race, which involves rolling a keg full of water (I think it is just water) through a haybale maze or course. I’m sorry, I have no photos of that one for you.

As for the book tours I’m doing, I’ll keep doing them, but I’ll spread them out a bit more next time. I have to read books for book tours, you see, and sometimes I don’t have time to just sit and read so I always panic I won’t get the book done in time. So far, though, I’m doing okay. Last week I posted a book tour interview post for Set in Stone, the fourth book in the Rembrandt Stone series and this week I am posting a review of Rahab’s Courage by Naomi Craig. At the end of the month, I have another review post and at the beginning of September I have two in a week.

After that, I won’t be doing anymore until we get into a good groove with homeschooling, which starts September 1.

The last of my son’s curriculum came this week. I still need a science until for Little Miss, but I have some science I can start with her for the first week. We will be doing a lot of reviewing to start with anyhow.

One thing I won’t have to review as much with Little Miss is reading because this summer, even without going over lessons, she has started reading on her own, to the point she can now read my text messages. I have to be careful what I write or what is sent to me now. The other day she had the phone when a friend texted to ask if we were going to the local fireworks display. Because of the yard sale, I forgot about the fireworks, which are about 20 minutes from our house.

“There’s a fireworks display?” Little Miss cried, looking over my shoulder.

Argh. How I longed for the days she couldn’t read yet (sort of).

“Um…yes, but it’s too late to get there. . .”

Ten minutes of crying followed because she wouldn’t get to see her little friends who we see maybe once a year at this point. Her other little friends moved to Texas out of the blue, two weeks ago, so she’s been pretty lonely.

Earlier in the day I caught her laughing while looking at a text message in my phone.

“What’s so funny?” I asked.

“This message from The Boy. ‘Mom, I can’t find my glasses.’”

(No, she doesn’t really call him The Boy. That’s simply his blog name.)

These are all simple sentences but early in the year last school year, Little Miss wasn’t even sounding out words. Now she’s reading full sentences and the other day, using an app, she sent me a message on my phone, “I love you, Mom.”

It’s weird to be receiving messages from my almost 7-year-old, but these days many children are learning how to read and spell as young as 4, maybe even 3, thanks to technology. Little Miss has been learning how to read and write through asking me how to spell words so she can message her friends on games or my phone. I even caught her commenting on YouTube accounts (she watches a snake education show and a show that follows a goat farm) recently.

Anyhow, I have digressed. In the midst of book tours and the yard sale, I “launched” my book Thursday, whatever that means. I released it and pretended it was a big deal by sharing posts on my Facebook page and Instagram, but honestly, I lost a lot of motivation to promote it. The constant bombardment by authors pushing books and everyone selling something has beat me down a bit. All of that marketing mixed in with politics on social media has my stomach in knots and my nerves frayed. Even when I try to avoid it all, I get hit in the face with it, so I’m trying to stay clear of social media as much as I can.

So, not to push something I’m selling at you here, but I will mention for blog readers who wanted to read the story in full (there were changes made and chapters added for the final book), you can order an ebook or paperbook copy through Amazon, HERE.

In the midst of the all the craziness, Little Miss and I did find some time for relaxation by going swimming at my parents a couple of times. We spent two hours in the pool one day and almost three another day.

It was a nice reprieve from the crazy of the world and part of me didn’t even want to leave the pool. In the pool no one asks me what I think about the situations in the world or talks to me about politics (even when I don’t ask) or wants anything from me other than to race across the pool. Sometimes I wish I was a mermaid and I lived in water and not in an upside down world.

What I’m Reading

This week I am reading two books for blog tours: Rose Among Thornes and The Husband Auditions. I’ll have more information on them in future posts.

Rose Among Thornes by Terrie Todd is currently available on Kindle Unlimited and tells the story of a Japanese-Canadians and the horror that fell on them during World War II when they were moved to internment camps, much like the Japanese-Americans.

This book is more of a telling of a story, than a showing, just to give a heads up. That doesn’t mean it is bad, it is just different than some books I have read. I will have a full review of it up on August 30, which is my scheduled tour date for it.

Here is a description for anyone who would like to check it out ahead of time:

Forgiveness is the deadliest force on earth.

War might be raging overseas, but Rose Onishi is on track to fulfill her lifelong goal of becoming a concert pianist. When forced by her government to leave her beloved home in Vancouver and move to the Canadian prairie to work on the Thornes’ sugar beet farm, her dream fades to match the black dirt staining her callused hands. Though the Thorne family is kind, life is unbearably lonely. In hopes that it might win her the chance to play their piano, Rose agrees to write letters to their soldier son.

When Rusty Thorne joins the Canadian Army, he never imagines becoming a Japanese prisoner of war. Inside the camp, the faith his parents instilled is tested like never before. Though he begs God to help him not hate his brutal captors, Rusty can no longer even hear the Japanese language without revulsion. Only his rare letters from home sustain him—especially the brilliant notes from his mother’s charming helper, which the girl signs simply as “Rose.”

Will Rusty survive the war only to encounter the Japanese on his own doorstep? Can Rose overcome betrayal and open her heart? Or will the truth destroy the fragile bond their letters created?

I am enjoying The Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong.

Here is a description:

How far would you go to find the perfect husband? All the way back to the 1950s?

In a world full of happily-ever-after love, Meri Newberg feels like the last young woman on the planet to be single, at least in her Christian friend group. So when she’s handed a strange present at the latest wedding–a 1950s magazine article of “ways to get a husband”–she decides there’s nothing to lose by trying out its advice. After all, she can’t get any more single, can she?

Her brother’s roommate sees the whole thing as a great opportunity. Not to fall in love–Kai Kamaka has no interest in the effort a serious relationship takes. No, this is a career jump start. He talks Meri into letting him film every silly husband-catching attempt for a new online show. If it goes viral, his career as a cameraman will be made.

When Meri Me debuts, it’s an instant hit. People love watching her lasso men on street corners, drop handkerchiefs for unsuspecting potential beaus, and otherwise embarrass herself in pursuit of true love. But the longer this game goes on, the less sure Kai is that he wants Meri to snag anyone but him. The only problem is that he may not be the kind of husband material she’s looking for . . .

With droll comic timing, unbeatable chemistry, and a zany but relatable cast of characters, Angela Ruth Strong has created a heartfelt look at the reality of modern Christian dating that readers will both resonate with and fall for.

The book comes out August 19.

I am also reading (when I take breaks from the other books) Another Man’s Moccasins, by Craig Johnson. It is the fourth book in the Longmire Mystery series.

What I’m Watching

I am rewatching To the Manor Born because it is a light, sweet comedy and I need that right now.

We didn’t watch much together as a family this week because my husband had to work late every night and I was working on yard sale stuff.

What I’m Listening To

I haven’t had time to listen to much of anything, honestly. At night I listen to the same Our Miss Brooks podcast I’ve been listening to for over a year, maybe two. The podcast is simply episodes of the old radio/television show from the late 40s and early 50s.

I had very little time to read blog posts last week, so I hope to catch up this week and share some of my favorites in next week’s Sunday Bookends.

What I’m Writing

One day last week I got up early to write a little bit on The Next Chapter, the third book in the Spencer Valley Chronicles. It felt good to lose myself in telling a story again, even though I don’t really have a final plan of how this story is going to go or who the main characters are going to be.

I don’t know when, or if, I’ll be sharing this story on the blog. I haven’t decided if I want to continue Fiction Friday or not, but I may start it back up sometime in September if I do choose to continue it.

On Wednesday, I joined with Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs for Hometown Views, where we shared about the churches in our town/city.

I’ll keep you updated on when our next one is. We haven’t decided a topic just yet.

So, that’s my week in review for this week. How was your week? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: Warmer temps coming, books for book tours, and blog posts I enjoyed

Welcome to my Sunday Bookends post where I talk about my previous week, including what I’m reading, watching, listening to, writing and doing.

The temperatures dropped last week, and I loved it. I know. I’m crazy, but I liked the cooler temps that allowed me to curl up under a blanket, with a mug of tea, and read a book.

I was hoping for some warmer temps this week so I can take the kids swimming at my parents, however, and it looks like we are getting it. A little hotter than I would like, actually, with temps inching toward the high 80s. Of course, they are going to be in the high 80s the week of the local carnival, which is returning aft­er being canceled last year. I was hoping to take the youngest there while the oldest and their dad volunteer at the firemen’s tent on Thursday night, but I’m not sure I want to feel like I’m walking through a sauna, so we will see how it goes.

We have about three more weeks before school starts and I am hoping we can squeeze some fun in those weeks, but also some relaxation.

Last week Little Miss and I attended an event at a local conservation area about 20 minutes from us. The conservatory includes trails, a cabin from the time around the Revolutionary War (and relocated there from another location), a rope climbing area, a musical instrument area, and a place for crafts.

 A book was read, the students were let loose to explore some stations in the woods, and then they were offered a chance to build a salamander out of clay and place it in a habitat they made. Little Miss went all out, creating a salamander and her baby. She kept running back to the lady leading the event, asking for more clay, different colors, to create her salamander. All of the other children made a salamander in a few minutes and were done. Not my kid. She was creating a masterpiece. And I thought that was pretty cool. The people running the activity did too and enjoyed taking photos of her creation and her.

After the activities, Little Miss decided we should go look for frogs in the pond. We didn’t find frogs, but we did find lily pads and vowed to return to the area again to look for more frogs, as well as to take part in another one of the conservatory’s events before the summer is over.

What I’m Reading

I am reading books for book tours I signed up for right now.

The first book I need to finish is Rahab’s Courage by Naomi Craig. So far, it’s good but a little tedious in some places. It’s a romance, which I wasn’t expecting. It is also Biblical fiction.

It is well written, but not a happy book.

I need to look for happier books after this one.

I have another book to read for a book tour at the end of the month, Rose Among Thorns by Terrie Todd. Both of these authors are new to me.

To break up the Biblical Fiction, I am reading Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson. It’s the fourth in the Walt Longmire series.

Little Miss and I have finished Little House in the Big Woods and she asked for a horse book instead of the next in the Little House series, so we are reading Misty’s Twilight by Marguerite Henry.

This Thursday on the blog I will be part of a book tour for Set in Stone, the latest book in the Rembrandt Stone series. My post will be an interview with the authors, Susan May Warren, James Rupart, and David Warren. Together they are David James Warren.

What I’m Watching

Last weekend we watched The Maltese Falcon with my parents, which was different since we usually watch movies with only my husband and I or our son. Little Miss is there too but she doesn’t really watch the movies. She plays games on my phone or paints or chases the dog. Black and white movies don’t interest her much.

During the week I watched mainly To the Manor Born, which is a British sitcom from the 1970s. I am getting caught up in the story of the woman and the man who took over the estate she once lived in and am very curious to see if they get together or not. It’s a very light comedy, something I really need these days.

My husband and I also started Upstart Crow, despite the fact my son said the canned laughter on it is annoying. To put him in his place, I did a search online and the laughter is not actually canned. It’s filmed before a studio audience, but The Boy says they are just saying ordinary, unfunny things, and laughter is being layered over it. I said that some of the lines are funny without the laughter, but he didn’t agree.

If you haven’t guessed, my teenager is a bit of a downer these days. He finds fault with what we used to enjoy doing together and analyzes shows, movies, and activities to the point they aren’t fun anymore. Hopefully this is a stage he passes through quickly.

What I’m Writing

I’m not writing much, to be honest. After finishing and editing Harvesting Hope, I’m a little burnt out. I have slowly started writing another book, called The Next Chapter, but I haven’t written more than a few words a day on it. Seriously. I know. How sad. I hope to find some more writing time this week as ideas are sprouting into my mind for the book when I have down time. Unfortunately, the last couple of weeks have been very busy so I haven’t had a lot of down time.

Harvesting Hope will be available on Amazon Thursday. It is currently marked down to 99 cents for preorders so you, my blog readers, can snap one up for next to nothing. I will be raising the price a few days after it’s release.

Last week on the blog I shared a post with photographs, not a lot of writing involved there, and a post about the many cats that have been part of my life in a post entitled Finding Zorro.

I also shared a revamped post about writing that I had previously written for this blog, on Hope, Hearts, and Heroes, the group blog I am a part of.

Blog posts I enjoyed recently

I am very behind on reading blog posts. I have been trying so hard to read the books I promised to read for blog tours, that by the time I get to the blog posts, my mental energy is gone. Still, there are a few blogs I make sure I keep up on. This week I have a list of four posts that I enjoyed and think you will enjoy as well.

1. I always enjoy when Our Little Read House goes on an antique shopping trip in her home state of Arizona and takes us with her.

2. This one is a couple posts back, but I also enjoy when Mama’s Empty Nest takes us on her trips around the country. This one is about the area they moved to years ago with their family in the Willamette Valley, between the Oregon Coast Range Mountains and the Cascade Mountain Range.

3. I also enjoyed this post by C.S. Wachter on Hopes, Hearts, and Heroes about words we use incorrectly in the English language, many times because we simply aren’t aware of the rules.

4. Fuel for the Race had a great post about our need to continue to run the race of life, just as Olympic athletes ran races over the last two weeks.

That’s my week in review. How did your week go? Reading or watching anything interesting? Do anything exciting? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear (read) about it.

Sunday Bookends: Time Travel Thrillers, wildlife abounds in our neighborhood, and lots of British shows this week

Welcome to my Sunday Bookends post where I talk about my previous week, including what I’m reading, watching, listening to, writing and doing.

What I’m Reading

I’m on to the fourth book, Set in Stone, in the Rembrandt Stone series by David James Warren after finishing book three, Sticks and Stone, last week. Book four will release on August 10. I am reading it for a book tour being held the week of its release.

Here is a description of the fourth book but be warned there are some spoilers for the first three books:

Trapped in time, he’ll have to use the past to fix the present.

Thirty-eight women. Dead. All the in the past. All because Detective Rembrandt Stone played with fate, and somewhere in time unleashed a serial killer. He can’t undo their deaths, not anymore, but the serial killer is still at large, twenty-four years later, and now it’s personal. Especially when the evidence points to the last person on anyone’s radar: Rembrandt himself.
Now he’ll have to use the clues from his pasts to track down the killer in the present.

But the killer is onto him and puts the one person Rembrandt loves in his cross hairs. Now, Rembrandt must outwit time to save the people he loves.

Because time is playing for keeps.

The fourth installment of the True Lies of Rembrandt Stone will have you holding your breath and leave you gasping for more.

I am also reading Rahab’s Courage by Naomi Craig, which releases August 17. It is a Biblical fiction book and quite good so far.

Here is a description:

A scarlet cord tethers one ruined woman to the salvation of mankind.

Harboring two fugitives in a city slated for destruction, Rahab has one small chance of escape. In exchange for their safety, she bargains for her own. Their agreement rewards her courage, and she flees Jericho and a life of prostitution for a new life among the people of Israel. Never again will she have to depend on anyone—especially men.

Except Salmah won’t take the hint.

High ranking soldier and leader of the tribe of Judah, Salmah is determined not to repeat his parents’ mistakes. He will keep the Lord’s commandments. Rahab’s growing faith fits right in with phase one of his plans: find a wife who loves the Lord and settle down in the new land.

Rahab finds shelter and meaning in the Lord’s ways until her past comes back to haunt her. As her new faith is put to test, she finds herself alone. Isn’t that what she’d always wanted?

With her courage waning, only the Lord can turn Rahab’s life around again, but will He do it before she loses everyone and everything that really matters to her—to her heart?

I will need to finish both books in the next couple of weeks, so wish this slower reader luck. It shouldn’t be too hard since I am taking a news and social media break this next month. I won’t be totally off social media since I administrate a couple of book groups and am releasing a book, but I am planning to be on very, very little, probably once a week.

What’s Been Occurring

This week was full of more time spent watching the little girls who stay with their great-grandmother, our neighbor down the street, during the week. She used to watch them at the same time, but now she only watches one at a time because they are quite active, and she gives out of energy fast. Much of my week was spent watching them play in the yard and ride their bikes in front of the house.

My husband took one of Little Miss’s training wheels off to get her used to balancing more and prepare her to ride her bike without the training wheels. She was so proud of herself she blazed up and down the street over and over again Friday and Saturday. Each of those nights she fell asleep super fast, of course.

This past week was apparently our week to interact with wildlife. Early in the week, my son saw a toad in the yard while he was mowing and caught it for Little Miss and her friend to see.

They put the toad in a bucket and took turns holding him, decided he was a girl and named him, er, her Violet, later released her, found her again when she didn’t moved from where they’d placed her.

Then Little Miss proceeded to fall in love with her and it took a little convincing for Little Miss to release Violet again 20 minutes later, even though Violet had been making terrified little squeals since they had caught her. I don’t know what Violet thought of me but she leaped toward the camera in a bid to escape at one point. It happened so fast, I didn’t have time to focus on her leaps toward me.

Little Miss’s friend told me Little Miss had decided the toad was a girl by “looking.” I have no idea where Little Miss looked to tell the frog was a girl, but I just let it go.

On Friday, Little Miss and her friend traveled with me when I took The Boy and his friend over to my parents so my dad could take the boys to our county fair. On our way back to the house we saw two racoon babies along the road near my parents’ house, but sadly I was too far away to get a good photo of them. About ten minutes later, near our house, we saw a young buck. I actually didn’t notice the deer was a buck. Little Miss’s little friend pointed out his antlers.

I tried to grab a photo of the buck, but my camera kept focusing the grass in front of him instead. He was probably only about five feet away from us at the time, on a small bank above us and near my neighbor’s house.

Little Miss’s friend said her and her Nana saw an adult buck in her backyard yesterday morning. I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of him in our backyard at some point. We haven’t seen as many deer in our yard this year as we did last year.

What We’ve Been Watching

Last week we watched Key Largo with Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson, which I had never seen before. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

For those who have never seen it, I pulled a description off Rotten Tomatoes.

This classic film noir by John Huston stars Humphrey Bogart as World War II vet Frank McCloud. Visiting Key Largo to pay his respects to the family of his late war buddy, McCloud attempts to comfort his comrade’s widow, Nora (Lauren Bacall), and father, James Temple (Lionel Barrymore), who operate a hotel. But McCloud realizes that mobsters, led by the infamous Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson), are staying in the hotel. When the criminals take over the establishment, conflict is inevitable.

I’ve also been watching a lot of To The Manor Born, a British sitcom from the 70s and Lovejoy to try to avoid news sites.

What I’ve Been Writing

On the blog this week, I wrote a blog post with Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs about the schools in our different parts of the world (she lives in a more urban area, and I live in a rural area, so we’ve started a new feature where we compare “our worlds” so to speak).

I also shared some random thoughts/events on Friday to replace Fiction Friday for now, since I am working on completing corrections to the manuscript of Harvesting Hope (which comes out on Kindle August 12) and don’t have another story to share right now..

What I’m Listening To

I’ve still been listening to songs from Danny Gokey’s new album and I highly recommend Agradecido being turned up loudly and repeated at least twice.

So those are my random thoughts for the week. How about you? Share what you are doing, reading, listening to, watching and writing in the comments.