Boondock Ramblings

Sunday Bookends: Unconvential shows and movies, dairy parades, and new book covers

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

What I’m Reading

This week I finished More Than Honor by Carol Ashby. It was a Biblical fiction/Roman historical fiction book and very intriguing. It was well written but the time frame was a bit unrealistic for me, if I read it right, and the story wrapped up much too soon for me. It appeared that the book was supposed to only have happened in a week, but some of the headers suggested it had actually been more than a week. I really don’t believe some of what happened would have actually happened in a week. The characters were so rich, though, I was able to overlook the difficulty with the timeline.

Carol writes a series of books and continues the stories in other books. I’m sure I’ll be picking up another one of her books.

I am continuing Sarah’s Choice by Pegg Thomas, which I am reading before it is released in August to provide a review for the author. It is very good and I’m sure it will be a popular book when it is released.

I’m also reading The Heart Knows the Way Home by Christy Distler and Promises Kept, an Advanced Reader Copy by Jodi Allen Brice. I hope to finish at least two of these books this week so I can start Plot Twist by Bethany Turner and The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox.


What’s Been Occurring

Saturday was our county’s dairy parade. Yes, we live in an area that still holds dairy parades and celebrations. The celebration was very small, with only a few booths up downtown. The library hosted a magician for their summer reading program and he did a great job. He was in a very small room which made his slight-of-hand magic even more impressive to me. Many of the adults were as impressed as the children.

Afterward, Little Miss wanted to meet him and tell him about her stuffed kitten, Mittens, so we went up to him. He was sweet and attentive and seemed a little taken aback when she announced that our kitten, Scout, is a polydactyl cat, adding that means she has extra toes. I don’t think he expected such a large word to come out of such a tiny little girl.

The parade was in the evening and the sky darkened up and rain let loose as the parade started, but everyone stood in the rain and watched the business and organization floats and fire apparatus drive by anyway, getting soaked in the process. Children ran for the candy that was thrown out and I came home with my purse packed with what the children had collected.

We joked as the dark clouds came in over the town right before the parade started, that people would later say, “And that’s when the tornado touched down and all the pick up trucks and cows were sucked up inside.” Thankfully, that never happened and the parade went on as planned.

During the week I became obsessed with designing a book cover for my next book. I’ve worked with Photoshop before and really felt I could pull it off if I simply kept pounding away at it.

In the end I decided on this one:




But I also designed this one:

What I’m Watching

Yesterday I watched this video after reading a blog post written by the singer. I really encourage you to read the blog post and then watch the video and be ready to be kicked in the cut and wrenched in your heart while also inspired.


My husband and I have been watching Yellowstone. It’s a hard show to watch. It’s not something I would usually watch but I am a big Kevin Costner fan. It’s violent and depressing but somehow its easy to get caught up in the lives of the characters.

I also watched a movie called Ondine with Collin Farrell. It was interesting and different. It was about an Irish fisherman who pulls a woman out of the ocean. The fisherman’s daughter needs a kidney transplant and decides the woman who was pulled out of the ocean is a selkie, a mythical creature who is magical for those she meets. The woman is anything but mythical, as they will soon learn, but she does help a family come together in an unconventional way. The characters are pretty dark and the low of the low, but somehow I found myself rooting for them anyhow. It sounds like I was in a dark mood this week, but I promise I wasn’t.

I also watched the 10th Generation Dairyman, which I mentioned in my Randomly Thinking post. I am a bit addicted to this YouTube Channel about a dairy farm in Lancaster, Pa. (by the way, to pronounce Lancaster properly, say it fast and leave the “a’s” out. You’re welcome.

This week I plan to watch Episode 6 of The Chosen which will premiere on YouTube and Facebook at 9 p.m. Wednesday night for 24 hours and then be on their app.

What I’m Writing

Last week I wrote a blog post every day. This week I most likely will not. I have edits to do on Harvesting Hope and two advanced readers copies to read.

Blog posts I wrote included:

Was Pa Ingalls trying to always find something better, or was he trying to provide for his family?

A new season of flowers

Randomly Thinking: I am socially awkward. Surprised? Yeah, me either.

Fiction Friday: Harvesting Hope (formerly The Farmers’ Sons) Chapter 16

Special Saturday Fiction: Harvesting Hope Chapter 17

Flash Fiction: Strike it Rich

What I’ve Been Listening To

I’ve been enjoying the Unashamed podcast with three of the men from Duck Dynasty (including matriarch Phil Robertson).

That’s my week in review. What have you been reading, watching, listening to, writing, or doing? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: Rooms, Blooming Flowers, and finishing Harvesting Hope

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

What’s Been Occurring

As I wrote last week, I have been on a streak of posting on here and I think I’m on day 17 at this point. I’m not sure how long I will push the posting streak for, but I think I might aim for 20 days in a row and then stop. That will be Wednesday. I don’t think I’ll have much left in me after that, but we will see. I may not even have anything in the tank for these last three days. My little mind is a bit empty, which is not uncommon. Ha! Maybe some more blog post ideas will pop up and I’ll keep pushing on to 30 days. I doubt it, however.

Our flowers are in full bloom around our house. They are only here for a short time so I have been trying to enjoy them as much as I can. I’ve been taking photos to remember how beautiful they are. It’s so sad that they are only in bloom for about two weeks before they are all gone again.

The roses in the backyard have been in full bloom but yesterday I noticed they are also starting to fall away. The peonies have fully opened now ,and they will hopefully last for a couple of weeks before they are gone. I should learn more about how to plant flowers so I can see flowers all year around, but I’m not really great at plants.

My neighbor is wonderful at it, so I simply sit back and enjoy her flowers and reap all her hard work. She really is a hard worker too. Her and her husband are always in their yard, making it look beautiful. I admire them and maybe someday I can do the same. I won’t hold my breath, though.

I’ve been busy trying to finish up Harvesting Hope. Scenes for the story run through my mind constantly. I often think about giving up and not writing these books, but I’m simply having too much fun, even if no one reads them. That’s been my goal all along with writing – “just have fun.”

I hope to have the first draft of the book done this week and then start going through it for the second draft in the next couple of weeks.

I really need to finish this book because Ginny The Librarian has been screeching at me to finish her story. She is stuck in limbo right now. Liam Finley, the editor, would also like some happiness beause right now he’s a raging drunk, depressed newspaper editor in my head. Then there is Randi who lost her job in her field and is now back home in a dinky town applying for a job at her small town paper with before mentioned raging drunk at the helm.

And in the background, always, is Josefa, daughter of Jairus, raised from the dead by Jesus, literally. She was what kicked this all off and she’d like to know what life held for her after Jesus told her to rise.

What I’m Reading

I finished Rooms by James L. Rubart this week and it was different than most of the books I read, but it was really interesting and thought provoking.I considered abandoning it a few times. I am not a supernatural fan when it comes to books. In life, I am, of course. But in books I was getting a little annoyed with all the weirdness. Then, as I read, I got wrapped up in the weirness and I ha to find out what happened. I could not get this book out of my head and still can’t. It truly makes you think about God’s love for us, even when bad things happen or we make bad decisions. It makes you sit and ponder what God things of things you’ve done, mistakes you’ve made and hope he has the response that he does in Rooms. I am not sure in what category to place it in, other than speculative supernatural fiction.

The description from Amazon (a little long, but worth it to undertstand the unusual plot(:

What if you inherited a brand-new mansion on the Oregon coast—from a great uncle you never knew? Would you blow it off? Or head down there to check it out?
Micah Taylor isn’t stupid. He’s made a fortune building a Seattle software empire. But he can’t figure out why he’s been given a 9,000 square foot home right on the beach.
And not just any beach.
The one beach he loves more than any other.
The one beach he hates more than any other.
Both at the same time.
Micah drives down to check out the house. On the surface, everything seems legit. He instantly feels at home and then he meets a beautiful young woman at the local ice cream shop.
Now there’s two reasons to keep coming back to Cannon Beach. But the house still feels off. Things start happening that Micah can’t explain.
That Micah doesn’t want explained.
Because he’s slowly realizing the house isn’t just a house.
It’s a physical manifestation of his soul.
He begins a journey into the most glorious rooms of his life, but also the darkest.
Rooms where terrible things happened.
Things that must not be remembered, but scream out to be heard.
Micah can’t run. Can’t hide.
Because the memories aren’t just memories.
They’re real.
Memories that can heal and set him free.
But that can also destroy him
And there’s no way to know which side will win in the end.

This week I am continuing an advanced reader copy of Sarah’s Choice by Pegg Thomas, as well as The Heart Knows The Way Home by Christy Distler.

Little Miss and I have finished On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and we are now on The Farmer Boy.

What I’m Watching

On Friday I watched the replay of the K-Love awards, which are Christian music awards. I enjoyed every performance on there. Some of my favorite artists performed, including Danny Gokey, Cory Asbury, Elevation Worship, Zach Williams, Matthew West, Crowder, Kari Job and Cody Carnes, and Casting Crowns.

On Saturday, my husband, daughter and I went to see Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway. It was a cute, family movie with less off-color jokes than some of the so-called family movies I see these days.

The theater we went to is about 45 minutes from our house and it is really nice inside. They have these large, black and white photo of old actors or scenes from old movie up on the walls. I had to take photos of two of my favorite actors, Paul Newman and John Wayne. And then The Philadelphia Story, of course.

At home I’ve been watching some Jonathan Creek, but not much else. I’ve been reading more than watching this week.

What I’m Listening To

This week I’m listening to Zach Williams, Crowder, Elevation Worship, and CeCe Winans.

What I’m Writing

I mentioned a little about my writing and what I’ve been working on, above.

If you followed the blog the last 17 days, you know I’ve written a lot. Probably too much.

This week on the blog I wrote:

A Book review of Amanda by Sarah Monzon

My To Be Read list just grows and grows and grows

Faithfully Thinking: Why aren’t some people healed?

Randomly Thinking: The Scarewoman, mouthy first-graders, and creepy Christmas music

Fiction Friday: Harvesting Hope (formerly The Father’s Sons) Chapter 14

Special Fiction Saturday: Harvesting Hope (The Father’s Sons) Chapter 15

So that’s my week in review. What have you been up to this week?

Sunday Bookends: Finishing homeschooling, flowers blooming, and eclectic reading

Ten days.

That’s how many days in a row I have posted on WordPress.

I have no idea why I am telling you this, other than I’m still getting notifications from WordPress and now I feel like I have something to prove.

I know.

Sad life for me.

But, hey, we all need our little hobbies and this week my two hobbies have been working on finishing a fiction novel and making sure I post every day on my blog for as long as I can so I can keep racking up those pats on the back from my blog host.

Other than those odd hobbies, I didn’t accomplish much else.

We did travel to our homeschool evaluator’s house Wednesday to have our school portfolio reviewed, which I wrote about yesterday on the blog.

Since we live in the middle of nowhere we drove 45 minutes to her house and used the trip to also pick up a Walmart order and my new eyeglasses. My new glasses look exactly like my old glasses. I am that boring and predictable.

The flowers around our house are starting to bloom, which is always exciting for me. Some people take exotic vacations, other people, like me, stare at their flowers and wait for them to bloom.

The peonies are budding and will probably open in a few days, as they always do, around my brother’s birthday. Last year was our first year in this house and I was very excited about having peonies since we had peony pushes in front of the house I grew up in.

What I’m Reading

It only took me two days to finish Amanda by Sarah Monzon. It moved along that well and was also fairly short. I’ll have a review of it out later this week.

Here is the description for anyone who is curious:

“The devil made me do it” is a phrase that will never pass my lips. Why would it when I have Delores, my undiagnosed autoimmune disorder, to make all my decisions for me? (Yes, I named her myself since the doctors couldn’t do it for me.) A get together with friends? Delores says no. I’ll have my prescheduled daily afternoon fever and fatigue at that time.

My two biggest regrets with having Delores direct my fate? One, my family thinks my illness is all in my head. And two, I set the love of my life, Peter Reynolds, free from my anchoring tether so he could fly. I never thought I’d see him again, but five years later he’s soaring in the limelight as one of the most talked-about defensive players in professional football. Oh, and did I mention he also happens to play for the team my boss just assigned me to as a social media manager?

Meanwhile, nothing much has changed for me. Delores still bosses me around, and I’m still hopelessly in love with Peter. What’s a girl to do?

I’m now reading Sarah’s Choice by Pegg Thomas. It is historical fiction and while I’ve never been a huge fan of historical fiction, this is now my second book by Pegg and she’s making me fall in love with historical fiction. This book won’t be released until August so I consider myself lucky that Pegg chose me as an Advanced Reader.

I am also reading The Love Coward by Naomi Musch in between it all.

What I’m Watching

I’ve mainly been watching Jonathan Creek episodes and this farming YouTube Channel:

I’m watching it for book research, but also because farming is fascinating.

What I’m Listening To

I have been listening to The Civil Wars this week (and sadly they are not together any longer). I plan to listen to the new Crowder album when it drops this week.

What I’m Writing

I’ve been writing a lot, on here and on my book Harvesting Hope, which is set to release in the beginning of August.

Blog posts I wrote last week included:

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

Sunday Bookends: Gardening, writing like a crazy person, and school’s out for summer (almost)

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

What’s Been Occurring

This week I decided to try to start planting my garden even though we do not have the fence up around it yet to keep the deer out.

I don’t have a huge garden space, so I don’t have tons to plant. Little Miss and I decided on beans, beets (which neither of us eat but we’re going to try), yellow squash, cucumbers, kale, sweet red peppers, and tomatoes. My dad picked up topsoil for me about two weeks ago. I should have raked it more after it was dumped into the beds (raised garden beds that my dad and son made for me last year), which I realized when my dad corrected how I had installed the poles for the beans to climb up and also noticed the topsoil issue.

“This dirt could be broken up more,” he said.

Oops.

He also said, “These bean poles should be positioned this way.”

And then he changed my entire set up for the better because he’s been gardening for like 50 years and I haven’t.

I had also planted the bean seeds in the wrong place, so he helped me correct that as well.

The bean poles were his idea since he had extra long bean seeds left from last year. In fact, he had seeds for a variety of vegetables left over from last year that he gave me, which meant I didn’t have to buy any seeds this year.

The seeds are in the ground, but I won’t plant the plants until we have the fencing up because again — the blasted deer.

We also finished homeschooling this week, for the most part. The Boy still has to write a book report on To Kill A Mockingbird and I have a meeting with our homeschool evaluator on Wednesday. Once she signs off on us, and we submit our paperwork to the local school district, our school year will be officially complete and The Boy will be a high schooler (hold me, Jesus!) and Little Miss will be a first grader.

What I’m Reading

I haven’t had as much time for reading as I’ve wanted because I’ve been trying to hit a deadline for Harvesting Hope (formerly The Farmers’ Sons).

I did finish Love Happens at Sweetheart Farm by Dalyn Waller and am almost finished with my Longmire book, Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson. (I love Henry. That is all.).

Two books I really want to start this week is Amanda by Sarah Monzon and Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks.

Before I can start them, though, I also have to finish Rooms by James Rubart, which is a very interesting mind-bender.

Little Miss and I are reading On the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder and boy do I have some thoughts on this one. Hopefully I’ll find some time to share those thoughts this week in a separate blog post. Pa Ingalls, seriously, dude — what were you thinking?

What I’m Watching

I am continuing to watch Jonathan Creek through Acorn on Amazon or maybe it’s Britbox. I forget, but it’s on one of those and I watch it through Amazon.

We also watched Galaxy Quest this week, which I think I watched once years ago.

The Boy and I started Master and Commander Blah Blah Blah. I wrote blah, blah, blah because the movie has a really long title to match it’s really long and convoluted storyline. I’m too lazy to look up the full title for this blog post.

We had to stop watching it to go to bed the other night and haven’t returned to it yet. We watched an hour of it and still don’t know what is actually happening other than the ship keeps getting attacked and the captain is keeping them out at sea while more and more people die and he gets more and more arrogant about trying not to be attacked. I don’t know. It’s very confusing.

I also watched episode 5 of The Chosen and loved it. I’ve heard there was some controversy over it, but I haven’t had time to listen to the director talk about what the controversy is about so I will figure it out later. I liked it. That’s all I know.

You can watch the episode on the app, which is very easy to download to your phone (Android or Apple).

What I’m Writing

As I mentioned, I am working on the first draft of Harvesting Hope and plan to have it completed at the end of this week. I’ve been writing anywhere from 500 to 2000 words a day this past week and half of that may be eviscerated during the second draft. We’ll see.

This week I shared two chapters from what I’ve already written, one Friday and one Saturday.

I think I also decided on a book cover — If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been going back and forth on what I want it to look like.

Earlier in the week, I shared some flash fiction I wrote as part of a writing group on MeWe (a social media site).

I forgot to finish my Randomly Thinking post for Thursday (I’m seriously having focus issues), so I hope to have that ready to go this week.

What I’m Listening To

If he hadn’t gotten himself in trouble with a drunken comment, I’d never heard of  Morgan Wallen, most likely. This week my husband tried his album to see what the fuss was all about, so I tried it as well. We both were surprised. We liked it, so I listened to that this week.

For old times sake, I listened to The Civil Wars. I miss them.

I’m leaving you samples of both, so you know who I’m talking about.

So that’s my week in review. How was your week last week? Read any good books? Listen to any new-to-you music or watch anything cool? Let me know in the comments.

 

If I usually comment on your blog and I haven’t lately, please don’t feel slighted. I am having a horrible time keeping up with blog commenting lately. I’ve been having a few busy days with homeschool winding down, attending a writer’s conference, trying to stick to a self-set deadline for Harvesting Hope (the book formerly called The Farmers’ Sons), planning a garden again this year, running various errands, and reading books I told people I would read for them.

I was recently telling a blogging friend how my errands take a little longer than some people’s because if I want to go to a bigger store, like a Walmart or Aldi’s, for groceries, I have to drive 45 minutes to an hour either north or south or west. Friday we drove north because I had planned to pick up my new eyeglasses. Sadly, the optometrist’s office has new hours I wasn’t aware of and is now closed on Fridays. I still had to pick up a Walmart order 20 minutes further so we kept driving, back to the town we moved from last year. Because we were going to the town my son spent most of his childhood in, he asked to take his bike so he could ride around town while I picked up the order and made an Aldi’s run. 

He likes to walk or ride around town and reminisce about the good days of living in the town. I vaguely miss the place, but mainly the idea of what could have been in regards to failed family and business relationships, and friendships are at the forefront of my mind when I return.

It was nice to see the house our family lived in for about 15 years. The new owners have remodeled some and I’m glad to see it. What they’ve done to the front of the house – transforming the odd red paneling on the front of the house to blue — is what I always wanted to do when we lived there.

My children commented several times Friday that the town had been a good town to live in and that they miss the house. Sometimes I do miss the house, but I don’t miss the town much at all, especially now that the place is being infiltrated even more by drug dealers and addicts. My husband said he has been writing up a lot of police briefs for the newspaper he works at related to drug incidents in that area recently.

Last weekend I helped my dad and family rototill and prepare the space for my garden in between sessions of an online writer’s conference I was able to attend via zoom. The two main speakers for the event were James Rubart and Rachel Hauck, well-known Christian fiction writers. I plan to write a blog post about the event later this week. The conference was so much fun I am saving up money for another virtual conference being held in Philadelphia in August.

As for the garden, I hope to pick up the seeds and plants this week, but I can’t plant anything until we install the fencing around it. Otherwise the deer will eat my plants. For now my cat and probably all the neighborhood cats are using my raised garden beds as their litter boxes. Little Miss and I have decided to plant potatoes, summer squash, carrots, beets, cucumbers and maybe green beans. We probably don’t have the space for all that, but we’ll see.

What I’m Reading

I finished The Sowing Season by Katie Powner last week and really enjoyed it. It is the story of an unlikely friendship between a 15-year old girl and a 63-year old retired farmer. The book takes the farmer, Gerrit, through the emotions following him selling the farm he worked on his whole life, as well as various family issues that resulted from his past workaholic nature. The young girl, Rae, is dealing with her own issues stemming from her parents urging her to do well in school so she can become a lawyer like her father. Throw in a teenage crush or two and you have the makings of an engaging story that kept me reading late at night.

I started a new book this week that is similarly engaging. Love Happens at Sweetheart Farm by Dalyn Weller. 

From the back of the book: What if your pursuit of happiness robs someone you love of theirs?

 Lexi is the frazzled owner of Sweetheart Farm and B&B. Ian is a burnt-out fund manager desperate for a way out of his soulless job and an engagement he never wanted with a woman he doesn’t even like.

 And when Ian shows up at the B&B, needing space and quiet to rethink his life, there’s certainly no way this pampered rich city boy could ever be a suitable match for Lexi. But her wise and hilarious grandmother keeps sprinkling that blasted sweetheart herb everywhere and praying for lonely hearts to find love. And God listens.

I’m also still reading Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson (A Longmire Mystery book) and Rooms by James Rubart. The Craig Johnson books are not “clean” and not my usual type of book but I am in love with the characters. Just be warned if you ever pick one up that there is swearing and some other not-so clean subject matter.

Little Miss and I finished On The Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder this week as well.

What I’m Watching

I started watching Jonathan Creek this week. I’ve heard a lot about the show over the years. I’ve only watched the first two episodes, but so far I like it. I’m watching it through AcornTV through Amazon.

Tonight I’ll be watching episode five of The Chosen, which is a crowd-funded TV series about the life of Jesus. They show the episodes on Youtube and they are available for 24 hours and then you have to download the app to watch the rest. The first three episodes are still on Youtube currently. 

I know I’ve mentioned the show here before. If you have seen other shows or movies about Jesus and didn’t like them, then you definitely have to watch this one. It’s nothing like any other show you’ve ever seen about the Bible. Here is a preview for Season Two.

What I’m Listening To

I have been listening to podcasts about fiction books or how to market books. It’s starting to make me feel very inferior in this whole book writing venture, but then I try to remind myself to just have fun, which has been my motto since I started sharing my fiction here on the blog.

I’ve also been listening to Cory Asbury’s live album.

What I’m Writing

Last week I shared two chapters of The Farmer’s Sons (Harvesting Hope), one on Friday and one on Saturday.

On Thursday I shared a Randomly Thinking post.

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

Sunday Bookends: To Kill A Mockingbird, awful disaster movies, royals, and slow spring days

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’m reading, watching, listening to, writing, or doing.

***

Happy Mother’s Day for those who are mothers, had a mother they cared about, or who are spending a mother’s day remembering their lovely mothers.

What We’re Reading

The Boy and I have been reading To Kill A Mockingbird. He’s halfway through and I finished it this weekend. To make sure he finishes it by the time we finish school in three weeks, I purchased an audible membership so he could listen to it as well as read it. It’s narrated by Sissy Spacek.

Anyone who says To Kill A Mockingbird is a racist book has obviously never read it. Using the “n” word does not make a book racist. I’m guessing too many people got to the first “n” word, but it down and never got to the parts where it is clear Atticus and many others in Maycomb, Alabama are not racist. Using the word and many other references to black people made the book painfully real, painfully raw. Without it, it wouldn’t have been clear how the people of this county in Alabama looked at black people as less than human, which is why they were so willing to put a black man on trial for a crime he didn’t commit.

Have you ever read To Kill A Mockingbird? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments. If you haven’t, I highly encourage you to do so. It is considered a classic for a reason. Reading it again as an adult had an even bigger impact on me than it did when I read it in 7th grade (on my own, I might add.) I cried as a teenager over the injustice of it all, but I practically bawled as an adult.

I may write a book review on this next week, if I can stop crying.

Besides reading that this weekend, I also started The Sowing Season by Katie Powner

and I’m still reading Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson (A Longmire Mystery). I’m not reading the Longmire book slowly because it is bad. Quite the opposite. It is very, very good.

I wanted to finish To Kill A Mockingbird first, because it is a very good book and I needed to for my son’s English, and I’ve been writing Harvesting Hope (new name for The Farmers’ Sons) so Walt Longmire has been pushed aside a little.

I’m also reading Rooms by James Rubart this week because at the end of the week I am going to be “attending” a author workshop with him as the main speaker. It is all on Zoom. I’m sure I’ll update my blog readers about that next week.

I hope to get to The Number of Love by Roseanna White this week as well, but I had to move Rooms up so I would at least now wat James is talking about during his keynote speech.

What We’re Watching

This week we tried something different by watching Prince Charles Inside the Duchy of Cornwall on Acorn TV (through Amazon).  If you don’t know what a Duchy is, (because I didn’t either), it is an area of land run by a Duke or Duchess. On that land are towns, small businesses, and various small farms.

The description of the show from the AcornTV website:

Prince Charles provides exclusive access to the royal lands that have belonged to successive Prince of Wales for 700 years I this moving, candid, and humorous observational documentary. Established in 1337, the Duchy of Cornwall is today a vast, varied estate of rolling farmland, visionary housing development, and even parts of inner-city London that embody the prince’s sustainable philosophy.

The two-part documentary gave my husband and I a completely different look at Prince Charles, also known as the Duke of Cornwall. I don’t know about some of you, but when I was growing up Charles was often painted as the bad guy while Princess Diana was considered sweet, demure, and innocent. Charles cheated on Diana with his first love Camilla (now his wife), but listening to him talk during this documentary I couldn’t imagine him as evil or emotionally abusive. It gave me a more complex view of him and the entire situation, actually.

Charles’ estate in Cornwall helps pay for the royal family’s expenses, as well as various charities.

In addition to learning more about Charles and his work, we also got the impression from the show that the royals do have to work for their money. I think most Americans believe royals are born with a silver spoon in their mouth and never have to work for the lavish lifestyles they have. It’s clear from this special, and others I’ve seen, they do work and are under extreme pressure at times.

Last night we were looking for a film to watch as a family. When my husband came to the preview of The Towering Inferno and I saw that Paul Newman (my favorite actor. Swoon! ) and Steve McQueen (more swooning!) were in it together, I said, “Yes! This is the film for us!”  

My son said, “Mom. Eww. And how old are these guys now?”

“They’re dead,” I responded.

“Oh mom. That’s disturbing.”

My husband was like, “Watch all the people who are in this. You’ll be surprised by one.”

And then there was his name: O.J. Simpson and after him, Robert Wagner.

“Wow,” I said. “It’s a movie with all the wife killers.”

If you’ve never seen the movie, you haven’t missed much. I wouldn’t rush to watch it unless you need to have a good laugh and cringe more times than people at a Justin Beiber concert.

At one point The Boy said, “why do all the blond women at this party have the same hairdo? They look like a bunch of Lego women.”

A man stumbles out of an elevator on fire, into a party scene, at one point and I quipped, “Wow. This party is lit.”

A building 135 stories high with bad wiring and no safety protocols? What could go wrong? This is NOT a movie to watch if you, or anyone you know, were near the World Trade Center in 2001, however. There are a couple of very triggering scenes that brought memories of that day even to my mind. We almost turned it off, but there were too many illogical and giggling-inducing bad acting moments to make the movie too upsetting.

Apparently, there are a series of these disaster films, so I told my family I think we should watch all of them over the next few Saturday nights. We need a good laugh and to question again how these high-quality actors ended up in such horrible films.

I have also been re-watching the first three episodes of The Chosen with my son (for his Bible lessons) and my mom and then Dallas Jenkins announced that episode four is debuting Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET. I’m very excited for episode 4 because I believe it’s about the man at the pool who Jesus heals and tells to pick up his mat and go be well.

What I’m Writing

Last week I wrote about taking more breaks from news (and I did really well this week, by the way. I hardly looked at news at all and it was so nice.). I also challenged all of you to do the same if you don’t already.

On Tuesday I shared photos from April.

I shared a book review for Avoiding Marriage by Karin Beery and In Sheep’s Clothing by Pegg Thomas for the rest of the week.

On Friday, I shared another chapter from The Farmers’ Sons which I have now renamed Harvesting Hope and announced that the book version of it will be out this summer (most likely the end of July).


What I’m Listening To

I am listening to the live album by Needtobreathe and a new album by Elevation Worship. Here are a couple of samples of those. They are both available whereever music is streaming.

What’s Been Occurring

We have not been doing anything very exciting lately. We’re such boring people that going to a doctor’s appointment is the highlight of our week. I’m not even 70 yet. A couple of weeks ago we traveled 45 minutes to pick up my son’s new glasses and made it a family trip. This past week we traveled 30 minutes for an eye doctor appointment for me and for the first time in 30 years, my prescription wasn’t increased. I also avoided bifocals, but just barely, and after I got back to the house and tried to type on my computer, I thought about how I might should have asked for the bifocals after all.

Last week my kids enjoyed playing outside at my parents, rolling in the grass after I told them I didn’t want them in the grass because I was worried about deer ticks. Oh well, at least they had fun and when we did a tick search that night we didn’t find any, thankfully. It’s weird to have to worry about ticks now because when I was a kid, we were never told not to roll in the grass because of ticks. We were never told not to roll in the grass period, unless we were wearing a nice Sunday dress.

So, that’s my week in review. How about yours? What have you been reading, watching, listening to, or doing? Let me know in the comments or link to a blog post where you shared your week.

Sunday Bookends: Reading novellas and Watching Spring Bloom

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’m reading, watching, listening to, writing, or doing.

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What I’ve Been Reading

I finished a couple of novellas in the last couple of weeks that I’m not sure I mentioned or not previously. One was Avoiding Marriage by Karin Beery. The other was In Sheep’s Clothing by Pegg Thomas.

The description of Avoiding Marriage is:

Two years ago, Jessica Miller made a mess of her already confusing life. Now, she’s back in Boyne Heights, and she’s determined to fix her reputation. She can’t seem to avoid the past that haunts her, but that’s the joy of small-town life—word spreads and people remember. Intent on her mission, however, she faces her past head-on, taking a job with her ex-boyfriend while avoiding her grandmother’s attempts to find her a new one.

The description of In Sheep’s Clothing is:

Yarrow Fenn, the talented spinster sister, was passed over when her intended walked out on her years before. She’s content with her life – for the most part – until Peter Maltby arrives in town. A journeyman fuller, Peter comes to Milford, Connecticut, not to woo the young women, but to rise to the rank of master fuller and return to Boston for some unfinished business. When their lives intersect over an orphan lamb, sparks are kindled. But their budding romance will have to survive revealed secrets when someone else shows up in Milford.

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I will offer reviews of both of them later in the week.

I am currently reading Kindness Goes Unpunished (A Longmire Mystery) by Craig Johnson,

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and I’m going to start The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White as part of a Goodreads book club.

Little Miss and I finished Little House on the Prairie and are now reading On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The Boy is still reading To Kill A Mockingbird.

What’s Been Occurring

The weather was nice most of last week, except for Thursday when it rained and stormed, with high winds, bringing with it colder air. Despite the nicer weather, we really didn’t do much other than schoolwork and playing outside and at the little playground down the road from our house.

We also explored our back and side yards to see which flowers are blooming this week. By yesterday the leaves were starting to come out in full force on the trees around our house and I’m guessing they will all be out by the end of this week.

I hope to start planning our garden this week, including figuring out where to get the topsoil. We will see if I can get myself motivated enough to actually do it.

What I’ve Been Watching

This past week I watched The Secret: Dare to Dream with Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas. It was a very sweet, clean movie and is currently on Amazon prime. It was fairly predictable plot wise, but it was okay.

I also watched a few episodes of the old All Creatures Great and Small show and a British comedy game show called Would I Lie To You?

What I’ve Been Listening To

I listened to a lot of the Unashamed podcast with the Robertson family from Duck Dynasty fame this past week and also a live album from Needtobreathe.

What I’ve Been Writing

Last week I shared a post asking if Laura Ingalls Wilder was racist and a new chapter of The Farmers’ Sons in two parts (one Friday and one Saturday).

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

Sunday Bookends: Awesome weather, little houses, sheep, and Brits out of place

What’s Been Occurring

The weather was cold here at the beginning of last week but warmed up in perfect timing for our 45-minute drive south to pick up my son’s new glasses. It was perfect timing because after finding a Weis store, which was my excitement for the week, sadly, we found an amazing playground for the kids to play on. For almost two hours my kids played with other kids and not one of them was wearing a mask. Only one parent was wearing a mask and it looked like a spring day from 2019. It was amazing and the best day I’ve had in a very long time.

The kids also had a blast. Our car was full of fresh fruit from Weis, the sun was shining, we had an awesome playground (with a zipline!) to play on, and my son could finally see again.

About the supermarket trip, listen, we live in the middle of nowhere without large supermarkets so this was exciting to me. This was more exciting than finding a Target or Trader Joe’s. Well, not more exciting than a Trader Joe’s. There are no Trader Joes anywhere near us – like even 100 miles near us.

So, don’t judge my sad little life.

The store is like a small version of Wegman’s if you have one of those or Whole Foods. Or if you are in the South, maybe it’s a small version of Food Lion. I don’t know. But they have fresh fruits and produce we can’t get near us.

What I’ve/We’ve Been Reading

I am reading the third book in the Longmire series, Kindness Goes Unpunished, by Craig Johnson right now while also enjoying a lighter book called In Sheep’s Clothing by Pegg Thomas. I’m also reading a few chapters of Anne of Green Gables a week in a hardcover copy I bought many, many years ago. I’m old enough now that I can write things like “many, many years ago” and still be referring to my own life. I’m not sure I’m very happy about that.

Little Miss and I are still reading Little House on the Prairie before bedtime and encountered some harsh language about Native Americans last week that I had to address. I will be posting a blog post about this development later in the week. I’ve already started writing it and asking the question, “Was Laura Ingalls Wilder a racist?”

I’m very sick of the “r” word being thrown around so easily because it takes away from people who actually are, so here is a little spoiler for the upcoming blog post: no, I don’t feel she was and I’m not the only one. I will expound on it more either tomorrow or Tuesday, depending on when I get time to sit down and write it.

The Boy and I are continuing to read To Kill A Mockingbird, a few chapters a week for me, two for him, but I’ve told him he needs to pick up the pace so we can finish it before our school year is over.

What I’m Watching

This past week I watched a movie called Main Street, starring Colin Firth and Orlando Bloom. I did not enjoy the movie for a variety of reasons but the biggest reason being that the movie featured two Brits speaking in Southern accents. I mean, come on. The director seriously couldn’t find any actors from the South to play the parts? Hmmm. Okay. It isn’t that Colin and Orlando couldn’t pull off their accents. They certainly could, but hearing anything but a charming British accent come out of Colin Firth was unnerving. Orlando was so natural in the role, I really didn’t mind hearing him speaking in an American accent. Plus, I’ve never been a huge Orlando Bloom fan. He’s okay, but he’s no Colin, in other words.

My other issue with the movie is that I simply didn’t understand the plot. It was boring beyond belief and none of the stories really resolved themselves in the end. It was fairly clean, however.

The last couple of weeks have been somewhat stressful here for a variety of reasons so I watched a lot of comfort TV the rest of the week, including The Andy Griffith Show and Lovejoy.

What I’m Listening To

I am listening to a few podcasts these days including one by Chip Ingraham and another called Unashamed by the men from Duck Dynasty.

I have been staying away from the political podcasts and politics or news in general, with only brief looks at news sites during the week. My nerves are shot. I can’t take it anymore.

I’ve also been listening to this song because it’s been stuck in my head. I like this The Voice UK contestant’s version because I’ve never heard the original. Steve McCrorie won in 2015 and he is back to his original career as a firefighter now, but I’d rather listen to him than most artists who are out on the radio today. He does release some independent music that you can find on Apple Music. He’s a Scottish lad so maybe that’s why I like him so much. I have a thing for Scottish men, probably because my family’s ancestory is Scottish.



So there was my week last week, how about you? What are you doing, watching, reading, and listening to? Let me know in the comments.

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about What I’m Reading, watching, writing, listening to and doing.

What I’m Reading

Little Miss and I have finished quite a few Marguerite Henry books now including Misty of Chincoteague, Stormy: Misty’s Foal, Sea Star, King of the Wind, and this week we will finish Black Gold.

We abandoned the White Stallion of Lipizza because it was fairly slow. We may go back to it later, but this week I hope to start reading either Little House on the Prairie or Anne of Green Gables. I am actually reading a hard copy of Anne of Green Gables that I picked up years ago from Barnes and Noble. The old-fashioned looking cover and style of the book attracted me, but I put it on a bookshelf for probably 15 years before I ever actually opened it last week. I always loved the movie with Megan Fallows but I don’t think I ever actually finished the book, so I plan to read a few chapters a week and savor it.

The Boy and I are reading To Kill A Mockingbird during the week and unlike the other books we read this year, this one hasn’t felt like I’m being forced to read it. I’m actually enjoying this book and look forward to reading it after my daughter goes to sleep each night. I enjoyed the other books we read, but sometimes I had to force myself to sit down and get through the assigned chapters. Actually, once I got into Silas Marner, I looked forward to finding out what happened. For Lord of the Flies, I knew nothing good was going to happen, so I actually dreaded continuing on.

Lord of the Flies was not part of any of the set curriculum we had this year. I chose it on my own because I felt it was an important book for him to read and he might enjoy a book about young boys who go wild on a deserted island. Instead, we both ended up somewhat depressed after reading it and longed for something slightly less depressing. Which is why I chose To Kill A Mockingbird. Why, yes, that is sarcasm. Why do you ask? Really, though, To Kill A Mockingbird, even with its eventual tough subject is a little more cheerful at times than Lord of the Flies.

I know many people say To Kill A Mockingbird should be banned because it is “racist” since it uses the “n-word” more than once, but I am smart enough to recognize that Lee is telling this story from the point of a child who was taught to use the n-word by the culture she was in. Lee isn’t saying the word should be used, or that it is right. We are using the book as a learning opportunity and others should do the same.

This week I might delve into a couple lighter Christian fiction book as well. I just finished a Christian novella for an author. I enjoyed it but it ended much too soon. Now I know why my novella is my least popular book. Well, it could be the least popular because it isn’t good, but I also wonder if it is because it is so short. For the book I was reading, I was just getting into the characters and the book and then it ended rather abruptly. My first book did the same, however, so I can’t say much.

In between all the fiction I am also reading Beyond Order 12 More Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson.

What I’m Watching

We have been watching a lot of Everybody Loves Raymond on Peacock. We’ve had some bad news in or around our family lately, or simply in the news, so I have needed comedy.

I watched an independent film this week on Amazon called The Ultimate Life. There is another movie called The Ultimate Legacy and they both have similar themes. The Ultimate Life is about a billionaire who learns he needs to rearrange his priorities in life after he reads his grandfather’s journal. The Ultimate Legacy stars the same actor, Logan Bartholomew, but he is a rich young man who can’t get his inheritance until he completes several steps she sets up in her will. Both movies are by the same studio and are listed under faith and spirituality. They are clean. They are also both fairly well written and acted.

I also watched a Miss Marple episode from the 2005 series and did not enjoy it. I’m too much of a fan of Joan Hickson from the 1980s series. The lady in this series was way too creepy. She looked like she was zoning out or something. And some of what she said made her sound like a serial killer herself.

What I’m Listening To

When I do have time to listen to music, I have been listening to a lot of worship music lately.

I also listened to Jeannie Robertson when going to bed a couple times this past week, but I’ve been falling asleep fairly fast so I don’t catch a lot of it. If you aren’t familiar with Jeannie, she’s a hilarious older lady from North Carolina who talks about a variety of subjects. I will leave a YouTube clip here for you so you can have a sample of her style of comedy (which is light, laid back, and is drawn from her everyday life.

What I’m Writing

I did not write other blog posts this past week, mainly because I felt depressed about the state of the world and had no real ideas on how to share anything without sounding depressed. I have drafted a Randomly Thinking post for this week and I’m sure I will come up with other topics to blog on this upcoming week as the weather is set to be as warm and nice as last week.

I have been working on The Farmers’ Sons and shared a chapter from that on Friday. I am not sure I will stick with that title for the final book. If any of my readers have an idea for a book title, let me know. I will be sure to mention you in my acknowledgements. *wink*

What’s Been Occurring

My son picked up a medieval helmet last week. He was absolutely thrilled when it arrived and walked downtown with his friend to pick up a pizza. Other people enjoyed seeing at as well, including a man who slowed his car down, pointed at my son and yelled, “Awesome mask!”

My husband said he thinks people just need to be cheered up these days and see something funny and light because he witnessed similar responses from people on Saturday when he and my son went to see a movie (their first in over a year) at a small theater near us and my son wore the helmet inside. My son said a little boy watched him either in horror or awe as he shoved the straw of his drink through one of the holes in the helmet to drink while he waited for the movie to start.

One man stopped him in the Aldi’s parking lot and asked to take a photo with him.

The Boy has always loved dressing up and going out in public. I’m surprised he still enjoys it, since he’s become a bit of a recluse as a teenager. At the start of all this virus craziness, he purchased a Plague Doctor Mask and went into stores wearing it instead of a regular face mask.

As a little boy, he loved to dress up as Ninjas or superheroes and go with me to dentist appointments or the store. When he was about 3-years-old, I took him to the local supermarket dressed as Ironman. He got away from me at one point, racing down an aisle. I grabbed what I needed to off a shelf and turned the corner, expecting him to be in the next aisle. He wasn’t. I started to panic and began looking up and down the aisles. I was in the bread section when a voice came over the loudspeaker.

“We have a young Ironman at the front of the store if anyone is missing him.”

Oh boy.

I headed up to the front and was informed they had tried to get him to tell them his name, but he’d only yelled out “repulser blast!” held his hand out and pretended to blast them with the toy blasters on his hands.

The staff seemed mainly amused by the interaction. One seemed a little annoyed, but he apparently had no sense of humor.

We finally tried to curb his costume wearing when he started wearing a Deadpool mask, without really understanding who Deadpool was, other than he was “cool” (Deadpool was way too rated R for him then and still is now, both in the comics and the movies), and yelling at people who thought he was Spiderman.

“I’m not Spiderman! I’m Deadpool!” he screamed at an elderly lady one time.

Yikes.

The Boy cringes now that he was ever so rude, but he was about 6-years-old. We had a good talk about it and he never did it more than a couple of times.

Little Miss isn’t as thrilled with dressing up in public.

She and I were able to get to the playground a couple of times this past week thanks to the warmer temperatures.

I would like to take her to a larger playground, but she is quite happy with the very tiny one in our little town, so we drive down the hill and push her on the tire swing and swings for a while and come home. Works for me.

Thanks to the nice weather we were also able to have Easter at our house with my parents (steaks on the grill instead of a our traditonal Easter ham) and held an Easter egg hunt for the kids in the backyard.

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