Looking back at October and Ahead to November

It’s hard for me to believe that we are almost to the end of 2022. Here we are in November already! It’s crazy to me. This year has flown by for me.

October was a fairly busy month for us with a lot of errands and activities. Little Miss also turned eight in October.

Many of those activities during the month tried to or did interrupt school days and we had to make up our lessons on other days. I am not sure what November will bring but hopefully, there won’t be as many activities during the week. We did start to get into the homeschooling groove in October though I always feel like I am not doing enough. Little Miss and I are plowing through her Reading book, which is actually a book we are finishing from last year. We are winding up our first-grade math so we can jump into second-grade math. She is a second grader this year and the curriculum we are using doesn’t actually say which grade it is for, but I think it is still first-grade math. We’ve started skipping some lessons because Little Miss already knows it and it’s become repetitive for her.

The Boy and I are reading a classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and he says it is boring but he says that about everything so he’ll just have to suffer through.

The days and nights became a bit cooler with a couple nights of frost. The leaves fell off the trees faster than I would have liked but first, it was only around our house. There were still a lot of leaves on the hills in other areas the county next to us. T

Then this past Sunday I noticed that the hills around my parents’ house were completely bare and brown looking. This, of course, usually means that winter will be here soon, which I am not looking forward to much this year for a variety of reasons. Sometimes life seems dark and gloomy on its own. It doesn’t need the weather to add to it.

I do like that winter means slower days where we don’t often have to rush off to an activity or I don’t feel as guilty if I don’t get the kids outside into the sunshine.

Little Miss spent many of her days jumping on the neighbor’s trampoline, which we are really going to miss this winter. It’s brought us a lot of fun.

We took a couple of mini-hikes of excursions involving nature during the month of October as well.

Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs and I finished up our Spooky Season Cinema Monday and are looking forward to a Christmas Season Cinema (not sure that will be the official name or not) starting the week before Thanksgiving.

For reading in October, I finished a couple of books, including two with Little Miss (Paddington At Work and The Year of Miss Agnes).

For me, I read: The Do Over by Sharon M. Peterson, The Uncertainty of Fire by Stephanie Daniels, A Quilters Holiday by Jennifer Chiaverini, and started a couple I didn’t finish, one of which I may never finish at this point.

For November I hope to do a No News November or an Almost No News November by reducing my news intake since most of the national news isn’t news anymore anyhow, but political propaganda.

We have three birthdays to celebrate, my son’s, my aunt’s and my husband’s and of course Thanksgiving. Other than those celebrations, I don’t have anything super exciting planned for November. I will be editing Shores of Mercy to get it ready to release on January 31 and will also be working on another book for National Novel Writing Month, thought I don’t plan to finish that book.

So how was your October and what are your plans for November? Anything exciting? Let me know in the comments. I love catching up with you all.

Sunday Bookends: Gardens are too much drama, still reading the same books (I’m serious), and adding truth to Bible stories

My cellphone rang at 7:30 a.m. after a rough night of sleep. I struggled to find it where I’d dropped it somewhere in the sheets and looked at it with bleary eyes.

Dad. Uh-oh. Was something wrong? I’d better pick it up.

My dad sounded panicked. But my parents and the rest of the family was fine.

“Did you leave your plants out last night?” he asked hurridly.


“We had a frost last night. Listen, if you go out and sprinkle them lightly with cold water you can wash the frost off and maybe save them.”

That’s when I realized. . . taking care of a garden is way too stressful.

I don’t even have the garden planted yet and I’m already stressed about the plants. They’re in a tray outside my door and each night I go to bed and wonder if the deer will come this far down and eat them. I planted a few tomatoes and Dad says he’s pretty sure they won’t eat those. Deer don’t like tomato plants but they like shrubs and carrots and green beans and anything else they can get their mouths on, I guess.

We will see.

If I don’t give up on the garden all together. I still have to stretch a fence around the garden, which is why I haven’t planted the other plants just yet. I would like to plant carrots but my dad says they are a pain and probably won’t grow in my soil. I’m still going to try it, even though the topsoil we picked up really is quite awful and rocky. Who knows. It doesn’t hurt to try.

I’m still reading the same books and watching the same shows, for the most part. For books: Sweet on You by Becky Wade and then switching off with A Light in the Window by Jan Karon. These are books that are filling a type of comfort reading for me.

I’ve also read the first chapter of Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth E. Bailey. I’m planning a separate post on that book at a later date, but I can say for now that the book is broken down into simple, short chapters and it’s fascinating. I have a feeling it is going to spin my view of the real Jesus on it’s head, which I’m excited to have happen since it is coinciding with my watching of The Chosen.

If you haven’t heard about The Chosen before (or missed when I mentioned it before), it’s a TV series based on the life of Jesus and is available on The Chosen site, The Chosen app, and on DVD via their site. Purchases of the DVD help to support series two, which is currently being written. The Chosen has fictional aspects within the true story of Jesus in that it offers backstories of some of the most important people of the Bible – Simon (Peter), Mary Magdalene, Jesus’, the disciples, Nicodemus and many other supporting characters. This is not your typical Bible retelling.

My 13-year old son and I have been watching it for homeschooling and he said “I like how this makes the people of the Bible seem like real people.”

And that is what the show does. It shows the humanity and authenticity of the people we’ve spent our lives reading about on the page. I love how the show portrays Jesus as I feel he really was. So many movies about Jesus show him as stoic and serious and just very . . . how do I put it? Heavy and dramatic.

But in The Chosen, Jesus laughs and jokes and relates to his followers as any other person in real life would. It shows us a new view of Jesus. A view that he is God but he was also man.

Even if you aren’t a Christian, I’d encourage you to watch the show anyhow because it is very engaging and tells the story of people, not religion, which I believe is what our relationship with God should be – the story of us, not of what the world sees as simple “religion.”

Although the books I’m reading and the shows I’m watching are the same, I’m listening to some different things this week, including a new-to-me group The Dead South. Their language on some songs are not “clean”, just as a warning. (I always hesitate sharing music that might have some hard language because I don’t want to offend any of the Christian followers I have, but hopefully they won’t judge my heart for liking some of the songs, but not the language. )

On the blog last week I shared some thoughts on how social media kills our creativity (which I’ve actually blogged about before but forgot. Apparently this is a subject I feel strongly about *wink* ), shared Chapter 5 of Fully Alive and Chapter 9 of The Farmer’s Daughter.

So, how about all of you? What have you been up to lately? Reading? Watching? Listening to? Just simply doing? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday Bookends: Things I’m already sick of, new house, new books.

For those who are following along, we moved into our new house this past week and though it’s only been a few days we somehow feel almost at home already. Sure, there are some days everything feels a little weird and surreal, maybe even a bit disorienting because the house and the neighborhood are new to us. For the most part, though, we are settling in well. It probably helps that we are 10 minutes from the house I grew up in and the house where my parents live now (which was actually my grandmother’s house when I was growing up.)

In a lot of ways, this house has features I’ve always wanted in a house, including a tiny bathroom. You know what I mean, right? One of those bathrooms that are so small it’s equally cute and claustrophobic-inducing? Yeah, I have one now. Just one tiny door, one toilet, and a tiny sink and no windows. Cooool. Yeah, I know, I’m weird. I’d take a photo of it for you but .  . . uh, it’s tiny. I did take a photo of the cool wallpaper and decor though. I love how the people who owned this house before decorated.

We also have a gorgeous staircase, which I’ve always wanted, a banister my kids can slide down, large windows with beautiful light in the living and dining rooms, a wide-open kitchen, a front porch we can sit on (complete with a porch swing) and one of the best things is that there is a small space in our backyard for a garden.

Oh, and I now have this fridge that has a digital setting on the outside and on the inside, the light slowly brightens when you open it. Yes. Little things like that excite me. I know. It’s sad.

I’ve had almost no time for reading with unpacking, calling heating oil companies and the propane company and then weeping slightly on Friday when the snow started to fall. Yes! Snow. About three inches of the yucky, cold, white stuff. I was in denial, rocking in a corner when it started. I was also getting yelled at in an email by our mortgage broker because I didn’t give her a positive review in the survey her boss sent me. Yeah. That was fun.

I started About Your Father by Peggy Rowe last week but literally got two pages in before I fell asleep, not because it is boring but because I was so tired that day from all the moving and getting adjusted. I can’t wait to read more of it this upcoming week.

I haven’t been able to work on my books at all with everything going on and just as it started to settle down my computer died. Luckily the stimulus money will help me buy a new one (and luckily my son is letting me use his to write my blog posts until it arrives.) Maybe I will actually get to finish Chapter 3 in Fully Alive next week and hopefully Chapter 4 in The Farmer’s Daughter. Who even knows at this point.

I’ve been posting some on my blog, but I won’t lie: I’m not reading a lot of blogs. Part of the reason for this is there has been no time with the move and all the drama that has gone with it. The other reason is I’m flat out of sick of talking about You Know What and I don’t read many posts where other people are talking about it.

I’m tired of sappy “we’ve got to stay strong” posts (even if I understand and agree) and posts that regurgitate facts that aren’t even facts because the “facts” change every single day. One day it’s “don’t wear masks they don’t help.” Less than a week later: “Wear a mask or you’ll die!” In PA it’s now: “Wear a mask or you’ll go to jail.” So, yeah, that roller coaster has been “fun.”

I’m already sick of the term “social distancing,”, DIY face masks tutorials, Facebook posts lecturing people, blog posts lecturing people, family members lecturing other family members (no, not in my family, don’t worry. This isn’t a veiled comment against my family!) and Americans seeming really, really happy being told what to do and what not to do. I did, however, enjoy this Youtube video that was not your traditional DIY facemask tutorial.


I had to run to the Dollar General yesterday when my husband forgot his wallet. The plan was to meet him outside but he wasn’t outside when I got there so I had to grab a face mask and head on in to find him. It was so apocalyptic in there with people all walking around with masks, glaring at each other. There was one couple without masks, violating the signs on the doors that stated the governor has made it mandatory to wear masks in the store, smirking at everyone else. I wasn’t sure if I should be mad at them or not, since, like I said, the recommendations change every few days.

Plus, I’m tired of being offended and outraged about everything like the rest of the world. In other words, I decided to let them do their own thing and be their own people. I know. I’m awful.  How could I let others live their own lives instead of living it the way I think they should?

Yes, I may have a little bit of sarcasm issues today.

I thought I’d share a few photos I took over the last week or so, some at the new house, some at my parents. I had to pull these off my DSLR using the phone so I’m not sure if the quality will be great, but, eh..whatever.

So what have you all been doing, watching, reading,  and how are you handling life with all this craziness? Let me know in the comments and yes, I will read them, even if they do have to do with You Know What. I’m merely taking a break from that topic, when I can, not boycotting it all together (mainly because there is no actual way to do that!)

Sunday Bookends: Free ebooks, moving and some fresh air

What a week, huh?

Don’t worry, I’m not going to interject politics, worries, or virus numbers from around the world in this post, so you’re safe.

The only thing I will say about it all is that I have discovered a couple new things from not being able to get the groceries I usually do. One, I had no idea that Bob Evans potatoes came in individual servings. I rarely eat them but picked them up when potatoes were running low in our area. We’ve eaten these at my parents and they aren’t the best, but they also aren’t the worst. Two, a local pizzeria near us makes amazing pizza and I wish we had ordered pizza from them in the past. We know this because we ordered two of their pizza making kits and the ingredients were fresh and resulted in incredibly tasting pizza.  Once the restrictions in our state are lifted, we will be sure to order from them again.

As many of you know, if you’ve been a long time, or even short time reader of this blog, I don’t handle stressful situations well. I especially don’t handle the unknown well. Not knowing what might happen from day to day or if someone I love will come down with this virus and become very ill is very draining on me.

BUT —  and yes, this is a good BUT — only by the literal grace of God,  I have been able to stay calm and surprisingly positive throughout this situation affecting our world.

It isn’t that a couple of nights haven’t been ruined by me laying awake and scrolling through a mental list of “what-ifs” but I’m able to push those thoughts aside a lot faster than I used to be. I’m handing so much more over to God than I did in the past. I am remembering (for once!) the words “the battle belongs to the Lord!” When a reader told me she remembered my post and wrote those words on a piece of paper and hung it up on her house to help her get through all of this craziness, I was not only touched, but it encouraged me to do the same.

I have not been doing as much reading as I would have liked to this past week, even though my brother encouraged me to do a 24in48 readathon. The idea is to read 24 hours out of 48 hours. Um… yeah. Not really going to happen. Probably ever. For me anyhow. (Edited this to add this comment of clarification from my brother: “Just to clarify that is the idea. That is not the rule, especially this time around. I think what’s happening this time is that a lot of people are gathering together and talking about books, even the little that they are able to read. One participant suggested a goal of reading 10 minutes each hour or listening to an audiobook for 20 minutes, which I think is doable. Today, for myself, I am going to post once or twice on Instagram and stay away from Instagram Stories, read Sunday Salon posts like I normally do, and read as I can while avoiding all news altogether.” (You can read the rest of his comment in the comments section and check out his blog for what he’s doing to keep his mind off of things.)

Anyhow, I probably read a total of an hour on Saturday and may read an hour Sunday so two hours total.  I’ve been having trouble focusing on reading (much like my brother) between current events and packing up our house to move, plus homeschooling (which we do all the time, as I mentioned in my post yesterday) playing with my 5-year old (who thinks she needs constant entertainment at this age), writing a short story for my Facebook pageant Instagram author account, and finishing up A New Beginning.

Isn’t it cool how I made myself sound really important and busy in the above paragraph? Looks good on paper/screen, right? In reality, it looks like a Picasso painting that’s been puked on.

While I am thinking or writing about books, in case others are not yet aware of this, Scribd, which I had never heard of before, is offering their subscriptions for free for the next 30 days. That includes almost all of their ebooks, audiobooks and even sheet music. My brother told me about this and it has been nice to have because all of the Romana books by Beverly Cleary are currently available for free there and my daughter loves Romana so I am reading the books to her before bed.

For myself, I am reading the second book in the Mitford series by Jan Karon, A Light in the Window and also Falling for You by Becky Wade (continuing the nice light romances I mentioned last week.)

We were able to get outside in between blasts of heavy rain on Friday, which was very much needed after a damp, cold week. It was 71 on Friday and dropped to 37 by Saturday. Talk about messing up sinuses. I’ll share a few photos from our day here and then probably do a separate post later in the week when we all need a break (another break) from the bleak news cycle.

We usually visit my parents on Sundays but with everything going on we decided to skip this weekend even though we think we’ve most likely exposed each other already. My dad is 76 and pretty matter-of-fact about things so last week he told us “We’re in our 70s. We could get a cold and die at this point so I’m not really worried.”

My dad is a young 76. He is still very active so keeping him in one place hasn’t been easy.  Earlier this week he said “Well, I guess we should try to not travel much during all this,” and we decided together our family would stay home for this weekend and maybe next, but after that, we are moving and may need to stay a couple nights with them.

We are praying none of us catch this before then so we don’t have to sleep in our van or car until we get the keys to the new house (apparently we have to be moved out prior to signing our closing papers to sell this house and can’t have keys to the new place until the sale of this house is final. Yeah. Fun times.).

We enjoyed a visit with them last week and while the trees are still bare, we did some signs of spring starting to show up.


DSC_8772DSC_8788So how about all of you? What are you reading, writing, watching or simply doing right now? Let me know in the comments.

Looking back at February, ahead to March, and favorite posts from the blogosphere

February was a little bit of a crazy month. Normally it drags on because we are dealing with the winter blahs, but this year it flew by pretty fast because of house showings and then eventually the sale of our house. Now we are knee-deep, somewhat literally, in packing up the house and clearing out, some of which we had already started.

Weather-wise, the temps rose and fell throughout the month, which was wonderful for our sinuses and mood (she said sarcastically). It was like “We’re happy!” “Now we’re sad!” “We’re happy!” “Now we’re sad!” all month long.


Looking ahead to March, there will be more packing and then the actual moving, with the plan to be in the new house by April 3. There will also be more homeschooling, somehow, in between all the packing and moving. So far, homeschooling is both a blast and completely aggravating. I’ve considered writing a post about homeschooling again, but, sad to say, I had some who looked down their noses at me for doing it so I hate to think they’ll read any posts about the struggles and gloat. I know, very immature of me to worry about what others think, but I’m still working on that.

I wrote a variety of blog posts on a variety of topics (which is why the word “ramblings” is in my blog name.)

I shared a few weekly round-ups:


I also shared several chapters of A New Beginning, and you can find the links to all of those HEREor at the top of the page.

I share a couple posts about faith:

I also wrote about:


I also enjoyed many posts by a variety of bloggers in February and I thought I would share them with you today in addition to my February review.

I loved all the photos and daily events with Derrick, but I especially loved this one he called The Horse Whisperer. The photos and story behind it were beautiful.

As always, I have to share one of Pete’s stories from Lunch Break Fiction, but this time I also get to share he has a book out. I just purchased it and I am so excited to read it! I loved this post from February entitled Metrics. If you haven’t read Pete’s short stories, you’re really missing out.

I like pretty much every post shared at My Life with Gracie so it’s hard to highlight just one, but I did like when John shared his copy of Doctor Doolittle with Gracie and the other chickens.

Mama’s Empty Nest shared this throwback post written from the perspective of her cat and it was hilarious and sweet.

Melinda Johnson wrote about Facebook Being a Stalker Boyfriend and she’s completely right. You all know my disdain for Facebook.

Bettie, one of my favorite bloggers, shares so many touching posts butthis one was interesting because it gave me the chance to hear her voice and more of her story. What a blessing!

I enjoyed this post by Heather Dawn about waking up on the wrong side of the bed (even with coffee!) because I could relate to it.

I could also relate to Autumn at Autumn Rain about her worry that she’s too late to blog, to write, to . . . well, whatever. And, no, Autumn, we are not too late. It’s never too late.

There is a lot interesting posts to digest at Our Little Red House, so I picked just one about her garden in the month of February. She gets to have a garden in February since she lives in Arizona.

This post from Becoming HIS Tapestry entitled Love Me; You Don’t have to Trust Me, hit home as there have been people in my life I haven’t fully trusted, but who I have loved.  Honestly, it might tip some of your preconceived notions about love right up on their head.

Some difficult, but important posts from the last month included:

This one on Storied Pathwayswhen she wrote about her grandmother, who is in the hospital, and who has meant to much to her. Get some tissues.

The Whole Truth Laid to Rest on A New Life was such a hard read, but just so necessary in a day and age where so many don’t respect life on the simplest, smallest levels. *trigger warning* This is the personal story of a woman who had an abortion years ago and is now facing the pain from that decision. No matter what you believe about the issue, this is her story and she has the right to that story as much as anyone else.

So, how about all of you? Read any good posts in February? Do some exciting things? Share links or stories in the comments and see you at the end of March for my March update (if I remember to do it or even have time with the move and yes, this post was supposed to be done for the end of February. Oops.).


Sunday Bookends: Dick VanDyke, Noelle, sappy, predictable Christmas movies, and light reading

Bah-humbug to the crummy week this past week was.

And bah-humbug to:

  • the people who thought they could pay us almost $35,000 less for our house than we were asking so they could flip it (not very Christian but I wanted to flip something else at them);
  • the people who verbally trash houses so they can try to talk sellers down in price;
  •  photo sessions with drunk adults and parents, aunts and uncles all yelling at the kids to “look here” (at their cellphones!) while the photographer (me) tries to take their photos;
  • my husband to swerving to miss a deer and hitting a rock and popping a tire.

I’m not a drinker, but if I was, I’d be pretty sloshed by now trying to deal with all the stress from last week. Instead, I’m just gaining weight from chocolate consumption.

I already mentioned yesterday I’ve been binge-watching Lifetime and Hallmark Christmas romance movies to distract from the stress (help me!), but I’ve also been binge-watching the old Dick VanDyke Show from the 60s (yes, also on Amazon, but no! I’m not being paid by them to say this.) I’m watching these movies and shows while cleaning, cooking, or — uh, crying — by the way, so I’m not just sitting and watching movies and doing nothing else.

The Dick VanDyke Show is one of those shows that really holds up. One of my favorites is when Laura tells the world that Rob’s boss, Alan Brady, is bald. It’s in Season 5, episode 1, if I remember right.

I love the chemistry among the characters in The Dick VanDyke Show, especially Mary Tyler Moore and Dick VanDyke. The storylines are always so inventive and hilarious as well. It was definitely a forerunner for todays sitcom, although most of them can’t hold a candle to the superb acting by VanDyke and the rest of the cast.

In addition to Dick VanDyke and the cheesy Christmas romance movies, I also watched a movie that featured some pretty bad acting, but was worth pushing through to get to the message. The movie, called Noelle, (but first released as Mrs. Worthington’s Party), is an independent film with some beautiful imagery and symbolism.


It was written, produced and directed in 2007 by David Wall, who also stars in it, and who I can find very little information about other than he released another independent film last year called Gold Dust. Wall was pretty much the only competent actor in the movie, but again, it was completely worth pushing through it to reach the message behind it.

In the book world, I had very little time this week for reading thanks to the house showings, the cleaning, the rainy weather that wreaked havoc on my sinuses and the watching of cheesy Christmas romance movies.

I am still reading The Cat Who Lived High by Lillian Jackson Braun and The Hobbit (I will finish this book!), a book called Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrell, and with my kids, I’m reading The Misadventured Summer of Tumbleweed Thompson by Glenn McCarty and More About Paddington by Michael Bond. I read Paddington to my daughter each night, at her request, complete with all the voices, which makes it hard for my husband ever to read it to her because he can’t do a British accent.

I also run into trouble with this by playing Doc McStuffins with her, imitating the voices of all the characters as we play. Sometimes when I need a break from playtime with a 5-year old, my husband says “Can’t Daddy play with you?” She always says “No. Because you can’t do the voices.” I’m not sure who to feel more sorry for – me or my husband.

So how about all of you? What are you reading, watching, or up to? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to know!

Lisa R. Howeler is a writer and photographer from the “boondocks” who writes a little bit about a lot of things on her blog Boondock Ramblings. She’s published a fiction novel ‘A Story to Tell’ on Kindle and also provides stock images for bloggers and others at Alamy.com and Lightstock.com.


Sunday Bookends: Reading mysteries with cats, watching artistic movies, and selling a house

What a week last week was, or at least the beginning of it.

We knew we had at least one house showing in the middle of the week but then we were asked if we could accommodate a second house showing. Since our house had only been on the market for less than a week at that point, we said “sure why not,” but I also freaked out because I knew we had repairs and cleaning to do before then. Saturday through Tuesday was a blur of cleaning out, throwing out, scrubbing, scraping and desperate attempts to keep my youngest from making any huge messes before the showings.

Then the day of the first showing we had to figure out how to carry our cat to the van, since pets aren’t allowed during showings, and since she hates her cat carrier (not that I can blame her). My biggest fear is that she would get loose while we drove around town to waste time. Luckily that didn’t happen either day, even though she wasn’t very happy with being stuck in the van with two kids and a dog that likes to lick her all over.

The first day she was fairly anxious but the next day she spent a good part of the hour we were out yowling and for one brief moment, I thought she was going to throw up on me. As we drove she cuddled up against the dog, who really is like a buddy to her, even though they smack each other around half the time.


In the middle of the cleaning, we had our first snowstorm (Ezekiel) of the season and the kids enjoyed playing in the snow it left behind (which was much less than forecasters were calling for).


On the reading front, I haven’t been reading a lot, partially because I didn’t have time and partially because my mom is using my Kindle after hers tragically passed away a couple of weeks ago and I usually read at night after the kids are in bed. I downloaded the app on my phone but I don’t enjoy reading in on the phone (even though I have a larger sized one) as much as on the Kindle.

I had a couple of hard copy books and read some of A Light from Heaven by Jan Mitford, but had to lay that one down because it dragged more than most of her books and I just couldn’t get into it. I did finally started a new “The Cat Who” book in the Kindle app after abandoning one she wrote in the first person.

I didn’t enjoy reading about a character who was usually written in the third person but was now in the first person.  The one I’m reading currently is The Cat Who Lived High (Book 11) by Lilian Jackson Braun and it is written in the third person. The Cat Who books are about former reporter James Qwilleran and his two cats, Koko and Yum-Yum. Koko seems to have a six sense, which Qwilleran uses in his amateur sleuthing. And like many mystery series, Qwill is the harbinger of death because everywhere he goes someone seems to die or has died already. Yes, he is another Jessica Fletcher.

At bedtime my daughter has been asking me to read stories from the Paddington books by Michael Bond. We are currently on the book “More About Paddington.” We love the stories about the crazy situations that bear gets into. As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, my daughter often passes out before the story is finished and I try not to read ahead so she and I can enjoy it together. She won’t let anyone else in the house read to her, mainly because I do all the voices for the characters. I also do all the voices for her toys when we play (I do a mean Hallie and Stuffy from Doc McStuffins). I really need to stop doing that. Ha!

On the movie front, I finally crossed a movie off my movie bucket list: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with Paul Newman and Robert Redford.  I’m amazed I never watched it since I’m a huge Paul Newman fan. Who wouldn’t be with those blue eyes and that sexy mouth? It’s okay to speak about him this way since he’s been dead for years. *wink* Seriously, though, I’m a fan of his acting and this movie didn’t change my mind. It was definitely action-packed and worth finally watching.


I also watched a movie called The Beautiful Fantastic, which wasn’t as good, though it was clean and the cinematography was beautiful. It got a bit too cliche in parts but I enjoyed and I enjoyed watching Andrew Scott, who I first saw in Sherlock as Moriarty. I probably won’t watch him as the “Hot Priest” in Fleabag because that show really doesn’t sound like it would be my cup of tea. The Beautiful Fantastic also starred Jessica Brown Findlay and Tom Wilkinson.

It’s imagery and unique angles helped to spark my feelings of creativity, so there was that at least.


So, how about you? How was your week? What are you reading? Watching? Listening to even? Let me know in the comments or link to a blog post where you shared what you’re up to this week!

Lisa R. Howeler is a wife, mom, writer and photographer. She resides in Pennsylvania and is a former journalist. She currently provides photographs for bloggers and for stock agencies, Alamy, and Lightstock.


Sunday Bookends: House selling, snowstorms and rediscovering art

Last week our house went up for sale and we prepared ourselves for a long wait before someone asked for a showing, even though we were hoping for a quick sale because we have a house we want to buy closer to my husband’s new job (and the purchase is contingent on the sale of the one we currently live in). Our house is a cozy, well-lived in house perfect for our little family, but it’s also a fixer-upper, so we didn’t expect people to rush to buy it. Imagine our surprise, and panic, when someone asked for a showing two days after the house went online. We were given seven days to repair a few, minor issues we thought we’d have at least a month, if not longer, to repair. As of now, we are down to four of those days with the majority of the repairs made, but a few still needed – including cleaning out my very full bedroom closet.

Of course, just because we’ve had a request for a showing doesn’t mean the people will be interested or buy it. This could be a long process and we know that. Our challenge next week will be getting the kids and the cat and dog out of the house at the same time. We don’t have friends or family near us so we’ve decided the kids will go to the library and I’ll wait in the parking lot with the animals in the van (since I have no plan to try to shove our cat into that little carrier again. The last time was for a trip to the vet a few months ago and my skin is still healing from some of the gashes she sliced across my skin.) I’m sort of hoping this process isn’t too drawn out since I don’t relish the idea of dragging the animals and all of us out of the house each time someone wants to look and see if our house can become their house.

The contents of that very full closet in my room have left me crying almost daily as I work through it, tossing scrapbooks into containers, photos of people who are now gone or no longer speak to us falling out of them. Then there are the journals, which I no longer look at because they contain too many cans of worms I prefer not to open. A couple interesting items I did find were old sketchbooks from college that contained images I took hours and hours to create but usually didn’t finish. Art was such a stress reliever back then but now I don’t seem to have the patience for it. Maybe I’ll get some patience back during the social media break I’m doing during December.


I remember working on this project, which is made up of thousands of tiny dots made with an ink pen (a process called stippling) as a stress reliever but also as a way to focus better during college lectures. I find I can focus on sermons and lectures better when I can doodle of have something to do with my hands. I know there is science behind that but I don’t really want to research it and explain it here, so we will address that in another blog post.

Anyhow, I was working on this piece of artwork during a sociology lecture when the professor, walking up and down the aisle, pontificating about something sociology related, stopped and suggested I should be taking notes, not working on art. But then he said “So, can you listen to me better while you’re doing that?” I said I could. He looked at it again and said “That’s quite good. Carry on.” and then continued to walk up the aisle, rambling away.


I need to finish that picture now that I’ve found it again. It would be a nice distraction, dotting away on a piece of paper, while the stresses of life (house selling, family and friend losses) swirl around me.

I should also finish this pen and ink sketch I started of The Beatles, I think.


Our first snowstorm of the winter looks like it may hit us today and tomorrow, complete with a couple layers of ice and then up to 12 inches of snow. It even has a name- Snowstorm Ezekiel. At this point, we are just waiting to see what it actually brings in terms of snow or ice versus what the forecasters are saying. The big blob of pink and purple has been moving toward us but I haven’t seen much outside yet.

The snow will keep us inside but that’s a good thing considering we still have quite a few repairs to make and cleaning up to do before the showing.

So, how about you? What are you all up to or what have you been up to? How is the weather where you are? Cold? Warm? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll leave you with a verse from the book of Ezekiel in honor of Storm Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 37: 9-14 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”



Looking back at July and links from the rest of the blogging world

I can’t say July was terribly exciting, thanks to sweltering humidity that engulfed us and wouldn’t let go, chasing us inside most of the time, but it was a month where my family spent time together at my parents in the country and learned how to cool down an entire upstairs with one, tiny window air conditioning unit and how to cool down a preschooler with one tiny pool.


As for blogging:


I also read a lot of great blog posts in July and in the beginning of August. Some of those posts are listed below.

I don’t know how I stumbled on to this old blog post by Holly Nicole Photography but I’m glad I did because it reminded me of who I was becoming and almost became not so long ago. Trying so hard to be liked and to be honored as a photographer while completely losing sight of why I started learning more about photography in the first place. I wanted to capture moments to remember my family and life, and to capture moments for others, not to impress other people and, really, not even to get clients. The drive to be liked and to be hired for my work literally made me sick and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s why my physical health has suffered so much for the last ten years – well, that and a couple personal situations that were out of my control.

There are so many great blog posts written this week and last and two of them in a row on my WordPress Reader’s list were about the American flag and how it’s becoming a trend to disrespect the flag as a way to comment on what people don’t like about our country.

This one from Mama’s Empty Nest brought tears to my eyes because of how far down the path of negativity we have all come in this country.

Then Our Little Red House wrote about her impressions of how people seem to assign the idea of hate as the real symbol behind our flag, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Moving away from commentary on the state of our country, Brittany from Ordinarily Extraordinary Mom wrote a raw post about being angry with God. Very insightful and close to home for me.

Another one that was close to home for me was from Brenda at Becoming His Tapestry as she talked about needing to trust God with the safety of her daughters as they return to college in a week.

How about you? How was your July and what’s up for August? Let me know in the comments.

Did you have some favorite posts from July? Share them with me in the comments!