The Story Behind the Photo: Mud

Growing up my children really liked making messes outside.

In this photo, my son had added water from the hose to the already starting mud in our side yard.

He and my daughter made a type of mudslide, even though the yard was flat. They slid all over in that mud, made holes and filled it with water, splashed mud and water, piled the mud up, and rubbed it all over themselves.

Bottom line?

They had a blast.

We lived on a fairly busy street at the time, right across from the high school. People who drove by probably thought one of two things: 1) I was a horrible parent who let my kids make all kinds of messes and took photos of them doing it or 2) I was the best mother in the world because I let my kids make all kinds of messes and took photos of them doing it.

Either way, I don’t care.

My kids had fun.

They had real childhoods.

They lived in the moment.

They don’t do that as often anymore. Not with the messes. They still live in the moment and I still let them be kids. They still have a real childhood.

I can’t lie, though, if they poured some mud and water down the hill in the backyard of the house we live in now and slid down it and covered themselves all over in mud . . .

I’d totally let them.

I’d grab my camera, and would absolutely love photographing it.


A Photo A Day in May

Back at the end of April I had decided I would take a photo a day in May. That would have been a great idea, if I had remembered I had challenged myself to do that. Sigh.

As I mentioned on my Saturday Afternoon Chat post, I didn’t do very well to begin with, but I am back on track. I also plan to stretch the challenge into June to make up for the lost days.

I thought I’d share the photos I took when I remembered to do so. I also have a couple of photos I took on a day, but didn’t take for the project. It was simply a photo I took for one reason or another.

I added a couple of extra photographs from each day as well.

May 1

No photo. Oops.

May 2

May 3

May 4

May 5

May 6

May 7

No Photo

May 8

No Photo

May 9

May 10

May 11

May 12

May 13

May 14

My breakfast for Mother’s Day from Little Miss.

May 15

No photo. Oops.

A Photo A Day in May and looking back at April’s photos

April isn’t all the way over yet, but I thought I’d look back on some photos from the month and talk about a project I hope to do in May.

I have decided to take on a photo project for May and take at least one photo a day. If anyone knows me, taking one photo is like being able to eat only one potato chip – it isn’t easy for me. What I’ve done in the past when I do these projects is choose one photo to represent the day.

I’m hoping this will encourage me to be creative even on the days I don’t feel like being creative. I’ve been a creative slug in many ways over the last several years and I’m trying to pull myself out of that rut.

I’ve even started a photography-related Instagram account again, if you would like to follow it:

I don’t think I’ll post the photos on here every day – I’ll probably post them at the end of each week.

Stay tuned!

(Also, most of you have seen these photos already and they aren’t super exciting but I figure sometimes we need something not very exciting in our days.)

Sunday Bookends: My husband is a speed reader, finally enjoying Fellowship of the Ring, a DNF for Anne, and working on Gladwynn’s book

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

What I/we’ve been Reading

It took until around Chapter 9, but I finally got into Fellowship of the Ring. Or it finally picked up, whichever. I mean, I guess I liked it before then but a character I remember from the movies showed up around Chapter 9 and that’s when things started to really pick up. Now I’m moving through it much faster and would love to be able to finish it by the end of the week, but I’m not sure I will. I have enjoyed listening to it some of the time on Audible and reading it part of the time. Friday night I sat on the back porch and read a couple of chapters of it, which took quite a while since the chapters are so long.

I also started reading Death of a Poison Pen by M.C. Beaton. It’s a Hamish Macbeth Mystery and takes place in Scotland. It’s a much lighter read than Fellowship of the Ring so I’m using it to break up the old style of Tolkien’s writing but I will probably focus on FOTR this week because I do want to know what happens. Yes, I did watch the movie but I sort of glazed over after hour two and got a bit lost. I’d rather read it.

I finally gave up on Anne’s House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery. It was terribly depressing and I once heard a reader say life was too short to read a book you don’t enjoy so I finally put it back on the shelf. I’ll try some of the other books in the series at another time.

Little Miss and I are reading On The Other Side of the Hill by Roger Lea MacBride. Some nights we are reading The Miss Piggle Wiggle Treasury.

The Boy is reading Fellowship of the Ring.

The Husband was on vacation this week and even with taking kids to appointments, washing dishes, mowing the lawn, and helping to take care of a sick dog he managed to read six books and start a seventh.

The books he read:

The Infernals by John Connelly

Out of Range by CJ Box

The Scared Stiff by Donald Westlake

Bye-Bye, Baby by Ace Atkins

Number One is Walking by Steve Martin

Standing by the Wall by Mick Herron

The one he is reading now: Don’t Ask by Donald Westlake

What’s Been Occurring

I wrote yesterday about our drama last week with Zooma the Wonder Dog. You can read about it in this post.

You can also see some of our photos from the week there but I will share a few here too.

What We watched/are Watching

Little Miss and I found two other Mary Berry series on Tubi on the Roku this week so we watched those episodes throughout the week.

I watched My Favorite Wife for my Spring of Cary feature with Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs and decided it was not my favorite Cary movie.

An Affair to Remember is up for this week.

The Husband and I watched Oceans 11 this week. The original with the Rat Pack etc. That was some ending. Whew.

We also watched a super creepy episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents with Dick York from Bewitched. Yikes. He was a very good actor and very underrated.

We also started Carefree with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, but both had to head to bed for some sleep so we will finish it later.

I also watched a few art videos and a couple of YouTubers this week but had to take a break from the YouTubers as some of them grate on me because after a bit they all start to sound the same. They talk about the same books and wear the same clothes and skip in the same fields and it is starting to get a bit weird. I’m sure I’ll still watch a few of them, including Forgotten Way Farms, which is different from all the other “Young Woman Reading Cottage Core Style Books and Filming Herself Wearing Old Clothes and Skipping through A Field of Flowers.”

What I’m Writing

I worked on finishing Gladwynn Grant Gets Her Footing every day this last week and hope to have it finished this upcoming week. You can pre-order it here:

It is coming out July 18th now instead of June 20th.

On the blog I shared:

What I’m Listening To

I am listening to an audiobook of Fellowship of the Ring and other times I am reading the book.

Blog Posts I Enjoyed This Past Week

Big Sky Buckeye, God’s quiet place:

Breath of Hallelujah: Pascha At Holy Trinity Cathedral Chicago

Now it’s your turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

Fall Fun in Photos and Words

Early in Autumn I was concerned we wouldn’t get very many colorful leaves, but this month nature bowled us over with gorgeous colors splashed across the hills.

Sadly, many of those leaves fell off last week and this weekend when we received a ton of wind and a little bit of rain. Now most of our colorful leaves are all over the ground and we know this means that winter is on its way.

I’m not a fan of winter, as I’ve written about in the past, but as The Husband and I sat cuddled under blankets, watching Brokenwood last night, I remembered what I like about winter. I like that there is an excuse not to go anywhere, that we don’t feel pressured to go outside and do something in the evenings, and we can bundle up with a cup of tea or cocoa, a fuzzy blanket, and a good show or book. That part of winter I am looking forward to.

I thought I would share some of our autumn-related photos from September and October today.

What is the weather like where you are?

Our summer in photos

Now that it is autumn (though not meteorologically so), I suppose it is time to look back on our summer through photographs. I have to say that choosing the photos for this post reminded me of what a good summer we actually had this year. After the rough end of 2021 we had, I was especially grateful for summer this year and was glad to live it as full as possible.

Little Miss’ friends came from Texas to visit at the beginning of the summer.

We took a few day trips during the summer, then there were many trips down the slip n’ slide and trips to my parents’ pool, enjoying our summer flowers, playing with the pets, and helping my dad pick his garden.

How was your summer? Can you even believe it’s already (or almost officially) autumn (here in the Northern Hemisphere at least)?

Looking back at July in photos

Even before I looked back at the photos from July, I knew the month had been busy, but looking at all the photos from the month, solidified that for me.

There were a lot of pool visits, a lot of running through sprinklers, a musical, grocery shopping trips, visits with friends, parades, carnivals, visiting my parents, cookouts, anniversary dinners, and blowing bubbles.

Finding comfort in photography, or here is a bunch of photos I took to hide away from my problems.

Our family has had a rough week so I retreated to what helps me cope and that’s art in some form. This week I was so grateful that the flowers are still blooming around my house so I went out yesterday (despite warmer temps) to photograph those flowers before they are gone. I had to find a way to hold on to them because, sadly, I can’t scoop them up and put them in a bottle to take out and smell and feel and see whenever I am down throughout the year. Boy, do I wish I could!

Sunday Bookends: Bear in the neighborhood, little girls everywhere, and a summer reading list

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

What I/we’ve been Reading

I have two or three more chapters to read of Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery and will probably finish it today.

I also hope to finish Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain later this week.

I am starting The Heat of the Mountains by Pepper Basham this week for a book tour, which isn’t until the end of July.

I hope to start the next book in the Anne series (Anne of the Island) as well.

I have a few books I would like to read during this summer including:

The sixth book in the Walt Longmire series, Junkyard Dogs;

The Hot Rock by Donald Westlake;

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz;

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie;

 A Ted Dekker book (haven’t decided which one yet);

At least one Jane Austen book

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

The Do Over by Bethany Turner.

The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray

Do I think I will get through all these books? I have no idea but we will see.

The Husband is reading Hooker by Lou Thesz (a book about a wrestler, not a prostitute.).

The Boy is taking a break from reading after reading so much for school this year.

I finally got Little Miss to let me read a book other than Laura Ingalls Wilder — Anne of Green Gables. She’s letting me read one chapter of Anne one night and a chapter of The Long Winter the other night.

What’s Been Occurring

Little Miss had a very busy, exciting week. She was able to see all of her friends, including the ones still visiting the area from Texas. They had moved there last year (I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m too lazy to go back to my previous Sunday Bookend and look. *wink*). Her friends who live locally were visiting Thursday and then her friends from Texas were down the street at their great-grandmothers so they came up to visit too. For about three hours I had six crazy girls between the ages of 6 and 8 here and it was actually a lot of fun, more for Little Miss than anyone else.

I’d love to show the photos of them all together but I don’t have permission to share their photographs on the blog so I’ll just tell you that they were all crazy and had fun posing for a photograph that they could all remember when they go their separate ways.

Little Miss was able to see her friends from Texas the next day as well and then last night the neighbor’s daughter took her to our local dairy parade where she milked a cow and was able to ride on a fire truck.

On Friday we traveled 45 minutes one way and 45 minutes back to have the kid’s evaluations done with our homeschool evaluator. We didn’t visit the town where we used to live like we usually do when we go there, partially because we simply didn’t feel like and partially because they last time we went there some young men yelled nasty things at my son while he was riding his bike. The incident was a stark reminder of how much the town we lived in for about 18 years had changed, and not for the better.

With the evaluations done, we can now submit our paperwork to the district both for this past school year and for next. And that also means we are officially on summer break. No, we don’t have any concrete exciting plans for this summer. One of my plans is to start looking for curriculum for The Boy who is now a sophomore in high school (hold me!). Yes, I am a very exciting person.

In less interesting news for most people, my peonies and wild roses bloomed this week, which is just about one of the biggest highlights of the year for me. Yes, my life is that boring.

In unrelated news, I have been waiting to see a bear since we moved here and I might have seen one Monday if I had been outside my house because one visited my neighbor down the street — the great grandmother of Little Miss’ little friends. The bear was young and walked up her driveway and into her side yard (which is very small and leads to her patio doors) and visited her granddaughter’s dog and then kept going, I guess. We only found out about it when the local newspaper wrote about it. I told my neighbor to call me if a bear shows up in her yard again, but really, what am I going to do if it does? I’m certainly not going to walk down the street, but maybe I’d drive down there to check it out.

Now that I know there has been a bear on the street, I am trying to be very careful when I let the pets out and check on them while they are out there.  Bears aren’t known to kill dogs or cats in this area, but it still makes me nervous.

What We watched/are Watching

Last Sunday I started to rewatch Season 2 of The Chosen. Wow. I caught so many things I had missed when I watched it last year, especially during the episode with Jesus and John the Baptist. It is a seriously powerful show. If you have not watched it, I really encourage you to do so. Even if you aren’t a Christian. It’s very well put together and tells a wonderful story about people, in addition to God.

You can either watch it on The Chosen app, which is very easy to download on your smartphone or another device. You can cast the episodes to your TV and download the channel if you have a Roku.

I watched a couple more episodes of The Durrells, which is on Amazon, and based on a trilogy of books about a real life family called The Durrells. It’s an interesting show, with some odd moments, but nothing outlandishly inappropriate or violent.

I also watched a bunch of videos by homesteader YouTubers like Roots and Refuge Farm all week long. This gave me ideas for things I can do around my own home to create a garden or grow food without planting a full garden. I am behind on starting a garden this year (clearly) and I’ve been dragging my feet on it because it can be very time consuming and I sort of blew it last year. But these videos have inspired me to try it on a smaller scale, so I am producing at least something this year. As my neighbor said last week, this is definitely the year to be planting a garden considering how bad our economy is and how much worse it is going to get.

It is also inspiring to watch Roots and Refuge because they have built their farm and their YouTube channel up over the last several years to the point they are now making a full, supporting income from both.

The Husband and I also watched an episode (they are 90 minutes each) of Brokenwood Mysteries and on Saturday I watched the new Obi Wan Kenobi show with The Boy and then an episode of the third season of Star Trek Discovery with The Boy and The Husband.

What I’m Writing

 I worked more this week on The Shores of Mercy, which is what I’ll be calling the new book. It is called Mercy’s Shore for the blog.

I’ve decided to write one more book after this one and complete The Spencer Valley Chronicles with five books. The fifth book will be about Alex and his relationship with his father, as well as a little more about his relationship with Molly. I felt like that will bring the series full circle. Since it started with Molly, it will end with Molly.

In addition to working on the book, I also wrote several blog posts including:

Now it’s your turn

What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.