Sunday Bookends (on Monday): Good music, scary or depressing movies, books about chefs and summer activities


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

I didn’t finish this in time for a Sunday posting, which is why it’s being posted on Monday instead. Obviously. *wink*


What I/we’ve Been Reading

I have been reading but quite slowly. I was rotating between three books and I still haven’t finished one of them so this week I am going to focus on Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and when that is finished I am going to finish The Heart of the Mountain by  Pepper Basham and then I will go back to Anne of the Island from the Anne of Green Gables series.  The Heart of the Mountain is the first book I’ve read by Basham and I am enjoying it. So far it’s not a cliché Christian fiction romance and I am grateful for that. It releases on July 1.

A description for those who are curious about it:

Can True Love Weather a World of Differences?

To escape marriage, Cora Taylor runs away from her home in England to join her brother in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, but not even her time as a nurse in the Great War prepares her for the hard landscape and even harder lives of the mountain people. With the help of Jeb McAdams, a quiet woodcarver, who carries his own battle scars, she fashions a place for herself among these unique people. But the past refuses to let go, and with dangers from within and without, can hearts bruised by war find healing within the wilds of the mountains?

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly is the book that blew Bourdain into stardom and details his journey working at the lowest levels in kitchens up to the big time. If you don’t know who Bourdain is, then you really missed out (though you didn’t miss out on his potty mouth. *wink* He was known to be a bit crass, crude, and rude at times, but he was also a brilliant writer and food connoisseur. So warning: there is swearing in this book but not constant swearing ).

 He was a chef who became famous when he traveled the world for the Travel Channel tasting and discussing food from countries all over the world, all while giving the viewers a bit of history and culture lessons during each episode.

A description of Kitchen Confidential for the curious:

Anthony Bourdain, host of Parts Unknown, reveals “twenty-five years of sex, drugs, bad behavior and haute cuisine” in his breakout New York Times bestseller Kitchen Confidential.

Bourdain spares no one’s appetite when he told all about what happens behind the kitchen door. Bourdain uses the same “take-no-prisoners” attitude in his deliciously funny and shockingly delectable book, sure to delight gourmands and philistines alike. From Bourdain’s first oyster in the Gironde, to his lowly position as dishwasher in a honky tonk fish restaurant in Provincetown (where he witnesses for the first time the real delights of being a chef); from the kitchen of the Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center, to drug dealers in the east village, from Tokyo to Paris and back to New York again, Bourdain’s tales of the kitchen are as passionate as they are unpredictable.

Kitchen Confidential will make your mouth water while your belly aches with laughter. You’ll beg the chef for more, please.

Bourdain committed suicide in 2018. My family and I had been watching his show for years. When we heard the news it was like losing a friend. A foul-mouthed, jokester, who loved life so much you couldn’t believe he’d choose to end it type of friend. Many of his shows are available on a variety of streaming services and I highly recommend them. If you are sensitive to seeing animals killed or hearing course language, maybe avoid them, but neither of those items are consistently present in his earlier shows and are present more, but still not constant, on his show that ran on CNN a few years before he passed away.

This is my first time reading a book by him. It is the first of several he wrote, including a couple novels.

The Husband is reading Fade Away by Harlan Coben.



What’s Been Occurring

Little Miss has been excited to jump on our neighbor’s trampoline but has been sorely disappointed that Mom and Dad won’t jump with her. Big brother isn’t that interested either and her friends from Texas are now gone home so she had to be content with jumping for us instead of with us.

We spent a few nights last week up the hill on the trampoline, me reading a book or watching her while she jumped.

Our roses are still blooming which has been so exciting for me. I can’t remember if they bloomed this long last year or not and I figure we will lose most of them this week or next so I am simply enjoying them while I can.

The Husband is on vacation this week, but we don’t have any big plans. We are going to visit a couple of local state parks and hopefully go on a train ride near us and spend time with my parents.

Yesterday we kicked off The Husband’s week with a cookout with my parents and jumped in the pool for the first time after my son and dad worked hard to clean it out.

What We watched/are Watching

I watched a rerun of the K-Love Fan Awards early in the week.

The link to the entire show can be found here:

My favorite performances included:

TobyMac Promised Land (made even more powerful to me since Toby lost his son to suicide two years ago)

Phil Wickham House of the Lord (such a fun and worshipful performance. He’s fairly new to me as of this year, but I’m enjoying his music):

CeCe Winans and Lauren Daigle, I Believe For It (two Christian powerhouse singers):

Katy Nicole, In Jesus Name (God of Possible). This one just broke me down pretty hard for various reasons. It was the first time I heard it. Powerful stuff.

I also loved when Matthew West won for best male vocalist of the year. You can tell he had no idea. He was floored, emotional, and he just deserved it. I love following him on social media, his music and listening to his podcast. He’s just a sweet man and we need to be praying for his heart and that he can continue to impact the world for Christ.

This week I watched Streetcar Named Desire for the first time at the suggestion of Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs. She and I will be watching classic movies we suggest for each other this summer. I have been rubbing my hands together at this prospect because I am a huge fan of classic, or old, movies. I love picking out movies I enjoyed to share with others and I also love to receive suggestions from others.

I will give you my impression of Streetcar on Wednesday. I suggested Double Indemnity for Erin and she will be sharing her impressions of that movie on Wednesday as well.

Also this week I watched A Quite Place with The Boy, a movie I told him I would not watch because I hate horror-type movies. I finally caved in when Little Miss and The Husband had a day out on Saturday. It turns out this movie was different than other “horror” movies and was more of a psychological thriller. I was very impressed and enjoyed the storytelling of it. The Boy and I both feel that the movie should have stood for itself and there was no need for A Quiet Place 2 but The Boy, who has already seen that movie as well, said that he actually enjoyed A Quiet Place 2 and jumped more during that movie than the first one. I told The Boy I would watch the second movie with him sometime soon. The key for movies like these are finding a time Little Miss won’t be in the room with us. Obviously, I’m not letting her watch these types of movies with us at the tender age of seven.


The Husband and I finished Why Didn’t They Ask Evans, which was a three-part miniseries based on an Agatha Christie book and directed by Hugh Laurie. It was very good. I would have liked some more Emma Thompson, but you can’t have everything.


What I’m Writing

I’ve been working some on The Shores of Mercy and hope to be more strict about carving out writing times to work on it next week.

I shared two posts on the blog this week in addition to Chapter 8 of The Shores of Mercy (which is being called Mercy’s Shore on here):


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.

Sunday Bookends: Keeping it low, blooming flowers, quiet books

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

What’s Been Occurring

This week we had some difficult news about someone we knew so we laid pretty low and tried to focus on our mental health. I wandered my yard and took a lot of photos of our flowers, which I shared in a post earlier this week.

Last Sunday Little Miss and my dad planted some gladiolus bulbs around the garden.

Friday Little Miss learned how to ride her bike without her training wheels, and she spent almost all day yesterday riding it.

We really didn’t do much else this week because I preferred to hide away from people. Little Miss’ friends who were visiting from Texas left to go back this week and that left us both down. I’ll miss those little girls running up from their great-grandma’s to play with Little Miss every afternoon and them playing together until the light outside was almost too dark to see their hands in front of their faces.

Remember when I was complaining all winter about it being too cold out? Well for two days this week the temperatures were lower (in the 60s!) and I loved it! On Saturday it was spring weather and I was all for it. I loved curling up under the covers with a book and wearing my sweater. I’m not a fan of hot, sticky summer weather so if it is like that in July and August for us, I’m sure I’ll complain a time or two about it on here.

What I/we’ve Been Reading

I am reading quiet books for now.

I am reading The Heart of the Mountains by Pepper Basham on the Kindle.

I am reading Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery in paperback.

I usually read a Kindle book at night when all the lights are off and a paperback during the day.

This week I will be reading Pepper’s book slowly for a book tour that isn’t until late July and Anne’s book slowly because I enjoy taking my time with it.

I am also hoping to start a mystery book of some sort this week or next but I am not sure which one yet.

Little Miss finally let me read Anne of Green Gables to her instead of The Long Winter from The Little House series at night this past week. It’s been a nice break (since this is our second time through the series), but I have discovered she doesn’t fall sleep as fast when I read Anne. Anne speaks very quickly and excitedly and because I do all the voices, Grace gets into the story even more than the other books.

“You speak very fast, and it wakes my brain all up,” she told me Friday night.

I read The Long Winter after that, and she dropped off to sleep in five minutes. Anne might have to be a book we read during the day if this continues.

What I’m Watching

The Husband and I started Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? Friday night. It is based on an Agatha Christie book and is a mini-series. We are enjoying it so far. We have two more parts to finish.

My husband either had to work or go to play practice every night during the week so we didn’t watch much else together. I actually didn’t watch much alone either. I had a hard time focusing on anything for very long.

I did rewatch some of As Time Goes By, which is a British sitcom I’ve watched a few times now.


What I’m Writing

I wrote some blog posts to distract myself this week and also worked a little on Mercy’s Shore.

What I’m Listening To

I listened to some Jack White music this week. I needed something different than what I had been listening to. Jack White is a bit too weird for me sometimes, but I love his guitar work. I wouldn’t say I’d recommend listening to him all the time but when you feel a little pissed off at the world (for lack of a better way to explain it right now) it scratches an itch.

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.

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.

Sunday Bookends: Friend visits, old trees, old books, and nice weather

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

What’s Been Occurring

Every day this week was beautiful weather-wise, and it was a perfect time for the weather to finally get better because my daughter’s little friend who moved to Texas last year came to visit her grandmother (who lives down the street from us) for two weeks. She spent almost every day this past week with Little Miss and they filled their days mainly by being outside and riding their scooters.

Real scooters.

Without motors.

Ones they had to push with their feet and actually move.

It was glorious to see.

(Having Little Miss’s friend visit messed up my plans to finish up our schoolwork this week a little, but we were still able to finish most of the math I wanted to get through and progress on the book I hoped to finish. We will finish the rest of our math on Monday or Tuesday and then go to see our evaluator on Friday. It was more important for Little Miss could see her friend than finish her school work.)

The flowers along our street.

The little girl’s sister and her sister’s friend and the little girl’s brother came up one afternoon and the kids used the slip n’ slide.

When we went for scooter rides, our cats followed us. One day I took the dog with us as well and she promptly tried to rip my arm out of its socket when she wanted to chase the girls on their scooters.

Scout squaring off with our neighbor’s cat, Simba.

It was very busy on our street this week, with little girls riding scooters, neighbors working in their yards, and then two of the large maples on the street being cut down. It seems that all the maple trees which lined this street for over 100 years are slowly being cut down and it has been mentioned to us more than once that we need to consider to the do the same for the behemoth which towers above our house and our neighbors and has already lifted up the sidewalk in front of or house.

Since the tree cutters were already on the street (and also happen to live a few houses down from us) we finally decided to get an idea of how much that undertaking might take. It turns out I may need to sell a kidney to have the tree taken down because the estimate was about $5,400.

Personally, I hate to see large, beautiful trees like ours cut down, but I also would hate for it to come crashing down on either our house or our neighbors. Despite that large worry, I’ve found myself mourning the impending loss of the tree (you know, if we hit the lottery or sell a kidney), and Friday I took several photographs of it, as I have done many times before since we’ve lived here.

Still, I can’t blame the residents on this street of being concerned about these large trees in front of their houses. They are more hyperaware of what can happen in a windstorm than others might be, considering this town, particularly this street, in addition to a large part of the town below it, was actually struck by a rare Pennsylvania tornado four years ago (the year before we moved here). It shredded trees and left them a tangled mess all over the street, the bank, and the woods next to our other neighbors’ house, as well as yanking down powerlines and ripping the roof off the steeple of the town’s prominently displayed Catholic Church on the hill. This is the church that features the bells which sound each day at 6 a.m., 9 a.m., noon, 6 p.m., and 9 p.m.

The tree in front of our house is over 100 years old, based on photos of this street I have seen from around 1920, so at least of the top of it could come flying down with just the right amount of wind. I do not blame my neighbors for the concern and have it as well. We will see what we can do at some point about having it taken down (we could certainly use the wood from it for our woodstove this winter if we could afford to have it taken down) but for now, I will enjoy the view of it.

Yesterday, The Husband and I took advantage of the nice weather by going to a car show he needed to take photos of for work and then went to lunch at a local restaurant. We cut out our plans to travel another 20 minutes south for lunch due to the gas prices.

The Main Street of the little town where my husband works.

On the way back we stopped at the cemetery where part of my family and close friends of ours are buried, to pay our respects since we didn’t get there on Memorial Day.

My grandfather grew up on the farm across the road from the cemetery.

On a side (totally unrelated) note, last week my son told me my hair was starting to grow out again which I think he knew would be a comfort to me since I lost so much of it after I had Covid in November.

What I/We’ve Been Reading

At the same time all this beautiful weather hit us, I decided to take a social media break. That left me a lot more time for writing and reading. I hope no one is expecting me to say I read three books this week because I didn’t. Remember, I am a fairly slow reader. I am not The Husband, who speed reads sometimes. I spent most of my days supervising two little girls on scooters, but I was able to grab a seat on the back porch and crack open a book or two I’d been trying to finish a couple of times.

I had put Anne of Avonlea aside a couple of months ago but picked it back up again Friday afternoon when a cool breeze and a lovely day inspired me to want to read an actual physical book. Reading a book written in 1909 can take a little more time than reading one written this year, for example, but I love the sweet, thoughtful moments in the Anne of Green Gables books. I read Anne of Green Gables in full for the first time last year. A friend of mine was shocked I had never read the books and I think that’s because she thinks I am more literate than I am at times. I read a lot of books when I was in elementary and high school, but if I got the least bit bored with one it went to the side. I guess Anne of Green Gables was one of those. For years I thought I had read the book, but I think that’s because I had seen the movie so many times (for the first time with the aforementioned friend) that I thought I had read the book.

In addition to reading Anne of Avonlea, I also kept reading Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. I will probably continue that book this week, along with Anne. I also started an indie book by Josephine Strand called Misty Dreams, which is very well written, so far.

A description of Misty Dreams for those who might be interested in it:

As a child, she filled his void. As a woman, she completed him.
Clare has lived on St. Isabel Island all her life, except for a few months she can’t recall. A traumatic childhood experience has left a blank spot in her memory and a lingering feeling of having lost more than just a small, painful piece of her past. When the enigmatic Dr. Richard Kelly arrives on her island, she’s found that missing part. Yet she’s certain the man is a stranger to her, until she discovers he’s been hiding something from her, a secret that reawakens her childhood fears and threatens to upset her life again.

Richard Kelly’s hard-earned career as a world-renowned neurosurgeon has been derailed by his ex-wife’s unspeakable betrayal. His entire life is on a downward spiral. In a desperate attempt to outrun his demons, he sets off to a remote island in the South to trace the origins of an anonymous painting. He doesn’t expect to come face to face with a girl he once knew as Misty, and he’s instantly captivated by her genuine charm. But if the charismatic kindergarten teacher of the secret lagoon is the Misty of his past, why doesn’t she remember him? Misty Dreams is a heartwarming love story about second chances and the healing power of new beginnings.

Little Miss and I are still reading The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill during the day and at night we are reading The Long Winter by …slightly annoyed sigh…Laura Ingalls Wilder. This week I am going to try to convince her to read Sweet Home Alaska by Carole Estby Dagg.

The boy is completing Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman this week.

The Husband is reading The Big Bad City by Ed McBain.

What We watched/are Watching

We spent so much time outside this week we really didn’t have time to watch much of anything. I did watch a couple of episodes of As Time Goes By, a British sitcom, and last night we watched an episode of The Larkins.

I also watched a lifestyle vlogger, Darling Desi, who I sometimes mock but also still sort of enjoy. She’s a 20-something year old with no job (other than being on YouTube) who walks around with her husband recording her reading books, shopping for books, discussing Victorian life, swooning over all things Jane Austen and drinking rose tea. I don’t know what to make of that. I was working in my 20s and am considering going back to work at this point because of the economy. The idea I could spend my days reading and lounging on a big, Victorian-style bed and get paid blows my mind.

I don’t know if what she films is really how she spends every day, however. I am sure that what she films is mainly for entertainment purposes and just to give her viewers a respite from life. It is fun to watch her visit bookstores, etc. and I do often share her excitement in pretty books.

What I’m Writing

This week I worked quite a bit on Mercy’s Shore. So far, I haven’t planned a certain number of words to write each day, but I will probably try to do that this week since school is pretty much over for us.

On the blog I shared:

What I’m Listening To

This week I am listening to Needtobreathe (again) and the new song by TobyMac (which I don’t like as much as past songs of his, but still like):



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

Sunday Bookends: Weird books, fun shows, and good concerts

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

What’s Been Occurring

I always mention the weather here and it’s usually negative so before it gets hot tomorrow and Tuesday, I will share that our weather was very cool and nice this week. Did I go out and enjoy it? Let’s go with …yes, even though I actually only went out one day and enjoyed it. The kids and I are finishing up our school year and I’m already obsessing over next year so it distracted me some. However, I did enjoy a nice walk one night with the youngest and a lovely day yesterday simply enjoying the cool temps and beautiful sun (in between a couple of rain showers).

Today, tomorrow, and Tuesday are supposed to be warmer.

Tomorrow we hope to attend a local Memorial Day service before heading to my parents to have some steak from a local farmer on the grill.

What I’m/We’re Reading

I finished The Darling Buds of May by H.E. Bates and it was honestly just an odd, quirky book and I don’t know if I will continue on to read the other books. There was a lot of sexual innuendos in it, I think, but maybe I was just applying my modern knowledge to some of the inferences I read (or thought I was reading).

I know I didn’t need to read anymore references to the oldest daughter’s “firm young breasts” or how the taxman who ended up staying there like to touch them. The book is a clean but not all the way clean book, in other words. The dirty parts are a bit subtle. There is nothing graphic and no bad language, but how the author writes it helps you to “get the drift” — if you get my drift.

I have to say I was surprised that it was written in 1958 but then again, it is written by a British man, and they always have been bit more pervy — I mean always a bit more open — in what they allow in books and movies. *wink*

Overall, I enjoyed the book — even if it was, well, a bit strange. I did laugh quite a few times, simply because some of it was truly odd.

I also finished Walking In Tall Weeds by Robin W. Pearson last week and it was very good. It releases July 19 and I highly recommend it. This is a book that deals with racism, but it is not overly dark. Robin has a way of dealing with the tough issues with a little bit of humor and a lot of love.

I’m now in the midst of a hard copy of a Miss Julia book by Ann B. Ross but will probably pick a book I can read at night on the Kindle too. I have tons to choose from since my husband’s Kindle library is combined with mine.

Some choices I have include:

The Joe Pickett series by C.J. Box

The next book in The Walt Longmire series

Another James Herriot book

A Charles Martin book (I have several)

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

Or a Dortmunder novel by Donald Westlake

I also want to read more of Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.

Little Miss and I are reading the same books we’ve been reading for a month or more now.

The Husband is reading Crimson Lake by Candace Fox.  He also just finished Hawksbill Station by Robert Silverberg.

The Boy is finishing Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman and probably won’t read anything else for the next three months while he’s out on summer break.

What I’m Watching/Listening To

Lisa Harper sermons: 

The Three Stooges:

Needtobreathe Live from Bridgestone Arena is what saved me this week mentally. No kidding.

When I got overwhelmed from reading too much sadness or worrying about money I blasted that in my headphones and jammed away. It completely and utterly transported me out of my situation and it was exactly what I needed. Thankfully there is a video (YouTube) and an audio recording (Apple Music, etc.) of this so I can listen on my phone or computer.

Doing so stopped many a panic attack Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. It released Thursday.

The Husband and I also watched a Shakespeare and Hathaway episode, but it was pretty terrible. The acting, plot, all of it. We tried to cut them some slack since they had to film it during the pandemic. It was also yet another British show where they watched Americans and we should be used to that by now, but it was even worse than normal this time. Completely cringy.

So yes, I coped this week by watching a lot of YouTube and light TV shows and listening to music, but I figure this way better than what I could have done (such as downing an entire bottle of wine or gorging myself on sugar).

What I’ve Been Writing  


I’ve been working on Mercy’s Shore and also shared a book review.

Now it’s Your Turn

What have you been reading, doing, watching, or listening to? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: finally some sun, a variety of books, and yummy cheesesteaks are back.

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

This week I started a book I needed to read for a book tour and had a hard time enjoying it. I feel bad for that and for skipping through most of it so I’m going to go back this week and read it a little slower. The book is called The Prayer Shawl by Jenny Lynn Cary and it has a sweet premise of two cousins making amends, but I just couldn’t seem to enjoy the dueling storylines in it.

The book is about two cousins who do not get along well and are brought back together after their grandmother dies. Their grandmother raised the one cousin, Cami, after her parents died and now Grandma (Kate) has left directions for Cami to complete a task before she can receive her inheritance. This is not the first time I have either read a book with this plot point. I’ve also seen it in movies. My question is if it really ever happens in life and how a lawyer can actually ensure the person’s last request is met appropriately when these tasks are often so vague.

Elderly relatives leaving money only if the heir completes a task, is a very common plot point in Christian Fiction and romances these days, I have discovered. I feel it is becoming a little bit overused, but it does create some interesting storylines and characters, which is what happened in Cary’s book. I do like her writing style and the characters she creates so I want to give the book another chance this week.

It really wasn’t fair that I started Cary’s book at the same time I started an ARC by a favorite author of mine, Robin W. Pearson. I mentioned last week that I was reading the book which comes out at the end of July. The book flows so smoothly and the characters are so real that it is hard to put down. Robin’s books don’t have a lot of “action” per say and some readers might not like that, but I don’t mind at all because Robin’s action is in the way she makes the reader think. Plus, there is a bit of mystery to this one and I have to keep reading to find out secrets the dad and son are both holding on to.

So far, the book is tackling race issues, as well as family relationships. It’s a different take on race issues for me because I am used to reading books where the racist feelings are directed toward African Americans. That does happen some in this book, but it’s also directed toward the wife in the book who is mixed race with light skin and married to an African American. The book has some heavier topics than other books, but it isn’t so heavy you can’t stand up.

I’ve also started The Darling Buds of May by H.E. Bates for some lighter fare. This book was one of my Mother’s Day gifts from last week.

Little Miss and I were reading Paddington but we are back to Laura Ingalls Wilder. Please, someone send help. I am tired of reading the Little House books. I need to find something else to interest her.

The Husband (I feel weird calling him “The Husband” as if that is his title. I asked him as I wrote this, if he wanted me to use his real name or if he wants a blog nickname like the kids. He said he is fine with me simply calling him The Husband.) finished The Hundred Year Old Man Who Went Out the Window.

There is a sequel to the book, but my husband said it dives into politics and he gets enough of that at work these days so he’s decided not to read it. He is now reading Shots Fired by C.J. Box.

The Boy is still reading Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman.

What’s Been Occurring

I had a very nice Mother’s Day last week. I visited my parents for a little bit on the actual day but we had visited with them for dinner on Saturday because my dad had a minor procedure on Monday and couldn’t eat Sunday.

My husband and children bought me the book I mentioned above, a new journal, and a new purse. The Husband also made dinner for me on Mother’s Day on the grill and drew me a bath, which was wonderful.

The day ended with him and The Boy making me watch the latest Spider-man which was a bit depressing honestly and not my favorite. I’m over the whole comic book schtick requiring the hero to suffer and go through life alone. That’s all I’ll say about that.

The weather finally warmed up which helped my sinuses immensely. Aren’t you glad I won’t be lamenting every Sunday about how hard it has been for me to breathe? At least for a while anyhow.

During the week we spent as much time as we could outside, or at least Little Miss and I did. We chased each other in the yard in a game she simply calls “Zombie.” All the chasing showed me that my lungs are not totally healed from the crazy sinusitis-type thing I had all through April and the Dreaded Virus last year but they are way better than they were.

One day during the week we visited my parents and made pizza for dinner. Our oven is currently broken so this gave us a chance to use up the dough I’d purchased (forgetting about the oven issue) and to see my parents. Zooma The Wonder Dog enjoyed rolling in the dirt road, covering herself with dust, and I enjoyed watching the Canadian geese who have decided to take up residence in my parent’s pond. That pond has been there my entire life and I have never seen geese land there or stay there. I’m interested to see if they have lain eggs there or not.

On Friday we visited a restaurant we really enjoy but which isn’t open during the winter. It’s located pretty much in the middle of nowhere by a beautiful covered bridge. We chose to sit at the tables outside the building and then admired the creek and covered bridge during our meal and afterward. The restaurant makes amazing cheesesteaks.

They are so amazing they were named one of the top ten cheesesteaks in the state of Pennsylvania. It’s no surprise they are so good since the owners are originally from Philly. Ironically, no one ordered an actual cheesesteak. I had a cheesesteak salad, so that was close. The husband had a buffalo chicken cheesesteak, The Boy a chicken wrap, and Little Miss a chicken tenders basket.

The boys also ordered some Jersey Dirty Fries, which are French fries with cheese whiz, barbecue sauce, garlic sauce, and bacon on top.

When we came home, I sat on the back porch in silence and just enjoyed the beautiful weather and view, petting our dog and cat, and reading. I didn’t have my phone or computer near me and it was the most relaxed I’d been all week.

What We watched/are Watching

This week I start watching that old show J.A.G. — Do you remember it? Lt. Harmon Rabb. Swoon. I remember watching the show in high school. If I remember right, it got a little crazy at the end, but most shows do. I enjoyed it at the beginning at least. It was nice to be nostalgic this week and to see the show now that I’m older and understand a little more about, well, everything.

Enjoy the comments on this Youtube video, by the way. Most of them are slamming all the military errors on the show.

As I mentioned above, we also watched the latest Spider-Man and it wasn’t my favorite. There were aspects I enjoyed but there were also some heartbreaking aspects that simply brought me down into the dumps.

Friday, after our trip to the restaurant, we watched another Brokenwood Mysteries.


What I’m Writing

I worked on Mercy’s Shore this past week and shared Chapter 2 on Friday.

I did not share much on the blog but hope to this upcoming week. I am working on a Randomly Thinking and maybe a post about our last couple of weeks of homeschooling.

What I’m Listening To

I’ve been listening to CeCe Winan’s Believe For It.

I’ve also been listening to the Matthew West Podcast and a podcast by Life Church and Pastor Craig Groeschel.

The Husband found a new podcast by Phil Rosenthal (creator of Everybody Loves Raymond) and I hope to listen to that this week.

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.

Sunday Bookends: Happy Mother’s Day, C.J. Box survives my test, and waiting on warmer weather

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

And first, Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers!


What I/We’ve Been Reading

I finished Open Season by C.J. Box Friday and my fingernails suffered a bit from the tension. It is the first book in the Joe Pickett series and also the book they based the new show Joe Pickett on Paramount Plus on. There are currently twenty-some books in the Joe Pickett series. Joe is a game warden in northern Wyoming who apparently always finds himself in the middle of some sort of crime.

You know you’re completely invested in a book when you text your husband at work and tell him that a certain person in the book better die a seriously gruesome death for the crimes they committed, or you are never reading another of this author’s books again.

I won’t spoil the book, but I will say that I was satisfied enough with the ending that I’ll most likely read another by C.J. Box in the future. I’ll need a palate cleanser though so I am probably going to pick up a romantic comedy this week to read in between my other books – or I might just continue Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain which has enough humor in it to cleanse my mind off the sadness our world has to offer at times.

My brother asked me if Open Season was as good as The Walt Longmire Mysteries and I can say that no, I don’t feel it’s quite as good. I’m still a bigger fan of Craig Johnson in the end, even though I will read more Box in the future.

This week I will also be reading an Advanced Readers Copy of Walking in Tall Weeds by Robin W. Pearson. The book comes out in July. I really enjoyed her first two, A Long Time Comin’ (A Christy Award winner) and ‘Til I Want No More.

Here is the description of Walking in Tall Weeds:


From award-winning author Robin W. Pearson comes a new Southern family drama about one family who discovers their history is only skin-deep and that God’s love is the only family tie that binds.

Paulette and Fred Baldwin find themselves wading through a new season of life in Hickory Grove, North Carolina. Their only son, McKinley, now works hundreds of miles away, and the distance between the husband and wife feels even farther. When their son returns home, his visit dredges up even more conflict between Fred and Paulette.

McKinley makes it no secret that he doesn’t intend to follow in his father’s footsteps at George & Company Fine Furnishings or otherwise. Fred can’t quite bring himself to accept all his son’s choices, yet Paulette is determined McKinley will want for nothing, least of all a mother’s love and attention—which her own skin color cost her as a child. But all her striving leaves Fred on the outside looking in.

Paulette suspects McKinley and Fred are hiding something that could change the whole family. Soon, she’s facing a whirlwind she never saw coming, and the three of them must dig deep to confront the truth. Maybe then they’ll discover that their history is only skin-deep while their faith can take them right to the heart of things.

Thanks to a very busy work week last week, the husband is still reading The Hundred Year Old Man Who Went Out the Window.

What’s Been Occurring

Thanks to the fact our weather can’t make up its mind, my sinuses are still suffering and I’ve been fairly miserable. If it doesn’t clear up this week, I am going to head to the doctor, but I have a feeling it will clear up as soon as we have a few days in a row of warm temps.

Last week we had a couple of warmer days, but they were still cloudy days. By Friday morning it was cold and rainy again but for some reason my nose had cleared some and I was breathing better. For the morning at least. All the stuffiness came back later in the day and then again with vengeance yesterday and today.

It was warm enough one day for Little Miss to splash some water on her feet after she watered the tulips that came up.

On Friday when my nose was open, Scout curled up on my chest for 45 minutes and it was wonderful! She snuggled against my arm and fell asleep, like when she was a tiny kitten, and I needed breakfast, but I didn’t want to move.

Earlier in the week, Little Miss and I went for a walk down the street and visited with our neighbor. All of our pets followed us at least half way down —

We celebrated Mother’s Day with my mom yesterday because my dad has a minor procedure on Monday and can’t eat today. We didn’t think it would be nice to cook and eat a full meal while he was only allowed to sip water. We made our Mother’s Day dinner very simple with hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill.

What We watched/are Watching

Last week I finished up The Larkins, which is about a quirky farming family in the 50s from Yorkshire, England. It’s based on books by M.E. Bates.

The husband and I also watched more Brokenwood Mysteries, an old Perry Mason from the original show in the 60s, and another Shakespeare and Hathaway. Burt Reynolds had a guest appearance on the one we watched and his range was not very good at that time.

Yesterday I watched My Man Godfrey with William Powell and Carol Lombarde with my parents.


What I’m Writing

Last week I shared a hodge-podge of blog posts, about a variety of subjects.

I also worked on Mercy’s Shore but not as much as I wish I had. Hopefully, I will get a chance to write more on it this week.

What I’m Listening To

I listened to Matthew West almost all week mainly while I struggled with the breathing issues. His songs are so perfect for easing my anxiety. Especially this one:


I needed to sing this song a lot throughout the week.

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.

Sunday Bookends: Winter’s last blast? Remembering family. Jane Seymour with a potty mouth?

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

What’s Been Occurring

Friday and Saturday we remembered a couple of people in our family. Friday was the tenth anniversary of the day my husband’s grandfather passed away. He was a good man and we miss him and my husband’s grandmother very much.

Yesterday was my Aunt Dianne’s birthday so Mom and I plan to make sausage balls in her memory today because she loved to make them every year for Christmas. I tried to make them for Christmas this year, but I didn’t do such a great job. I think the key might be to not make them with gluten-free Bisquick, even though that means I can’t eat them, since I can not eat the corn in the Bisquick.


I don’t actually like remembering people on the day they died. I like to remember them the way they lived and when I picture Grandpa, I picture him smiling like he was on the day of our wedding. I picture my aunt with smiles as well and I hope they are in heaven together now smiling as they wait for us to meet them someday.

I mentioned in a post last week that we had unexpected snow in the beginning of the week. Our town received about nine inches of very heavy snow which left trees broken, wires down from the weight of the trees and snow, and more than 13,000 people out of power.

Our local power company posted these photos of what they had to deal with to get to the lines they needed to fix:



I took a few photographs, but, honestly, I’m so over winter weather, I wasn’t interested in photographs of snow. I did take a few of the kids when The Boy decided to run out and build a snow Batman.

Luckily the snow melted a day or so later. Little Miss enjoyed sitting in the grass with the snow surrounding her. The grass was left from The Boy shoveling a path for the dog the first day after the storm.

Today the temperature is supposed to be almost 80 with a drop into the 40s later in the week. Yes, my sinuses are suffering.

What I’m Reading

Last week I finished Miss Julia Rocks the Cradle, a cozy Southern mystery written by Ann B. Ross.

I also finished a book by indie Christian Historical Fiction author Jenny Knipfer, which she plans to release this summer. She had asked members of her group if they would help her proof it, in addition to her editor. I will be starting an ARC of a novella by her, Violet’s Vow, this week or next as well.

I started Open Season by C.J. Box so I would have something a little different up on the reading block. The book is the first book in the Joe Picket series. This is my first crack at one of his books. We will see how it goes since it isn’t something I usually read.

Depending on my mood I may move to The Lord God Made Them All by James Herriot. I am also still reading Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain here and there before bed.

Little Miss and I will be finishing Plum Creek this weekend and hopefully moving on to a book other than one by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The husband is reading Slow Horse by Mick Herron.

The Boy may finish Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde sometime before the end of the century at this point, but I’m not holding out much hope.

What I’m/We’re Watching

We tried out Harry Wild, a new mystery show with Jane Seymour this week. Dr. Quinn has a wee bit of a potty mouth in this one, but we still enjoyed the premise and her acting. I told my parents she was in a new show we are watching. I said, “She’s looking pretty good for 71.” My dad said, “Oh, really, what’s that show on?”

My mom said I didn’t need to tell him.

I started rewatching As Time Goes By, one of my favorite British sitcom to try to get me through some of the down moments of the week.

I also spent way too much time watching the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard defamation trial. Don’t ask why. I have no idea, other than it was a distraction from the rest of the craziness of the world. What I learned from all of that mess is that hurt people hurt people and Hollywood actors are some seriously messed up people. I also think Amber Heard is vindictive and nuts and Johnny Depp medicates his emotional pain way too much.

What I’m Listening To

I’ve been listening to comedians like Chonda Pierce lately and then some worship music.

What I’m Writing

During the week I worked on Mercy’s Shore, the next book in my series.

Now It is Your Turn

What have you been reading, watching, listening to, or doing? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: Happy Easter! Spring tries to come but winter says “No!” and watching authors talk about their job

Today is Easter Sunday! Happy Easter! Or for Christians, happy Resurrection Day! He has risen! He has risen indeed!!

It is hard to imagine that around this time two years ago, my family was living with my parents until the financing worked out for the house we are living in now.

It was an interesting time and I love my parents, but I am glad to be in our own house and I am sure they are as well. We are also glad, however, to live only ten minutes away so that we can see them often, including today when we will have Easter dinner with them, followed by an egg hunt in the yard for the kids.

The weather warmed up this past week and it was so needed for the physical and mental health of not only me and my family but so many others.

On Tuesday, Little Miss and I spent most of the afternoon and evening outside. She made her nature salad (which consists of her gathering grass, leaves, flowers, and other natural substances to make a type of salad we pretend to eat), the animals explored outside, and then we did our schoolwork outside as well.

Before dinner and then during it, I read on the porch and listened to Aaron Watson (a country singer)  while my husband cooked pork chops on the grill.

It was such an awesome and relaxing day, and I didn’t want it to end. I especially didn’t want it to end when I saw the weekend was bringing rain and more chilly weather.

What I’m Reading

I wish I had something more exciting to report on the reading front, but I’m still reading the same books I have been for a while.

I should finish Miss Julia Rocks the Cradle this week and a book by Jennifer Knipfer.

I’m also still reading Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain when the mood strikes me.

The husband is reading a book that I’ll add here if he tells me before I post this. Last week he told me after I posted and after he read that I didn’t know what he was reading. (Update: my husband is reading The Long Legged Fly by James Sallis.)

Little Miss and I are still re-reading the Little House on the Prairie books and are currently on On The Banks of Plum Creek.

What I/We Watched/Are watching

This week I watched parts of the livestreams of The Chosen seasons one and two, including this very important scene:

If you haven’t seen the show, here is a preview for season two, which is already available in a variety of places, including The Chosen app on your phone.

To reignite my love of writing, I’ve been watching a lot of interviews with authors, including this one with Lee Childs, author of the Jack Reacher books:



And this one with Craig Johnson, author of The Walt Longmire Mysteries:


I loved Johnson’s interviews the most because he’s so much like the characters he writes about. He’s the real deal – writing about a sheriff in Wyoming while living there himself and basing the characters on people he knows.

What I’m Writing

As I mentioned on Friday in my Friday Fiction post, I am moving forward on Mercy’s Shore, the next book in the Spencer Valley Chronicles, while also making revisions and fixing issues with Beauty From Ashes. I’m only a chapter in on the next book so I have a long way to go and I’m fine with that. I’ll be taking my time and maybe sharing some of it on the blog down the road.

Other posts I shared last week included:

What I’m Listening To

It’s Easter Sunday so of course I have to listen to:

And here is a fun version of the classic Because He Lives:

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.