Sunday Bookends: Subzero temps, crazy night driving, scattered reading, and pushing deadlines

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

What’s Been Occurring

I did very little again this week thanks to the ridiculously cold temperatures. On Saturday morning our weather app said the temperature was negative 15 at 5 a.m. By 8 a.m. it had warmed all the way up to negative nine. Similar cold temperatures are expected this week as well. I don’t have plans to run around anywhere because we missed two days of school last week. One day we drove to get my son’s hair cut (finally!!! After a year of him refusing to get his hair cut) and another day my daughter spent a day with her friends. Those were the two days I left the house. The second coldest day of the week was when I took my daughter to meet her friends. The roads I travel to get there are very narrow for most of the drive.

The main road I take doesn’t have yellow lines and has me gripping the steering wheel and tensing my buttock cheeks almost the entire way. Driving it during the day is stressful, but at night it is even worse because the lights from the oncoming cars are blinding and there is no room to move over to give the other car space and get away from those lights. After the trip in the dark where I worried I was going to have a head-on collision, I told my husband he can do the night pick-ups from now on. He’s used to the road because he drives it every day, twice a day, for work.

To top it off, when I hit the bottom of a hill and parked at my old high school to meet my friend to pick up my daughter, the heat stopped working in our van. The thermometer read 12 degrees and we had no heat for the drive home. That’s what I thought anyhow but with a little fiddling, the heat came back on, thank God. We made it home and I promptly announced I was not leaving the house until March.

Of course, that won’t hold, I’ll have to visit my parents, but beyond that — I am not leaving my house until March. *wink*.

What I’m Reading

I’m enjoying Still The One by Susan May Warren and Rachel D. Russell and might finish it this week. I plan to finish The Rhise of Hope, this week and share a review at the end of the week.

I had put The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson on hold to finish Max’s book, but I’d love to get back to that book before the end of the week. I love Johnson’s writing style.

I also hope to start Cape Refuge by Terri Blackstock next week, but first I have a Carrie Stuart Parks book I really want to finish, that I just remembered this week I had put aside because of some heavy subject matter. I wasn’t feeling heavy that particular week.

Little Miss and I are reading Emily’s Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary before bed and Freedom Crossing a few times during the week for school.

The Boy is reading A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park for school.

The husband is reading Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.

What I’m Watching

This week we watched reruns of The Jeffersons and Night Court.  We watched another episode of Lovejoy and are three episodes away from the end.

I reluctantly watched Spaceballs with my son and hate to even admit that.

I’d never seen it before and now I’m wishing I could still say that.

I also watched a couple of episodes of The Cleaner, a BBC show about a crime scene cleaner. It’s a mix of funny, sad, and touching with a bit of gore tossed in once in a while.

What I’m Writing

I’m in serious first draft mode for A New Chapter and hope to finish it by early or mid-February so I can start the second draft and then send it out to my critique group. I always say “second draft” but really I edit as I go in my books at times, so it’s probably more like a third or fourth draft. I have not gone back and reworked this book as much as past books and that’s because I lost a month from being sick and because I’m determined to get the draft done and then start gutting it. I tentatively have set up April 26th as the release date for the book.

I didn’t share much on the blog last week because I didn’t have any ideas. I have a couple of ideas for this week, so I’ll probably share a little more.

I did share another chapter of A New Chapter for Fiction Friday. If you’re waiting until the entire book is done to read it, that’s totally fine. I mainly post the chapters for the couple of readers who are following around, with the caveat that the story could change by the time I publish it.

What I’m Listening To

This week I listened a lot to the soundtrack of The Greatest Showman, especially at the end of the week when I had to do a lot of driving. On the way home from dropping Little Miss off at her friends I became a Broadway singer – even attempting to act out the scenes, but finally decided that was a bad idea considering the twists and turns of the road I was on.

Now It’s Your Turn

So that’s my week in review, how about you? What have you been reading, listening to, watching, or doing lately? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to know. Definitely share any good books you are reading.

Sunday Bookends: Cold weather, saying goodbye to a kitty friend, and a little too much TV

Welcome to my Sunday Bookends where I look back at the previous week and share what I’ve been reading, watching, writing, and listening to.

What’s Been Occurring

It has been very, very cold here in Pennsylvania so we did not leave our house much at all this past week.

In other words, I have very little to report and nothing exciting to write about as far as what’s been going on.

The cold weather will continue this week with a snowstorm tonight into tomorrow. We’ve heard every amount from four to 18 inches so I don’t know what we will get in the end.

One thing that did happen this week isn’t something I really want to write about. My brother and sister-in-law said goodbye to their 15-year-old cat Seamus because his health had deteriorated to the point he was suffering. It placed a cloud of sadness over the whole family because Seamus really was a part of our family.

We will miss him very much. He was such a character. He snuggled with my sister-in-law every morning and also climbed up for naps with both of them. He could be a little stinker when he wanted his treats, smacking at my brother’s ankles or feet, or knocking things over to get attention, but most of the time he was a sweetheart (plus I found it funny that he harassed my brother).

What I’m Reading

I am setting Anne of Avonlea aside for a bit, but will probably read a couple of chapters a day. It’s a very simple, everyday story and I just like to escape inside its pages as a little bit of a respite.

I’m still reading the fifth book in the Longmire series and finished a novella by Jenn Knipfer called Holly’s Homecoming.

Upcoming are a couple of romance books as I try to figure out if I should write a couple of romances for Kindle Vella to try to earn some extra money.

I wish I had more time to read, honestly. My mom keeps borrowing really good books from Kindle Unlimited (which by the way, you can now borrow 20 books at a time) but she breezes through them before I even finish one.

What We’re Watching

Because of the cold weather, we’ve been watching a lot more TV.

My husband and I have been watching The Café, a sweet, quirky British show on BritBox (Amazon) in the last couple of weeks. It’s about a woman who owns a café, her daughter who is trying to make it as a writer and all the quirky characters that surround them.

It has been a nice escape.

We also started Brokenwood Mysteries, which we really liked.

We tried one episode of The Cleaner, which was super weird but somehow endearing. It’s about a man who cleans up crime scenes. I’m hoping we can watch more but we also have to finish up Lovejoy, which we are on the last (sixth) season of.

I also watched a couple episodes of Know Your Roots on the PBS Living Channel on Amazon. It’s a show where they follow the roots of famous people because, you know, we need to know even more about famous people. I watched an episode with Rosanne Cash and Clint Black and another one with George R.R. Martin and Andy Samberg. They were both very interesting.

I think this was the most TV I’ve watched in a long time. It’s supposed to be cold again all this week, but I hopefully will be reading and writing more than watching TV.

What I’m Writing

I’ve been writing blog posts and working on A New Chapter, which I hope to release in late April/early May.

On the blog I shared:

Faithfully Thinking: The need for us all to show more grace and less judgment

Randomly Thinking: Honest homeschoolers, friendly only in winter, overused book tropes

God Is My Hiding Place. Book review and giveaway with JustRead Book Tours

Fiction Friday: A New Chapter Chapter 16

Educationally Speaking

So that’s my week in review. What have all of you been up to, reading or watching? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: sleepovers, no word of the year, and starting back school this week

Welcome to my weekly post where I share what I’ve been doing, reading, watching, listening to and writing.

What’s Been Occurring

I looked back at my posts from last year in search of my “one word” for 2021, but apparently, I had no interest in a “word of the year” last year. Instead, I said I planned to “just survive.” I’d say that fit perfectly for my 2021 and that became even more clear in November when I caught COVID and ended up in the hospital. My year ended with a bang I guess you would say.

I haven’t picked a word for 2022 either and I think I might leave it that way and just see what happens. As I wrote last year:

Here we are in a new year and — yeah.

That’s all I got. No big goals for me this year.

No big plans.

My goal is simply to survive, while also having some fun.

If that sounds like I’m depressed, don’t worry. I’m not. I’m simply going to take it day by day this year, which is something positive that 2020 taught me.

And something that 2021 taught me too. I think I’ll do the same thing for 2022. Just take it day by day.

We had a very laid back, boring week last week in some ways.

My husband and I went out to dinner, which was my first outing since having Covid. It was a very nice time at a local restaurant we had never been to before. We had planned to travel about an hour from our house to visit a local bar and grill, but thick fog turned us around. We were glad to have found a little treasure of a bar and grill half an hour from us instead.

Earlier in the week, we ended up having an impromptu sleepover with three teenage boys when The Boy had a couple of friends over Tuesday and then we ended up with an ice storm and couldn’t drive the boys home.

That was an interesting experience which mainly involved them sitting on the couch with their phones, sharing bizarre memes, and punching each other. I’ve known all the boys since they were very young so it is a little surreal to see how much they’ve grown with the oldest now being 16.

On New Year’s Eve, we had another impromptu sleepover with one of Little Miss’s friends. It was the first sleepover for both of them, which may be why Little Miss’s friend woke up at 3 a.m. crying for mommy and would take no one else. My friend ended up driving over to meet my husband at 3:15 a.m. at our local high school so the little girl could go home.

 I wish I could have thought of an idea to help her work through her fear so she could stay until morning but it’s been eight years since my son had sleepovers (besides the teenage ones where the boys don’t normally cry for mom) so I’m rusty on all the tricks to help make little ones feel comfortable.

Tomorrow we start school again, which I am sure neither child is looking forward to. I’m somewhat looking forward to it, though, because it means we will be getting back into a routine.

What I’m Reading

I am currently reading Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery, part of the Anne of Green Gables series. I guess that will be my first book of the new year. I could read the book on my Kindle, but somehow I feel these books need to be read as an actual book I can hold.

At night in my Kindle, I am reading the fifth book in the Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson, The Dark Horse.

Little Miss and I are reading the last book in the Little House on the Prairie series at night before she falls asleep.

The Boy is reading a Terry Pratchett book.

What I’m Watching

This past week I watched a lot of Would I Lie To You, a hilarious game show in the UK, where the contestants read a statement and the other team has to guess if the statement is a lie or not. It has been a fun distraction.

I also watched some of The Durrells in Corfu and my husband and I watched a lot of Lovejoy. We are now on the last season of Lovejoy. *sniff*

What I’m writing

I actually haven’t been writing but I hope to write more this week. I have so many issues with this latest book and pretty much want to toss it but I am trying to push through and at least finish the first draft.

What I’m Listening To

I haven’t been just sitting and listening to anything but I hope to this week because my husband bought me an awesome record player that is also a CD player, radio, cassette player, and has Bluetooth. He also brought all of our CDs down from the attic and we were shocked to see how many we had when they filled an entire bookcase.

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

Sunday Bookends: preparing books for 2022, movies about singing fishermen, and slow progress but it’s progress!

Welcome to my week in review blog post where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, watching, writing, doing and sometimes what I’ve been listening to.


What I’ve Been Reading


My goal this week is to read a lot more but this week I read Saving Mrs. Roosevelt and started The Mistletoe Countess by Pepper Basham.


I have a Cat Who mystery I started the day I went into the hospital with Covid but I couldn’t get my brain to settle for obvious reasons so I never continued it. I’d like to make some progress on that these next couple of weeks the kids and I are on holiday break.


Other books I am looking forward to reading in the new year include:


The Rhise of Hope by Max Sternberg


A couple of Hercules Poirot books


Maggie’s Strength by Pegg Thomas


Relative Silence by Carrie Parks


Crooked House by Agatha Christie


Thunder and Rain by Charles Martin


The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson (more of the Longmire Mysteries. I have about 12 more books to read in the series)

 And many more I haven’t even listed.



I am also not one of those people who talks about how many books I read in a year. It is hard for me to keep track because my mom and I share a kindle account and she reads some 200 books a year. I have to go through and figure mine out compared to hers and it is very time consuming.



What I’ve Been Watching


Last week I watched a movie called Fisherman Friends, which I found on Amazon. It was exactly what I needed right now. It is the story of a group of fishermen in England who sang what are called sea shanties in their small town and were overheard by a music executive who decided he wanted to sign them to a deal.


The movie is based on a true story and follows the journeys of the men and the beginning of their careers.

Other than that I have been watching mainly comedians and my husband and I watched a couple of episodes of Lovejoy.


What I’ve Been Writing


Last week I shared two chapters of A New Chapter and shared a blog post about my roommate in the Covid wing  at the hospital and her positive outcome.


What I’ve been listening to


I have gotten a bit hooked on Matthew West of late so I have been listening to him at night or other times. He is a Christian musician and he also has a podcast.



What’s Been Occurring

I am slowly recovering from Covid and was encouraged this week to find many others dealing with the internal vibrating as a left over side effect. Some of these people have had this happen with other viruses like I did and we are wondering if this could be autoimmune or neurological or reactivating past infections. It has been a relief to read that while anxiety can make it worse it isn’t only anxiety or in our heads. Even those who do not have a history of anxiety are dealing with it.

Either way we are all sharing things (supplements, medicine, exercise, etc.) that are helping, even if only to take the edge off a little bit. For me CBD oil helps immensely so I am anxiously waiting for a delivery of some high quality oil this week.

I still have not ventured from the house on my own since my doctor appointment at the beginning of the month, mainly because the vibrating often gets worse the more I move and I don’t want to have a spell of them when I am out with the kids or even when alone.

I truly do believe things will even out soon with the odd symptoms and I will be able to do things on my own. I am discouraged but not desolate or hopeless, which reminds me of 2 Corinthians 4:8-12: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”

We are all excited for Christmas next weekend. The kids have a couple days of homeschool and then a week and a half off. We will spend Christmas Day with my parents and maybe see other family (my brother and his wife) in the beginning of January depending on work schedules.

 So that is my week in review. How about you? How did last week go for you? What are you reading and watching etc? Let me know in the comments.






Sunday Bookends: Rembrandt Stone and a short update

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

What I’m Reading

This past week I ended up skimming through a couple of the books I volunteered to read for book review tours. The one just was not good, the other one was good but just not my type of book.

Two books I read in the last couple of weeks that I enjoyed included:

A Convenient Risk by Sara Turnquist and Songs of the Storm by Kathy Geary Anderson.

Both books are historical fiction, which I don’t usually read.

I am reading another historical fiction, Saving Mrs. Roosevelt, by Candace Sue Patterson, for another book tour.

I am reading the last book in the Rembrandt Stone Series, Heart of Stone, for a book tour and for fun. I’d like to breeze right through it, but I’m also enjoying savoring it and don’t want the series to end. I’m having a hard time going to bed when I get into it, though, because I really need to know what happens and that it turns out okay. I might have it finished in the next couple of days as it is a fairly short, quick read.

Rembrandt Stone is a detective who comes into possession of a watch that takes him back in time to solve cold cases, but as he works to solve his cold cases he also tries to fix some other situations, resulting in a messed up timeline and his entire world being turned upside down. Even if you aren’t a fan of science fiction, you will like these books, I promise you. If you like suspense, intrigue, and romance, then you will really love these books.

Little Miss and I finished These Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder last week and started The First Four Years. I hope to finish Blood Brothers this week, which I have been reading with The Boy. It is about a Christian Palestinian and the challenges he faces as a child, as well as how he has fought for peace and reconciliation between Jews and Palestinians for more than 50 years.

What I’m Watching

This past week I have been watching Irish R.M. with Peter Bowles. I had previously watched To the Manor Born with him, so I thought I’d check this one out as well and now I’m caught up in it. I guess you would describe it as a lighthearted comedy without laugh tracks. The characters are endearing and hilarious, especially the Irish who the main character (Major Sinclair Yeates) has come to be the magistrate for. Flurry is devious, but the charming character who is always getting the main character, the Major, in trouble either locally or with visitors.

In fact, most of the people of the town are usually trying to trick the magistrate in one way or another which makes for hilarious developments during each episode.

This show was very popular in the UK when it was on and apparently ran for a number of years.

What’s Been Occurring

We literally have been doing school and that’s about it. If anything exciting or halfway interesting happens, I’ll be sure to let you know in a future blog post.

What I’ve Been Listening To

I finally set up a playlist on my phone that features some of my favorite songs.

I thought I’d share a few of those today.

So that is my small update for today. How was your week last week? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: The Boy is 15 (gulp), I’m finally reading non-fiction, and driving on narrow, dirt roads.

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

What’s Been Occurring

Today is my son’s 15th birthday.

I don’t want to write too much about it, to be honest, because one, I’ll probably start to cry and two, he’s a teenager and values his privacy now. Because he doesn’t like me to share photos of him now that he is a *cough* mature *cough* teenager, I decided to share the photos he would allow me to share of himself today.

That’s right. Teenagers aren’t a fan of having their photos being shared and I have to accept that.

We are going to my parents for some dinner and his favorite dessert, my mom’s homemade apple pie. And then I shall cry a little later over the fact these 15 years have gone by so insanely fast.

Last week Little Miss had her last science class at a local camp. My dad went with us to visit with a friend who he went to high school with and whose son owns the camp. Before we went he asked me what he was supposed to do for three hours.

“I can’t talk to Tom for three hours.”

Yeah. Right.

My dad is a talker. I practically had to drag him away from the camp at the end of the science class.

We left the camp with an extra child. A friend of my daughter came home to play with her. On the way home Dad decided to take a detour up a narrow dirt road to show us a gas well up on a hill near our house.

I didn’t realize there was a natural gas well so close to our house, but I should have known since there are so many around us.

As we drove up a tiny dirt road toward our house, Little Miss asked how close we were to home.

“Remember, when we ride with Grandpa we always go on an adventure,” I told her. “Isn’t that—” I tried to say fun, but she quickly said, “No,” before I could finish my sentence.

My dad cracked up. “Well, that answer was a little too quick.”

What I’m Reading

I struggled with one of the books this week that I agreed to read for a review tour, so I ended up mainly skimming it toward the end.

Now I am on to Saving Mrs. Roosevelt by Candace Sue Patterson and Songs in the Storm by Kathy Geary Anderson. I’ve actually read Kathy’s book before for a critique group but I’m going to read it again for a review tour.

I’m also reading Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks because Saving Mrs. Roosevelt doesn’t have to be read until December.  So far I am having a very hard time putting Carrie’s book down.

I never read a book for Non-fiction November because I don’t really read a lot of non-fiction books but had already started Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour and am hoping to finish reading it this week. I am partly reading and partly listening to it through the Kindle app on my phone.

This is an eye-opening book about the Palestinian people from the perspective of a Palestinian Christian who was living in Israel when it became a nation and whose family was pushed from the land their family had owned for generations.

Elias Chacour would eventually leave Palestine and Israel as he studied to become a pastor, but returned later.

I am so glad that Notgrass includes this book as part of their World Geography Curriculum because it has certainly painted a new picture for me of what the Palestinian people went through and continue to go through today. The book doesn’t strike out politically against one side or another but expresses Chacour’s desire for the Jewish and Palestinian people to live in peace as they did for hundreds, even thousands of years, with some heartbreaking exceptions. The tilt of the world’s view of Palestinians, describing them as terrorists and the Jews as victims, was a harsh reality for Elias and his friend when they were sent out of the Middle East and to Paris for further, more formal education within the Christian church.

I am reading the rest of this book with anticipation but also trepidation. So much hardship has fallen on Elias and his family by the point in the book that I am at, that I am almost afraid to read what will happen next, yet I desperately want to know how his story ends, or at least to the point of the end of the book.

What I’m Watching

I have had pain in my neck and shoulder from a pinched nerve this week so I have been watching Bob and Brad on YouTube. Have you ever seen these guys? I love them. They are Physical Therapists who have a YouTube channel.

If you’re wondering if their suggestion worked, the answer is, yes, it did. Very well. The pain was gone after a few minutes of trying the chin tuck and the stretching with the towel, and like they suggested, it is something I have been repeating a few times of day since yesterday.

My husband and I watched a couple episodes of Dark Shadows last night. It was interesting. I didn’t know much about it, even though I have heard of it before. If you don’t know, this was a show that ran in the 60s. It was filmed live five days a week for six years, I think it was. It was a show beyond its time. It featured vampires, ghosts, goblins, werewolves, and other supernatural characters, something common today but not as common back then.

I also ran to my comfort food of TV with The Andy Griffith Show to escape the sadness of the world. I wanted to watch The Dick VanDyke Show but the only place I can stream it now offers it with commercials and I didn’t want to watch the commercials.

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

Sunday Bookends: A short update. A few books. Annoying TV characters. A little trick-or-treating and the last of fall.

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

What I’m (We’re) Reading

I finally finished Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson, which kept getting pushed aside because of books I was reading for book tours.

This week I should finish The Love Coward by Naomi Musch and I am starting The Inn On Hanging Hill by Christy Barritt.

Little Miss and I finished Tolliver’s Secret for school this week. At night we are reading These Happy Golden Years, which I haven’t read since I was maybe ten. I am completely caught up in this book as I re-read about Laura’s romance with Almanzo. I didn’t remember the stories about her rivalry with Nellie Olson and I found myself reading ahead after Little Miss fell asleep. It was a lot of fun to do Nellie’s stuck-up voice; though I feel my effort was lost on Little Miss who kept falling asleep.

Speaking of Little Miss, I think I need a new blog nickname for her. Little Miss makes her sound stuck up. She’s opinionated and sometimes a bit bold and bossy but she isn’t stuck up. I’ll have to think about a new blog name for her down the road.

Anyhow, I have digressed.

The boy and I are reading Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour. I don’t participate in non-fiction November but this could count.

What I’m Watching

I’m watching The Eliott Sisters and I’m waiting for the one sister to get what is coming to her because she is having an affair with a married man and she’s totally arrogant about it. She’s a terrible character right now. She’s always sure her latest relationship (we are on three or four and this is only the second season) is “the one” and it never is.

The other sister is just very stuck in her ways and is overly intense.

The show is set in 1920s England follows the lives of a pair of sisters running a fashion business.

Why do I keep watching the show? Because sometimes making fun of shows is a nice distraction from the trials of life.

What’s Been Occurring

This past week we did almost nothing because the last key fob to our van broke and we have had to wait for a replacement before we can start our van. Even after we get the replacement in the mail, I have to go to a dealership to have it programmed.

On Saturday we went to a trunk-or-treat and trick-or-treating event in a town about 30-minutes away as a family. We met up with some friends for the event and my husband also took photos for his job at the local paper.

The earlier part of the week was warm so we enjoyed some time outside for school before the cold weather set in, along with rain, on Thursday.

This week we have the last science class for the fall at a local children’s camp and a grooming appointment for our dog. Our son’s 15th birthday is next Sunday.

What I’m Listening To

Last week I watched The Dove Awards, which TBN put on YouTube. I enjoyed the performances by Natalie Grant, CeCe Winans, and Zach Williams.

So that is my week in review.

Let me know what you’ve been reading, watching, listening to or doing in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: fiction with real messages, books for book tours, and a little trick or treating

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

What I’m Reading

I finished two books this week but I was almost done with both of them.

I finished The Rhise of Light by Max Sternberg (a Christian fantasy book) and my first Terri Blackstock book, Double Minds.

Double Minds was a raw look at the not-always-perfect world of Contemporary Christian Music and how even Christians fall into the trap of fame and power. That trap can lead to lies and murder, or at least it did in this fiction book. While I have had heard a couple stories about the lies and power traps within the Christian music community, I luckily have never heard of a murder case.

I am sure there are also many women in the industry who have struggled with the body issues that one of the characters in this book did. I’ve heard about Blackstock’s books before and how they are clean but also very honest and raw, not afraid to pull aside the curtain and show that Christians struggle like everyone else.

The Rhise of Light held my attention all the way through, even though I’m not usually a fan of fantasy books or movies. I posted a review of it yesterday.

This week I am continuing The Love Coward by Naomi Musch and am determined to finish Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson, since I have been interrupted by other books since I started it some three or four months ago.

After that I have a small list of books I need to read for book tours or reviews by mid-November or early December.

Those books include:

Saving Mrs. Roosevelt by Candace Sue Patterson;

A Convenient Risk by Sara R. Turnquist;

Heart of Stone by David James Warren (the last book in the Rembrandt Stone Series and oh my gosh I am sooooo excited I get to read it early!);

The Inn on Hanging Hill: The Beach House by Christy Barritt;

and Songs in the Storm: Wind River Chronicles by Kathy Geary Anderson (written by a woman in my writing critique group so I have actually already read this and I really enjoyed it. I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction, but I got caught up in the lives of these characters.).

What’s Been Occurring

This past week was a fairly relaxed week other than the cat drama I wrote about earlier in the week.

From Thursday to Friday our temperature dropped about 20 degrees and Little Miss ended up with her normal weather change sickness. She always develops a fever of about 101 when the weather changes, it lasts about a day, and it’s done.

About three weeks ago this happened but she had a legit cold because my son got it as well.

We went to a trunk-or-treat event in the town where my husband works yesterday and I only allowed Little Miss to go if she wore her mask, which she was fine with since it was part of her costume (Spider Gwen from a parallel universe). She was pretty tired from not sleeping well the night before but didn’t want to miss seeing her friends and getting candy. She immediately told her friends to “social distance!” in case she could get them sick.

What I’ve Been Writing

I’m working on The Next Chapter, but am taking a different approach than my last books. I am actually trying to develop lists for my characters so I know exactly where they are going in the story and why. The main reason for doing this with this book is that I have three point of views and therefore three character arcs I need to make sure develop, but also interconnect at some point in the book.

I am also trying my hand at a little bit of plotting, versus writing by the seat of my pants. I still don’t like strict plotting before I start writing, but with three POVs, I will need to have some idea of where the story is going to go as I write.

I’ve always been a bit of a hybrid writer, or at least since book three that is. I write my books mainly by the seat of my pants, but I also plan out chapters as I get going, writing down a few thoughts about what I want to happen in future chapters.

Last week, I didn’t share a ton on the blog. I wrote a post about our tree climbing cat and shared a chapter from The Next Chapter. I’m sure most of the chapters I am sharing will change  a ton before the book is finally published sometime in the spring.

What I’m Watching

I did not watch a ton this week. My husband and I started season four of Lovejoy (which I talked about last week).

What I’m Listening To

I listened more to Crowder’s new album Milk and Honey this week and love it.

So that’s my week in review. How about all of you? Reading anything good? Watching anything interesting? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: Do you listen to podcasts? Suspense novels and remembering when Doctor Who was a good show

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

What I’ve Been Reading

Up for reading this week is The Rhise of Light by Max Sternberg, which I will finish this week, Double Minds by Terri Blackstock in hardcover, and The Love Coward by Naomi Musch on Kindle. 

I also need to catch up on Blood Brothers, which I am supposed to be reading with my son. He is reading this book for his social studies/English. Here is a description of this important book, written in 1984:

As a child, Elias Chacour lived in a small Palestinian village in Galilee. When tens of thousands of Palestinians were killed and nearly one million forced into refugee camps in 1948, Elias began a long struggle with how to respond. In Blood Brothers, he blends his riveting life story with historical research to reveal a little-known side of the Arab-Israeli conflict, touching on questions such as: -What behind-the-scenes politics touched off the turmoil in the Middle East? -What does Bible prophecy really have to say? -Can bitter enemies ever be reconciled? Now updated with commentary on the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as a new foreword by Lynne Hybels and Gabe Lyons, this book offers hope and insight that can help each of us learn to live at peace in a world of tension and terror.’

Double Minds is a suspense book in the Christian genre and so far, it’s holding my attention, even though I’ve repeatedly been interrupted while reading it and even loaned it to my mom at one point while I was reading books for book tours. Yes, I do read suspense from time to time. The two genres I don’t read much of are Science Fiction and Fantasy. I can’t seem to keep up with the characters in most of these books since they often deal with aliens or fantastical creatures with strange names and histories.

Little Miss and I are reading These Golden Years, book eight of the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder at night. During the day we are reading Toliver’s Secret for social studies/English.

What I’m (We’re) Listening To

I was forced to buy a new phone since I share my Apple account with my son and he fills my phone with photos and memes. My phone had very little memory and was also starting to wig out when I wanted to make calls. My old phone became a “game phone” for Little Miss so now she can play her games on it and I can have my phone for things like listening to podcasts. I don’t listen to podcasts often, but I hope to more now. 

My husband listens to a lot of podcasts. A blogging friend and I were talking about her love for all things dark and mysterious (but not too gory) and I told her my husband likes a lot of podcasts that deal with murder mysteries or darkish things. I snagged a list for her and thought I’d share it here as well. His podcast list of mystery type podcasts: 

Death of A Starlet

The Burned Photo

Love Is A Crime

The Plot Thickens

Murder in Hollywoodland

The Black Dahlia Serial Killers

Murder Book by Michael Connelly 

You Must Remember This 

Roanoke Falls

As for me, my podcasts are much less exciting or suspenseful. My list is much different than my husband’s, though he listens to a couple of the same ones I do, including Unashamed with Phil and Jase Robertson. My other podcasts include The Andrew Klavan Show (only when I can handle political things and lately I haven’t watched, read, or listened to politics because my nerves are shot), Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram, Story Chats with InspyRomance, The Basically Bookish Podcast, The Matthew West Podcast, Novel Marketing Podcast, Marriage Today, Elevation Church, and Laugh More with the Skit Guys. 

What podcasts do you listen to? Let me know in the comments.

In addition to podcasts, I’ve also been listening to a new-to-be band called We The Kingdom.

What We’ve Been Watching

Last night I forced my son to watch Armageddon with me, not because I liked it, but because I hated it and I wanted him to hate it too. We had a blast making fun of it for about an hour but just couldn’t stomach it anymore after that. My son made some hilarious jokes during it but mainly was baffled by how some of the things that blew up did blow up. If you don’t know the movie, it is directed by Michael Bey. If you don’t know Michael Bey, he makes films where there are constant explosions and special effects. So many explosions, in fact, that, as my son said, they can’t afford writers for the movies he directs so the movies have no plot.

When my husband came home from a work assignment, we watched a couple of Lovejoy episodes, one of them a mystery that took place in Prague.

The show follows Lovejoy, an antique dealer who has a penchant for getting in trouble, his sidekicks Eric and Tinker, and Lady Felsham who is married but with whom he has sexual tension with for much of the series.

We just started series four so I’ll be anxious to see how that friendship goes or if they simply write her off like so many British shows do.

The Boy and I also watched several episodes of the 11th Doctor of Doctor Who over the last couple of weeks. Watching Matt Smith as The Doctor reminded me of the days when Doctor Who was good. Sadly, they made the show a feminist soap box when they made The Doctor a woman because we all know a woman can’t be a lead in a show without being a preachy woman who has a cause to fight against, especialy in science fiction or fantasy. God forbid she just be allowed to fight aliens, or have space adventures. No, she has to preach for women’s rights or make a statement against racism. In my humble opinion, the lastest series of Doctor Who is the worst I have ever seen and I have been watching it since the 80s. It’s also extremely sexist to me to make a female Doctor a champion of women’s rights instead of just a fun, interesting character. If how the female Doctor was written doesn’t show that the male writers of shows like Doctor Who aren’t sexist, then I don’t know what is. They couldn’t simply let her have fun — she had to be working to fight a cause and preach to viewers too. Gah. Drives me nuts.

So you can remember the “good ole’ days” of Doctor Who (of the modern era anyhow) here is a clip of Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor.

And here is when my two favorite Doctor incarnations met in the 50th anniversary special.

Please ignore Clara in this clip. This is about the time I was waiting for her to die.

And here is the Doctor I grew up on.

What’s Been Occurring

I took the youngest to a science camp this week, getting up at what felt like the crack of dawn since it was so foggy outside and for the entire 35-minute drive there.

With the fog . . .
When the fog lifted about an hour later . . .

She learned about building and how animals in the wild build homes to protect themselves. While she was learning, I wandered and took some photos of the changing leaves, but not a ton since our leaves never did turn pretty colors but instead turned mainly brown, died, and fell off around us. There were a few pretty oak leaves around us there so I took photos of them.

After the event, Little Miss surprised me by asking me to go home with a friend. She rarely does that since she’s a Mama’s Girl and likes to stay home with me. She spent the afternoon with them and we picked her up later in the evening. Her dad picked her up and when she came up to me she ran up, threw her arms around me, and declared she thought I had abandoned her because I hadn’t shown up at the exact time she thought I would. Apparently, she missed me after all.

It was very weird driving home without her. Weird and a little bit lonely. This is the road I used to travel every day for six years when I went to high school 20-minutes away from where I lived:

This doesn’t really show how windy and twisty it is but every day, for a good 90 minutes after I got to the school, I was car sick after the bus ride. You would think after that many years my body would have gotten used to it, but it never did. I still get sick on this stretch sometimes, or at least am left feeling dizzy.

I did not pass this property evey day on my way to school, but I have passed it hundreds of times over the years and always love the view.
These gorgeous wildflowers were along the road as I drove home all alone from the science class.

We have one more of these science classes in a couple of weeks and then we won’t have any more homeschool-related outings for much of the winter, since we are not part of any local co-ops. There isn’t a local co-op, other than one where we used to live, about 45 minutes away.

So that is my week in review.

How about all of you? Let me know what you are reading, listening to, watching, and have been doing in the comments, and if you want to join in some week, feel free to right-click on the graphic below and join in.