Sunday Bookends: The new six year old, I need distractions, and suffering through – I mean, reading the classics

Sunday Bookends is my week in review, so to speak. It’s where I share what I’ve been up to, what I’ve been reading, what I’ve been watching, what I’ve been listening to, and what I’ve been writing. Feel free to share a link or comment about your week in the comments.

This week, especially toward the end, I have needed distractions from real life. Lots of distractions. That’s where the reading and writing has come in.

What I’m Reading

I mixed my reading with both lighter and “more challenging” reading this past week.

For the “light reading” (you know, if you consider a book that starts with the death of the main characters’ best friend and sister “light reading”.), I’m reading Just Like Home by Courtney Walsh, which is her latest book.

Here is the Goodreads description:

Prima ballerina Charlotte Page has a life any dancer would envy, but the tragic loss of her best friend, Julianna, leaves her wanting more. Or maybe—less. In an effort to make her life about something other than accolades and applause, Charlotte leaves professional ballet to save Julianna’s small-town dance studio. This lands her directly in the path of cranky high school football coach and Julianna’s older brother, Cole Turner.

Fresh off a state win and a bitter divorce, the last thing Cole expects is for a prima ballerina to chip away at the wall he’s grown quite comfortable hiding behind.

Will their fledgling relationship be strong enough to weather the storm of old secrets and a haunting past? Or will Charlotte lose the new, simple life she’s given up everything to gain?

For my “more challenging” reading, my son and I are reading Silas Marner by George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans). I have never had to read George Eliot, so I never knew George Eliot was actually a woman and when I say I’ve never “had to read George Eliot” I think people probably only read her when they are forced to. My son and I are “forced to” for his Economics curriculum, which seconds as English. I had a feeling no one reads Eliot for fun based on two things: my brother asking if we were reading her on purpose and the first long-winded, run-on sentences-out-the-wazoof irst page of the book. Listening to the book being read out loud on Youtube (audio only) is helping us push through and we are already on Chapter 3. To be honest, the story itself is not that bad. It’s the old-fashioned language that is a bit hard to push through. In all seriousness, Evans really was a good writer for her time, if not a bit long-winded

In case your dying to read a book that is thought of as a classic, here is the description from Goodreads:

George Eliot’s tale of a solitary miser gradually redeemed by the joy of fatherhood, Silas Marner is edited with an introduction and notes by David Carroll in Penguin Classics.

Wrongly accused of theft and exiled from a religious community many years before, the embittered weaver Silas Marner lives alone in Raveloe, living only for work and his precious hoard of money. But when his money is stolen and an orphaned child finds her way into his house, Silas is given the chance to transform his life. His fate, and that of Eppie, the little girl he adopts, is entwined with Godfrey Cass, son of the village Squire, who, like Silas, is trapped by his past. Silas Marner, George Eliot’s favourite of her novels, combines humour, rich symbolism and pointed social criticism to create an unsentimental but affectionate portrait of rural life.

If you ever really want a crazy, trippy story about a slightly crazy, trippy lady, look up Evan’s story (if you haven’t already.) We watched a documentary on her this past week and I got a lot of weird looks from my son when they discussed the sex life of some of the people during the victorian age. That’s all I’ll say about that.

If we make it through this book we plan to watch the movie with Sir Ben Kingsley.

What I’m Watching

My husband and I started Murdoch Mysteries this week and my son and I watched Guarding Tess for something different. I’ve seen Guarding Tess before but thought my son should be exposed to movies other than Harry Potter and Star Wars. Sadly, the language in Guarding Tess isn’t the best, but the rest of it is still cleaner than a lot of movies.

The description of Murdoch Mysteries on the CBC website (yes, it is Canadian):

Set in Toronto at the dawn of the 20th century, Murdoch Mysteries is a one-hour drama series that explores the intriguing world of William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson), a methodical and dashing detective who pioneers innovative forensic techniques to solve some of the city’s most gruesome murders.

Murdoch’s circle of associates includes Constable George Crabtree (Jonny Harris, Hatching, Matching and Dispatching), Murdoch’s eager and often naïve right-hand man; Inspector Brackenreid (Thomas Craig, Coronation Street), Murdoch’s skeptical yet reluctantly supportive boss; and the love of his life, pathologist-turned-psychiatrist Dr. Julia Ogden (Hélène Joy, Durham County), a staunch ally who shares the detective’s fascination with forensic science and innovative ideas. All are valuable allies who help Murdoch solve his varied cases and traverse the many stratums of Victorian-turned-Edwardian society.

What I’ve Been Writing

I’m working on rewrites and corrections from my “editor” (husband) for Quarantined, the novella I shared here on the blog and plan to publish Oct. 20. I finally decided on a cover design for it.

I shared another chapter of The Farmer’s Daughter on Friday and on Thursday I shared some fall photos, a story of my dad burning one of his favorite hats, and a book review for Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish by Bethany Turner.

What’s Been Occurring

This week we celebrated Little Miss’ sixth birthday. I should probably write a separate blog post about that, but I’m not sure I can handle that emotionally. I’m amazed with how fast these six years have gone by.We spent her birthday going clothes shopping at a small second hand shop near us, buying her a treat of cupcakes and going to pick up her take-out dinner from a local diner down the street. Yesterday we held a small party for her with a little girl she’s befriended since we moved here and her grandparents.

Someone from our family finally saw the bear and cubs that have been wandering around the neighborhood. My son saw them out his window about 12:45 a.m. and texted me but oddly, I had actually fallen asleep early that night and didn’t get the message until the morning. He said he saw one of the cubs on our back porch and the mom and other cub out in the yard. In the morning my husband found our burn barrel shoved into the garden fence. Alas, it was too dark to try to get a photo of them. Last night we thought we heard them again and turned all the lights off to look, but whatever was moving out there wasn’t interested in letting us see it. Something ran into the woods when we let out our dog for her final “pee session” of the night, according to my son.

So what’s up with all of you? How was your week? Let me know in the comments!

Photos of the Week:

Sunday Bookends: You might be a book nerd if you plan to watch a documentary about . . . books

Sunday Bookends is my week in review, so to speak. It’s where I share what I’ve been up to, what I’ve been reading, what I’ve been watching, what I’ve been listening to and what I’ve been writing. Feel free to share a link or comment about your week in review in the comments.

What I’m Watching

I don’t know if I would really call myself a book nerd. I would call my husband one. He is a definite book nerd.

I like books.

I read books.

But he is obsessed with books of all kinds. Therefore it made sense to choose a documentary called The Booksellers for our weekend movie night. But then we watched Casino Royale with our son instead since he’s getting older and we wanted to introduce him to some of the movies we’ve seen and enjoyed over the years. This was the first James Bond with Daniel Craig and a reboot of the franchise. We will probably watch The Booksellers Sunday night (tonight) or Monday instead.

According to a description on YouTube, The Booksellers is about …. yes, booksellers. “Antiquarian booksellers are part scholar, part detective and part businessperson, and their personalities and knowledge are as broad as the material they handle. They also play an underappreciated yet essential role in preserving history. THE BOOKSELLERS takes viewers inside their small but fascinating world, populated by an assortment of obsessives, intellects, eccentrics and dreamers.”

I also watched Win A Date with Tad Hamilton this week but my husband said I shouldn’t mention that to anyone. That’s probably because I fast forwarded a lot of it and it was fairly cringe worthy in some ways. All I know is I would have picked Topher Grace over that other idiot any day. If you haven’t seen the movie, you’re not missing much, but the bottom line is that Tad Hamilton is a stuck-up, shallow actor and Rosealee, a young woman from Virginia who works at a Piggly Wiggly (yes, it is a real chain of supermarkets for those not from the south) wins a date with him. Tad is enchanted by how down to earth she is and falls for her but the entire time her best friend Pete is in love with her and can’t get up the courage to tell her.

I also started watching Father Brown again, the more modern version on Britbox on Amazon (there is apparently a version from the 1970s as well. This show is based on books by G.K. Chesterton). It may be available other places as well. I’m not sure. I abandoned the show in the seventh season because they got rid of a couple of characters and some of the episodes were a bit too .. er…. sexy for me? I don’t know how to put it other than there was too much focus on sex crimes in that season and it was disturbing. I can’t binge crime shows the way some people do. If they are really dark crime shows I can’t watch them at all. Father Brown isn’t usually too dark. They do show the person being killed but it’s not usually a drawn out murder scene and they don’t usually focus on the graphic aftermath for shock value like some shows.

What I’m Reading

A Cord of Three Strands by Christy Distler

I finished this this week and will have a review of the book up on the blog on Tuesday. It is historical Christian fiction.

A Long Time Comin’ by Robin Pearson I know it’s been a long time reading too but my reading was interrupted when I read a couple books/stories for some other authors and with writing this week. I have gotten back into it this week and I am really enjoying it.

What’s Been Happening

I’m trying a real legit Facebook detox for the entire month of August. Pray for me. I really need to get my nerves under control and I think a break from social media will help. It will nice to not be told what I have to be angry about or afraid of for an entire month.

I’m also dealing with some issues with my bladder (like going to the bathroom all night long) so I’d love some prayer on that as well. I think it’s related to hormones but I have an appointment with urology in a month (if I don’t call and beg them to get me in earlier). TMI ahead for any men that might read my blog (I don’t think there are any) but what is weird is that I just had a period after a month of not having one and I didn’t go to the bathroom as much during it so I have no idea what is up, other than I really believe my hormones are off.

On a happier note, I somehow agreed to adopt a kitten this past week and we picked her up on Saturday. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a kitten in the house so this is all pretty weird and a bit exhausting coupled with the above mentioned bladder issues. The kids have been thrilled, though The Boy was less thrilled last night when he had to watch her in his room to keep her away from the other pets (who aren’t yet sure what they think of her) but hopefully things will eventually settle down and she will fit in well.

She has extra toes so my daughter wants to name her mittens. I told my son he could name her because he always complains that he doesn’t get to name our pets but when I asked him to provide a name he said “I dunno..” and slunked away like the teenager he now is. I picked Scout after Scout Finch from one of my favorite books To Kill A Mockingbird. We will see which one we end up sticking with. We like these choices better than the name the foster family had for her at the shelter: Valerian, after the flower and root. I can’t say the word right and when I do I can’t seem to say it without a posh British accent.

Phots from the week:

I actually barely touched my camera this week. Hopefully I will pick up the camera more this next week but I at least have some photos of the new kitten I can share.

Sunday Bookends: Christmas romance movies off the agenda, Christmas prep with Michael Buble, British cleavage, and social media detox failure

I wrote last week that I was on a Christmas movie binge, but, no. I’m over it.

Oh. My. Word.


How many more movies can I watch where one parent of the main character is already dead at such a young age? Or where the husband has died and now she’s looking for new romance?

Duuuuudes. Stop the tropes already. I just can’t take it.

I just want one Christmas movie where Mom and Dad are still alive and their death isn’t the reason someone hates Christmas.

So, bah-humbug. No more of those cheesy Christmas romance movies.

Back to reality.

(Oops. There goes gravity…sorry that line immediately made me think of Eminem’s Lose Yourself. And I don’t even really listen to Eminem.)

And part of that reality was watching a 1934  film from England called The Scarlet Pimpernel (yes, there have been a few remakes) where there was plenty of harsh reality and cringeworthy brutality. The movie, starling Leslie Howard (no idea, but I think he’s a famous British actor)  opens with the beheadings of French citizens during the 1792 French Revolution’s Reign of Terror by the guillotine. Movie makers from the 30s made in England didn’t bat an eye at disturbing visuals or sounds, let me tell you that.


According to the trivia link on Amazon (yes, Amazon! And no, I’m still not trying to sell Amazon Prime to you and have not been paid for this reference. Ha! But I should be.), movie makers of the 30s also weren’t afraid to show a little skin. However, the folks in the United States weren’t pleased with that skin, based on what the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America said about the movie: “There is cleavage in Reel 1. There is cleavage in Reel 4. There is gross cleavage in Reel 8,” adding that it was the last film it would pass containing ‘scenes of offensive cleavage.'”

(My husband interjects here “That was during the time of the Hayes Code which was basically the movie industry censoring itself because parents were complaining.” Thank you movie and history trivia Rain Man. And actually, I like his little interjections of history, so don’t take this teasing too seriously).

I read this bit of trivia before I watched the movie so I immediately turned it back on to find out where the cleavage was, not because I enjoy cleavage of women (I don’t swing that way) but because I wanted to see if it was truly “offensive.”

My verdict? There was definitely- gasp!!!– dare I say it? Clear and fairly offensive cleavage from Miss Merle Oberon who leaned over quite seductively more than once! By the way, be sure to say cleavage in a very pompous or posh British tone or it doesn’t work at all for this conversation.

I actually kept watching the movie as a joke because of the cleavage trivia but then I got engrossed in the story and couldn’t stop watching it. The story is basically that aristocrats in France were being marched to the guillotine on a daily basis but some were being saved by an English man called the Scarlet Pimpernel, which had the ones doing the beheadings on high alert and on the lookout for him.

Cleavage or not I highly recommend the movie (on Amazon or wherever you choose to watch it.). The movie was well written and acted.

Here, I took a photo of the cleavage for you in case you’re curious….

I’m kidding. You can find the cleavage yourself and be appropriately horrified, even though it’s tame compared to what we see in today’s movies. The censors of the 30s would have a stroke if they saw what was on today’s movie screens.


Enough about the cleavage of the French, er, British pretending to be French. Also, I’m not writing the word cleavage ever again because I feel like a weirdo now. Plus, I’ve written the word how many times now in this post? Let’s not count.

We got more snow this past week but it looks like we will not have a white Christmas this year since the predicted temps are set at the mid-40s.  I’m okay with that since snow on Christmas could mean we can’t get to my parents to spend the day with them. We went to their house Friday so we could help decorate their Christmas tree.


I’ll probably ramble on about Christmas decorations later in the week.

I’m not doing great with my social media detox lately but it’s better than it could be. Last year my detox involved not logging on to any sites at all but this year I find myself logging on to check certain groups only. The issue with that is that I sometimes trail off of those groups and get stuck into the ridiculousness that is our world today.

(A beautiful painting of a newborn baby as Jesus and then a thread moaning over how white the baby is? Come on already! It was the sentiment behind the photo that mattered, not the perceived race of the baby! Social media makes us horrible, bitter, nasty, self-serving morons. I mean, how many more things we once enjoyed can everyone piss all over so we are all a bunch of depressed, uptight, self-righteous, finger-pointing, miserable people like most of Hollywood?)

I actually had to pull up the post I wrote last year where I made a list of suggestions of activities a person can engage in other than social media to remind me of activities I’ve been remiss on participating in because I have been distracted by the stupidity that is social media.

To try to take my mind off of everything with house selling and buying this weekend, I put on Michael Buble’s Christmas album this week (and did NOT look up to see what anyone’s opinion of it was), pulled out a book about Advent (also did NOT look up what anyone’s opinion of THAT was), kept working on my novel, watched more Dick VanDyke and read more light mysteries (The Cat Who) and romances.

For your enjoyment, because I was so excited to find it! Michael Buble’s Christmas Album and the Yuletide Log at the same time! Enjoy (or run away screaming if you aren’t a fan of either.)

So what were you reading, watching or doing this past week? Let me know in the comments.

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

Tuesday Blog Roundup: Catching up on my blog and the blogs of others

It’s that time of the week when I like to catch up on some other blogs I’ve been reading and share what you might have missed on my blog in the last week or so. I also love for you to share any good blog posts you’ve read or written as well so please be sure to do that in the comment section.

First, some favorite posts from other bloggers from this past week (or so);

Christmas Tree Tea from Mama’s Empty Nest where she writes about her “hodgepodge” Christmas tree and how it brings up many memories from her past, but especially the time she held Christmas teas after she retired from volunteering with the local PTA groups.

Brenda from Becoming His Tapestry had a timely post just this morning. 10 Ways to Destress This Christmas. My goodness, could I relate. Not because we are busy in this family with Christmas parties or extreme decorating (no one invites us to parties and we barely decorate). I related when she talked about avoiding going into debt during Christmas because God never intended us to celebrate the birth of his son by going into debt. Preach it, Brenda!

Our Little Red House always has some awesome craft ideas and she’s doing 12 days of Christmas crafts for, well, Christmas. This one interested me because it uses old toilet paper rolls and anything that uses up toilet paper rolls interests me. There are only four of us in this house but we seem to fly through toilet paper sometimes.

Mama Duck had a sweet post about “One of the Best Christmas Gifts I Ever Received.”You’ll have to check out the post to see what it is.

I enjoyed this post by Jenni at Housewife Hustle about sleeping goals for her children.I could relate to this one since I’ve had sleep time challenges with both of my children, especially the youngest since she doesn’t yet have her own bedroom. (That will change when we move.)

Dawn raised a concern about blogging that I also have on her blog Every Small Voice in a post entitled Blogging Popularity.

PMeyers writes about Navigating Christmas Without Momon her blog Mind Heart Matters. She lost her mom to a brain tumor this year and she has been writing candidly about that horrific journey in such an uplifting and encouraging way (the way her family handled this situation was amazing, but I wish they hadn’t had to).  Get out the tissues for this one, but please know there is some joy here too and if you are so inclined, leave the blogger an encouraging message.

As for my blog this last week, I was as eclectic as always in my topics.

On Saturday of last week I blogged about how to Tune out the ‘Negative Nellies’in our lives.

On Sunday I continued with the new weekly Sunday Bookends post where I talk about what I’m watching, reading or doing for the week. I used to hook up to a book blogger for this post, but I’m not really a book blogger so I’m just doing my own thing now (although still reading the book blogger posts).

Later in the week, I rambled about theChristmas romance movie binge I’ve been on. Read this weekend about how that binge ended.

On Friday of last week, I shared Chapters 6 and 7 of A New Beginning, my continuing serial fiction that I post on “Fiction Friday” (incidentally, Friday is my worst blog traffic day, but I like the alliteration of Fiction Friday so much, I don’t have the heart to change the posting day.)

Then Sunday I posted another Sunday Bookends, where I talked about Dick VanDyke and my lack of reading lately.

So how about you? Any favorite blog posts of your own or others you’d like to share? Please feel free to share the links in the comments!

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



More ‘Autumn in Pennsylvania’, photos, the Apostle Paul, and a little about books

Winter is coming in a bit like a lion this year as the North was lashed with wind and rain part of this week. We spent part of our week inside, under covers, watching movies and sometimes reading books.

Early in the week I rolled my ankle and thought I was on the way to the ER like Marcia at The Write Stuff (who visited the ER for the first time in her life twice in a week!) but luckily that didn’t happen. I wish I had an exciting story to go along with that ankle story but I was literally only pushing my son’s bike in the driveway to take it to the van so he could take it to his grandparents and my ankle just turned. That was all. Very boring story. The ankle was sore off and on all week but nowhere near a crisis. One day I thought it was swollen and then remembered I just have fat, Hobbit-like feet and ankles and it wasn’t actually swollen.

At the end of the week, I also feel in a hole at my parents, with the foot of the ankle I had twisted going straight down and sending me to the ground. My son thought it was hilarious because he said one moment I was standing and the next moment I screamed and disappeared. Luckily, I didn’t damage it worse and was still able to go to a community event with my husband later that evening.

Speaking of Hobbits, I have stalled on reading the book and I have no idea why because it’s a good book. Here is a goal for this week: finish the book, like my son who is finishing it up for schoolwork.

Speaking of books, I haven’t made a ton of progress on that front but did manage to progress in Diane Moody’s Memphis & Me and have made a list of other books I plan to break into this week, including:

  •  Village School by Miss Read
  • Leota’s Garden by Francine Rivers
  • Rhythm and Renewal by Rebekah Lyons
  • The Misadventured Summer of Tumbleweed Thompson by Glen McCarty (middle school book for book discussion for our homeschooling group)

As for what I’m watching, I watched Paul, Apostle of Christ with Jim Cavaziel this week and wow, it was powerful. Jim is playing Luke this time, instead of Jesus. Paul is played by James Faulkner who gives a powerful performance of a man at the end of his 30-year journey as a missionary for Jesus. Paul is in a Roman prison, charged by Nero with burning half of Rome, which of course he denies doing. The movie shows that the fire was more than likely started by Nero himself, who then used the Christians as a scapegoat to take the blame off himself. The Christians are currently living in hiding, with many being murdered because of their faith, trying to decide if and when to leave Rome to seek a more hospitable situation in Ephesus. Luke sneaks into the prison to visit Paul and record his message to his fellow persecuted Christians.

There is some fiction thrown into the story to add some drama, but that doesn’t take away from the crux of the Bible-based portions of the movie.

The movie was very moving, thought-provoking, deep, and should be watched with tissues close by. I honestly had a hard time watching it and not thinking of our world today and how persecution against people because of their faith is not something of the past, but something of the present that is continually getting worse. I tried not to envision that one day Christians (or people of other faiths) will be marched to the coliseum to be eaten by lions like we and others were in the day of the Romans.

To lighten the mood a little (ha!) I’m also watching a British sitcom called “One Foot in the Grave” (it doesn’t sound lighter, does it?) about a cranky man who has been forced into retirement. The series has both humorous and heart breaking moments so it’s a bit of a roller coaster ride emotionally, but the humor is up my alley – a little dark and odd.


I snapped only a few more fall related photos this week, partly because we had rain and wind two days in a row and it was miserable weather to photograph in and partly because I didn’t go many places to take photos featuring the fall foliage.


I’m fairly certain this after I fell in the hole because my son was laughing pretty hard after I disappeared. Little “jerk.” 😉

So how about you? What have you been reading, watching or doing lately? Let me know in the comments.


This post is part of Readerbuzz’s Sunday Salon 

and Kimberly at Caffeinated Reviewer’s Sunday Post. 

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