Sunday Bookends: Birthday, fall is coming – oh, it’s here, and cat books

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

Last week I finished The Cat Who Wasn’t There by Lilian Jackson Braun.

Description:

Persuaded by his beloved companion to join her in a group tour of Scotland, Qwill expects to revel in his Scottish heritage while keeping Polly Duncan safe from the Pickax Prowler. Instead, his trip is cut short when a thief swipes a suitcase, the bus driver disappears, and a fellow tourist is found dead, all in the same day.

Although the town of Pickax is in a tizzy over the recent events, Qwill has other, more puzzling worries on his mind. Who is the fellow still following Polly? Why is Koko licking Qwill’s photographs of Scotland and tackling him on the apple barn stairs? Upon investigating the secret life of the deceased and the bizarre behavior of one of the tour’s members, Qwill’s sensitive moustache tells him one thing: more trouble is on the way.


I then started Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan. I’m reading it via a library book and as many of you know, I have a library book phobia because I am always afraid I will dent it or mark it up. So I tried reading the library book without moving anywhere, but I leaned up to get something and bent the pages slightly. It freaked me out so bad that I looked up on Amazon how much it would cost to get my own copy. It turns out it was on Kindle Unlimited so I downloaded it through there and I’m taking the library book back out of fear of ruining it. I know. I have issues.

I’m also listening to The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip by Sara Brunsvold on Audible.

The Boy was reading War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells (yes, still) but then Little Miss left some slime around that hardened on it so the book was damaged. This became a bit of a family crisis because The Husband said he’s owned the book since he was 15 and it won’t be the same thing if I buy him a new copy. Sigh.

The Husband is reading Raising Steam by Terry Pratchet.

Little Miss and I are finishing up a Paddington book we hadn’t read before (Paddington On Top) and during the day we are reading The Year of Miss Agnes, which we might have finished last week if I hadn’t lost the book. Argh!



What’s Been Occurring

The nights are getting colder and in the second half of this week temperatures didn’t get past 65 during the day. It looks like it will be the same next week. Our leaves are turning much slower than I thought they were going to but it looks like we might have some bright colors in October.  

My birthday was Monday, and it was cold and rainy and I was excited. I know. I’m weird. I literally giggled with glee because I knew it meant I could read a book, under a blanket, while it rained.

I opened a book and watched a Thin Man movie. I literally did nothing Monday and making myself do nothing was fun. That night we all watched The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill and Came Down a Mountain.

The day before my birthday we went to my parents where they made me a delicious lunch of beef ribs, homemade onion potatoes and cabbage from my dad’s garden. Yum!

My dad also gave me some sunflowers from his garden and my mom gave me a check and told me I couldn’t spend it on the kids or groceries like I usually do. It was very hard because I had a couple pieces of curriculum I wanted to get, but in the end I bought myself a booklight, a journal, a paperback of one of The Cat Who books, and a new cover for my Kindle.

I wrote in my recent Randomly Thinking post that our kitten is a killer. Both my cats are actually, so imagine our surprise on Sunday when The Husband and The Boy saw a mouse running out from under our stove. Hmmmm…. The cats can apparently kill rodents outside the house, but not inside.

Wednesday night, though, our older cat, Pixel was lying in wait by the couch because the mouse ran under the couch Tuesday night after it scampered all over the living room, trying to get away from her. We still haven’t seen a sign that she’s caught it, since The Boy said she was still looing for it Friday night.

What We watched/are Watching

I already mentioned I watched a Thin Man movie for my birthday. I watched it all by my little ole’ self. It was The Thin Man Goes Home and I don’t remember seeing it before.

I also mentioned we watched The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill and Came Down a Mountain. If you haven’t seen the movie before, it’s really enjoyable and fun.

Last night The Boy and I watched Benny and Joon with Mary Stuart Masterson and Johnny Depp. It’s a movie I remembered from my teen years and it was my first intro to Johnny Depp.

Earlier in the week we watched Shaun of the Dead, which I wrote about for my Spooky Season Cinema Post.

What I’m Writing

I’m continuing to work on The Shores of Mercy. I’d hoped to have the first draft finished by the end of September but it looks like it will be mid-October now.

Last week on the blog I shared:



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 (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: 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: I finished three books? Who am I?! And other non-important information

Welcome to my Sunday Bookends post where I talk about my previous week, including what I’m reading, watching, listening to, writing and doing.

What I’m Reading

I had to document this for prosperity’s sake, I finished three books last week: The Cat Who Knew A Cardinal, Journey to ChiYah, and the second book in the Rembrandt Stone series, No Unturned Stone by David James Warren. Three books? I can usually barely finish one! It’s a miracle! Anyhow . . .

I am trying to read the first three books in the Rembrandt Stone series because I am participating in a blog tour for the fourth book in August. I received an advanced reader’s copy of book four this past week and am excited to jump into it. First, though, I have to finish book three, Sticks and Stone, which I started Friday and am already halfway through. The books are written serially, coming out every three months or so, and are only about 50,000 words.

The series is written by two well-known Christian fiction writers, James L. Rubart and Susan May Warren, and Warren’s sons, David Warren, but it is not a Christian fiction book. This is a time-travel thriller series. The books are fairly clean but do have some language and descriptions that some more sensitive readers of CF would not be very happy with. I mean, one of my characters not my book said “hell” and two women almost fainted when they let me know they were offended. In these books there is talk of drinking, drug use, premarital sex, murder, sexual assault, alcoholism, and various other topics without anyone getting a good tongue lashing or the main character dropping to his knees in repentance. While there is “talk”, though, there are no graphic descriptions, so the books are still quite clean.

I reviewed Journey to ChiYah by Kimberly Russell earlier this week.

I have not reviewed any of the Rembrandt Stone books yet but will in August.

I never review The Cat Who books, since they are comfort reading to me, but this one was one of the better ones I have read over the years. There are 29 books in the series (people with OCD are tweaking right now, but the author died before the 30th book could be finished and bring the total of books to a more unified number) and I have read probably about 10 of them over the years. I have a long way to go to read them all, in other words.

With those books behind me, I am on to book three in the Rembrandt Stones series, as I mentioned above, and will probably start book four, Set in Stone later in the week.

Also, this week I have started The Rhise of Light by Max Sternberg, which is a fantasy novel, something I don’t normally read. Max is in a writing group I am in, however, and I’ve heard good things about it. I’ve started it and so far, I am hooked.

Little Miss and I are still on The Little House in the Big Woods.

The Boy is not reading a boon because, “it’s summer, Mom. Come on.”

What’s Been Occurring

Last week every day was filled with two little girls as I helped my neighbor watch her great-granddaughter who is a year older than Little Miss. In the afternoons I took the girls to a two-hour Bible camp called The Good News Camp at a local church. On the first day, my daughter was almost the only child, but I called my neighbor to see if her great-granddaughter had arrived yet. She had so I asked her little friend if she would like to attend as well.

For the rest of the week, two teenagers played with and taught the girls Bible lessons, driving a half an hour each way. They had another camp near us in the morning and I felt bad they had to spend their afternoon with only two children, but the girl told me that they hold a camp even if they only have one child. I tried to drum up more interest in the camp via my dad’s Facebook (he has more friends than me on there. Mainly because he used to be addicted to Facebook and sometimes still is but usually only in the winter) but no one took us up on it and the girls were the only two for the entire week.

They didn’t mind because the teenagers played games with them and were essentially their daily playmates each day.

Before and after camp, Little Miss’s little friend would come to the house and play. Neither of the girls are “bad.” They are simply very energetic and always coming up with new ideas of what to do. I love that they are coming up with new ideas of what to do but I would prefer that they ask me before they initiate activities that will result in paint being spread all over our hardwood floors or them possibly being bit by a snake. Yes, they are still looking for the many garter snakes living on our street and in our yard.

This week we have a break from camp, but not from little girls as the other little friend’s sister comes to stay and will probably be visiting throughout the week. She’s a little less adventurous than her older sister. She and Little Miss sit and play Barbies for hours. I might actually get some writing done. We will see. The week after this week, there is another Vacation Bible School event being held by four local churches in our community. I am going to try to take Little Miss to that as well so she has more interaction with children her own age.

What I’m Writing (Blog and Otherwise)

I’m finishing edits of Harvesting Hope this week. The book goes live on Amazon on August 12 and is available for preorder for blog readers for 99 cents. While I’m editing, I’m also working on book three. I’m not doing a lot of writing at this point, just brainstorming. I’m still trying to decide if the book will be only about Ginny Jefferies, the 53-year-old librarian, or also about Liz, Molly’s best friend. My mom and a friend of ours are helping me hammer out the plot and I was quite shocked how quickly they suggested I kill a character off. That probably won’t happen, but I appreciate their suggestions (or not).

This week on the blog I shared:

Hometown Views: Libraries (a new feature with Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs). Next week we are focusing on schools.

A little fiction on Thursday: Harvesting Hope Chapter 25

Fiction Friday: Harvesting Hope Chapter (I don’t know. I’ve lost count. Oh wait…I remember now) 26

Saturday Fiction: Harvesting Hope Chapter 27 and 28 (final chapters)

What I’m Watching

This week I continued watching Jonathan Creek, a British crime show,but wondered why. The show completely went off the rails in the fourth season. Not only was one of the main characters replaced, but the plot of the shows went downhill big time. Apparently, they hired new writers who had no idea what they were doing. It was also odd to hear an f-bomb being dropped in a show which had minimal swearing previously. That was a bit jarring. I will probably keep watching just to see how far in the gutter the show goesZ

The husband and I continued to watch Lovejoy, a British show about an antique dealer who always seems to get himself into trouble.

Later this week, we are planning to go see the 1951 movie The Maltese Falcon in a theater about an hour from us. The theater is showing old movies for a reduced ticket price as a promotion.

Last night my husband picked an episode of Miami Vice for us to watch, which was different for me since when I was a kid and it was actually on TV, I was not allowed to watch it. “All those half naked women!” my mom would say. Not only that but it came on very late on Fridays and I was supposed to be in bed.

My husband wanted to show me what I had been missing and let’s just say by my repeated utterances of “this is ridiculousness”, I don’t think I missed much. Not even the repeated scenes of Don Johnson with his shirt off did anything for me.

Favorite Blog Posts from the Week

I probably won’t remember to do this every week, but I do save my favorite blog posts on my phone app so I can share them later, in case I do remember to add this in my weekly round-up posts.

A Major Fault – Fuel for the Race

A Short Story on Perseverance For His Purpose

Flash Fiction – Micro 60 Prompts by PenWending

For the Love of Words on Hope, Hearts, and Heroes

What I’m Listening To

This song has been on repeat most of the week:

That’s my week in review. Let me know what you’re reading, watching, or doing in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: A little bit of fishing, way too much rain, and I might actually finish three books this week

Welcome to my Sunday Bookends post where I talk about my previous week, including what I’m reading, watching, listening to, writing and doing.

This week our area was plagued by storms that caused some serious flooding, but luckily not widespread.

Every day we had a storm or at least a crazy downpour, and I started to tell my children they needed to get activities done before our usual afternoon storm.

Roads near us eroded and some are currently impassable.

A small town near me that suffered a great deal of damage two years ago, suffered again, only this time the library had already been washed into the center of a major highway so the high water couldn’t wash that way at least. This time there is an abandoned house about to fall into a creek because rushing water had washed away the creekbank and the ground around it.

Scout, our mischievous kitten, darted out to attempt adventure one day, but was stuck in one of the many storms when I couldn’t capture her to come back inside. I went out to check on my garden in between storms and she slunked across the yard from the neighbor’s outdoor patio, drenched. Usually she runs away from us when she is outside but this time she came right to me and seemed fairly happy when I scooped her up to carry her inside.

Last Sunday, again in between storms, my dad and Little Miss visited Dad’s pond for an impromptu fishing session.

They caught a couple of fish and let them go. While down there, I also startled a couple of fawns and they darted into the woods and a few minutes later two foxes started to call to each other.

On Thursday, I had to drive to our county seat to drop some paperwork off at the assessor’s office. I wanted to take the paperwork in and return home, but Little Miss had other ideas. She wanted to explore the town. Honestly, there isn’t much to explore in the town. Downtown has a handful of buildings, mostly county offices, a nursing home, and several homes. On a backstreet is the school campus, which includes the high school (grades 7 to 12) and elementary school all in one location. The school is the only school in the entire county, population 6,000 or so.

Somehow Little Miss sniffed out the only restaurant in town, a little cozy café. We ordered some fries and mozzarella sticks and while waiting for them, I received a call on my cellphone from the security man at the courthouse. I had left my keyfob for the van. The hook for it broke a few weeks ago so I can’t hook it to my keychain right now. I had placed it in the basket to go through the metal detector and forgot to take it out.

The man called the assessor’s office to see if they had my name and number. He knew how to find me by the sign-in sheet, but also because I was apparently the only person who had entered the courthouse all day. When we walked back to retrieve the key, he met me at the front door and after I mentioned I was taking some photos of the courthouse to share on my blog, he suggested we visit the museum at the back of the building.

Little Miss said she wanted to go but I later learned that was because she thought they would have dinosaur bones. She was sorely disappointed when it turned out they only had local artifacts such as military uniforms from various wars, weapons from the same wars, old pictures, and various other historical items. She also didn’t enjoy when the volunteer and I struck up a conversation about homeschooling that lasted for 45 minutes.

Our lives are so boring, that that short trip, which took about to and a half hours when it should have taken about 30, was the highlight of our week.

What I’m Reading

You are not going to believe this, or actually you will, but I am still reading the same books I’ve been reading for a couple of weeks now. However, I am almost done with The Cat Who Knew A Cardinal by Lilian Jackson Braun.

I also finished the first book in the Rembrandt Stone series, Cast the First Stone by David James Warren and started book two, No Stone Unturned. I am reading No Stone Unturned on my Kindle. I listened to the first one on Audible.

They are very quick, easy reads, written in serial form. The fourth on releases in August. I will probably have the second book finished by the end of today.

I will also most likely finish Journey to ChiYah by Kimberly Russell early this week.

Books I hope to read next include book three of the Rembrandt Stone series and the fourth book of the Walt Longmire series.

Little Miss and I started Little House in the Big Woods this week after finding Farmer Boy. We skipped Little House in the Big Woods when we started the series so we went back to read it.

What I’m Watching

For our anniversary, my husband and I went out to dinner and then we returned home and watched a movie without the kids, which is a rarity. The movie was Twilight with Paul Newman (my favorite actor), James Gardner, Susan Sarandon, and Gene Hackman. It was an interesting mystery and apparently when it came out in 1997, it bombed, which is sad because I thought it held up pretty good.

It probably came out around the same time as Titanic or something.

I’ve also been continuing to watch Jonathan Creek, a British mystery show and in traditional British fashion they are changing characters on me with little warning.

I have also been enjoying To The Manor Born, a British sitcom from the 70s.

Last Sunday I watched the final episode of season two for The Chosen. I am really looking forward to season three, whenever that comes out.

What I’m Writing

I’m writing…stuff. Mainly I’m finishing edits on Harvesting Hope and have started a new story that will probably be called A New Chapter.

What I’m Listening To

I’m still enjoying listening to the Unashamed podcast with three of the men from Duck Dynasty, but I’m very behind.

I also enjoyed listening to a sermon by Pastor Steven Furtick that I missed half of last week.

That’s my week in review. How about you? What are you reading, writing, watching, doing or listening to these days? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: Unconvential shows and movies, dairy parades, and new book covers

 Welcome to my weekly post where I recap my week by writing about what I’ve been reading, watching, writing, doing, and sometimes what I’ve been listening to.

What I’m Reading

This week I finished More Than Honor by Carol Ashby. It was a Biblical fiction/Roman historical fiction book and very intriguing. It was well written but the time frame was a bit unrealistic for me, if I read it right, and the story wrapped up much too soon for me. It appeared that the book was supposed to only have happened in a week, but some of the headers suggested it had actually been more than a week. I really don’t believe some of what happened would have actually happened in a week. The characters were so rich, though, I was able to overlook the difficulty with the timeline.

Carol writes a series of books and continues the stories in other books. I’m sure I’ll be picking up another one of her books.

I am continuing Sarah’s Choice by Pegg Thomas, which I am reading before it is released in August to provide a review for the author. It is very good and I’m sure it will be a popular book when it is released.

I’m also reading The Heart Knows the Way Home by Christy Distler and Promises Kept, an Advanced Reader Copy by Jodi Allen Brice. I hope to finish at least two of these books this week so I can start Plot Twist by Bethany Turner and The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox.


What’s Been Occurring

Saturday was our county’s dairy parade. Yes, we live in an area that still holds dairy parades and celebrations. The celebration was very small, with only a few booths up downtown. The library hosted a magician for their summer reading program and he did a great job. He was in a very small room which made his slight-of-hand magic even more impressive to me. Many of the adults were as impressed as the children.

Afterward, Little Miss wanted to meet him and tell him about her stuffed kitten, Mittens, so we went up to him. He was sweet and attentive and seemed a little taken aback when she announced that our kitten, Scout, is a polydactyl cat, adding that means she has extra toes. I don’t think he expected such a large word to come out of such a tiny little girl.

The parade was in the evening and the sky darkened up and rain let loose as the parade started, but everyone stood in the rain and watched the business and organization floats and fire apparatus drive by anyway, getting soaked in the process. Children ran for the candy that was thrown out and I came home with my purse packed with what the children had collected.

We joked as the dark clouds came in over the town right before the parade started, that people would later say, “And that’s when the tornado touched down and all the pick up trucks and cows were sucked up inside.” Thankfully, that never happened and the parade went on as planned.

During the week I became obsessed with designing a book cover for my next book. I’ve worked with Photoshop before and really felt I could pull it off if I simply kept pounding away at it.

In the end I decided on this one:




But I also designed this one:

What I’m Watching

Yesterday I watched this video after reading a blog post written by the singer. I really encourage you to read the blog post and then watch the video and be ready to be kicked in the cut and wrenched in your heart while also inspired.


My husband and I have been watching Yellowstone. It’s a hard show to watch. It’s not something I would usually watch but I am a big Kevin Costner fan. It’s violent and depressing but somehow its easy to get caught up in the lives of the characters.

I also watched a movie called Ondine with Collin Farrell. It was interesting and different. It was about an Irish fisherman who pulls a woman out of the ocean. The fisherman’s daughter needs a kidney transplant and decides the woman who was pulled out of the ocean is a selkie, a mythical creature who is magical for those she meets. The woman is anything but mythical, as they will soon learn, but she does help a family come together in an unconventional way. The characters are pretty dark and the low of the low, but somehow I found myself rooting for them anyhow. It sounds like I was in a dark mood this week, but I promise I wasn’t.

I also watched the 10th Generation Dairyman, which I mentioned in my Randomly Thinking post. I am a bit addicted to this YouTube Channel about a dairy farm in Lancaster, Pa. (by the way, to pronounce Lancaster properly, say it fast and leave the “a’s” out. You’re welcome.

This week I plan to watch Episode 6 of The Chosen which will premiere on YouTube and Facebook at 9 p.m. Wednesday night for 24 hours and then be on their app.

What I’m Writing

Last week I wrote a blog post every day. This week I most likely will not. I have edits to do on Harvesting Hope and two advanced readers copies to read.

Blog posts I wrote included:

Was Pa Ingalls trying to always find something better, or was he trying to provide for his family?

A new season of flowers

Randomly Thinking: I am socially awkward. Surprised? Yeah, me either.

Fiction Friday: Harvesting Hope (formerly The Farmers’ Sons) Chapter 16

Special Saturday Fiction: Harvesting Hope Chapter 17

Flash Fiction: Strike it Rich

What I’ve Been Listening To

I’ve been enjoying the Unashamed podcast with three of the men from Duck Dynasty (including matriarch Phil Robertson).

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

Sunday Bookends: Gardening, writing like a crazy person, and school’s out for summer (almost)

 Welcome to my weekly post where I recap my week by writing about what I’ve been reading, watching, writing, doing, and sometimes what I’ve been listening to.

What’s Been Occurring

This week I decided to try to start planting my garden even though we do not have the fence up around it yet to keep the deer out.

I don’t have a huge garden space, so I don’t have tons to plant. Little Miss and I decided on beans, beets (which neither of us eat but we’re going to try), yellow squash, cucumbers, kale, sweet red peppers, and tomatoes. My dad picked up topsoil for me about two weeks ago. I should have raked it more after it was dumped into the beds (raised garden beds that my dad and son made for me last year), which I realized when my dad corrected how I had installed the poles for the beans to climb up and also noticed the topsoil issue.

“This dirt could be broken up more,” he said.

Oops.

He also said, “These bean poles should be positioned this way.”

And then he changed my entire set up for the better because he’s been gardening for like 50 years and I haven’t.

I had also planted the bean seeds in the wrong place, so he helped me correct that as well.

The bean poles were his idea since he had extra long bean seeds left from last year. In fact, he had seeds for a variety of vegetables left over from last year that he gave me, which meant I didn’t have to buy any seeds this year.

The seeds are in the ground, but I won’t plant the plants until we have the fencing up because again — the blasted deer.

We also finished homeschooling this week, for the most part. The Boy still has to write a book report on To Kill A Mockingbird and I have a meeting with our homeschool evaluator on Wednesday. Once she signs off on us, and we submit our paperwork to the local school district, our school year will be officially complete and The Boy will be a high schooler (hold me, Jesus!) and Little Miss will be a first grader.

What I’m Reading

I haven’t had as much time for reading as I’ve wanted because I’ve been trying to hit a deadline for Harvesting Hope (formerly The Farmers’ Sons).

I did finish Love Happens at Sweetheart Farm by Dalyn Waller and am almost finished with my Longmire book, Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson. (I love Henry. That is all.).

Two books I really want to start this week is Amanda by Sarah Monzon and Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks.

Before I can start them, though, I also have to finish Rooms by James Rubart, which is a very interesting mind-bender.

Little Miss and I are reading On the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder and boy do I have some thoughts on this one. Hopefully I’ll find some time to share those thoughts this week in a separate blog post. Pa Ingalls, seriously, dude — what were you thinking?

What I’m Watching

I am continuing to watch Jonathan Creek through Acorn on Amazon or maybe it’s Britbox. I forget, but it’s on one of those and I watch it through Amazon.

We also watched Galaxy Quest this week, which I think I watched once years ago.

The Boy and I started Master and Commander Blah Blah Blah. I wrote blah, blah, blah because the movie has a really long title to match it’s really long and convoluted storyline. I’m too lazy to look up the full title for this blog post.

We had to stop watching it to go to bed the other night and haven’t returned to it yet. We watched an hour of it and still don’t know what is actually happening other than the ship keeps getting attacked and the captain is keeping them out at sea while more and more people die and he gets more and more arrogant about trying not to be attacked. I don’t know. It’s very confusing.

I also watched episode 5 of The Chosen and loved it. I’ve heard there was some controversy over it, but I haven’t had time to listen to the director talk about what the controversy is about so I will figure it out later. I liked it. That’s all I know.

You can watch the episode on the app, which is very easy to download to your phone (Android or Apple).

What I’m Writing

As I mentioned, I am working on the first draft of Harvesting Hope and plan to have it completed at the end of this week. I’ve been writing anywhere from 500 to 2000 words a day this past week and half of that may be eviscerated during the second draft. We’ll see.

This week I shared two chapters from what I’ve already written, one Friday and one Saturday.

I think I also decided on a book cover — If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been going back and forth on what I want it to look like.

Earlier in the week, I shared some flash fiction I wrote as part of a writing group on MeWe (a social media site).

I forgot to finish my Randomly Thinking post for Thursday (I’m seriously having focus issues), so I hope to have that ready to go this week.

What I’m Listening To

If he hadn’t gotten himself in trouble with a drunken comment, I’d never heard of  Morgan Wallen, most likely. This week my husband tried his album to see what the fuss was all about, so I tried it as well. We both were surprised. We liked it, so I listened to that this week.

For old times sake, I listened to The Civil Wars. I miss them.

I’m leaving you samples of both, so you know who I’m talking about.

So that’s my week in review. How was your week last week? Read any good books? Listen to any new-to-you music or watch anything cool? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: To Kill A Mockingbird, awful disaster movies, royals, and slow spring days

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

***

Happy Mother’s Day for those who are mothers, had a mother they cared about, or who are spending a mother’s day remembering their lovely mothers.

What We’re Reading

The Boy and I have been reading To Kill A Mockingbird. He’s halfway through and I finished it this weekend. To make sure he finishes it by the time we finish school in three weeks, I purchased an audible membership so he could listen to it as well as read it. It’s narrated by Sissy Spacek.

Anyone who says To Kill A Mockingbird is a racist book has obviously never read it. Using the “n” word does not make a book racist. I’m guessing too many people got to the first “n” word, but it down and never got to the parts where it is clear Atticus and many others in Maycomb, Alabama are not racist. Using the word and many other references to black people made the book painfully real, painfully raw. Without it, it wouldn’t have been clear how the people of this county in Alabama looked at black people as less than human, which is why they were so willing to put a black man on trial for a crime he didn’t commit.

Have you ever read To Kill A Mockingbird? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments. If you haven’t, I highly encourage you to do so. It is considered a classic for a reason. Reading it again as an adult had an even bigger impact on me than it did when I read it in 7th grade (on my own, I might add.) I cried as a teenager over the injustice of it all, but I practically bawled as an adult.

I may write a book review on this next week, if I can stop crying.

Besides reading that this weekend, I also started The Sowing Season by Katie Powner

and I’m still reading Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson (A Longmire Mystery). I’m not reading the Longmire book slowly because it is bad. Quite the opposite. It is very, very good.

I wanted to finish To Kill A Mockingbird first, because it is a very good book and I needed to for my son’s English, and I’ve been writing Harvesting Hope (new name for The Farmers’ Sons) so Walt Longmire has been pushed aside a little.

I’m also reading Rooms by James Rubart this week because at the end of the week I am going to be “attending” a author workshop with him as the main speaker. It is all on Zoom. I’m sure I’ll update my blog readers about that next week.

I hope to get to The Number of Love by Roseanna White this week as well, but I had to move Rooms up so I would at least now wat James is talking about during his keynote speech.

What We’re Watching

This week we tried something different by watching Prince Charles Inside the Duchy of Cornwall on Acorn TV (through Amazon).  If you don’t know what a Duchy is, (because I didn’t either), it is an area of land run by a Duke or Duchess. On that land are towns, small businesses, and various small farms.

The description of the show from the AcornTV website:

Prince Charles provides exclusive access to the royal lands that have belonged to successive Prince of Wales for 700 years I this moving, candid, and humorous observational documentary. Established in 1337, the Duchy of Cornwall is today a vast, varied estate of rolling farmland, visionary housing development, and even parts of inner-city London that embody the prince’s sustainable philosophy.

The two-part documentary gave my husband and I a completely different look at Prince Charles, also known as the Duke of Cornwall. I don’t know about some of you, but when I was growing up Charles was often painted as the bad guy while Princess Diana was considered sweet, demure, and innocent. Charles cheated on Diana with his first love Camilla (now his wife), but listening to him talk during this documentary I couldn’t imagine him as evil or emotionally abusive. It gave me a more complex view of him and the entire situation, actually.

Charles’ estate in Cornwall helps pay for the royal family’s expenses, as well as various charities.

In addition to learning more about Charles and his work, we also got the impression from the show that the royals do have to work for their money. I think most Americans believe royals are born with a silver spoon in their mouth and never have to work for the lavish lifestyles they have. It’s clear from this special, and others I’ve seen, they do work and are under extreme pressure at times.

Last night we were looking for a film to watch as a family. When my husband came to the preview of The Towering Inferno and I saw that Paul Newman (my favorite actor. Swoon! ) and Steve McQueen (more swooning!) were in it together, I said, “Yes! This is the film for us!”  

My son said, “Mom. Eww. And how old are these guys now?”

“They’re dead,” I responded.

“Oh mom. That’s disturbing.”

My husband was like, “Watch all the people who are in this. You’ll be surprised by one.”

And then there was his name: O.J. Simpson and after him, Robert Wagner.

“Wow,” I said. “It’s a movie with all the wife killers.”

If you’ve never seen the movie, you haven’t missed much. I wouldn’t rush to watch it unless you need to have a good laugh and cringe more times than people at a Justin Beiber concert.

At one point The Boy said, “why do all the blond women at this party have the same hairdo? They look like a bunch of Lego women.”

A man stumbles out of an elevator on fire, into a party scene, at one point and I quipped, “Wow. This party is lit.”

A building 135 stories high with bad wiring and no safety protocols? What could go wrong? This is NOT a movie to watch if you, or anyone you know, were near the World Trade Center in 2001, however. There are a couple of very triggering scenes that brought memories of that day even to my mind. We almost turned it off, but there were too many illogical and giggling-inducing bad acting moments to make the movie too upsetting.

Apparently, there are a series of these disaster films, so I told my family I think we should watch all of them over the next few Saturday nights. We need a good laugh and to question again how these high-quality actors ended up in such horrible films.

I have also been re-watching the first three episodes of The Chosen with my son (for his Bible lessons) and my mom and then Dallas Jenkins announced that episode four is debuting Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET. I’m very excited for episode 4 because I believe it’s about the man at the pool who Jesus heals and tells to pick up his mat and go be well.

What I’m Writing

Last week I wrote about taking more breaks from news (and I did really well this week, by the way. I hardly looked at news at all and it was so nice.). I also challenged all of you to do the same if you don’t already.

On Tuesday I shared photos from April.

I shared a book review for Avoiding Marriage by Karin Beery and In Sheep’s Clothing by Pegg Thomas for the rest of the week.

On Friday, I shared another chapter from The Farmers’ Sons which I have now renamed Harvesting Hope and announced that the book version of it will be out this summer (most likely the end of July).


What I’m Listening To

I am listening to the live album by Needtobreathe and a new album by Elevation Worship. Here are a couple of samples of those. They are both available whereever music is streaming.

What’s Been Occurring

We have not been doing anything very exciting lately. We’re such boring people that going to a doctor’s appointment is the highlight of our week. I’m not even 70 yet. A couple of weeks ago we traveled 45 minutes to pick up my son’s new glasses and made it a family trip. This past week we traveled 30 minutes for an eye doctor appointment for me and for the first time in 30 years, my prescription wasn’t increased. I also avoided bifocals, but just barely, and after I got back to the house and tried to type on my computer, I thought about how I might should have asked for the bifocals after all.

Last week my kids enjoyed playing outside at my parents, rolling in the grass after I told them I didn’t want them in the grass because I was worried about deer ticks. Oh well, at least they had fun and when we did a tick search that night we didn’t find any, thankfully. It’s weird to have to worry about ticks now because when I was a kid, we were never told not to roll in the grass because of ticks. We were never told not to roll in the grass period, unless we were wearing a nice Sunday dress.

So, that’s my week in review. How about yours? What have you been reading, watching, listening to, or doing? Let me know in the comments or link to a blog post where you shared your week.

Sunday Bookends: Awesome weather, little houses, sheep, and Brits out of place

What’s Been Occurring

The weather was cold here at the beginning of last week but warmed up in perfect timing for our 45-minute drive south to pick up my son’s new glasses. It was perfect timing because after finding a Weis store, which was my excitement for the week, sadly, we found an amazing playground for the kids to play on. For almost two hours my kids played with other kids and not one of them was wearing a mask. Only one parent was wearing a mask and it looked like a spring day from 2019. It was amazing and the best day I’ve had in a very long time.

The kids also had a blast. Our car was full of fresh fruit from Weis, the sun was shining, we had an awesome playground (with a zipline!) to play on, and my son could finally see again.

About the supermarket trip, listen, we live in the middle of nowhere without large supermarkets so this was exciting to me. This was more exciting than finding a Target or Trader Joe’s. Well, not more exciting than a Trader Joe’s. There are no Trader Joes anywhere near us – like even 100 miles near us.

So, don’t judge my sad little life.

The store is like a small version of Wegman’s if you have one of those or Whole Foods. Or if you are in the South, maybe it’s a small version of Food Lion. I don’t know. But they have fresh fruits and produce we can’t get near us.

What I’ve/We’ve Been Reading

I am reading the third book in the Longmire series, Kindness Goes Unpunished, by Craig Johnson right now while also enjoying a lighter book called In Sheep’s Clothing by Pegg Thomas. I’m also reading a few chapters of Anne of Green Gables a week in a hardcover copy I bought many, many years ago. I’m old enough now that I can write things like “many, many years ago” and still be referring to my own life. I’m not sure I’m very happy about that.

Little Miss and I are still reading Little House on the Prairie before bedtime and encountered some harsh language about Native Americans last week that I had to address. I will be posting a blog post about this development later in the week. I’ve already started writing it and asking the question, “Was Laura Ingalls Wilder a racist?”

I’m very sick of the “r” word being thrown around so easily because it takes away from people who actually are, so here is a little spoiler for the upcoming blog post: no, I don’t feel she was and I’m not the only one. I will expound on it more either tomorrow or Tuesday, depending on when I get time to sit down and write it.

The Boy and I are continuing to read To Kill A Mockingbird, a few chapters a week for me, two for him, but I’ve told him he needs to pick up the pace so we can finish it before our school year is over.

What I’m Watching

This past week I watched a movie called Main Street, starring Colin Firth and Orlando Bloom. I did not enjoy the movie for a variety of reasons but the biggest reason being that the movie featured two Brits speaking in Southern accents. I mean, come on. The director seriously couldn’t find any actors from the South to play the parts? Hmmm. Okay. It isn’t that Colin and Orlando couldn’t pull off their accents. They certainly could, but hearing anything but a charming British accent come out of Colin Firth was unnerving. Orlando was so natural in the role, I really didn’t mind hearing him speaking in an American accent. Plus, I’ve never been a huge Orlando Bloom fan. He’s okay, but he’s no Colin, in other words.

My other issue with the movie is that I simply didn’t understand the plot. It was boring beyond belief and none of the stories really resolved themselves in the end. It was fairly clean, however.

The last couple of weeks have been somewhat stressful here for a variety of reasons so I watched a lot of comfort TV the rest of the week, including The Andy Griffith Show and Lovejoy.

What I’m Listening To

I am listening to a few podcasts these days including one by Chip Ingraham and another called Unashamed by the men from Duck Dynasty.

I have been staying away from the political podcasts and politics or news in general, with only brief looks at news sites during the week. My nerves are shot. I can’t take it anymore.

I’ve also been listening to this song because it’s been stuck in my head. I like this The Voice UK contestant’s version because I’ve never heard the original. Steve McCrorie won in 2015 and he is back to his original career as a firefighter now, but I’d rather listen to him than most artists who are out on the radio today. He does release some independent music that you can find on Apple Music. He’s a Scottish lad so maybe that’s why I like him so much. I have a thing for Scottish men, probably because my family’s ancestory is Scottish.



So there was my week last week, how about you? What are you doing, watching, reading, and listening to? Let me know in the comments.