Sunday Bookends: Time Travel Thrillers, wildlife abounds in our neighborhood, and lots of British shows 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.

What I’m Reading

I’m on to the fourth book, Set in Stone, in the Rembrandt Stone series by David James Warren after finishing book three, Sticks and Stone, last week. Book four will release on August 10. I am reading it for a book tour being held the week of its release.

Here is a description of the fourth book but be warned there are some spoilers for the first three books:

Trapped in time, he’ll have to use the past to fix the present.

Thirty-eight women. Dead. All the in the past. All because Detective Rembrandt Stone played with fate, and somewhere in time unleashed a serial killer. He can’t undo their deaths, not anymore, but the serial killer is still at large, twenty-four years later, and now it’s personal. Especially when the evidence points to the last person on anyone’s radar: Rembrandt himself.
Now he’ll have to use the clues from his pasts to track down the killer in the present.

But the killer is onto him and puts the one person Rembrandt loves in his cross hairs. Now, Rembrandt must outwit time to save the people he loves.

Because time is playing for keeps.

The fourth installment of the True Lies of Rembrandt Stone will have you holding your breath and leave you gasping for more.

I am also reading Rahab’s Courage by Naomi Craig, which releases August 17. It is a Biblical fiction book and quite good so far.

Here is a description:

A scarlet cord tethers one ruined woman to the salvation of mankind.

Harboring two fugitives in a city slated for destruction, Rahab has one small chance of escape. In exchange for their safety, she bargains for her own. Their agreement rewards her courage, and she flees Jericho and a life of prostitution for a new life among the people of Israel. Never again will she have to depend on anyone—especially men.

Except Salmah won’t take the hint.

High ranking soldier and leader of the tribe of Judah, Salmah is determined not to repeat his parents’ mistakes. He will keep the Lord’s commandments. Rahab’s growing faith fits right in with phase one of his plans: find a wife who loves the Lord and settle down in the new land.

Rahab finds shelter and meaning in the Lord’s ways until her past comes back to haunt her. As her new faith is put to test, she finds herself alone. Isn’t that what she’d always wanted?

With her courage waning, only the Lord can turn Rahab’s life around again, but will He do it before she loses everyone and everything that really matters to her—to her heart?

I will need to finish both books in the next couple of weeks, so wish this slower reader luck. It shouldn’t be too hard since I am taking a news and social media break this next month. I won’t be totally off social media since I administrate a couple of book groups and am releasing a book, but I am planning to be on very, very little, probably once a week.

What’s Been Occurring

This week was full of more time spent watching the little girls who stay with their great-grandmother, our neighbor down the street, during the week. She used to watch them at the same time, but now she only watches one at a time because they are quite active, and she gives out of energy fast. Much of my week was spent watching them play in the yard and ride their bikes in front of the house.

My husband took one of Little Miss’s training wheels off to get her used to balancing more and prepare her to ride her bike without the training wheels. She was so proud of herself she blazed up and down the street over and over again Friday and Saturday. Each of those nights she fell asleep super fast, of course.

This past week was apparently our week to interact with wildlife. Early in the week, my son saw a toad in the yard while he was mowing and caught it for Little Miss and her friend to see.

They put the toad in a bucket and took turns holding him, decided he was a girl and named him, er, her Violet, later released her, found her again when she didn’t moved from where they’d placed her.

Then Little Miss proceeded to fall in love with her and it took a little convincing for Little Miss to release Violet again 20 minutes later, even though Violet had been making terrified little squeals since they had caught her. I don’t know what Violet thought of me but she leaped toward the camera in a bid to escape at one point. It happened so fast, I didn’t have time to focus on her leaps toward me.

Little Miss’s friend told me Little Miss had decided the toad was a girl by “looking.” I have no idea where Little Miss looked to tell the frog was a girl, but I just let it go.

On Friday, Little Miss and her friend traveled with me when I took The Boy and his friend over to my parents so my dad could take the boys to our county fair. On our way back to the house we saw two racoon babies along the road near my parents’ house, but sadly I was too far away to get a good photo of them. About ten minutes later, near our house, we saw a young buck. I actually didn’t notice the deer was a buck. Little Miss’s little friend pointed out his antlers.

I tried to grab a photo of the buck, but my camera kept focusing the grass in front of him instead. He was probably only about five feet away from us at the time, on a small bank above us and near my neighbor’s house.

Little Miss’s friend said her and her Nana saw an adult buck in her backyard yesterday morning. I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of him in our backyard at some point. We haven’t seen as many deer in our yard this year as we did last year.

What We’ve Been Watching

Last week we watched Key Largo with Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson, which I had never seen before. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

For those who have never seen it, I pulled a description off Rotten Tomatoes.

This classic film noir by John Huston stars Humphrey Bogart as World War II vet Frank McCloud. Visiting Key Largo to pay his respects to the family of his late war buddy, McCloud attempts to comfort his comrade’s widow, Nora (Lauren Bacall), and father, James Temple (Lionel Barrymore), who operate a hotel. But McCloud realizes that mobsters, led by the infamous Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson), are staying in the hotel. When the criminals take over the establishment, conflict is inevitable.

I’ve also been watching a lot of To The Manor Born, a British sitcom from the 70s and Lovejoy to try to avoid news sites.

What I’ve Been Writing

On the blog this week, I wrote a blog post with Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs about the schools in our different parts of the world (she lives in a more urban area, and I live in a rural area, so we’ve started a new feature where we compare “our worlds” so to speak).

I also shared some random thoughts/events on Friday to replace Fiction Friday for now, since I am working on completing corrections to the manuscript of Harvesting Hope (which comes out on Kindle August 12) and don’t have another story to share right now..

What I’m Listening To

I’ve still been listening to songs from Danny Gokey’s new album and I highly recommend Agradecido being turned up loudly and repeated at least twice.

So those are my random thoughts for the week. How about you? Share what you are doing, reading, listening to, watching and writing 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: Children suck all our energy to increase their power, my first full audiobook and time travel thriller.

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

I didn’t have a lot of time for reading this past week because I was helping my neighbor watch her great-grandchildren (she had children young as did her children and her grandchildren so she’s not a 100-year old great grandmother. She is a – well, I don’t think it’s polite to tell a lady’s age on my blog). They are two little girls, one a year younger, the other a year older than Little Miss. All three together are a combined force that drains the energy from the souls of adults and sucks them into themselves so they can grow stronger with unbounded energy that 43-year old women only dream of.

They raced up and down the street on bikes and scooters; looked for “creepy things” under our porch and under the porch of the garden shed (they found or resident garter snake there); used a huge box to careen down our stairs in (I watched them for this one and our stairs aren’t super steep so it was fairly safe); tried to convince the neighbor to let them see her little dogs (even though the poor girl had just had her wisdom teeth pulled and didn’t even know where she was); chased our kitten to try to keep her from climbing a tree (again. It also didn’t work. She climbed two trees while they were here, one of them twice in the pouring rain.); jumped on the neighbor’s trampoline; picked black raspberries from the bushes by our garden shed; painted masterpieces and almost ruined their new clothes; inhaled a lot of sugar, and the youngest later skinned her knees all up when she fell off her scooter. A huge part of the above list happened in only the first two hours they were at my house Wednesday.

Injuries seemed to be prevalent in the three days I watched them – or was it four? I honestly started to lose track of days somewhere in there. The oldest was stung by a wasp at her nanas one day. At first only her little sister was coming up to visit but when the oldest found out her sister was coming, she jumped off the couch, swollen and painful hand and all, and came too. I spent half the morning worried she was either going to pass out from the Benadryl or swell up and stop breathing from the reaction she was clearly having. Her nana (as they call her) and I conversed and agreed on a plan of action should any of that happen. Eventually, the swelling went down some, but a day later her hand, up to her elbow, was still pretty puffy.

When they wanted to go look for snakes under our house, the oldest joked she was going to pick one up when they found one. I told her absolutely not. “You’ve already been stung by a wasp. Let’s not add snake bite to that, even if the snakes around here aren’t poisonous.”

Later she hit her head on our heating vent when falling out of the box that went down the stairs (she didn’t hit it super hard) and also had a huge blister on the back of her foot that ripped open at some point before I took her back to her nana.

Their mother works swing shifts at a large Procter and Gamble plant near us, to explain why they are sometimes with their great-grandmother several days in a row.

Friday my neighbor said to me, exhaustion permeating her words, “They’re going home tomorrow morning. Thank God.”

It cracked me up. They are a lot of fun, but yes, absolutely draining with all their unending energy.

One other notable event that happened last week was the baptism of my husband. I won’t dwell too much on it because it is something that my husband wants to keep private for the most part, but I can’t help mentioning it because it was an exciting day for our family.

 What I’m Reading

When I did find time for reading (like a whole hour all week) I read The Cat Who Knew A Cardinal by Lilian Jackson Braun, which is comfort reading for me. It’s a hardback copy I bought from a library sale. At night, when the lights were off, I started a Walt Longmire mystery, book four, Another Man’s Moccasins. 

 I am also reading Journey to ChiYah, a Christian indie book by Kimberly Russell

 For the writing side of things, I am reading The Story Equation by Susan May Warren

I also listened to an audiobook for the first time. Cast The First Stone is the first book in the True Lies of Rembrandt Stone Series by David James Warren. It is a time travel thriller.

I had a horrible time listening to it not because it was bad (not at all), but because I was always being interrupted by a child or pet or there is a TV in the background. It didn’t help that the cheap headphones I bought from the Dollar General broke so I couldn’t drown out everything around me. I hear other people talk about listening to audiobooks in the car, but I don’t go anywhere far enough away to give me time to listen to a book. I don’t work out or take walks alone often enough to listen and when I’m cooking dinner there is usually a dog that wants me to let her out 15 times, a kitten getting herself in trouble or a 6-year-old asking for me to spell something for her (which I’m totally fine with, don’t get me wrong).

Anyhow, I decided to try this one as an audiobook because I have three books to read before I review book four for a blog tour in August. They are short, serial-type books, written to be almost like TV episodes so I should be able to get through them before then, but I thought having an audiobook might help me get through them faster. Now I’m not so sure.

David James Warren, by the way, is three people. David Warren, Susan May Warren, and James L. Rubart. Two of them write Christian fiction, but this series is a time-travel series with almost no spiritual or Christian arc in them at all, so if you are not a fan of Christian Fiction, you will still like this series. It’s listed under thriller and time-travel thriller on Amazon.

Little Miss and I are still reading The Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder at night. The Boy is not reading this summer and the husband is reading Conspiracy of Paper by David Liss.

What I’m Watching

This weekend we watched some old NBC shows, The Equalizer and Kolchak. I also watched a British sitcom called To The Manor Born and I’m also continuing Jonathan Creek, a British mystery/crime show.

 Blog posts I enjoyed this week

 I’m stealing this addition to my Sunday Bookends from Michele at Blessings by Me. I love the idea of featuring some of my favorite blog posts once a week. Here are three I enjoyed this past week.

I loved this post from indie author Scott Austin Tirrell about the difficulty in hiring professional editors. It hit the nail on the head and I did reblog it yesterday.

I also really enjoyed this post by author Becky Wade about God not always telling us the how of life, but only asks us to obey.

This post on Inspy Romance by author Angela Ruth Strong about a motorcycle trip and the idea for a really crazy Christian Fiction book had me cracking up and shaking my head.

What I’m Writing

I am still editing and putting last-minute touches on Harvesting Hope while my mom and husband and others read it and help me proof it.

I’ve also started books three and four of the series. I haven’t decided which story will be book three and which will be book four. A friend would like me to hurry up and tell her what happens with Liz and Ben’s lives, but I am really itching to write the story of my middle-aged librarian, Ginny Jefferies, which I started over a year ago. Do any of my regular Friday and Saturday Fiction readers have a preference? Let me know in the comments.

I shared a blog post last week on Hope, Hearts, and Heroes (an excerpt of Fully Alive that most on my blog have already read) and also shared a Randomly Thinking post on Thursday.

What I’m Listening To

As I mentioned above, I am listening to the first book in the Rembrandt Stone series on Audible. Other than that, I have not had much time to listen to anything else.

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

Sunday Bookends: Giraffes, lions and goats. Oh my.

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.

Friday night I crawled into bed around 11:30. On one side of me was a 6-year old little girl with sun burnt cheeks and nose, clutching a stuffed baby giraffe and clearly asleep. Next to her was a friendly kitten who had already extracted a series of pets from me. In the space where my feet should have been was a Shetland sheepdog mix and the feet of the aforementioned child.

My arms and face, chest and back of my neck were hot to the touch. Events of the day raced through my mind, most of them good a couple of them could have been bad, scary and life changing.

It had been a full day and I was beat, but glad to have experienced it all.

We started the week planning to take a few day trips for my husband’s vacation. Instead, hot and muggy weather and a series of thunderstorms throughout the week kept us home until Friday. We’d also planned to visit my 88-year old aunt that day, taking my dad (her brother) with us. I talked to my aunt Tuesday and by Wednesday she was in the hospital. In the end my dad went to see her while we went to Animal Adventure Park, which is the park in Harpursville, N.Y. that became famous a few years ago when everyone in the world, it seems, was waiting for April the giraffe to give birth and then watched her do just that.

My aunt is doing better but we are not sure when she will go home or if she will go to rehab. They believe a severe urinary tract infection caused her to become disoriented. By the time my dad got to see her, her mind had cleared, luckily.

It’s been two years since we’ve been at the adventure park, so my daughter had forgot a lot about what they had to offer, but she had a blast. She’s an animal enthusiast so she liked to talk to the animals while she fed them. She was most fascinated with the goats, which I found odd since we can see goats just about anywhere around us. We do not, however, see African lions, African penguins,  giraffes, and monkeys around our home. I am most fascinated with the giraffes because they are so friendly and tall. We’re not allowed to pet them but people are allowed to feed them carrots. It is very hard not to pet them when they reach up over the fence with their large heads.

April, who we loved visiting when we first went there, passed away this April. She was euthanized after a long bout of arthritis made it difficult for her to stand any longer, which is, of course, something giraffes need to do to survive. A member of the staff chatted with me about it and said how hard it was. The owner of the facility, Jordan Patch, asked the entire staff for their opinion before the final decision was made and it was very hard on all of them, she said.

There is a statue in honor of April and her son Azizi in the front of the park. Azizi was sent to another facility and passed away from a severe stomach issue sometime this year, or last. April’s other son Tajiri, the one everyone watch being born, is still at the facility, along with his father Oliver. They also have two other giraffes, Jahari (I am sure I have that spelled wrong) who they think may be pregnant and Desmond.

I honestly thought we might never be able to leave there. My daughter wanted to go around and around again and again, but mainly wanted to keep feeding the goats. Even my son enjoyed conversing with the goats. His biggest fascination, however, was the monkeys. He loves monkeys and I have no idea why. One species of monkeys had just had a baby two days before we were there. The squirrel monkeys had also recently had babies and they looked like little aliens.

We enjoyed watching them feed the lions. The male lion and the lioness had a small tumble about four feet away from us, which was pretty cool to watch. They have a mix of African lions and Timbavati White Lions.

Little Miss was also able to hold a joey, or a baby Kangaroo (for a fee of course) and thoroughly enjoyed that, even when it almost scratched her eye out.

I will probably share some extra photographs from the day there in a post later this week.

What I’m Reading

I finished a book by Elizabeth Maddrey called So You Want A Second Chance. It was what some call a “billionaire romance” but it was much different than other such romances. There was less focus on “oh he’s got money and she doesn’t” and more focus on the couple who had known each other years before and reconnected after the man has a heart attack. This couple was also an “older couple” in their 50s instead of the younger couples these books usually feature. It was nice to see a book focus on the older generation (since I am slowly becoming a member of that group).

I am still reading The Cat Who Knew A Cardinal by Lillian Jackson Braun and I also went back to finish Maggie by Charles Martin which I abandoned months ago because it was pretty depressing.

For fun I am reading Ready to Trust by Tina Radcliffe, a Love Inspire Romance.


What I’m Watching

Since my husband’s vacation was mostly sweated and rained out (hot temps and then thunderstorms, as I mentioned above) we watched old movies and shows most of the week.

We watched two classics I had never seen, The Birds, and Double Indemnity.

I also watched episode seven of The Chosen and loved it, especially the interaction between Quintis and Jesus. You can watch the episode on The Chosen app, which you can download to your phone or tablet, and then cast to your TV, or watch right on your phone or tablet.

We watched three or four episodes of Lovejoy as well.

What I’m Listening To

I am listening to an audio book by David James Warren (which is actually three authors) from the Rembrandt Stone series. I don’t listen to audiobooks very often. I prefer reading books but I signed up for a book tour for the fourth book in this series in August so I have a lot of reading to do before I get a copy of that book. I’m enjoying it so far. It’s a time-travel mystery/thriller

What I’m Writing

I am working through revisions and edits of Harvesting Hope for the next month since it comes out on Amazon on August 12, so that’s mainly what I wrote this past week.

On the blog I shared a Tell Me More About post with author Robin W. Pearson.

So that’s my week in review. What have you been reading, doing, watching, or writing lately? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: Finishing homeschooling, flowers blooming, and eclectic reading

Ten days.

That’s how many days in a row I have posted on WordPress.

I have no idea why I am telling you this, other than I’m still getting notifications from WordPress and now I feel like I have something to prove.

I know.

Sad life for me.

But, hey, we all need our little hobbies and this week my two hobbies have been working on finishing a fiction novel and making sure I post every day on my blog for as long as I can so I can keep racking up those pats on the back from my blog host.

Other than those odd hobbies, I didn’t accomplish much else.

We did travel to our homeschool evaluator’s house Wednesday to have our school portfolio reviewed, which I wrote about yesterday on the blog.

Since we live in the middle of nowhere we drove 45 minutes to her house and used the trip to also pick up a Walmart order and my new eyeglasses. My new glasses look exactly like my old glasses. I am that boring and predictable.

The flowers around our house are starting to bloom, which is always exciting for me. Some people take exotic vacations, other people, like me, stare at their flowers and wait for them to bloom.

The peonies are budding and will probably open in a few days, as they always do, around my brother’s birthday. Last year was our first year in this house and I was very excited about having peonies since we had peony pushes in front of the house I grew up in.

What I’m Reading

It only took me two days to finish Amanda by Sarah Monzon. It moved along that well and was also fairly short. I’ll have a review of it out later this week.

Here is the description for anyone who is curious:

“The devil made me do it” is a phrase that will never pass my lips. Why would it when I have Delores, my undiagnosed autoimmune disorder, to make all my decisions for me? (Yes, I named her myself since the doctors couldn’t do it for me.) A get together with friends? Delores says no. I’ll have my prescheduled daily afternoon fever and fatigue at that time.

My two biggest regrets with having Delores direct my fate? One, my family thinks my illness is all in my head. And two, I set the love of my life, Peter Reynolds, free from my anchoring tether so he could fly. I never thought I’d see him again, but five years later he’s soaring in the limelight as one of the most talked-about defensive players in professional football. Oh, and did I mention he also happens to play for the team my boss just assigned me to as a social media manager?

Meanwhile, nothing much has changed for me. Delores still bosses me around, and I’m still hopelessly in love with Peter. What’s a girl to do?

I’m now reading Sarah’s Choice by Pegg Thomas. It is historical fiction and while I’ve never been a huge fan of historical fiction, this is now my second book by Pegg and she’s making me fall in love with historical fiction. This book won’t be released until August so I consider myself lucky that Pegg chose me as an Advanced Reader.

I am also reading The Love Coward by Naomi Musch in between it all.

What I’m Watching

I’ve mainly been watching Jonathan Creek episodes and this farming YouTube Channel:

I’m watching it for book research, but also because farming is fascinating.

What I’m Listening To

I have been listening to The Civil Wars this week (and sadly they are not together any longer). I plan to listen to the new Crowder album when it drops this week.

What I’m Writing

I’ve been writing a lot, on here and on my book Harvesting Hope, which is set to release in the beginning of August.

Blog posts I wrote last week included:

So that’s my week in review, how about all of you? What are you reading, writing, listening to, watching or doing these days? 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: Visiting Old Stomping Grounds, preparing the garden, and very different book genres on my list

 

If I usually comment on your blog and I haven’t lately, please don’t feel slighted. I am having a horrible time keeping up with blog commenting lately. I’ve been having a few busy days with homeschool winding down, attending a writer’s conference, trying to stick to a self-set deadline for Harvesting Hope (the book formerly called The Farmers’ Sons), planning a garden again this year, running various errands, and reading books I told people I would read for them.

I was recently telling a blogging friend how my errands take a little longer than some people’s because if I want to go to a bigger store, like a Walmart or Aldi’s, for groceries, I have to drive 45 minutes to an hour either north or south or west. Friday we drove north because I had planned to pick up my new eyeglasses. Sadly, the optometrist’s office has new hours I wasn’t aware of and is now closed on Fridays. I still had to pick up a Walmart order 20 minutes further so we kept driving, back to the town we moved from last year. Because we were going to the town my son spent most of his childhood in, he asked to take his bike so he could ride around town while I picked up the order and made an Aldi’s run. 

He likes to walk or ride around town and reminisce about the good days of living in the town. I vaguely miss the place, but mainly the idea of what could have been in regards to failed family and business relationships, and friendships are at the forefront of my mind when I return.

It was nice to see the house our family lived in for about 15 years. The new owners have remodeled some and I’m glad to see it. What they’ve done to the front of the house – transforming the odd red paneling on the front of the house to blue — is what I always wanted to do when we lived there.

My children commented several times Friday that the town had been a good town to live in and that they miss the house. Sometimes I do miss the house, but I don’t miss the town much at all, especially now that the place is being infiltrated even more by drug dealers and addicts. My husband said he has been writing up a lot of police briefs for the newspaper he works at related to drug incidents in that area recently.

Last weekend I helped my dad and family rototill and prepare the space for my garden in between sessions of an online writer’s conference I was able to attend via zoom. The two main speakers for the event were James Rubart and Rachel Hauck, well-known Christian fiction writers. I plan to write a blog post about the event later this week. The conference was so much fun I am saving up money for another virtual conference being held in Philadelphia in August.

As for the garden, I hope to pick up the seeds and plants this week, but I can’t plant anything until we install the fencing around it. Otherwise the deer will eat my plants. For now my cat and probably all the neighborhood cats are using my raised garden beds as their litter boxes. Little Miss and I have decided to plant potatoes, summer squash, carrots, beets, cucumbers and maybe green beans. We probably don’t have the space for all that, but we’ll see.

What I’m Reading

I finished The Sowing Season by Katie Powner last week and really enjoyed it. It is the story of an unlikely friendship between a 15-year old girl and a 63-year old retired farmer. The book takes the farmer, Gerrit, through the emotions following him selling the farm he worked on his whole life, as well as various family issues that resulted from his past workaholic nature. The young girl, Rae, is dealing with her own issues stemming from her parents urging her to do well in school so she can become a lawyer like her father. Throw in a teenage crush or two and you have the makings of an engaging story that kept me reading late at night.

I started a new book this week that is similarly engaging. Love Happens at Sweetheart Farm by Dalyn Weller. 

From the back of the book: What if your pursuit of happiness robs someone you love of theirs?

 Lexi is the frazzled owner of Sweetheart Farm and B&B. Ian is a burnt-out fund manager desperate for a way out of his soulless job and an engagement he never wanted with a woman he doesn’t even like.

 And when Ian shows up at the B&B, needing space and quiet to rethink his life, there’s certainly no way this pampered rich city boy could ever be a suitable match for Lexi. But her wise and hilarious grandmother keeps sprinkling that blasted sweetheart herb everywhere and praying for lonely hearts to find love. And God listens.

I’m also still reading Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson (A Longmire Mystery book) and Rooms by James Rubart. The Craig Johnson books are not “clean” and not my usual type of book but I am in love with the characters. Just be warned if you ever pick one up that there is swearing and some other not-so clean subject matter.

Little Miss and I finished On The Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder this week as well.

What I’m Watching

I started watching Jonathan Creek this week. I’ve heard a lot about the show over the years. I’ve only watched the first two episodes, but so far I like it. I’m watching it through AcornTV through Amazon.

Tonight I’ll be watching episode five of The Chosen, which is a crowd-funded TV series about the life of Jesus. They show the episodes on Youtube and they are available for 24 hours and then you have to download the app to watch the rest. The first three episodes are still on Youtube currently. 

I know I’ve mentioned the show here before. If you have seen other shows or movies about Jesus and didn’t like them, then you definitely have to watch this one. It’s nothing like any other show you’ve ever seen about the Bible. Here is a preview for Season Two.

What I’m Listening To

I have been listening to podcasts about fiction books or how to market books. It’s starting to make me feel very inferior in this whole book writing venture, but then I try to remind myself to just have fun, which has been my motto since I started sharing my fiction here on the blog.

I’ve also been listening to Cory Asbury’s live album.

What I’m Writing

Last week I shared two chapters of The Farmer’s Sons (Harvesting Hope), one on Friday and one on Saturday.

On Thursday I shared a Randomly Thinking post.

So there’s my week in review. How about yours? What are you reading, watching, listening to, writing, or doing? 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.

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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: Reading novellas and Watching Spring Bloom

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

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What I’ve Been Reading

I finished a couple of novellas in the last couple of weeks that I’m not sure I mentioned or not previously. One was Avoiding Marriage by Karin Beery. The other was In Sheep’s Clothing by Pegg Thomas.

The description of Avoiding Marriage is:

Two years ago, Jessica Miller made a mess of her already confusing life. Now, she’s back in Boyne Heights, and she’s determined to fix her reputation. She can’t seem to avoid the past that haunts her, but that’s the joy of small-town life—word spreads and people remember. Intent on her mission, however, she faces her past head-on, taking a job with her ex-boyfriend while avoiding her grandmother’s attempts to find her a new one.

The description of In Sheep’s Clothing is:

Yarrow Fenn, the talented spinster sister, was passed over when her intended walked out on her years before. She’s content with her life – for the most part – until Peter Maltby arrives in town. A journeyman fuller, Peter comes to Milford, Connecticut, not to woo the young women, but to rise to the rank of master fuller and return to Boston for some unfinished business. When their lives intersect over an orphan lamb, sparks are kindled. But their budding romance will have to survive revealed secrets when someone else shows up in Milford.

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I will offer reviews of both of them later in the week.

I am currently reading Kindness Goes Unpunished (A Longmire Mystery) by Craig Johnson,

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and I’m going to start The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White as part of a Goodreads book club.

Little Miss and I finished Little House on the Prairie and are now reading On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The Boy is still reading To Kill A Mockingbird.

What’s Been Occurring

The weather was nice most of last week, except for Thursday when it rained and stormed, with high winds, bringing with it colder air. Despite the nicer weather, we really didn’t do much other than schoolwork and playing outside and at the little playground down the road from our house.

We also explored our back and side yards to see which flowers are blooming this week. By yesterday the leaves were starting to come out in full force on the trees around our house and I’m guessing they will all be out by the end of this week.

I hope to start planning our garden this week, including figuring out where to get the topsoil. We will see if I can get myself motivated enough to actually do it.

What I’ve Been Watching

This past week I watched The Secret: Dare to Dream with Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas. It was a very sweet, clean movie and is currently on Amazon prime. It was fairly predictable plot wise, but it was okay.

I also watched a few episodes of the old All Creatures Great and Small show and a British comedy game show called Would I Lie To You?

What I’ve Been Listening To

I listened to a lot of the Unashamed podcast with the Robertson family from Duck Dynasty fame this past week and also a live album from Needtobreathe.

What I’ve Been Writing

Last week I shared a post asking if Laura Ingalls Wilder was racist and a new chapter of The Farmers’ Sons in two parts (one Friday and one Saturday).

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