End-of-July Musings and a Blog Anniversary Giveaway

Although technically summer runs from June 21 to September 23 this year. I always think of summer as June, July, and August. And according to that reckoning, summer is 2/3 of the way over.

When my kids were younger, this would be about the time we’d start thinking about school supplies, checking out backpacks and lunchboxes to see whether they’d serve for another year. Although I enjoyed the more laid-back summer schedule (or lack thereof), around this time of year I started looking forward to more structure and cooler days of fall.

But with all of our kids officially out of school now, the only major change from this month to next is looking forward to my oldest son visiting for ten days in August to celebrate his and my birthdays. My husband takes that time off, too, so it’s something like a stay-cation. Jesse has neither work nor school this time, which is nice. Since he’s hunting for full-time work now, this might be the last time he’s available for all ten days. Jason still has to work, but he and Mittu and Timothy come over as much as they can, and we go to their house and have some outings.

Family happenings

But back to July. The month started, of course, with Independence Day celebrations. We enjoyed the traditional July 4th cookout and the freedom to celebrate without fear or pressure, thanks to those who fought for our nation’s independence and safety.

We observed Jim’s mom’s birthday early in the month, the first since she passed away in January. She was so incapacitated for so long, and she was so ready to go to heaven, I don’t know if I’d say we mourned for her. We’re happy she’s released to be reunited with her loved ones in heaven. But there was a pang of sadness that day. A couple of thoughtful friends remembered and sent sweet messages.

We enjoyed celebrating Jason’s birthday over at their house. Timothy is always fun at celebrations. πŸ™‚

Jim painted our bathroom walls, cabinets, and light fixture and I found some just-right bath mats, so we’re enjoying the new look there.


We’ve had some odd occurrences this month:

1. This one actually happened before this month, but I don’t think I mentioned it here. I reached for my curling iron, then noticed something black sticking out from the top. I thought maybe a piece of plastic was sticking up and went to pull it off. Upon closer inspection, I saw this:

An earwig had nestled down into where the screw went. Ew! One friend on Facebook said, “You wanted to curl your hair — that would have curled mine!”

2. We went to a park one Saturday morning, and I had to stop at the port-o-pottie before heading home. As I was trying to keep my clothes and my skin from touching anything icky, and trying not to breath the hot, fetid air, I noticed a spider on the wall and tried to kill it. When I stepped out, I realized my glasses were not in my pocket. I looked back and — yes, they had fallen into the toilet. Jim offered to fish them out for me. No, thanks! They were just little W-Mart readers, and I had some extras on hand at home.

3. That same day, Jesse headed out to join us for lunch at a nearby Mexican food restaurant. He stopped to get gas on the way. When he opened the covering to the gas cap, he found hornets had built a nest there. The gas station was in front of a grocery store, so he ran in to get bug spray and had to take care of the hornets before getting gas. Thankfully he wasn’t stung, but he was a little rattled when he came to lunch.

4. I was making barbecue ribs in the instant pot for a church potluck. I’ve made them a few times before with no problem. But I had the pot fuller than ever before. When I vented the steam, it was full of sauce and sprayed all over the counter, including Jim’s tablet and the covered, labeled, ready-to-go dessert for the potluck. So we had to clean all that up. Then a couple of days later I saw some had even gotten on the ceiling. Thankfully my husband took care of that for me.

These were all disconcerting at the time, but they made for funny stories afterward!


From some texts about my five-year-old grandson:

The last is a reference to what some call a “farmer’s tan” — from the elbows down πŸ™‚

And my favorite, from earlier this week:

I know that feeling . . .

We were also pretty impressed with Timothy’s engineering capacities. He loves lawn mowing with his granddad, and for his last birthday we got him a battery operated toy mower. But he rigged up a couple for inside use. He took his toy shopping cart and put his toy checkout register on top, and ran the conveyor belt on the register for the motor sound. The he took the Operation game, put it on top of an indoor riding toy, and clipped the tool for it to one of the operation sites so it makes the buzzing sound for a motor.


Nothing much this month except for the card I made for Jason’s birthday:


I mentioned the last few months that I was having a hard time getting into the editing stage of my book’s rough draft. It was just hard to find the time, plus it seemed overwhelming. But, thankfully, I’ve had several substantial editing sessions this month. When I am planning to work on my manuscript, I keep dragging my feet and finding other things to do. But once I get into it, I enjoy it and wish I had more hours in the day to work on it. If you’ve prayed about that with me, thank you!


Reading is a highlight of every month to me. This month I’ve finished (titles link back to my reviews):

  • A Place Called Morning by Ann Tatlock. A five-year-old grandson dies while under his grandmother’s care, and she can’t forgive herself. She withdraws from everything except her relationship with a mentally-disabled man, and later learns some surprising secrets about her history. Wonderful book about forgiveness and relationships.
  • Every Secret Thing by Ann Tatlock. twenty years after graduating from a prep school, Elizabeth Gunnar finds herself back as a teacher. A secret kept between her group of friends years back nags at her until she seeks to find answers. Wonderful redemptive story.
  • Sweet Mercy by Ann Tatlock. A teenage girl moving away from a crime-ridden area finds that there is no Paradise on earth and she needs mercy as much as the gangsters and bums she looks down on. Excellent.
  • Rorey’s Secret by Leisha Kelly. A fire breaks out in a barn, burning it and crops to the ground during the Depression. But the one person who knows what happened isn’t coming forward.
  • The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot, primarily about a brother and sister with opposite personalities. The sister, Maggie, is said to be somewhat based on Eliot herself. Not my favorite of hers, but still good.
  • Suffering Is Never For Nothing by Elisabeth Elliot, based on a series of talks she gave at a conference. Excellent.

I’m currently reading:

  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
  • Loving People: How to Love and Be Loved by John Townsend. Still chipping away at this one.
  • Kill Order by Adam Blumer, due out next month. Very good so far!


Around the blog this month, besides my usual book reviews, Friday’s Fave Fives, and Laudable Linkage:

If you’ve read this far, give yourself a hearty pat on the back.

One last thing before we wrap up June: I had completely forgotten about my 13th blogging anniversary this month until WordPress sent me a notice:

One reason I am glad they reminded me is that some months back I picked up a couple of items that I thought would make nice prizes:

On the right, as the package says, are some cute magnetic page markers. The prayer journal on the left looks like this on the inside:

One of the main joys of blogging is you. I have made some great friends here over the years, and I so appreciate your taking time to read and comment! So as a thank you, in one week I’ll draw a name from the comments on this post and ship both of these items to the winner. If you’re reading from Facebook or some other means and would like to enter for the giveaway, please click through and comment on this post. I apologize, due to shipping costs I can only send to US addresses. I’ll count all comments here as entries unless you let me know you’re not interested or too far away. And please leave me some way to contact you. If I can’t figure out how to let you know you won, I’ll choose another name.

Whew! Good-bye, July! Hello, August!

(Sharing with Let’s Have Coffee, Porch Stories,
Share a Link Wednesday, Linda’s Loose Ends,
Grace and Truth, Shannan’s What I’m Into)

Update: The giveaway is now closed, and the winner is Wendi! Congratulations, Wendi!


36 thoughts on “End-of-July Musings and a Blog Anniversary Giveaway

  1. This was an especially fun and informative recap post, Barbara! You’ve certainly had some adventures with insects and the perversity of inanimate objects this summer! And I had no idea you’d been blogging for so long! You are a blogging pioneer!

  2. It’s always fun hearing about Timothy, especially since he and Tirzah Mae are so close in age and share so many circumstances of their early lives (I so appreciated your directing me to Jason’s thoughts about their NICU stay when we were having ours.)

    Congratulations on 13 years! I don’t need to be entered in the giveaway (since I’m currently feeling rather overwhelmed with stuff!), but I wanted to congratulate you and tell you how grateful I am for your friendship over the years.

    • I don’t remember when we first “met” online, but I think it must have been near the beginning of our blogs. It’s been so fun to go with you through your marriage and motherhood. I’m so grateful for your friendship as well.

      Sad story about Jason’s blog–it was a paid one, and when he decided to discontinue it and stopped paying for it, it was taken down before he could save anything. 😦 I miss not having that, but I am so glad it was a help to you.

  3. I always enjoy reading about your family and appreciate your book reviews. Congratulations on your anniversary. Please keep up the good work.

  4. I’m glad you’re continuing the end-of-month wrapups. Wow, 13 years is a long time! I guess in Nov. it will be 11 years here, although mine has not always been the same url. That’s impressive! I love your list of cute things Timothy says. It’s smart to keep record of of them. I’ll be interested in hearing what you think of Anna Karenina. My oldest read it and enjoyed it … I watched the movie with her and it was helpful to have her filling me in on various things! No need to put my name in the giveaway, because would you believe that I (the non-journaler) actually does have that very journal! AND has used it a few times! It is nice πŸ™‚

    • I avoided AK for a long time, but I saw a book review that made me think it might be better than I originally thought. I’ve got some of Timothy’s remarks here and in various texts–I was just thinking I needed to put them all together somewhere. Nice that you have this journal! I almost bought one for myself, but didn’t since I don’t usually write out what I pray about. But I have started sort of a bullet point list of things I’ve gotten out of my Bible reading for the day.

  5. Congratulations on 13 years of blogging! That’s an amazing achievement. I am coming up for 4 years in August. I enjoyed reading your monthly recap, especially the stories about Timothy. Children make the best comments! (PS I’m in the UK)

  6. Lots of funny moments here, Barbara. lol. And the glasses in the port-o-potty? I wouldn’t have ever wanted them again either! ha. But what an awesome husband to even suggest he’d get them. πŸ™‚ I’m afraid I wouldn’t have even offered.

    • I don’t think I would have offered, either. I would have thought, “Nope–I’ll buy you a new pair.” πŸ™‚ I just had a thought, though–hope the glasses don’t clog up whatever processing that stuff goes through!

  7. loved reading this! those sayings by Timothy really made me smile…children say the greatest things sometimes!

    Your husband is a saint to volunteer to get those glasses!! Mine would grab my hand and say….let’s get outta here!!

    Nice prayer journal!!

  8. Thanks for sharing your “grandson texts” with us. Those grandchildren sure do light up our lives, don’t they? I think he sounds like he is going to be an engineer!

  9. Well, you have had quite an eventful summer so far! I’m glad you were able to keep your cool with some of those things (like the earwig!) I certainly would have been a bit shaken!

    And happy Blog-iversary!

  10. Pingback: Friday’s Fave Five | Stray Thoughts

  11. Pingback: End-of-August Musings | Stray Thoughts

  12. Pingback: A look back at the blog in 2019 | Stray Thoughts

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