March Reflections

It’s hard to believe the pandemic has gone on for more than a year now. But in some ways, it feels like we’ve lived under pandemic guidelines for ages.

There’s hope on the horizon with vaccine availability. But COVID numbers are still rising in our area.

We still don’t know what’s ahead, whether COVID will ever really go completely away, what kind of “normal” might eventually emerge. But we walk by faith and not by sight, trusting God’s guidance and keeping.

I had mixed emotions about the vaccines. I feared that we hadn’t had enough time to see what long-term effects they might have. But then we figured the negative effects of COVID, with our health issues, probably outweighed the possible negative effects of the vaccine. Plus I don’t think quarantine conditions will lift significantly until the vaccine is more widespread. So when my husband’s workplace sponsored an afternoon of giving out vaccines in conjunction with a local pharmacy, and they had the J&J one that we wanted, we went ahead and got them. We had sore arms for a few days, but no other side effects so far.

Almost two weeks after receiving vacations, we went back to church in person for the first time in a year. Our church is small enough to socially distance inside the building. We’re asked to wear masks except during the service while sitting with our families. They’ve been meeting in person for several months, but left the Zoom option open for those who felt they shouldn’t come in person for health reasons. It was good to see everyone in person again, but it did feel weird. Maybe it will just tak a while to get used to beig around people again. Maybe it won’t really feel normal until COVID ebbs away enough that we can meet without masks.

Family

Our biggest news this month is that my youngest son, Jesse, moved out into his own apartment. He was later to “launch” than usual due to going back to college for a few years, then difficulty finding a job, then COVID. He’s super excited to have his own place and he’s learning how to cook. 🙂

We’re adjusting to being official empty nesters. It will take a while to get over the sensation that he’s right down the hall in his room. We’re learning different daily rhythms in everything from how often we need to do laundry, what groceries to buy, how much to cook, taking on the chores he used to do, etc. Plus we just miss his everyday presence. 🙂 But we’re thankful he’s not far away. And, as we experienced with our other boys, the relationship continues and grows. It’s fun to see him take the next steps on his journey.

March also held my husband and sister’s birthdays, Pi Day, and the first day of spring—all reasons to celebrate!

Creating

We’ve had some discussions about possibly getting an RV. We finally decided maybe we should rent one for a short trip and see how we like it first. But I used an RV theme for Jim’s birthday card.

The RV design was from the Cricut, and the background was from a woodland scrapbooking paper set. I printed out the words via computer, cut them out with decorative scissors, and outlined them with a marker.

The other thing I’m creating this month is a new sewing/craft room! I had all my “stuff” set up in the smallest bedroom. When Jesse moved out, I wanted to move my things to his larger room. But first my husband patched up holes, painted multiple coats, and used a wet-vac to clean the carpet.

The whole house interior is painted beige, and after 11 years, it all need to be redone anyway. We want to switch to a light grey. We’re using the bedrooms and bathrooms to try out different shades. There’s an unbelievably wide variety of light grey shades, from yellowish to bluish to whitish to dull to bright. After a couple of tries, we found one we really like.

I thought it would just be a matter of moving a few bits of furniture and cabinets from one room across the hall to the other. But I forgot how much little stuff I had in there! We got the biggest portion done Saturday, but I have several little things to finish up.

Once I get the old bedroom cleared out, Jim will patch holes, paint, etc., in there, and then we’ll buy a bed and turn that into a guest room.

I am so thankful for my husband’s willing hard work, both with painting plus moving my “stuff.”

Jesse had a pegboard in his room on which he displayed his collection of airsoft guns. When Jim asked me if I wanted to keep the pegboard, I wasn’t terribly excited about it, but I figured it would be more trouble to take down and patch up behind it than it was worth. So we kept it and he painted it for me. Then I found tons of craft room pegboard ideas on Pinterest. And I discovered a whole new world of cute pegboard accessories!

Watching/Listening

We haven’t really watched anything out of the ordinary this month. I’m still working my way through Lark Rise to Candleford on my exercise bike, but I m nearing the end of that.

I’m not a big fan of podcasts—I’d usually rather listen to audiobooks or music. But Hope has mentioned the Literary Life Podcast. When I checked it out, they were discussing Silas Marner, which I was listening to at the time. So I listened to and enjoyed those sessions. Then it took me a while to decide which classic to listen to next, so in the meantime I listened to Literary Life’s discussions of 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff, which I had enjoyed reading a few years ago, and Why Read Old Books. I’d like to listen to Why Read Fairy Tales sometime.

Reading

This month I’ve completed (titles link back to my reviews):

  • Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens (audiobook) was actually completed right at the end of February, but reviewed at the beginning of this month. I had never read this Dickens classic, and I enjoyed it. I didn’t like it as well as David Copperfield, but it was good.
  • Silas Marner by George Elliot (audiobook). A man is betrayed by his best friend and falsely accused and disappointed by his church. He becomes something of a recluse, suffering another great loss, but taking in an orphaned child that changes his life. Very good.
  • Hudson Taylor and Maria: A Match Made in Heaven by John Pollock. A brief biography of the famous missionary who began the China Inland Mission, particularly in relation to his first wife.
  • The First Gardener by Denise Hildreth Jones, novel. The Tennessee governor’s family experiences a stunning loss and is helped by the governor’s mansion’s long-time gardener. A good story except for a couple of flaws.
  • Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity by Tim Challies. Good perspective and tips.
  • The Warden by Anthony Trollope (audiobook), the first in his Chronicles of Barsetshire series. A meek warden of a local hospital is caught between a young reformer who thinks the funds are being mishandled and the staunch archdeacon who takes opposes the reformer. Took a while to get into, but I enjoyed it.
  • Be Holy (Leviticus): Becoming Set Apart for God by Warren Wiersbe.

I’m currently reading:

Blogging

Besides books reviews, Friday Fave Fives, and Laudable Linkages, I’ve shared on the blog this month:

This is one of my favorite times of year, changing from winter’s gloom and coldness, grass and trees greening up, buds forming, more daylight. Winter is having its (hopefully) last hurrah with temperatures in the twenties again at night this week, but the weather is often delightful during the day. We feel a little like bears coming out of hibernation. Somehow, more warmth and light gives us new energy.

How was your March?

(Sharing with Grace and Truth, Senior Salon, InstaEncouragements)

February Reflections

February seems to have flown by—and not just because it’s a shorter month. It’s been a busy month, but a good one.

Valentine’s Day is always a fun for us with some special treats. We celebrated our daughter-in-law’s birthday last weekend. We closed on the rental house that my son and daughter-in-law had been renting. My husband is so relieved not to have an extra property to take care of. My youngest son found an apartment and will be moving next month. I’m excited for him but also facing the reality of an empty nest.

February is also the time of year when winter starts getting to me: the sky is often grey, the cold seeps into my bones, and I long for spring. Thankfully we’ve had some sunshine and temperatures in the 60s this week. We still have several weeks of winter, but each day brings us closer to spring! My daffodils are blooming already!

Creating

February is a big card month for us!

Early in the month we celebrated my youngest son’s 10,000th day of life. This was the card I made for him:

It took me a while to figure out what to do—I haven’t seen any other 10,000th day cards to get ideas from. 🙂 I printed off a February calendar and had a stencil with the shape for the saying.

Then I made a card for each family member for Valentine’s Day. I had seen several variations of this idea on Pinterest and knew I just had to use it since my husband is a scientist.

I cut out the beakers using Cricut. I tried various background papers, but they made the card look too cluttered.

This was for my oldest son, Jeremy, who likes foxes:

I used a stencil for the heart. I printed off the sayings or captions and inside sentiments from the computer since my handwriting is not good. I cut out this one with decorative scissors and then outlined it in black. I had the hardest time finding the right fox. I have several stickers and looked up clip art, but none of them looked just right. I had some wooden cutouts, but I wasn’t sure if the glue would be strong enough to keep it on, especially as this one had to go through snail mail. Finally I got the idea to scan the fox cutout and print it, and that worked pretty well.

This was for Jason:

The bear was from a scrapbooking paper collection.

This was for my daughter-in-law, Mittu, who likes purple:

I printed out the tree from some free clipart I found online, then used a paper punch on various scrapbooking papers for the hearts.

This was for Timothy, my grandson:

I had seen an idea using the moon on Pinterest, and then saw this moon and stars design on the Cricut.

And this was for my youngest son, Jesse:

I had seen several variations of this idea on Pinterest using typewriters. But since he types via computer, I used that. I cut the computer out with the Cricut and positioned the caption behind the computer “screen.”

And finally, my daughter-in-law also likes sunflowers, so I was looking to use them somehow for her birthday card. In looking for something else on the computer, I stumbled across a file that I had purchased on sale some years ago from Karla Dornacher using sunflowers. Since Mittu also has blue in her home, this seemed perfect. So it wasn’t exactly handmade, except that I printed it off and cut it out. But I liked it, and I think Mittu did, too.

I just checked Karla’s site, and she doesn’t seem to carry this exact collection any more. But she did use the sunflower design in this printable card set.

I made one more birthday card for a friend. But when I double-checked to make sure I had the right date, I discovered her birthday was in June! I thought I saw somewhere recently that it was in February. Oh well—the card is now safely tucked away until June.

Watching

I’m still working my way through the Lark Rise to Candleford series while using my exercise bike. Jim and I really enjoyed the new PBS series of All Creatures Great and Small. I was sorry to hear the story had been changed from the original—but we did like this version.

Reading

Since last time I completed:

I usually read much more fiction than nonfiction, but that hasn’t held true this month.

I’m currently reading:

Blogging

Besides books reviews and almost weekly Friday Fave Fives and Laudable Linkages, I’ve shared on the blog this month:

As we turn the calendar page to March in a few days, we’ll have a busy couple of weeks with my husband’s birthday and my youngest son moving. But life should settle down a bit after that. I hope. You just never know.

How was your February? Any signs of spring yet?

(Sharing with Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire,Hearth and Soul,
Senior Salon, InstaEncouragements, Shannan’s What I’m Into)

January Reflections

January is usually a welcome quiet spot after the busyness of the holidays. But this year it’s appointment month for me. Mostly follow-up appointments that just happened to get bunched up together. Today is, thankfully, the last one for now.

Early in the month we helped our son and daughter-in-law move into their first purchased home. It was structurally fine but needed numerous smaller fixes–painting, patching holes, cleaning multitudes of dog hair (even from the dishwasher!), turning a space leading to the attic into a pantry, etc. They’ve just about got the preliminaries done, and then they can take some of the bigger projects one at a time. It’s exciting to see what’s new every time we go over!

We owned the house they had been renting. At one time we thought about using it as rental property or maybe moving there if we ever needed to downsize. But in the end, we decided to sell it. Jim spent a number of evenings and weekends touch-up painting and fixing things, and we all went over for an evening of cleaning. We had a good offer after just a day and a half of it being on the market! We’re waiting on the appraisal and such to be worked out but hope to close in a couple of weeks. Jim will be thrilled not to have the responsibility of two properties any more.

For the first time since about last April, COVID numbers have gone a bit down this month in our city. I hope that trend continues and spreads worldwide. But the newspaper also reported cases of a new strain that is not deadlier but is more contagious. Our church is meeting in person, with people sitting in family groups six feet apart. But a few of us are still using Zoom, mainly those with physical issues. We can’t participate in the discussion times that way like we could when we were all on Zoom, and I miss that. But I am thankful for the option to watch in real time.

Timothyisms

I don’t know if I just haven’t been paying close enough attention, or if he’s getting old enough not to say cute/funny things any more. I hope not the latter. One thing I smiled at privately: when he was packing up items from his room, he named them one by one. One was his “favorite rubber band.” 🙂

Creating

No cards this month! I can’t think of anything creative I have done in a while except hang my winter wreath out front.

Watching

We haven’t really been in movie-watching mode, either. There are a few series we follow, but not many are on now. We’ve enjoyed watching The Weakest Link. I’m still working through Lark Rise to Candleford while riding my exercise bike.

Reading

This month I finished (linked to my reviews):

I’m currently reading:

  • Nicholas Nickleby by Dickens. I’m on a quest to read the Dickens books that I haven’t yet.
  • Be Loyal (Matthew): Following the King of Kings by Warren Wiersbe
  • Write Better by Andrew Le Peau
  • The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion by Annette Whipple
  • Influence: Building a Platform that Elevates Jesus (Not Me) by Kate Motaung and Shannon Popkin
  • In Between (A Katie Parker Productions #1) by Jenny B. Jones. I don’t usually read YA, but I found this on a Kindle sale and it looked good.
  • Fear and Faith by Trillia Newbell

That looks like a lot. But the Dickens one is an audiobook. I have been reading a chapter a week of Fear and Faith on Saturdays, which our church Bible reading plan schedules as a catch-up day if needed. I read the commentary, which amounts to half a chapter or a chapter at a time, with my morning Bible reading. I’ve been chipping away at the LIW and writing book for a long while–I don’t keep them where I usually read, so I forget about them.

Blogging

Besides books reviews and almost weekly Friday Fave Fives and Laudable Linkages, I’ve shared on the blog this month:

We have a few events to look forward to In February. And every day of winter brings us closer to spring, more sunlight, growing things returning. (Winter is not my favorite.Can you tell?) But in general I’m not looking too far ahead. There’s much in Scripture about moving forward a day at a time, a step at a time, in faith and hope and obedience.

How was your January? What are you looking forward to in February?

(Sharing with Grace and Truth, Hearth and Soul, Senior Salon, InstaEncouragements)

End-of-December and 2020 Reflections

Well, it’s been quite the year hasn’t it? Truly we never know what a day—or a year—will bring forth (Proverbs 27:1). Much has been written about the pandemic and other events of the year, so I won’t reiterate them here. Probably the top takeaways for me this year are:

  • Hold plans loosely.
  • God is still in control. Life’s circumstances have not taken him by surprise.
  • We walk the same way we do in any circumstances—by faith.
  • Listen more, assume less.

Thankfully, our family had a couple of excursions right before the lockdowns began. That helped the initial isolation not feel as bad. My husband and I celebrated our 40th anniversary from last December a little late and went to the Gatlinburg/Sevierville/Pigeon Forge area in January to stay in a nice, cabin-like hotel, eat at a nice restaurant, attend a couple of attractions, and reread some love notes from college days. Then in February we visited the Biltmore House and Downton Abbey exhibit with all the family except my oldest, who lives out of state.

A friend and I went out for lunch during the early days of the virus and discussed it and what effects it might have. We had no idea it would be so widespread and last so long. But we were glad that we had that time together right before it.

Thankfully, my husband and three sons could all work from home for the most part. Jason, my middle son, had to go in a lot during December, their busiest time of the year. Because we were all isolating, we felt safe getting together (the strictest regulations here so far limited gatherings to ten, and we’re only seven when all together). My oldest son missed his April visit, but came in August and December via train, mostly on a sleeper car. So he hardly saw anyone on the trip, which he felt was safer (though much longer) than flying. Those gatherings and Zoom church sustained us.

We had some health issues: the atrial fibrillation which I had surgery for three years ago started up again and landed me in the ER twice. I have follow-up appointments in the next couple of weeks to see what we should do about that. The last hospital visit exposed us to COVID, as a nurse who talked about isolating from family because she worked with COVID patients kept pulling down her mask as she talked. That was the week before Jeremy’s scheduled train trip here, which made for some uncertainty. But we got a rapid COVID test the day before he was supposed to leave, and new guidelines said no symptoms and a negative test from day 5 or later after exposure only required a week’s quarantine, so we were good to go—and very thankful.

Normally I include “Timothyisms” in my monthly posts—quips from my six-year-old grandson. The only one I noted this time was when we were isolating due to one of Jason’s coworkers testing positive for COVID. They had helped us put up and decorate the Christmas tree earlier, and as we FaceTimed, I showed Timothy some of the presents accumulating under it. He said, “Granddad Claus is coming to town!”

We send store-bought Christmas cards to loved ones, but I make them for the immediate family. I try to incorporate their favorite colors and interests.

This was Jim’s:

The little squares were made with the Cuttlebug embosser.

This was for Jeremy, who likes foxes:

The background was embossed, and the fox and trees came from a scrapbook paper set. The Merry Christmas was a sticker.

This was Jason’s:

He likes blue, and I am often drawn to cheery, whimsical ideas for him. The words at the bottom were on a sticker.

This was for Mittu, my daughter-in-law, who likes purple:

The idea I had seen on Pinterest (where I get most of my inspiration) showed a tree made with heart-shaped cutouts. I decided to add the glitter-frosted edges. I liked it better before I added the Merry Christmas sticker at the bottom, but I couldn’t remove it once I glued it on.

This was Timothy’s:

I saw the idea here (via Pinterest) for using shapes to create the penguin. But mine must have been shaped a little differently—it didn’t look right to try to make it short and squatty like hers. But I thought it turned out cute. I had to get Jesse to help me with the eyes: I just couldn’t get something that tiny cut out and glued on. I wished later I had outlined the little sign so it stood out better.

This was Jesse’s:

And this was for our anniversary:

I usually list what we’ve been watching in these posts, but we haven’t watched much out of the ordinary the last two months (I missed November–there just wasn’t a good time to work an end-of-month post in). I’m still working through the Lark Rise to Candelford series while using the exercise bike. Somehow we didn’t watch any of the usual Christmas movies or specials. We streamed The Croods: A New Age and Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey to watch with the family. They were . . . okay. My husband and I watched Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors when it was on TV one night and were surprised that network TV allowed such upfront messages about faith and eternal destiny. I wouldn’t take all my theology from the movie, but the message of the need to trust in God was clear.

I won’t list the books reads in November and December since I just posted all the books I read this year as well as my top twelve.

And, since this is an end-of-year post, instead of listing posts from the last two months, I thought I’d look back at the posts from the year that seemed to resonate the most with readers. My five most-read posts of the year are:

I’m thankful people found something useful there. I need to go back and remind myself of some of those truths.

It’s hard to end the year with a sense of closure and look to 2021 as bright and shiny and new when so many of this year’s problems remain: the pandemic and its physical, emotional, and economic toll, the civil and racial strife and unrest, a new administration with alarming values. But my Daily Light on the Daily Path entry for this morning was all about God bearing His people as on eagle’s wings. My Bible reading in Exodus 33 told of the time just after Israel made and worshiped the golden calf instead of God. He was going to send them on to the promised land, but not go with them Himself because they were a stiffnecked people. But Moses pleaded, and God promised, “‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ And he [Moses] said to him [God], ‘If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here'” (verses 14-15). Whatever happens in the coming year, we can rely on God’s presence and depend on Him to bear us up.

(Sharing with Grace and Truth, Senior Salon, InstaEncouragements)

End-of-October Reflections

October tends to be a somewhat quiet month for us, with no birthdays or anniversaries in our immediate family (though there are a few in the extended family). I love our “birthday season,” but it’s nice to have a quiet spot between it and the holidays. My yearly physical in September usually sets off a couple of other appointments, but I am putting off some non-essential ones for now. I do have a sleep study scheduled for next week to test for sleep apnea, at home rather than the lab per insurance requirements. We’ll see what happens!

We had our annual pumpkin decorating last Saturday. We weren’t into that when our children were small, but our daughter-in-law requested it a few years ago. It has become a fun tradition. And since the places that would normally be open for safe trick-or-treating are closed due to COVID-19, we’re not only invited to a family get-together this weekend, but invited to dress up! I’m still contemplating what to do, but I have a couple of ideas.

Timothyisms

My little 6-year-old grandson is almost as tall as my shoulder now. I love how his mind works. He was making Lego creations, and had a flower on a lower level that was pushing over a column. His dad asked if he wanted to take the flower off so the column would fit better. Timothy said, “No, that’s the turbine,” and told him how the water flowed through his building.

A couple of texts my daughter-in-law sent:

Jason was explaining what herbivores and carnivores eat.

T- Yeah, cows don’t eat meat because they ARE meat!!

__

M- Timothy who did we talk about in Bible yesterday?

T- Zebra! Zebra?

M- Close. Her name is Deborah.

T- That’s a weird name.

He must not know any Debbies yet. 🙂

He texted me this: I think he made it himself:

I didn’t make any cards this month, but I’ve gotten lots of housework done and figured out the new WordPress editor (at least the features I use. It does a whole lot more than I know what to do with at this point). Here’s what else I’ve been doing.

Watching

While riding my exercise bike, I enjoyed an old Cary Grant movie, The Amazing Quest of Ernest Bliss. Grant plays an idle rich guy suffering from malaise who goes to the doctor, who challenges him to work for his living for the next year. After that I started the Lark Rise to Candleford series. Like anything else based on books, there are similarities and differences from the original. But I am enjoying it. It will keep me occupied for a long while.

Jim and I also watched The Current War about the rivalry between Edison and Westinghouse. It was pretty interesting (warning: it includes a couple of instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain).

Reading

This month I finished:

  • A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White (actually finished last month but had not reviewed in time for my monthly posts). LOVED this book and immediately sought out the sequels. A group of street kids formed themselves into a family in London just before WWI, and one is approached by a mysterious man seeking her help.
  • A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White, sequel to A Name Unknown. Love this, too!
  • An Hour Unspent by Roseanna M. White, the third and last in this Shadows Over England series.
  • Termination Zone by Adam Blumer. A man with a brain implant eludes those trying to control. him. Very edge-of-your-seat reading!
  • Be Obedient (Genesis 12-25): Learning the Secret of Living by Faith by Warren Wiersbe.
  • True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal—and How Nearly Dying Saved my Life, by Kevin Sorbo. The actor shares a bit of his background and how he came to star in Hercules, then suffered an aneurysm and three mini-strokes that changed his life.
  • The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White, first in the Codebreakers series, but a few characters from the previous series appear, too. Just finished last night but have not reviewed yet.

I’m currently reading:

  • In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character by Jen Wilkin
  • The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion by Annette Whipple
  • Write Better by Andrew Le Peau
  • 1984 by George Orwell (audiobook)
  • Discovering Jesus and His Love by Scott Leone
  • Newsletter Ninja by Tammi Labrecque, recommended in a writing webinar by Steve Laube and Thomas Umstattd, Jr.

I started Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers, but just couldn’t get into it and laid it aside. I’d wanted to read something by her since seeing her mentioned in one of C. S. Lewis’s books, but will have to try another one. This book is in the middle of a bunch featuring detective Peter Wimsey.

Blogging

In addition to weekly Friday’s Fave Fives and occasional Laudable Linkages and book reviews, I’ve posted:

What Do You Look for When You Read the Bible? The Bible doesn’t just provide momentary fixes for the current need: it’s the means by which we get to know God better.

What Grace Does. Titus 2:11-13 about what grace teaches sparked a study of other activities of grace.

Alone with God. Community is an essential gift, “But some of the most poignant moments of life occur between the individual and God alone.”

A Christian Philosophy of Things. Finding the balance between being too careless or too possessive of our stuff.

Writing

I’ve had a few little sessions but need to dig in more.

And that pretty much wraps up October for us. Though we still have a few days, I wanted to post this before the weekend, as not many people come around then. I am looking forward to an extra hour of sleep this weekend when we turn our clocks back! And the rest of autumn, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas season!

How was your October?

(Sharing with Let’s Have Coffee, Grace and Truth, Senior Salon, Shannan’s What I’m Into, InstaEncouragement)

End-of-September Reflections

SeptemberSo ends another month in this crazy year. In addition to COVID and everything else going on in the world, a black bear and a tiger were roaming loose in our city this month! I never heard if someone caught them—I think they just moved on. Bears aren’t uncommon, but they’re usually in woodsy areas. But no one knew where the tiger came from.

We’re very much enjoying the cooler temperatures and crisp air. Leaves are starting to change, but full-blown color is still a couple of weeks away.

Family news

My youngest son is seriously looking at apartments now, aiming to move out before the end of the year. I’m excited for him, but I’ll miss the everyday interaction. I’m thankful he’ll still be in town.

We grilled burgers and enjoyed a long weekend for Labor Day, and my son’s family made us feel special for Grandparent’s Day. Besides my youngest son’s birthday and my brief hospital stay for afib, I can’t recall that we did anything else unusual as a family this month. We always enjoy visiting back and forth every week, but I don’t think we had any excursions. But that’s fine. August was busy, so a fairly quiet September was nice.

Timothisms

When I showed Timothy the Bundt cake I had made for Jesse’s birthday, he said it looked like a donut cake. Makes sense to me!

One evening Timothy was playing with Little People and had two of them going on a date. Part of their conversation was, “So what do you think about having babies? What kind of house do you want to live in?” Seems to be moving a little fast—but it’s important to talk about those things. 😀

Creating

This card was or a former pastor who turned 91.

The horizontal pieces are stickers. I made the scalloped circles with punches.

This was for Jesse’s birthday. Video games are his main thing, and I looked for some kind of video game clip art. When I found this controller, I decided just to make the card on the computer rather than printing and cutting out the pieces.

I had found a shirt for him that said, “I paused my game to be here.” So I tied the card in with that theme.

Watching

While riding my exercise bike, I worked through:

The Adventures of Ociee Nash, a cute family film about a tomboyish little girl growing up with brothers and a father, sent to stay with an aunt to learn “lady ways,” meeting famous people along the way.

God’s Not Dead. A college freshman tangles with an atheistic professor. Somehow I missed this when it was going around a few years ago There are two sequels to it out now that I have not seen. I thought the story was pretty good except they overdid the villainy of the two bad guys. Plus there were a couple of theological oddities. A pastor told one girl struggling with self image and wrong relationships, “Jesus would willingly be crucified again just for you if that’s what it took.” Um, no: His once-for-all death was sufficient.

Enchantment was an old film with David Niven as an elderly retired soldier who just wants to live out his days in the family home. But a niece in the Army pops in while in town. The old soldier sees she and the young man interested in her are about to make a mistake and miss their chance, and his sad story of lost love compels him to encourage them toward each other.

The Bishop’s Wife, another old one with David Niven as a distracted bishop and Cary Grant as an angel. Somehow I had never seen this. I didn’t realize it was set at Christmas or I might have saved it for then. It was “off” in the angelology department, but otherwise pretty sweet.

Before All Others was a Christian-ish film (once you watch an old film or a Christian film on Amazon Prime, they start adding more into the “suggested” list). I just finished it yesterday and am still processing it. In it, a young woman develops a serious illness. Her only living relative is an estranged grandmother, so she stays with her. They get to know each other while working through some difficulties. The grandmother hires a man from church to build a wheelchair ramp, and he and the granddaughter are attracted. But he’s working through some issues of his own. The grandmother is a believer but the two young people are not. The grandmother tends to go to the shed to talk to her dead husband…and when he tells her it’s almost her time to go, she says, “You’ll just have to tell—whoever—that I’m not ready to go.” The last few scenes were disjointed with the viewer having to fill in a lot of gaps. It was ok: it could have been really good, but just fell short.

One evening Jim and I watched Same Kind of Different As Me. I had read the book years ago and wanted to see the film, but just never got to it before. For some reason, it was on my heart. We both enjoyed the true story of a couple with a troubled marriage working in a soup kitchen and befriending one of the homeless men.

Reading

I finished some good books this month:

  • Be Victorious (Revelation): In Christ You Are an Overcomer by Warren Wiersbe, Christian nonfiction.
  • Be Basic (Genesis 1-11): Believing the Simple Truth of God’s Word. by Warren Wiersbe, Christian nonfiction.
  • Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker, Christian fiction. A teenage girl in 1960s Georgia helps take care of her grandfather with dementia and her brother with a processing disorder. The brother wants to build a rocket to go to Jupiter, so his sister and her friend help him raise money for materials. Then a series of family tragedies shakes the sister’s faith. Beautiful, touching story.
  • Sandhill Dreams by Cara Putnam, Christian fiction. A woman’s illness scraps her dreams of being a military nurse during WWII, and she tries to find some way to help the war effort. A young man who fears dogs after being bitten as a child finds himself in charge of the canine unit.
  • The Color of Hope by Kim Cash Tate, Christian fiction. Two churches try to bridge ethnic diversity and meet together sometimes, but some in the town disapprove.
  • Five Miles South of Peculiar by Angela Hunt, Christian fiction. Middle-aged sisters try to work out their differences. Both poignant and funny in places.
  • The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke, Christian historical fiction (audiobook). A Jewish woman in Warsaw must give up her child in order to save her during WWII. Excellent book.
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, nonfiction.A young black women’s cells were taken for experimentation without her knowledge when she was treated for cancer, and they became what’s known as an “immortal” cell line, still growing. They’ve been an immense help to science, but ethical, racial, and financial issues are discussed as well as the effect on the family.
  • I don’t review children’s books here often (besides classics), but I wanted to share these Three Children’s Books About Race.
  • A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White. Just finished this and loved it. I plan to review it tomorrow. Loved this!

I’m currently reading:

  • Be Obedient (Genesis 12-25): Learning the Secret of Living by Faith by Warren W. Wiersbe
  • In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character by Jen Wilkin
  • The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion by Annette Whipple
  • A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White (audiobook), sequel to A Name Unknown
  • Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers
  • Write Better by Andrew Le Peau

In all honesty, I haven’t picked up the last two in a number of weeks and need to get back at them. I’m also starting an advanced reader copy of a book coming out in November.

Blogging

In addition to weekly Friday’s Fave Fives and occasional Laudable Linkages and book reviews, I’ve posted:

  • Shining Light in a Dark and Drowsy World. Light can irritate when we’re sleepy. So the world resents the light that we shine to wake them up. But God still wants us to let our light shine, and He uses it to draw others to Himself.
  • Remembering the Relationship. We tell unbelievers that Christianity is a relationship, not (just) a religion. But as Christians, sometimes we forget the relational aspect and fall into routines and formulas.
  • Is Truth or Love More Important? We err when we have either without the other.
  • God Remembered. I’ve sometimes puzzled over why the Bible says God “remembered” someone, when God doesn’t forget in the first place. The resulting study was a blessing.
  • The Struggle Is Real. Just as a butterfly needs the struggle involved in breaking out of its cocoon in order to be healthy, so we need the struggles God allows in our lives to grow in our faith.

Writing

I was pleased and Thankful that a devotion I wrote for the Christian Devotions site was accepted and published last Saturday. It’s titled “Unsteady.”

I’ve gotten a little work done on the book. I am looking and praying for longer stretches of time to work on it. I can add in little tidbits in smaller swaths of time. But I need to overhaul at least a couple of chapters, and that requires a longer time period to really dig in and concentrate.

And that wraps up September! I’m looking forward to more color and coolness in October.

How was your September?

(Sharing with Worth Beyond Rubies, Grace and Truth, Hearth and Soul,
Senior Salon, InstaEncouragement, Shannan’s What I’m Into.
Linking does not imply 100% endorsement)

End-of-August Reflections

August ReflectionsAugust was a full month for us, physically and emotionally.

Train travel—A First!

A first for any of us, anyway.

My oldest son was able to come for his annual August visit. He usually comes in April and December, too. He’d had to cancel his April visit due to COVID, and we were hoping he wouldn’t have to cancel this one. None of us was comfortable with flying or hotels yet, though. But one of my husband’s colleagues mentioned going somewhere in a sleeper car on a train. A toilet was in the “roomette,” and he hardly saw anyone else the whole trip. The chairs converted to beds, and he was able to stretch out for the night. So we checked into prices and stations and asked my son, Jeremy, what he thought. He decided to try it.

He reported that he liked everything about train travel better than air travel—except the length. The train trip was about 20 hours including a short layover, whereas the plane trip can vary from 6-9 hours or more, depending on whether there is one layover or two and how long they are.

He was in business class the first leg, but there was only one other person in his car. But he had plenty of leg room. The roomette was tight quarters: much smaller than a hotel room, but of course more room than business class. There were two chairs facing each other that made into a bed when folded out. And there was an upper berth, so technically two people could fit into the roomette. But I think it might be uncomfortable for two adults. It might work well for a parent and child.

This gives you an idea how tight it is. The toilet is right next to the chair (the backpack is on the lid) and the square above opens up a sink.

So it’s convenient to have a toilet right there—but it is right there!

Amtrak does have some bigger sleeper rooms, but I am sure they are more expensive.

I don’t think the price was any less than airfare, especially with airlines lowering process to attract travelers right now. But it is private. Someone came to the sleeper car duly masked to see what Jeremy wanted for dinner and then to deliver it, but that’s the only person he interacted with. He did have a short layover in Penn Station, but they had masks and social distancing rules in place.

Birthday Season and Staycation

Four of us have birthdays between mid-July and mid-September, so we’ve always called this time of year Birthday Season. Jeremy’s birthday and mine are six days apart, and often when he comes for his, the dates work out that he’s here for mine as well. That happened this year.

We celebrated his with homemade lasagna and Boston cream pie.

My husband took the week off as well. We couldn’t really go anywhere, with COVID restrictions in place. But Jason and Mittu and Timothy came over almost every day, and of course Jesse was here (still working at home). We played lots of games, talked, ate lots of good food, showed each other favorite videos. We had dinner in a park one evening and lunch in another park on Saturday.

When we (or rather, they) had camped out in the back yard a few weeks ago, they wanted to do that again when Jeremy was here. So everyone except Jesse and me did that Thursday night.

Friday was my birthday, and Jason and Jesse had taken the day off. Mittu made biscuits and gravy and Jim made bacon, sausage, and eggs on the grill for my birthday breakfast. Then everyone scattered for showers, rest, and birthday preparations. In the evening, Jim grilled his awesome teriyaki chicken and Mittu made two kinds of potatoes, salad, and my favorite Texas Sheet Cake for my birthday cake.

We got some family photos in, too. This was one of my favorites.

We had such a great time with all the family here. Both weekends were pretty busy, but we had some days in the middle of just hanging out. It’s always sad to say good-bye. But my heart was full.

Creating

This card was for a young man at church who was leaving for college. Inside I put Psalm 16:11, my favorite verse for graduations.

This card was for Jason and Mittu’s anniversary, cut out with the Cricut (as was the road in the card above):

This was for Jeremy’s birthday. He likes foxes, and this fox was a 3-D, multi-layer sticker. I did the balloons on the Cricut and used a sticky pad so they were as raised as the fox.

Timothyisms

Timothy asked his mom one day, “Why don’t we call forks mouth rakes and spoons food shovels?” 🙂

Watching

I worked through some good movies this month while riding my exercise bike, which distracts me and keeps me there for the designated time. All of these were amazingly clean. I watched them via Amazon Prime, but they may be available in other venues.

The Railway Children was based on a book by E. Nesbit (whom I have never read and was hardly even aware of) and a remake of a few earlier movies. This one came out in 2000. It involves a family in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century whose father is wrongly imprisoned. The mother and children have to move to a small cottage, and the mother tries to support them by writing stories. The children roam around and make friends with the railway workers, help a Russian immigrant and an injured boy. Sweet story! I’ll have to look up the book some day.

The Lady Vanishes has been filmed several times, once by Hitchcock. This version came out in 2013. A spoiled young woman is helped by an older lady on a train leaving the Balkans. But when the younger woman awakes after a nap, the older woman is gone and everyone says they haven’t seen the older woman. The girl tries to figure out what happened, with a couple of Americans trying to help and everyone is suspect.

The Secret Handshake is a little quirky. A middle-aged man’s daughter is being harassed by a boy with a crush. First, the yard is TP’d, then antics escalate. The man steps in to intervene, learns the boy’s father has died, and decides to take him on a camping trip to teach him about becoming a man. But nothing goes as planned. The description called it a “rollicking comedy.” I wouldn’t call it rollicking. But it was a nice film and ended up in a good place.

It’s only coincidence that two of the films had to do with trains in the same month that my son was taking a train trip. 🙂

Reading

I finished some good books this month (titles link back to my reviews):

I’m currently reading:

  • Be Victorious (Revelation): In Christ You Are an Overcomer by Warren Wiersbe
  • In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character by Jen Wilkin
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (audiobook)
  • Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker
  • Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers
  • Write Better by Andrew Le Peau

I’ve got some new birthday books to dip into after those!

Blogging

Some of the posts this month, in addition to weekly Friday’s Fave Fives and occasional Laudable Linkages and book reviews:

  • God’s Word: Our Sure Guide. Just as a zoning board has to make decisions by their book of codes and regulations rather than emotions or sentiment, so do we need to go “back to the book.”
  • Mason Is In Heaven. A young grandson of a former pastor lost his battle with cancer; some thoughts on when a little one dies.
  • Blind Spots. What causes them, ways we can combat them.
  • Dwelling Richly. What does it mean to let God’s Word “dwell richly” with us?
  • God’s Efficiency. What might seem inefficient to us is working out His perfect will.

Writing

Not much this month, with everything else going on. But I got a little work done at the beginning of the month and am looking forward to digging back in.

Forgive me for this post being longer than usual—but, as I said at the beginning, it was a very full month!

How was your August?

(Sharing with Grace and Truth, Hearth and Home,
Senior Salon, InstaEncouragement)

End-of-July Reflections

JulyWow, July has gone by fast, hasn’t it?

We’ve had a fairly quiet month. Our local COVID-19 cases and deaths are still rising rapidly, so we’ve pretty much been staying at home as much as possible. We do get together with my son and daughter-in-law and grandson since they’re mostly sheltering at home as well.

The heat and humidity would be keeping us inside even if the virus wasn’t.

We had a fairly traditional 4th of July with grilled burgers. All the major fireworks displays were canceled, but we saw several around the neighborhood.

Jason’s family and my husband camped out in their yard and then in ours to get Timothy used to it before camping away from home. He enjoyed it!

Timothyisms

Once again I have none! There have been a few times he’s said something cute, and I’ve thought, “I need to write that down.” But then I forget.

He’s in the tooth-losing stage of life and currently has three out in front. So cute!

Creating

Jason’s birthday was this month. Since he had asked for some camping equipment, I went with that theme for his card:

The Cricut has some designs that can be printed out, and this was one. It came out darker than it looked on the computer. The things in the corners are some button-like stickers.

I don’t usually show the insides of the cards I make, but they can be the hardest part. I don’t want to say the same thing every time. With this one, all sorts of camping terms flooded my mind, so I wrote them down to see what I could come up with.

Watching

While riding my exercise bike, I’ve worked my way through a few movies. Watching something keeps me there for the allotted time more than listening to something, even an engaging audiobook.

To Catch a Thief was an old Hitchcock film with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. A burglar known as “The Cat,” played by Grant, had served his time and changed his ways. But now someone else has committed a string of burglaries using his MO, and he sets out to catch his imitator.

Funny Face was another old one with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. He’s a photographer for a high-profile women’s magazine who “discovers” her in a book shop and thinks she’s the face for the magazine’s new campaign. The only reason she agrees is to be able to go to Paris. It started out a little weird, but ended up being sweet and cute.

Beyond the Mask is a Christian film set during the Revolutionary War. The main mercenary for the East India Company wants to quit and is betrayed. He ends up working against the EIC . . . and falling in love with his rescuer and meeting Benjamin Franklin. I don’t think I have ever seen a Christian film with such extensive costuming and setting. I enjoyed it. And the two main characters are married in real life.

Waiting for Anya was just released this year. A young shepherd boy in France who is not very responsible at first ends up helping a stranger smuggle Jewish children into Spain during WWII. It was pretty good! I’d like to look up the book it’s based on.

I think I watched all these on Amazon Prime, but they may be available elsewhere as well.

Reading

This month I finished (titles link back to my reviews):

  • Monday’s Child by Linda Chaikin. I had finished but not reviewed this last month. Set after WWII, a model serves as a courier for Interpol but soon learns not everyone is what they appear to be. Excellent!
  • Rain Song by Alice J. Wisler. A Southern young woman was born in Japan, where her mother died. She has determined never to fly and never to go back to Japan—until she’s attracted to a man online who lives there. Loved this one, too.
  • If We Make It Home: A Novel of Faith and Survival in the Oregon Wilderness by Christina Suzann Nelson. Former roommates meet up for a 25th anniversary and go on a wilderness camping trip, which doesn’t go as planned. Very good.
  • Hurricane Season by Laura K. Denton. One sister leaves her two children with the other sister for two weeks, but ends up staying away much longer, which strains relationships. Very good.
  • Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin. A Dutch immigrant looks back on her experiences coming to and trying to make it in America through much hardship. She finds an unusual connection with a young woman at a crossroads in her life. Very good.
  • Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott, sequel to Eight Cousins (audiobook). Rose, the orphaned and only female cousin in the Campbell family, grows up. Sweet, old-fashioned story.
  • Billy Budd by Herman Melville (audiobook). Melville’s last novel, about a winsome young sailor who accidentally kills a superior officer.
  • The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (audiobook). A mysterious “opera ghost” manipulates the opera house managers and his young protege.
  • Be Concerned (Minor Prophets): Making a Difference in Your Lifetime by Warren Wiersbe covers Amos, Obadiah, Micah, and Zephaniah.
  • The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson (just finished, not reviewed yet)

I plowed through a lot of Christian fiction on the Kindle app in the evenings.

I’m currently reading:

  • Candleford Green by Flora Thompson, the last of the Lark Rise trilogy
  • Write Better by Andrew Le Peau
  • None Like Him by Jen Wilkin
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (audiobook)
  • Be Heroic (Minor Prophets): Demonstrating Bravery by Your Walk by Warren Wiersbe
  • 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates: Healthy Eating for Healthy Living with a Low-Carbohydrate, Anti-Inflammatory Diet (Healthy Living Series Book 1) by Susan Neal

Blogging:

Some of my posts this month, besides the weekly Friday’s Fave Fives and occasional Laudable Linkages:

Writing

I got some good sessions in on my book-in-progress. I was especially thankful for a long work session where I got the basic information down for what I think is my most difficult chapter to put together.

And that wraps up July! We have some things to look forward to in August while we hope and pray for deliverance from the coronavirus.

I hope you’re keeping cool and well this summer! How was your July?

(Sharing with Grace and Truth, Hearth and Home, Inspire Me Monday, Global Blogging, Senior Salon, InstaEncouragement, Let’s Have Coffee)

End-of-June Reflections

End of June ReflectionsJune has been another challenging month for our country. I continue to pray that God will use all that’s happening to draw people to Himself.

Personally, we’re doing much the same as we have been the last couple of months. COVID-19 cases in our area have been rising steadily, so we’re still sheltering in place. We did have one excursion to a state park. Not many people were there, and they stayed pretty much with their own groups.

My husband has been doing the grocery shopping since all this with the virus started, but I took a couple of turns doing it this month for various reasons. I had my first experience wearing a mask, and found it hot and stuffy. I was self-conscious about trying to speak with it on, but overall people seemed to understand each other. I kept forgetting about the 6-foot distancing—odd, because I’ve been extremely conscious of it elsewhere. I got too close to a guy and his mom a couple of times, and he was really jumpy. But he didn’t have a mask on.

We’re still finding what we need, if not the brands or sizes we want.

I also had a doctor’s appointment. I appreciated the doctor’s office taking extra precautions to try to keep anyone with anything that might be contagious separate.

Creating

I made three cards for Father’s Day. The first was for my step-father, who is a fan of a certain sci-fi show’s original series. 🙂

I adapted the idea from something I saw at Pinterest.

This one was done on the Cricut for my husband, Jim.

The challenge with this kind of design is gluing all the little pieces down without glue showing somewhere.

This was for my son, Jason, also done on the Cricut:

I loved this design because Timothy loves to explore. This looks just like him saying, “Look at that!” or “Let’s go over there!”

I also learned a new skill with Jason’s card. The figure and the words were from two different designs. I wanted to cut them out of the lighter shade and then lay that over the darker shade. But the Cricut automatically defaults to cutting a design out of the far left corner in order to save paper. After searching around, I discovered how to do what it calls attaching, so it would cut out the designs right where I placed them.

Watching

Summer TV is kind of a wasteland, with nothing much on besides a lot of celebrity game shows. I don’t even know who many of the celebrities are any more. We watch America’s Funniest Home Videos every week—even if they are reruns, we’ve forgotten enough of them that they are still funny to us. We also enjoy for the most part America’s Got Talent, though occasionally they’ll have an act we have to mute or fast forward through.

While riding my exercise bike, I watched a movie called Wish You Well via Amazon Prime about a family who goes to live with a great-grandmother the children never knew in the 1940s. The father just died in an accident and the mother is in a catatonic state. The daughter is navigating getting used to a new situation, grieving her father, blaming her mother, and getting to know a great-grandmother. The daughter’s father was a writer, and she likes to write as well. I think it had a “damn” or two in it, but otherwise it was a sweet, clean story.

Another I watched while stationary bike-riding was Under the Greenwood Tree. It’s based on a book by Thomas Hardy. I’ve never read Hardy, but evidently this is one of his few novels that isn’t tragic. A new schoolteacher comes to a village and is wooed by the the richest farmer in the area, a serious-minded vicar, and a poor but handsome young man. There are class and education differences, so the teacher has to decide whether to make “a good match” or follow her heart. There’s a subplot with what’s called a choir (but different from what we think of as a choir today) which the vicar wants to replace with a harmonium. According to Wikipedia, Hardy originally wanted to focus on the motley choir (or quire), but then decided to play up the romance instead. This was enjoyable and clean as well. It was also on Amazon prime.

My husband and I watched The Aeronauts on Amazon Prime. I had thought it was about the first people in a gas balloon, but it wasn’t: it was about the first people to break the height record for such a balloon and the man who thought they could be used for weather prediction. It’s based on true events, but some parts were too fantastical to be real. But it was an enjoyable, clean film.

We also finally watched last year’s movie version of Little Women., rented from iTunes. They changed a few things up from the book, but overall it was well-done. The cinematography was gorgeous. They went back and forth in the timeline instead of following a linear pattern like the books does. If I hadn’t been so familiar with the story, I would have found that confusing. But overall I enjoyed it very much.

Reading

Since last time, I finished (titles link back to my reviews):

I’m currently reading:

Blogging

Some of my posts this month, besides the weekly Friday’s Fave Fives and occasional Laudable Linkages:

Writing

I had a guest post accepted this month for Almost an Author titled Publishing Dreams Can Come True. I share a bit about the immense obstacles one author overcame to write what’s now considered a beloved classic. I want to encourage authors (and others!) to pursue their dreams and overcome their own obstacles with God’s help.

I also had a devotion accepted for Christian Devotions, but that won’t be published until September. I’d like to write for them more, because they allow for a smaller word count and require that you use just one verse. When I write on a topic, I tend to feel I need to study all the verses to make sure I’m balanced and accurate, and then I feel I need to somehow include all of that study into one blog post. That can make for a lengthy and maybe overly full post. The requirements of this site will help me simplify, hone in on one main thought, and cut out wordiness.

I was grateful and encouraged that these two sites accepted my submissions. I also did get some editing and revising done on my book. Yay!

I just realized I didn’t have any Timothyisms this month! I’ll have to do better at writing them down for next time.

The Bible says we never know what a day may bring forth, but that seems to be even more the case this year. Whatever is ahead, God knows and will give us grace to deal with it. We can go forth in confident expectation.

(Sharing with InstaEncouragement, Worth Beyond Rubies, Grace and Truth,
Faith on Fire, Global Blogging, Hearth and Soul, Senior Salon)

End-of May Reflections

May ReflectionsAs I am sure has been true for many of you, May was a rather quiet month. Mother’s Day was the only big event on the calendar. We enjoyed roasting hot dogs and making s’mores for Memorial Day. Most days just held everyday activities.

We had several socially-distanced visits outside with my son’s family at our house and theirs. Thankfully the weather has been pretty comfortable this month for outdoor gatherings. Since our state began opening up a little, and since the COVID cases in our area are low compared to others, we did start visiting inside (just in time to come into the air conditioning from hot weather). But otherwise we’re holding back from jumping full-fledged back into the fray.

Our church discussed meeting together again, and most wanted to wait for a bit. So we’ll still Zoom for now.

I’ve been distressed by the judgmentalism and name-calling in social media over simple things like wearing face masks, even among Christians, even among friends. I’ve had some ideas brewing for a post about it all, but probably should abstain. There are multiple facets to the COVID-19 crisis and multiple opinions even among experts, so it seems like we should give each other plenty of grace and room to differ.

But…on to more pleasant topics.

Family

Besides what I mentioned above, some of us were watching or listening to the SpaceX launch preparations, which had to be scrapped due to weather. Jason texted this picture of Timothy.

I asked Jim why the astronauts were being strapped in so early, then answered my own question by saying they probably had a lot of pre-checks and such to go through. Then I said, “If it were me, I’d have to say ‘You can strap me in now, but you’re going to have to let me up to use the bathroom before we leave.'”

Jim said, “That’s why you’re not an astronaut.”

Not the only reason, but, yes. 🙂

Timothyisms

I mentioned on a Friday’s Fave Five that my son’s Ring camera caught a guy peeking into their window for several minutes. My son spoke through the camera and the guy ran off, but the police were called and investigated the area. My son had recently had a run-in with poison ivy in their back yard, even though he had been wearing gloves. When Timothy learned that the “peeper” had run towards the back, he said in a singsongy voice, “There’s lots of poison ivy back there.” 🙂

Timothy just turned six in April. This month he was telling me about something that happened “a long time ago when I was five.”

I’ve mentioned before that Timothy loves to mow, especially when his Granddad brings over the riding lawn mower. Timothy has his own toy riding and push lawn mower and garden tools. His dad recently texted this comment from Timothy: “If you have a big yard, a push mower will make you very tired. I did that one time, and I wanted to stop, and I changed my mind to not give up.”

His mom and dad will sometimes take a bite from his plate and call it a “dad tax” or a “mom tax.” Monday, when we were eating outside for Memorial Day, Timothy had finished and gotten down to play. Then he came back, grabbed a couple of french fries from the bowl, and said, “Tim tax.”

Creating

It was sad to realize that all of the older women I had looked up to as moms, in addition to my own mom, are gone now.

The only Mother’s Day card I made this year was for my daughter-in-law, who likes purple and lavender. It didn’t turn out quite like I was picturing it in my mind, but I think she liked it. 🙂

I also finally finished making masks for the family. I had done them for everyone except Jesse and me, since we haven’t gone anywhere (and Jeremy in RI, because he already had some). But I wanted to get them done just so we’d have them when we needed them. Plus, we’re talking about using them even after our church meets in person. I’m not a good enough seamstress to do this for others, and none of them is perfect, but at least we’re covered—literally and figuratively. 🙂 And it was good to finally cross them off my to-do list.

Watching

Laura and Hope had both recommended This Beautiful Fantastic, and I loved it. It’s on Amazon prime, but I think it’s also on YouTube. It’s about a very OCD girl who learns that letting other people into her life can be messy but beneficial. It’s also about writing and gardening and grumpy neighbors. It’s quirky and had me smiley and teary at the end. Objectionable elements: I think there are a couple of “damns” or similar bad words, and an old man in a Speedo near the beginning (but that’s more gross than sexy).

I also very much enjoyed The English Game, a six-episode mini-series. I care very little about football (soccer), but I could appreciate the struggles of changing it from a “gentleman’s” game to make it more accessible to working men, and the controversy over whether to allow paid (professional) players. Differences got violent a couple of times, but I loved how the two main characters strove to come to an understanding of each other and wanted what was best for the good of the game. I read later that though the people and some of the plot basics were real, some of the points weren’t historically accurate. But I still enjoyed it. There are a few bad words, and sadly, a couple of instances of taking Jesus’ name in vain.

I also enjoyed some of John Krasinski’s “Some Good News” YouTube videos.

Reading

This month I completed (titles link back to my reviews):

  • Dying to Read by Lorena McCourtney, a cozy, somewhat comedic mystery about a young woman filling in for her uncle’s private investigation firm while looking for a new job. On her first minor case, she finds a dead body. I liked it okay, but this is not my favorite genre. If it’s yours, you might enjoy it more.
  • Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron, a story spanning three timelines around a castle in Scotland. Excellent.
  • A Season to Dance by Patrica Beal, about a ballerina seeking love and stardom. Interestingly, the author became a Christian during the course of writing this book.
  • Over to Candleford by Flora Thompson, the second in the Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy (audiobook).
  • Amberwell by D. E. Stevenson (audiobook). My first book of hers, but definitely not my last.

I’m currently reading:

Up next, I have these to choose from, plus scores on my Kindle app. I need a reading vacation! 🙂

Blogging

Here are some of the posts from this month:

  • Come, Let Us  Return to the Lord. “Wiersbe says, ‘One of the greatest judgments God can inflict on any people is to let them have their own way.’ Fortunately, God doesn’t give people up easily.”
  • How Do You Know if God Is Displeased with You? A Twitter thread on this question listed a vague uneasiness, a sinking feeling, life not working out right. None mentioned asking Him or going to His Word.
  • Real Life Devotions. We set ourselves up for failure if we wait for the perfect plan, time, or setting.
  • Why Doesn’t God Explain? Maybe because we couldn’t understand if He did. But because we know Him, we can trust Him.
  • Real Life Prayer. “Prayer isn’t a ritual or a performance. It’s a conversation with God.”

Writing

I still haven’t gotten to my WIP (work in progress). But I did submit a devotional and a guest post and am waiting to hear if they are accepted.

I also listened to several webinars and podcasts on writing. I appreciated that the webinars were offered for free to make up for some of the writing conferences that had been canceled. I got a few nuggets from each one. But I am thinking that, for the time spent, reading books might be better for me. With the webinars and podcasts, there’s always a bit of banter and often a rabbit trail or two. The q-and-a webinars were great to submit questions to, but they also covered a little bit of ground on a great many aspects of writing. But a book would present whole topics from start to finish, and I think my particular learning style would benefit from them more. I have several books on writing on my shelf and in my Kindle.

But beyond reading about writing—I need to just write!

Even though summer doesn’t officially start for a few weeks now, June 1 always signals the first of summer to me. Since our children are no longer in school, our schedule doesn’t change much any more between spring and summer. We don’t have any major plans until August, when we hope our oldest will be able to come for his and my birthdays. We’ll see what happens! This is a season of holding plans loosely, for we truly don’t know what  day will bring forth.

How was your May? What are you looking forward to in June?

(Sharing with Let’s Have Coffee, Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire, Global Blogging,
Senior Salon, Hearth and Home, Inspire Me Monday, Tell His Story,
InstaEncouragement, Worth Beyond Rubies)