May Reflections

May Reflections

When I read of others attending graduations and all manner of end-of-year activities, or preparing for weddings or summer trips, our May seems pretty tame. But the month still seemed to fly by.

Our only school-aged member, Timothy, successfully completed third grade and is ready for a school-less summer. His parents hosted and end of year get-together for him.

My youngest, Jesse, flew to RI to visit my oldest son, Jeremy. He’s been excited about the trip, his first solo trek. He’s not one to update with texts during his endeavors, so I am excited to hear about it when he comes home.

We enjoyed a feast on Mother’s Day and getting annuals in our planters. My roses are exploding.

The rest of May was filled with family gatherings, everyday chores . . . and a couple of dentist visits.

Creating

I made this card for Mittu for Mother’s Day.

The message, yellow scallops, and hearts were made with punches.

Watching

One good movie we streamed via Pluto was Front of the Class. It was based on a true story about Brad Cohen, who developed Tourette’s Syndrome at age six, before much was known about the disability. Psychiatrists thought he was in denial about the pain of his parents’ divorce. His father thought he was just being willful to get attention. One friend of his mother’s asked if she had ever considered consulting an exorcist. His mother found out about Tourette’s Syndrome through her own research. Of course, all this time, Brad was laughed at by his fellow students, reprimanded by teachers, unable to go to libraries or movies because of the noises he couldn’t control. When he grew up, he wanted to be, of all things, a teacher. He had a hard time finding a job, even though the Americans with Disabilities Act had been passed, because administrators didn’t think he could control a classroom. But finally someone gave him a chance.

While looking for the trailer, I saw the whole movie was on YouTube here. I wish I had known. Pluto is free but has a gazillion ads.

An okay film was a Hallmark production also on Pluto called The Valley of Light. A man comes home from WWII to find his mother has passed away, his brother is in prison, and someone else has their farm. He drifts around doing odd jobs until he comes to a town that has a fishing contest in a couple of weeks. He has a knack for fishing, so he stays around, gets to know some of the townsfolk, begins to think he might settle there–until tragedy strikes. The movie was clean, funny in parts and sweet in others. The cinematography was gorgeous. But there were a couple of weird parts, like running into a guy who directed him to the town and finding out later that man had died five years before.

I also enjoyed Jeopardy! Masters, in which six of the top-scoring Jeopardy! players of all time had a tournament. Their initial individual runs had lasted weeks, plus they’ve been back for the Tournament of Champions and other appearances, so they are well-known to each other and most viewers. It was so fun to watch the six of them play together.

Reading

Since last time I completed:

  • Circle of Spies by Roseanna M. White, the third in her Culper Spy Rings series. Set during the Civil War, a young widow discovers her late husband and his brother, her intended fiancee, are part of a covert organization bent on toppling Lincoln and seizing power. She tries to gather information to pass along to stop them.
  • The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip by Sara Brunsvold. A young ambitious cub reporter oversteps and is punished by being sent to interview Mrs. Kip, a dying older lady, for her obituary. But Mrs. Kip is more than she bargained for. Very good.
  • All That It Takes by Nicole Deese, sequel to All That Really Matters. A single mom has to overcome her insecurities to step out and try for an opportunity she’s always wanted. Her landlord, who is also her best friend’s brother, is disillusioned with new leadership in his church which shut down his outreach ministries. He considers whether to resign and move to Mexico. Excellent.
  • Miss Buncle’s Book by D. E. Stevenson. audiobook. A quiet single woman makes money by writing novels in which her neighbors are disguised as her characters. But some of the neighbors recognize themselves and their village. Delightful story.
  • Miss Buncle Married by D. E. Stevenson, audiobook, sequel to the book above. Miss Buncle marries her publisher and moves to the country, where she finds another batch of colorful characters.
  • The Shenandoah Road: A Novel of the Great Awakening by Lynne Basham Tagawa.

I’m currently reading:

  • Be Worshipful (Psalms 1-89): Glorifying God for Who He Is by Warren W. Wiersbe
  • Blogging for God’s Glory in a Clickbait World by Benjamin Vrbicek and John Beeson
  • Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul by Hannah Anderson
  • The Two Mrs. Abbotts by D. E. Stevenson (audiobook)
  • The Dwelling Place by Elizabeth Musser

Blogging

Besides the weekly Friday Fave Fives, Saturday Laudable Linkage, and book reviews, I’ve posted these since last time:

Writing

I was able to incorporate the edits from my critique group. I signed up to present my next chapter at the end of this month. That’s a little early in the rotation, but mid-July through mid-September is birthday season around here, plus my oldest son comes to visit in August. There’s nothing like a deadline to stir up motivation. I have several thoughts for revising this next section and look forward to sitting down to try them out.

Though summer doesn’t officially start for a few more weeks, Memorial Day and the first of June seem to mark the beginning of summer. Our schedule doesn’t change much, except my dear husband has to mow the grass regularly. I like having more light in the evening, except for the very longest days in June which make it hard to wind down at night. We look forward to whatever next month brings.

How was your May? Do you have any plans for June?

(I often link up with some of these bloggers.)

April Reflections

April reflections

I thought I’d go ahead and share my end-of-month post since I have other things scheduled for the last few days of April.

I found a quote from Mark Twain in my files that seems to describe April weather: “In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours” (from a speech titled “The Oldest Inhabitant-The Weather of New England”). It sure feels that way! We’ve had another cold snap this week, but I hope we’ve seen the last of 30-degree weather til next October.

We finally went to an annual “Chalk Walk” event downtown where artists drew masterpieces on Market Square. We enjoyed celebrating Easter and my grandson’s 9th birthday this month. But otherwise, April has been pretty low-key. Even still, it seems to be passing all too quickly.

One big change in our schedule is that my husband started working four days a week instead of five. He usually works much more than 8 hours a day anyway, so it was no hardship to change his work week to four ten hour days. Now he has Fridays off to get away from the pressures of work and get other things done or just relax. He took Timothy fishing last weekend.

The only problem with a four-day work week is that I get discombobulated on Fridays, feeling like they are Saturdays. 🙂

One sobering event this month was the death of the man who was a youth pastor in my home church during my college years. I was out of the youth group by that time, but I got to know him while working in the church office one summer while the church secretary was out sick. His wife gave me several recipes, one of which shows up regularly for dinner (Cherokee Casserole–this recipe is pretty similar except I use tomato sauce instead of tomatoes and American cheese instead of cheddar). He and his wife were missionaries in Mexico for several decades. He developed a sudden kidney problem and died the day before he was supposed to start treatment. I felt for his wife having to deal with everything in Mexico, but she said the folks at the churches there were a big help. She’s planning to stay there for now.

Then I mentioned last week that Ron Hamilton passed away. We did not not know him and his wife personally, but felt in some ways like we did. Our whole family listened to and sang his music since before our kids were born. His death was not unexpected, as he had been declining from early-onset dementia for years. It’s a mercy, in a way, that he is released from the effects of illness on his body. But I almost get teary when a song of his comes on the radio or my playlist.

Timothyisms

It’s been a long time since I shared one of these. Last night, Jim mentioned that our lilac bush was in bloom. He commented his grandmother usually wore lilac-scented perfume, so he always connected that scent with her. Mittu asked Timothy what his grandmother smelled like. He replied, “Cookies and clean laundry.” 🙂

Creating

As I looked on Pinterest for card ideas for Timothy’s birthday, I saw these free downloads for a Minecraft birthday party. I used one of their sign designs for a card. I figured that would be better than anything I could do by hand.

Watching and Listening

I have a couple of podcasts queued up that I haven’t listened to yet.

I enjoyed watching the latest season of The Mandalorian. As I mentioned before, I am not all that into Star Wars, but I really like this series.

My husband and I watched On a Wing and a Prayer, based on a true story about a man and his family who were passengers in a friend’s small plane when the pilot had a heart attack. It was not the best-made film we’ve ever seen. But it was enjoyable. I liked that during the closing credits it included some footage of the real-life man from the story who had to land the plane.

We also watched Ithaca, a coming-of-age story about a teenager during WWII. His father has passed away and his older brother is a soldier, so he takes on a job with the telegraph office to help out at home. In that era, however, most of the telegraphs he delivers are informing families of the death of their sons. His eyes are opened to hard things in the world. The movie moved very slowly. I told my husband, it could have been really sweet and poignant, but there was something missing. I just couldn’t put my finger on what. Then I learned this film was a remake of The Human Comedy, an older film starring a young Mickey Rooney. I may watch that some time for comparison.

Reading

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

I’m currently reading:

  • Be Worshipful (Psalms 1-89): Glorifying God for Who He Is by Warren Wiersbe
  • Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul by Hannah Anderson
  • Blogging for God’s Glory in a Clickbait World by Benjamin Vrbicek and John Beeson
  • Circle of Spies by Roseanna M. White, audiobook
  • All That It Takes by Nicole Deese
  • The Dwelling Place by Elizabeth Musser

Blogging

Besides the weekly Friday Fave Fives, Saturday Laudable Linkage, and book reviews, I’ve posted these since last time:

A few weeks ago, I read Broken Links: How Often Should You Check and Fix Them on Your Blog. I used to fix old non-working links in my blog as I discovered them, mainly as a courtesy so someone who found an older post wouldn’t get frustrated by links that no longer went anywhere. But I didn’t know, until this article, that search engines would rank your blog lower if you have a lot of broken links. Plus, this author, Hugh, says spammers are more active on blogs with broken links. Both these effects result from broken links in the comments as well as in one’s post. He shared Broken Link Check Dot Com and told how to use it. So I’ve spent a couple of sessions ferreting out broken links and fixing or deleting them. I can only stand to do a handful at a time, so I have a long way to go yet.

Writing

No real headway this month. Hopefully I’ll get back into it next month.

How was your April? Are you looking forward to anything in May?

March Reflections

When I was a child, my siblings and I would sometimes get scolded for coming in and out of the house too often. We didn’t have central air conditioning until I was halfway through high school, so my parents weren’t concerned about letting cool air out or hot air in. But the frequently open door let in mosquitos and flies. Plus it was probably irritating when the door banged shut so often. We were told to decide what we were going to do and do it–either stay in or stay out for longer than a few minutes.

The entrance of spring reminds me of my childhood self. It’s as if the season can’t quite decide whether to settle in or retreat for a while. Or maybe winter is the culprit, setting out to leave, but coming back with, “Oh, and one more thing . . . “

We have a few more nights in the mid-30s coming up next week. But hopefully after that winter will stay out and spring will stay put a while.

March has been a pretty balanced month—not overly busy, but with a few fun things on the calendar. We celebrated my husband’s birthday early in the month. One Saturday we visited Fort Loudoun, a pre-Revolutionary War settlement, and the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum. We enjoyed several family times with dinner and games or just chatting.

Our church search has finally brought us to one that seems very promising. Over the next weeks we’ll explore Sunday School and some of the other get-togethers. I have high hopes.

I can’t recall watching or listening to much of interest this month that I’d want to recommend, so I’ll skip that section this time.

Creating

I just made one card this month, for Jim’s birthday.

The numbers are puffy foam stickers.

Reading

Last time, I had just finished Dakota Dawn, Dakota Dream, and Dakota Dusk by Lauraine Snelling, a novella series about Norwegian immigrants who settle in North Dakota in the early 1900s, but hadn’t had a chance to review them yet. They were packaged together in one audiobook.

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

I’m currently reading:

  • Be Joyful (Philippians): Even When Things Go Wrong, You Can Have Joy by Warren Wiersbe
  • Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul by Hannah Anderson
  • Murder Your Darlings: And Other Gentle Writing Advice from Aristotle to Zinsser by Roy Peter Clark
  • The Forgotten Life of Eva Gordon by Linda MacKillop
  • All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese
  • Ring of Secrets by Roseanna M. White, audiobook

Blogging

Besides the weekly Friday Fave Fives, Saturday Laudable Linkage, and book reviews, I’ve posted these since last time:

Writing

Finally, after a lot of prayer, motivated writing time in order to present to my critique group, and their very helpful and encouraging feedback, I’ve made major headway with my “problem chapter.” I wish I could stop everything and just write for a week. I guess most writers feel that way.

As we turn the calendar page to April, we look forward to Timothy’s birthday, Easter, warmer weather, and more blooms.

How was your March? What are you looking forward to in April?

February Reflections

February has been an up and down month in many ways besides temperatures.

Early in the month we got word that Jim’s sister was not doing well. Then she passed away just a few days before her 67th birthday. She didn’t want any kind of service, so we didn’t travel up to OR. We kind of missed that closure and opportunity to see family, but we were able to touch base with some online. Jim and his oldest brother are the only ones left of his immediate family.

We had a nice Valentine’s Day with all the family. For the first time in I-don’t-know-when, Jim and I went for a pre-Valentine date. I enjoyed that quite a bit. Maybe we’ll start a new tradition!

The very next week was our dear daughter-in-law’s birthday. And, as I mentioned in the last Friday’s Fave Five, the kids saw that this week was the tenth anniversary of my husband’s surgery to remove a cancerous kidney. So they surprised him with “Kidney day,” including dinner and a kidney-shaped cake.

In-between those events, we had an excursion with Timothy and Jason to the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, TN. It focused much on OR’s part in the development of the nuclear bomb and the more productive ways they’ve used the science and equipment since then.

We’re still visiting churches and racking up some . . . interesting experiences. I don’t know if I will post about them. I am still processing them. As we pray for God’s leading and keep finding places with issues too big for us to want to join, I am asking God what He wants me to learn from this.

Creating

February and December are my biggest card-making months, since I make a card for all the immediate family for Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

This one was for Jim.

The words in the middle were from a sticker collection he had given me.

This was Jeremy’s.

He likes foxes. This fox is a multi-layered sticker. The mushrooms, leaves, and words were stickers as well. I love that this paper isn’t the traditional pink or red hearts (though I love traditional Valentine’s colors, too!)

This is Jason’s.

I wanted to use the candy hearts idea, and these were the only designs I found on the Cricut that would be appropriate for a mother to a son. 🙂

This was Mittu’s.

This was done on the Cricut (except the words). There’s a reason I chose this design . . . if it comes to fruition, I’ll let you in on it. 🙂 Also, I just noticed that a swirl in the bottom and top paper met on the left. I wasn’t trying to do that, so that was a nice surprise. 🙂

This was Timothy’s.

These hearts are from Minecraft, a game he likes to play. This was all done with the Cricut.

And this was Jesse’s.

I adapted it from an idea I saw on Pinterest. The hearts were made with a heart punch.

Then this one was for Mittu’s birthday.

She likes purple and sunflowers, which I’ve used a lot in the past. But she also likes daisies, and I had these adorable multi-level daisy stickers.

Watching and Listening

I didn’t listen to any podcasts this month, but I read the transcripts of a couple from Author Media.

We did see some interesting movies. One was a Polish film called Run, Boy, Run based on a true story. A young Jewish boy ends up alone in Poland, trying to hide his identity and look for work from farm to farm. It’s amazing the cruelty of some people, but the great risk others are willing to undergo to help.I enjoyed the bit at the end with the man whose childhood was depicted here.

I was looking forward to The Most Reluctant Convert about C. S. Lewis’ conversion. It was interesting to hear his story as he might tell it. I knew much of it from reading various biographies, but there were a few details I didn’t know. There were a few acted-put parts (with Nicholas Ralph from All Creatures Great and Small playing Lewis as a young man). But I think it might have been better with a few more acted parts and less narrator-talking-while-walking sections. Still, I enjoyed it overall.

Fanny’s Journey was another WWII film based on a true story about a child. In this case, a girl and her sisters are sent to a group home in the French countryside, but have to flee with their guardians. They miss a contact and end up roaming around by themselves.

With as star-studded a cast as the 2017 Murder on the Orient Express had, I am surprised I hadn’t heard about it, at least not that I remembered. I had never read the book or seen another version, so the conclusion was a surprise to me. There’s a bit of language and innuendo that I have to think was probably not in Agatha Christie’s original version.

We also finished up All Creatures Great and Small and loved it, though the season seemed way too short. I read a few of Masterpiece‘s behind-the-scenes articles about the show. I especially enjoyed the ones about the food in the show’s scenes and the costumes.

Reading

Since last time, I finished:

  • Be Rich (Ephesians): Gaining the Things That Money Can’t Buy by Warren W. Wiersbe. This was a reread. I linked to my review of it from a few years ago. This time I slowed down and only read about half a chapter of Ephesians a day to go along with Wierbe’s chapters. Ephesians is so packed, it helped to take it in smaller chunks.
  • Writing for the Soul: Instruction and Advice from an Extraordinary Writing Life by Jerry B. Jenkins. Very good.
  • Unveiling the Past, by Kim Vogel Sawye, audiobook. A cold case detective’s current case about a missing father unearths feelings about her own absentee dad. Excellent.
  • Dakota Dawn, Dakota Dream, and Dakota Dusk by Lauraine Snelling, a novella series about Norwegian immigrants who settle in North Dakota in the early 1900s. They are packaged together in one audiobook. Just finished, not reviewed yet. Very good.
  • The Fence My Father Built by Linda S. Clare, audiobook, not reviewed or recommended.

I’m currently reading:

  • Be Patient (Job): Waiting on God In Difficult Times by Warren W. Wiersbe
  • Murder Your Darlings: And Other Gentle Writing Advice from Aristotle to Zinsser by Roy Peter Clark
  • Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear by Jinger Duggar Vuolo
  • All That’s Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment by Hannah Anderson
  • The Space Between Words by Michele Phoenix
  • Dakota December by Lauraine Snelling, audiobook

Blogging

Besides the weekly Friday Fave Fives, Saturday Laudable Linkage, and book reviews, I’ve posted these since last time:

Writing

I plugged away on my work-in-progress a bit, but need to make more time for it.

Even though February is a short month, it seemed to last a long time. Only 20 days until spring!

How was your February? Looking forward to anything in March?

January Reflections

I used to dislike January because all the excitement of Christmas was over, all the decorations and lights were taken down, the weather was cold, the skies were overcast. But in the last few years, I’ve appreciated January as a restful month after the busyness of December.

This January has not been as restful as usual. But keeping busy helps keep my mind off winter. One thing that encourages me the most is the knowledge that we’ve been getting a little more daylight every day since the winter equinox.

I shared on some Fridays Fave Five posts that we went with Jason, Mittu, and Timothy to a car show and then with Jesse to a Knoxville Symphony Orchestra performance of the music from Jurassic Park—while the movie played.

One not-as-fun outing was a visit to the dentist for a filling, only to discover that the damage to the tooth was more extensive than originally thought and will require more work. I had to take antibiotics for an infection in the tooth and still need to call the dentist back to discuss the next steps. As much as I don’t want to deal with this, it won’t go away until I do.

I’ve mentioned here and there that we’ve been visiting churches in search of a new church home. We loved the folks at our last church, but had a difference of opinion over a doctrinal distinction that we didn’t hold to. We still love them and wish them well, but just felt we were going a different direction.

It’s a little unsettling not to have a church home. Much of our conversation the last several months has been discussing and weighing the different places we’ve visited. One good thing, though, is finding small groups of believers here and there that love God.

I usually share the cards I’ve made each month, but there were none this time.

And I don’t have much worth mentioning in the watching/listening category except the new season of All Creatures Great and Small on PBS.

So, on to books and blog posts!

Reading

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

I’m currently reading:

  • Be Rich (Ephesians): Gaining the Things That Money Can’t Buy by Warren W. Wiersbe
  • Writing for the Soul: Instruction and Advice from an Extraordinary Writing Life by Jerry B. Jenkins
  • All That’s Good by Hannah Anderson
  • The Fence My Father Built by Linda S. Clare (audiobook). Not sure I’ll be able to recommend this as it seems to promote a syncretism between trusting “Jesus and all the angels” and one’s Native American ancestors. But I’ll see how it ends up.
  • The Space Between Words by Michele Phoenix

Blogging

Besides the weekly Friday Fave Fives, Saturday Laudable Linkage, and book reviews, I’ve posted these since last time:

  • Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled, drawing on Jesus’ counsel to His disciples just before He was arrested.
  • Everyday Hallelujahs. “But worship isn’t just for Sundays or public gatherings. We don’t acknowledge God on Sundays and then go back to our regular work without giving Him any more thought. We can worship Him in everything we do because He is with us and has given us all we have.”
  • What Does God Want Us to Continue? We often start January with new goals. But some things we should continue from year to year.
  • Be Your Own Unique Style of Grandparent. We probably don’t compare ourselves to other grandparents as we did with other parents. Still, it’s good to know there are any number of ways to grandparent. But our main desire is that “through our love, our lives, our testimony, and our words, we can have a great influence on them for God.”
  • How Churches Can Help Visitors

Writing

I’ve finally made a dent in my hardest chapter! The problem is having more information than one chapter can contain and finding the best way to present it so the reader isn’t bogged down. I’m motivated because my turn to present to our critique group is coming up in March, and I’d really like to have made a good headway on this so I can get the group’s feedback.

Though January has been a pleasant month, I am happy for it to end. We look forward to Valentine’s Day, something we do up big with the family, and my daughter-in-law’s birthday next month. And as of this writing, we’re only 48 days away from spring!

December Reflections

I imagine your December was filled with many of the same things ours was: Christmas decorating, shopping, wrapping, addressing Christmas cards and writing family newsletters, cleaning and preparing for family members or friends to visit. I’ve often thought that the Christmas “extras” would be a lot more manageable without the everyday stuff that still needs to be done. 🙂 Thankfully, my husband offered to get take-out several times before Christmas week and helped me with some tasks.

Jim and I celebrated our 43rd anniversary with a dinner out at a nice restaurant.

The week before Christmas, my grandson, Timothy, tested positive for Covid. We were thinking about whether it would be best to put Christmas celebrations off for a day or try to celebrate separately over FaceTime. But, thankfully, his fever broke and symptoms lessened in time to do Christmas as scheduled.

This was not a white Christmas, but it was the coldest one we’ve had since we were married. We’ve reached a low of 7F in the middle of some winter nights, but this year we were at 3 or 4 for a couple of days.

We managed to get to a Christmas concert by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and a small new drive-through light show as well as dinner out a couple of times.

And we had a wonderful Christmas together with lots of catching up and games on the other nights.

Thankfully, my oldest son is here for two weeks. I’m so glad, because Christmas week was so busy and went by so fast. Even though he’s working from our home this week, we have an extra weekend and evenings this week to be together. And with Timothy sick over a few days and Mittu one day, it’s nice to have a few extra days built into this visit.

Creating

I send out store-bought cards to extended friends and family, but make cards for immediate family. That makes December a busy card-making month with family Christmas cards as well as our anniversary and my step-father’s birthday.

This was my card to Jim for our anniversary:

The birds and branch were done on the Cricut. The white background was embossed on the Cuttlebug.The writing was printed on the computer–I usually do all my greetings and inside sentiments on cardstock through the computer, several on one page, and cut them apart.

This was Jim’s card for Christmas.

The white trees were embossed with the Cuttlebug and the deer was made with the Cricut.

This was Jeremy’s:

The fox was from a free download found on Pinterest. I printed him off on cardstock and cut him out with an Exacto knife. The trees were made via Cricut and dabbed with a glue stick and then doused with glitter. This was the first card I made this year, because I wanted Jeremy’s to be done before he came. I made a note to myself not to make the first card with glitter unless I want all the cards to have glitter. 🙂 I think I still have glitter on my work table and even had some embedded on my glue stick.

This was Jason’s:

I don’t know if you can tell, but the letters and center snowflake are big spongy stickers. Then I put a few more of the snowflake stickers in the center of the snowflakes on the background paper.

This was Mittu’s:

I was especially pleased with this one. I couldn’t find a design on the Cricut for a long branch of a pine or fir tree, so I cut out four smaller ones and arranged them.

This was Timothy’s:

The gingerbread stickers from Hobby Lobby were made out of fabric, ribbon, and buttons. I was delighted to find scrapbooking paper with Christmas cookies for the background on one of my multi-packs of paper.

And this was for Jesse:

This is all done with stickers except the background scrapbooking paper. After it was too late, I realized I should have cut apart the “JOY” sticker and spread out the letters a bit.

This was for my step-father’s after-Christmas birthday.

I found this paper in a pad of Christmas scrapbooking paper, too, but thought it looked like it would do for a non-Christmas card.

Watching and Listening

Somehow we didn’t watch some of our usual favorite Christmas movies. But we did see a really good new-to-us one. My husband likes WWII movies and somehow found one set during Christmas. Silent Night was made in 2002, starring Linda Hamilton. She plays a mom in Germany whose home gets bombed. Her husband is a soldier, but she’s not in sympathy with the war. She and her son travel to their family’s hunting cabin, which happens to be near the front lines. Three American soldiers burst in on Christmas Eve, one of them wounded. They take over her cabin and distrust her efforts to help. She has her son hide the soldiers’ guns. And then three German soldiers come. . . She tries to negotiate a Christmas peace for the night while the soldiers are all wary of each other.

We also watched Meet John Doe, and old black and white film with Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper. A newspaper columnist is fired but has one last column to write. She makes up a story about receiving a letter from an unemployed John Doe saying he’s going to jump off a building on Christmas Eve in protest of the state of the world. A number of people write in, offering John Doe jobs and giving him reasons to stay. The reporter convinces the newspaper to hire a man to impersonate “John Doe.” As people do for publicity, the newspaper and backers push and milk the story for all it’s worth, and the whole thing grows into a movement. But one businessman funding the scheme has his own agenda.

And, I’m not much for Hallmark Christmas movies, but I did enjoy The Mistletoe Promise while wrapping presents one afternoon. A lawyer is not fond of Christmas after some disappointments earlier in his life.He runs into a businesswoman in the food court who feels the same way due to her scheming ex-husband, with whom she still works. The lawyer is up for partner, but his boss is big on family values. He feels his chances would increase if he had a girlfriend and was heading towards marriage. So he proposes the “mistletoe contract” with his businesswoman friend, where she’ll pretend to be his girlfriend. To make it more realistic, they attend several Christmas events together. And, of course, you now what happens. 🙂 But it was a sweet movie overall.

I finished listening to the Literary Life podcasts on Dracula. They ended the series with a program on “Dracula At the Movies,” showing how the film adaptations changed over the years as society’s perception of evil changed. The book comes from the view that Dracula represents evil and must be destroyed.But later films change the story to provoke sympathy for Dracula and eventually to regard him as the mistreated hero.

I also listened to Your Best Writing Life’s podcasts on Organize Your Writing Life for Higher Productivity with Liana George and Writing Hybrid Devotional Studies with Kathy Howard (hybrid devotional studies being something between one verse and a couple of paragraphs on one hand and a full-fledged Bible study with an hour’s homework on the other hand).

Reading

I recapped all the books I read this year here and chose my top twelve here. But just to be consistent and share what I read since last month:

  • Joy: A Godly Woman’s Adornment by Lydia Brownback. A series of 42 fairly short devotions on the topic of joy. Very good.
  • Be Determined (Nehemiah): Standing Firm in the Face of Opposition by Warren W. Wiersbe
  • Be Alive (John 1-12): Get to Know the Living Savior by Warren Wiersbe
  • The Christmas Hirelings by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, a delightful reread–or re-listen in this case.
  • Midnight, Christmas Eve by Andy Clapp. Two teens pledge to come back to their bench in their hometown in five years on Christmas Eve and get engaged. He comes; she doesn’t. He keeps coming for the next few years. Very good, sweet story.
  • Snowed In for Christmas by Cami Checketts. As the title indicates, two people who are attracted to each other but determined not to get together for their own reasons are snowed in together. Silly in places, but a good story overall.
  • The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck. Five New Yorkers receive a mysterious invitation to a book society in an old library. No one knows who sent the invitations or what the participants are expected to do, but they all decide to keep meeting and see what happens. There were a couple of elements I objected to, but overall it was a good, engaging story.
  • Heaven and Nature Sings: 25 Advent Reflections to Bring Joy to the World by Hannah Anderson. An excellent advent devotional. I have not reviewed it yet: I plan to do so next week.

I’m currently reading:

  • Seasons of Sorrow: The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God by Tim Challies. Almost done!
  • Writing for the Soul: Instruction and Advice from an Extraordinary Writing Life by Jerry B. Jenkins
  • Be Transformed (John 13-21): Christ’s Triumph Means Your Transformation by Warren W. Wiersbe
  • Hope for Christmas by Malissa Chapin

Blogging

Besides the weekly Friday Fave Fives, Saturday Laudable Linkage, and book reviews and book recap posts previously mentioned, I’ve posted these since last time:

  • The Meekness of Wisdom. It takes meekness both to receive and share wisdom.
  • God Does Not Forget Prayers or Promises. God ended 400 years of silence with an announcement of John the Baptist’s birth. He cares and has not forgotten His people, even though His timing is different than ours.
  • Why Did Jesus Come as a Baby? There are a number of reasons Jesus came to earth as a human, but why specifically as a baby? Some thoughts here.
  • The Savior of the World Is Here. Herod was once called “the Savior of the World.” But a baby born to poor parents in a stable was the only one with a claim to that title.

Writing

Not much, if any, this month! Our critique group disbanded for the holidays and will start back up in January. I hope to really dig into my writing then.

I wish you all the best for the coming year!

November Reflections

November has been another quick and busy month. We’ve had some frigid days and frosty nights interspersed with temperate ones.

We started the month with a couple of big gatherings. The church we’re visiting had a joint service with a “sister church” in another area. It was a wonderful day of worshiping together. Then our neighborhood had its first big get-together in a long time, something we used to every year.

We were thankful for the privilege of voting earlier in the month. We had some fun get-togethers with the family, including some dry ice “experiments” that Timothy loved.

We got to experience a couple of Thanksgiving testimony times in the church we’ve been visiting. I mentioned last Friday that churches we’ve been in used to have testimony times regularly, especially right before Thanksgiving, and I have missed them. Especially being new to this church, we don’t know everyone’s backgrounds. What a joy to hear how God has worked in lives.

Then, of course, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving with all the kids except our out-of-state one, and he had “piesgiving” with friends (all the food was in the form of a pie).

Creating

We had no birthdays this month, but I made these for a couple of friends going through different trials.

The message for both cards was made with a stamp. The leaf shapes were made with the Cuttlebug, which usually just does embossing. But I have a couple of folders which actually cut out shapes.

The strip of leaves is one of my favorite things. I have a square stamp with four leaves on it, and I use a multi-colored stamp pad and turn the stamp a quarter-turn each time. I didn’t come up with this idea; I saw it demonstrated somewhere.

I had wanted to use another leaf strip on this one, but the one I had got messed up when I touched it with damp hands. It takes a long time for that kind of ink to dry, so I looked for another idea to use instead. The roses were from a small embossing folder for the Cuttlebug. The color of the paper reminded me of some beautiful off-white roses I saw in a fall wedding once.

Watching and Listening

I enjoyed the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, though the player I was rooting for was robbed. You may have heard about the Bible question used for a final Jeopardy! round that the writers got wrong (if not, you can read about it here).

We enjoyed watching Disenchanted with the family, the sequel to Enchanted. In the first movie, an animated princess finds her handsome prince and is about to start her happily-ever-after when the stepmother of her groom-to-be pushes her down a well into the real world, which is quite a culture shock. The people in the real world don’t know what to make of her, either. But over time she discovers a handsome lawyer and finds that fairy tale love is shallow compared to the real thing.

In the sequel, the little daughter from the first movie is now a teenager, and daughter and stepmother clash. The stepmother, Giselle, thinks a move to a castle-like house in the suburbs will help. But it makes relationships with her stepdaughter worse. She finds the means to make a wish and desires a “fairy tale life.” Immediately, people are clothed with fairy tale attire and start singing and dancing in the streets. Giselle’s husband goes on a quest to find some way to display heroism. But Giselle forgot that stepmothers in fairy tales are evil. Her family and friends have to find a way to reverse the wish before it becomes permanent.

The second movie wasn’t as charming as the first, but I liked the twist on the usual fairy tale arc. I loved some of the nods to other fairy tale movies. But I thought some of the song lyrics were silly.

I’ve been listening to the Literary Life Podcast episodes on Dracula–not my usual fare, but I read it along with my son through Dracula Daily, which sent out the diary entries, letters, newspaper articles that make up the book on the dates listed. It was a fun way to read it, and the podcast has brought out much more than I gleaned on my own.

Reading

Since last time I have finished (linked to my reviews):

  • Three Fifty-Seven: Timing Is Everything by Hank Stewart and Kendra Norman-Bellamy. An elderly widow finds new purpose in making herself available to help various neighbors. This was a really sweet story but was marred by too much detail in a couple of the characters’ bedrooms.
  • Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer. Hazel’s little sister, Maggie, was lost when Hazel was ten, and Hazel has borne the guilt of that for sixty years. Her losses cause her to be perfectionist and anxiously controlling, which causes her daughter to rebel. She hasn’t told her daughter or granddaughter, but the latter accidentally stumbles across some old photos. The granddaughter, Meghan, is a cold case detective who investigates Maggie’s disappearance. This is one of Kim’s best.
  • Worthy of Legend by Roseanna M. White, the last in her Isles of Scilly series. Two background characters from the previous books come to the forefront in a race against another group to find a long-hidden artifact. Excellent.
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker.
  • Be Free (Galatians): Exchange Legalism for True Spirituality by Warren Wiersbe. I reread the book this month, but the review is from a couple of years ago when I first read it.
  • Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth. A good book of a midwife’s experiences in the 1950s, but marred by graphic descriptions of a dancer in a brothel.

I read the section on Ezra in Be Heroic (Minor Prophets): Demonstrating Bravery by Your Walk by Warren W. Wiersbe. Ezra is usually grouped together with Nehemiah, which follows on its heels in history. Wiersbe put Ezra in with the minor prophets instead, since the timeline does fit there as well. I had read the rest of this book a while back when reading through the minor prophets–but didn’t review it then because I hadn’t read the Ezra section yet.

I’m currently reading:

  • Joy: A Godly Woman’s Adornment by Lydia Brownback
  • Seasons of Sorrow: The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God by Tim Challies
  • Writing for the Soul: Instruction and Advice from an Extraordinary Writing Life by Jerry B. Jenkins
  • Be Determined (Nehemiah): Standing Firm in the Face of Opposition by Warren W. Wiersbe
  • Snowed In for Christmas by Cami Checketts (audiobook)

I’m looking forward to some Christmas reading in the next few weeks!

Blogging

Besides the weekly Friday Fave Fives, Saturday Laudable Linkage, and book reviews, I’ve posted these since last time:

  • Careful of Our Strengths as Well as Our Weaknesses. We’re often concerned about our weaknesses tripping us up. But we can fail in areas of strength as well. We need God’s strength and guidance for both.
  • You Don’t Have to Choose a Word for the Year. Many people benefit from the practice, but it’s not a must. What’s most important is regularly spending time with God in His Word, seeking His guidance for the day.
  • Hope in Darkness. The time change caused darkness to descend earlier in the evenings, which can be depressing for some of us. I did a quick Bible study on darkness and found the Bible had some encouraging things to say about it..
  • God Is Always Working Even When We Don’t See. It’s discouraging when we pray for a long time with seemingly no response, especially when praying for spiritual needs. But God is at work under the surface.
  • A Confession of Praise. One Hebrew word can be translated as either “confess” or “give thanks or praise.” When we thank and praise God, we’re confessing that He is who He proclaims to be.
  • Benefits of Giving Thanks. Our US Thanksgiving holiday reminds us what we’re supposed to be doing every day and how much we have to be thankful for. I found several other benefits to giving thanks as well. Let thanksgiving continue!

Writing

I dug into my work-in-progress a bit this month. I’m not sure there will be time to work on it any more through the holidays, but we’ll see.

I continue to enjoy our writing critique group. We’re about to take a break for the holidays.

Several months (maybe even years?) ago, I saw a free online conference for hope*writers, so I signed up for it. As it turned out, it wasn’t really a conference. It was a replay of some of their teaching videos. Since I was on their mailing list, I began to receive invitations to membership as well as more videos and even a free class. I decided not to join them, for several reasons. But I’ve been working my way through the things they sent me so I can clear them out of my box and then unsubscribe from their mailing list.

One common theme that emerged from the videos for me was that we can’t do everything aspiring authors are supposed to do all at once. One video encouraged us to just work on the thing at hand and take everything else as it comes. That was a help, as it’s easy to feel overloaded with everything else to the point that we can’t even make time for writing the book.

As we turn the corner into holiday season, may we each have some quiet moments to reflect on the greatest gift God could give: His Son.

October Reflections

Once again, we’re nearing the end of another month that flew by quickly. Though there are a few days of October left, I thought I’d go ahead and take a look back.

October is usually a quiet month, with no family birthdays (except my brother’s near the beginning) and no major holidays. I had completely forgotten about pumpkin carving/decorating with the family. We enjoyed doing that last weekend. And I had a couple of medical visits this month. On one hand, it’s nice to have those in a month where nothing else is going on–on the other hand it would have been nice to have a month without anything else on the calendar. But they have to be done some time.

We’ve really enjoyed the changing leaves and cooler temperatures. We’ve had a couple of early morning freezes, but otherwise, the weather has been quite comfortable. And the fall color is hanging on for a good while this year.

I haven’t quite known whether to mention it here, but we recently made the sad decision to leave our church. We love the people, and because of that tried to stay as long as we could. But we have some major differences in doctrine and emphases. We don’t consider each other heretics or anything like that. 🙂 The church was becoming incorporated and encouraging “official” membership, which we hadn’t had yet, since the church was just started a few years ago. Part of the pledge for church membership was promising to support the church’s teachings, and there were some we felt we couldn’t.

It’s a bit difficult to seek a new church, both in feeling “homeless” and in evaluating new places. As I said in Monday’s post, we know no church will tick every box. And churches with the same statement of faith can still vary widely in personality, emphasis, and secondary doctrines.

Creating

I didn’t make any cards this month, though I need to work on one in the next few days.

Watching

We seem to be the only people who enjoyed The Rings of Power, kind of a prequel to The Lord of the Rings.

We also enjoyed Red Tails, about an African American crew during WWII (warning: a smattering of bad language).

Reading

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

  • Always, Only Good: A Journey of Faith Through Mental Illness by Shelly Garlock Hamilton. Ron and Shelly Hamilton’s oldest son began experiencing mental illness in his teens, eventually taking his life in his early thirties. Shelly tells his story and offers encouragement to those whose loves ones walk the same path.
  • Women and Stress: A Practical Approach to Managing Tension by Jean Lush and Pam Vredevelt. I didn’t agree with every little point, but the authors provide a lot of great, practical tips.
  • Enchanted Isle by Melanie Dobson, fiction. A young American woman travels to the Lake District of England, where her mother had visited twenty years earlier. An unsolved disappearance from that era hangs over the reputation of a young man, and he and the young woman try to find out more. Very good.
  • The Hatmaker’s Heart by Carla Stewart, fiction. A talented hatmaker is both stifled and used by her employer. Meanwhile, the young man she thought she would marry is interested in someone else.
  • The Italian Ballerina by Kristy Cambron, fiction. After her grandfather’s death, Delaney Coleman hears from an Italian family claiming he had something that belongs to them. A trip to Rome and some old letters reveal a side of her grandfather that Delaney had never known–including an orphaned Jewish girl, a British ballerina, and “Syndrome K,” a fake illness manufactured to keep Nazi soldiers away from efforts to smuggle Jews to safety. Excellent. Will probably be one of my top ten books of the year.
  • The Search by Grace Livingston Hill, fiction. A society girl and an old friend going to war realize they are nor prepared for death, and they embark on a search for God.
  • A Daily Rate by Grace Livingston Hill, fiction. A single girl on her own for the first time wishes she could spruce up her depressing boarding house and help its inhabitants. When she receives an inheritance, she’s able to pursue her dreams. But the results aren’t always what she planned.

I’ve been going through 2 Chronicles in my devotional time. Warren Wiersbe combined his commentary on 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles in Be Distinct: Stand Firmly Against the World’s Tides, Since I just read and reviewed that book back in June when I went through 2 Kings, I just looked at the parts specifically dealing with Chronicles this time. Most people don’t think of Chronicles as one of the most exciting books of the Bible. But I really got a lot out of it this time. Between Wiersbe’s book and the ESV Study Bible notes, I think this may have been the first time I realized that Chronicles was not just a rehashing of Kings, but it was written when the Jewish exiles in Babylon were about to come back to Israel. It was meant to encourage and remind them that they were still God’s people and His promises to them as a nation were still in effect. And it was also perhaps a warning–they had gone into captivity because they had disobeyed God, worshiped idols, and would not listen to His prophets. They needed to be careful not to go down that same path again.

I’m currently reading:

  • Joy: A Godly Woman’s Adornment by Lydia Brownback
  • Seasons of Sorrow: The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God by Tim Challies
  • Be Free (Galatians): Exchange Legalism for True Spirituality by Warren Wiersbe
  • Worthy of Legend by Roseanna M. White
  • Three Fifty-Seven A. M.: Timing Is Everything by Kendra Norman-Bellamy and Hank Stewart

Blogging

  • The More We Know Him, the More We Trust Him. “If we’re not careful, we can approach Bible reading with an ‘all about me’ attitude. What’s in it for me, how does it relate to me, how does it make me feel. Instead, the Bible is all about God. God wants to meet our needs, but more than that, He wants us to know Him”
  • Offers of Safety Are Not Always Safe. The world wants to quiet opposing voices in the name of providing a safe haven. But the safe haven is actually a trap where Satan is enfolding people in error.
  • When Is It Wrong to Complain? Sometimes complaining isn’t so much about the words, but the attitude behind them. It’s not wrong to share burdens or problems.
  • Ministry Beyond Church Membership. It can be discouraging to invest time in church visitors who don’t stay. But our ministry still counts if done as unto the Lord.

Writing

I continue to enjoy our writing critique group and have started implementing some of their suggestions for my manuscript.

But I was recently discouraged by a podcast where a literary agent said an aspiring author needed to have 50,000 followers before even seeking an agent. My jaw dropped and my spirit plummeted. If you don’t know, the days are gone when an author submitted a book to a publisher who did all the marketing. These days, new authors are expected to have an audience before a publisher will take a chance on them. Part of that is due to changes in books and publishing over the last several years (more online purchases, fewer bookstores, cuts in publishers’ budgets and personnel) and to the fact that word of mouth is the best way to promote books.

But when a blogger’s focus changes to getting followers, there’s a subtle shift in everything else they do. And I don’t want to have that shift in focus. I want to keep coming alongside and encouraging others here, sharing what I am learning.

It’s not wrong in itself to seek a larger audience. People in the Bible sought ways to share their message. But when that becomes a primary focus, it can skew everything else.

So I am praying about that and about time to write. If you feel led, this writer and others would appreciate your prayers for wisdom and balance and God’s leading.

As we turn the calendar to November in a few days, we’re expecting another fairly quiet month until Thanksgiving week. I enjoy that there is a theme of gratefulness through the entire month of November.

How was your October?

(I often link up with some of these bloggers.)

September Reflections

Wow, this month has sped by. It’s hard to fathom that September is almost over.

We celebrated Labor Day with traditional grilled burgers and a much-appreciated long weekend. The next weekend, my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson made dinner for us for Grandparent’s Day and brought over flowers and a colored picture from Timothy. We attended the state fair for the first time in years. Mid-September, we celebrated my youngest son’s birthday.

My daughter-in-law made the cute lemon blueberry cake.

Then my family from TX (two sisters, my step-father, and nephew) came to visit for a few days, and just left Wednesday morning. One day we all drove to SC to see family there (two sisters, my niece and great niece). It had been three years since we had all see each other. We missed my brother and sister-in-law in CT. We got this picture of all five sisters, with my brother and s-i-l’s picture on the phone:

And this one of all five of us with my step-dad:

This was the whole group after dinner in SC, minus Jesse, who couldn’t come that day:

It was so good to catch up with each other, more than can be done on FB and through texts and messages. We laughed (and ate!) so much! Timothy got to meet his second cousin for the first time. We took the kids to a park one afternoon and visited the mall in TX. We played lots of games. Most of all I enjoyed just talking with everyone.

Creating

I just made one card this month, for Jesse’s birthday. You can tell his interests by the card and the shirt he wore in the first picture. 🙂

“Gamer” was done on the Cricut, “Happy Birthday” on the computer, and the border at the bottom was a sticker.

Watching

We’re enjoying our regular shows being back on with the fall season. We’re trying out the new version of Quantam Leap, but the jury is still out—we’ve only see one episode so far. We like the College Bowl, where college quiz teams compete against each other, hosted by Peyton and Cooper Manning.

I have not found anyone who likes the new Rings of Power, based on Tolkien’s writings. But we really like it. That may be because we’re not familiar with Tolkien’s work outside LOTR and The Hobbit. I hear this program is basically writing their own stories. But the feel of it is very Tolkien-ish to me. The main thing that would ruin it is if they bring modern-day sensibilities into it, especially “woke-ness.” So far that hasn’t happened. The one thing I don’t like is that they’ve made the main character, a younger version of Galadriel, arrogant and angry and sullen. But she’s fighting a battle no one else sees the need for so far, so maybe she’ll mellow out over time.

We also watched an old movie called Desert Rats starring Richard Burton. It’s based on a true story abut a little-known battle in Tobruk during WWII.

Reading

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

  • The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White, first in the Ladies of the Manor series. A young woman in Edwardian England finds she is the missing daughter of an earl. She doesn’t realize she is carrying a hidden treasure that an enemy will try to get first by flattery and romantic insinuation, and then, when that doesn’t work, by force. Excellent.
  • The Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna M. White, the second book in the Ladies on the Manor series. England’s most eligible bachelor rescues a Scottish young woman from an abusive father and even more abusive fiance by marrying her and taking her to England. But she struggles fitting in to her new role as a duchess, and their relationship does not go smoothly at first. Then there’s that pesky hidden treasure from the first book that bad guys are still after
  • A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White, third and final book in the Ladies of the Manor series. Lady Ella Myerston is sweet and cheerful. She wants to help protect her brother’s family and their friends from the danger that has haunted all three books. But everyone else want to shelter and protect her. She feels she’s not being taken seriously, but she’s determined to do what she can. Lord Cayton is a changed man from the cad he used to be, but not everyone trusts him. The two become an unlikely pair to bring the series to a close.
  • Jesus Led Me All the Way by Margaret Stringer, an autobiography of her 40 years as a missionary in what was then Irian Jaya among former headhunters and cannibals.
  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. From the back book cover: “Essentialism isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done. Only once we discern what is absolutely essential and eliminate everything else can we make our highest possible contribution towards the things that truly matter.”

I’m currently reading:

Blogging

Besides Friday Fave Fives, Saturday Laudable Linkage, and book reviews, I’ve posted these since last time:

  • Passive or Pursuing? Is the fruit of the Holy Spirit something we passively receive or something we actively pursue? Both.
  • Daily Light on the Daily Path. I’ve been using this devotional book, made up entirely of Scripture, for about 30 years. A friend had never heard of it, so I thought I’d share about it.
  • When You Have to Say No. We have more opportunities than we can handle these days. I shared some ideas for discerning when to say no.
  • What Is God’s Highest Calling? Sometimes we hear that motherhood or full-time professional ministry is God’s highest calling. But that’s not what the Bible says. What is, then?
  • When Spiritual Routines Get Boring. Routines are helpful in many ways. But prayer and Bible reading on autopilot aren’t spiritually healthy. Here are some ways to alleviate our frail human tendency to lapse into thoughtless routine when spending time with God.

Writing

I was asked to participate in a critique group which meets every other week via Zoom. We take turns presenting our work for the others to edit and make suggestions about. It’s been so helpful, no matter whose work we’re critiquing. I’ve started implementing some of the suggestions.

I enjoyed all the activities of September, but I am looking forward to a quiet October. So far, the only things I have scheduled are lunch with a friend and a couple of medical appointments. We usually carve pumpkins sometime during the month as well.

How was your September? Are you looking forward to anything in October?

August Reflections

August’s heat and humidity have us longing for cool fall breezes. Each day brings us closer to them!

We enjoyed an extended time together as a family when my oldest son came to visit for about ten days. My husband took a week off, and Jason, Mittu, Timothy, and Jesse were here much of the time, though Jason and Jesse still worked most days.

I think I only ended up making dinner 3 nights. We went out some nights, Jesse made dinner for us one night at his place, and Mittu made dinner a few nights. We hadn’t coordinated beforehand spreading meals around, but it worked out nicely.

We celebrated Jeremy’s birthday at the beginning of his time here and mine near the end. It’s nice when the calendar works out so he can be here for both celebrations. We joked at the beginning of his, “Should we Face Time Jeremy?” We’re used to putting him on the TV screen for other celebrations when he can’t be here in person.

We played lots of Jackbox games, enjoying some old favorites as well as trying out some new ones. We also played Uno and even got out Settlers of Catan for the first time in a long time. It was Timothy’s first time to play the latter, and he lasted through most of the game. It’s a lot for a 8-year-old to take in.

We usually try to have one major outing during the week and maybe a couple of smaller ones. But this time there were several interesting things occurring that we took advantage of. I’ve mentioned a few of them during Friday’s Fave Fives, but wanted to go into more detail here. But that ended up making this already long post twice as long, so I am going to share details and photos in a separate post tomorrow.

Creating

I made two cards this month. The first was for Jason and Mittu’s anniversary:

And this was for Jeremy’s birthday:

Watching

We really enjoyed War Horse. It’s been out for a few years, and I remember when I saw it advertised that it looked good. But then we forgot about it. It follows a horse’s path from a farm through many hands during WWI. I was especially struck by how just one person in each scenario saw the horse’s worth and made a difference in its treatment or next step, which enabled it to continue on–an apt metaphor for making a difference for good in the lives of people we meet. I don’t think that was the main point of the movie, but that’s something I got from it.

A Call to Spy was very good as well (except for a few instances of taking God’s name in vain. 😦 ). It was based on true events about women being recruited as spies during WWII, and followed the path of two in particular.

Reading

Since last time I have finished (linked to my reviews):

  • Where I End: A Story of Tragedy, Truth, and Rebellious Hope by Katherine Elizabeth Clark, a true story. Katherine was playing tag with some children at her son’s school playground when a boy jumped off the jungle gym and onto her head, breaking her neck and paralyzing her instantly.
  • Something Good by Vanessa Miller, a great novel about “Three Women. Two Mistakes. One Surprising Friendship That Changes Everything.”
  • The London House by Katherine Reay, a novel about a woman who seeks the truth when an old friend tells her he is about to publish an article that says her great aunt was a Nazi sympathizer. (Audiobook).
  • The Stranger by Melanie Dobson, a novel set in the Amana colonies in 1894. A stranger with a sick daughter stops to get help in the commune and falls in love with one of its inhabitants. But the group is wary of outsiders.
  • To Treasure an Heiress by Roseanna White, a novel about a race to discover pirate treasure, but with surprising depth and truth. Very good. (Audiobook).
  • Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by Lady Carnarvon. The current countess of the castle that was used for Downton Abbey tells some of the castle’s history, particularly that of Lady Almina, who converted it to a hospital during WWI. (Audiobook and Kindle).
  • O Love That Will not Let Me Go: Facing Death with Courageous Confidence, complied by Nancy Guthrie. Nancy has collected excerpts from writings as far back as the Puritans to modern-day writer on the subject of death and dying. Excellent, excellent, excellent.

Normally I have a Warren Wiersbe commentary in my reading list. I am in 1 Chronicles now, and Wiersbe included it in with his book on 2 Samuel, Be Restored: Trusting God to See Us Through. I’m not rereading the whole thing, since I did in April, but I am looking through the parts that specifically mention Chronicles.

I’m currently reading:

  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
  • Jesus Led Me All the Way by Margaret Stringer
  • The Hatmaker’s Heart by Carla Stewart
  • The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White (audiobook)

Blogging

Besides the regular Friday Fave Fives, Saturday Laudable Linkage, and book reviews, I’ve posted these since last time:

  • Labels and Lenses. Labels are helpful and necessary. But we need to look at our lives and theology through the lens of Scripture, and not look at Scripture through the lens of our labels.
  • Why Keep Reading the Bible, especially when you’ve read it several times before?
  • Making Time to Read the Bible. If we don’t make time for it, we likely won’t find time for it. Some tips to make that time for what Jesus called the one necessary thing.
  • How Can We Make Our Souls Fire Resistant? Just as leaves can smolder and then erupt into flame, sin can flame out in our hearts. What can we do to avoid that happening?
  • What Can We Learn from Bible Genealogies? Genealogies are probably no one’s favorite part of the Bible. But what might God want us to learn from them?

I overlooked my blogging anniversary at the end of July. 16 years! And, as of today, 5,189 posts. Thank you for reading and making blogging such a blessing to my heart.

As we turn the calendar to September tomorrow, we look forward to Jesse’s birthday and a visit from my folks at the end of the month.

How was your August? Anything interesting happen?