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.


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. 🙂


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.”


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.


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.


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! 🙂


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.”


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)

End-of-April Reflections

what happened in AprilWell, April has been quite the month, hasn’t it? I’m sure it’s been different for all of us than any other time in our lifetimes.

We were sad to have to cancel our oldest son’s visit here and our usual get-togethers. But we were thankful to see videos of our grandson’s Easter egg hunting and Easter basket unpacking, and then we did a three-way FaceTime with all the family for his birthday. We’ve had a few socially distanced visits with everyone but our oldest, so we’re not as deprived as some. It’s all still not the same as normal, but it could be worse.

Like many of you, I’m caught between knowing we need to reopen businesses and fearing another wave of outbreaks when we do. Our state just released a three-phase plan starting tomorrow. I hope it goes well. My husband and I will probably keep doing what we’re doing and hang back for a bit since we’re in at-risk groups.

So many people have talked about having extra time. I don’t know where mine has gone, but it doesn’t feel like I’ve had any extra on my hands! I have listened to some free writing-related webinars, but other than that and making face masks for the family, I haven’t gotten much extra done.

One of the nicest things about April has been seeing nature come back to life with the lawns greening and flowers and trees blooming.


This birthday for my grandson was supposed to involve a big camp-out. That didn’t happen, but my husband set up his tent in the back yard for a few days. My son and grandson came over and got to explore it. It’s big enough that they were more than six feet from each other inside. We sat in lawn chairs while Timothy “mowed” the grass for us with his toy lawn mower. 🙂


He learned a knock-knock joke this month:

T- Knock knock
Who’s there?
T- Europe
Europe, who?
T- I’m not a poo!

🙂 He tried to voice-text it to me, but I didn’t get it til his mom wrote it out in a text.


The only card I made this month was for Timothy’s birthday. I started to incorporate camping since that was the theme for the rest of his birthday. But I had seen variations on this mowing idea on Pinterest and wanted to use it. One of Timothy’s favorite things is when Granddad comes over to mow, and Timothy has turned so many items into imaginary push and riding lawn mowers. So when I saw this idea, I knew I would do it for him some time.


My husband and I watched an interesting PBS production called The Windemere Children, about Jewish children and young people who were rescued from Nazi prison camps after WWII and taken to an estate in England. Most were orphans, though they had to wait a bit to learn their family members’ fates. Some had only known life in the camps and a “survive any way you can” mentality. The first time baskets of bread were served, they grabbed handfuls and hid them in their rooms. The director said, “Let them. Let them see that here is plenty.” They were taught the English languages and customs and just given time to acclimate before either being adopted or starting to work. That was such a wise thing to do. The program was moving, as was this article about one of the men who was a teen then. The article also contains a photo of the actors with the men they portrayed.

And though it wasn’t planned, we happened to watch a different movie with a variation on the same theme titled Resistance. It’s the story of famous mime Marcel Marceau and his work with the French Resistance, especially in getting Jewish children out of France during the war. It was very good. Unfortunately, there was one brief bedroom scene. For those who like to fast-forward through such, as we do, it comes right after a girl steps out of a shower (she’s not the problem; she’s covered). (Updated to add: the scene is not explicit, no nudity is shown. But I still wish it had not been there. And, of course, this being wartime film, there are a few violent scenes.)

I was trying to find season six and seven of When Calls the Heart to watch while using my exercise bike, but it only seems to be available to rent. So I’ll have to wait on that. Then I saw there was a spinoff called When Hope Calls that was free, but when I looked it up on Amazon Prime, it said it could only be viewed with a Hallmark subscription. I hate when Amazon lists things that you can only get by subscribing elsewhere.

Do you have any recommendations of good clean movies or series on Netflix or Amazon Prime?


This month I’ve completed (links go back to my reviews):

I’ve collected most of Wiersbe’s “Be” commentaries as they have gone on sale for a dollar or two for the Kindle. But I kept forgetting about them. Finally I remembered to pull them out in conjunction with our church’s Bible reading plan.

I’m currently reading:

  • Over to Candleford by Flora Thompson, the second in the Lark Rise trilogy (audiobook)
  • Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron
  • Dying to Read by Lorena McCourtney
  • Breaking Anxiety’s Grip: How to Reclaim the Peace God Promises by Dr. Michelle Bengston


Besides the Friday’s Fave Fives, book reviews, and occasional Saturday Laudable Linkages, my Monday posts have been applicable not just to the current pandemic, but to living with trials in general:

I also shared some of my favorite songs about Jesus’ death for us and songs to celebrate the resurrection.


Not much this month except for a devotional and guest post I’m going to send to sites that accept such. I’ve been listening to podcasts and webinars about writing, as I mentioned. Now I just need to get to it.

With April, it seems we’ve turned a corner into full-fledged spring. I love the weather in April and May before the heat of summer starts. I know this May will be a let-down for many with graduations and the usual end-of-school activities canceled. Perhaps our Mother’s Day will have to be as subdued as our Easter was. But we can count our blessings that we’re alive and well. This year will be one we’ll remember just because it was different.

How was your April?

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

End-of-March Reflections

March daffodilsThis has certainly been a month like no other in my lifetime.

We began by celebrating my husband’s birthday, my son’s first cat, and Pi Day. I enjoyed a long lunch with a good friend I hadn’t seen in a few months.

Then news began to spread about the coronavirus. I’ve run the gamut of emotions since I first heard of it. I think I am pretty settled now … most of the time. When bad news or new concerns arise, I try to remind myself of God’s truth. So far we are doing well. My husband and three sons still have a job and work from home. I breathe a little sigh of relief every time my husband comes home from the store, knowing we’re supplied for the next few days. I pray often that God will accomplish His will through all of this and it won’t last any longer than necessary. I’m an introverted homebody, so being isolated hasn’t bothered me. I hope it’s not harder than usual to get back in the swing of things when the time comes, but we’ll deal with that then.

Family encounters

Humor always helps. We have not felt comfortable getting food out, even with drive-through or delivery services. Some of you who have read here for a while know I love getting dinner out fairly regularly as that’s the only time I feel officially “off.” Instead, now I try to balance easy meals with the more labor-intensive ones. One night after we had grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, I told my husband and youngest son, “I’m glad you guys are happy with whatever I make, whether it’s simple or fancy.”

Jesse said, “It’s made with love. That’s all that matters.”

My husband said, “That’s not all that matters….”


My grandson wanted to do something that required an adult presence, but my daughter-in-law was making dinner. She said something like, “Not right now, honey. You need supervision to do that.”

Timothy said, “But Mommy, I already have that behind my eyes.”

She was confused until she realized he thought she meant super vision.

Another time, I’d had a negative encounter with someone in the store, right at the beginning of the corona virus scare when stores were first emptied of paper products. I inadvertently got in someone’s way, and he told his companion, while looking at me, “I hope she gets the corona virus. I hope she dies from it.” He didn’t seem angry: he said it with a smirk. I was pretty stunned. When my son and daughter-in-law were talking about the situation at home, Timothy asked what they were discussing. They said someone had some something unkind to me and hurt my feelings. So he texted me that he loved me, and then said,” Mommy, you know why I hug Grandma so much? Because I like her. She’s so sweet.”

Another quip: “I want a pet bee so it can be an automatic honey machine.”

And the last one: we had a severe thunderstorm one night. Timothy told us later that it woke him up and he was scared and “lost his dream.” Then he climbed under the covers and felt better.


The only card I made this month was for my husband’s birthday. He’s received a lot of camping gear as gifts, so I decided to use a camping theme. The Cricut can do so much more than I use it for: I need to just play with it some time and figure some of these things out. I usually just have it cut isolated images. But I was pleased that I finally understood this time how to layer three different ones. This is one of my favorite cards yet.

I also sewed for the first time in a long time. My husband wanted me to make a face mask for him out of camouflage fabric, and thankfully I had a good-sized scrap in my stash.


Since the calendar has been cleared, and my husband has been doing the grocery shopping, you’d think I’d have all kinds of time on my hands. I’d hoped to have extra time to work on my book, but I seem to have less. I hope to carve some time out this week. I did write a rough draft of a devotional and guest blog post: I hope to polish those off and submit them soon.


While riding my exercise bike, I started watching the 2017-2019 A Series of Unfortunate Events. It’s really quirky, but interesting. As a family we enjoyed A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. It’s not a biopic of Mr. Rogers so much as an account of his relationship with one troubled man. But it’s very good.

We enjoyed watching Spies in Disguise except for a segment showing a man’s bare backside. It was just a cartoon character, but still: the scene should not have been there and should not have dragged on as much as it did, We fast-forwarded through it.

My kids played with Legos even after other toys were laid aside. I’ve enjoyed watching Lego Masters, but no one else in the family has been interested.

I mentioned last month watching Dickensian, but I had to stop when they showed a man’s bare backside as well. I hadn’t thought to check out objectionable elements in this series because it was based on Dickens’ work. I’m mad that this seems to be becoming more commonplace.


I’ve completed this month:

I’m currently reading:

  • The Women of Easter: Encounter the Savior with Mary of Bethany, Mary of Nazareth, and Mary Magdalene by Liz Curtis Higgs
  • Be Free (Galatians): Exchange Legalism for True Spirituality by Warren Wiersbe
  • Breaking Anxiety’s Grip: How to Reclaim the Peace God Promises by Dr. Michelle Bengston
  • Lark Rise by Flora Thompson (audiobook)
  • Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron
  • A Portrait of Marguerite by Kate Lloyd


Here are some of the posts from this month:

That pretty much wraps up our March. I’ve been delighted to see signs of spring: more daylight, warmer days, budding plants and trees. What a sign of hope for better days to come.

I saw a thought-provoking tweet recently, but I haven’t been able to retrace it because it was from someone I don’t know. But it said something like, “Maybe being huddled in our homes wondering what’s going to happen next is the most Eastery thing we could do this year.” There’s nothing wrong with our modern ways of celebrating Easter, but who knows how the pandemic will affect those plans. This might be an Easter to remember just because it will be different. Maybe a quieter celebration will give us pause to remember the disciples’ agony those three days after their hope was crucified, and their confusion, and then joy, to realize Jesus had been raised from the dead. I hope we’ll realize the impact anew.

How was your March? What are your hopes for Easter?

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

February Reflections

FebruaryThank you so much for your encouragement and kind comments on last month’s post when I wondered if I should continue my end-of-month wrap-ups. I enjoy doing them, and I am happy to hear you enjoy reading them.

February was a nice mixture of quietness and busyness. We always enjoy Valentine’s Day around here. It has become a tradition to make what we call Meat Hearts for that day’s dinner: Li’l Cheddar Meat Loaves (minus the mustard and with much less sugar) made in heart shapes rather than ovals. And I also make heart-shaped cupcakes from a gluten-free mix. We’ve always made the day about the whole family. Then we enjoyed celebrating my daughter-in-law’s birthday with dinner and cake here one night and then an outing to the Downton Abbey Exhibit at the Biltmore estate last Saturday. Fun!

The weather has been up and down as well: some bitterly cold days, some warmer than usual, many in the 40s. Even though this has not been a severe winter, I’m read for it to be over. Spring is coming!


I know my grandson’s funny observations are the favorite part of these posts for some of you. But I don’t have anything new this month besides what I already mentioned at the Biltmore visit. I did want to share this funny-to-me picture, though. There’s been much talk of going camping in the spring. So when we watched Timothy a couple of weeks ago during his parents’ date, he wanted to go “pretend camping” with Granddad while I made dinner. They put drinks in a cooler, turned off the living room lights, turned on lanterns, made a pretend fire, had Alexa play forest noises first, then a babbling brook. I mentioned earlier that Timothy was impressed when Granddad got out his real camping pans to cook their toy fish. Timothy had rediscovered a little tent stuffed in a closet that he had played in a lot when he was two or three. He got that out and set it up. He was too big to fit, of course, but otherwise he seemed pretty cozy.

When he got tired of that, he turned it into a port-a-pottie. 🙂


With Valentine’s Day this month, I spent much of one week in the craft room. I let the Cricut do a lot of the heavy lifting this time for the main images.

This was my husband, Jim’s:

The Cricut even did the writing and the drawing for the lace. I would’ve used more masculine colors, but I was afraid the writing wouldn’t show up on maroon or red cardstock. The background is scrapbooking paper.

This is Jeremy’s:

The fox is a multi-layered sticker. The hearts came from a piece of scrapbooking paper that had several hearts in colors other than pink and red.

This is Jason’s:

I had seen a similar idea on Pinterest and used the Cricut for the musical note. I rummaged through my heart shapes, hoping I had one already the right size, and I was delighted to find this puffy one.

This is Mittu’s, who likes purple:

The “love” and corner decorations are stickers.

This is my grandson, Timothy’s:

And this is Jesse’s:

A similar design on Pinterest caught my eye because he has a black truck. Some of the hearts were stickers, other were cut with punches.

And this was for Mittu’s birthday, as she loves tea:

I ended up getting the cup a bit bigger than I wanted, but by that point I didn’t want to start all over.


While riding my exercise bike, I finished the Amazon prime series called Home Fires, about the British Women’s Institute during WWII. It ended up being a little soap-operaish, which I didn’t care for. There were a few incidents of people sleeping with people they weren’t supposed to, but nothing explicit was shown. Other than that, it was a good series. I was surprised it ended with a cliffhanger without being renewed. It’s based on a book called Jambusters, which I have not read but which I understand is more like a documentary.

I just started a series called Dickensian. It has Dickens characters all living in the same town and interacting. Marley is still alive and working with Scrooge. Miss Havisham (Great Expectations) has not yet been jilted but has suffered an estrangement from her brother over their father’s will. Fagin and Bill Sikes lurk in the shadows. Little Nell lies sick in The Old Curiosity Shop. Inspector Bucket (Bleak House) investigates a murder. It’s intriguing, though dark: I haven’t seen any of Dickens’ humor yet. (Update: Unfortunately, some nudity was displayed in episode three. I didn’t think to check on that kind of thing because this is Dickens, after all. Argh! So I stopped watching and can’t recommend this after all.)

We haven’t watched any movies together as a family yet, but I want to see It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. I will probably have to keep a supply of tissues nearby. Mr. Rogers was about the only TV show we let our kids watch for a long time.


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

I’m currently reading:

  • The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home by Denise Kiernan about the Biltmore House.
  • Be Reverent (Ezekiel): Bowing Before Our Awesome God by Warren Wiersbe
  • Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope (audiobook)
  • The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick
  • The Women of Easter: Encounter the Savior with Mary of Bethany, Mary of Nazareth, and Mary Magdalene by Liz Curtis Higgs


You may have noticed a different url than usual. I just transitioned from the free version of WordPress to the paid, which comes with a free domain name. Unfortunately, just my first and last name plus .com was already taken by a realtor in Charleston. I’ve been thinking about taking this step for some time, both to increase storage space and to get rid of ads. When I couldn’t upload pictures earlier this week because I didn’t have any storage left, I figured it was time. Thankfully links under the old domain name still seem to work.

I’ve thought, off and on, ever since starting this blog of changing the name. Since “Stray Thoughts” isn’t in the domain name, I could easily change it. That’s the only name I could think of when I first started the blog. I keep think I should come up with something more creative. But after 13+ years, maybe it’s better to leave it the same.

At any rate, besides the Friday’s Fave Fives, book reviews, and occasional Saturday Laudable Linkages, February has seen these blog posts here:


I’ve gotten several good session in with my work-in-progress. I’m about ready to tackle my hardest chapter—hard because I have a lot of information to try to cover in as concise and interesting a way as possible. I’d appreciate your prayers.

And that about wraps up February here. How was yours?

(Sharing with Grace and Truth, Create, Bake, Grow, and Gather, Global Blogging,
Senior Salon, Hearth and Soul, Shannan, Happy Now, InstaEncouragement,
Worth Beyond Rubies)

January Reflections

For many years, I thought January was a gloomy month. After the excitement of Christmas, it was sad to take down the lights and decorations and deal with the rest of the cold, dark winter.

Though I still don’t like the cold, darkness, and bare landscape, I do like the respite that January brings. For our family, there are no major events in January after everyone goes back to work. Much as I love all that’s connected with the holidays, I love having January to reset for the new year.

After a bit of resting, I’ve felt almost driven to get a number of tasks done this month. Some were organizational, some involved cleaning and mending. In my early married years, Sandra Felton’s Messies Manual and newsletters helped me reign in a lot of clutter and bad habits. One of her mottoes was “Scratch where it itches”—take care of whatever is bugging you now. That’s how I felt when I saw my bathroom curtains, shower curtains, and bedroom window all desperately needed attention. Why put that off for spring cleaning? It felt good to take care of those things, both in getting them done and having the time to do so (now the rest of the windows will have to wait. 🙂 ).

An added bonus to getting so much done early in the month is that I didn’t have anything I had to do this week beyond the usual laundry, meals, grocery shopping, etc. There’s always stuff that could be done, but I had nothing that had to be done. So I have been able to delve back into my writing. I hadn’t touched the book I am working on since probably early December. I got a few good revising sessions with it this week plus wrote the rough drafts for two potential articles.

I revised my “About Me” section of the blog (I thought I had done that once or twice since 2006, but it didn’t look like it!). I added a Writing page and tab at the top. I’ve also been removing some older, silly posts, like a “What kind of cookie are you?” quiz. I’m working on the latter partly to free up more space: I’m about to max out on the allowable space for a free blog with WordPress. It’s only taken me thirteen years to do so. I am probably going to switch to the paid version soon, both to access more storage and to eliminate the ads that WP puts on free blogs. I don’t think the ads show up as much on a computer, but they are pretty heavy on devices. And one is at the bottom of the email version of the blog posts.


We did have one major event at the beginning of January: my husband and I belatedly celebrated our 40th anniversary with a quick, fun, refreshing get-away to Gatlinburg. We stayed in a cozy lodge and visited the Titanic museum.

We haven’t had many other family doings this month besides eating together once or twice a week, playing games, and chatting. We had a fun FaceTime tour of my oldest son’s new condo after he got settled in and decorated it. My youngest son started a new job in early December and is enjoying it.


I know for some of you, my little grandson’s sayings are your favorite part of my monthly musings. Unfortunately, I don’t have any written down. I mentioned before that he likes texting, usually gifs and emojis. But now he’s picked up that the iPhone will offer up word prompts. That has led to texts like this:

Thanks 🙏 I the way we are we can yeah hey there are we doing a little shopping 🛒 is


Ghffjf us is to much to do so she has the same problem ho I ghosted and my phone 📱

He has also taken to writing us “notes.”

He’s doing well with home school. For one project, they had to make a timeline with key events from his short life illustrated with his drawings. For his birth, he drew a baby in a box. I don’t know if he thought babies arrived, like everything else, in Amazon packages, or if he remembers pictures of himself in the NICU incubator.


I finished When Calls the Heart while riding my exercise bike, at least all they had. I don’t know when to expect the latest season of it on Netflix. I’ve enjoyed it, even knowing it is different from Janette Oke’s books. I know the faith element isn’t brought out as much in the series as it was in the books, though they do sometimes quote the Bible or spiritual principles or pray. But they’ve also had some “off” sayings: “Follow your heart,” God doesn’t give you more than you can handle,” “the man upstairs,” “We’re born under a star. Maybe ours was lucky.”

We all enjoyed the second season of Lost in Space. So good, but so intense! Unfortunately, we’ll probably have to wait a year for new episodes since this season just came out.

I found a delightful four-episode series on Amazon Prime videos called Doctor Thorne, based on the novel of the same name by Anthony Trollope (whom I have never read). It doesn’t have a ground-breaking plot: a young man from an aristocratic family in the 1800s falls in love with a poor girl of questionable birth. The young man is urged by his mother and aunt to “marry money” to save the estate from its debts. It was quite enjoyable and satisfying, even though the ending was predictable. The script was written by Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey fame, and he introduces and closes each episode. I’m not sure why it was rated TV-14: there’s nothing really objectionable in it, except two characters are alcoholics. One dies after an accident, and there’s blood, but it’s not that traumatic a scene.

I’ve discovered another Amazon prime series called Home Fires, about the British Women’s Institute during WWII. I’m only on the second episode, but it’s good so far.

We enjoyed watching the old animated 101 Dalmatians with all the family.


So far this year I have completed (titles link to my reviews):

One I finished in December but didn’t get to review til this month was Seasons of the Heart: A Year of Devotions From One Generation to Another compiled by Donna Kelderman. She draws from writings of ladies like Susannah Spurgeon and Frances Ridley Havergal and transforms them into one-page devotionals for the book.

I’m currently reading:

  • Good Tidings of Great Joy: A Collection of Christmas Sermons by Charles Spurgeon
  • Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done by Laura Vanderkam
  • The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home by Denise Kiernan about the Biltmore House.
  • Hard Times by Charles Dickens (audiobook)

February marks the last Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge . I’ll have the first post for it up on Saturday. (Update: The sign-up post is here.)


Besides the updating and book reviews I mentioned earlier and weekly Friday’s Fave Fives, I’ve posted:

I’m a bit conflicted abut whether to continue the end-of-month musings. I enjoy them. But I wonder if they are too much repetition, too much sharing things you’ve already seen. I do include some things not posted before, but a lot of it is recap. I’d love it if you would let me know honestly whether you enjoy these monthly wrap-ups or pass them by.

How has your January been? Let me know in the comments.

(Sharing with Grace and Truth, Global Blogging, Senior Salon, Shannan, InstaEncouragement, Worth Beyond Rubies)

End-of-November Musings

Photo courtesy of Word Swag

I was going to post my monthly round-up on Saturday. But then I thought it might get lost in the shuffle of Black Friday shopping and Christmas decorating. So I’ll look back over November a little early.

November is a nice transition month from a restful time to the holidays. The weather has been crazy: up and down and even an early snowfall.

Since there were not a lot of outside items on the calendar until Thanksgiving, we got to have a great outing at Cade’s Cove.

We had two long-term answers to prayer in our family this month. My oldest son was trying to buy a condo and applied for first-time home buyer’s assistance in his state (RI). That involved an inspector coming out to see what needed to be done and the homeowner making the necessary repairs. That process took several weeks. Then an inspector had to come back and approve everything that was done. Well the inspector added a few items, one being painting the outside of the building. This was a condo—the homeowner can’t paint the outside of the building! This had all dragged on so long, and the homeowner needed to sell, so he and my son worked together to get the price that was needed and to forget about the home-buyer’s assistance (makes you wonder if that was the inspector’s purpose . . .).

Then, my youngest son has been searching for a job for I don’t know how long. If he had the least bit of experience (in computer programming), he would have had no problem. But getting someone to take that first chance on you can take a while. He had a lot of interviews, a lot of second interviews, but everyone went with someone else. Finally he went to an interview where the staffing agency thought he might be a little “green” for the job, but figured they’d chance it anyway—and Jesse was offered a job on the spot! It’s not in programming: it’s an IT help desk. But it’s in his field. The company does have a programming department, so it might be possible to move into that at some point.

Throughout these processes, as I prayed for them, I knew God’s timing was perfect. Yet in the midst of a long, drawn-out waiting time, it’s hard not to feel strained. I prayed God would be working His will in their hearts as they waited on and looked to Him.

Transitioning to winter involves getting out sweaters and throw blankets and using the oven for meals again. It’s nice to get back to some of those heartier meals.

We’re looking forward to good food and having the family together tomorrow. Everyone will be here except my oldest son, who is coming for Christmas.


I made no cards this month, but I’ll have extra on my plate for next month. Maybe I should have started early . .


I know for some of you the Timothyisms from my grandson are your favorite part of these posts.:)  I shared earlier some of his texts to me and this one from his dad:

Some of his other sayings:

After Halloween:

T: I know what a reefor (reaper) is, daddy.
J: What is it?
T: A farmer! (The blade cuts vegetables.)

He’s really into jokes now. One he made up himself:

T: Where do green eggs come from?
J: Where?
T: A green goose, of course!

When his parents got him some sleeveless undershirts: “Now I look like a workout guy!”

After learning about Moses and Pharaoh, they were re-enacting the story. Timothy, as Moses: “I got my superpowers from God, so you have to let my people go!”


We enjoyed watching the new movie Klaus and the new live-action version of Lady and the Tramp together as a family, both very nice. My husband indulged me in watching The Knight Before Christmas. During lunchtime Jesse and I, and Jim when he was available, watched the Netflix series Raising Dion about a mom who discovers her seven-year-old son has superpowers. That sounds like it could be a very cutesy premise, but it got really intense at points! It held us pretty spellbound. We also finished watching Merlin. I’ve written before about not being ok with magic as it is presented in some stories, but concluding that fairy-tale magic is a different thing than what real witches do. Nevertheless, a lot of the incantations in Latin or some other language in this series disturbed me. But aside from that, I loved the story, even if they did change it up from the legend as it’s usually known.


Reading is a must for me, and this month I completed (titles link to my reviews):

  • The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay. A young lawyer about to make partner finds out she has inherited an estranged aunt’s bookshop. Good story and a lot of fun literary references.
  • Canteen Dreams by Cara Putnam. WWII story based on the author’s grandparents. Very good.
  • Jessie’s Hope by Jennifer Hallmark. A wheelchair-bound young woman plans her wedding and tries to reach her estranged father.
  • Canteen Dreams by Cara Putnam. WWII-era love story based on the author’s grandparents. A young man unable to enlist because he’s the only son of a farmer struggles with being left behind. A young woman plunges into helping the cause by serving at a canteen set up for soldiers on their way to the front. Very good.
  • Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss. Classic story of a family shipwrecked on a deserted island.

I’m currently reading:

In audiobooks, I hope to get one more classic in for the Back to the Classics Challenge. Then I dearly want to listen to Panosian: A Story of God’s Gracious Providence by Chris Anderson, the biography of one of my alma mater’s most beloved teachers. In paper and Kindle books, I’ll start working through my Literary Christmas Reading Challenge list next.


Around the ol’ blog, besides the regular Friday’s Fave Fives, Laudable Linkage, and book reviews, I’ve shared thoughts on:

  • When You Don’t Know You’re Asleep. Than can be even more dangerous spiritually than it is physically.
  • God’s Deadlines. God is longsuffering and merciful, but at some point the time to repent or to do good will be over.
  • What I Learned From Bare Trees. I can get a little down when the trees are bare and the landscape looks a little desolate. But learning the reasons behind the trees letting go of leaves led to some unforeseen spiritual lessons.
  • Biblical Thankfulness. It’s wonderful to thank God for food, protection, and answered prayer. But there’s so much more to be thankful for.


I’ve had a few good editing sessions, but writing will probably take a back seat during the holiday season. I was excited to receive an Honorable mention from a Writer’s Digest contest in the Inspirational/Spiritual category. I was surprised since my entry was basically my testimony, and this is a secular magazine. I wasn’t even sure I should mention it, since it was “just” honorable mention. But they sent me these neat stickers and a list of ways to use them, so I guess it’s ok. The biggest takeaway for me was just the encouragement that I’m progressing in the right direction.


Since I am posting this before Thanksgiving, the biggest event in November, I want to wish you a very happy and thankful day.

(Sharing with Porch Stories, Recharge Wednesday, Worth Beyond Rubies,
Let’s Have Coffee, Grace and Truth, Faith ‘n Friends, Global Blogging,
Senior Salon, Literary Musing Monday, Hearth and Soul, Happy Now, InstaEncouragement)

End of October Musings

October was supposed to be a blank slate, a respite between “birthday season” and holiday busyness. As it turned out, I had a couple of activities come up each week, shared mostly in the weekly Friday’s Fave Fives. But most of the activities were fun fellowship without a lot of advance preparation, so little to no pressure. And we did have some restful spots here and there.

Though we’re still not experiencing the full color that eastern TN usually provides in the fall, I’ve seen more in the last week than in the whole month before. Unfortunately I wasn’t in a a place where I could park and take pictures. But I tried to look as long as I safely could while driving and soak in the beauty.

We’ve enjoyed some deliciously cool days the last couple of weeks. I haven’t turned on the heat or broken out the winter clothes yet, but we’ve had a couple of oven meals that we haven’t had since last spring because it’s been too hot to turn the oven on.

Timothyisms – cute or funny sayings from my five-year-old grandson

He was trying to put on a pair of well-loved pjs that had lost the tag. He took them off again, and his dad asked why and were they on backwards. Timothy said, “I don’t know. I don’t know.” Then he let out a dramatic sigh and said, “My life is so hard.” I’ve sometimes felt that way over little frustrations, too.

I think I have mentioned before that he loves “balloon men” (also known as air dancers) that you see at car lots and such. His parents had found a couple of small ones they got for him. Then they found some fall inflatables for about $15 at Aldi’s—similar to balloon men. That put him over the moon for a while.


I made a couple of cards this month, one for a baby shower:

And one for Pastor Appreciation Month:

The sheep were some free clip art I printed from the computer and cut out. I made the borders out of scrapbooking paper with decorative scissors.

Reading is always a favorite pastime. Here’s what I completed this month:

  • A Constant Heart by Siri Mitchell. An arranged marriage of two courtiers during Queen Elizabeth’s reign. Quite a picture into those times and the uncertain standing in the lives of courtiers.
  • A Flower in Bloom, also by Siri Mitchell. the daughter and main assistant of a botanist feels set aside when her father hires another assistant so she can be free to marry. Her plan to attract a suitor so her father will see what her marriage will mean to him and give up the idea backfires. Though this is a different time and type of people than the above book, Siri wonderfully waves together historical detail from the times with the story of people’s hearts.
  • Honey, I Don’t Have a Headache Tonight by Sheila Wray Gregoire. Good resource.
  • Loving People: How to Love and Be Loved by John Townsend. Finally finished this! It wasn’t as helpful as I had hoped, but it did give me a few things to ponder.
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville, about Captain Ahab’s obsessive hunt for the white whale that cost him his leg. Thrilling in many places, tedious in others.
  • The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay. Just finished this one a couple of days ago. I’m hoping to review it tomorrow.

I’m currently reading:

  • On Writing Well by William Zinsser
  • Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss
  • Jessie’s Hope by Jennifer Hallmark


Around the blog, besides the regular the Friday’s Fave Fives, Laudable Linkage, and book reviews, I’ve shared thoughts on:

  • Making the Bible Come Alive. We can’t—it IS alive. We’re the ones who need to be made alive by the Word of God.
  • Just Wait: It Gets Harder.” That’s something younger moms hear too often instead of encouragement.
  • Do You Want to Be Near God? Results of a short Bible study about drawing near to God.
  • Look Up. Like Bunyan’s Muckraker, we can sometimes keep our eyes and thoughts on what’s right in front of us and forget to look up to Him and to the needs of others around us.
  • Is It a Sin to Be Rich? Being wealthy isn’t politically correct these days (unless you’re in entertainment or sports—go figure). But what does the Bible say about it?


I’ve had some good editing sessions on my book, but chafe that I don’t get to it as often as I’d like. Sometimes I’m really excited about it, and it seems not too far from being done. Other times it seems awful or a long way from completion. From what I’ve read, it’s pretty normal for writers to fluctuate between those feelings.

I’m also following some agents’ blogs to get to know them and try to decide which one to approach. About the time I’ve decided to ask one, something changes my mind to consider another. If you feel led, I’d appreciate your prayers for God’s direction in that step.

And that’s my October. How was yours?

(Sharing with Wise Woman, Linda, Let’s Have Coffee, Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire,
Faith ‘n Friends, Create, Bake, Grow, & Gather, Shannan, Senior Salon,
Literary Musing Monday, Happy Now, Hearth and Soul,
InstaEncouragement, Tea and Word, Worth Beyond Rubies)


End-of-September Musings

I don’t have my fall decorations out yet. It’s hard to get motivated when it doesn’t feel like fall yet. I’ve seen this going around on Facebook (I was unable to trace who originated it):

But! It will come! Sooner or later!

Meanwhile, here’s a look back at the month.


Our big family event for the month was my youngest son, Jesse’s, birthday. He’s still job-hunting and hoping to be on his own soon, so this birthday the major concentration was gifts for his own place. Too bad they don’t give showers for single people. 🙂

We also enjoyed the Tennessee Valley Fair and a couple of family movies.

Mittu had a bad cold and now Jim has it. We’re hoping and praying it doesn’t spread further.

I got some medical stuff out of the way: my annual physical, a treatment for vertigo with a physical therapist, and an eye examination. Besides having a dentist appointment next month, I should be done with everything medical for a long while.

By the way, does anyone else get tired of hearing “That’s part of getting older” when you tell doctors your symptoms?!


From my five year old grandson:

When Mittu asked Timothy if he wanted to tell Grandma the Bible verse he was learning, he replied, “Too much pressure.”

He didn’t believe his toy cow was a girl even though it had an udder. When asked why, he said, “It doesn’t have eyelashes.”

We were playing a game that involved choosing sounds to represent various scenarios (Earwax). Timothy loves to laugh at the different sounds. One of the categories was “What does love sound like?” I asked Timothy that question, and he said, “A beatboxing trumpet.”


I only made one card this month, for Jesse’s birthday. He likes video games, and this is supposed to look like his Nintendo Switch controller.


I’m continuing to watch When Calls the Heart while riding my exercise bike. We enjoyed America’s Got Talent, especially the finale (one of their best). Jesse and I usually watch something together while eating lunch, and lately we’ve been working our way through Merlin. It’s about Merlin as a teenager, just making his way to Camelot and meeting Arthur as a young man. They do change some details from the usual legend. But it’s amazingly clean. Of course, it deals with magic. We’re careful about that kind of thing, and when the kids were young I avoided any books or shows with magic. But then I realized that fairy tale magic is a different thing from the occult:real witches don’t turn people into toads and such.

We watched The Lion King a few weeks ago and the new Aladdin movie with Jason, Mittu, and Timothy.Then we took Timothy to his first in-theater movie with other visiting grandmother and saw Abominable. Cute in places, but probably not my favorite kids’ movie. But it was fun watching Timothy’s reaction to everything.


Still chipping away at revising the book I’m working on.


This month I completed:

  • Rachel’s Prayer and Sarah’s Promise, the last two books in Leisha Kelly’s series about the Worthham and Hammond families. Loved these dearly.
  • There’s a Reason They Call It GRANDparenting by Michele Howe. Good resource for grandparents who want to be a good influence in the grandchildren’s lives.
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Better and deeper than I had anticipated.
  • A Promise in Pieces by Emily T. Wierenga, about a WWII nurse who takes a dying soldier’s letter to his widow after the war The widow gives her a baby quilt, which she uses as a midwife. Good and touching story.
  • The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington. It’s something of a forgotten classic, but I enjoyed it quite a lot once I got into it.

I’m currently reading:

  • Loving People: How to Love and Be Loved by John Townsend . . . still. I used to read this kind of thing after my devotional time, but lately there hasn’t been time. I need to finish this one!
  • On Writing Well by William Zinsser
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Just started this, and it is SO good!
  • A Constant Heart by Siri Mitchell


Some of the blog posts from this month:

  • Forsaking Thoughts. It doesn’t help just to tell ourselves not to think about certain things. Here are some strategies for changing our thoughts.
  • What If We Really Don’t Measure Up? Someone will always be better than we are. But we’re only responsible for what God wants us to do.
  • Let Us Lift Up Our Hearts to the One Lifted Up for Us. A quick look at the phrase “lift up” in the Bible. Because He was lifted up for us, we can lift up our souls, eyes, voices to Him.
  • That’s Just the Way God Made Me.” Knowing how we’re wired helps in many ways. But good traits have offsetting weaknesses that we shouldn’t excuse. Plus, God sometimes wants us to extend ourselves out of our comfort zone and rely on Him to do what does not come naturally to us.
  • Making the Bible Come Alive. We can’t—it IS alive. We’re the ones who need to be made alive by the Word of God.

As we close out September, I’m looking forward to October: more fall weather, beautiful colors, no major events on the calendar. Oh, there are potlucks and a baby showers and Bible studies and always things to be done. But after our busy “birthday season” from the last few months, I’m looking forward to a lighter schedule between now and the holiday season.

How was your September?

(Sharing with Linda, Inspire Me Monday, Global Blogging,
Literary Musing Monday, Hearth and Soul, Purposeful Faith,
Happy Now, Tea and Word, Tell His Story, Shannan,
Let’s Have Coffee, Worth Beyond Rubies, Porch Stories,
Grace and Truth, Faith ‘n Friends.
Linking does not imply 100% agreement)

End-of-August Musings

August is a full month for us with an anniversary (my son and daughter-in-law’s 10th this year) and two birthdays (my oldest son’s and mine). My oldest son came to visit for a week or so to cerebrate both our birthdays. Jim took the week off as well. Jesse is in-between finishing school and finding a job, so I’m not sure what future Augusts will look like. I hope he’ll be able to find a job locally or at least close enough to visit for those occasions. But we’ll see what happens then and just enjoy having everyone together now.

We didn’t have any major outings this time—just to a restaurant for my birthday and to an arcade/bowling/and other activities place for their Monday night specials. We enjoyed a lot of time talking and playing games.

Other than “birthday week” and getting ready for it, August was a fairly quiet month. Thankfully the trend of mishaps from last month did not continue!

Here are some of the things we’ve been into this month:


A couple of texts from my daughter-in-law about my grandson’s sayings:


This card was for Jason and Mittu’s anniversary:

This was for Jeremy’s birthday:

The dimensions look a little wonky because it’s partially open.

This is for a beloved former pastor who turns 90 this weekend. I’m taking a risk showing this one because it hasn’t gotten to him yet—but I don’t think he reads this blog, so hopefully it will be ok. 🙂

This is for my pastor’s wife. There’s a story behind it. When she asked how my book-in-progress was going, I told her I’d had some good sessions, and bit by bit it would get done. She told me her husband always says any big task is like eating an elephant—one bite at a time. Later she gave me a little pink elephant to encourage me to keep taking those small “bites” til the task is completed. Thus the pink elephants on the card, made with a little hole-punch. 🙂

I wasn’t quite satisfied with a couple of these—but maybe if I don’t point out the mistakes, you won’t notice them. 🙂


Jesse and I usually watch something with lunch and finished the Netflix remake of Lost In Space yesterday. It was pretty intense! But very well done. It had just a couple of bad words in it. Now we have to figure out what to start next. Any suggestions?

I also started watching When Calls the Heart, the Hallmark series based on Janette Oke’s books, while riding my exercise bike. It’s been so long since I’ve read the books, I have forgotten a lot about them. But that’s probably a good thing, or else I’d be constatntly comparing them

I mentioned on a couple of Friday’s Fave Five posts that we watched Lady and the Tramp and I Can Only Imagine together. I watched Savings Mr. Banks  and The Case for Christ while exercising before starting When Calls the Heart.

Sometimes I hate to mention shows because right after I do, they’ll have something bad on them. I’m usually wary of any kind of comedian shows on TV because they almost always contain something objectionable. One night Bring the Funny, a comedian competition show, was on, so I gave it a try. It was pretty good! And clean! I haven’t watched all the episodes, so I can’t vouch for all of them, but I hope they keep it clean.


I’ve completed this month:

  • 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff , a collection of notes between Helene and the employees of a used book store in London, especially a Frank Doel. Though it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting at first, it was enjoyable to watch the correspondence change from strictly business notes to more personal exchanges as friendships developed.
  • Kill Order by Adam Blumer, a novel about a man whose doctor inserted an implant in his brain during surgery, and now someone else is controlling his actions. I also interviewed Adam and his book and writing here.

Those of you who know me well know that’s a low number of completed books for me! I’ve been making steady progress on some others, which will probably all get done at the same time. 🙂 I’m currently reading:

  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • There’s a Reason They Call It GRANDparenting by Michele Howe
  • Rachel’s Prayer by Leisha Kelly
  • Loving People: How to Love and Be Loved by John Townsend


Some of the blog posts from this month:

  • Examine Yourselves to See Whether You Are in the Faith. With a couple of well-known professing Christians no longer professing recently, it behooves all of us to make sure of where we stand with the Lord and not take for granted we’re Christians because we grew up in that atmosphere.
  • Prayer: Talking With Our Father. What the Bible says about prayer, bringing it to the main point that it’s not a ritual we perform: it’s talking with the One who loves us best.
  • Biblical Prayers. Kind of a sequel to the previous one, I listed a few prayers from the Bible that we could pray as is or in our own words today.
  • When Interruptions ARE the Ministry. God often works through interruptions, in the Bible and in our lives.
  • Don’t Stop Preaching to the Choir. This was inspired by Christian writers who want to leave off writing Christian books to write for the general market, but its truths would apply to anyone who works primarily with Christians. Don’t stop “preaching to the choir,” because the choir still needs it.


I didn’t work on my book during our “stay-cation,” but before that I had some good sessions. This is the first day in a long while I’ve had the whole day open, so I hope to get back at it. And I had a sudden flood of ideas for a couple of other books that I’m excited about and can’t wait to get to.

And that about wraps up August, though I’ll still have a Friday’s Fave Five and Laudable Linkage post before the month is officially done.

Our August has been joyful, but I know some have had a trying or sorrowful month. I pray for God’s grace for you, whatever He brings you through.

(Sharing with Linda, Grace and Truth, Faith ‘n Friends, Global Blogging, Hearth and Soul, Happy Now, InstaEncouragement, Shannan’s What I’m Into, Worth Beyond Rubies, Literary Musing Monday)


End-of-July Musings and a Blog Anniversary Giveaway

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

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

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

Family happenings

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

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

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

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


We’ve had some odd occurrences this month:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

And my favorite, from earlier this week:

I know that feeling . . .

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


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


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


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

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

I’m currently reading:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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