Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Haiku Moment: umber

umber does not mean

somber, though pandemic frowns

steal sunflower smiles

 

umber by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell


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RV Living: Day (approximately) 1,339

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Creating fairy gardens

People.

This experimental RV living situation is really hanging on. At (approximately) day 1,339 of tiny living, far longer than we expected, life revolves around creativity, tiny-ness, storage woes, lost or in storage items, and a general lack of wardrobe.

For instance, last weekend we rearranged the furniture.

Don’t get excited. That only means we moved a rug, the cat tree, our box (end table), the couch, and chair. Those are basically the ONLY things that can be moved. Though Donavyn came in to see and suggested we move the stove over there and the table over there…(they are all built-ins). He was trying!

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The cat is discombobulated by the move. She is not comfortable. Her cat tree is not by daddy’s chair. She can’t figure out where to sleep. The scratching options have moved. But she does love being the in the slide and having 3 open windows at her beck and call.

The grands appreciate the long line of seating. Enough that the both boys fell asleep, tangled on the couch.

I love the evenings sitting on the one end of the couch in the slide, windows open, listening to the fountain right outside dripping and splashing. TV is off, book in hand. It’s quite like camping in the forest, but for the sounds of distant civilization.

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Hmmm. One of my computer keys is making a squeaking noise. That is not normal. Nor is it good.

We have baby goats next door! 4 adorable smaller-than-my-cat stiff-legged bundles of energy and cuteness.

Our neighbors pass on cool items. We take advantage!

Our medicine cabinet is a gallon ziplock bag.

The parking shelter is perfect for outdoor homeschool activities, especially those involving water and/or messes.

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The pasture. Swimming, biking, ball games, gardening, wildlife, throwing innumerable balls for the dog. That’s all summer (but winter? Sledding rules.).

We have nesting fly catchers! I’m excited about this. FLY catchers. Just imagine how many the mommy and daddy will catch for their hungry babies. Two adult males in my immediate vicinity can only imagine the bird droppings all over. Where is their sense of nature and adventure?
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The cat has been warned off of fly catchers, finches, and quail. She does not listen, but one can hope.

The hawks are nesting. I can hear them peeping and calling to each other. Soon it will be time for them to teach the young ones to fly. And then hunt.

The rabbits who nibbled off most of my spring flowers have moved on. We HOPE. (As opposed to ‘became someone’s lunch’). One wonders how 7 fluffy bunnies suddenly went missing.

Despite it being day (approximately) 1,339 of bumps and bruises from forgetting to look where one moves (we should learn, one would think), life is good in our RV tiny home.

As you can tell, we spent most of our time outdoors. The patio has become our evening resting place, sitting in camp chairs, watching the wildlife antics, calling the cat down from not-our-property, laughing at quail fighting over each other.

Here’s to day (approximately) 1,340.

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In Life, Be a Ginger (Write Like a Dog Plays Ball)

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Be a Ginger. That makes me think of Doctor Who, the one who wanted to regenerate as a ginger. I think it was the Matt Smith Doctor Who.

But that’s not what this post is about.

Ginger is a young chocolate lab with oodles and oodles of energy. BALL is her focus. As in, “You throw the ball, and I will chase it.” All. Day. Long.

She wasn’t born with the ability to fetch and chase. As a retriever, she certainly had the innate characteristics for, well, retrieving. But as a puppy, it wasn’t realized yet. Her interest gradually grew to notice moving balls. With tons of praise and practice, she soon embraced the love of chasing and fetching the ball. Her only motivation became the ball. She chases so she can chase it again.

Ginger doesn’t care if she misses the catch. She repeatedly attempts to get to the ball before it hits the ground. If she misses, so what. She still keeps her focus on the ball, scoops it up, and brings it back to the stick person. That would be whomever is holding the Chuck-It Stick.

Sometimes, Ginger is quick and snatches the ball in mid-air. Most of the time, she does not. But she never quits trying. She keeps playing, chasing, and enjoying the game. In doggy words, with tongue lolling and sides heaving with exertion and joy, Ginger says, “I want ALL the balls.”

I think we all need to be a Ginger. In our writing lives, but also in life.

We need to focus. Practice. Make mistakes. Enjoy. Celebrate the successes. Ignore the oops. And keep showing up to play the game. Every single day. Get in the game. Play the game, our insides heaving with exertion and joy. Maybe we should keep our tongues in our mouths though.

I want to be a Ginger.

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Book Report: Odd Dog Out by Rob Biddulph

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The REAL front cover is a sunshiny yellow, but I cannot make my photo true to color. Please use your imagination to view ODD DOG OUT in brilliant yellow. My apologies!

THIS is closer to the true color. 🙂

Odd Dog Out

Written and illustrated by Rob Biddulph

Harper Collins Children’s Books, 2019

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Oh, doggy lovers, this one is just too cute! Odd Dog Out will bring joy to your young readers and encourage them to be confident as they go through life marching to their own beat.

I received a copy of Odd Dog Out from Abigail at Wunderkind in exchange for a review.

What I love about Odd Dog Out:

~ The adorableness of the illustrations! You need to check out this book. There is only one type of dog-weiner dogs-and they are so cute. The bright colors on each page appeal to me as well. The odd dog out stands out from the crowd and is easy to identify.

~ The simple rhyming text perfectly tells the story and matches the illustrations.

~ The message of being comfortable in your own skin, marching to your own drum, and feeling confident in yourself rings through loud and clear.

~ The variety of doggies at the end, all uniquely expressing themselves, is a great ending (SORRY, spoiler alert!)

~ The appropriateness for young readers (4-8 years old, Preschool-3rd grade).

~ The clever wordplay.

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This is one of my favorite spreads in ODD DOG OUT.

Amazon Blurb:

A heartwarming and poignant story from award-winning creator Rob Biddulph about the power of embracing your true colors. Perfect for fans of Peter Brown’s Tiger Goes Wild.

It’s a dog’s life in the big, busy city, but there’s one lonely pup who doesn’t quite fit in. She behaves differently from the rest, sports rainbow in a sea of gray, and marches to the beat of her own drum.

She’s one Odd Dog.

Join Odd Dog as she journeys to the other side of the world to find her place in it, only for her to discover that maybe she’s meant to be right where she started.

And check out Rob Biddulph’s other books for children, including:

Blown Away

The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!

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Connect with Neighbors over Hot Cocoa or Apple Cider: Sip and Share Booth Article from Missions Mosaic

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It’s was like Christmas morning when I opened the December issue of Missions Mosaic to discover an article I wrote last year.

In the publishing world, deadlines are much earlier than the publication dates. Sometimes, deadlines are one year or longer before the written project is available in print. After I hit send, I move on to the next deadline, forgetting what I’ve completed in order to focus on what needs to be written.

Like I said, an early December surprise awaited for me in the pages of Missions Mosaic. Merry Christmas!

I love hot cocoa, hot coffee, hot tea, hot apple cider. While it’s good on its own, sipping a favorite hot drink is much nicer while chatting to friends or neighbors. So what’s holding you back from this pleasure, which can be enjoyed long after Christmas decorations are packed away and the tree is chipped up for the garden?

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Sharing tea with my cousin, Melissa.

Let’s take some time this holiday season to connect – REALLY connect – with others. Actual people, face-to-face, heart-to-heart. Share kindness and conversation.

~ Invite a friend over for coffee.

~ Organize a street-wide or neighborhood hot cocoa and cookie get-together.

~ Meet with work buddies at a coffee shop one afternoon after work.

~ Surprise your Sunday school class or other faith group by taking along along coffee and pastries.

~ Go Christmas caroling in your neighborhood or a local nursing home. Gather together afterwards to enjoy hot cocoa.

~ Read the “Sip and Share Booth” Missions Mosaic article and arrange to host one in your community.

‘Tis the season to be merry. And nothing shouts MERRY more than loving human interactions. Be the beginning of Christmas cheer as you share your life and God’s love with those around you.

***Missions Mosaic may be ordered by calling 1-800-968-7301 or by visiting wmustore.com or wmu.com/adults.

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