End-of-March musings

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March is a month of contrasts. The worst of winter and best of spring. Daffodils pushing through brown grass. Rain and sunshine.

Our days have contrasted as well — a couple of very busy weeks followed by laid-back ones.

Writing

I started off the very first March weekend with my second writer’s conference. Though I enjoyed and learned from the first one, I gleaned so much more from this one. The keynote speaker, Karissa Culbreath, had some excellent sessions. I benefited from great workshops and meetings and an immensely helpful and encouraging critique of my partial manuscript submission. And! I won a prize in a devotional writing contest and an opportunity for a chapter of mine to be included in an anthology. Exciting! And encouraging that there has been improvement in the last year.

I am sorry to say I have not accomplished much on the writing front since then. Distracted by other things, I guess. I did incorporate the suggestions made by the person who critiqued my manuscript at the writer’s conference, and I keep a running list of notes about things to add or adjust. I think the difficulty is that now I need to go back and shape up each chapter, and the first one needs the most work. In some ways that’s harder than just getting my thoughts out in the first place. But I will get back to it as soon as possible!

Family

The very next week after the conference, we celebrated my dear husband’s birthday and I had a follow-up appointment six months from my physical (with good results, thankfully). This is the only card I hand-made this month.

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We also celebrated with my middle son his one billionth second of life. 🙂

My favorite Timothyism of the month: Evidently when we get up from a sitting position, we often remark that we “must be getting old.” So one evening as I got up from the dining chair and groaned a little, my four-year-old grandson said, “Are you old now?” Getting there! Much too quickly!

Around the house

After the scheduled events settled down, the activity around the house picked up. The weekend I was away, Jim took up the carpet that was in our bathroom and replaced it with new flooring.

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Much improved! Now the search is on for wall paint and bath mats. The first sample paint we tried was too blue and we’ve yet to try another one. I found some pink and grey striped bath mats, but they looked a little too busy – plus they had all kinds of strings hanging from them after washing them. I think I need mostly solid-colored ones.

Jim’s also been busy transforming the room his mom lived in for the last five years back into his office. We’d had some of her equipment (Hoyer lift, Broda chair) on sale on Facebook and Craig’s list, hoping to recoup some expenses plus get them to someone who needed them. But we didn’t have any takers. Jim has a colleague who was helping some friends, a husband taking care of his wife, and Jim offered to give the equipment to them. At least he had the satisfaction of knowing it was a help to someone.

He took some things off walls, patched and painted holes and dents, and rearranged a few things. He has a way to hook up his computer to her TV, so he has an extra screen. He mounted the TV on the wall to give his desk (an old table) more surface space. My son and daughter-in-law had a photo blown up and printed on wood that my oldest son had taken of the Snake River Canyon when we were in Idaho and given it to Jim on his birthday. They had Romans 8:18 printed in the corner, a verse that was special to us when Jim’s mom passed away. He was able to get that up on his office wall.

I couldn’t get a picture without the shadow of my arms in it – it looks much better in person!

The room is starting to look a lot more like his own space now. I’m so happy for him to have it. Not just because I don’t have to listen to one-sided business conversations any more. 🙂 But he really didn’t have his own spot to work, spread things out and leave them, etc., and now he does.

I don’t usually go on a cleaning frenzy just because of a date on the calendar. But recently I’ve noticed that our kitchen cabinets were in sad shape: dusty inside and out. Plus I needed to create some space for our small blenders (one an immersion blender and the other a “Magic Bullet” type, though not that brand). We had used them several times a day to puree Jim’s mom’s food, and washed them by hand and left them in the dish drainer for the next time. Since we’re not using them so often any more, I needed to find a spot inside for them. I followed my friend Dianna‘s example and just did a section at a time. I started with the easy ones – the cabinets that were already organized but just needed everything taken out and the shelves dusted. Now they’re all done except the biggest two that are going to need the most work. Though my goal was cleaning and rearranging, I have found a few things to get rid of.

Exercise

I’ve been struggling (again) with exercise. I benefit from the gym but hate the traveling time and the time involved changing into special clothes and back – as well as the time it takes just to exercise. But I can tell such a difference in my stamina when I am exercising regularly. So the past week or two I’ve been using some walking DVDs I have at home. Jim has been looking for a used exercise bike – the thing I use most at the gym – and just found one over the weekend. I’ve already put it to use and plan to keep at it!.

Reading

I’ve enjoyed a lot of good reading this month! I’ve finished the following and have linked back to my reviews:

Laura Ingall’s Wilder’s Fairy Poems, compiled by Stephen Hines

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Songbook compiled and edited by Eugenia Garson. Music and a little background of the songs mentioned in the Little House books.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis by Patti Callahan, a fiction based-on-fact account of C. S. Lewis’s wife.

Steal Away Home: Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson, Unlikely Friends on the Passage to Freedom by Matt Carter and Aaron Ivey, another fictional book based on the true friendship of C. H. Spurgeon and a freed slave, Thomas Johnson.

Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke, a novel about the daughter of an American genetic scientist who hides and saves the deaf daughter of a friend. Excellent! My first book by Gohlke, but not my last.

Love Is Not a Special Way of Feeling, a reprint of Charles G. Finney’s Attributes of Love by another name. Difficult to read, and I disagreed with several points, but did glean a few helpful thoughts.

She Makes It Look Easy by Marybeth Whalen, about a “perfect” friend who is not really so perfect after all.

The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright, a novel about a family’s discovery, after their parents’ deaths, that the father had written a letter to his wife ever Wednesday of their 39 years together.

I’ve just finished but have not yet reviewed The Fashion Designer by Nancy Moser and How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn.

I’m currently reading Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me by Karen Swallow Prior, How to Understand and Apply the New Testament by Andrew Naselli, The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, and I’ll Watch the Moon by Ann Tatlock.

Around the blog

Besides the book reviews and weekly Friday’s Fave Fives, I’ve shared:

And that wraps up another month!

(Shannan invites us to share our end-of-month round-up posts, what we’re into, what’s keeping us sane. Also sharing with Literary Musing Monday, Woman to Woman Word-filled Wednesday, Quick Lit)

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5 thoughts on “End-of-March musings

  1. What fun to get to go to two writer’s conferences! Congratulations on winning a devotional contest, too :). Grandkids are the best, aren’t they? The remodel project looks awesome, too. It’s so much funt o make little improvements, isn’t it?

  2. Your bathroom floor looks great! Ha, I sympathize on bath mats. I tend to always like things with stripes, patterns, etc. when I look at them — but then in a room, I often realize that solid is probably the better look. I’m glad you got an exercise bike. That is how I exercise every day and have for over 20 yrs now. I ride it 30 minutes each morning. What makes it much more bearable for me is that ours has a reading stand (put one on yours?), so I read the entire time. It’s a great way to exercise “painlessly” and get in reading time too.

  3. I agree–you bathroom floor looks amazing. We need to do something like that eventually. I’m super slow to initiate any house renovations. And Jeff is even slower. ha. So we just stay content with what we have. lol. I love that you celebrated your son’s one billionth second of life. 🙂 Wonderful!

  4. Good to hear about all the super changes you’re making.
    And congratulations on all the writing conference victories.
    I find that exercise helps my stamina as well and have used Faithful Workouts on line exercise videos.

  5. Ooh, a Writer’s Conference. That’s something that I hope to do this year. I have attended two writing retreats but no writer’s conference, as of yet. Thanks for popping in over on my site. Love the bathroom floor.

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