"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

Sophie is visiting the area now, and today she was at my house for a couple of hours.  She had a great time playing with Tucky, and when he left to help with youth group at church, Sophie and I went to the park which is near my house.

When we first got there, Sophie and I had the whole place to ourselves so we entertained ourselves by doing the scavenger hunt.

We have to locate the apple, frog, star, clock, carrot, and so forth. Ten items in all. Or "awwb jects" as Sophie drawls it.  Objects, if you don't understand Southern.

She loves when she finds the objects first.  

About twenty minutes after we got to the park, people started arriving and - yippee! - Sophie had not one, but TWO little girls just a bit older than her to play with.

I had been walking up and down a hill in order to redeem the time and get a little exercise. It's a favorite hill to roll down - or, at least, both Sophie and Zach have rolled down this hill in times gone by.

Sophie asked if they could, and I said I could not give permission for Jillian and Carla since I'm not their guardian/parent. But eventually all three girls rolled down the hill.

Here are a few pictures I took of Sophie in the process.

And finally I had her stop so I could show her her leafy hair!

She loved it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Toy Bonnie and Cinderella made the paper!

Zach and Sophie's grandmother - they call her Nana - sent us this picture via text last evening.  The kids were included in the local county paper, The News-Record & Sentinel, while wearing their Halloween costumes.

The caption should really have an "at" in place of that first "and" to be accurate and "Freddie" should be "Freddy's," but possibly the caption writer was like me about FNaF stuff.

(No clue.)

Friday, November 2, 2018


Lifetouch gave me a coupon for a free digital download since I made a purchase on their online site today. Actually they said it was because I signed up for their rewards program.

I wanted to have a copy of this here.

Zach, 7 years old

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

October Books

The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti -- Zoe has been keeping her past hidden as she hides in plain sight in New York City.  Her husband Henry discovered her at charity event and "rescued" her from a life of poverty and gave her a lavish lifestyle. A somewhat suspenseful book; I enjoyed it.

On Wings of the Morning by Marie Bostwick -- The stories of Georgia and her learning to fly with the WASP during World War II, and Morgan as he left his small Oklahoma town to fly in the Pacific.

How Do I Love Thee? by Nancy Moser -- this is "a Novel of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Poetic Romance" ; not the most exciting book, but OK. Boy, her father was a piece of work! 

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Graynor and Heather Webb -- an OK story about Ellie and Tom as Tom goes off to fight for England during World War I, and Ellie writes him.  Nearly the whole book is letters from these two to each other, and a few more.  It was a somewhat interesting way to learn more about this war; if not overly-exciting.

The Dive From Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer -- found this at a free little library; not my favorite, but OK. I didn't really like the main character all that much.  Carrie Bell is already bored of her fiancé so he shows of by diving from Clausen's pier. No big deal usually, but this year was lacking rain and they had done something to the lake - and Mike breaks something and can no longer walk. What does Carrie do? If you want to know, read the book.

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin -- I enjoyed this glimpse of Queen Victoria in the early years of her reign.  I wouldn't mind reading others that tell more of her story. 

Hurricane by Karen Harper -- Julie and Zach's children go missing after Thad took Randi out on a Jet Ski.  The worried parents go looking for their teens all while the rest of this area of Florida is boarding up and evacuating because of Hurricane Dana's imminent arrival! This was a timely book in a way since Hurricane Michael hit part of Florida earlier in the week.  He was a fast-strengthening storm, and even cause many in my area to lose power and trees.  My neighbor had a big tree fall and hit her house (not too much damage to the house, thankfully; and we lost power for right at 24 hours).  An OK book.

A Lady in Disguise by Sandra Byrd -- This book starts with Gillian Young attending her father's funeral.  He was a policeman who died from a runaway cart (supposedly.)  She noticed her father's former coworkers are less friendly and some downright hostile towards her, her house is searched, and she's being harassed. What is going on? I like this book about her work as a theatre seamstress, and her young interns. 

Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey -- While running from an abusive boyfriend, Jess finds an unoccupied house to break into. She ends up staying for a few days in this abandoned place and finding a bit of a mystery about Stella, an English lady, married to a vicar, and Dan, the American soldier who made her life more interesting during World War II. 

Angel Falls by Kristin Hannah -- When Mikaela suffers a head injury after falling from her horse, her family talks to her while she lies in a coma. Her husband finds one name makes her respond - the name of her ex-husband.  So, he locates the ex-husband with hopes that his talking to Mike will help her wake up.  Weird thing to do maybe, but a decent book.  Easy read.

Sweet Caroline by Rachel Hauck -- After reading a few books with heavier topics, this was a light, easy read about Caroline there in Beaufort, SC. She was left the Frogmore Café, an institution in the town, but a falling-apart money pit!  Caroline is a lovable character anyone would be lucky to know. A cute book. 

Get Lucky by Katherine Center -- After Sarah is fired from her advertising job, she visits her sister in their hometown of Houston.  She realizes Mackie (toddler version of Mary Katherine in case you were wondering) really wants a baby, and since Mackie has been unsuccessful in this quest for a child for 6 years, Sarah decides to have a baby for Mackie and her husband Clive.  No problem.  An easy read, and I do like the characters quite much. 

Bread and Dreams by Jonatha Ceely -- This is actually the second book in the story of Mina, so I will have to read the first book soon.  This story followed Mina as she left home in Ireland to travel across the Atlantic for New York, and as she continued her life there. Thankfully she had her trusty friend, Mr. Serle, who looked out for her, and she meets interesting characters - the Corbetts (Jane and Honor) and Flint, the sailor, among others.  Good book. 

Evergreen by Rebecca Rasmussen -- A pretty good story that starts with Emil, a recent immigrant from Germany, and his bride, Eveline, who begin married life in a small cabin in the woods of Minnesota in 1938.  To them is born Hux (named for Emil's grandpa, I believe, Huxley), and later Emil travels back to Germany because his father is dying.  In that year he was gone, something life-changing happens to Eveline that affects the next couple of generations (and maybe more, but the story ends around Naamah's daughter Racina's 11th birthday.)  Some rather interesting characters in this book, and overall a decent read. 

Lord Fenton's Folly by Josi Kilpack -- Lord Fenton does his best to live an outlandish lifestyle in London in order to bring shame to his father, but he changes his ways when his father nearly cuts him off from his title and inheritance.  The List Of Things To Do In Order to Stay in My Good Graces includes marrying within a few months.  Looking around for the least objectionable woman he knows, Lord Fenton proposes to Alice Stanbridge.  That's always a good way to woo a lady.  Pretty good book.

Fields of Gold by Marie Bostwick -- this was actually the first in a two-part series; I read the second book a few weeks ago and then realized this book covered Morgan's mom's life and his birth whereas book 2 focused a whole lot more on Morgan and his flying during World War II.  Charles Lindbergh was a minor, yet influential, character is both books. Pretty good story about Eva and her life in Dillon, Oklahoma.

Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck -- Part of the Royal Wedding Series; I'm not sure I'll continue these because I didn't find it all that good.  I liked a book by this author that I read a week or so ago, but this was just ho-hum at best. Susanna lives on St. Simons Island in Georgia and meets this really cool fellow who happens to be a prince from a (fake) European nation. He doesn't introduce himself as that so she thinks he's just a regular guy with a cool accent. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

September Books

The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor -- I enjoyed this novel about the Titanic, and a group of 14 from a village in Ireland who traveled together.  It explores some of their stories, especially Maggie Murphy, the 17 year old orphan who was traveling to start a new life with her Aunt Kathleen. A touching book.

Mist of the Midnight by Sandra Byrd -- First book in the Daughters of Hampshire series; an interesting story about Rebecca Ravenshaw's return to England after 20 years in India.  After her parents are killed, Rebecca returns home with hopes of reclaiming her ancestral house.  Instead she finds a distant cousin, Captain Luke Whitfield, is settling in, and a tale about another Rebecca Ravenshaw who already showed up, claimed the house, and died not too long ago - what?!  I liked this book.

Jude by Kate Morgenroth -- After Jude witnesses his father's murder (he was selling drugs, and cutting the supply so...), he is introduced to his mother, a local district attorney!   His life changes drastically...and this book was rather troubling.

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert -- Lou runs a French-cuisine restaurant in Milwaukee.  Usually everything runs smoothly and she and her staff make delicious food.  But on one of the worst days of her life, the local food critic drops by, is served terrible food, and writes a scathing review.  Meanwhile Al Waters meets Lou who gives him - an Englishman new to the area - tours of famous Milwaukee things to do.  A rather cute book; an easy read. 

Bride of a Distant Isle by Sandra Byrd -- Second book in the Daughters of Hampshire series; Throughout her life, Annabel Ashton has battled the rumor of her mother giving birth to her out-of-wedlock (in an era where this really really matters) and the fact that her mother died in an insane asylum.  Is she also going mad? Will she also end up dying young in an asylum?   Her cousin Edward inherited everything, but their expenses have increased so much that he asks her to sweet talk (essentially) the Maltese captain Marco Antonio Dell'Acqua in order to gain Dell'Acqua's business.  And so forth...

The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd -- This is "a novel of Kateryn Parr," the last wife of King Henry VIII. It follows the story of one of Kate's ladies, Juliana St. John.  It was a good way to learn more about the queen and king and England at that time.  It took me awhile to get into this book because of all the names and titled people, and the fact that I wasn't fully focused due to both Sophie and Florence (hurricane coming to my state) visiting. 

Alena by Rachel Pastan -- I read this whole book hoping to find out the name of the main character, but I did not!  She's referred to as the curator or "she" the non-Alena...ugh. So, she gets a curator job at an art museum on Cape Cod. But she lives in the shadow of the late, Russian-born Alena who disappeared one night two years ago, and was thought to have drowned.  This book was OK, but ultimately unfulfilling since I never found out the Curator's name. Maybe it's in there, and I just missed it.  *shrug*

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware -- After her mother died in a hit-and-run accident 3 years ago, Hal (short for Harriet) struggles to pay the bills and gets taken by a loan shark. When a letter arrives from a lawyer saying that her grandmother died and left her something, Hal is hopeful that some of her money woes will be relieved. But the grandmother mentioned in the letter is not the same lady mentioned as her grandmother on her birth certificate.  Can Harriet dupe this super-rich family out of a few thousand pounds in order to pay off the people threatening her?  I enjoyed this book; suspenseful!

Miss Wilton's Waltz by Josi S. Kilpack -- a decent, easy read; Lenora is rather a wallflower compared to her younger sister, Cassie. When Lenora's fiancé dumps her for her sister, Lenora finds she's not heartbroken (she didn't really love him), but is embarrassed at local gossip about her.   Her aunt offers her a home in Bath, and Lenora shines as a music teacher at a school for girls.  When 12 year old Catherine comes to the school, Lenora finds this troublesome girl brings more challenges into her life than anticipated!

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent -- A story about Martha Carrier, who was hanged as a witch during the Salem witch trials, as told through the eyes of her 10 year old daughter, Sarah.  A pretty interesting way to learn more about this time in history. 

The World Made Straight by Ron Rash -- A story out of Madison County, NC.  While out fishing, Travis stumbles upon some marijuana growing and takes it to a local seller. I know, I know...what a book. Well, it gets some better, and was actually somewhat interesting. Travis ends up living with this dope seller, Leonard, a former teacher, who encourages Travis to get his GED.   I actually saw a book or two by this author in gift shops along 441 (between Cherokee and Gatlinburg). That's what prompted me to look at what books the library offered (quite a few) so I may read more from him at some point. 

Thieving Forest by Martha Conway -- I got this from my Amazon Wishlist, a birthday gift, I believe, and I enjoyed this story about Susanna and her sisters who live in west Ohio during the days of the settlers and Indians. This story takes places just after Susanna and her sisters are orphaned, and a tribe of Indians kidnap most of them.  Susanna was feeding the pig - Saul - so she saw it all happen.  The story follows her search for them, and the sisters' lives among the natives.  Pretty interesting story!

Serena by Ron Rash -- This book made me so very very thankful for those who lobbied, purchased, donated to make national parks a reality!  Because Serena and Pemberton are just ruthless. And although this book is fiction, I was never so glad someone was unable to have children.  (THIS is actually the book mentioned above that I saw in mountain area gift shops.)

The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen -- Milly and Twiss (Theresa Wis, in case you were wondering; Wis for Wisconsin because as a baby she put black Wisconsin dirt in her mouth; her dad gave her dirt as a newborn) are 70-something, never-married sisters who live together on the old family land.  This story flashes back to their growing-up years, the summer when their cousin Bett came to stay, the year their father had the Accident which lead to his loss of career and his living in the barn.  It was a good book with interesting characters. 

The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel -- I really enjoyed this book about Kate, a music therapist who works with children.  It was an interesting way to learn more about music therapy, American Sign Language, and foster children. Good book.

Everyone Is Beautiful by Katherine Center -- a cute book and very easy read about Lanie and Peter's move from Houston to Massachusetts so Peter can do something with his musical composition work.  Lanie tries to wrestle their three young boys while making friends and getting into shape.  

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Not so Italian after all: DNA updates from Ancestry

Just over two years ago, I spit into a tube and mailed my saliva to somewhere in the USA so my DNA could be analyzed.  I realized much of this was a lark and not definite, but it was something I had friends doing, something I was interested in doing, so I did it!

I posted about my results in August 2016, and now it's time for an update.

Why?  My friend posted her updated DNA results the other day and said Ancestry had emailed her about their thousands of new samples and new science which changed some of the findings.

Some trace regions were eliminated, some broad groups were better refined.  I actually was not super-shocked when my highest original 35% Europe South (Greece/Italy) was dropped to 18% Refined to Italy.  Italy is still surprising to me so you can imagine a 35% would be, and was.

I thought my dad's total would drop as well since HE is the one I got that high percentage from. But his 47% Europe South (Greece/Italy) changed to 47% Italy and 5% Greece and the Balkans!

So, I'm not sure what to make of that.  Mine dropped significantly as my DNA became much more English all of a sudden ... and his did not.  (Well, it kind of did, but not the Europe South part.  See his updated results below.)

See why I take this as not totally true and more for entertainment purposes?

Here are our updates as of earlier this week:  (Click pictures to view larger; they are the updated results) 

Since my sister controls her son's test, his results are pictured differently so I copied his original here to make it easier to compare.  I think his switch from 35% Iberian Peninsula which was his top one to 37% France being the top is odd.  His dad is Venezuelan so the Iberian Peninsula didn't shock me.  France is actually what I expected more from my parents since Fuqua and Truax are purportedly French surnames. 

My nephew Michael:  Original

DNA Results

Africa 3%
Trace Regions 3%
Africa North 3%

America 14%
Native American 14%

Europe 77%
Iberian Peninsula 35%
Europe West 24%
Italy/Greece 8%
Great Britain 6%

Trace Regions 4%
Ireland 4%
West Asia 6%

Trace Regions  6% 
Caucasus 4%
Middle East 2%


Me: Original 


My parents: Original


Andrew:   Original


I still believe the test is accurate in matching family members because I have several on my DNA Matches whom I know personally - and we are, indeed, related.  Plus I've met several other extended family members by messaging them in the last couple of years.

But as my brother (not tested) rightly noted when I updated my close family on these new results:

Interesting info. The only thing I would be a little bit,..not miffed, but a question raised in my mind, "At what point can you put some certainty in their findings?" What if people told their friends at a certain date that they were such and such? Do they have to now give them Intermittent updates? Who's to say that in a year, "Ancestry" will update again and you'll be from a totally different region? Oh well, lol, I don't guess it really has much impact on our lives other than being interesting.

So, who knows?  I may update my DNA regions again in a couple of years to find something even different.   It's all for fun, anyway! 

Stay tuned.  

Friday, August 31, 2018

August Books

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center -- A new book by a new-to-me author. This is the story of Margaret who is terrified to ride in a plane, but is guilted into it by her boyfriend who plans to propose to her while he is taking her up in the one-engine plane.  Margaret ends up in the hospital with a life-altering injury.  I admire her attitude.  Pretty good story.

The Art of Keeping Secrets by Patti Callahan Henry -- Two years ago Annabelle and her children had to go through an awful time after their husband and father was killed in a plane crash in Colorado.  Now hikers find the wreckage and discover a lady had been traveling with Knox when he died.  What is up with that? Was Knox having an affair? Or is there something else going on here?  A pretty good read while the kids are in town and I'm sitting around at parks and other fun places while they play nearby.

The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron -- this book was OK; it told bits of stories from three ladies from different time periods. Ellie leaves her ailing grandmother in Michigan to travel to France in order to find out about a man and a castle and the story her grandmother is no longer able to tell (Alzheimer's) about both.

A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff -- I enjoyed this book about Phoebe and her new store: a vintage clothing shop in London.  I like the characters and the stories as Phoebe meets people to buy clothes to sell in her store. 

Slow Dancing on Price's Pier by Lisa Dale -- Thea runs a coffee shop and I enjoy the tidbits about coffee from her newspaper columns, but I mostly didn't like the characters in this book that much. Thea grew up with Garret and Jonathan; was great friends with both; fell in love with one, married the other.

The Idea of Love by Patti Callahan Henry -- I mostly read this while watching the kids at parks and museums; it was OK.  Ella takes the attention of Hunter who is in South Carolina looking for a love story to reignite his screenwriting career.  They both spin lies about who they are because they think they will no longer see the other in a few days. 

Between Heaven and Texas by Marie Bostwick -- described as a prequel to the Cobble Quilt Series, this book is about Mary Dell Templeton, the flashy dresser and beloved Texan, who helps Evelyn open her quilt shop.  This was a great little read telling about Mary Dell's life in Texas and how she got her start in her own quilt shop. 

The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry -- After one of her ER patients dies, Dr. Bonny Blankenship is put on leave while the hospital does an investigation.  She takes her troubled daughter with her to the old house by the river where she spent three summers as a child.  There in Watersend, SC, she is joined by her best friend Lainey - an artist in California with two small children. 

True Colors by Kristin Hannah -- I picked this book up at a Free Little Library at the park one day while the kids were playing. Since I finished all the library books I had on hand, I decided to read it. And I enjoyed the story about three sisters - Winona, Aurora, and Vivi Ann - in Washington's Hood Canal as they grew up on a ranch, hired a strange ranch hand from Texas (and an Indian, at that!), and the events that took place that sent a man to prison and one sister to heartache.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware -- I blame Amber for getting me interested in this author.  She's reviewing one of Ruth Ware's books on her blog - which I read a couple weeks ago, in a day - so I got this one from the library yesterday afternoon and finished it this morning. I enjoy the thriller aspect of them although they are a touch spooky to read at night.   And I would not read them at night at all if Andrew were out of town.  Because when he's away...ghosts make my house creak!  Against her better judgment Leonora attends her former BFF's "hen party" - a two-night event in the dark wood in the north of England.  It's all so weird, really, and then someone is murdered!

Inside the Wire by Erik Saar and Viveca Novak -- "a military intelligence soldier's eyewitness account of life at Guantanamo" -- I found this at a free little library months ago and finally decided to read it. Pretty interesting account of Erik's 6 months serving there!

Look For Me by Lisa Gardner -- a crime book/thriller type, but not too scary to read at night. I enjoyed this book - meeting Detective D.D. and the vigilante Flora Dane who was introduced in an earlier book which I've not read.  This was on a new books shelf and I liked it. I'll definitely look for others by this author.  It also had a touching view of foster children - kind of breaks my heart.

The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go by Amy E. Reichert -- a decent, easy read; Gina runs her food truck - Grilled G's - and parents her child. She was widowed a couple years ago.  One day she goes by her mother's house and discovers her mom on the floor.  Gina finds a birth certificate and picture and later finds out more about her family. 

The Forgotten Road by Richard Paul Evans -- I think years and years ago I read some of this guy's books because my library had them.  Well, I saw this on the new books shelf and decided to read about the guy who was supposed to have died in an airplane crash so he decided to gain some new perspective on his life by walking from Chicago to California, along the famous, old Route 66.  This book tells of his struggles and some fun facts about his trip.    I saw that this is the middle book of a trilogy so I'll go back and read book 1.  Book 3 is not due until spring 2019.

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware -- Kate sends a text to her BFFs:  "I need you" so the three of them - Thea, Fatima, and Isa (rhymes with "nicer," according to Isa; they live in England so...) - leave to meet her.  Isa brings along her baby Freya, and, I...just think she's not that great of a mom at times. But, eh, I don't have kids so who am I to judge?  But I am.  Maybe it's because I don't care for liars.  That's why I usually don't like politicians very well, and really really dislike this Liar in Chief we have in Washington, D.C.  They girls met in boarding school, and they had this Lying Game which may have been all in good fun, but it continues into adulthood.  I do like this author, though. I think I have one more book of hers to read, and I'm like 9th in line at the library to read it.   

Behaving Badly by Isabel Wolff -- I love the animal behaviorist aspect of this book about Miranda who is looking for someone she wronged 16 years ago. Pretty good book. 

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley -- I had never read any of the Flavia de Luce novels, but was gifted this one from a friend for my birthday. What a cute book!  And clever detective! You have to love an 11 year old girl who puts poison ivy in her older sister's lipstick, and takes notes each day to see if a rash has broken out.  Plus, she has a bicycle named Gladys, and likes to lie on the ground with her arms and legs outstretched so that she looks like an asterisk (*).  In this book a man dies in her yard near the cucumber patch. Flavia overheard her father arguing with this mystery man a few hours prior, but did her father really kill someone?  Flavia looks for clues in order to solve the mystery!

High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews -- I picked this one up in the New Books section of my library, and enjoyed it pretty well.  This is about a single mom, attorney Brooke who quit her work at a law practice to move a few hours away and hang her shingle.  She is called to the private island of Talisa off the coast of Georgia at the request of the terminally-ill, 99-year-old Josephine Warrick.  She gets involved in a mystery concerning heirs and lawyers and..it was a decent, easy read. 

By the Book by Julia Sonneborn -- Anne Corey is a professor at a liberal-arts college in California, she's hoping to get a book published so she can stay on teaching.  In the meantime, she is startled by the news that her ex-fiancé is the new president of the college!  Pretty good story, light reading. 

A Fierce Radiance by Lauren Belfer -- I enjoyed learning more about the creation of penicillin while reading this novel.  It was especially weird, however, to read about people dying from scratches on their knees since I was (still am) sporting four boo-boos on my left leg. (One from a hike at Grandfather Mountain, and three from, uh, missing the last step outside the other day.)  So there I sat reading about people dying from things like a cat scratch or tripping on a sidewalk while jumping rope, and I was thinking how very blessed I am to have medicines available to help me.  Pretty interesting story of Claire, the photographer for Life magazine during World War II, and the doctors and scientists who were looking for cures for medical problems. 

Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar -- a novel look at Rahab, the lady who was saved when she hid Israel's spies when the Hebrews were preparing to attack Jericho.  A pretty good story, an easy read, and it had some good reminders to me about God's holiness and mercy.

 ETA this book because I finished it at 10:30 PM before September began. So . . .

The Broken Road by Richard Paul Evans - book 1 in the trilogy I mentioned above; this gives more of the backstory of Charles James, the guy walking Route 66 in book 2.  Charles talks about his growing-up years and how he met his wife Monica - and what drove them apart.