Saturday, January 23, 2016

Montana Women Homesteaders

In Montana Women Homesteaders: A Field of One's Own, author and historian Sarah Carter introduces the voices and images of women who filed on 160 or 320 acre homestead plots in Montana. Single, widowed, divorced, or deserted women varied in ages, educational levels, and ethnic backgrounds, but all proved up on their homesteads. In published accounts, scrapbooks, personal reminiscences, and photographs, the women recorded their remarkable journeys.

I finished this book last night after having it on my nightstand for about a year. Talk about some fascinating women. I'm not sure if I would have had the guts to do what these women did back in the early 1900s. I would think waking up to find my cabin 30-50 degrees below zero might be a bit much for me. Then again, who knows. Some of these ladies had homesteads that didn't even have a water source, so they either had to fetch water themselves or hire people to bring it into them. What's fascinating to me is that I see these actual homestead cabins all over Montana. We have quite a few locally, and I'd love to hear the stories each one could tell. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Squirrel Appreciation Day

Where would I be without my beloved squirrels? I know many people despise them, but I love watching them. Denny does too, for that matter. Montana is home to about nine or ten different types of squirrels. The ones I see around my house are the Red Squirrels. The one pictured on my blog heading is a Columbian Ground Squirrel. I took that picture up in Glacier National Park, but we do have them in our neighborhood. I just don't see them in my yard. I've also seen Northern Flying Squirrels at the house, but only at night. They are weird looking critters with their big, buggy eyes. A group of squirrels is called a scurry or a dray, although dray often refers to a squirrel nest. I have squirrels featured in one of my picture books, illustrated by Ginger NielsonRhino Crashes & Critter Classes. Click on the link if you're interested in learning more about my books. Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tramp for the Lord

My goal to read at least two books per month has doubled. I suppose that's a good thing. I've read four now, including this one by Corrie Ten Boom. I read her first book, The Hiding Place about a year ago. I hadn't realized she had written other books to go with it. I came across this hardcover of Tramp for the Lord at a local thrift store not too long ago. I think I paid about a quarter for it. You certainly can't beat that price.

Anyway, it was an interesting book describing all her worldwide travels. The Hiding Place was published in 1971. Tramp for the Lord came out in 1974. This book basically covers her life as she traveled around the world preaching the Gospel. This woman went everywhere, including back to Germany where she had previously been a prisoner in the Ravensbruck concentration camp. I don't know if I could have done that. What an exceptionally brave woman she was.

Corrie Ten Boom was born on April 15, 1892. She died on her birthday in 1983. That's the same year I graduated high school ... I really wish I had read her books back then.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A long time ago ...

I don't know if you're into Star Wars as much as I am, but I'd really like to see The Force Awakens at least one more time before it leaves theaters. There is an estimated release date of April for the DVD, but I'd still like to see it again on the big screen. I've seen it four times already. I've never seen a movie in a theater that many times. I can't even recall seeing a movie twice in a theater, more or less four times. Star Wars is different.

I saw A New Hope at the Ojai Playhouse in 1977. It was only the second movie I saw with just a friend, and not my family. For whatever reason, seeing that first movie still stands out in my mind as something positive and happy. I fell in love with the movie and characters from the very start. I could really relate to Luke, especially him not knowing his father. 

It's funny because I didn't see Episodes I and II in the theater. I was really pregnant with Nathan when The Phantom Menace came out. Then I had just had Neil shortly before Attack of the Clones was released. I saw both of those at home, but I did go see Episode III in the theater. I guess five out of seven isn't too bad. Mark Hamill liked one of my Tweets recently. As silly as that sounds, it totally made my day. Meeting him would be a dream come true for me.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

So much for two ...

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to read more. As you might recall from a few posts below, I set a simple goal of two books per month. That didn't include the books I read to the boys in school, and a daily reading of my One Year Bible. The books I picked out for January were The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Michelle Moran's Madame Tussaud. I guess I've been on a reading kick—finally! I've finished both of those already. Since I already had Michelle's fourth book, The Second Empress, I decided to start that one as well. It's related to Madame Tussaud in a way. So far, I haven't been able to put it down. I read over half of it in just one night. I'll probably finish it soon. Then I can start on this book that I bought last night ...

Again, it's another book by Michelle Moran. She writes historical fiction. Rebel Queen is her sixth book, I believe. If that's the case, I have all her books now. Her characters all have a wonderful voice that makes it easy to care about and sympathize over. I'm looking forward to whatever she comes up with next.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Ack! Ick! Gross!

Every now and then I'll pull out one of my old, regular lipsticks. Within minutes, I'm reminded why I no longer buy regular lipstick. I only buy the non-transferable ones. How did I wear lipstick for all those years and deal with it being everywhere? It grosses me out big-time now. I'm pretty sure I'll be tossing all my old ones out. I can't deal with the smudgy mess anymore. And yeah ... this is pretty much a first-world problem. Considering it's all I have to gripe about today, I think I'm doing okay. How's your day been?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Psalm 10 ...

I read some comments on a news site yesterday morning. I can't believe how nasty people can be on those sites. I hope they don't talk to their friends the same way they post online. Some people are just heartless, and they'll go after people with a vengeance. Reading comments can be disheartening, at least for me. Later in the morning, I was reading my One Year Bible when Psalm 10 came up. I normally read the KJV, but I've posted the NIV one here instead. Things don't usually "speak to me", but this one did, especially in relation to some of the garbage people say to others on social media.

Psalm 10:1-18
Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
    Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
   who are caught in the schemes he devises.
He boasts about the cravings of his heart;
   he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
   in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
His ways are always prosperous;
   your laws are rejected by him;
   he sneers at all his enemies.
He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.”
  He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”
His mouth is full of lies and threats;
   trouble and evil are under his tongue.
He lies in wait near the villages;
   from ambush he murders the innocent.
   His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
like a lion in cover he lies in wait.
   He lies in wait to catch the helpless;
   he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.
10 His victims are crushed, they collapse;
   they fall under his strength.
11 He says to himself, “God will never notice;
    he covers his face and never sees.”
12 Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
   Do not forget the helpless.
13 Why does the wicked man revile God?
    Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account”?
14 But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
    you consider their grief and take it in hand.
    The victims commit themselves to you;
    you are the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked man;
    call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
    that would not otherwise be found out.
16 The Lord is King for ever and ever;
    the nations will perish from his land.
17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
    so that mere earthly mortals
    will never again strike terror.

I don't know about you, but it made me feel better. :)

Monday, January 11, 2016

Got Tea?

"New research has shown that regular tea consumption can protect
against arterial stiffness in the heart -- a condition that's been linked to a
shortened lifespan and higher risk of cardiovascular disease."

I saw an article on Facebook the other day posted by Science Alert talking about the benefits of drinking tea. They didn't go into details of which kind of tea, but it did mention green tea. As someone with a history of heart attack and stroke in my family, this was good to hear. You can read the entire article here.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Star Wars Nerd

I found these necklaces at Target recently. Darth Vader I found in the Christmas stuff before the holiday. I just got the Storm Trooper on clearance. They had moved them over to the toy section in the Star Wars area. The chains are pretty short, around choker-length, since they're made for kids. Not that that's ever stopped me. I have so many necklaces made for kids. They're the most fun. They come in these little tin boxes too.

Anyway, I've worn the Vader one on longer chains already. I just opened the Storm Trooper up today. Rick and I are going to see The Force Awakens later this afternoon, so I'm trying to decide which one to wear. This will be my forth viewing of the movie, and second time seeing it in 3D. Even after three times, I'm really (really!) looking forward to it.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Now reading ...

I decided that I wanted to read more in 2016 and spend less time online. Posting this is an oxymoron in itself, but oh well. I love to read, and I have dozens and dozens of books lying around that I haven't read yet. At first I thought it would be fun to read one new book a week. With school and everything, that's probably not realistic, even though I still read aloud to the boys at the end of each school day. Then I thought one new book a month might work, but that sounds ... well, kind of boring. So, my goal is to read TWO books a month. That doesn't include the ones I read with the boys, or the daily reading of my One Year Bible. I think I can handle reading two a month. If I manage more, then that's great. I'm going to keep track of them in a journal, so that should give me a little accountability.

Right now I'm reading The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I started it ages ago, on an airplane, I think. I can never read on planes. I get too distracted. I decided to start with that one. I love Neil's dark style of writing. I loved Coraline, both book and movie. So far, The Graveyard Book seems to be just as interesting. It's dark, but interesting, and I heard there might be a film eventually. When I'm finished with that one, I'm going to finally read Michelle Moran's Madame Tussaud book. She writes historical fiction. I have all her books, but haven't read this one yet. That will be interesting.

What are you reading right now? Do you have any reading goals for the New Year?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Back-To-School ...

We started back to school yesterday after two weeks off. It was so nice to have the break, especially having Nicole home. She's no longer in college, but still lives in Billings, so we don't see her nearly as much as we'd like. Even with having to take time off for my father-in-law's funeral in late November, we still took our regular time off for Christmas and New Year's. We'll make up for lost time as we go along the rest of the school year. The boys are busy with their academics, but we still try to do fun stuff to break up the stresses of things like pre-algebra and geometry. I still read aloud to them every day. This week they're sketching dinosaurs, which has been fun. Yesterday they did Tyrannosaurus Rex. Today they were working on a Stegosaurus. I had to run up to town for a bit, so I haven't seen the final copies of those yet. Even so, it's good to be back in the swing of things and finally have a little normalcy.  

Monday, January 4, 2016

Shoot for the moon ...

I took this photograph sometime in early December. These past few days I've been thinking about what I want to do differently in 2016. I'm usually pretty good about making New Year's Resolutions, but I'm not always so good at keeping them. Had I thought of any before, I would have posted them. As the days have gone by though, a few have popped into my mind.

For one, I would like to take more photographs. I know that sounds totally stupid because I take photos all day long. We always see people with their faces glued to their phones. I do that too, but it's mostly relating to some silly picture I took, or some photo challenge I'm following. However, I'd like to get outside and take more photographs with my camera, and not just my phone. I took the moon photo with my Canon obviously. Now that I think about it, I took this in California while I was home for my father-in-law's funeral.

I would also like to read more. I'm starting up my One Year Bible again, so that's a start. I have so many books I want to read. I've gotten in this bad habit of staring into my phone at night before I go to bed. I need to put it down and read more. I've been spending way too much time online. Anyway, it's nothing major, but it's a start. I think Norman Vincent Peale says it well ...

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Keep Calm & Be Crazy

I saw this photograph on Facebook the other day. I think it came from an AARP page or something. I love the quote, but I love the lady's style even more. This particular lady doesn't look that old, but I always smile when I see very elderly women dressed to the nines with a full face of make-up and eccentric clothes. I know that's not everyone's thing. Many elderly people just want to be comfortable and couldn't care less about fancy clothes and such. Even so, when I see one all decked out, it always makes me smile. I want to be that kind of little, old lady. :)

Saturday, January 2, 2016

New Beginnings ...

The year 2015 was full of challenges, upsets, losses, and disappointments. Sure, there were good things about the year, but I'm not in a mental state to focus on them right now. I need to concentrate more on the negative—mostly negative things I know I did—and try to work from there. I have a list of things I want to do this year to improve my outlook on life, and hopefully, make me a better person. One of those is reading my Bible more. I started my One Year Bible last year, as some of you might recall, but I only got about halfway. I've read the entire thing before, but last year I slacked off. I need to get back with that, so that's just one thing I want to start doing. I began it last night and found Psalm 1:1-6 sums me up perfectly right now ...

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners, or join in with scoffers.
But they delight in doing everything the Lord wants;
day and night they think about His law.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season without fail.
Their leaves never wither, and in all they do, they prosper.
But this is not true of the wicked.
They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
They will be condemned at the time of judgement.
Sinners will have no place among the godly.
For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,
but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

Yes, that's me for sure. I really need to stop being like the worthless chaff. I need to be more productive with my life, so hopefully I can prosper more. I hope 2016 is like that for me.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

I can't believe last July was the last time I posted anything here. I really slacked off. I guess I just got wound up with Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I would like to get back into blogging though, so hopefully I can build up a following again, as well as get back to reading my friends' blogs. I hope everyone had a great holiday season. Rick and I did our 3rd annual trek up to Glacier National Park today. We didn't really celebrate on NYE, knowing we'd be in the park today. It was 15 degrees, so it was chilly, but we were dressed for it. I got my traditional champagne-in-the-snow photograph, so I was happy. If you're reading this, I hope you had a great holiday, and may 2016 be a wonderful year for you.