Ann's Blog
Ann McCauley is a Pennsylvania women's literature author, who wrote the books Runaway Grandma and Mother Love, both available for sale at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
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01/19/22
January Blog
Filed under: General
Posted by: Ann @ 3:47 pm
The Christmas decorations are all packed away. I have hearts hanging on the doors and we are blanketed with a heavy snow, that ’s been with us for a few days now. The drifting from Monday afternoon’s strong winds was our biggest problem. Today it started to melt, though it is still beautifully white out there. And with that I wish you all an early Happy Valentine’s Day.

Our first granddaughter who lives in Alabama tested positive for Covid yesterday. We hope it will be a very mild case for her. WiIl there ever be an end to all this man-made virus madness?

I received and read four diverse but all exceptionally good books for Christmas:
Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult. Fiction. 2021. Well, I started our Book Club’s discussion group out last night by apologizing for introducing a book for our monthly read that I had not read, chosen based on online publisher hype. I would not have considered it for our book club had I read it first. But they were all very gracious and told me they were glad they’d read it. It did generate an excellent discussion.It was our first book about Covid from a completely different point of view. It was a good enough book but not one of Picoult’s best by a long shot.

Called to be Creative by Mary Potter Kenyan. 2020. Nonfiction. Familius Publishing. Subtitle: A Guide to Reigniting Your Creativity. The author grew up in a poor, hard-working, large and very close family. Her mother was a regionally renown artist, painting on old barn boards and walls, also quilting, carving wooden statues, drawing with pastels, and in her later years, writing. Mary, being the writer in the family, became the keeper of her mother’s words which included three unpublished manuscripts, dozens of journals, notebooks and a large memory book. The author spent several hours in solitude everyday in the months following her mother’s death in the family home, immersing herself in reading those precious journals and opening up her own long buried creativity. (Remember playing make-believe as a child? And somehow we lost that simple but good creativity.) Her husband became more supportive during this time. All the while she was homeschooling her eight children. The thread that runs through this well written book is her faith and courage to never give up, her resiliency is amazing. Her husband dies suddenly, she is left a bereft and poor mother, some of the older children were married by then. She still had a house full to provide for, and she does. As her mother had never wasted, neither did Mary. Every scrap of food was used and every scrap of fabric from old clothes was used. Her faith is tested when her precious young grandson, Jacob, is ill with cancer and dies after a courageous two year battle. Mary lost three significant members of her family in less than four years. I highly recommend this book, especially in these Covid times, there is much to learn about staying the course, no matter what comes our way. 

The Ride of Her Life, by Elizabeth Letts. 2021. Biography. Ballantine Books. Subtitle:The True Story of a Woman, Her Horse, and Their Last-Chance Journey Across America. This book is written chronologically almost as a travelogue, but often reads like a good novel. In 1954, 63 year old Annie Wilkins decides decides to buy a horse,and ride to California from Maine, even though she’d barely ridden in years. Living alone on her family farm which was in arrears for property taxes; her doctor advised her to move to the County Home due to her chronic lung disease - to live out the last 2 to 4 years of her life. Annie quietly leaves her family farm with her newly acquired ex-racehorse, her mutt and an unfailing belief that Americans would treat a stranger with kindness. Her resiliency and determination are documented in her trail diary. It is an amazing story of survival despite weather, geographic and personal health challenges. The author traveled more than 10,000 miles researching the trail taken by Annie in this exceptionally well written biography. Annie became a media darling and even co-led the Cheyenne Rodeo Parade in 1955. I highly recommend this wonderful feel - good - about - America book. 

Summoned, by Megan B. Brown. 2021. Nonfiction Bible study book. Moody Publishers. Subtitle: An 8-week study of Esther   Answering a Call to the Impossible.The author’s contagious enthusiasm and blunt honesty made reading this book an interesting adventure. As a Sunday school teacher for more than 25 years, I felt like I had a pretty good understanding of the Bible. But I knew the frosted over sweet story of Esther and had never studied it in any depth. I never thought of sex traffickers in the Bible, but isn’t that exactly what  King Ahasuerus’s harem was? (Now I wonder if perhaps most of my Biblical knowledge is little more than the frosted over sweet versions?) This is an in-depth Bible study and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in increasing their personal understanding of the Bible.

This was a month with plenty of annoying Wi-Fi issues for us, no house phone service for one week and losing all our streaming contacts for the television, but I finally got all Wi-Fi streaming restarted. We watched two movies this month. One on Netflicks: Being the Ricardos. 2021. It was about a week in the lives of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, plus lots of flash backs and flash forwards. It was a good enough movie, but a bit chopped up and hard to follow the way it was sequenced. But like most Americans, I Love Lucy, and I’m glad we watched it. Living close enough to Jamestown, N.Y. that I’ve visited the Lucy/Desi Museum a couple times. If you haven’t been there, I highly recommend it. They have the actual sets from the first television show. It’s very nostalgic.

We went to the theater to see West Side Story. It was fabulous. But sad that society has made so little progress on the film’s tension topics from the1960’s till now. The acting, music and choreography were excellent. I highly recommend this movie. Now that our Wi-Fi is back up, we want to watch the original West Side Story, just to see how much the same and how different the two are.

We’re also enjoying the sweet and fresh series, All Creatures Great and Small on PBS on Sunday evenings. It was good to see the second season was finally starting. 

I was terribly behind on many of my homemaking tasks. Since the first of the year I’ve been working hard, one project at a time; finally I am ready to start writing again. I’ve made a pledge to myself, my husband, my family as well as my writing friends to start writing 2 hours a day to finish my next book. I will keep you posted on my progress.
 
Till next time, stay safe and well.

Later, Ann

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