Posted in Inspirational, Personal


I’ve recently experienced a burden to share something with you all that has given me an enormous sense of hope while walking through everyday stress and uncertainty. We all go through that, probably often, and if you’re there right now, I hope this gives you the blessing it gave me:


Mm . . . that gives me peace. 🙂

I hope it encourages you. I’ll be back later for a real post! In the meantime, I’m praying for you all to have a safe and blessed weekend.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:10

Posted in Guest Post, Personal, Writing

I Did a Guest Post! Don’t Miss It.

I did my first guest post ever. 🙂 So if you’re interested in dogs or farming or a mini writing update, take a look:


Check out the post here.

The mini writing update is at the bottom of the post. More info to follow. Go ahead and subscribe to the Ants in the Pantry newsletter to make sure you get all the info!

Now, is that puppy cute or what? ❤

Posted in Blog Tag, Bookish Things, Personal, Reading

Welcome to the Kaleidoscope Tag!

So, if you’ve been around this blog for a while, you know I kinda like tags. And the Kaleidoscope tag will be the second I’ve created myself. This is a tag geared towards books and movies. Who can resist? So grab your favorite reading snack and pull up a chair.



  1. Link back to the blog which started the tag and also share the graphic above in your post.
  2. Link back to the person who tagged you.
  3. Tag up to five people (or more, if you want).



1. Name the first book that comes to mind. 🙂

For me, that is A Little Princess, even though I’ve never read the book.

2. What is the first book that comes to mind when you hear the word, “Christmas”?

Actually, a movie comes to mind for me, but since that wasn’t the question I asked, I’ll say A Christmas Carol.

3. What is the last book you gave (or would have given) a five-star review?

I had to go to Goodreads to remember this. 😉 But it was Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. If you read only one book this year, let it be that one. (I read the young adult version, so naturally, that’s the one I’m recommending.)

4. Which book (that you can think of right now) made you feel like you were there with the characters?

To the biggest extreme, also. I’d have to say Unbroken. Maybe it was the story itself, but there were many times that I was RIGHT. THERE. Which made it difficult to get through at times.

5. Think of a favorite author – what is your favorite of their books?

I have several favorite authors. But I’ll pick Nadine Brandes and I’ll say . . . five minutes later . . . Fawkes. Or maybe A Time to Rise . . .

6. What’s your opinion on love triangles?

I really don’t mind them when they’re done well.

7. What’s your opinion on cliches?

Cliches, on the other hand . . . yeah, no. You don’t want me to get started on cliches. Granted, you probably can’t write without at least a few small cliches, but to deliberately build a story off of a cliche and then keep the WHOLE THING embedded in that cliche . . .



1. Your all time favorite movie?

That would probably be Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story. It’s the only movie of the series not based strictly on one of the books, and it’s my favorite. The story was AMAZING.

2. Narnia or Lord of the Rings? (Movies, not books.)

Both. 🙂 Okay, Lord of the Rings.

3. Your favorite classic movie?

A Christmas Carolthe George C Scott version. We watch it every year!

4. Your favorite based-on-the-book-by movie?

Since I can’t say A Christmas Carol again, I’ll say A Little Princess. Just saw it recently for the first time in YEARS. I loved it. (The 1995 version.)

5. Your favorite movie you saw in the theater?

Unbroken: Path to Redemption. Or possible The Man Who Invented Christmas . . . (historical, again). Or possibly both.

6. How many movies have made you cry?

Officially . . . none. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t quite a few that could have.

7. What’s the first movie to come to find when you want a movie to make you laugh?

Moms’ Night Out. Enough said.


And that’s it! There you have it. Now to tag people . . .

The World Within the Wardrobe

Over the Withers

Lit Aflame

Life Without A Latte

Kate Flournoy

And Jane Maree

Have fun, guys! And spread the word. Also, if you weren’t tagged, consider yourself tagged. 🙂

Posted in Bookish Things, Personal, Stray Cats

When I Have Writer’s Block . . .

We were looking through some old photos today, and this one popped up. I wouldn’t normally write a post to share one picture, but, um . . . I think you’ll understand. 🙂

When I have writer’s block . . .

dscn0932 (2)

Yeah, I think you’ll understand why I had to share that. This is our cat Lentil. The picture was taken a couple years ago, but that expression . . . and the notebook . . . and pen . . .


Thanks for tolerating this super short post. I’ll be back! Meantime, go pet a cat. They’re great therapy. 🙂


This is the same picture with some editing:


Posted in Highlights and Goals, Inspirational, Personal

Goodbye, 2018

Goodbye, 2018.

It’s hard to believe it’s over. Personally, it was a difficult year. There were a lot of changes. Good ones, I think. None happened overnight. More like agonizingly slowly. So I’m not sure whether to look at 2019 with hope or caution. Because things are still changing, and it’s always a battle between hope and fear.

I’d go into more detail, but I actually wrote a “story” on some of the more major events of the past year, and I might share it here later. Suffice it to say, I’m the kind of person who is always in a battle against doubt. But God gave me an important victory in that battle near the end of the year. Now my job is to hold onto it and to trust. God doesn’t want His children to doubt.

Funny, I seem to remember writing a post that talked about writers and doubt. 😉

Anyway . . .

There’s so much to look forward to in 2019. Maybe publishing Promised Land (yikes, I said it . . .), training a service dog, our dog Phoenix having puppies later in the year, gardening again. So, 2018, we’ll get along just fine without you.

Goodbye, 2018.

The New Year is about looking ahead, not behind. It’s about embracing hope, not fear.

So embrace it.

The time for fear and doubt was yesterday.

That’s not today.

This is the day the Lord has made. So we should rejoice and be glad in it! And rejoice with all creation and with all your might. With all the breathe in your lungs, sing praises to Him. He’s given you a New Year. It was never a guarantee. But here it is.

Now . . .

. . . what are you going to do with it?

Ask yourself.

What are you going to do with this New Year? What plans are on the horizon? Let’s chat!

Posted in Blog Tag, Personal

50 Things That Make Me Happy – a Tag

Thanks, Ann, for this cool tag! (You all, check out her take on this tag. It’s great!)

So, I had to come up with fifty things that make me happy. And that took a while. But here goes!


  1. Living for Jesus. Nothing makes me happier. 🙂
  2. Family. Especially doing things together, like going for a drive or just chatting.
  3. Friends!
  4. Cats. They always make me smile.
  5. Dogs. When they aren’t stressing me out, they make me smile. 😉
  6. Going for walks! I LOVE walks to the garden, to the woods, to the field . . .
  7. Music. Albert Schweitzer said, “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.”
  8. Youth group on Sunday and Monday nights at church.
  9. Springtime.
  10. Fall.
  11. Summer.
  12. Winter.
  13. You notice the order I put those in, right?
  14. Writing! Of course! 😉 Writing makes me happy. Need I say more? Of course, it’s stressful, backbreaking, painful . . . but I love it.
  15. Snow!
  16. Rain. I love the rain. NOT thunderstorms. Let’s just clear that up.
  17. For King and Country’s music. (Check out their song, Control)
  18. Puppies. 🙂
  19. Pumpkins in the fall.
  20. Apples.
  21. Christmas.
  22. Christmas lights.
  23. Can I just say writing again?
  24. Dolphins. Why not?
  25. Fish. They’re pretty.
  26. The book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Read it, you’ll see what I mean.
  27. The movie Unbroken: Path to Redemption. Seriously, watch. that. movie. But read the book first.
  28. Christmas movies. Good Christmas movies.
  29. Reading! Especially books by my favorite authors. Somehow that’s like chatting with an old friend.
  30. Training service dogs. 🙂
  31. Piano.
  33. Geometry (way better than algebra).
  34. Can I just say history again?
  35. American history. 🙂
  36. Gardens. Especially when I’m not pulling weeds out of the tomato beds.
  37. Goats. Beautiful, lovely goats.
  38. Wrapping presents.
  39. Sunshine.
  40. October.
  41. Sleeping in.
  42. Going grocery shopping with my mom.
  43. The ocean!!!!
  44. The ocean again . . .
  45. Summer vacation = trips to the ocean.
  46. Hanging out with cousins.
  47. Star Trek.
  48. Thrift stores (sometimes).
  49. A cat sleeping at the foot of the bed.
  50. Astronomy!

Wow. I did it. 😉

I hope you weren’t bored.

Now I gotta tag some folks.

Kinsey at Over the Withers

Anna at A Storynerd’s Life

Esmeralda at Writings From A Farm Girl

Have fun guys! And if you weren’t tagged but you want to do it, here it is. Leave a link in the comments???

Let’s chat! What are a few things that make you happy? Or fifty things, if you prefer. 🙂

Posted in Book Updates, Bookish Things, Personal, Writing

A (Super Exciting) Writing Update!!

*throws confetti and throws gluten-free pizzas in the oven*

We have a writing update.









I’m gonna cut to the chase.









(insert cool GIF of confetti and cats dancing)

So, there ya all have it. I finally sent Promised Land to an editor. Which is technically just the first step in the long road of fixing this thing, but it’s exciting, nonetheless. I’ve never been so close to publishing anything. And I think this is going to work. *cue internal screaming*


I’m so excited, it’s kinda hard to focus on a new first draft of a new project (which is undecided, so don’t worry, you’re not being kept in the dark). But while Promised Land is out of my hands, it’s a perfect opportunity. So just keep telling me to go write. 😉

It’ll be a few more weeks at least before I have another update, and in the meantime, I have to start thinking about the cover design. Yikes.

And this is the first time I’ve ever sent a whole manuscript to an editor, so . . . do forgive this hasty and unpolished blog post. But those are more fun anyway, right?

So, what I want to know from you, is how is your WIP going? Planning to publish? Any words of wisdom? 😉 Let’s chat in the comments!

Posted in Bookish Things, Personal, Reading, Short Stories

Moments Like Glass – a Short Story

I thought I’d share another short story with you guys, since the last one seemed popular with everyone. I wrote this for Faithwriters a couple years ago and it came in third. (Next time I’ll choose something more recent.) Enjoy!

“What time is it?”

I grit my teeth and pretend not to hear, pretend to be occupied with preparing dinner. Mom . . . please.

“What time is it?”

I glance at the doorway of the kitchen to where her concerned face, a pallor of weather- and labor-worn wrinkles from the decades of farm life, watches mine intently. “Seven o’clock.”

“He’s late. He’s never late, Steven.” Mom turns, her step hobbled, and walks with muttered words out of the room.

I watch her go, my weak composure a trembling pillar. I’m not Steven. I’m not your brother. And Dad’s not coming home. That car wreck did more than take my dad’s life. It took hers, too. I took her in when my sister refused, unable to understand what the problem would be. But with the panic in Anne’s voice whenever we talked about a place for Mom and the doctor’s indelible glum when the words brain and damage floated around, I should have known.

And after the most grueling two years of my life, I can’t face up to the agonizing truth – I can’t take this.

I manage to get the chicken in the oven and the carrots steaming, manage to get in a hushed phone conversation with my girlfriend to let her know the date is off for obvious reasons, manage to feed the cat. I am existing, not living. My unspoken vow to Dad, my unshakable resolve to take care of Mom, has left my life barren.

I’m sorry, Dad. I’m so sorry.

“What time is it?”

Turning away, I squeeze my eyes shut. “Seven-thirty.”

“He’s never late, Steven.”

Here, I must pretend. “He called. He has to go to Dover. He’ll be back later.”

Mom doesn’t answer. I assume she’s gone from the room, and I turn. She stands there in the doorway, her eyes clear and in pain, her lip quavering as she meets my eyes. And here, I endure the insidious torture and the beautiful hope of her frail, infinitesimal moments of perfect clarity. I cross the room to hold her in my arms as I always do, but this time, I cannot stop my own deluge of emotion kept buried during her endless spells of uncomprehending, of living in an age gone by.

“My Cody,” she whispers, and my heart shatters as glass to hear my name from her lips.

“I’m here, Mom.” My voice rasps. “I’m here.”


Why? Because she has nowhere else to go? Because Anne can’t handle even the thought of taking her in? Because I promised Dad?

No, none of these are right. The real reason has kept me afloat, if only just above water, for the last two years.

“Because I love you, Mom.”

She does not answer, and I know this priceless moment will soon be gone, ripped away by the cruel monster that has kept her from me all these many months. But for now, the hope and relief that these moments give to us, if only for a moment, I can dwell within.

“Hey, do you want to do something special tonight?” I ask with a smile.

“Your dad always asked me that question,” she replies, her voice light, and I cling to that relief with her past tense use of ask.

“I was thinking we could make cookies.” Something she used to recruit my help for as a kid, telling me I was the cookie “expert” in order to play into my pride and get me to lend a hand. “You’re the expert,” I add.

She laughs a little, and I can tell she is not fully with me. But we will get through this together. I promised Dad. I promised myself. I promised her. God, there’s only so much of this I can take. I ask for grace.

Tonight, as her moment of clarity, as frail as glass, begins to ebb away, we do something special. Tomorrow, she’ll again think I’m Steven, she’ll worry after Dad, she’ll tell me he is late, that something must be wrong. How many hours will it be before I have my mom back again? How many days?

But tonight, I won’t dwell on tomorrow.

We taste the warm cookies and Mom tells me with a mischievous twinkle in her eye, “We should do this every night.”


Thanks so much for reading! Let me know what you think.

Posted in Musings, Personal

How Not to Stick to Your Blogging Schedule When Puppies Take Over Your Life

I fished through a lot of possible titles for this blog post. “When Puppies Mess Up Your Blogging Schedule,” “When Puppies Take Over Your Life,” “How Not to Stress About Your Blogging Schedule” . . . But you get the idea, don’t you?


Annie (Border Collie)
Phoenix (Goldendoodle)

Okay, so they’re cute puppies, but they basically take up every minute of every day until those rare and blessed moments when they climb up on the couch and fall asleep. In between, Phoenix is squeaking her favorite toy and barking, “Play with me!” and Annie is dropping a tennis ball at my feet and communicating “Play with me.” with those intense border collie eyes.

I’ve also been working on my family’s farm website, which is live, so go check it out (, and updating our farm Facebook page so that people are aware of our raising Goldendoodles and Borderdoodles and training service dogs. (Now you know, too.) 🙂 More info on our website.

Aside from the busyness that is puppies and marketing, I wrapped up one more round of editing for Promised Land, but I’ve got another round before I can do anything with it. And the snow is here! Six inches on the ground, give or take. For those of you on the other side of the world, that’s what you’re missing.

And along with keeping the puppies entertained and out of trouble, there is also training them. Phoenix is a canine genius and training her is a breeze. Annie’s younger, so she’s still getting into the mode of training, but she’s also smart and WWAAYY more social with strangers than Phoenix is, praise the Lord.

Because I need to log hours and gain practice to become a service dog trainer, I’ve begun training Annie as a service dog. The experience has been insightful and FUN. 🙂

All that to say my blogging schedule is wrecked right now. But since I’m posting this, perhaps it’s a good sign that I’ll get back into the swing of blogging next week. 😉 One can hope!

But seriously, aren’t they cute puppies? 🙂

What has your week looked like? What does this holiday season look like in your corner of the world? Snow and Christmas trees or beaches and barbecues? Apparently that’s what Australia looks like at Christmas, or so I heard. Correct me if I’m wrong. Let’s chat in the comments!

Posted in Blog Tag, Bookish Things, Personal

The Voted Most Likely Tag

So, for the first time in a while, we have a tag on here. Fun!

Rule One – Thank the wonderful person who tagged you . . .  But then, I tagged myself, so . . .  I’ll just have to link to Kinsey’s blog, since I found it there. 🙂 Thank you, friend.

Rule Two – Include this link ( in your post, because she created the tag.

Rule Three – Use your OWN original characters for the tag! Don’t use a friend’s characters or the characters from your favorite fandoms. Your characters can come from any project, just so long as you’re the one who created them.

Rule Four – Tag at least four blog friends to do the tag.

Ready? Good.

Your character most likely to be a poet

Poet? Seriously? Yikes. Okay, probably Amberly from One Light Shining, since she really loves nature and photography and such.

Most likely to dance in the rain

Ah! Nan from my new book Promised Land. Short bio: She’s spirited, fun, and resilient. And she’d be the first to dance in the rain. 🙂

Most likely to look good in a kilt

A kilt? Who thought of this? Since a kilt is kind of old-fashioned, I’m going to say either Cade or Elian from One Light Shining. But don’t tell them, please.

Most likely to get punched in the face

I’d have to say Logan from Ashes Remain. Not by anyone who knows him, and simply because he sometimes would come across as clueless and annoying. (He’s not either one, but he might seem that way at times.)

Most likely to drop everything and become a sheep herder


Owen, from Promised Land. He’s, like, so far above “sheep herders” in social status, but under different circumstances, I can totally see him dropping everything to become one.

Most likely to be found in a library

Should I say Aros from Promised Land simply because he is often in his library? But then, so is Corwin from One Light Shining. On second thought, they don’t count. Talia from Promised Land, if she had regular access to a library.

Most likely to sleep through an earthquake

I want to say Issac (Promised Land). But that just doesn’t really fit him, so I’ll say (again) Logan from Ashes Remain.

Most likely to steal food from other people’s plate

Hmm . . .  I’d have to say Kierra from Ashes Remain. She would do it with a smile, but I think she would still do it. 🙂

Most likely to cheat on a test

Seriously? I think Aaron (Promised Land). Not under normal circumstances, but under serious pressure he would/might.

Most likely to say “oops” after setting something on fire

Andrew from One Light Shining. He’d feel terrible, but first he’d say . . . “Oops.”

Most likely to open an orphanage

Either Talia or Nan from Promised Land . . .  Nope, definitely Nan.

Most likely to run off with the circus

Katrina (One Light Shining). At the onset of the story, anyway. She’s insecure and unpredictable.

Most likely to survive a zombie apocalypse

Logan (Ashes Remain). He probably knows all the tricks for killing a zombie.

Most likely to fake their own death

I’ve never written a character, I don’t think, who would do that just for the sake of scaring people. However, I think Corwin from One Light Shining would have good reason to do it . . . and Promised Land contains a character who did do it. Again, for legitimate reasons. That character I shan’t name. You will just have to read the book. 🙂

Most likely to die and haunt their friends

???????? Um . . . . . I DON’T KNOW.


So there you are, folks! I tag:




Ann Marie

Have fun, guys! Oh, and if you weren’t tagged and you want to do it, do it anyway. As long as you leave a link and let me haunt your blog. 😉 Just kidding. But please, leave a link. I love blog tags! (Most of the time.)


So, which of your characters might drop everything to be a sheep herder? Which one is most likely to get punched in the face? Let me know which of these questions made you go, “Oh, that sounds like . . .” Let’s chat in the comments!