September flew by in rather a blur here… anyone else? Lately, I seem to be in a constant state of wondering where all the time went. And yet, there are many days when I’m not sure I’m gonna make it to supper-time… “the days are long but the years are short.” Who said that? Hmmm, I was feeling like perhaps I was too lazy to look it up, but then I thought, “Hey, if I had said it or written it, I’d want people to attribute it… and I should probably set a good example or something,” so I looked it up, and I’m glad I did… because it turns out she’s a fellow author named Gretchen Rubin. I’ve never read her book, and it sounds very self-helpy… which is pretty much my least favorite kind… but this quote is very true. The days ARE long… sometimes VERY long. But the rest of time flies past at an alarming rate!
Anyway, September…. ah September! One of my favorite months. It heralds the end of summer and the beginning of my favorite season, Autumn.
But on with the adventures and episodes!
This was a month in which a lot of life-things happened. We started a new school year! So far, things are trucking along pretty well. We have stayed on top of the school work, in spite of choir and art being a lot longer of a time commitment this year, and I’m counting it as a colossal win that we’re five weeks into the school year and we’re not behind schedule on anything yet!
All the other things that start up in September are now underway: Sunday School, our church’s new mid-week children’s program (using The Gospel Project curriculum… so far, I quite like it), the girls have choir and art classes, L is doing archery club again and loving it!
The house project continues marching on. Looks like we’ll be taking over the finishing aspects of the project very soon – so that’s about to take over our lives completely! No move-in date yet, but we are excited that everything seems to be moving forward well so far. We have electricity now, so that’s been the super exciting thing, meaning that we won’t have to be out there painting and laying tile while attempting not to freeze to death!
Brant turned FOUR! What even? How did that happen?
We had a fun, family birthday with him. Everything was PJ Masks-themed, because that’s his favorite thing right now. Derek made a Cat-Boy cake, and Brant was so excited about it! (I posted pictures on my Instagram of the process and finished product: @JenelleLSchmidt)
I got to go to a Gordon Lightfoot concert on Sept. 30th!!!!! My friends, I don’t even know how to express how excited I was about that! Yes, Gordon Lightfoot is turning 80 this year. No, his voice is not the beautiful baritone it once was. But still… I got to see Gordon Lightfoot LIVE IN CONCERT!!!! And while his voice has lost a little of its vigor, his music is as beautiful as ever, and his lyrics are the same, gorgeous, poetic, picture-painting lyrics they’ve always been. I even have a couple of new songs to look up that I was unaware of!!!
Gordon Lightfoot is one of my all-time favorite singer/songwriters, and his music has influenced my own writing so much. His vivid imagery, his sweeping ballads, the way he strings words together all had a part in the crafting and honing of my own writing style. Without his music, I wouldn’t be the writer I am today. Getting to see him in person was a big item checked off my “bucket list.”
Beyond that, more specifically, without his song “The Minstrel of the Dawn,” Kiernan Kane would not exist… think about that for a minute.
I have a vivid memory of sitting at my computer that summer when I was writing the rough draft of King’s Warrior. I had the radio turned on, and suddenly “Minstrel of the Dawn” started playing. I kinda closed my eyes, leaned back in my chair, and listened to it, singing along. When the song ended, the lyrics kept swirling around in my mind. As I looked at my computer screen, I suddenly had the thought, “This story needs a minstrel. Someone kind of gangly and awkward… but with the ghosts of all the stories he’s ever told hiding behind his eyes. He may not seem like much at first, but he’s going to be important.” And that was when Yole and Kamarie got split up in the woods, and Kiernan Kane was born.
And at the concert… he played “Minstrel of the Dawn”!!!!
He was playing a song I hadn’t recognized, but was really enjoying, called “Painter Passing Through” (I had to look it up later to catch all the lyrics, and it’s a new favorite). As he finished it up, I thought to myself, “Wow! Minstrel of the Dawn would be a PERFECT song to follow that one with.” And I kind of whispered under my breath, “Please play Minstrel.”
The next chord he strummed was achingly familiar, and he began singing “The Minstrel of the Dawn is here to make you laugh and bend your ear…”
Well, I just about jumped out of my seat, I was so excited!!!!
Nothing could have made it a more perfect evening.
Well, I suppose he could have played “Canadian Railroad Trilogy” and “Pony Man” instead of Sundown and Baby Step Back… but whatevs. It was near-perfect.
What’s more, in a poetically sweet full-circle… there is a song in my book, Minstrel’s Call. My sister, Brittany Jean, wrote music to it and is currently in Nashville, TN recording that song as part of her next album!!! Inspiration from a beautiful song, which inspired a book, which resulted in a poem, that has now become a beautiful song of its own…. it makes me smile just thinking about it.
He didn’t sing “Too Late for Prayin” at the concert, but it’s a recent favorite I’ve discovered thanks to my sister telling me about it. Such a beautiful song.
I finished reading He Whistles for the Cricket with my kids and husband. First time through the book for them, nth time through for me. Still gets me choked up in practically every chapter. Love that book so much. It’s an especially great read for Autumn, and as we head into the Christmas season. (It’s also perma-free on amazon, nook, kobo, and iTunes… and the paperbacks are under $5… if you’re looking for a beautiful, heartwarming, “curl up with a blanket and a mug of something hot to drink” book, I cannot recommend this one highly enough!
I also read Spicebringer by H.L. Burke and was absolutely blown away! I’ve read five other books by this author, and really liked all of them, but this is definitely my favorite. The depth of the characters’ arcs, the high stakes, the adventure, the fantasy elements, and the sweet romance is all simply beautifully woven together. I intend to do a full review soon, but don’t wait for that! I highly recommend this one.
For school we are revisiting some books we read about three years ago. The School Story by Andrew Clements – which was just as wonderful the second time through, and made me cry a lot, and Red Sails to Capri by Ann Weil, which is a fun read as well.
We also read The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman – a favorite of mine from when I was in grade school. It was fun to introduce the kids to it, and it’s a fun one to read aloud, as there are tons of opportunities to do different voices!
We’re also working our way through the Little House on the Prairie books and nearly finished On the Banks of Plum Creek. Just a couple more chapters left in that one.
We finished Star Trek: TNG with the kids, and decided to springboard right into Star Trek: Voyager. Voyager was my first Star Trek, which I didn’t watch until the first year Derek and I were married, so while I enjoy TNG, Voyager is bringing back ALL the nostalgia and “feelz” and it’s awesome. Leiana is hilarious, because she’s pretty bothered by the fact that it’s not the same characters as TNG, and she fiercely maintains that while she thinks Jayneway is “ok” “Captain Picard is BETTER!” Nathalie, on the other hand, appears to enjoy Voyager more.
We’ve also been watching Road to Avonlea season 2, which I got for Christmas, and has been super fun.
Continuing to work our way through the Little House on the Prairie seasons with the kids.
Let’s see, we blitzed through the newest season of Blue Bloods and enjoyed that immensely, as always.
Derek and I also watched the new Amazon Prime show “Jack Ryan” and found it to be extremely good. It is NOT clean, there is a lot of swearing – including frequent use of the “F” word (especially in the first episode). There are several “scenes” that involve nudity and one attempted assault. So this is NOT kid-friendly. However, in spite of that, the show itself is well-written and if you are older and can handle those kinds of mature themes, I would actually recommend it. There were a lot of great discussions Derek and I had around it, and while he is a big fan of the Tom Clancy books and was a little perturbed by a couple of inconsistencies the show took with certain characters, he thought it was a pretty good show “based on” the character of Jack Ryan.
Derek and I started watching Peter Capaldi’s last season of Doctor Who… but we don’t like the new companion, and the show has been so over the top with its agenda that we haven’t gotten very far. I do want to see how Capaldi ends his role as the Doctor… but I’m not sure we’re going to make it. I think… though I’m sad to say it… I think I’m done with Doctor Who. I loved Doctors 10, 11, and 9 (in that order) and really enjoyed the first season of 12, but this series is really annoying and not very good in the “story writing” realm.
Lately, when we’ve had a chance to watch anything, we’ve been opting for reruns of Psych over watching the unwatched episodes of Doctor Who. Which in one sense isn’t saying much, because Psych is hysterical and great for just chilling with and we love it. But on the other hand, we’re choosing a show we’ve already watched all the way through new episodes we haven’t seen of a show we used to love, and that’s saying a lot.
Writing counts have been abysmal, if I’m honest. I wrote a grand total of 7,060 words on Turrim Archive book #4 in the month of September.
However, I also wrote 6,293 words in my September blog posts, so I guess that’s where all my creative-writing brain power went.
Which leads me to…
The Silmaril Awards came around for the third year in a row and was a huge success once again. The day that nominations opened was my second-highest number of views in a single day (only missing breaking my record by 34 views!) I was a little concerned that September might be a little too busy of a month and that the Silmaril Awards would suffer, but it was a fantastic turnout. The nominations poured in and we had over 200 votes on the form, which was almost a 50% increase from the previous two years. So thank you, dear Reader, for making this the most successful Silmaril Awards so far! Can’t wait to see what next year holds!
I would like to get Turrim 4 to 30,000 words by the end of October. I believe this is doable, if I can break through the writer’s block that’s been clouding my brain lately. The other night, I finally figured out a way past it, so I’m excited to get going on that again.
We have a family reunion in a couple of weeks, which I’m THRILLED about. It’s been far too long.
Other than that, it’s just working on the house and enjoying each new day the Lord blesses us with.
How about you, dear Reader? Any special memories from September you’d like to share? Anything in October you’re looking forward to? I’d love to hear from you!