How about a step back in time?

When was the last time you allowed yourself to be caught up in another time period?

Can’t remember?

I totally understand! It’s hard to make time to read, especially uninterrupted time. For some unknown reason (or guilt) we allow ourselves to tend to others’ needs and ignore our own. Relaxation? Rest? That’s for other people, right?

Only, it’s not. In Genesis chapter 2, God rested after he completed his work the prior six days. Verse 3 says, “God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it he rested from all his work of creation.” (CSB)

Friend, if God considers resting holy, we should, too.

Okay, that’s settled, then! How will you rest?

Wait—I have an idea! Let’s read. Be it reading on the sofa, at the beach, in the mountains, or in a sudsy bathtub, let’s commit to resting our minds by allowing them to travel to another place and time.

And I’ve got just the books to send you on your way. I thought it would be fun to categorize them according to home furnishing styles.

Here are the categories: Mid-century modern, Early American, Farmhouse, Victorian, English cottage. I’ve linked the books to their description in Amazon (I have no affiliation with Amazon or anyone else). Have fun, and let yourself be transported to happily ever after.

Mid-century Modern (mid-twentieth century)

Almost Home, by Valer Fraser Luesse (one of my all-time faves), WWII Alabama

The Finder of Forgotten Things, by Sarah Loudin Thomas, 1930’s, West Virginia

The All-American, by Susie Finkbeiner, 1950’s, Midwest

Until Leaves Fall in Paris, by Sarah Sundin, WWII, Paris

The Maid of Ballymacool, by Jennifer Deibel, 1930’s, Ireland

In This Moment, by Gabrielle Meyer, 1861,1941,2001, Washington, D.C.

Secrets of a Charmed Life, by Susan Meissner, WWII, England

Shadows in the Mind’s Eye, by Janeyre Tromp, post WWII, Arkansas

Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier, 1930’s, England

Early American

Mountain Laurel, by Lori Benton, 1790’s, North Carolina

A Heart Adrift, by Laura Frantz, 1750’s, Virginia

The Rose and the Thistle, by Laura Frantz, 1715, Scotland

When the Day Comes, by Gabrielle Meyer, 1770’s, Colonial Williamsburg; 1914 New York City

Freedom’s Ring, by Heidi Chiavaroli


The Moonlight School, by Suzanne Woods Fisher, 1911, Kentucky

My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream, by Pepper Basham, 1918, North Carolina

The Gold in These Hills, by Joanne Bischof, 1902, California

A Worthy Pursuit, by Karen Witemeyer, 1892, Texas

Where the Road Bends, by Rachel Fordham, 1880’s, Iowa

Short Straw Bride, by Karen Witemeyer, 1880’s, Texas


The Lady and the LionHeart, by Joanne Bischof, 1890, Virginia

The Love Note, by Joanna Davidson Politano, England, 1860’s

With This Pledge, by Tamera Alexander, 1860’s, Tennessee

Count the Nights by Stars, by Michelle Shocklee, 1897, Tennessee

Counterfeit Faith, by Crystal Caudill, 1885, Philadelphia

Veiled in Smoke, by Jocelyn Green, 1871, Chicago

English Cottage

A Rumored Fortune, by Joanna Davidson Politano, 1866, England

A Name Unknown, by Roseanna M. White, WWI, England

A Castaway in Cornwall, by Julie Klassen, Regency, England

To Treasure an Heiress, by Rosemary M. White, 1906, England

As Dawn Breaks, by Kate Breslin, WWI, England

No Ocean Too Wide, by Carrie Turansky, 1908, London

A Noble Masquerade, by Kristi Ann Hunter, Regency, England

The Elusive Miss Ellison, by Carolyn Miller, Regency, England

The Governess of Penwythe Hall, by Sarah E. Ladd, Regency, England

Creme Brulee, anyone?

I love creme brulee, but I didn’t think I could make it at home because it was so delicate…and fancy. But when I saw this recipe on, I thought maybe I could do it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? I’m so glad I did! It was absolutely delicious and totally doable. I’ve added a couple notes to the instructions to make it foolproof for you.

The next time you’d like to have a yummy, impressive dessert, try this!

Easy Creme Brulee (and no, it’s not an oxymoron!)


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (1/4 if you prefer less sweet)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar for topping

What tools you’ll need:

  • Glass measuring cup, large
  • small pot
  • rectangular glass casserole dish
  • 4 ramekins
  • small torch or broiler


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • In a small pot, heat cream over medium heat until hot but not boiling — small bubbles will appear just along the edge of the pot.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, and vanilla — I like to do this in a large glass measuring cup for easy pouring! Note: if you don’t have a glass measuring cup, a bowl will do. Just be careful when pouring into ramekins.
  • When the cream is hot, add it to the egg yolk mixture a little at a time, whisking well after each addition. Why? Because if you add it all at once, you’ll have scrambled eggs! I added a very little bit and stirred like crazy before adding more.
  • Pour into 4, 7-8 ounce ramekins, (wider and shallower is better if you have them). I purchased my ramekins at Target, but you can find them lots of places, even grocery stores.
  • Place filled ramekins in a rectangular baking dish. You’re going to fill the baking dish with hot water until it comes 3/4 of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Be careful not to get any water in the custard! This is called a hot water bath.
  • Bake at 325 degrees F for 30-45 minutes. This will depend on how deep the custard is! (Smaller ramekins, deeper custard = longer bake time) The top will appear set but underneath it will still jiggle.
  • Very carefully take the ramekins out of the hot water so they don’t continue to cook.
  • Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours until chilled. (You can wrap and refrigerate up to 3 days).
  • Sprinkle each custard with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and torch or broil just until caramelized. My husband used a larger torch that he uses for meat, and it was torch overdo, in my opinion. But either way, whether using a culinary torch or broiling in the oven, it doesn’t take long before the top hardens.

Let me know what you think!

Haystacks Candy recipe

This is a quick and easy sweet treat. Not your run-of-the-mill snack, haystacks bring back lots of memories.

Why haystacks? Besides being one of my favorites, and being almost foolproof to make, the name reminds me of jumping on haystacks at my grandpa’s farm.

And it’s in keeping with my novel, which is set on a turn-of-the-century farm in Texas.

Here’s the recipe:

Leave me a comment if you make these goodies! I hope you love them as much as I do.

Music to write by

Some people must have silence to work, and others need noise.

I’m somewhere in between. Every day noise distracts me, but when I listen to music, I’m focused.

Music makes me happy.

That’s no surprise to those who’ve studied the effects of music on the brain. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I’m a better writer when I’m listening to music. Music inspires me.

When I’m writing, I listen to music which transports me back to 1895 small-town Texas. Not the songs of that time period. I think that would drive me crazy! The music in my ears has more to do with tone than historical accuracy.

I listen to music that creates a mood. A good story communicates the emotions of the characters. We readers want to feel their joy, sorrow, stress, and humor. But layering in those emotions can be tricky. That’s where music comes in.

I created a playlist of songs that help me as I write. These songs may have no meaning for anyone else, but to me, the emotions and images that flood me when I hear these songs inspire me to take my scenes a little deeper. I’ve categorized the songs by the mood they foster. Try some of them out and see if you have the same take on the music.

Why a playlist? 

These songs set the mood for certain scenes. My songs are mostly country/folk, but some are love songs, some are full of angst, some make me cry (Go Rest High on That Mountain is such a tearjerker!). When I go back to add flavor to scenes, if I’m listening to angsty songs, I’m able to make the scene more tender. 

But so far, I haven’t found anything to inspire funny words. If you have suggestions, send them my way. But as it stands, when I’m writing something humorous, the music’s off. 

Are these my favorite songs? Not necessarily, although I have several that are standard on my playlists, like Jericho, Sweet By and By, Stand Up, and Say Something. Each song makes me think or feel a certain way:

Jericho, for the spiritual struggle between good and evil

Sweet By and By, for its lullaby-like quality and love of family

Stand Up, an anthem for courage during hard times

Say Something, calling out injustice

My favorite these days: You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive, written by Darrell Scott. Nothing compares to the YouTube of Chris Stapleton, Morgane Stapleton, and Patty Loveless performed at the recent CMA awards. There’s such a heightened emotion while they sing, proven by the CMA audience, who are compelled to stand while watching. There’s this raw, gritty, and tender quality to the storytelling as Chris Stapleton and Patty Loveless sing about hard times in their home state of Kentucky. I can’t relate to the time, the situation, or the place…but when I watch the video, her Kentucky is mine. Her ancestors and their challenges are mine, as well. Her music makes the story personal. Check it out here. Even she is moved by the magic of the moment, mouthing “Wow!” to Chris Stapleton at the conclusion.

What Patty Loveless and Chris Stapleton brought to this story, I want to bring to mine. We have different modes of communication, but the same purpose—to move people.

If you’d like to know how to story can to be, go to it here.

What kind of music moves you? Leave me a comment, I’d love to know.