27 06, 2022

Scrabble and the Heat

By |2022-06-26T08:01:38-05:00June 27th, 2022|Make Me Think Monday, Writer's Life|2 Comments

It’s like living in hades in Texas right now. Probably hot where you live too. I’m a native Texan. I grew up without air-conditioning. You’d think I’d be used to hot summers.

Not this heat though. Going outside during the peak afternoon hours is unthinkable. We stay inside.

There’s always a jigsaw puzzle calling to be finished when it’s too hot to be outside. This summer we started afternoon game time. Card games, board games like Parcheesi, and dominoes.

Word games are very popular these days. Wordle scores keep popping up on social media. You’ll find dozens of other varieties, online and off. All are fun and challenging, but Scrabble, the board game, is my favorite.

We used to play Scrabble a lot. It kinda got forgotten. Not anymore. We rediscovered our love of Scrabble when we pulled the deluxe board that swivels from the game cabinet.

Now every afternoon it’s game on!

And we’re keeping score. At this point, I’m behind but moving up fast.

Hubby was the reigning 50-point word champ.

For non-Scrabble players, that’s when you use all seven of your letters to make a word and earn the word score plus a bonus of 50 points.

Recently I’ve managed the feat twice with the opening word

Scrabble was created in 1933, and there are over 121 billion Scrabble versions sold worldwide in 31 different languages, even a Braille version.

Why do so many people love Scrabble?

Mainly because it’s fun and challenging, but there are substantial benefits to playing. Here are ten:

  1. Scrabble teaches you the vocabulary
  2. Scrabble helps develop your intellectual abilities
  3. Scrabble teaches you strategy
  4. Scrabble encourages social cooperation and bonding
  5. Scrabble helps improve your emotional well-being and personal confidence
  6. Scrabble improves creativity
  7. Scrabble develops concentration
  8. Scrabble fosters learning through creative play
  9. Scrabble helps boosts the immune system
  10. Scrabble makes you happy

That last one is especially true if you live in Texas right now.

24 06, 2022

Moving Ducks

By |2022-06-22T07:40:17-05:00June 24th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

The ducks we hatched for a friend grew large enough to be moved to their new home.  This is no easy process.

First, the ducks had to be captured.

Rachel and I were able to accomplish this without being totally covered in mud.  The lack of rain right now is bad for plants but good for catching ducks.

Then we had to load them in the car.

Once at their new home, we had to convince them to go into the pond.

It is much bigger than the kiddie pool at our house.


Once they got in, they realized they could put their heads under and they had a great time.

As we left the ducks happily swimming in their new pond, I thought about how often I am reluctant to jump into something new.

Perhaps I should take a lesson from the ducks and just enjoy the experience.

20 06, 2022

A Twofer Holiday and One’s New

By |2022-06-19T12:52:42-05:00June 20th, 2022|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

This month Father’s Day and Juneteenth fell on the same day–June 19. Lots of social media about the Father’s Day holiday.Not so much about Juneteenth. It may be new to you if you’ve never lived in Texas.

Also known as “Jubilee Day,” “Black Independence Day,” and “Freedom Day, June 19 only became a national holiday last year.

Read President Biden’s proclamation HERE.

Emancipation of slaves at the end of the Civil War took effect in 1863 with President Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation, sadly, however, slaves in Texas would not be freed until two years later on June 19, 1865. On that day, 2,000 troops arrived in Galveston Bay and announced the freedom of enslaved Black people by executive decree.

“Juneteenth” has been celebrated in Texas ever since then with community gatherings filled with food, music, and fellowship. Now it’s a national day to celebrate freedom.

Learn more about the history of Juneteenth HERE.

If you didn’t celebrate Freedom Day yesterday, no worries. Mark your calendar for next year.

We also honored our fathers—a birth father, a stepfather, a relative or friend, whoever served in a father role. My father is gone now so the day is always a bit sad for me, but old pictures and memories bring a smile.

17 06, 2022


By |2022-06-15T16:17:14-05:00June 17th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Every year the principal at my school plants milkweed to attract Monarch butterfly caterpillars. He gives the speech about how fragile these caterpillars are and how everyone should look with their eyes and not touch them. If one happens to get on the sidewalk, students are to notify a teacher who will then safely move the caterpillar out of harm’s way.

The students do very well and each year we get to watch the Monarch butterflies emerge and fly away.

I must confess, that this whole process has become somewhat commonplace for me.  I don’t get nearly as excited as the students do about seeing the caterpillars.

However…. this week Rachel discovered a caterpillar on our parsley plant in OUR front flower bed.

This was very exciting! We figured out that it is an Anise Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillar. It disappeared at one point, and I was very sad.

Then this morning I checked and there were THREE caterpillars!!I told Rachel we were being invaded! Her response: At least they are pretty!

Yes, yes, they are.

This is an exciting invasion!

13 06, 2022

Wandering Writer and Stories

By |2022-06-03T08:54:31-05:00June 13th, 2022|Make Me Think Monday, Writer's Life|1 Comment

I am a wanderer. I love to see the world and the people in it. Oftentimes my wandering is dictated by outside forces, but I’ve always been ready to go.

I’ve wandered on foot, by plane, by bicycle, and by car.

I will meander through houses, mine and others, the woods and neighborhoods, stores, through cities and towns near and far.

Wherever I wander, stories find me and the memories of those encounters stay with me. Here are three that will always make me smile.

Once in Ireland, sitting at a Dublin train station, an older woman sat beside me and began to share about her family and her country. She told me she was returning home after being with her daughter, who had given birth to their twelfth grandchild. Another grandson, she said with pride in her eyes.

Yes, there were pictures and lovely tales of her family told as only the Irish can spin.

Recently in a grocery store not far from home, a young woman waiting behind me in the checkout line patted the multi-colored headscarf she wore. “Chemo,” she said. Her eyes misted. She shared her journey with breast cancer. I couldn’t stop myself I squeezed around my full cart of groceries and hugged her.

Walking with my dogs when we lived in the Rio Grande Forest always brought stories. Once a little girl playing outside at one of the rental cabins nearby ask to pet the dogs. My Old English loved on her. The Maltese jumped around all jealous then relaxed when she petted him too. As we walked away, the youngster plucked a purple wildflower and rushed over to give it to me.

Life is filled with so many chance meetings. Each encounter is unique, and I come away with a myriad of feelings from each.

Those characters and emotions from my wandering encounters frequently find their way into my stories. Not the specifics, of course, but the emotions and characterizations.

What about you? Do stories find you in your wanderings?

10 06, 2022

Refrigerator Art

By |2022-06-02T21:18:35-05:00June 10th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|2 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

For as long as I can remember, things of utmost importance have been put on the refrigerator. Artwork took a prominent place on the fridge. In fact, making refrigerator magnets out of felt was a common art project when I was growing up. I continued the tradition with our own kids.

As our children grew up, the fridge became a place to put things I did not want to lose. For example, the phone number for the exterminator, a school calendar, or appointment cards. I suppose it functions as a physical PDA (personal digital assistant). Most people keep all this information on their phones. It is much easier for me to keep track of my refrigerator.

I was looking at our refrigerator this week.I noticed the graduation announcement, the prayer cards for missionaries, the magnet of my favorite comedian, an encouraging card, favorite scriptures, a world map, and my blue ribbon from the State Fair of Texas, all things that make me smile.

The most recent addition is the artwork by Alex. His mom has an abundance of projects he has made in preschool and she offered to share. We chose the bluebonnets and the rainbow tree.

Once again, our fridge has artwork on it and that brings the biggest smile.

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