Number 55
Is there anything more lovely than a sweet patch of bluets?

Moving on.

MY SWEET FRIENDS. For weeks now we've traveled together to and through and home from America's beautiful Southwest. I want to thank each and every one of you who followed those adventures, who cheered us on via comments and texts and emails, who offered much needed and gratefully received tips on the RV lifestyle. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Tim and me—we know this even as we (rather obsessively) plan the next adventure! While I have a couple of RV wrap-up posts to go, in short order we'll move on to more customary content on The Daily Grace blog. I'm also thrilled there are some folks who are new to The Daily Grace, and so I offer a grand welcome to you and introduce Grace Notes, a weekend newsletter I send from time to time filled with personal updates as well as all the things I'd gush about were we together in person. I do hope you'll find this revolving bit of ephemera fun, informational, and (hopefully) inspirational.
We made it! Standing in the four corners: New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah
Speaking of updates.
After a couple of fun, happy and very busy weeks at home in South Carolina, Tim, Stella and I have returned to our beloved Cats Mountain. It's a sweet getaway high in the Western North Carolina mountains where our souls find peace and rest. We also—not surprisingly—find lots to do! Tim spends his days taking care of a place that nature is intent on overtaking, bless it, and you can most often find me in the studio where I write, paint, stitch or delve into any manner of new creative endeavors.

(Heavens, but there is so much to learn and discover.)
I have two exciting things to tell you.
First, my short story, Stone Cold, was named the 3rd place winner in the Lit/South Literary Competition and is featured in the new edition of the literary journal, litmosphere. I'm wildly honored, and I'm thrilled Stone Cold is available to read for free online should that be of interest to you.
(May I, please? I'm a little horrified to discover there are a couple of typos that crept into my story during layout of the journal that I did not catch in the proof. Most significant is this sentence on the first page: The thought flashed of her babies—which Evie, James and Jolene were—at home this very minute with her mother. That second hyphen should not be there. Later in the story there is also a semicolon that should be a comma. HAVE FUN FELLOW GRAMMAR NERDS. 🤣🤣🤣)
Also, print copies of the journal are available for $15.
Second, I have had a blast creating a fun little series of small acrylic abstracts I'm calling MOOD.
for example
Upon recommendation from my sweet, smart, oh-so-savvy daughter, over the next few weeks we'll offer these paintings on Instagram via a drop on my Instagram Stories at cathyriggwriter. (Thank you Eliza Ellis Doyle, as I didn't even know what "drop" means. 🤷) Look for MOOD Thursday nights beginning May 25th at 8pm!
Finally, and most importantly.
Thank you for being here. Thank you for walking alongside as we remind each other there's grace, and beauty, and love all around—we only need notice.
Air on Amazon Prime
It's not technically a binge but man oh man did I LOVE this film. Directed by Ben Affleck and starring Ben, his pal Matt Damon, Jason Bateman, Viola Davis and more, Air is the story of the partnership between Michael Jordan and Nike’s fledgling basketball division. As a Grace Notes bonus I'll also mention a great interview with Ben Affleck about the film (and much more) on one of my favorite podcasts, Smartless. It's so interesting to be reminded about the lifelong friendship between Ben and Matt. Give the film a watch, and give the podcast a listen!
All episodes of the new podcast Wiser Than Me, hosted by Julia Louis Dreyfus, are fantastic—the funny and fabulous actress interviews "older women" to get schooled in how to live a full and meaningful life. But PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE start with the episode Jane Fonda. (I'll never be over it.) Plus Julia is so dang funny I would listen to her talk to anybody, I'm not even kidding.
Drink the River, by Gabe Lee
Thank you, Garden & Gun, for bringing Gabe Lee (and this song) into my life. #obsessed
Listen. This is big. So big. Three of my top five all time most favorite authors have new books out right now and I have the joy of getting to read them in succession.
Maureen, by Rachel Joyce
When Rachel's debut, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, was released, I loved it so much I recommended it without restraint to every reader I know. (It was also longlisted for the Booker Prize, so there's that.) A couple of books later she followed Harold up with The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, a version of the same story told from the point of view of Queenie, the woman Harold traveled to see. (I loved this novel even more.) Rachel finishes the grouping now with Maureen, the story of the wife Harold left behind and then returned to. Maureen is beautiful and heartbreaking and tender and sweet. All of these novels read fine as stand-alones, but since they're all fantastic, why cheat yourself of the pleasure of a one/two/three?

(Last year I recommended Rachel's novel Miss Benson's Beetle here on Grace Notes and I have been pleased to hear so many of you loved it as much as I did!)

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
via Bookshop
via Amazon

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy
via Bookshop
via Amazon

via Bookshop
via Amazon

Miss Benson's Beetle
via Bookshop
via Amazon
FAVORITE AUTHOR TWO (and personal hero): LEE SMITH
I'm just remembering this and it is kind of fun. I had the honoring of studying with Lee Smith at the Key West Writers' Workshop some years ago, and to thank her, I sent her a box of Rachel Joyce books!
Nobody does it better than Lee Smith, and she's done it again in her latest release. I will warn you—don't read too much about the plot, as (in my opinion) there are too many spoilers. But I will share this from promotional copy: This funny and endearing novel of family, secrets, and aging follows an elderly man who heads off on a joyride with a new young friend—who may have some secrets of her own.

via Bookshop
via Amazon
From the New York Times bestselling author of Cold Mountain and Varina, a stunning new novel that paints a vivid portrait of life in the Great Depression

This is my next read, and since Charles Frazier wrote my two favorite novels, I feel certain I will love The Trackers. More to come!

via Bookshop
via Amazon
recently on THE DAILY GRACE

Tips for First-Time RVers

It's a video! Tim joins me as we dish about our big RV trip—biggest surprises, must-haves for first-time RVers and more. Come on along!
5.19.23, 5:15 pm, #catsmountain
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