Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Our observance of Advent has been less focused than in previous years and our decorating for Christmas has been more minimalist than usual. In some ways one contributed to the other and our lack of decorating was caused by the heap of stuff that is still in the garage from our June flood. I hope that perhaps the next few days off will allow us to address those items.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Reading Challenges: Last December I excitedly posted about several reading challenges I hoped to participate in. Well, I didn't finish. My intentions were good and I would like to read the books, but planning out all of my reading for a year at a time was too constricting. I would like to read the books I listed, but I like the flexibility of reading a variety of other things as well.
Afterschooling: This isn't happening to the extent I would like. DD is reading a lot more on her own which is exciting. Our reading isn't progressing as quickly as I would like which I attribute to dd giving herself a bath now instead of needing to be "supervised" like when she was smaller. But something is always better than nothing, and we usually accomplish something each week.
Life is pretty much not coming together in the way I would like. I hoped life would improve since dh changed jobs and no longer has a long commute. However, the house is still a mess and my personal and professional life seems to be at a standstill. Hopefully 2009 will look up.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Frequently, individuals have made comments like this and they seem to paint that everyone who works does so in order to make lots of money to the detriment of their children. However, they don't know the specifics of individual circumstances that cause people to work. Do I wish that I didn't have to work? Sure I do sometimes but until recently, it wasn't a questions of if I wanted to work. And now I feel like I'm in a scenario that my company has invested time and energy into my professional development and that I couldn't quit even if I wanted to. But if I did quit, what would I do? Well, I'd end up volunteering at a variety of things and basically be working anyway.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
In light of my summer failings, I intend to do better in the fall. I need to be more consistent in after schooling with both kids. I plan to reinstate the family menu schedule to bring more consistency to our meals and less running through the drive through or making whatever comes in a box that is in the cupboard. I really need to work on better home maintenance. I have to admit it really isn't something I enjoy, but it does make a difference in how I feel and interact with my family. Hopefully, having a more intentional plan and schedule will help on a variety of fronts. Including the things I've mentioned above, I need to get back on an workout plan, eat better, have more consistent devotions, and find time to do the gazillion things that I would like to do.
Consistency seems to be the theme that runs through the above paragraph. I really need to work on a stop doing list for at home in order to regain time to be the wife, mother, and person I would like to be.
Friday, June 27, 2008
1. The best news that has happened recently is my husband got a new job as a library director. We've been really excited about this mostly because he won't have such a long commute any more which should have a positive impact on our family life.
2. In early June we went on vacation. We had a good time staying in a nice resort/lodge. We had a two room apartment with kitchen which was really nice. We intend to stay there again and will investigate similar lodging for future travel.
3. DS will go to pre-school at the local elementary school in the fall. At first I was disappointed he wouldn't go to the church pre-school, but I've decided this will actually be really good because it is daily and free.
4. DD is finally starting to read. I think she could before, but she's finally showing more interest and doing quite well.
1. Nothing too awfully bad is going on except that we're tired and my to-do list is longer than it should be. I have lots of books I want to read and have to read that I'm not getting to. I also have lots of house projects (see below) that I want to do but I'm not getting to. I had also hoped to pursue more recreational opportunities over the summer. I'd really like to learn to play golf and tennis but it's not going to happen this year.
2. Anyway, all of the above items plus the items below at times contribute to a low disposition, but I have to remind myself that it could be much worse.
1. When we arrived home from vacation, our downstairs carpet was soggy wet. It turns out the power had gone out in our subdivision and nearly everyone's sump pumps failed. So we had to have the carpet pulled. This means our belongings are in the garage which is truly ugly.
2. Things in the garage and the downstairs being a mess has had a domino effect on the rest of the house. I'd really like to clean and sort, but we can't put anything in the attic or the garage for storage.
3. Our new carpet won't be in until sometime around August 1. The good part is that we've been needing to fix up the downstairs anyway and I'm committed to only bringing in half of what's currently in the garage.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
DD and I have started reading The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I did read ahead and finished it. I'm going to try to read Prince Caspian before the movie this weekend.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
My personal experience with Messianic Jews has been extremely minimal although I would love to visit a congregation some time. The Old Testament feasts and festivals and Jewish practices are intriguing and the little bit of reading and study I have done on the topic has enriched my faith quite a bit. This is an area that I would like to learn more about and to incorporate more fully into our family life, yet I'm not quite ready to give up Christmas yet (although we try to scale back). In addition, I think that it would be easier to practice these traditions in community. For example, although I have purchased and read various sources, because these practices are so foreign it would be really helpful to have a mentor who could demonstrate how to do these things. In a similar way, I would love to practice formal morning and evening prayer within our family, but I really feel a need for someone to show me how or at least to see what it looks like in real life. I'm finding myself attracted more and more to a liturgical tradition, but the actual practice is a stumbling block in my current life situation.
On that note, I must confess our observance of Lent was mostly non-existent. We do a pretty good job with Advent, but there is so many external stimuli that feed into that observance. Lent and Easter, except for specials on seafood, doesn't have the same focus. Except for the fairly recent observance of Ash Wednesday at my institution and services during Holy Week, the weeks of Lent pass by without much thought. I just need to plan better and earlier next year and find an accountability partner or family.
At her school they have an Easter party the day before spring break just like they have a Hallowe'en, Christmas, and Valentine's day party. While getting dressed that morning, she asked me if the party would mention Jesus or if it would just be about "fake" Easter. I responded that she can tell them about Jesus. DD responded that she drew Jesus on the cross on the Easter bags they had made. Sure enough when she brought her bag home yesterday, she had a great picture of Jesus with the crown of thorns, a black sky, and lightening. That's why, even though I stress about her education and whether to send her to public, private, or home school, that for now she's staying in her local elementary.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Reading back over this post it sounds like I'm whining. I don't intend to whine but I honestly want to know how they are doing it and what I/our library can and should be doing differently or more expediently. Unfortunately, I don't really feel I can post this question to the library list servs as it would come off as whining and have my IRL identity attached.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
888 Reading Challenge: I'm gradually plugging along on my reading challenges. I'm dreadfully behind on the theme challenge but will hopefully catch up quickly. While the discipline of sticking with a reading plan is good, I find there are always numerous other books that appear (particularly in my line of work) that are just too good to resist or that fit a current information need. So I have lots of stacks of books by my bed that are waiting to be read in addition to the items on my list.
As always, I'm trying to figure out how to reasonably accommodate the half-millions things that I want to do in 24/7. It is particularly frustrating trying to schedule those activities that I know will make my life infinitely better (exercise, spiritual disciplines, home cooking) but cannot seem to fit in. In particular, I need to refrain from comparing myself and my life/schedule with others as not only does everyone have an unique set of life responsibilities and opportunities, but it only serves to make me more frustrated. However, when LibrarianMom rules the universe, everyone will have a 4 day work week.
One of the things I really like about her philosophy is the oft-quoted (and paraphrased) statement that children should be given real or "living books" to read instead of "twaddle". In so many ways this just makes sense because if children read only twaddle they never develop a taste for the best of what is available and become loathe to try anything more difficult. In addition to twaddle-free education, Mason puts a emphasis on lots of nature study, picture study, composer study, reading Shakespeare and poetry, doing handicrafts, and letting children have opportunity to play and be kids. Her philosophy advocates academic school subjects in the morning with the afternoons devoted to nature walks, handicraft, and play or what she refers to as "masterful inactivity". Sometimes I have the brash idea that it would be fun to open a private school. At this point in time, it would be really difficult to decide between a Mason style school or a University Model School. I really think this type of school would fit a niche that currently does not exist in our area. The only private schools are a Lutheran school and a Catholic school that run through 8th grade but having looked over their websites and handbooks thoroughly, the curriculum uses the same textbooks as the public school with the main difference being the addition of Bible/religion class. Although, we're not displeased with our local elementary school, it hasn't knocked our socks off either. But until another option presents itself or I can figure out a way to fit full-fledged home schooling into our hectic life, I'm going to take the $3 grand plus that it would cost to enroll in private school and use that money to buy lots of great books and resources and take purposeful educational trips.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Having focused much of my recent reading on non-fiction, I have turned to lighter reading and began the Cat Who books yesterday. I'm finding the reading challenge good in that my reading is focused, but I'm finding it hard to avoid dipping into the books that cross my path particularly related to daily life issues. As always, reading for my class, although enjoyable, vies for attention among all of my other reading interests.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Home life has been frustrating not because we haven't gotten along, but because time runs away from us. Several evenings this week, we were out out and about until late and then it's time to put the kids to bed which leaves no time for cleaning. I'm also trying to catch up on rest after not sleeping well last weekend and getting to bed later than I should most of the time.
I also spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what we are going to do to celebrate Lent. I gathered some good ideas but haven't had time to begin implementing many of them yet.
Work life has been frustrating as well. A student worker resigned this week; another informed me he isn't returning in the fall. I already know another isn't coming back because of an internship and possibly a second as well. It is so frustrating to train them and watch them leave time and time again. Several other frustrations arose involving the need to get permission for everything. This need to seek permission forced me to be "wait listed" for a conference. The second need to get permission hasn't been decided yet but involves participating in a state committee. However, it would be nice to hear "Congratulations! That's a great opportunity!" before hearing "Well, we'll have to see how that impacts your other work and if you'll have time."
Saturday, February 2, 2008
I had checked out Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola last fall before I learned of the various reading challenges. Thus several of the items in my Dewey selections for the reading challenge appear due to their prior selection and some of the area are more heavily populated. Pocketful of Pinecones, a often recommended book about nature study in the Charlotte Mason tradition, was an enjoyable but not taxing read. Although a non-fiction work, this "diary" of a fictitious depression era home educator read quickly and easily. As expected, the nature study ideas were welcome and I hope to incorporate them more. However, I feel guilty due to the hard work of this wife and mother doing her laundry, keeping her house tidy, gardening, learning herblore, sewing, knitting, and other tasks that comprised her day. So in addition to the call for more nature walks and study, the call to more industry in my house keeping and time management echoes.
Alas for the next few days, home industry must wait its turns while I prepare for my exam. I hope the siren call of reading this title is replaced with diligence in other matters.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Climbing Parnassus focuses on why a classical education was the primary educational model for centuries and why it should still be important today. I initially read it because I have been reading other books about classical education and this was recommended. Many of the other books were good about some of the "how-to", but this book emphasized the why. Simmons also differs from the common history-based classical education frequently espoused today in that he emphasizes that the languages are at the center. Among the emphasized points was that previous generations of classically educated people had a common core of knowledge and language to draw upon. Their understanding of morality, justice, liberty, and freedom came from reading the Greek and Roman classics (in the original) and they could banter the exact translation and meaning of certain items. Simmons also emphasized that this classical education and requirements to compose in Latin is a main component of the great literature produced in previous generations. My interest in learning Latin has been rekindled although will most likely not be acted on right away. I figure I have a few years to get up to speed on Latin before I need to teach my children Latin--they need to gain further competency in English first.
The second book I read, Morning by Morning: How We Home-Schooled Our African-American Sons to the Ivy Leauge by Paula Penn-Nabrit, was primarily the story of one family's experience. However, it was different from many of the other books I have recently read about education. Many authors write glowing reports and emphasize everyone else should do exactly what we did. This author, on the other hand, was very honest in stating this was our experience and what we learned, but it isn't for everyone. While reading the book, several times I felt like I was sitting at the table having a frank discussion with the author. This family came to home schooling after bad experiences in their private school. An emphasis was placed on how they desired to provide a holistic upbringing for their children encompassing not only education, but physical fitness, spirituality, arts, and community service, and how they accomplished their goals. This book provided a lot of food for thought for all parents regardless of the educational choices they make for their families.
Monday, January 21, 2008
My own reading improved as I finished the first book for my reading challenge. Northfield by Johnny D. Boggs took top billing in the western category. This novel about the James-Younger gang's debacle of a Minnesota bank robbery piqued my interest in learning more about the main characters. Boggs employed an unique writing style where each chapter was told in the voice of a different person which both gave multiple perspectives on the events and carried the plot forward.
The biggest excitement for the week came when I received permission to take a course this semester. This feat was not easily accomplished and requires extra diligence on my part so that I may hope to take additional courses. So I have added weekly class preparation to my reading repertoire; however, every course I take forms a needed stone in the pathway to my future goals. On that note, studying beckons.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Left to Tell: One Woman's Story of Surviving the Rwandan Holocaust.
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, by Ishmael Beah (memoir, Sierra Leone)
Joki-by Njeri Mbuti
The Mzungu Boy by Meja Mwangi (JUV)
Reading Lolita in Tehran
The Kite Runners
A Thousand Splendid Suns
The Bookseller of Kabul
Empress Orchid by Anchee Minn
The Last Empress by Anchee Minn
Sold by Patricia McCormick
The god of Small Things Arundhati RoyThat is the last of my lists. Well, I think I'd better get started reading.
Books about world religions
Tapestry of Faiths
Buddhism: A Short Introduction
Hinduism: A Short Introduction
Islam: The Straight Path
Inside the Community: Understanding Muslims Through Their Traditions
Passing Over Easter (Finished)
Shinto: The Kami Way
The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque: Christians and Muslims in the World of Islam by Sidney Harrison Griffith
Peace Be Upon You: Fourteen Centuries of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish co-existence in the Middle East by Zachary Karabell
Books previously purchased and not yet read (there are boxes and shelves of these)
Tortured for Christ
He Leadeth Me
Cat who talked to Ghosts (Finished)
Cat Who Knew a Cardinal
Cat Who Lived High
Roger Caras' Treasury of Great Cat Stories
Chronicles of Narnia (all 7-I plan on reading these aloud to my children over the summer.)
One book from each of the 10 Dewey sections
000 006.7 a book about blogging or 025.524 Totally Wired: What Teens and Tweens are Really Doing Online;
100 One of the many philosophy books I have purchased but not yet read.
200 One of the many books that I am surrounded with on a daily basis both at home and at work.
300 373.24 Climbing Parnassus, 371.04 Morning by Morning, 372.357 Pocketful of Pinecones (Finished all three)
400 480.7107 The Grammar of Our Civility: Classical Education in America (Finished)
500 509 Story of Science by Joy Hakim (all volumes available to date)
600 649.68 M381Yc When Children Love to Learn; any other parenting titles I choose to read this year (Finished)
700 783 Story of Christian Music; something about art
800 Roger Caras' Treasury of Great Cat Stories; Immortal Poems of the English Language; also some works on creative writing
900 909 The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon
Cat who talked to Ghosts (Finished)
Cat Who Knew a Cardinal
Cat Who Lived High
The Maltese Falcon
1 Agatha Christie
1 Susanna Gregory
1 Peter Tremayne
1 G. K. Chesterton (Father Brown)
1 Ellis Peters (Brother Cadfael)
1 Dorothy Sayers (Lord Peter Wimsey)
1 Emily Brightwell (Mrs. Jeffries)
Fantasies (Mythopaeic Awards Challenge)
Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
Stardust by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess
Lion of Ireland by Morgan Llywelyn
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley
A Knot in the Grain by Robin McKinley
The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
Deerskin by Robin McKinley
Winter Rose by Patricia McKillip
Solstice Wood by Patricia McKillip
Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Northfield by Johnny D. Boggs (Finished)
The Virginian by Owen Wister
To the Last Man by Zane Grey
The Light of Western Stars by Zane Grey
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty
Buffalo Wagons by Elmer Kelton
1 Max Brand
1 Louis L'Amour
Biographies/Memoirs (In Their Shoes Challenge)
Tortured for Christ
Walking from East to West
The Hiding Place
Son of a Shaman
He Leadeth Me
Autobiography of George Muller
Here I Stand: a Life of Martin Luther
(several of the books listed in category 8 Books Around the World are also memoirs.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Along the way I discovered several other reading challenges including In Their Shoes Reading Challenge (reading biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs),the Book Awards Reading Challenge (reading books that have won awards), the Themed Reading Challenge (4 books about any theme between January and June), To Be Read Challenge, Book Around the World, Africa Reading Challenge, and others.
Here is my list of eight genres for now:
- Biographies (to meet In Their Shoes Challenge as well)
- Fantasies (Mythopaeic Awards Challenge)
- Books about world religions (can be fiction or non-fiction but primarily non-fiction)
- Books previously purchased and not yet read (there are boxes and shelves of these)
- One book from each of the 10 Dewey sections (will overlap with other sections)
- Books about other continents and cultures (Books Around the World/African Reading Challenge).
Well today, I received inspiration from Dear Abby's annual New Year's column. Her column emphasizes "just today" I'll do this. Focusing on today instead of yesterday, last year, or next week resonated with me. However, as I pondered this idea and implementing it, "just today" morphed into "one thing." So for 2008 "What one thing today?" is my constant question. What one thing can I do to benefit my health? To strengthen my walk with God? To be a better parent, wife, employee? Stay tuned for more details on how this continues and what other incentives or tools I add.