Sunday, June 6, 2010

a reading challenge

A few years ago Jon, Anna and I participated in a reading challenge to read books from your stacks. We need to do this from time to time, actually discipline ourselves to read from what we've already collected. Keeps those stacks as a resource to draw from and not something to just have. The guidelines are that you read 5 books you already own but have not yet read. I asked them and they were up to it again- I need this to motivate me to stick to a reading plan. So, will you join us? The challenge is to read 5 books you already own but have not yet read by August 15, 2010.

Here are our choices:
Anna is reading:
Inkspell by Cornelia Funke
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Villette by Charlotte Bronte
Vote of Intolerance by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart
Christy by Catherine Marshall

Jon is reading:
Disclosure by Michael Crichton
The Renaissance by Paul Johnson
Intelligence in War by John Keegan
Luckiest Man by Jonathan Eig
The Matarese Countdown by Robert Ludlum

and I am reading:
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
A City of Bells by Elizabeth Goudge
Old Men at Midnight by Chaim Potok
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
Prayers For Sale by Sandra Dallas

Let us know what you're reading if you join us. And come August 15 we will probably do something bookish to celebrate, like a trip to a bookstore, or maybe dust some bookshelves and eat chocolate cream pie, or lay in front of a fan drinking ice tea and reading all day....I'm sure we'll think of something- and I'm sure real life will keep us from being too self indulgent.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Literary Meme answers

Oh, my, I forgot to get back with all you curious folks on the first lines from favorite books meme. I have this little pile here next to the computer and decided I needed to put them away and then remembered why they were there! So, here goes:

1.- Velma Still Cooks in Leeway by Vinita Hampton Wright. Susie, do you know that Vinita writes Bible study books and books on prayer? Where did I see that? At the end of a book I read it is: Relationships That Bring Life: Ruth by Ruth Haley Barton. Anyway, I looked on Amazon and found this little gem- Prayers Around the Family Table

2. Crow Lake by Mary Lawson. I shared some about this book here.

3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I admire Jane. She is such a strong woman of character. She's not a "character" she has character. A definite favorite.

4. Yes, Janet it is Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner. Also here. One of the best books I read in the past year(in fact I think I ended up reading it 3 times over the year, that has to be some kind of record.) I posted the first lines from this book, chose a couple of others and realized I was going to have 3 different books that started out talking about whiskey or some similar beverage! I didn't want you to get the wrong idea about my reading choices so I kept looking!

5. And finally, Peace Like a River by Leif Enger(everytime I type Leif I want to follow it with Ericsson for some reason!) I wrote about this book here. I picked this up at a used book sale a couple of years ago, last January I pulled it out and set it on my desk "to be read soon". But it sat, then one day Janet asked if I had read this book. I took that as a recommendation and I did and loved it. His second book So Brave, Young and Handsome was excellent too. And now we patiently wait for him to write a third.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Literary Meme

I saw this fun meme on Janet's blog. Let me know if you play along..

1. Pick 5 of your favorite books.

2. Post the first sentence of each book. (If one sentence seems too short, post two or three!)

3. Let everyone try to guess the titles and authors of your books.

Here goes:

1. When I was a young girl, strange fevers would fall upon me. All of a sudden my temperature would rise and carry me away. Sometimes it lasted an hour or two: a few times it lasted more than a day.

2. My great-grandmother Morrison fixed a book rest to her spinning wheel so that she could read while she was spinning, or so the story goes. And one Saturday evening she became so absorbed in her book that when she looked up, she found that it was half past midnight and she had spun for half an hour on the Sabbath day. Back then, that counted as a major sin.

3. There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but since dinner(Mrs. Reed, when there was no company, dined early) the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so penetrating, that furthur out-door exercise was now out of the question.

4. Back when Mississippi was dry, Ole Miss students and any other Oxford residents who wanted a drink would drive to Memphis, just across the state line, stock up on beer and whiskey, and haul it back in the trunks of their cars.

5.From my first breath in this world, all I wanted was a good set of lungs and the air to fill them with- given circumstances, you might presume, for an American baby of the twentieth century.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Never let a problem

"If you could ask God for anything, what one thing would you ask him
for tonight?" God and I looked each other in the eye, we knew. I'd been asking him to solve this problem all afternoon. It is not a new problem. Asking him to fix it isn't new either. I just finally acknowledged my inability, and asked him to please solve it, in his own best way. It is a hard thing to give up my selfish ways, to surrender my time, to lay down my life. I wonder though, do I have the right to surrender someone else's time, to lay down someone else's life? My heart is deceitful and it tricks me and reasons out my selfish ways as sensible. I cannot be sure. So, I asked God to please solve this problem, in his own best way, then last night I came across this quote:

"Never let a problem to be solved
become more important
than a person to be loved."

This is a word from God, I surely know this. This is my part, this is his charge to me as I wait for him to solve my problem. I know this as clearly as I knew he was instructing me when, years ago, he gave me this Word:

"Whatever happens,
conduct yourselves
in a manner worthy
of the gospel of Christ."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

In Praise of NYS Homeschool Regulations

If you know me at all, you find that a bizarre title. I have chaffed against the regulations to one degree or another for, I don't know, 20 years!!! But this week I had reason, again, to be thankful for them. In the past, I have basked in the realization that all this required paperwork created a paper trail that colleges would recognize as a transcript! Amazing. The only impressive signature on any of it, mine. Remarkable. This week, I was thankful again, because I had procrastinated until the last minute to plan an IHIP for my 9th grade daughter. Earlier in the week had me scrambling for a plan, this is high school now and I know I have so many books and topics I want to introduce or study. But what were they? Was I forgetting something important? Was I expecting too much? Then I remembered, all that paperwork, all those IHIPs, three boys worth of highschool IHIP's, all there at my finger tips(no, not on the computer only, or they would, no doubt, be lost), in the filing cabinet! Ah, inspiration. So, here's the plan and it was delivered to the Superintendent's office in a timely manner. All is well, the table is cleared off, the shelves rearranged, the school year beginning to take shape in my mind.

Miss A Grade: 9 DOB: x/xx/xxxx
2009 - 2010

Poetry: The Roar on the Other Side by Suzanne U. Clark
Grammar &
: Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
Written narrations daily
Literature: Skills for Literary Analysis by James P. Stobaugh
Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream & Much Ado About Nothing
Uncle Tom’s Cabin; Silas Marner
Copybook- daily entries

Saxon Algebra ½; Saxon Publishers, 1995

Exploring Creation with Biology; Apologia Educational Ministries, 1998

Biographies- The Monk in the Garden by Robin Marantz Henig
Buried Alive by Jack Cuozo
Now I Remember by Thornton Burgess

TruthQuest History- Age of Revolution I (1600-1700)
- biographies
- historical fiction
- text books- The Colonial Experience 1607-1774 by Clarence B. Carson
How Should We Then Live? By Francis Schaeffer
History Through the Eyes of Faith by Ronald A. Wells

Geography- Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins
The Walk West by Peter & Barbara Jenkins w/ map work

Citizenship-Ourselves by Charlotte Mason
The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis

Gov’t & Economics-
The P.I.G. to The Great Depression and the New Deal by, Robert P. Murphy
Library of Economics & Liberty- Essays by Jane H. Marcet

HEALTH: The Crazy Makers by Carol Simontacchi
What the Bible Says About Healthy Living by Rex Russell, M.D.

MUSIC: Composer Study: Mozart, Medelssohn, Chopin
Weekly choir and Praise Team

VISUAL ARTS: Artist Study- Raphael Sanzio, John Singer Sargent, Claude Monet
Videography, jewelry, clay, weaving

PHYSICAL EDUCATION: running, walking, bike riding, yard work, seasonal activities

Logic- How to Read a Book- Part 2, by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
Love is a Fallacy- essay, by Max Schulman
The Thinking Toolbox by Nathaniel & Hans Bluedorn

Current Events- World magazine (weekly)
Breakpoint (daily)
Weekly discussions and notebook entries

Life Skills &
- The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer
- Regular computer usage/internet.
- cooking

Bible- The Bible’s Metaphors for Itself
The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer
Making Choices by Peter Kreeft
The Disciplined Life by Richard S. Taylor

Sermon on the Mount

Sunday, August 2, 2009

recent readings

The reading here has been rather spotty and unsatisfying of late. Not sure why that is, I just haven't been able to settle on books and stick them out. I have done a small bit of sewing but my stacks of things to make has been growing until my sewing room is at the over-flow stage of needing to work through some things before I plan anything new. I did sew Anna and I each a summer top, a skirt for me, a tablerunner,a couple of bibs for Eli, appliqued some "silly sister" tank tops for Leah and Madison. I am working on a handful of small embroidery projects that I plan to "frame" in an old window sash and hang in Madison's room- I think it will be very cool when finished, started a new block-of-the-month quilt class in July, finished up my Mystery Quilt top- I plan to quilt that this week, Lord willing. You see I have plans enough, just a little short on time.

Back to the reading. Here are some of the highlights from July:

The Voice of Matthew, by Lauren Winner. A sort of translation/paraphrase of the book of Matthew, with extras. I liked it.

The Disciple Making Church, by Glenn McDonald. In the book of Matthew, Jesus says, "go and make disciples..." this book encourages the Church to do just that through a set of "redemptive relationships" and teaching the "six marks of a disciple". Very good, inspiring ideas- and it's a good thing I like it because I am reading/studying through this book with two different groups.

Intercessory Prayer, by Dutch Sheets. This is a powerful book on prayer. Two chapters(The Necessity of Prayer and The Substance of Prayer- I think, it was a libray book and I don't have it here to check) specifically impacted me, I will most likely re-read this book down the road.

The Zookeeper's Wife, by Diane Ackerman. Subtitled "A War Story". It's a biography of, well, the zookeeper's wife and the zookeeper- Jan and Antonina Zabinski, during the German occuaption of Warsaw in WWII. The author's note begins, "Jan and Antonina Zabinski were Christian zookeepers horrified by Nazi racism, who capitalized on the Nazi's obsession with rare animals in order to save over three hundred doomed people. Their story has fallen between the seams of history, as radically compassionate acts sometimes do. But in wartime Poland, when even handing a thirsty Jew a cup of water was punishable by death, their heroism stands out as all the more startling."
It is a moving story- unbelievable in the same way that everything that people experienced in Europe during WWII is unbeleivable. When the "inhumanity of man" appears to rule the day, the actions and convictions of the righteous among nations inspire hope. One more quote from near the end of the book:
"Intrigued by the personality of rescuers, Malka Drucker and Gay Block interviewed over a hundred, and found they shared certain key personality traits. Rescuers tended to be decisive, fast-thinking, risk-taking, independent, adventurous, open-hearted, rebellious, and unusually flexible- able to switch plans, abandon habits, or change ingrained routines at a moment's notice. They tended to be nonconformists, and though many rescuers held solemn principles worth dying for, they didn't regard themselves as heroic. Typically, one would say, as Jan did: 'I only did my duty- if you can save somebody's life, it's your duty to try.' Or: 'We did it because it was the right thing to do.' "
Aren't you glad there are people like that? Don't you want to be one of them?

And, finally, To Kill a Mockingbird audiobook while cooking suppers

So, it wasn't a lot of reading,(nor near as much sewing as I'd planned), and I guess I did enjoy all of it, but now what? What to read next?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Relationship With Books

1. What author do you own the most books by?

C.S. Lewis

2. What book do you own the most copies of?

Probably Jane Eyre, although it might be Mere Christianity or More Than a Carpenter, I'm not sure. I frequently by extra copies of books I love at used booksales to share with others- usually my kids

3. Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?

Not at all.

4. What fictional character are you secretly in love with?


5. What book have you read the most times in your life?

I re-read non-fiction books a lot, but fiction...maybe Jane Eyre or A Lantern in Her Hand

6. Favorite book as a ten year old?

I'm going to guess, maybe, Little Women

7. What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?

Wise Blood or maybe A Thousand Acres

8. What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?

That's a hard decision, I've read quite a few I really, really liked.
Ok, I'll choose one- Peace Like A River

9. If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be?

Well, forcing everyone to read it would probably defeat the purpose but other than the Bible, I'd really encourage reading Do Hard Things

10. What book would you most like to see made into a movie?

I'm not much into movies, but maybe Davita's Harp

11. What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?

I don't know, if it was too difficult I probably didn't finish it.
I remember spending about 9 weeks reading The Genesis Record, years ago. Yes, I finished it and have proceeded to *force* my kids to read it in their senior years of high school, so maybe that should be the answer for #9

12. What is your favorite devotional book?

Streams in the Desert

13. What is your favorite play?

Our Town

14. Poem?

I don't know. I'm not very seriously into poetry, we just read it for fun and to make each other laugh. I like this.

15. Essay?

16. Who is the most overrated writer alive today?

Annie Dillard, maybe?

17. What is your desert island book?

Probably whatever I'm carrying around with me right now, and hopefully my Bible, as I don't have much of it memorized.

18. And…what are you reading right now?

The Zookeeper's Wife

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

March is a long month,

but somehow I didn't actually finish many books. And three of the books I did finish were re-reads. I did that on purpose, at the end of February and beginning of March I breezed through three novels that I really enjoyed, one after the other. I felt like I'd swallowed without chewing, so I slowed down to reflect on them some and a couple of other books I'd read last fall. So here's the list, short and sweet:

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson. I loved this book and have thought about the ending for the whole month. There was a lesson there for me. It would be hard to explain the lesson without giving away the ending and I do so want you to read this yourself. Here is part of the blurb off the back of the book: "In this universal drama of family love and misunderstandings, of resentments harbored and driven underground, Lawson ratchets up the tension with heartbreaking humor and consummate control, continually overturning one's expectations right to the very end." Ok, I think I can share the lesson without spoiling the story for you: It's about what is and what isn't a tragedy. As you read your heart will break with one tragedy after another, but the thing is- those things are lived through and although they are a shame, they are not necessarily tragedies. The tragedy lies in what one can't let go of. Because I love quotes here is one from near the end that addresses this:
"I suppose the real question is not why I saw it then, but why I didn't seee it years ago. Great-Grandmother Morrison, I accept the fault is largely mine, but I do hold you partly to blame. It is you, with your love of learning, who set the standard against which I have judged everyone around me, all of my life. I have pursued your dream single-mindedly; I have become familiar with books and ideas you never even imagined, and somehow, in the process of acquiring all that knowledge, I have managed to learn nothing at all."

Sacred Pathways was a re-read from last month. I read it through once in Febraury and have since then made my way through it again, for a book-club meeting and for weekly Sunday School discussions. I scored pretty high in three areas: Ascetic: Loving God in Solitude and Simplicity; Contemplative:Loving God Through Adoration and Intellectual:Loving God with the Mind. I scored middle of the road in three more categories and quite low in three...

girl meets God- by Lauren Winner. I came across this book last fall at Borders, it's about a young woman who becomes a Christian on her way to becoming an Orthodox Jew. I was interested, but I also thought I might hate the book, if it turns out she wrote it to let all the Christians know that she met God and He isn't who they think He is. It isn't that way at all, her encounter with God is quite orthodox. I read the book from the library first and then went out and bought it. It's sections follow the church year and she grows through it. The growth became more obvious to me the second time I read it because I started with the section on Lent and read the book through to the end and then went back to the beginning and read up to Lent.

One of my favorite stories is about the reading fast(as in a fast from reading not reading fast!) she did for Lent one year. She shares: "I also found myself praying more because I don't have my usual distractions. When I am stuck in a puddle of sadness and mistakes, I cannot take them to Mitford. I have to take them to God."

So here is something to think about- it's quoted in this book-
"To read, when one does so of one's own free will, is to make a volitional statement, to cast a vote; it is to posit an elsewhere and set off toward it. And like any traveling, reading is at once a movement and a comment of sorts about the place one has left. To open a book voluntarily is at some level to remark the insufficiency either of one's life or one's orientation toward it."

The last book, Mudhouse Sabbath is also by Lauren Winner. In it she takes 11 Jewish spiritual practices and shares ideas about how these practices can enhance Christian spiritual disciplines. I know, that sounds boring. But it's not really- to me anyway. She writes in an easy conversational way, it's a quick, easy and inspiring read.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Baby Eli

I wanted to post these pictures of the sewing I did for Eli & Leah a few weeks ago. But I was waiting until I could deliver them, well they are delivered. I hope they love them as much as I did making them! The material for these is all from my stash and loaded with memories! Adam has been a Peanuts fan for years and quite a long time ago I made him a large quilt from these very prints. Last fall I came across Baby Linus in a bin while searching for something else,I rescued him and brought him downstairs, gave him a good wash and decided to make a doll quilt for him and give them as a gift to Leah when her new brother came. Baby Linus is just about 23 years old! I used this pattern from Sew, Mama,Sew for the doll quilt. It was a lot of fun and I still had a ton of the Peanuts fabric left over so I cut lots of squares and made a baby quilt for Eli to match Leah's doll quilt.
The appliqued onesies were fun and quick. The only challenge was making the appliques small enough!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

What Part of Spring

You Are Blooming Flowers

You are an optimistic person by nature. In even the darkest times, you are hopeful about the future.

You feel truly blessed in life and can sometimes be overwhelmed with emotions.

You have an artist's eye. You are always looking for beauty in the mundane.

You have a good sense of aesthetics, especially when it comes to shapes and color.