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.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Week Three

In my lunch time prayer walk, I couldn't think what to say. I remembered this prayer/poem by Amy Carmichael and then after a time the words came.

Father, hear us, we are praying,
Hear the words our hearts are saying,
We are praying for our children.

Keep them from the powers of evil,
From the secret, hidden peril,
Father, hear us for our children.

From the whirlpool that would suck them,
From the treacherous quicksand, pluck them,
Father, hear us for our children.

From the worldling's hollow gladness,
From the sting of faithless sadness,
Father, Father, keep our children.

Through life's troubled waters steer them,
Through life's bitter battle cheer them,
Father, Father, be Thou near them.

Read the language of our longing,
Read the wordless pleadings thronging,
Holy Father, for our children.

And wherever they may bide,
Lead them Home at eventide.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Peace Like a River

Or what I read in February.

I started to post about this book back when I finished it a few weeks ago. I planned to mostly include some quotes and ideas I loved in the book. But, first let me tell you the story line/plot is good but what you come to love most are the characters. The story is told by 11 year old Rueben Land and is a witness to his father's miracles. That's the long and short of it , but what an amazing story and what memorable characters!

"Let me say something about that word:miracle. For too long it's been used to characterize things or events that, though pleasant, are entirely normal. Peeping chicks at Easter time, spring generally, a clear sunrise ....Such things are worth our notice every day of the week, but to call them miracles evaporates the strength of the word.

"Real miracles bother people, like strange sudden pains unknown in medical literature. It's true:They rebut every rule all we good citizens take comfort in. Lazarus obeying orders and climbing up out of the grave- now there's a miracle, and you can bet it upset a lot of folks who were standing around at the time...A miracle contradicts the will of the earth.

"My sister, Swede, who often sees to the nub, offered this: People fear miracles because they fear being changed- though ignoring them will change you also. Swede said another thing, too, and it rang in me like a bell: No miracle happens without a witness. Someone to declare, Here's what I saw. Here's how it went. Make of it what you will.

"The fact is, the miracles that sometimes flowed from my father's fingertips had few witnesses but me. Yes, enough people saw enough strange things that Dad became the subject of a kind of misspoken folklore in our town, but most ignored the miracles as they ignored Dad himself.

"I believe I was preserved, through those twelve airless minutes in order to be a witness, and as a witness, let me say that a miracle is no cute thing but more like a swing of a sword.

"If he were here to begin the account, I beleive Dad would say what he said to Swede and me on the worst night of all our lives:
We and the world, my children, will always be at war.
Retreat is impossible.
Arm yourselves."
Highly recommended.

What else I read in February:
Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas
This is for our next bookclub meeting but also our Sunday School class is reading and discussing a chapter per week. I have read it straight through once and am now purposefully re-reading one chapter at a time and taking the short tests at the end of each chapter to judge my strengths in these areas. Breezing through the first time I was able to identify myself in several pathways- almost all- except three. I expect to find myself strongest in Intellectual, Ascetics and Sensates. We'll see.

Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck
If you haven't read anything by Richard Peck you are missing some fun. The Washington Post describes him as, "America's best living author for young adults." This story was fun and quirky about growing up to be what ever you want- the giving yourself permission.

"Oh, " I said, not knowing. "Do they let women be one of them Ph.D.s?"
Irene drew up. "They don't let women be anything, Eleanor. You have to give yourself permission."
Don't worry it's not militant feminism or anything, just a strong, sweet message everyone would want for their daughter. Last year I read The River Between Us by Peck and it was excellent, Civil War fiction.

And, finally, I read Leif Enger's second book: So Brave, Young, and Handsome. Very good in it's own way. A western, and I'm not much into westerns- but again the characters are intriguing,even winsome. I read the first 4 chapters or so in one sitting and I was positively charmed. Naturally, many of the characters are anything but charming as the story progresses...but I was hooked. One of the things I really appreciate about Enger is his realism. Actions have consequences and an individuals actions almost always involve consequences for others as well. That is real life, he doesn't white wash that- but he doesn't exploit with gore either. He is a gifted story teller. I hope he writes more. Here's Janet's review.

I know I have rambled on mostly about what I think about the books and not so much what they are about... that's what the links are for!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shrove Tuesday

I started a Lent devotional today. I know this is going to be good- I read an Advent devotional by the same author in December- it was excellent. This is pretty much a first for me, I have read Michael Card's A Violent Grace during the Easter season a few times,(which, by the way, is a powerful book. It does for the bookish/word oriented person what The Passion of Christ does for the visual/screen oriented. Highly recommended.) But I don't recall any other Lent/Easter type devotionals. In my true, if one book is good then two books are better, philosophy I am doing two Lent devotionals this year! I have had these books and been looking forward to starting for weeks. So today is the day, and the first reading was on the prodigal son and the joy in heaven over repentant sinners- good but then at the end an additional Scripture reading: Isaiah 61:10-11. Wow! Have I ever read these verses before? I must have, but here they are in all their new freshness:

I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of
and arrayed me in a robe of
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a
and as a bride adorns herself with
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make
righteousness and praise
spring up before all nations.

That makes my heart soar!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Anna's Bag

This is a Christmas gift for Anna. She got a couple of these (as did other members of the family) - a package containing fabric and a pattern of what I planned to sew for them after Christmas. The picture isn't real clear , the main part of the messenger bag is a black and white polka dot corduroy. The Wizard of Oz fabrics are for pure fun! It's lined with ruby slippers and has the red cameo print for pockets and trim. I purchased them for another project but only 2 out of the 3 ordered came, so Plan B- a messenger bag. This is the third one I've made and I really love the pattern, clear easy to follow directions with so much scope for personalizing. I'm thinking if I make another one, I will use a stiffer interfacing. She has it loaded already so it looks a bit lumpy, but I think she likes it

Saturday, January 31, 2009

January reading

I made a New Years resolution of sorts to read more this year. I was thinking my reading had really dropped off in the past couple of years, and while browsing over my books lists it didn't seem too shabby of a count, it did lack heart. Meaning there were too many books on that list that I hadn't really enjoyed. So, I wanted to recapture the constant delight of reading and anticpating reading because I was having a very good time with it- some would rightly conclude I was looking for a place to escape to on a regular basis. I don't think this is a bad thing. I read for a variety of reasons- to learn, to grow, to understand, to experience things I never will any other way and to escape. It's affordable and doesn't cause my family too much neglect.

My reading for January has been enjoyable. Here it is with the briefest of comments because I have a very busy weekend at hand. No, not the Super Bowl, homeschool reports and planning for the next quarter etc.

Epicenter by Joel Rosenberg. This was for our book club and I liked the book quite a bit and was surprised because I thought maybe all the political and current events would be confusing and depressing. Not so, it was pretty easy to read and informative.

A Walk With Jane Austen by Lori Smith. I came across this book one day while browsing in B&N determined not to buy anything. Leafing through the book I found it compelling. So, I came home, looked it up at the library and was astonished that I could get it through there! I'm glad I did, because though I did enjoy the book, after a bit, I don't feel the need to own it. My favorite quote from the book is actually- not a surprise -a quote from Jane Austen in Persuasion:

"Mr. Elliot was rational, discreet, polished, but he was not open. There was never any burst of feeling, any warmth of indignation or delight, at the evil or good of others. This, to Anne, was a decided imperfection. Her early impressions were incurable. She prized the frank, the open-hearted, the eager character beyond all others. Warmth and enthusiasm did captivate her still. She felt that she could so much more depend upon the the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a careless or hasty thing, than of those whose presence of mind never varied, whose tongue never slipped."

I am in much sympathy with Anne.

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society By Mary Anne Shaffer & Annie Barrows.
This was book I took notice of on the library web page and requested it. It was fun, light, post WWII Britain. Reminiscent of 84 Charing Cross Road, but while 84 is memoir, Guernsey is fiction. With the typical fiction pitfalls- predictable romance. It was a fun read, howeve, and got me thinking about 84, so I borrowed the movie of that from the library(yes, they made a movie of a book of letters) and requested other Helene Hanff books, as you will see.

Room of Marvels by James Bryan Smith. This book was recommended by Dallas Willard and again I found it available through the library! Love that library! It is written to be a comforting story, told as a dream, about the marvels that await us in Heaven. It was an ok book, and I know it was reflective of the author's painful losses, but it didn't hold me- because in trying to paint a picture of Heaven it fell kind of flat, as you would expect it to...too lofty for words.

Between Heaven & Hell by Peter Kreeft. As the tiltle suggests this dialogue takes place between Heaven & Hell. The date is November 22, 1963 and within a few hours of each other three men pass into eternity: President John Kennedy, C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley. Kreeft imagines a dialogue they might share with each other about eternal life, the divinty of Christ, and more. Kennedy takes the role of humanist, Huxley pantheist, with Lewis representing Christianity. Entertaining and informative. Before I began the book I was looking for information on a new book by Peter Kreeft and was reminded of his admiration of C.S.Lewis, and I remember musing to myself whether Lewis' Christianity would be closer to Kreeft's than to mine. Peter Kreeft is Catholic and I am Protestant. Well, early in this book Lewis answers that question rather directly- well, actually Peter Kreeft answers what he thinks/hopes Lewis might say. I was amused to see my question addressed. Lewis and Kennedy are talking about authority and Lewis says:

"...My business was to defend "mere Christianty," not any one particular church. Second, because we two are not representative samples: I'm more Catholic than most Protestants, especially concerning church, tradition and authority; and you're more Protestant than most Catholics, de-emphasizing just those things- if I'm not mistaken."

Q's Legacy by Helene Hanff. More memoir, more about her correspondance with Frank Doel at Marks & Co Booksellers and more about the subsequent fame that came to her through the book 84 Charing Cross Road, and the movies and plays etc. that spun off from that. But basically this is a book giving credit to a man she calls "Q"- Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. A man she credits with teaching her about writing through a book of lectures and also exposing her to so much great literature, his influence starts her on her life long quest to read and acquire great books. Her book can ignite the same hunger in readers....going to the library web page and look for books by "Q"

The Giver by Lois Lowry. This is our next book club book. I have read it several times over the years with my kids and somehow have come NOT to own a single copy! So, to the library again. But this time I listened to it on audio book. Read by Ron Rifkin. Enjoyable. This book, I'll finish tonight while making supper.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Anoint my ears with wisdom

Shout my name to the angels
Sing my song to the skies
Anoint my ears with wisdom
Let beauty fill my eyes.

I love that prayer/poem. Today my mind is a bit scattered. No, that is not true, it is not scattered at all, it is stuck -on one thing...I'm praying to get past that one thing and maybe this prayer can help.

I first encountered Walter Dean Myers in a children's book by Sharon Creech Love That Dog. It's the story, presented in short journal entries(so fun to read!), of a boy who is learning to write, and write poetry in particular. He starts out convinced that writing poetry is for girls and he can't do it. It is so charming. At the end he writes a poem, called Love That Dog, inspired by Walter Dean Myers, Love That Boy:

Love that boy,
like a rabbit loves to run
I said I love that boy
like a rabbit loves to run
Love to call him in the morning
love to call him
"Hey, there, son!"

He walk like his grandpa
grins like his uncle Ben
I said he walk like his grandpa
and grins like his uncle Ben
Grins when he happy
when he sad he grins again

His mama like to hold him
like to feed him cherry pie
I said his mama like to hold him
feed him that cherry pie
She can have him now
I'll get him by and by

He got long roads to walk down,
before the setting sun
I said he got a long, long road
to walk down,
before the setting sun
He'll be a long stride walker
and a good man before he done

Sunday, January 18, 2009

she's the bees knees

This little girl is about the easiest person on the planet to please. If I make her something she coos and gushes- "Oh, it is so beautiful!" and "You are so nice." and "I really really love you!" If I tell her about something I'm going to make her "Ooohh, will you make that for me?" "You are so nice." I mean really, who could resist such joy? I find myself thinking about things I could make her because she will be so tickled when I show her- even if it's just an apron.

The dress is Simplicity 5695. Very fun and simple. The fabric? Bees Knees from Maywood Studio. She dressed up as a bumblebee for halloween and talked about it for months, so when I saw this fabric I knew she needed something from it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Book Meme

This is a book meme that I borrowed from the Common Room Blog.

I'm putting a caveat here- if you do this, too, you can't use The Bible in any of your answers.

1. One book that changed your life:
Children of a Greater God by Terry Glaspey. I think this is the book about books that got my interested in more.

2. One book that you've read more than once:
For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer MacCaulay. Excellent introduction to the Charlotte Mason method of education. I have re-read this book many times and although I am firmly committed to CM now I will probably re-read again because I find it inspiring.

3. One book you'd want on a deserted island:
This is a difficult one as I can't imagine landing on a deserted island with only one book in hand. I barely drive as far as WalMart with only one book in my possession. So, if I were packing a book bag for a deserted island tonight here are a few of the books I'd include: Jane Eyre; Margin; Before I Go; How the Heather Looks; The Great Divorce. I listed these because I do plan to read these in the coming months- how long is the average deserted island stay?

4. One book that made you laugh:
girl meets God by Lauren Winner. The book is light in tone but deep in many ways. There were a couple of things she says that just made me laugh out loud. I really enjoyed this one.

5. One book that made you cry:
Dicey's Song or it may have been Homecoming both by Cynthia Voigt and both about the same family. I remember just laying my head down on the kitchen table and sobbing. Not just some nice sniffles and moist eyes but sobbing. They are not sad books, just had a heartbreaking spot and you get so invested in their life. Highly recommended.

6. One book that you wish had been written:
A few years back I was wishing Laura Bush would write a book about her recommendations in children's/ young adult literature.

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
Some books I read back in the 70's. Can't remember the titles or the authors(thankfully) but unfortunately some of the images and ideas remain in my brain.

8. One book that you are currently reading:
Epicenter by Joel Rosenberg. For a bookclub. A very timely read.

9. One book that you've been meaning to read:
There are so many, but I'll choose The Stargazing Year by Charles Laird Calia. I've owned this book for a couple of years now, I think this should be the year to read it. It's one of those month by month books. I like to read like that sometimes.

10. One book you've been meaning to finish:
The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto. Not sure why I haven't ever finished this book, it's thought provoking and interesting, sometimes surprising definitely not dull, but I think I am often put off by it's size. It's not a huge book, it's just an oversize book that I prefer to read at a table. Only I don't often sit at a table to read, being more of an armchair or standing in the kitchen cooking supper type reader. It's on my list to finish soon.

1. One book on your desk right now?
Peace Like A River by Leif Enger

2. One book with a bookmark in it that you haven't picked up for a few days?
Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water. It's a re-read, but I just started it a week or so ago and have gotten distracted with other things.

3. One book marked with a pencil (or other irregular marker) stuffed between the pages instead of a proper bookmark?
Well, I looked around the house and didn't find any irregularly marked book. That is probably because I am somewhat of a legalist on that topic- ask my kids. The most irregular boomark I found was an old church bulletin in a book borrowed from my sister. The Tale of Hill Top Farm by Susan Wittig Albert.

4. One book with the cover falling off, or other grievous injuries?
Patches of Godlight by Jan Karon. It is not in grievous condition from being abused or even over read but because it came with a bad binding and pages began falling out of it almost right away. I keep the pages in by keeping it in a bookcover.

5. One book you "ought" to be reading, but don't feel like it?
The Unfinished Soul by Calvin Miller. I'm just not loving it. Perhaps I will later.

6. One book sitting on the shelf and enticing you to read it instead of anything else?
The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard. A re-read that I am anxious to get to.

7. Your most recently acquired book?
Doodle-Stitching by Aimee Ray. It's a book on embroidery Has some fun ideas.

8. One book on your "wish list?"
God in the Dock by C.S. Lewis. On my wishlist because I thought I had it, and I think I have read it but now I'm not sure. Maybe I borrowed it from one of my boys and I need my own copy now.

9. One book you literally threw in the trash?
Jane Austen Book Club. Promising story line but too much trash.