Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007 Reading List

It was 43 books this year. A little lower than average, but I think it is because Project365 (Picture a day for 365 days) took much away from my reading time this year!

January

1. Light from Heaven by Jan Karon

I have closure on the series after reading the first in the series in 1997. I have such fond memories of reading about snow storms in North Carolina while sweating in Malaysia. The series ended well. J

2. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult (Book Babes for February)

I really loved the story and the writing. I was a bit disappointed with the ending though!

February

3. Marley and Me by John Grogan (Book Babes for March)

It had some delightful parts in it. I am not a big Labrador Retriever fan. If I had a dog, it would be a German Shepherd or a Shetland Sheepdog because I love calm, obedient dogs. (and they were the two kinds we had growing up, and they were fabulous dogs to own). This dog would have driven me insane, but I wouldn’t have even gotten him in the first place. All that said, I can see why they fell in love with this animal, and it was fun to read about their antics with him.

March

4. Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples Thom S. Rainer

Strategy books are just not my cup of tea, and this was all about strategies. I didn’t like it! God is so much more creative than strategies. ‘Nough said.

5. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards (Book Babes)

It brought up some interesting issues, but it is always hard for me when people can’t be honest with one another. I know it made for a good story, but it still frustrates me.

April

6. The One Year Chronological Bible

I have put my other reading on hold and have been enjoying reading throughout the day. I was in the Old Testament during spring break, but I had some extra time. So, I read it like a novel and got to the Triumphal Entry by Friday before Good Friday. I read along with the events of Holy Week. Then, once I got to the Resurrection, I couldn’t stop.



7. The Ladybird Bible Storybook

This is our third time through this great little Bible book. This is also our last time through a Bible “storybook” as we are all reading a regular Bible now. I will miss this, but we have new fish to fry in this department.

8. The Awesome Book of Bible Facts by Silverthorne

I know they are too old for this book, but we loved it the first time. So, we went through it again this year. So great!

May

9. If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat by Ortberg

Not just your fluffy contemporary Christian book. I really liked this, and I enjoyed discussing it chapter-by-chapter with a group of women every week for ten weeks. I am not sure that I would have picked it up to read it had it not been for that reason.

10. The House of the Seven Gables by Hawthorne (Book Dames)

It was sort of a slow story, but I think his language is so beautiful. I liked The Scarlet Letter much more, but I still liked it. I gave it a 7 at our Book Dames Book Club

11. Christianity is Jewish by Edith Schaeffer

This is another one that I read slowly over the whole year. This is the book in which my friend, Beth, read in 1975 and created a seventeen lesson Bible study to go with it called “Bird’s-Eye View of the Bible.” It was so fun to do the study, read the chapter, discuss it in small groups, and listen to my friend (who has the gift of teaching) teach on the lesson. It is all about the “Scarlet Thread of Redemption” from Genesis to Revelation. I just finished the Revelation chapter today, and I am so hopeful and at peace. This is a very uplifting book in every way.

Next year, I will rework the Bird’s Eye View Study and adapted it for my kids to do during their homeschool Bible time. I don’t know what it will look like, but I hope I can make it fun and educational at the same time.

12. Dear Sister, Letters of Hope and Encouragement by Gisela Yohannan

I loved this book. She is a wise woman whose husband heads up Gospel for Asia, one of the largest indigenous church planting mission agencies. They plant churches all over India and in many countries in Asia. These are the letters she wrote to the women in her agency over a period of years. They are PACKED with spiritual encouragement. You can read some excerpts of some of the chapters on my non-photo blog.

13. The Externally Focused Church by Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson

This is for churches who want to integrate good news and good deeds into the life of the church. It is a practical book with many examples of churches that have done just that! I have always contended that a church is for the maturing and building up of the Body of Christ but that maturity comes through reaching out as a Body to the community around us. So, the focus of this book is speaking to my heartbeat. Our Women’s Ministry Director wanted me to read this and give her feedback about it because she is considering using it for the Fall Women’s Group on Wednesday nights. I am SO there!

JUNE

14. Crunchy Cons Rob Dreher

I think that I am a Crunchy Con! This is so where I am at (except I am don’t eat organic vegetables and fruits but we do have “green” beef!). I really loved his musings on all the subjects. By the time this is read by all of you (I am typing it on June 10, 2007), we will have already discussed it. So, I won’t go into detail here other than I plan on rereading parts and taking some notes. I think it is a profound book on many levels.

15. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

I finally was able to read this. So sad it caused such controversy here a few months ago. I am still mourning the loss of so many members, but I guess the problems were more deep-rooted than just that. Sigh, sigh, and double sigh. L

The book makes a strong point that we all need to learn how to be more positive and grateful. So, the book had some very nice things to say about that. The underlying premise of the book is that the “benevolence of the universe” is that in which we need to have faith, but I prefer to believe in Someone rather than something. So, I had difficulty with this. In addition, there were some statements of concern in the book. “You are God in a physical body. You are all power. You are all wisdom. You are the creator.” (p. 164). Later she says, “I AM.” (p.168) “You are the ‘Supreme Mind.’” (p.169). Naturally, one could see why there has been alarm about this book because of those statements.

I plan on watching the DVD to see if these sorts of statements come out as strongly as they did in the book. I read it not only because of people here having discussed it, but also because my cousin (who just lost her mom and brother) had just seen the DVD, and I wanted to be able to dialogue intelligently with her about it. She has had such a terribly hard life. I want to find a bridge with her.


16. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

I just loved this book. There is so much about history, religion, culture, British domination. I loved it in every way! Now, I have to rewatch the movie!

17. Eat This Book: A conversation in the art of spiritual reading by Eugene H. Petersen

This covers the whole issue of reading the Scriptures for transformation. It talks about Lectio Divina (Reading, Meditation, Prayer, Contemplation), and it talks about how he came about to translate The Message. It is a fascinating read if you love words. :)

18. Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnards

I loved reading this about 25+ years ago and wanted to read it again. It is all about the journey isn’t it? This is a devotional classic. I found myself identifying with different points of the book this time around. Maybe I have grown after all!

19. 1776 by David McCullough

As I listened to David McCullough narrate the last few pages of his book, summarizing what happened in the year of 1776, I broke down sobbing on my bed as the full weight of the high cost, in terms of blood, of our independence came thundering down on me. George Washington (Fellow ESFJ personality type BTW) is my new hero and so is David McCullough. His books are national treasures and will be cherished for many years to come. Bravo! After my love of his book, John Adams, I knew this would also be a winner.

20. Paradox of Choice

This was more of a skim than anything. Being a strong “S,” it didn’t surprised me that I scored very low on his maximizer test (31). The points in the book seemed ultra-obvious to me and got somewhat redundant. Great points though and helpful for someone who is a strong “NP.”

JULY

21. Big Box Swindle

This is a well-researched book that is worth the read. It looks at the influence of the Big Box retailers like Wal-Mart, and how they are changing America. I have a whole new attitude about my town and have been downtown a ton lately and am loving the increased connection to my community and the wonderful goods and services that it has to offer. A valuable read.

22. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
What an absolutely exquisitely written book! I was so moved by it. It isn’t a happy read. It is about women and friendship in 19th century China. Would be excellent for a book club discussion!


23. Escape from Slavery by Francis Bok

This is a memoir of a Dinka from Southern Sudan who was kidnapped by Northern Arab militia and became a slave for ten years before he escaped and immigrated to America where he has become an outspoken advocate for the abolition of slavery throughout the world. Interesting to note that Clinton did very little to help the Sudanese slaves but Bush has done much more. It is a gripping, page-turner. I highly recommend it.

24. Union and Communion by J. Hudson Taylor

This is a gem of a little volume that someone had loaned to me quite some time ago and I finally was able to savor it during my silent retreat. It was PERFECT for such a setting too! It is looking at Song of Solomon and our relationship of communion with God, and it is delightful!

25. Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor

This is on my top ten non-fiction books. I had forgotten how much of what makes me tick is from what I read in this book over twenty years ago! It is the wonderful story of Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission (Now Overseas Missionary Fellowship). It is about a man who abided in Christ and let Him work through his life. Great book.

26. Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail by Malika Oufkir

This is an autobiographical account of Malika Oufkir’s imprisonment after her father failed in a coup attempt against King Hassan II of Morocco. Her ghost writer did not do the best job, but I am impressed with this woman’s courage and fortitude. I had no idea that Morocco had so many political prisoners. Her father was one of the people who helped put many of them in prison, but this is more an account of her innocent imprisonment for the sin of her father. I wept many times during the book.

27. The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris

This is about a woman who spent two nine months stints as a Benedictine oblate. It is a memoir or musings over that period; some interesting and insightful, especially toward the end of the book, but some was pretty rambling and uninteresting to me. I am not a “poet” so I didn’t really “get” what she was trying to say at times. Overall, it was a worthwhile book though.

28. The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen

Wow! Very validating and clarifying for me. I could identify with much of this in my old church. I was going to write a book called The Healthy Church, but it looks like this one makes that unnecessary. J

AUGUST

29. The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas.

Some people might like this, but it is so hard reading books like this after something like Snow Flower and the Secret Fan or a good classic! This is about a small farming community during the Kansas dust bowl. I expressed some interest in reading some light-hearted fiction after some pretty intense autobiographies in July, and my girlfriend brought me this somewhat shallow and boring, yet painless read. I kept just wanting to get through it so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone looking for a great novel. I have got to get better at turning people’s loans down! About every eighteen months, I end of having to catch up on all the books people loan me, and I don’t like that! L

30. William Wilberforce: Hero for Humanity

I think this might be my favorite book of the year. I can’t tell you how edifying it was for me to read about a genuine Christian in politics. It has a very readable style and is very engaging. Wilberforce was the man who led the fight in parliament to abolish the slave trade. It is riveting and a good companion to the movie Amazing Grace since he was the lead historian on the film.

31. How to be a Monastic and Not Leave Your Day Job

I liked the first part better than the second part. Overall, I gleaned an overall look at Benedictine life. Did you know that Sir Alec Guinness was a Benedictine oblate?

32. The Rule of Saint Benedict

After all the books I have read about the Rule, it was nice to read this simple 70 page book. It had some great things to say about commitment, obedience, accountability, etc.

33. A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional + evangelical + post/protestant + liberal/conservative + mystical/poetic + biblical + charismatic/contemplative + fundamentalist/calvinist + anabaptist/anglican + methodist + catholic + green + incarnational + depressed-yet-hopeful + emergent + unfinished CHRISTIAN by Brian D. McLaren

I can’t even remember WHY I got this from the library. It wasn’t on my “summer reading list”! I think it must have been something someone said here. So, THANKS! I connected with most of what he had to say. Being that I am missional in the way he describes, I connected with his heart immediately. I had always understood him to be “out there,” but I didn’t find him to be that way. Maybe it is his provocative style, and when he talks about homosexuals, I am sure he gets people’s dander up. Being that two of my closest friends at the high school reunion are gay, it was interesting to read some of his thoughts on this concurrently with my reunion!

I am so not a systematic theology kind of gal (surprise,surprise) that it was refreshing to read his thoughts on this subject. He is also an excellent writer. It was interesting because when we were on vacation, we had lunch with my mom's former assistant pastor and his wife. I told him I was reading it, and he had a big smile. He REALLY likes Brian M., has met him, and had just given the book to his daughter who is a college sophomore at Westmont. He feels like McLaren gets a "bad wrap" from other Christians. I really think I understood what he was trying to say though, but I can see how he might be misunderstood too. Some of his diatribes are overly didactic at points though, and I could see right through to his passionate heart, but I can see why he turns people off too.

This sums it up for me:

". . .I suggested that Jesus didn't come to start another religion, which would include the Christian religion. I wasn't kidding. I do, in fact, believe that. That the Christian religion formed as it has is not surprising. It was no doubt necessary and in many ways good and I know God is in it, and I am in it, too. But "the Christian religion" is neither the ultimate goal of God, in my view. Rather, the goal of Jesus is the kingdom of God, which is the dream of God, the wish and hope and desire of God for creation - like a parent’s hopes and dreams for his beloved child."

I sat under the teaching of Steve Hawthorne (Perspectives on the World Christian Movement) when I went to Thailand (spent 4 1/2 months with a team of 17 people of which he was the head. He taught us every single morning. It was incredible.) It helped me to see things from this perspective.

Really liked this book.


34. Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

A surprisingly fun read! Who knew I would like Sherlock Holmes so much? I love how it clipped along, and it is so clever. It was a joy. I read it for Book Dames.

OCTOBER

35. The Cross and the Switchblade

A true story about gangs in New York and the transformation God can make in the lives of those whom society has given up on! Great read.`

36. The Three Musketeers

I loved this. It was worth all 673 pages. The Pevear translation is the best. The older translations are based on the English sensibilities of the time and leave out some important things.

37. The Illiad by Homer

YEAH! I finally read it. (My son did too, and he feels like he should have bragging rights. LOL!) It is hard to read, but it helps to have the study guide and lectures by the teacher and the Teaching Company lectures that the teacher posts on her website. I have wanted to grasp this book for SO long, and I think I am finally doing that.

NOVEMBER – A great month of reading, and I had lots of time for it with my mom’s slide toward heaven!

38. Back When We Were Grown Ups by Anne Tyler (Book Babes)

This is an Anne Tyler from my book club. I didn’t like the other one I read (Breathing Lessons), but I loved this one. It is about a woman who wonders how her life would have been different had she not married the man she married.

39. The Last Sin-Eater by Francine Rivers (Book Babes)

Again, I didn’t care for the other book that I read by her (Leota’s Garden), but I really liked this one. It was a great story, and I learned some history in the process. It is about folk religion in the Appalachian Mountains.

40. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (Book Dames)

It was interesting to reread this. I love the depth of relationship between the heroine and her love interest. I think this is a more serious novel than Pride and Prejudice, but I think I like P&P better which is different from the first time when I liked MP better! I am so looking forward to a faithful rendition of this book coming to the screen next year on PBS since the last rendition took much poetic license!

41. The Syringa Tree by Pam Gien (Book Babes)

After an Austen, it took me a while to get used to this writer’s style. It is told from the perspective of a white girl growing up in South Africa starting when she is five year old. It is a story of her love for her black maid and the baby that they must hide so the police don’t bring her back to Soweto. It is moving. It is a BIT overloaded with simile, but I still enjoyed it once I got into the “swing” of her style.


DECEMBER

42. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time (Book Babes)
This is a true story about a man who failed to climb K2 in the Hindu Kush but has climbed new heights in building schools for the poorest in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is a very inspiring story. Loved it.

43. Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour (Book Babes – My recommendation)

This is a reread, and I remember why it is in my top 10 non-fiction books. It is a GEM of a read, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It is the story of a Christian Palestinian during the time when the British pulled out of Palestine, and it became the nation of Israel. It is his true life story of what happened to him when it happened. It is a story about reconciliation. I love it!

In the middle of reading:

43 1/2. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (Book Babes)

My review so far: This is on my Book Babes list. It is a novel by the author of The Kite Runner, and I think it is even BETTER. I started reading it on the elliptical at my club, and I couldn’t put it down. Thankfully a birthday lunch with a friend was canceled so that I could lounge on the couch ALL DAY and read it! I like this one more because the main character is a GIRL in Afghanistan. Poignant from the first page. Highly recommend it. (I planned on finishing it yesterday, but I got pulled away to go to a play with MBA: Anne of Green Gables

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mom's Memorial PIcs


My dad used to say, "When God made your mom, He broke the mold." It was hard to me as a young kid to imagine God, literally, up in heaven breaking her mold. I just couldn't conceptualize itSomehow, it seemed like a negative thing to break that mold. It wasn't until I was in high school that it dawned on me what my dad meant by that statement. He meant that my mom was unique and special and there would be no one else like her.

This is my opportunity to share with you about the unique and special person that God made, my mom, Florence Wardrop.

My mom was born on January 14, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois to my grandparents, Axel and Anna Walter, both immigrants from Sweden. They both immigrated as single people and found each other in the Swedish community there. They were married in 1926, and my mom was born shortly after that, followed by my aunt Annie, who died earlier this year, and her sister, Eleanor, who is with us here today. What you may not know about my mom is that her first language was Swedish, and she did not learn English until she went to Kindergarten. She would often tell stories about trying to communicate with the teacher and not understanding why the teacher wouldn't respond. It was because she was speaking Swedish.

In spite of having to learn a new language, my mom excelled at school. She was always a good student and was the first person in her family to receive a college education. She went to the University of Illinois, Urbana where she studied to become a medical technologist. Shortly after this, she won the Miss Chicago Tall contest and competed in Southern California for the national title. She did not win, but she did decide that she wanted to move to Sunny Southern California after this.
































































Wedding June 23, 1956
Add caption



June 23, 1956


Mom and Dad on their honeymoon - June 1956


Mom and Bill - July 1956




Christopher Walter Wardrop (6/6/57)



Carol and Chris Wardrop 

Chris Wardrop
California Tip Topper 4th of July in Pasadena (I have my ears plugged and dad is holding a cup in his mouth)


Mom and Dad in Hawaii in the 80's



Mom's 2nd Career as a realtor in the 80's


Grandma Flo with the Grandkids (pre-Mitchell)

Miss Tall Chicago 1950's

Monday, December 17, 2007

Karakoram Sunrise


Karakoram Sunrise, originally uploaded by dalecottam.

From Dalecottam on Flickr.

I am reading a book called Three Cups of Tea, and this is the area where he builds the schools. Isn't this lovely?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My Mermorial To Mom

I thought it would be good to write out what I said at the memorial service.


My dad used to say, "When God made your mom, He broke the mold." It was hard to me as a young kid to imagine God literally up in heaven breaking someone's mold after He made them. Somehow, it seemed like a negative thing to break that mold. It wasn't until I was in high school that it dawned on me what my dad meant by that statement. He meant that my mom was unique and special and there would be no one else like her.


This is my opportunity to share with you about the unique and special person that God made, my mom, Florence Wardrop.


My mom was born on January 14, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois to my grandparents, Axel and Anna Walter, both immigrants from Sweden. They both immigrated as single people and found each other in the Swedish community there. They were married in 1926, and my mom was born shortly after that, followed by my aunt Annie, who died earlier this year, and her sister, Eleanor, who is with us here today. What you may not know about my mom is that her first language was Swedish, and she did not learn English until she went to Kindergarten. She would often tell stories about trying to communicate with the teacher and not understanding why the teacher wouldn't respond. It was because she was speaking Swedish.


In spite of having to learn a new language, my mom excelled at school. She was always a good student and was the first person in her family to receive a college education. She went to the University of Illinois, Urbana where she studied to become a medical technologist. Shortly after this, she won the Miss Chicago Tall contest and competed in Southern California for the national title. She did not win, but she did decide that she wanted to move to Sunny Southern California after this.

(someday, I will continue this!)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Freed-Write

Yes, that is what it says: Freedwrite. I feel released from staying down her anymore. I have been here almost four weeks, and I would love to stay and see mom ushered into heaven, but I think I need to go back to Oregon and be with my family. I feel freed. I feel like she knows that I have been there, and I wish I could stay, but it is time to go. Debbie said that she stayed with her mom as long as she could and she died three days later. It seems inefficient, and this has been so stressful for me to make a decision, but George really thinks I need to go. I don't have a support system here, and I can't see George and the boys driving off back to Oregon without me. It would just be too hard. Too hard for me to see that.

So, we go either tomorrow or the day after. What a journey this November has been for me. I think it will take some time to recover from it all.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Bob Jones Biology to the Rescue!

Since we have said good bye to COOLSchool, we have said HELLO to Bob Jones Biology, and I couldn't be more pleased.

Michael is able to be more independent in his learning. We started in Chapter 5, and he will cover about a chapter a week. I had purchased this for $5 at a used book sale. I did order the Lab Manual, Teacher Edition (with answers to the review questions), and Tests and Answer keys for a total of about $40 more, but that is a small price to pay. (I could have bid for it all on eBay for about 16 dollar a month ago, but I didn't think I could drop the COOLSchool back then, OH WELL!).

He learned about genes and chromosomes today, and we went through the review questions. It is STRAIGHT biology and no POLITICALLY CORRECT articles about the evolutionary origin of life reaction papers. YEAH!

We made a good decision! I think he is going to get excited about biology again and not be dissolved in tears on a weekly basis and think he is dumb because he can't understand articles meant for scientist that have already learned the BASICS of Biology.

Oh happy day. Doing the happy dance. Loving homeschool again.

We have come back home, and THANK YOU BOB JONES!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Biology Closure



Yesterday, Michael put together his final assignment for Biology 1.1, and George and I mailed it off in front of Little Caesar's Pizza and documented it as the men working inside watched and wondered what we were doing!

We celebrated with Pizza and Sparkling Cider.

YIPPEE! and GOOD RIDDENS!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Well Update

Looking at my areas of growth, here is an update:

Well-watered Soul

It is well with my soul. I feel like I am a deeper season of prayer lately. I love that I pray with all the groups of people that I am involved with. I completed all the Bible studies that I am leading over the summer. So, I am having more time to go back over them in a prayerful, mediative way as I lead them this year.Relationships are good. I felt bad saying "no" to another relationship. I feel compassion for this woman, but "she who has too many friends comes to ruin." (Proverbs 18:4) I will never take for granted that I am blessed with many friends, but while I have room in my heart to love one more, I don't have room in my schedule. :(

The Well-Educated Mind

I feel like I have grown another one of my arms back! I took such a break from this. I read so many UNSATISFYING books last year, including some Christian self-help books and novels; but I am back on track in reading classics! I will probably finish reading The Iliad tonight and start The Odyssey tomorrow. Oh joy of joys! The "Book Dames" has become a highlight of my every other month activities. I love the smaller group and deeper setting. I "click" more with these women.

On a FANTASTIC note, well-educating my children has taken a delightful turn as Michael FINISHED the last activity and took the test for Module 2 of that dreaded Biology 1.1. He will go on to the Bob Jones textbook approach, and we couldn't be more pleased. He is coming out with a 97% (?) average in the class. Well-done Michael!

Wellness in Heart

It is well with my soul. I still stand amazed that the sting of 28 years in a very dysfuntional church has lifted from me since my 3 1/2 days of prayer in July. It is a true miracle.

I am also just in a place of real peace. I am praying daily that God leads me to the cross in humility and praise. This is where true peace really lies - at His nailed feet.

Wellness in Body

Thanks you Cheryl, Katrina, and Rachel for saving me and holding me accountable. I could not believe how my whole system mentally, emotionally, and physically shut down when I had to stop exercising when I sprained my ankle seven weeks ago. I am a FIRM believer that women in menopause NEED TO EXERCISE! I am almost back to full workouts now, and the hot flashes and night sweats and general CRUDY (is this how you spell it?) have gone away.

So, I am accountable again to these three ladies for my diet, exercise, communion, daily care of my family, and self-education. It is amazing how I curb my eating when I am at a buffet knowing that I am going to have to go home and email these people to tell them that I have overeaten. Oh, the blessings of accountability are wonderful.

So, there you have my short update. :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Freewrite on a Sunny Sunday

I just installed this cool washer/dryer timer on my Google Toolbar. So, I will have a timer right here when I do my freewrites. :)

I have a sore throat. I feel great, but I am probably contagious, and I did not want to infect my fellow brothers and sisters at church and in the close quarters of the modular for mediation training today. George is there. The boys are home because NWH had a celebration service at 10 a.m., and we just couldn't drop them off and pick them up for that. So, they sit downstairs. It is just as well as Michael is still coughing, and Paul has a runny nose.

I sit upstairs enjoying the "sunshine on my shoulder" after much rain the last few days. It is supposed to be sunny the rest of the week. So, if my sore throat does not evolve into too heavy of a cold, I hope to go running a couple of days this week. Katrina, Cheryl, and maybe Rachel are going to be starting another FACED loop in the near future. Hopefully tomorrow. Katrina and I both hope to work off the 5-10 that has creeped up on both of us, min because of my sprained ankle and menopause causing me to increase my eating. :(

Paul just came up saying, "I think we are going for a walk today." I said, "Yes, it is supposed to be a beautiful day." He said, "YEAH!!!" I love that boy's enthusiasm.

I woke up early this morning (4:45 a.m.) because of the painful sore throat. How good that it didn't come before the conference. I was totally healthy and well-rested for the breakout session that Anita and I led. It went well, and we had eighteen people altogether for the two classes. The people in the class were all lovely. Some of the great "encouragers" from Wednesday night Bible study like Lori R. and Ramona M. were there. I loved there smiling faces in both sessions. It went off precisely, but I wished we could have had time for more question and dialogue, but Anita ran over by about fifteen minutes in her section. I am just so THANKFUL that I had cut my time down by fifteen. It also worked out well to have her present the totality of her material after I was finished so as to cut down on transition time. It went much more smoothly the second time because I wrote everything up on the white board ahead of time. We already heard news that many ladies were going to go and actually spend days in prayer. That was our hope!!!

I don't think I can do this too often. As much as I love to speak and feel that it is within my gifting, it took me about twenty hours total to prepare for the whole thing. I carved out the time and fended off more requests for my time in other areas (registration and welcoming committee for Jubilee), but I really prefer to do something like this in the context of a discipling relationship or a small group Bible study so that we might follow through and develop relationships as a result of going and spending a day in prayer together. I know it is not all for naught (is that how you spell it?) though because I met some fabulous new people that I would not have normally met.

George and I talked about the college retreat and are looking at starting NOW to prepare for this since this is three (or four?) talks over a weekend. So, we need to plan accordingly. It will be fun to work with him though. He is so easy to partner with because we know each other SO WELL. (Well of course you do Carol, he's your husband!) It was good to partner with Anita, but of course, I don't know her very well, and I can't read her yet. So, that was a bit awkward. I think when I read "disapproval" from her, it was more fear on her part. She said this whole thing was way out of her comfort zone. I do appreciate her though because she was F.A.T. about the whole thing: Faithful, Wholehearted, Available. She was so responsible to get everything done on time. I really appreciate that about her. Great lady. I am going to pray for a mentor for her though even though I don't know if she knows that she really needs one! LOL! She is mentoring Melissa, but I think it would be good for her to have someone for her too, just like I have sweet Ginny and Lorraine!

Times up. :)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Malaysian Experience

For the last week, we have been using the 4 Squares book, and it was all about when I was little. So, here is Michael's final story from this week.

A Malaysia Experience


I remember all those years ago when I was only five and Paul was only three, we went to Malaysia, a country in Southeast Asia. We traveled by plane and when we finally arrived after a day of travel, got in a taxi and drove thru the city with the taxi driver jabbering something in Malay. The next thing I remember after that was waking up in a bedroom and it was still dark out. We lived in this one guest house for a while then moved to another guest house near the forest. While we were there we saw interesting Malay forest animals like bats, fireflies, and even monkey, and once I even saw a larg monitor lizard. I was fascinated by it and tried to sneek up on it, but it saw me coming and walked away (very . . .very . . .slowly).


Things got even more interesting when we moved to the big city. In our city house we saw geckos on the ceiling and sometimes even a bird would get in the house thru the screenless windows. One thing we did a lot was watch cartoons on Cartoon Newwork cartoons like Scooby--Doo, the Flintstones, The Jetsons, Yogi Bear, Top Cat, Tom and Jerry . . .

(sadly, I didn't finish this, and I am posting it anyway) 

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Poetry Post: Adults on My Side

Michael's Poem:

My mom
A computer, a bible, and a book
Reading, walking, teaching
Nice, outgoing, friendly
Can be silly as a goose
Like a tornado when in a hurry
She is the perfect mom

Paul's Poem:
Dad
HP, computer, bicycle
Hunt, fish, solve
Tall, smart, joker
Like a cat that brings home the bacon
Like a setting sun
He's nice, for a dad.

P.S. I have no idea what it means to be a setting sun.

(Mom says: LOL!)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Freewrite on a Wednesday

I have had some email exchanges with the new regional representative area director for our agency today, and I am so impressed with his humility and gentleness. We got dropped from the email loops that have been going around. We didn't know that until I just happened to come across his most recent prayer letter and prayed for he and his family. I dropped him an email to say that I have prayed for them today. This started a series of letters about our involvement. Somehow, he had gotten in his mind that we weren't interested in being involved anymore. He had no idea how much we have done over the last year, and then he felt really bad for maybe communicating that he didn't value what we were doing. , It is true that our involvement is very limited because of our schedules. Anyway, George's comment was, "This is what I love about that people in our mission agency, they are so very humble." I think this is so true. I really like them for this reason.

I realize that George is not the greatest at keeping on top of things though, and the emails do come to the inbox that I dominate most of the time, but from what I can see, George has been responding to him when it requires a response. So, he hasn't dropped the ball that I can see.

Maybe this is a nudge to step back from our involvement though. I would love for it to just be limited to the Corvallis area. Maybe this is just too limited, but we can't be going up and down the I-5 corridor like they all do. They are full-time with the agency, and we are just part-time.

I am still dizzy, and I did a dumb thing and took some motion sickness medicine for the dizziness, and it has made me so very sleepy. Silly me.

The kids have been stellar in their work for school. Michael is really taking to heart my admonition to take more responsibility in setting some goals for gettting things done in school. Yesterday, he went to the downstairs computer and composed a great free response about the eight Greek words. He did it in Word Perfect and then he transferred to the webpage. I just had to look it over. Today, he read a whole article about cells for his biology class and wrote a 250 word summary of it without any of my help. YEAH! He also read all the study guide questions for the next book of the Iliad and underlined those parts so he could make sure that he was attentive to them while he was reading it. I have a transformed boy on my hands. I like that!

Paul did really well in his writing for history too. He required a little bit more help since he is still not up on typing, but he is doing really well in his writing the answers out. His spelling is even improving. (Something that I thought would never happen!).

All in all, it has been a very good day, but I feel LOUSY because of this drug in my system. I took it 24 hours ago, and I am STILL groggy! What is it about me and drugs in my system. I can't shake them out once they are there!

Oh well. This freewrite is ending NOW!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Schooling Update

Here is a quick update of what is working and what is not for the 2007-2008 school year:

Biology

I love her activities that synthesize the material. For example, he has had to create a web page of a "New Zoo" with all five kingdoms and a paper with a cell metaphor (He used a car as the metaphor and got 60/60). I love that! It utilizes his tremendous creative talent with art through computers and challenges him to write, but she requires him to have a knowledge base of the subject where she gives very little material to give him that knowledge base! So, I have a Bob Jone book that we use to look up things. So, why don't I just use the Bob Jones book and grab her activities for synthesis? There is a balance, and I think she tends too much toward the activities having had about fifteen "activities" in only five lessons of work. In addition, the time spent in navigating the out-of-date software and website links is time better spent in learning Biology!

Michael has about a 95% average and is doing very well, but it is stressing all of us out. So, we will not continue after Module II. Thankfully, it is a class you can take and get credit for the individual modules. So, he will just get the credit for the two. He has three more activities and a test before this is possible.

We will switch to Bob Jones or Apologia. Katrina is sending me the 1st edition book in the mail, and I will decide. I need to have some lab too and both BJ and Apologia have lab/dissection kits.

ABeka Science - Paul is TICKLED with this. He is still studying mammals and chatters about it constantly. :)

K12freehomeschool.com World History and Art/Music

History: Fabulous. For instance, today they had to write free responses about eight words/phrases that are from Greek culture and are used in our culture today: Hippocratic Oath, Marathan, Democracy, Ostracize, Citizen, Olympics, Spartan, Tragedy. I love this! Michael works on his own downstairs, and I help Paul. It is 10th grade work for him. So, he needs more help. It has well-written chapters and reasonable synthesis. I am sold, and you can't beat the price!

Art/Music has grown on me. No more long and rambling chapters. We are going ultra-slow because I want to coordinate it with the history, and the Art is heavily slanted toward the Middle Ages and beyong. It will pick up soon. The ONLY complaint I have about this course is that there are few pictures and few LINKS to pictures which I think is quite odd. As a result, I am rounding this out with Sister Wendy video and book. I also ordered The Annotated Mona Lisa and Introduction to Drawing in the DK Art series.

Classical Literature with Thelma's Library

LOVE it! It is HARD for Michael. The study guide questions require a ton of time, but we are all learning so much about classical Greek culture and how it has affected our culture today. This is also a passionate teacher. I love that. In addition, it mirrors our studies in history, and my goals from The Well-Educated Mind reading list. All the way around, TWO THUMBS UP!


Bob Jones Math - So far so good

Four Squares - Still LOVE this!

Daily Grams - I love them! It is great for Paul. Michael's grammar has consisted of plenty of writing for history, classical lit, science, and Four Squares

So, Biology will be done in a couple of weeks, and I can go back to enjoying EVERYTHING about our homeschool!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Glimpses of God

Before going to see Rebekah on Tuesday, I had this notion to ask her to join me in a practical exercise in "practicing the presence of God." She was all for it, and she termed it "Glimpses of God." I like that!

I saw a glimpse of God in Rebekah's lovely daughter's smile and giggle. We played peek-a-boo, and she warmed up to me. It was fun.

I saw a glimpse of God as I saw Rebekah respond so openly regarding making peace.

I saw a glimpse of God when the very thing that Rebekah and I talked about on Tuesday afternoon was discussed in a Peacemaker email the next morning!

I saw a glimpse of God in the turning of the leaves on the trees and the way the sun hit them just right.

I saw a glimpse of God as I got a "groove" in homeschool and was able to feel the peace and joy of His presence in the midst of the hours of investment in my children's lives.

I saw a glimpse of God in watching The War. I know one see much of man's inhumanity in a war, but one can also see much of man's humanity that is the image of God.


I saw a glimpse of God in the hike up to the top of Chip Ross Park. To look on the valley below and the mountains in the distance is to acknowledge that God exists.


I saw a glimpse of God as I led my small group in Peacemaker Wednesday night. The talk was deep and good with Belinda and Cheryl.

I saw a glimpse of God in the way that Belinda prays. I do believe she has a gift of intercession.

I saw a glimpse of God as Kim, Nancy, and I met around the doctrines in Romans. The discussion was deep and hopefully it is a portent of a wonderful year of studying with these women.

I saw a glimpse of God as Michael and Paul are finally "getting" it when it comes to writing.

I saw a glimpse of God in a kiss blown and an "I love you" from Nancy as I drove through her shop for celebration ice cream with the boys.

I saw a glimpse of God in the "Lake of Shining Water" at Adair. It was peaceful walk after a great day of work in school.

I saw a glimpse of God in the strength of a family facing a terminal illness.

I saw a glimpse of God in studying the resurrection with Sherry.

I saw a glimpse of God in studying Creation with Nourieh.

I saw a glimpse of God in hearing eight boys making movies, laughing, praying tonight.

I saw a glimpse of God in pictures that capture the joy of my day.

I saw a glimpse of God in hearing of our answer to prayer regarding Sherry's son.

I saw a glimpse of God in a telephone call from Beth in a personal invitation to her Thursday night Bible study.

I saw a glimpse of God in the sunshine and the rain of this week.

I saw a glimpse of God in answer to prayer for a person in which Rebekah can invest her life.

I saw a glimpse of God in knowing that C is praying for me.

I saw a glimpse of God in Kim's affirmation of me and my priorities.

I saw a glimpse of God in Teala's relaying the story of how her brother died on Tuesday morning.

I saw a glimpse of God in him giving me peace and the ability to "overlook the offense" of a snub earlier this week.

I saw a glimpse of God in how he has healed and restored and removed the pain of my affliction.

I saw a glimpse of God in listening to The Iliad this week.

I saw a glimpse of God in the insomnia I suffered last night due to Dr. Pepper at Mary Beth's house. I read in the quiet and loved His presence.

I saw a glimpse of God in my ability to finally "relax" about this Biology class. :)

I saw a glimpse of God in Him speaking to me through the book The Cross and the Switchblade. I am challenged to pray, pray, pray.

I saw a glimpse of God in the care for others that I see in the life of C. Her asking me to pray for her regarding some tought things is a privilege.

I saw a glimpse of God in my time with A over our break-out session. We are one in how we are going to do it, and the meeting went so well.

I saw a glimpse of God in a day where the wash is done, the house is clean (from top to bottom), and my shopping is all done!


Many glimpses. Too few here to count. I want to see Him in the ordinary.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Monday Morning

I woke up with a hot flash at about 5 a.m. this morning. So, I rolled out of bed and went to my first Group Power Class since I fainted and sprained my ankle. It was good. I worked out next to Lisa, and I enjoyed it immensely. I got snubbed by someone there, but I am chosing to "overlook the offense" according to Proverbs 19:11 and just let it go. :)

This is our third full week of schooling, and I think I am finally relaxing! This COOLSchool is not what we expected. I think I will go ahead and evaluate all the things that I wrote about for school when we first started. Let me find that post . . . .

Biology 1.1 - http://www.coolschool.k12.or.us/

This is an online COOLSchool class in which the school district pays.

Michael completed the first module, and I just don't like the clunky software that makes you have to reenter your password everytime you enter things. He completed a table and submitted it only to find out that the software made you enter it all again. THANK THE LORD that we had printed off the copy of the web page so that he didn't have to do all the calculations over again. BTW, I found the exact same table and experiment on line, and the COOLSchool teacher did NOT attribute it to the teacher that she got it from.

Also, Michael was instructed to submit a 300-400 word essay, and the teacher specifically instructed the students to NOT go on and post it to the discussion board until she had turned it back with her suggestions. We waited nine days, and Michael politely asked if she had gotten around to correcting it. She curtly replied that she had done so and please put the Module number and activity on each inquiry. She never turned back the paper, but we got the impression that Michael was just supposed to go on anyway.

The activities for the first week were a ton. It also involved going back and forth among many different websites. All that to say is: we will do the second half of Biology using the Bob Jone Biology book I picked up at the homeschool used book sale. If it weren't too late, I would drop the class. I am impressed with most of her fun activities, but I am not impressed with her communication and the clunky software. I will use her activities for Biology 1.2 though when I used the Bob Jones book.

One a brighter note, A'Beka Science has been a blast for Paul! He really likes the colorful books. I do too! I am so enjoying having him read and relate to me what he is reading! It has been a joy. When we first started I was just letting him fend for himself while I helped and encouraged Michael in Biology, but we all three had a "heart felt" talk about homeschool this year and Paul confessed he was a little lonely while Michael did his work. We are all three so used to doing science together. So, I make the time for Paul to relate to me what he is learning. It is a "cozy up on the couch and let Paul blab" time!

Algebra I and Fundamentals of Math - Good Ol' Bob Jones!

These are both going very well. Again, my only caveat is that I may forget how to teach Algebra when the year progresses. It is nice to know that I have Teaching Textbooks as a backup though. I may order it anyway since I will probably switch Paul into them if he is still homeschooled in high school. http://www.teachingtextbooks.com/


Classical Literature - http://www.thelmaslibrary.com/

Now, this is what I am talking about: a teacher who is PASSIONATE for her subject and her students. Thelma is a dream. I can't wait until her lectures and her class can go national so that other homeschoolers all over the country will be able to have her as their teacher! She sends out OODLES of emails that help with the study guide questions. She responds to emails super quickly, and we aren't even in her "official" classes! We only paid $115 dollars for her lectures, answers to questions, study guide, and a 350 page notebook PACKED with history, bible, and literature background. Such a deal!

The nice thing about this class is that George has pretty much taken over sole responsibility for it. I am reading along with them. I heard Thelma reading The Iliad last night, and all three of my men were down there listening and interacting on it. I love this. George reads the history portion during one of their read-aloud times each week too. He is also going to the classes. I have access to her lectures on the internet though, and I also have the VanDiver DVD's.(See the Link HERE ) So, I am getting an education right along with them.

Michael is new to the class though. It appears to George that all the other homeschoolers in the class know each other. They are mostly North Albany people. So, Michael is the new kids on the block there. So, I am praying for relationships to come out of it.


World History - http://www.k12freehomeschool.org/

I like it, and you can't beat the price. I am the teacher, and I am basically "borrowing" their books. The CD-roms that I got in the mail never work though. So, I am eliminating them from the curriculum. I like the software that they have to log hours of PE and extra-curricular stuff too. The history is sound, and the "free responses" that you submit are great writing practice for my kids. Overall, I like it. If they charged, I wouldn't pay for it though.

They are also getting an extra .5 credit in World History for the Classical Lit class. There is a ton of reading from the study guide that covers Greek culture to the nines!


In His Image Art and Joyful Sound Music for 9-12th Grade - http://www.k12freehomeschool.org/

I had said it was boring, but it has gotten better. I decided to just read when we covered that part of history. So, we will be going through it very slowly since it has very little information about Ancient Art. I won't sign up for it again, but I also realized that Sister Wendy can come along next year.

I did get a replica of Grecian Potter through Art in History. It was cheap, and it has a Greek lesson. Since we are really emphasizing Greek literature through the classical lit class, I thought this would be a nice and fun addition.

Writing

I am using this really fun book called Four Square: The Personal Writing Coach for Grades 7-9! It has thirteen different fun writing activities using the Four Square Method. I also have the Four Square Writing Method for Grades 7-9 (ISBN: 1573101907).

I still love this! It has really given me some structure for teaching the kids! I can't believe I just picked it up on a whim and it has made teaching writing very fun!


Grammar/English

Michael was doing College English and Communication by Stewart, Lanhan, and Zimmer for grammar review. I realized I don't have the answer key! So, in order to correct, I really have to sit down and go through each exercise, and this is too labor intensive for me. I have Easy Grammar purple book and Nitty Gritty Grammar. So, I am just going to cover grammar through Michael's writing and touch on points he needs to grow in. I will definitely use this as a reference, but I won't make him to all the exercises. He has enough with is writing and classical lit class to cover grammar as we go!

Paul still flies with Daily Grams. Katrina, is there a Daily Grams for high schoolers? I might use it next year for Michael if they do.

Field Trips

These have been my "saving grace" in terms of my sanity. We went to homeschool days for Gilbert House Kids Museum in Salem and the Oregon Gardens. It is just nice to be around other homeschoolers for the day. We had a blast at both places, and there was much learning that took place. This Wednesday, our group takes a hike up to the top of Chip Ross park. Reminds me why I homeschool!

Bible

Pleasantly surprised at how great the devotionals are on the k12free site. I like them. Paul is reading 1 Cor and Michael is reading Job (for his classical lit class too). Paul is journaling, but Michael is not, and I am just fine with this.

Well, I have to go. It is time to start this thing I have been blogging about for the last half hour!

Continued because I have a short break from school:

Reading

There was a study between a group that was taught in-depth grammar and a group that was given that same time to pleasure read. In the end, the PLEASURE READING group had more grammatical writing in the end. So, I am still setting aside time for pleasure reading every day with these kids. Michael is reading Oz books and Paul is reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fifteen Months Out

I visited with Michelle today, and I really and truly believe that I am out, out, out of the vortex. I think July and my days of prayer were such a turning point.

It is nice to really believe that I have moved on. :)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Reflections at 5:20 a.m. on a Sunday

Well, I came home from teaching the SHAPE class Spiritual Gifts and Personality Type sections up for the Suburban College Leader's Retreat, and I went to watch the introductory lecture for The Iliad with Vandiver, and I fell FAST asleep. George just came in and said, "Why don't you just go to bed?" I planned on waking up again. So, I attempted to watch it again. Well, I don't know what happened but I ended up in bed with the comforter over me. I slept from 7 p.m. on. and woke up bright-eyed and bushy tailed at about 3 a.m. I slept eight hours and felt ready to get up. (Not to mention I had terrible night sweats). So, here I sit.

It think it went well yesterday. It was hard to do two sections in one day. I like doing them one day at a time and let people stew on it for a while, but I guess it worked OK.

Well, we start another week of school. The Biology class is going well. I like the coursework, but we are at her mercy as far as being able to continue, and she has not returned Michael's essay to post on the discussion board. So, we can't really move on until she does that. So, it is hard to meet the deadlines when the teacher is the reason you can't meet the deadlines. This is harder for me. Michael also doesn't like the fact that he has more work this year, but he is doing really well at the work that he is doing. I am really proud of the writing that he is doing. The typing really slows him down, but he insists that he can do it.

In reflection though, I had to admit that the biology class would go so much more quickly if we didn't have to play "email" tag with her and post on the clunky software for the discussion boards. Also, there is nobody on the discussion boards. As far as I can see, Michael is the only current member taking the class. So ,there is no interaction with other students which is something in which we had hoped. So, I am reevaluating this being that I don't have any problem with anything related to biology in terms of the content of the course. So, I may glean the great activities that she has from the second semester of the class and do it on my own with him. I would still require the same amount of reading, writing, and projects, but I could also do some LIVE dissections, etc. As it is, this class relies on all virtual things. So, I am pondering this for next semester.

The k12freehomeschool is going much better this week. I like the World History class. We finally got the CD's, and it appears that they are internet-based linked CD's So, you put it in, and they hook up to websites that have videos that The Grace Academy is licensed to show. Many of them appear to be PBS videos, and we have been using these for education for a while. The only problem is that if there is a huge number of people watching the videos as the same time, you can't "log in." So, I am thinking we may have to have some "Sunday viewing" of the CD's in order to keep up. We didn't get the CD's until 7 days into the class, but we are only about two videos behind in the World History class.

The Art History course is getting better. There is not as much "rambling." So, I like that. :) I may stick with it since it is only three days of the week. Actually, I am waiting until we get to that part in World History before we view the things for that time period. So, it will be really slow going. I may do the music concurrently with the history too. So, that would mean skipping ahead to do the second half of the year. The Sister Wendy videos are also available, and I am going to have the kids watch these with me for art. It will add more hours to their transcript in the art area.

The Classical Literature class just gets more cool all the time. Michael listened to the introductory lecture at the class on Thursday night, and he liked it. He is such a good listener that he really did glean much. Thelma seems engaging and funny. Michael likes that so much. We have The Iliad to pick up from the library, and I really think it would be better for him (and George and me) to listen to it on CD. Homer was meant to be heard.

He will definitely be reading it as he goes through the study guide questions (30 this week of short answers and definitions). So, he will get both. I think I will have us listen to the Fagles translation and read in the Lattimore since this is the translation the teach uses. This will reinforce it.

Math is going swimmingly, but I am willing to switch to Teaching Textbooks next year for Geometry. It might be the best thing for us to do since I will probably have more difficulty helping him with problems he doesn't know about. I think I will do OK in Algebra, but I would switch to Teaching Textbooks for this course too. It would just be more difficult mid-year to do so.

Writing. I LOVE this book. The kids LOVE it. I am so excited that I found this as the store going out of business. It was a good purchase at only 5.00 per book. :)

Michael is also in the Intermediate level of his typing course. I may just start Paul on it now so that he isn't struggling when he gets to high school when he has to type more.

Battery low gotta go!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Poetry Post: When I Was Little

This is the poetry the kids wrote today from Four Squares: The Personal Writing Coach for Grades 7-9 (ISBN:1573104485)

Paul

How happy I must have been
Swinging, pretending, and talking
My stuffed animals by my side
In California or Malaysia
Or safe in my big room
Those were the days

Michael

How happy I must have been
Drawing quietly, playing, and pretending
My sketchbook by my side
At Grandma Weaver's house or in Malaysia
Or safe in my cozy, bright room
Those were the days

Week 2

It is going well at The Well. Hey, maybe that should be our school's name! "The Well" Homeschool.

Today was awesome. The boys did some poetry in their 4 Squares Book today, and the frame that 4 Square used didn't rhyme. They said, "How can it be poetry if it doesn't rhyme"? I assured them that much of modern poetry does not rhyme, but they were not convinced. So, I pulled out my secret weapon . . . .

SUSANNE!

I knew they would listen to an expert. So, we had a very nice email exchange back and forth with her about poetry, and she sent us some very nice poetry that she just happened to be copying for her class that she will be teaching! So, we read them during school. It was awesome to have an EXPERT to send an SOS to in the middle of the homeschool day. Thanks Susanne!

Today was more DELIGHTFUL. I think I was just a bit stressed out about all the extra work because of the classes that Michael is taking, but we made it delight-directed, and we even stopped and had a tea time out on the deck in our new table and chairs. It was no "fantasy tea time," but it was just Paul and I talking about many things under the September sun.

It is starting off as a great week!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The New Academic Year

WHEW! Last week was a whirlwind of academics and getting off the ground for the new school year.

I found my previous blog: http://www.tallcarolhomeschool.blogspot.com/

I had lost it when there was a big glitch with blospot in 2004. So, I started this one, but somehow, I accidently found it in August; and as I have been reading it, I realize how I miss those days when the kids were younger and the exploration was so fun.

This week it has been as fun, but I want to regain that even though the academics are a bit more rigorous. I still want to have that "delight-directed" heart of a homeschooler while also challenging and pressing forward in things that will prepare my kids for the real world.

Lord, I don't want them to lose that love of learning! Please give me that balance!

With all that said, I am sure loving learning these days. :) Michael hit high school, and we are ALL involved with a Classical Literature class directed by http://www.thelmaslibrary.com/

Here is what we are learning about right now:

Biology 1.1 - http://www.coolschool.k12.or.us/

This is an online COOLSchool class in which the school district pays. I like it. It is a challenge for Michael in that is requires more writing, and I am not really good at challenging him in that area. So, I like the accountability. He also has to type a ton to his teacher. This is also challenging as he started lessons in June using Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. If he could hunt and peck, he would be much faster. Also, the software for posting answers on the discussion boards and communicating with your teacher is REALLY antiquated, and it is clunky. You have to reenter you password each time you post something. It really wastes a ton of time.

Paul is doing some of this Biology, and I am supplementing with some Life Science reading from Abeka. There are also comprehension checks; and since ABEKA books seems impossible to resale, I am letting him write the answers directly in the book. He seems to enjoy that. He is just a cute bug when he is over there reading. He got to excited about making a flower pot sill today!

Algebra I and Fundamentals of Math - Good Ol' Bob Jones!

They have been around for a LOOONG time, and they know what they are doing. I am so impressed with their organization, scope and sequence, simple explanations, etc. It is a good course for both the kids.

IF I begin to have problems with the Algebra I in terms of understanding how they got to what they got to, I will turn to George to solve problems with Michael. I don't anticipate this will really be an issue until Geometry. If it becomes too inconvenient to "wait until your father gets home." I will go to Teaching Textbooks. I am ULTRA impressed. It would be dream for someone who isn't math-oriented, but since I have a mathematician on call, I think we will stick with Bob for now. It is nice to know that they are waiting in the wings though.

http://www.teachingtextbooks.com/

They are spendier, but the personal tutoring is SO amazing!


Classical Literature - http://www.thelmaslibrary.com/

He will read Homer, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Aeschylus, Plato, Virgil, Shakespeare, and Augustine. We are getting the audio versions and reading with him. This Sherwood instructor (Thelma) has a study guide with questions and she also reads much through an online MP3. So, it isn't as hard core as it sounds. It is also a 1/2 credit of World History. He meets with the class on Thursday nights. There are study guide questions, short quizzes and exams. I also splurged and ordered The Teaching Company's DVD instuctions with a great instructor from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA teaching 24 lessons on Homer. See the Link HERE . Some day, I woud love to teach this to a group of homeschool high schoolers or even to Santiam Christian High School.

World History - http://www.k12freehomeschool.org/

Here we go again through the history of the world. The class is small change compared to our previous times through world history in 2000-2001 (Child's History of the World Interactive CD-Rom), 2001-2006 (Story of the World Volumes 1-4 and Usborne Internet-Linke Encyclopedia of World History), and 2006-2007 (Kingfisher World Encyclopedia, Story of the World Volumes 1-2), but it is good to have a "sweeping" overview, and it is also good to be light with literature having much history in it! Most of this class is review. There are quizzes and tests, but I am supplementing by vocabulary reviews and answering questions when we go through a lesson. They are taking notes. I really need to teach them this skill. :)

In His Image Art and Joyful Sound Music for 9-12th Grade - http://www.k12freehomeschool.org/

BORING! I thought this would supplement the World History as we get to periods in history we can study the different art, but they are, sadly, not coordinated even though it is the same online school. This Art/Music course is random, unorganized, and pretty NON VISUAL for an art class! The author went ON and ON about Opera in the Fine Art chapter, and I have no idea why? He also had an introduction about "Plagiarism," and while it was a very interesting internet link (we all learned a TON), I have no idea how it is even related to this course. We write no papers (only quizes and a bit of drawing). So, we didn't need to learn about citing references and not copying word for word out of books. It was bizarre.

I should also add that there are many spelling/typing errors, and it goes into these bizarre bunny trails and doesn't seem to stay focused. It sounds like a person who has ADD wrote it. I have to admit that I have not received the CD's that go with it. I would hope they have pictures and such because the text has no pictures to go along with it.

I miss the Usborne Introduction to Art!

If, when I receive the CD's, it doesn't seem to be any better, I will switch to Sister Wendy's: The Story of Painting book (we own) and her excellent PBS video series. In addition, we hope to make it to the Portland Art Gallery and down to the LA County Museum of Art in June. I also might have Michael take the drawing class offered through COOLSchool next semester and bag the biology course since I can basically take the whole course without getting the credit since it is all online anyway. This way, I can benefit from the accountability for writing and course. The drawing is so much more up Michael's ally another option is to have him take a drawing class right at the high school.

Writing

I am using this really fun book called Four Square: The Personal Writing Coach for Grades 7-9! It has thirteen different fun writing activities using the Four Square Method. I also have the Four Square Writing Method for Grades 7-9 (ISBN: 1573101907). It is a great approach for organizing their thoughts by drawing and even writing poetry. I like it! Last week they wrote about their earliest memories. I am hoping to coach them through writing expository, narrative, persuasive, and descriptive styles using this book. Next week, we will write about their dad, and they already have talked about some fun things! I found it at the education store that was going out of business. It was 55% off of $13, but it is really fantastic.

Of course, Michael also has writing through his Biology (posting on discussion boards, emailing his teacher, writing papers, designing experiments, making a brochure or webpage for a Zoo, etc) and in his Classical Lit class.

Grammar

Michael is doing College English and Communication by Stewart, Lanhan, and Zimmer for grammar review. The exercises are simple. I may switch him back to Easy Grammar Red Book if this doesn't pan out or maybe I'll just have him to the Easy Grammar Purple Book.

Paul is continuing to do Daily Grams.

Bible

They are continuing to read through the New Testament, reading the devotional on the k12freehomeschool site, and journaling their thoughts. We will also have readings in several books of the Bible for the Classical Literature class.

Well that is enough for now!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Vacation Time















I have had great vacation seeing many fun people. I have been able to connect with my cousin Arlene, Liz Boggs, and Betty. I brought them all over to Sterling to spend time with mom, and I think it has raised her spirits considerably to have so many visitors in one week.


We have also seen Susanne for Shakespeare and the zoo (with her kids). We had lunch with Jerome and Terri and a Becoming Jane with Terri and her daughter, Bethany. We also went to the lake for skiing, wake boarding and intertubing with Chris, Holly, and Mitchell.


The highlight was getting to see Bill while George and the boys were at the Science Center. I am sorry that Bill didn't get to see them though, but I liked the one-on-one time.

Today we see Debbie and Jenna and maybe Hayley after she comes home from school. So, we have seen a ton of people, and it has all been very good.


We leave tomorrow morning for my high school reunion. I will see many old friends and faces. It should be really nice to see them all.

Then, it is back home to Oregon on Sunday. It has been a very nice vacation, but I am really looking forward to getting back to my home and preparing for the new school year.


Oh, I have also been doing my Isaac, Jacob, Esau study, and I just have four more days and I am done with the whole book of Genesis! It has beeen so rich to do all these character studies this summer.

I also finished The Rule of St. Benedict and am reading A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLaren. It is really good to finally read him. It is very thought-provoking, and I would love to talk to others who have read him too. Maybe Susan and Stephen?


I hope to read The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Cross and the Switchblade on the way back to Oregon. They are both short and quick books, and we have a very LOOONG drive ahead of us. :)

TTFN

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tomorrow is my last day of my summer projects

I got through my reading list with no problem! YEAH! I will read The Hound of the Baskervilles on the way down to Southern California.

I also got through the whole pantry today and will finish the dishes/miscellaneous cupboards tomorrow. I might have a couple drawers too. That is it for project!

YEAH!

I am also doing really well with my physical goals! I am in good shape. The addition of Pilates to my Group Power and Cardio has really helped my shoulder.

I have also about finished Genesis. I just have 3 1/2 lessons of Isaac/Jacob/Esau. I hope to do this while I am on vacation. Meditation and prayer has been sweet.

It has been a great summer. I have really liked most everything about it. :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

2006 Book List

2006 Book List

January

1. Dinner with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory

This is the novella written by my neighbor. It took me 88 minutes to read (only 102 pages), but it is an interesting book about a man who has a dinner with Jesus. Novel (get it?) idea. It is fun to know him and hope to dialogue with him about the book.

February

2. Eleanor, written and illustrated by Barbara Cooney (Kids)

I am just going to include my kids’ lists on my list too. I used to keep a separate list, but it is too much of a hassle. This book is so sweet. I loved the illustrations and tells a poignant story about Eleanor Roosevelt’s early life. Made me cry, but does that surprise
anyone?

3. Eleanor Everywhere: the Life of Eleanor Roosevelt by Monica Kulling illustrated by Cliff Spohn (Kids)

This was much more detailed and filled in many of the holes from the first book we read. I didn’t realize that Teddy Roosevelt was her uncle, and that she (not her distant cousin and husband FDR) was the one more directly related to Teddy Roosevelt. Learn a new thing everyday!

4. All Rivers Run to the Sea by Elie Wiesel

This is a story from probably one of the more famous of the Holocaust survivors. I found his story very engaging and his reflections on God and his Jewish faith in light of the holocaust thought-provoking. I hope to read his book Night too.

5. Emily’s Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary (CD with Kids)

Another hit with my kids about a Oregon girl from the 1920’s who wants to start a library in Pitchfork, Yamhill County (the county where dh grew up). Great fun!

March

* Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (Dh & Kids) – It is an unabridged, illustrated version. They loved it.

6. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (abridged, Dover Kid’s Edition)

I really enjoyed this Drover Thrift Edition that gets the highlights of the book with some of the great dialogue. My kids loved it, and we watched a http://www.brainpop.com/ movie on Mark Twain that was great. We are on to Tom Sawyer on tape now. I knew they would love Mark Twain.

7. Atonement by Ian McEwan (8.5)

This is SO well-written and just great story telling. I had a hard time putting it down. I am not sure if my book club will like it because they like happier books. J I would read another book by this author. I loved his style.

8. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (Kids)

I have seen the movie with Glenn Close, but I had never read the book. We enjoyed it, and my youngest said, “Is that it? It seems like it needs more of an ending.” So, I found out there was a sequel, Skylark, and we are getting the book (and movies) from the library today. I thought it would be too “girly” for my kids, but they seemed to enjoy it.

9. Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner (Kids)

I am proud of the fact that I almost made it through this without crying, but I choked up on the last sentence. A face-paced and moving story! My kids totally enjoyed it.

10. My Only May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm (Kids)

We got this for free as a reward through our Barnes and Noble reading. It has sat on the shelf, and I pulled it out since we just finished this time period in history and had some read-aloud time to kill at the end of the term. What a delightful story! My kids loved it and were begging for the next chapter. It is about a twelve year old tomboy who grows up in a family with seven brothers and no sister on the Nasel River on the Washington side of the Columbia River. It is based on the author’s great-aunt’s diary. It is written in first person without any quotation marks when a person is talking. It takes some getting used to, but I felt like I got right in May Amelia’s head. The fact that it talked about early settlement in our area only made the story that much more interesting! Plus-Plus all the way around!

11. Hero Tales by Dave and Neta Jackson (Kids)

This is going to be a year of finishing many long term books since we are in 1945 of our five year march through world history. So, this is the first book we are finishing with many more coming in the next couple of months (school ends for us on the day before Memorial Day). I love this book of great men and women of the Christian faith. This book included people like Gladys Alward (Think Inn of the Sixth Happiness movie with Ingmar Berman), William and Catherine Booth of the Salvation Army, Hudson Taylor, D.L. Moody, Mary Slessor, and Amy Carmichael. Delightful book focused on important character qualities of these great men and women of faith.

12. Skylark by Patricia MacLachlan (Kids)

Sequel to Sarah, Plain and Tall. Delightful and an easy read. Perfect for the lazy days leading toward our Spring Break.

13. The Making of a Leader by Robert Clinton

This is my third time through this book and read it while in transit to Baton Rouge and finished it during my “rest time” at Becky’s on Saturday (gotta’ have that closure). This is my favorite book on leadership. His early growth was with the Navigators, and he has missions experience. He is also committed to personal ministry as opposed to just being a distant leader. So, I just identify with his stories and principles. I always get something out of this book when I read it. Discussing it with the women in my class.

14. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (Tape with Kids)

This is an abridged, dramatization version on tape. We listened to the first half on the way up to the airport and the second half on the way back from the airport when I went to Louisiana. It was a great adaptation. This is the second book we have listened to by this drama company. So, many of the actors were the same. Now, my dh is reading the unabridged version from my grandmother’s copy of The Family Mark Twain published in 1935. It is a precious reminder of my grandmother’s commitment to fine literature and how it “skipped” a generation with my dad (Popular Mechanics was his reading of choice being an engineer.), but her fantastic books are being read once again by her great-grandchildren. So cool. Love Mark Twain. His humor is right up my husband and children’s alley.

15. Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging by Brennan Manning

This was my book on the travel back home after Louisiana. It was read by a woman I was counseling with, and she raved about it. It had quite the impact on her life. So, I have always wanted to read it. What is so interesting is he talks about New Orleans because this is where he is living at present. That was sort of cool being that I had just taken off from there! The book didn’t bowl me over like it has others, but I suppose it is because I have been convinced of my belovedness with God for many years and pretty comfortable in my skin. So, I didn’t need the words to convince me of it, but I know that this is a struggle for SO many women I have relationships with. So, I can see why it is such a precious book to so many and will suggest it to some of them.

* The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois (Dh & Kids) Read-aloud to the kids. Paul just spent a good part of the morning explaining the whole story (He couldn’t talk to me for four days and is making up for lost time). They both loved it, but of course, Paul is more verbal about telling me that. J


April

16. The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway

A TWEM autobiography about a woman who grows up on a sheep ranch in New South Wales, Australia. I found it fascinating and engaging, and it really helped me understand an acquaintance at my church who was also raised on a sheep farm in Australia. Light bulbs went on all over the place as I read this book. For that reason alone, it was valuable.

17. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

I can’t decide whether I liked this book or not. It was incredibly long and detailed. I think it was too detailed, but it had such an unusual plot. Still can’t decide how I feel about this book. It is the most unusual book that I have read this year. Too many uses of the “F” word though. L

18. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

First time reading this or should I say listening to it. My kids really enjoyed it, but we will probably wait until the summer to read the whole series. It was good to finally hear it though after feeling like I was the last person in the world to ever read it.

19. 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper

My girlfriend read this and loved this, but only one chapter was about heaven and the rest was about his recovery. So, I was a little bit disappointed. L I believe heaven is real though, and I love how his visit changed his perspective on life forever.

20. The Story of the USA: America Becomes a Giant by Franklin Escher, Jr. (Kids)

Our third in the series, we like this and love the questions at the end of each chapter to reinforce our learning.

21. The Land of Sheltered Promise by Jane Kirkpatrick

A little syrupy Christian fiction, but I did enjoy learning more about the history of the Baghwan Rahneesh when he infiltrated my wonderful state back in the 80’s. Even though it was incredibly intelligent writing, it was refreshing to read something without a single “F” word. After read A Prayer for Owen Meany, that was quite refreshing. Also, it deals with the Young Life Camp ministry in which I had a privilege of being a part in the summer of 1987 when I spent a summer at the Young Life Beyond Malibu camp in Canada. In addition, one of the fictional characters was based on the life of the woman who help me immediately following my nervous breakdown in 1983. How is that for fun? It really brought me back to this warm wonderful woman who is now 70 years old, but was my age when she ministered to my life and heart during a very difficult period.

* Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain – (Dh & Kids) He read the unabridged, illustrated version, and the boys LOVED it. I love it when they read good literature!

22. The Allure of Hope: God’s Pursuit of a Woman’s Heart by Jan Meyers

Another book I wanted to read to get an idea of where one of the women in my small group is coming from. It is a precious book saying things very similar to John Piper on Desiring God. I like his style better than her ethereal writing style, but she has a voice in many women’s lives these days. She loves Tozer, Piper, Dostoyevsky, etc. I did find many of her quotes were from other people quoting these people though.

23. The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman

A classic and must read for any Christian IMHO. It is really the the plan of discipleship. Basically looks at the leadership training principles of Jesus. I hadn’t read it for many years and thought that I would read it again.

May

24. Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples A Few at a Time by Greg Ogden

I really enjoyed this book as a modern day application of The Master Plan of Evangelism. It really made me cement in my mind to not get away from my roots of keeping my ministry small and relational. Helping to evaluate my future in light of this class that is out of my comfort zone but also may be out of my gifting.

25. The Story of the USA: Modern America (Book 4) by Franklin Escher, Jr. (Kids)

His bias comes out in an annoying way. He is obviously a pro-choice, democrat. He was much better in earlier books at not letting his bias come through, but he was over the top in this one, and it made me laugh.

26. The Story of the World Volume 4: The Modern Age by Susan Wise Bauer (Kids)
DONE! Closure! We are concluding our five year journey through history! My closure boy kept pushing for me to read more until we finished!

27. Hero Tales: Volume II by Dave and Neta Jackson (Kids)

Love these true stories of Christian heroes.

28. American Adventures Part 2: True Stories from America’s Past by Morrie Greenberg

My kids totally get into these catchy stories. Very enjoyable. A highlight in history.

29. The Usborne Internet-linked Encyclopedia of World History (Kids)

From the time of the dinosaurs to the end of the 20th century, we have gone through this book over the last five years for World History. I love this book to supplement The Story of the World. The downloads were great for our time-lines, and the internet-links added much to our understand. Highly recommend this for any family library whether one homeschools or not.

30. The Usborne Introduction to Art by Rosie Dickins and Mari Griffith (Kids)

This book is internet-linked and beautiful with an easy-to-read text featuring art work from The National Gallery, London. My kids really enjoyed it. I read it along with the period of history we were covering, but it didn’t enter my curriculum until about two years ago. It is a great book for any age. Closure – a May theme.

31. The Usborne Internet-Linked Science Encyclopedia (Kids)

This is our fifth year in this good book. I don’t like it as much as the internet-linked history, but it is good. I have no idea what we will do for science next year because this was our “spine.”

32. Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (TWEM)

This is an autobiography by the essayist who appears on PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer. I have always loved his essays, and I loved this autobiography with his soft, slow tone. He talks about how education separated him from his Mexican-American cultural roots. Those interested in Catholicism would enjoy his chapter entitled "Credo." He compares the Latin service with the more contemporary service of today. I don't know if anyone would ever be interested in this book, but I really enjoyed it. It is on The Well-Educated Mind autobiography list.

June

33. Walking As Jesus Walked by Dr. Dann Spader

It is a look at how Jesus went about changing the world! I really liked this book. I felt very invigorated in God’s life calling for me.

34. Night by Elie Wiesel (TDS Book Discussion)

This is an important book that I would recommend everyone read.

35. Born Again by Charles W. Colson (TWEM)

I think I read this back in the 70’s. What an encouraging look at the transformation that Jesus can make in a person’s life. I felt so blessed to read it! It was also nice to read about something I remember happening in history. I understand it much better now that I am older too.

36. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

A great read. I loved this.

37. Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

This was a fascinating story that was very well-written. I really enjoyed it. I am a sucker for a good story about Muslims. J

38. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

A very practical book. It has stood the test of time. It is old, but it is so helpful and really helped me through the transitions we are making in our life.

39. How to Win Friends and Influence People

Another fabulous book that really helped me with my brother this last vacation. I am lazy sometimes about applying the principles, but I am really seeing that when I do, I am really enjoying my life and relationships more. The principles are very simple.

July

40. The Road to Home by Vanessa del Fabbro

Ho-Hum. It was very predictable, and it had some really boring points. It is set in South Africa after Apartheid ended.


41. Peacemaking Women: Biblical Hope for Resolving Conflict by Tara Klena Barthel & Judy Daler

Fabulous addition to the great book The Peacemaker by Kenneth Sande. I especially enjoyed the “Conflicts Within” section about shame, depression, and fear. This is one I highly recommend for anyone in ministry.

August

42. When People are Big and God is Small by Welch

Excellent book that rereminded me to stay focused on pleasing God and not man!

43. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Had to reread it for my class. The class made the concepts come alive for me. Great book. Life-changing in many ways.


44. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

Read through a second time for the class. I have been applying the principles all summer, and it is all common sense, but it is nice to have it in one volume. I am realizing how much I give my power over to controlling people. I just can’t do that any more.

September

45. The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking by Dale Carnegie

This is the last one of the books for my course. It was nice and simple and straight-forward.

46. Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality by Donald Miller (Book Babes)

I really loved this book. I just loved his musings about the difference between Christianity and Christian Spirituality. I loved the “confessional” on the Reed College campus. I think that his thoughts are quite thought provoking, and it is so cool that he is in Oregon, and I can go visit his church. I am going the end of October.

47. Growing a Healthy Church by Dann Spader and Gary Mayes

Since we were looking for a healthy church to join, it was appropriate to read this book and identify some things that make up a healthy church culture. It is written by the same guy that wrote the Harmony of the Gospels study that I did this summer. So, it was a wonderful reinforcement to the study.

48. Gilgamesh The King
49. The Revenge of Ishtar
50. The Last Quest of Gilgamesh, all by Ludmila Zeman

These beautifully illustrated retellings of this ancient tale are favorites for us. We had to revisit them since we are starting all over in history.

October

51. First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung

This was a fast read, but it was very powerful. Loung was only five years old from a middle-class Cambodian family (mom was Chinese) when her whole family had to flee from Phnom Penn as the Khmer Rouge was taking over the city. It is her journey throughout Cambodia. One of my favorite movies is The Killing Fields which is also an amazing story. So, this gave more details and from her childhood memories. Interesting point of view. Hard to believe that when I was going to my Senior prom such atrocities were occurring at the same time.


52. Spiritual Leadership by Henry and Richard Blackaby

A good read with simple concepts of leadership. I loved his Experiencing God Bible study and this goes right along with what I learned from this study; spiritual leadership is an outflow of a connection with God. After all the stuff that I had to read about leadership last year that I really didn’t enjoy, it was very refreshing to hear this humble, Biblical perspective written by two people whom I respect and havearned their stripes in this area.

53. Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge

I hesitate to make any comments on this book because it is such the “pop Christian” book right now; but overall, I don’t see what the big deal is about this book.
It took me a LOOONG time to get into it. My friend, Kim, said she really liked it, and I read it to identify with her. I think much of what they say has been said before in other similar books that I have read. I didn’t really get into it until about 120 pages in; but at that point, it had some nice things to say. The last five pages had some things I need to hear too. So, it was a God thing even though it wasn’t one of my favorite books of all time. I definitely wouldn’t buy it and borrow it. L

November

54. Body Clutter by Flylady and Leanne

This book could be really helpful for women who have enjoyed the Flylady philosophy of decluttering their home. Both the authors have struggled with obesity for most of their adult life. One was thin until babies. I think this would be really helpful for someone who has been in their boat. There are some good words about anger and what is happening in your mind when it comes to overeating that is similar to what she talks about in her housecleaning books.

55. Growing Your Faith by Jerry Bridges

I read his book The Pursuit of Holiness about twenty-five years ago, and it was life changing for me. I loved this book. It was simple, yet profound. I love this man and had the pleasure of meeting him once. I was forever changed by the experience, and this book was like “coming home.”



December

56. This Beautiful Mess: Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom of God by Rick McKinley

Loved the emphasis on social justice in the way his body at Imago-Dei lived out the principles of the kingdom. That was my favorite part of the book.

57. Desiring God by John Piper

This is my top book of all the Christian books I have read. I listened to it on CD, and I am unabashedly a Christian Hedonist. God is most pleased when we are experiencing pleasure in Him! I just finished it as I had a pleasurably flurry of activity to get ready for a dinner party I am putting on tonight!

58. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

This was a beautiful book about life and death. I really enjoyed this quick and meaningful read.

59. Shepherd’s Abiding by Jan Karon

I received this as a gift two years ago for Christmas and forgot I had it until I was looking at my library for http://www.librarything.com/. So, I took the plunge since it is a Christmas story! A delightful, light-hearted read for the holiday.

60. The Promise: A Celebration of the Life of Christ by Michael Card

This is another Christmas tradition. I decided to just read this and not read Immanuel this year. I love this book; and someday, I would like to make a musical out of it. I need to read it a few more Christmastime’s though! J

Old Herbaceous

This was a sweet story about a gardener in England from the time he was a boy to an old man. It made me cry it was so short and sweet.  Here...