Monday, February 25, 2008

Vision and Attainable Goals

Got this from Dale Carnegie Tips today:

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a vision.”

- Anonymous

Creating goals that will lead you to realize your vision is an important step in professional development. Here are some tips on creating goals for yourself and your team:

* Determine your vision and document it
* Outline steps that will help you realize your vision
* Make each of those steps goals that are measurable and attainable
* Evaluate your vision as you reach each goal

I thought immediately of Bible Book Club! I have a vision for going through the Bible with a group, and we are doing it one day at a time. It has been great!

I also thought about the classical literature goal. Here is how it is going:



Greek Lyrics - Lattimore Trans
Agamemnon* - Aeschylus (I added Libation Bearers and Eumedides too)
Oedipus Rex - Sophocles
Medea - Euripedes
Birds - Aristophanes WILL FINISH TONIGHT!


Histories - Herodutus NEXT!
Peloponnesian War - Thucydides
Republic - Plato
Poetics - Aristotle
Odes - Horace
Lives - Plutarch

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Peace Like A River

Nope, I am not reviewing a book today. I am just expressing the peace that I feel in my heart. The day has been so good. I have been only walking or riding a bike at the club lately while my back gets back to 100%, and I have to admit that I like the slower workout pace for me. I have more time in the day to do other things. So, I must find the balance there because my back will go out again if I am not really strong! Right now, I am not worrying about it and enjoying the extra time.

I am also just loving homeschooling the kids. They are just so darn disciplined! They don't complain and get right down to their work, and do it pretty independently these days. So, I am there with them available to answer questions, but I am able to read and write while they work. I'm doing my "school work" which includes my Well-Educated Mind reading (which overlaps with much of Michaels Classical Lit reading) and writing for Bible Book Club.

Michael is doing really well with Bob Jones Biology. Even though he got A's on both modules in the COOLSchool class, I feel like he is learning so much more with this BJU Biology in a much more relaxed and non-pressure-filled way! Classical Lit has turned out to be a delight. He is listening ot Iphigenia Among the Tauris right now on my iPod, and he loves it. It is fun for me to understand what he is reading too. THANK YOU THELMA (

Paul is WAY ahead in his science. He just finished the big book, and he just has a smaller health book to do. I will try to do more "lab" stuff with the health as he can chart his nutrition intake and health vitals. That will be good. He also realized he is cruising in his grammar book and only has eleven more days of lessons! He will probably be finished by the first part of March!

For both the boys, I am tickled at their writing. THANK YOU JULIE ( for telling me to be relaxed in the writing. I will be eternal grateful as I see they are doing great with grammar and punctuation and writing without me having to ask them to do it. For example, I told Paul that he needed to do some 4 Square Writing, and he said, "Well, I did just finish a free-write for the last 30 minutes on the French Revolution. Do you want to see it?" He had written two pages on everything he was learning in history, and it was GREAT! Yes, there were spelling and punctuation errors, but the fact that he just "freewrote" on his own made me beam! Michael is doing the same. He had an assignment in World History to write a 200 word essay on Bismarck, and he wrote 450 because he wanted to. YIPPEEE! What is great for him is that he is doing almost all typing now, and he can use the spell check. He only had a few punctuation errors in the essay. For him, the physical mechanics were always the thing that made it difficult for him to write more than the actual writing. Typing takes care of that.

Well, I am off to pick up George. We are buying a flash for our D80 today. The top of the little flash fell off, and we don't really like that wimpy flash anyway. So, we want an external one.

I have more I could say, but I don't have time!!!!! Wish the spellchecker worked on blogger. It quite working on me with this new computer, and I dn't know why! So, no proofreading just sending in a hurry!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Reviews of Iliad/Odyssey/Crazy for God

I haven't been doing reviews. I may have done a brief one for Iliad, but I was swept away to Southern California right after I finished reading it. So, here are some brief ones:

The Iliad (Lattimore Translation)

I tried to read both the Fagles and the Lattimore translations, but it was just too much work to do both. I found the Fagles easier to understand in the beginning, but I found the Lattimore flowed more like poetry. Fagles helps one to know who is being talked about and the wheres of things, but once I knew who all the characters were, I didn't need his simplified explanations anymore. Lattimore really is the "definitive" source by all the experts, and I can see why that is so. With the help of Michael's teacher reading it on MP3 with explanations as she read, I let the Lattimore translation carry me away.
I was carried away into gnarly battles with graphic descriptions of spears going through body parts and lots of gore. It is a book about battle and rage and definitely more a book for the testosterone set. It was good to learn about the importance of glory and honor in Homeric times. It was good to hear "Homeric simile" and know what that meant. It also made me glad I don't have a bunch of fickle, moody, competitive gods who interfere with my life at their whim and fancy, but ONE God who is all goodness, kindness, love, and justice!

I wish I had written this before I went to California. I am sure I had so many more profound thoughts, but so much has happened since I last read this.

Before I forget, I also watched Elizabeth Vandiver's (Whitman College) DVD lectures from The Teaching Company. They helped this epic poem come alive. See it here (Note: Don't ever buy these full price. They go on sale on a regular basis. Also, I have seen some of these course in EBay for very cheap. I also wouldn't get the DVD's. You miss out on a few pictures, but it is mostly Dr. VanDivers in some really BAD outfits. Get the audio.)

The Odyssey (Richard Lattimore Translation)

This is a much more appealing book to the feminine set because it involves a man's struggle to make it home to see his woman. It is also all about xenia which is hospitality in Greek. This is much less gruesome and is, at its heart, a love story. I loved this.

Crazy for God by Frank Schaeffer

My friend, Carrie, gives a MUCH better review than I could ever give of this book. Here is her review: Crazy for God. In fact, it was Carrie's review that made me want to run out and get this book, and I wasn't disappointed. I couldn't put it down (If also helped that I was flat on my back for four days with a back injury). It was a fascinating read about growing up as the son of Francis and Edith Schaeffer, founders of L'abri in Switzerland. They created L'Abri back in the late 50's as a place for people with legitimate questions to come and read, listen, and learn about faith. It was learning about faith in the context of community at the foot of the Alps.

It sounded like a very beautiful place, but there were many things that were not so pretty for this pretty wild and rebellious man. His dad had a temper and would throw things at his mom. He indicated that she would sometimes have bruises on her body, but he never came out and said that he witnessed abuse, nor did he bother to ask his mom. So, it wasn't really clear how "far" his father's temper went. Temper is never a good thing, no matter how far, but how severe was it, and why didn't anyone do anything about it?

He does assess that his father was isolated and had no friends or peers and only people who would sit at his feet and listen. This is not healthy for any man! His parents sounded like they would have benefitted from having more accountability and support from others, yet their generation is not like mine. Sounds like too many people had Francis up on a pedastal to keep him accountable in how he treated his wife.

He does balance his dad out by talking about their lovely, all day hikes through the Swiss Mountains where they would never talk about God. He felt like his parents were happiest when they were away from L'Abri and when, for two weeks out of the year, they were in Portofino, Italy on vacation enjoying the art and culture. This was when he felt like his parents were really who they were meant to be: carefree and happy.

I felt like he was more severe upon his mother. It broke my heart somewhat how he spoke of her. He concludes the book with a picture of his mother dancing at the home in which she now resides in her mid-nineties. She has dementia, and he wished his mother would have been free to "dance" in life rather than playing the martyr she played as the matron of L'Abri.

The most heartbreaking part for me was this letter that Debbie wrote in the book about her mother after giving a glowing report about her father and their trips to art galleries and such:

"My mother's legacy was in stark contrast (to her dad's), as she single-mindedly pursued her ideals, often blinded by the realities of life or of our lives. As a dreamer and a highly artistic individual, my mother created her own life with passion and hard work. I compare her to early discoverers of the North Pole. She pursued her objectives with determination, though bits of bodies all around her were lost to frostbite. The havoc she caused to all around her, as they were dragged in to help her meet self-imposed deadlines and goals, was phenomenal and scarring to me as a child. The force of her personality was such that I, at least, never even thought of refusing. Also, I would say, that though my father taught me the love of the Real, my mother's idealism has taken years to peel away."

Much love,
Debby (p.42-43)

Can you say "OUCH"? Debby suffered from depression, and this gives you a window into Edith's life with her children. I also was saddened by how her husband, John, was treated when he didn't match up with the theology of L'Abri but Frank was not kicked out for having sex up in his bedroom. Something is a bit weird there, don't you think?

All that said, everyone in a family has different perceptions! I am amazed at how my brother and I see our growing up very differently, and how my experiences as a daughter did not match his experiences as a son! I do wonder what Susan's (Oldest daughter of the Schaeffers)experience was like because after I read her book called For the Children's Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School, I got the impression that it was pretty wonderful to grow up in the Schaeffer's world at L'Abri! Sadlly, she declined to comment in the book.

He alludes to the fact that he was largely ignored by his busy parents growing up, yet in the next breath, he will talk of his mother reading to him and tucking him in at night, his father going for those long, all day walks, and two weeks in Italy and one week skiing every year. Hello Frank, you probably got in one year more than most people get in a lifetime with their parents! Appreciate what you had and realize that you probably caught so much more than you ever realized by having the parents that you did. Think about it, all four of you are still married to the same spouse. Don't your parents have some influence in that stability? BE GRATEFUL and EXTEND GRACE! They were not perfect and neither are you. I felt like he was much more severe on his imperfect parents than he was on himself.

In fact, he openly admits to abusing his daughter physically and being an overall jerk to his children and wife in their younger years, yet he says, "I am human and all is forgiven" between us without extending the same kind of grace to his own parents who never physically abused him but had neglected and/or emotionally abused or manipulated him. I have compassion for that pain you felt growing up, but why not open up the dialogue with them about their abuse while they were alive (dad) or coherent (mom) instead of damning them in the public arena when they can't fight back or make ammends with you? That was disturbing to me.

I also felt like he was particularly scathing and severe on those Christian leaders in whom he only had a surface relationship. He is the hardest on James Dobson. I have no need to defend James Dobson for I have never been a follower of Focus on the Family, but Frank was very unkind and severe.

I was particularly bothered by his severe comments about Billy Graham in connection with the marriage of Graham's oldest daughter when she was seventeen, alluding to the fact that it was like an "arranged marriage" because the groom was the son of a wealthy donor. He was critical and judgmental as an outside observer, making a huge LEAP in assumptions without knowing any of the particular of the situation. The marriage lasted forty-two years and produced seven children! Maybe they wanted to get married. What do you know?

I am also bothered by how he "played a game" for fame and didn't truly believe in what he was doing. This is much more telling of his character than it is of his father or mother's who gave all they had to making L'Abri a success. So what if they had a little bit of competition between the two of them in the number of books they wrote! It speaks volumes to me that they gave 50% of all their royalities to their ministry, and 10% on top of that from the income they received for the books. That is an amazing indication of fine character!

I say this all knowing very little about his parents and having never put them up on a pedastal in the first place. So, I don't think I want to defend them. I have long contended that we put too many people in Christiandom into "superstar" strata when NO ONE needs to be there. We are ALL just little fish in a big pond, and God is the only superstar in my book. All that said, GIVE THEM A BREAK FRANK! They are only human with feet of clay, just like you.

I love the book though. He is a lovable guy, warts and all. I loved his honesty and candor. I loved the stories about his life (sans the sex details). I wished he would have just moved away and lived a life congruent with what he believed instead of living the lie, but that was his choice, and it probably was the thing that saved his marriage early on because he had to stay at L'Abri for financial reasons. He still gives credit to L'Abri and the community there for saving his marriage from divorce. (Wasn't there some throwing in there too, Frank, just like your dad?). Also, his wife sounds like a saint, and I am glad he does give her great honor in the book.

The book was really more damaging to himself than to his parents, but I can forgive him for his character flaws! I will probably read his fictional novel Portofino too. In fact, I have already submitted a purchase request to the library for it!

WOW! That was way too long. :)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Found My Classic List for this Year

Here are the books from The Well-Educated Mind list that I would like to read this year:


Greek Lyrics - Lattimore Translation
Histories - Herodutus
Medea - Euripedes
Birds & Clouds - Aristophanes
Peloponnesian War - Thucydides
Republic - Plato
Poetics - Aristotle
Odes - Horace
Lives - Plutarch

Want to Reread Because Now I Understand the Context After Reading Homer:

Agamemnon* - Aeschylus
Oedipus Rex* - Sophocles

I also want to read the Shakespeare plays I will be seeing with Laura and friends when we go down to Ashland to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for her 40th Birthday weekend July 18-20!

Feeling very nerdly for having this goals. :)

Friday, February 08, 2008

Finished The Odyssey

YES! I feel so proud. I really liked it. It helped to have it on my iPod and listen while I lifted weights and ran on the treadmill. I think it is in its final form a romance. I am watching The Teaching Company tapes by Elizabeth Vandiver, and it has really added to my understanding.

I wonder what is next on my list? I have to find my list. LOL!

Tuesday Ten Minute Freewrite

I am going to go great guns for 10 minutes on this freewrite. I am meeting with a person (not sure if she wants direction - she just wanted ...