Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Point Where It Hits You

I am sitting here and reading through what I wrote yesterday about Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and it hits me: This wash of peace like a gentle wave, rocking me almost to sleep. I rush over here to write about it. How do you document something like this so that others might believe? I don't know. It is not my goal to make them believe but just to bear witness to what I believe. This "wash" is not measurable scientifically, but it is real, nonetheless. I'm so thankful right now to know what I know because You are knowable. . . if people take the time to search. Like Helen Keller when she first heard about God:
 H. L. Willmington. Willmington's Guide to the Bible.Tyndale House Publishers. Retrieved 2007–10–18. "Sometime after she had progressed to the point that she could engage in conversation, she was told of God and his love in sending Christ to die on the cross. She is said to have responded with joy, "I always knew he was there, but I didn't know his name!""

Monday, January 30, 2012

Finger Freewrite (for warming up)

The kids just left for their college classes, and I am going to do some writing on the BBC and GHBC this morning. I might take a walk first since it is supposed to be a 90% chance of rain today but right now is sunny and warmer than usual.

What am I sitting here for then? Opportunity awaits.

Carol OUT!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

52 in 52 Week 5: The Shape of the Eye by George Estreich

The Shape of the Eye: Down Syndrome, Family, and the Stories We Inherit  by George Estreich                                                                 
This book was selected by my "Book Babes" Book Club. The father of the lovely child on the cover is a stay-at-home dad who is also a poet and writer. He paints a beautiful canvas of words across the page. He lives in my town (didn't know that when I first started reading). So, it was fun to have him paint descriptions of this city in the heart of the Willamette Valley of Oregon. He also mentions my old work place, the Eugene Children's Health and Rehabilitation Center, where I learned as a young 21 year old receptionist that having a child with special needs was not the end of the world but the beginning of something beautiful. I saw so many happy families as they waited for their appointments. They were amazing people who adapted and grew from the challenge of raising a child with special needs. 
This book is not only about Down Syndrome but essays about the author's life and relationships. I loved how he spoke of his evolving love for Laura. He thinks deeply about things and writes about them beautifully. About the first year and the challenges of getting his daughter, Laura to eat and develop, he writes:
"That year, in my bitterest moments -- bitterness being the taste of poison, the evolved displeasure that says, Do Not Eat -- I'd think, Great. Another climb out of the canyon, just to get to the plateau where other children are already toddling toward the horizon, hand in hand with happy parents. Our frustration with eating became a species of a general discontent: the longing, wistful and bitter turns, for the normal childhood, the one that was supposed to happen. It is, of course, nostalgia for a projection. It dies hard. Even now, years later, it feels sometimes as if the rest of the world is light enough to walk on clouds and live in cities there, while we have sunk, under the weight of a single chromosome, into a valley of intermittent rain." p. 108
The work is poignant, and I loved his reflections on work and family. He is a first-class writer (he used to teach English and composition at the university level). The biggest downside is that, sometimes, there were many details that did not interest me, but it would definitely interest someone who was the parent or grandparent of a Down Syndrome child or worked with one.

I just saw that he will be coming to our May 19th book club discussion, but I think I am speaking at a retreat that weekend. I would have loved to meet him, but as I look at his picture in the inside of the jacket, I have seen him around town!  I'll have to introduce myself next time. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

52 in 52 Week 4: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

 I listened to the version narrated by Ruby Dee, and I can't imagine reading it any other way! Ruby Dee plays the grandmother in the 2005 TV movie. She is perfect. I had saved this one for my vacation in February, but I needed something to listen to during exercise this week, and once I started, I could not stop. 

I can't believe that this was left off The Well-Educated Mind reading list! The black fiction on that list is excellent, and I learned a ton, but this is by a woman who was ahead of her time in writing from the soul of a black woman. It is exquisitely written. I lingered on some of the words. Beautiful in every way. Here are two quotes by Janie, the main character in the story:

"Love is lak de sea. It's uh movin' thing, 
but still and all, it takes its shape from de shore it meets, 
and it's different with every shore."

"two things everbody's got tuh do fuh theyselves
They got tuh go tuh God, 
and they got tuh find out about livin' fuh theyselves."

I became interested in reading this when I read this in Bold Spirit:Helga Estby's Forgotten Walk Across America:

The burning of her [Estby's] manuscript recalls how close the writings of others, such as African-American author Zora Neal Hurston, came to being destroyed. Destitute and no longer acclaimed in her old age, Hurston was considered of “little worth” at her death. When county workers came to clean out her house, they started to burn the clutter. One recalled that Zora was once a respected writer and, hoping there might be something of worth to augment county expenses, hosed down the fire just in time to recover her charred papers. 
It took more than fifty years and a seismic shift in appreciating the worth of African-American women writers before her acclaimed book, Their Eyes Were Watching God, was republished. Her writings proved pivotal for inspiring the next generation of African-American women writers, such as Alice Walker. Only recently, with the growing publications of multicultural stories available in schools and libraries, are all children in America able to read about the lives of others with their same ethnic heritage.
Hunt, Linda Lawrence (2007-12-18). Bold Spirit: Helga Estby's Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America (Kindle Locations 2558-2565). Anchor. Kindle Edition. 

"One of the greatest writers of our time"
— Toni Morrison

Their Eyes Were Watching God

The epic tale of Janie Crawford, whose quest for identity takes her on a journey during which she learns what love is, experiences life's joys and sorrows, and come home to herself in peace. Her passionate story prompted Alice Walker to say, "There is no book more important to me than this one."
When first published in 1937, this novel about a proud, independent black woman was generally dismissed by male reviewers. Out of print for almost thirty years, but since its reissue in paperback edition by the University of Illinois Press in 1978, Their Eyes Were Watching God has become the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.
With haunting sympathy and piercing immediacy, Their Eyes Were Watching God tells the story of Janie Crawford's evolving selfhood through three marriages. Light-skinned, long-haired, dreamy as a child, Janie grows up expecting better treatment than she gets until she meets Tea Cake, a younger man who engages her heart and spirit in equal measure and gives her the chance to enjoy life without being a man's mule or adornment. Though Jaine's story does not end happily, it does draw to a satisfying conclusion. Janie is one black woman who doesn't have to live lost in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams, instead Janie proclaims that she has done "two things everbody's got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin' fuh theyselves."

Friday, January 27, 2012

52 in 52 Week 3: The Broke Diaries by Angela Nissel

The Broke Diaries
by Angela Nissel

This was on the Book Babes Book Club books I didn't read.  It is a young adult's struggle to survive when she is a student and has no money. She is a humorous writer, and it was an easy read. It was nothing profound, and some of the language was not my cup of tea.

I certainly had compassion for her. It sounds like she had no help in how to manage her money once she got it. She makes some pretty stupid decisions that cause her to have even more financial problems.

I think she has a bright future ahead of her as a writer or hilarious essayist, much in the spirit of Dave Berry. I am sure she won't be broke for long.

52 in 52 Week 2:Hanna's Daughters by Marianne Fredriksson

Finished January 14

Three generations of Swedish women and the men they loved. Or did they love them?

This is a book that was read before I joined the Book Babes Book Club. So, I am reading all the books I missed over the last 11 1/2 years. I had heard from the original members that it wasn't good. So I was prepared not to like it, but I did. Some of the writing is exquisite:  "These roamings over the years taught me a great deal about the sea, what it sounds like and how it smells in storms or calm, in dull weather, sun or mist. But I know nothing of its intentions, anyhow nothing I can put into words, though occasionally I think it is all-embracing like the presence of God."

It was slow going, but I decided this day to sit down and really savor and read it and loved its poignancy. Hanna, Johanna, and Anna. Johanna was born at the same time as my grandmother in the same area of Sweden too.  It has special meaning as I realized I finished reading it on what would have been my dear Swedish mother's 85th birthday.

As I read on the couch and realized it was my mom's birthday, I also looked straight into the Carl Larsson (famous Swedish painter) painting of his daughter reading. Reading is such a spiritual experience for me sometimes.

52 in 52 Week 1: Animal Farm by George Orwell

I listened to it on audiobook while doing scrapbooking.
 Ralph Cosham is a brilliant narrator!
This is my third foray into Orwellian brilliance (1984 and The Road to Wigan Pier being the first two). A couple of weeks after finishing it, my boys were discussing the stupidity of communism, and I said, "You have got to read  Animal Farm!"
In the spirit of Aesop's Fables, Orwell uses satire to teach a moral lesson with animals as the characters. Communism will always fail because of the animal in all of us. The animals were oppressed, but their system of governance was not a solution to Jones not feeding them. 
It was interesting to read this on the heals of The Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn. Napoleon's control reminded me of totalitarian Stalinism.  That is a book everyone needs to read (I read the abridged version in the picture below).

The version of The Gulag Archipelago is closest to my face.
Animal Farm is so accessible. I am not sure why the woman who set the curriculum for the British Literature class I facilitated did not include this on her list. I'm hoping my kids can listen to the excellently narrated version during their Spring Break!

52 in 52

I am a little late to the party, but I just joined this:  http://www.read52booksin52weeks.com/p/about-52-books.html

I'm joining during week four, but surprisingly, I read two books for weeks 1 and 2, but three and four are together and will probably be finished on week four. This is because I usually listen to an audiobook for exercising/working and one for leisure time. Being that I just had a tooth extraction, I am going to PLOW through the book I have had my nightstand since Christmas (It is a little slow). 

So here goes with a new adventure!

My 600th Post!

I have had this blog a while, but I don't write here very often. I was surprised it was number 600 though!  This doesn't count the blog that I thought I had lost so I started this new one. It disappeared for years. Then, all of a sudden it showed up on my blog dashboard one day: http://tallcarolhomeschool.blogspot.com/ .

I just had a tooth extraction today. SO, it says I must "recline upright" until the evening. I am determined to read a book and not work today, but we will see. I am having so much fun with my new writing project (http://gospelharmonybookclub.blogspot.com/) that it is hard for me to step away. I am SO glad I am doing the Old Testament Bible Book Club concurrently with this because those OT prophets are pretty hard to get through. I was longing to get to Jesus by the end last time we covered them in the BBC! So, Jesus is front and center in my thoughts everyday, and we are looking BACK at those OT prophets!  Very fun and rewarding project.

I love our Kingdom Community gospel reading that is also coinciding with the Gospel Harmony Book Club. It is so cool. This is a GREAT group of people. The community is forming, and I am overjoyed to have it. I am really glad we reduced to 10 from the 19 people we had before. It was just too big for community and also not all the people were ready for what we are covering. YAY God for making that call for us and making it abundantly clear to all of us that it was the right move.

Well, I can feel the pain killers kicking in. I don't like the feel of oxycodone. I almost feel like the pain is better than the way I feel when taking it. So, I am just doing this as my lidocaine wears off to see how it all feels.

By the way, the weather today is GORGEOUS. So nice after all the rain we have had lately. I am enjoying resting here.

Carol OUT

100 Great Books: 50%

  1. Aeneid – Virgil
  2. All Quiet on the Western Front – Remarque
  3. All the King’s Men – Warren
  4. Animal Farm – Orwell 
  5. As I Lay Dying – Faulkner
  6. As You Like It – Shakespeare
  7. The Awakening – Chopin
  8. Beowulf
  9. Bill Budd – Melville
  10. The Bluest Eyes – Morrison
  11. Brave New World – Huxley
  12. The Call of the Wild – London
  13. Candide – Voltaire
  14. The Canterbury Tales – Chaucer
  15. Catch22 – Heller
  16. The Color Purple – Walker
  17. Crime and Punishment – Dostoyevsky
  18. The Crucible – Miller
  19. Daisy Miller – James
  20. David Copperfield – Dickens
  21. Death of a Salesman – Miller
  22. Diary of a Young Girl – Frank
  23. Inferno – Dante
  24. Doctor Faustus – Marlowe
  25. A Doll’s House – Ibsen
  26. Don Quixote – Cervantes
  27. Ethan Frome – Wharton
  28. Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Phaedo – Plato
  29. A Farewell to Arms – Hemingway
  30. Faust: Parts 1 and 2 – Goethe
  31. For Whom the Bell Tolls – Hemingway
  32. Frankenstein – Shelly (read)
  33. The Glass Menagerie – Williams
  34. The Good Earth – Buck
  35. The Grapes of Wrath – Steinbeck
  36. Great Expectations – Dickens (read)
  37. The Great Gatsby – Fitzgerald
  38. Gulliver’s Travels – Swift
  39. Hamlet – Shakespeare
  40. Hard Times – Dickens
  41. Heart of Darkness – Conrad
  42. Henry IV, Part 1 – Shakespeare
  43. House Made of Dawn – Momaday
  44. The House of Seven Gables – Hawthorne (read)
  45. Huckleberry Finn – Twain
  46. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Angelou
  47. Iliad – Homer
  48. Invisible Man – Ellison
  49. Jane Eyre – Bronte 
  50. The Joy Luck Club – Tan
  51. Julius Caesar – Shakespeare
  52. The Jungle – Sinclair
  53. King Lear – Shakespeare
  54. Light in August – Faulkner
  55. Lord Jim – Conrad
  56. The Lord of the Flies – Golding
  57. The Lord of the Rings – Tolkien
  58. Macbeth – Shakespeare
  59. Madame Bovary – Flaubert 
  60. The Major of Casterbridge – Hardy
  61. The Merchant of Venice – Shakespeare
  62. A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Shakespeare
  63. Moby-Dick – Melville
  64. Native Son – Wright
  65. 1984 – Orwell (read)
  66. Odyssey – Homer
  67. The Oedipus Trilogy – Sophocles
  68. Of Mice and Men – Steinbeck
  69. The Old Man and the Sea – Hemingway
  70. Oliver Twist – Dickens
  71. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Kesey
  72. Othello – Shakespeare
  73. Paradise Lost – Milton 
  74. The Pearl – Steinbeck
  75. The Plague – Camus
  76. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – Joyce (read)
  77. Pride and Prejudice – Austen (read)
  78. The Prince – Machiavelli
  79. The Red Badge of Courage – Crane
  80. Republic – Plato
  81. The Return of the Native – Hardy (read)
  82. Richard III – Shakespeare
  83. Romeo and Juliet – Shakespeare
  84. The Scarlet Letter – Hawthorne
  85. A Separate Peace – Knowles
  86. Silas Marner – Eliot (read)
  87. Sons and Lovers – Lawrence
  88. The Sound and the Fury – Faulkner
  89. Steppenwolf – Hesse
  90. The Stranger – Camus 
  91. The Sun Also Rises – Hemingway
  92. The Taming of the Shrew – Shakespeare
  93. The Tempest – Shakespeare
  94. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Hardy
  95. Their Eyes Were Watching God – Hurston
  96. Tom Sawyer – Twain
  97. Treasure Island – Stevenson 
  98. Twelfth Night – Shakespeare
  99. Waiting for Godot – Beckett
  100. Walden – Thoreau

Friday, January 20, 2012

Ugh! Not Feeling Well

I have not felt well since last Sunday! Part of it might be that I have been restricted from going to Pilates for the last 10 days (but whose counting?). It also might be I have a little low-grade thing going on. It isn't anything major, but I wake up every morning feeling sort of yucky.

So, I am getting my fingers warmed up as I meditate and digest the Parable of the Sower and the Seed. I am heading into the Kingdom Parables in my chronological study, and I love it! I realize that when I wrote for the Bible Book Club in 2010 on these, I didn't discuss them so thoroughly, and I am this time. So, I'm praying that I can do them justice because they are so rich and meaningful and wonderful.

On another note, we are flooding, and I wish I felt well enough to go out and nurture my inner photog, but I don't even feel like doing that. I think we might make the news. The governor has declared our county to be in a state of emergency.  A mother and her baby have already died being swept away while stopping in a grocery story parking lot! How freaky is that?

The rain did stop long enough for me to do a little walk/run during Paul's piano lesson with Suz (love her!). I felt good being out, but that is when I started feeling worse afterward. So, I am thinking I wasn't ready for that kind of exercise yet. I loved being out in the elements though!

Patty is locked in her house because of heavy snow in Seattle. She is supposed to be student teaching. So, she was getting cabin fever and we talked for over an hour. Good to catch up with her. I like her.

I was supposed to go to a Graduate Women's Network reception with the university president last night, but I just didn't feel well. So, I got in bed at 5 pm and stayed there until I went to sleep.

I hope I am up for going to Vancouver on Saturday morning though. :(

There was something else I was going to write about, but I can't remember what that would be. Oh well, my fingers are warmed up now. I am off to do some more work.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Groggy Night

I couldn't fall asleep last night. I got into bed at 3 am. Then I was freezing. It turned out that when Kathleen was over last night, and I was cold. I went to turn up the heat and accidentally turned it off. BRRR.

I am in my office right now because Valentina and Peter are cleaning my house. Thankful for that. I am writing for the Gospel Harmony Book Club/Bible Book Club on John 6 which was also my reading for our Kingdom Community. I am very thankful to have time in the Word this year. It seems like my schedule opened up for the special added project of the GHBC! It will make for a much lighter year next year as we are in the New Testament for the BBC.

Well, I am warmed right now by the Bread of Life. Thank You, Jesus.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Making an Effort to Post More Here

I have been sick the last couple of days. I feel it more when I first wake up. I was so uncomfortable and couldn't sleep. So I got up at 4:30 with that achy feeling all over my body.

No worries though, I still worked from 4:30 - 11:30 on the Gospel Harmony Book Club. Love doing that. The Beatitudes were on the docket for today, and they were tough to get through. I have a different take on them than most commentators. So, I had to plow through Dallas Willard's rather wordy commentary on them in The Divine Conspiracy. He does give words to what I have always believed, but TOO many words! LOL!

Now, I am comparing prices on the different photo sites, and I still can't come down on one I like the best. I didn't like how Snapfish cropped some of my pictures (I see now it was the ones I took with the Powershot which has a different aspect ratio than the Digital SLR so that shouldn't be too much of a problem) especially on the ones I had resized. I guess I have learned my lesson to avoid "custom crops" on photos if I want to see the whole picture when I get it back. I did that a LOT in 2007, but I hardly did it at all in 2011. So, I should be OK from here on out.

I saved a bird that had smashed into our window yesterday. I say that because I am hearing a song sparrow. Of course I just noticed it, but George says that he has been singing his "territorial song" all morning. He is surprised by that because it is too early in the season for all of that.  Actually, he thinks it is a Spotted Towhee (used to be Rufus-sided) now.  The bird I saved was a Yellow Rumped Warbler. My Marlin Perkins George Weaver husband wasn't home when the catastrophe happened. So, I asked the Facebook friends to help, and I got a plethora of responses. Before that, I just went to see if the Warbler was dead because I thought for sure he was since he was face down (or beak down) in the snow. I didn't want to touch it so I took a cloth grocery sack and slid it under him, and much to my delighted surprise, he hoped upright but didn't move after that. So, I took him inside, but I thought he would fly all over the place. So, I gingerly place him on our dry deck away with the covering to avoid snow and predators. I kept an eye on him and saw that one person said I should call a Wildlife Center. After listening to the spiel about how they don't get any public funds and please give to them, I was told to leave a message. So, I left it, but someone picked up the phone. The nice lady said I could keep the bird in a dark closet in a cardboard box. As I was talking, he started moving more and more and flew away. She said that it usually takes about 45 minutes, and that is was!

She said, "Oh a happy ending!" And I was thankful for being sick and home from church.

Somehow is warmed my heart on the cold, snowy day.

Now that I have warmed up my fingers. I may order some more photos. I already have them uploaded to Shutterfly, and I like their prints and website the best. I have 2009 365 in the cart already. :) I wish I could remember FOR SURE what I ordered yesterday so I don't order something twice. I am really focusing on doing this now, and I can't worry about the cost of it all. I am spending so much less than a photo book. I think the 365 are running me about $65 to print and put in a book versus making a digital book for WAY more than that (365 pictures make for many pages) and tons more time. The same is true for doing a Creative Memories physical scrapbook for the kids. Each of those pages are many dollars when you add the prints AND the stickers AND the TIME! That is the big killer. I have it for Paul from birth to 6th grade and Michael from birth to 8th grade. That is enough!

I will be caught up in no time, and I think it is much more fun the way I am doing it now.

Well, I am signing off.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

2011 Movies and Documentaries

1. Lost Season 2
2. Lost Season 3
3. Lost Season 4
4. Lost Season 5
5. Lost Season 6
6. Jesus Camp
7. Shrek
8. I Can Do Bad All by Myself
9. Larkrise to Candleford Season 4
10. 1776 (great with Democracy in America)
11. Hachi: A Dog's Tale (BORING!)
12. Upstairs, Downstairs (new one)
13. Wives and Daughters (rewatch)
14. North and South (rewatch)
15. The Last King of Scotland
16. Friends of God
17. Any Human Heart (ick!)
18. South Riding
19. Contact
20. Extraordinary Measures
21. The Secret Life of Bees (Slow and didn't like book either)
22. The Bourne Supremacy
23. The Bourne Ultimatum
24. The Bourne Identity
25. Two Week's Notice
26. Jane Eyre
27. Poldark 2
28. The Cove
29. Persuasion (Hinds, Root)
30. A Few Good Men (clear play made it great!)
31. Creation (excellent)
32. Country Strong
33. The Adjustment Bureau
34. Arthur (Edited for the plane)
35. Water for Elephants (teary!)
36. Just Go With It
37. Treasure Island (1934)
38. The Help (BEST of the year)
39. The Devil Wears Prada (clearplay)
40. David Copperfield (precious!)
41. Wives and Daughters (again!)
42. The Help (2nd time)
(forgot to put Downton Abbey in January so added one)
44. Downton Abbey Season I
45. Mad Men 4 (edited)
46. Larry Crowne
47. Alice in Wonderland
48. Downton Abbey Season 2
49. Cheers to Miss Bishop (Bess Streeter Aldrich)
50. Have a Little Faith (Mitch Albom)
51. Elf (love this movie!)
52. Pride and Prejudice
53. Bride and Prejudice
54. Emma
55. Sense and Sensibility (Mini-series)
56. Jane Austen Regrets
57. Mansfield Park
58. The King's Speech

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I am grateful for today. I realize that writing has become so much of my work these days. I wrote a 553 page book last year. Or I should say that I wrote about 200 pages last year and reworked and edited the rest. I will be doing the same this year with another book in the works for the Gospel Harmony Book Club.

Interesting that I have lost meeting with Jane, Elizabeth, and Michelle from 2011 but will meet with Kathleen and periodically with Heather. So, that gives me some extra time.

What I have done with that extra time is picked up a Romans study with Rachel and Kim (which I love) and am working more on home projects long neglected because ministry has beckoned. I suppose I have a certain amount of time doing home things, and most of that home time was spent homeschooling, leading literature classes, and homeschool field trips. So, the "home" stuff has shifted as I take the role of cheerleader and occasional proofreader for the college work that my kids are doing.

Well, I am now going to sit and soak in John 5 and part of John 6 to prepare for tonight's Kingdom Community AND for writing in the Gospel Harmony Book Club.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Ten Minute Freewrite: GO!

I am going to just write without stopping for a while. I had hoped to write here more often. I am on a heating pad today because I think I sat in my chair too long today. I worked on a week's worth of Gospel Harmony Book Club posts (so yummy, btw). So, I had to stop and do the big, moist-heat bag. I did some stretching, and whatever was out popped right back into place. YAY!  But I am taking it easy now in bed.

I have loved this month of fasting so far. I feel like the focus has been really good. I love that I am doing it with others. I am really challenged by many things.

George and I are going to go to Aqua again for Valentine's Day. I had this: red curried sweet potato puree, local braising greens, crispy sweet potato, truffled basil coulis, and passionfruit buerre blanc. It was easily the best meal I have had in YEARS (others being one of the times we went to Nick's and Gladwin's mother's Indian cooking).  

I can't believe it has been eight minutes, but I am done for now.

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 ...