Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saturday Seventeen Freewrite

There's a wonder and wildness to life
And freedom for those who obey

The words to that Michael Card song keep flowing through my brain this morning. I cannot get them out of my head. It is probably my favorite song in the whole world: Joy in the Journey. Since my name means "Song of Joy," it is an appropriate favorite song, I think.

Maybe I will just try to recall the words here. Cannot guarantee the accuracy and do not want to look it up and interfere with my fingers continuing to type across the page:

There is a joy in the journey
And a love that we spread on the way
There is a wonder and wildness to life
And freedom for those who obey

Forget not the hope that's before you
And never stop counting the cost

Something about eternity stranded in time but I cannot remember the rest of the words. It has been so long since I last listened to it. I will put it on my iPod since I have the CD!

There is a joy in my heart this morning. Maybe I should change the name of my blog to Joy in the Journey instead of the "The Well" although wellness is so much what I am about in all dimensions: physical, spiritual, mental, emotional. But joy has been the bi-product of that journey to wellness. What to do. 

Song of Joy - do you know that my dad changed my name in my mother's drug induced state following labor? I believe that You, my Heavenly Father, had a hand in putting that name in the heart of my earthly father (bless his wonderful, big, brawny, 6'8" soul). I was supposed to be a "Karen" (means "pure one"), but he took one look at me and saw I was a Carol and told my mom so, and she was too drugged to disagree (not that she would, my dad had a habit of being so lovingly convincing - man I miss him)!

In Your providence, You allowed that to happen so that I could be Carol - Song of Joy, and it is a perfect name. On top of that, unbeknownst (I had never spelled that word, and I love the way it is spelled, btw) to my dear dad, he was giving me the feminine form of his name, Charles! Something I would not find out until after he died (Pancreatic cancer, May 2, 1985). Then, the icing on the cake is that it is an inverted, Americanized form of my Swedish grandmother's name: Anna Karolina, and I am Carol Ann. When I was in Spain, they called me Carolina. How dear! So very dear. 

I have a busy Saturday. Heather is visiting from China and will be here until Wednesday, but I assume she will be in and out visiting people. She has grown so exponentially. I am so impressed and happy for her. :) She is going back to China for another year and has seemed to really find a niche and some great friends there. YAY! I love to here when people are doing WELL!

We also have a Memorial Service and a dinner at Syberus with the Southworths (an alliterative dinner!). 

Well, the clock is almost out, but I want to say that I started my day out sort of strange. I had already prepared the spices in the pot for my my homemade chai, but when I got up this morning, there was no milk. I attempted to make it with powdered, and it was TERRIBLE (I threw it away because I think it has spoiled)! SO my sweet, wonderful husband went out at 5:45 in the morning to get me my skim milk!  

I love that man. ALL is right with the world now. Back to uploading my new BodyMedia software for my BodyBugg. They gave me a refund for this month since their website is being wonky for me. 


Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Freewrite Fifteen

I know I said I wasn't going to freewite today, but it is FRIDAY by golly, and what is a Friday without a Friday Freewrite Fifteen. I need to do it for no other reason that alliteration is my favorite thing to do with words. :)

I also like to record when I get one of those Holy Spirit waves coming over me, and I just had one. I am in the "Passion" of the Christ in Messiah right now meditating on "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world," and I just had to pause. I cannot write my "mind meditation" (for my headier readers who might want to have more of a background of the verse - I like them by the way. I am by no means a "heady" person, but I do think that knowing the context of an isolated verse brings richness to my heart and life). Just reading about John the Baptist announcing Jesus that way to all who would hear.  He was that "voice crying in the wilderness" that said to "prepare the way of the Lord." It all ties together with the Part I of Messiah. Then, Jesus comes. "Preparing the way" in that context of Isaiah 40 was likened to preparing the way for a coming King. That is what the Jews thought that He would be, but what a turn on the head kind of thing for John the Baptist, that lone voice in the wilderness saying, "Behold the LAMB OF GOD." Jews would have known that the LAMB meant death, blood, sacrifice. What about the coming King? Why did John the Baptist say that? I am sure they were scratching their heads in amazement. 

But John was a prophet of God. He was speaking under His direction. He did not even fully understand what he was saying because later, from prison, He would say, "Hey, are you the guy we have been waiting for all these years or should be keep on waiting for someone else?"  

This blows my mind. The LAMB of GOD. Messiah masterfully starts with the chorus with people saying it over and over and over BEHOLD the LAMB of GOD. I love how it washes over you in wave upon wave of voices. Tumbling down. 

What a price He had to pay. 

Well, that was nice to get that all out of my heart! Maybe I will use it for the Bible Book Club. Freewrites are so great because you are not writing for anyone and just letting your fingers do the walking.

I am starved. I think I am in a big calorie deficit from that bit bike ride. I should have brought some food with me for munching out in the hall, but I never got around to it, and I do not want to have to pack my bags up and go somewhere to eat with the bikes and everything in the cab of the truck (we are going back to Corvallis tonight after George finishes work). It is getting too hot to walk somewhere right now. I suppose I could walk on the shady side of Brookwood to a place. I also do not want to lose my pristine place in the QUIET reading room because it is starting to fill up in here as the thermometer climbs.  It is supposed to be 88 degrees today!

This is a true freewrite. I have run out of things to say but will keep typing for 55 more seconds. LOL! 

I am ready to go back to writing now. YAY! :) I hope to get through the "Passion" Scene 1 today, but that is a very optimist thing. I do know that if I do that, I will halfway through the movements, and I am ALL THE WAY through this freewrite.


Banks to Vernonia Bike Date Night

I always say, "I will follow him anywhere." 
I won't freewrite, but I will just post some pictures and commentary on our wonderful 30 mile "bike date" through the beautiful farmland and forest between Banks and Vernonia. It is a slight grade for about four miles. Then, it is the grade you see here for another seven miles. Then, you go up the "Hilltop" switchbacks. The sign even says to walk your bike up these, but George did not. I would have not done it either, but I did not gear down quickly enough before the first switch back and found myself stuck in the 3-5 gear (should be 1-1)!  So, I gladly walked up and almost went as fast as George riding in that lowest gear. :)

At about 11.5 miles, you start going on a low grade downhill. We looked at our watch and realized that if we did the full 21 miles, we were not going to make it back to the parking lot before it closed at 9 pm. If we had started just 1/2 hour earlier, we would have made it, but we didn't know that the parking lot closed at that time until after we got there. So, we gladly turned around right at the edge of the Banks-Vernonia State Park and turned around. We were happy with our decision.

The best news is that I burned 3363 calories yesterday. I do think that this is a record for me since I have been wearing the BodyBugg! I also had 4 hours worth of activity. Burn baby burn!

This has been on my "Bucket List" for maybe five years. So, it was fun to do that. We might just go to Vernonia and cover the 10-12 miles we missed by turning around to say we did the whole thing! LOL!

The trail over the train trestle was quite impressive
(I have a better picture with the nice camera, but I will add this iPhone unprocessed one for now!)

The Home Stretch!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Today's Writing Place

I did a thirteen minute freewrite, but this wireless pooped out on me, and I lost everything that I just wrote.

No matter. I am flex!

Here is my writing location:

The View from Carol's Carrel
at Pacific University, Forest Grove

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wednesday Freewrite

I really want to get to writing but I will warm up my fingers with a ten minute freewrite, just for fun.

It has been a more social visiting week up in Newberg/Hillsboro. We got here on Monday morning, and it was raining so I went to Starbuck's right near George's work and actually ordered a COFFEE latte. If you know me, I kinda' detest coffee (love the smell), but for some weird reason I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. So, I ordered one.

Not exactly my favorite, but it did cause me to sip very slowly. The only other time I have actually downed a WHOLE cup of coffee was when I did the Beaver Freezer Triathlon in 2011, and the experts said it would give me a KICK. It did. I won first place in my age division for my first (and last) triathlon. YAY! (Probably more than just the coffee, but I digress).

I finished a post I had started the day before (Malachi 3:1-3 on the refiner's fire and purifying the sons of Levi). Then, I packed up and found a wonderful spot at the library: the QUIET Reading Room, and it was actually really quiet. The same people were in there most of the time including this adorable Muslim lady who was reading everything quietly out loud to herself and smiling the whole time. I wondered if she was studying English, and I wanted to take a break and tell her she could practice with me, but I didn't and went right on writing and writing. I got  three more posts done by 4:30 pm. WOOHOO!

Then, George and I went the flat way home toward McMinnville to pick up Lorraine to take her out for her birthday. We went to Thai food, but it was closed so George's mom said that Tina's was good. OH MY -- for about three times the price per entree! OUCH! We were taking them out for their mutual birthdays (George's mom turned 84 and Lorraine turned 88 on the same day, June 20), but when they saw the prices they offered to help pay. YIKES, and it really wasn't that great. I am willing to pay that much for Nick's Italian Cafe in McMinnville but not Tina's. Sorry.

We got home, and George and his mom chatted, but I fell asleep by 9:30 pm. My theory is that coffee gives you a jolt in the morning, but it leaves you with a big crash by nighttime. Note to self: Do not get addicted to coffee and stick with homemade chai tea.

Speaking of chai tea (one of my favorite subjects), I woke up before the birds at 4:42 am and went and fixed my homemade stuff because I brought all the fixings this time from home! Then, I nestled down mother-in-law's comfy basement starting off the day worshipping God as I read:

Glory to God in the highest! 

And peace on earth
Goodwill towards men.

and listened to the Messiah (another one of my favorite subjects); writing on my Facebook page:

Nothing like Messiah in the morning (and back to homemade chai, by the way).
The Fifth Season: A Daughter-in-Law's Memoir of CaregivingMother-in-law fixed us a wonderful egg and turkey bacon breakfast, and we were off. George dropped me off to meet Lisa, my author friend from Oregon State days (Actually, she is the one George was with at the missions conference when I first really thought, "He is gorgeous!" and stared at him the whole time because he was right in front of me. ). Speaking of gorgeous, Lisa is a gorgeous writer! Her book is to the left and coming out in September. If you have ever done caregiving for a dying parent or are anticipating it, this book will be so beneficial for you! 

Lisa took me to The Coffee Cottage, and we drank hot beverages (Earl Grey this time) and talked for four hours! It seems like we haven't really seen each other in about two years, and she was very busy writing her latest book. Did I mention Lisa was a gorgeous writer?

Then we went to the Thai restaurant because it was closed the night before, and I was craving Thai food only to be disappointed the evening before. We stayed there another couple of hour and finished our day at the George Fox University library writing. Then she brought me home, and I chatted with dear mother-in-law and then read Lisa's book on mil's BIG covered deck. Lisa is definitely a gorgeous writer just in case I didn't mention that yet.

Then Georgie Porgy came home and we went out to dinner with Tim and Katherine. Tim is George's best friend from high school (He has three: his brother, James, and Tim). They ordered this most excellent appetizer:

Hazelnuts (Oregon specialty), bacon, and rosemary OH MY! So good. We laughed and talked, and then Katherine said she wanted to walk the Camino de Santiago. I almost had a heart attack. I lived in Santiago 30 years ago, and I have always wanted to do this! So, we all toasted and decided that we would do it in 2014. Are we crazy or what????  Bucket list dreaming! Returning to that place would be SO MOVING for me!!! Such a terribly hard time in such a beautiful place (I was a nanny there October - December 1982 at the tender age of 23).


After this, we went to see Tim and Katherine's cows that they can't move from another guy's land. So CUTE!!!
After gourmet dessert at Tim and Katherine's (She is the BOMB when it comes to all things related to food.), we came back to mil's house and read. I am reading this book by this gorgeous writer named Lisa Ohlen Harris. Have I mentioned her yet?

Oh, one thing I did not mention is SWEET Adriana from Classical Quest wrote this really lovely post about me. I am so honored and humbled. WOW!

So, this morning I got up for another homemade chai and Messiah and off to work with George. The library does not open until 10 so I walked to Orenco Station and back and listened to more Messiah and the Scripture that goes with it (Have I mentioned that I am doing this because I am writing a Christmas devotional on the Messiah? Also, I am doing it because I love the Messiah.). I ended up doing perk near 10,000 steps, and that is good because I hardly did ANY walking or working out yesterday! Now there is a "Rock and Roll" kiddie program next store, but I am not hearing anything too loud from the QUIET Reading Room.

Oh, TOMORROW, it is supposed to finally stop raining, and George and I will do the Banks to Vernonia Rails-to-Trails route after work. This is another thing on my Bucket List. Last time we did a long trail ride (28 miles round trip) was in 2011 when we just kept going from Lake Sammamish to Lake Washington on our free rental one speed Desani cruisers!

This was 20 more pounds ago by the way! 
It is going to be a lot easier to do the round trip from Banks to Vernonia with our mountain bikes. WOOHOO! It is supposed to be 81 degree tomorrow too. 

One more thing (VERY LONG FREEWRITE). Dee is up in Forest Grove Wednesday - Friday so we are also going to go out to a Hillsboro tea room on Thursday or Friday! YAY! 

Well, I better get going. The cute Muslim lady just walked in! YAY!

I am poised and ready to work on Messiah and those shepherds abiding in the fields watching their flocks by night. WOOHOO!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

40. The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma

My friend, Terri, recommended this heartwarming book. I listened to the audiobook version, and the narrators were excellent. Who wouldn't love a book about a father instilling a love for literature in the heart of his daughter by a nightly reading "streak" that lasted 9 years? 

Almost halfway through the book, I realized that the author was also the narrator. She was great! What a talented young woman and also an endearing story about a girl and her single-parent dad. 

My husband and I always joke that the one thing that we did "right" as parents was that we read aloud to them long after the "standard" time. We think that my oldest was about 17 or 18 and youngest 14 or 15 when we quit (mainly because they started going to bed WAY later than us!). 

As a result of reading this book, last night we had a fond time remembering those mornings with me (always looking to see if I could make it through the WHOLE book without crying - never) and evenings with dad (always looking to see if he could make it through the whole reading time without yawning - never). 

I have a list of all the read-alouds from 2002 (other years I just combined them within my own reading list). The numbered ones were my read-alouds, and the symbol ones were George's:

Kid’s Read Alouds

1. 100 Dresses
§ Box Car Children
§ Granny Hans Breakfast
2. Alice in Wonderland
3. Peter Pan
4. Twenty and Ten
5. Jame’s Herriott’s Treasury
§ Surprise Island
§ Yellow House Mystery
6. In Grandma’s Attic
7. Johnny Appleseed
§ The Story of Dr. Doolittle
§ Children’s Book of Virtue
8. Richard Scarry’s Please and Thank You Book
9. Capybobby
§ Mystery Ranch
§ Mike’s Mystery
10. Heidi
§ Prehistoric Pinkerton
§ Be A Wolf!
11. The Hidden Jewel
12. Centerburg Tales (On tape)
13. Kidnapped by River Rats
14. Homer Price
15. Oh, The Place’s He Went
§ Prince and the Pauper
16. The Story of the World Volume 1: Ancient Times by Susan Wise-Bauer
§ Fables
§ Leif Erikson
§ Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest
§ Minstrel in the Town
§ All the Tin-Tin Books
17. Follow My Leader

(This didn't include all the science books that I read for homeschool.)

And one last thing, a picture of my precious man reading to my precious boys in 2007:

Friday, June 21, 2013

39. Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin

"To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition,
 the end to which every enterprise and labour tends, 
and of which every desire prompts the prosecution."

Johnson: Rambler #68 (November 10, 1750)

I wrote my thoughts on this book yesterday in a freewrite, but in case you do not read them (who would?), this is what I said:

I am listening to this book called Happier at Home by a woman who apparently wrote another book called The Happiness Project. I only came upon it because I was looking for a book by Samuel Johnson in my library, and since she read Samuel Johnson and has it as part of her subtitle, this book popped up.  
I am reading the sequel, but it is speaking to me. Mostly confirming what I have already discovered on my own.  I think this lady and I are a lot alike. So, that is fun. 
She was just talking about routines as I was making my chai tea which is one of my routines! I make it and usually listen to a book as I make it. Then I sit down to write for the whole morning (with a walk around the block for inspiration and back relief). I am not usually a "routine" kind of gal, but she said that is important, and I am glad that I am doing something important.
I really, really liked this book. As you might notice, I have read two "memoirs" in a row. I like women's memoirs quite a bit. It is not my "Happiness Project," but as she says in the preface to her first book (that I am now reading but cannot listen to because my library doesn't have it on audio - boohoo):
During my study of happiness, I noticed something that surprised me: I often learn more from one person's highly idiosyncratic experiences than I do from sources that detail universal principles or cite up-to-date  studies. I find greater value in what specific individuals tell me worked for them than in any other kind of argument -- and that's true even when we seem to have nothing in common. In my case, for example, I would never have supposed that a witty lexicographer with Tourette's syndrome, a twenty-something tubercular saint a hypocritical Russian novelist, and one of the Founding Fathers would be my most helpful guides -- but so it happened.

That "witty lexicographer with Tourette's syndrome" is Samuel Johnson and the whole reason I read this book in the first place. This book is poignant and insightful in all the right places. She and I are so much alike. I am an under-buyer, (A favorite quote from both my husband and best friend is, "Carol, you can afford this.") decorator hater, and lover of Johnson too.  While I am not afraid of it, I HATE to drive! :) 

There is so much to love about this book. I will stop. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thursday Thirteen Freewrite

Technically, I am on vacation this whole week even though we needed to come back in order for Paul to get his wisdom teeth out. But I feel like writing today. "Those who walk in darkness have seen a great light" echoes through my heart this morning, and I feel like doing some "Messiah Musings" to finish up the year on my Bible Book Club Blog. My back is sort of wonky. So, I am not using this week off to do any lifting or heavy exercises. Just walking.

I am listening to this book called Happier at Home by a woman who apparently wrote another book called The Happiness Project. I only came upon it because I was looking for a book by Samuel Johnson in my library, and since she read Samuel Johnson and has it as part of her subtitle, this book popped up. 

I am reading the sequel, but it is speaking to me. Mostly confirming what I have already discovered on my own.  I think this lady and I are a lot alike. So, that is fun.

She was just talking about routines as I was making my chai tea which is one of my routines! I make it and usually listen to a book as I make it. Then I sit down to write for the whole morning (with a walk around the block for inspiration and back relief). I am not usually a "routine" kind of gal, but she said that is important, and I am glad that i am doing something important.

Well, this was supposed to be thirteen minutes, but I do not feel like writing anymore and getting to the Messiah. :)

Bye without a proofread.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Freewrite Fifteen on a Wednesday Morning

I am not doing writing for Messiah Meditations until I get the 1.2 pounds that I am over what I say I will be if I spend time doing cerebral and sedentary things. So, I puttered quite a bit this morning, but I cannot believe it is still morning! I straightened up the whole house and then the cleaners came and my house is spotless. Michael started the laundry.

I will stand and watch my Handel videos for my research for writing my book on Handel's Messiah Meditations. New project but it is at the tail end of the BBC journey, but I am giving myself until the end of the year to complete it since it will be fun to drag it out until Christmas. :) The pre-research reading and watching has been great too. I am learning quite a bit about Handel.

My back muscles are really tight (not out) on my left side from between the shoulder blades to the mid back. I think it was from a fall on the snow on Saturday.  Totally worth it. I moved my preventative appointment for next week up to tomorrow. I wanted to do that anyway so I could go up to Newberg with George next week. I think Paul will be fine getting to and from his class since it is at the Benton Center, and Michael will be here with the car to help him out if he gets in a bind. I need to have that balance between daily care of the kids and daily care of my George! It is his turn, and the only way to do that will be if I go with him to Newberg/Hillsboro next week.  Hopefully, I will be down that 1.2 pounds so that I can write all week. If not, I will just walk and look for houses there. Not that we will buy, but I thought I would look just in case we do decide to move eventually.  I want to go there also because the next week, Heather will be here, and I will not be able to go there.  As it stands, I will not be there when she first arrives in Corvallis as we will not leave Hillsboro until Friday night, and I think she is thinking of arriving earlier than that on the same day. We will see.

Paul's wisdom tooth removal was perfect. No problems, and we could have maybe gone on vacation this week rather than last week, but we didn't know that, and Paul said he would not have wanted to have to hassle all the pills while on vacation. He is asking questions about everything, and it reminds me of his constant questions when he was four years old.

Well, I am a bit hungry, but I am going to wait until lunchtime to go eat. Trying to stay under 1600 calories a day and doing really well on that front. Allowing myself half a Ritter Sport Chocolate Biscuit each day too. Perfect!  I am hungrier than yesterday but maybe a walk will curb that craving. The goal is still MAINTENANCE of this weight loss, and I have kept this off for 3 1/2 months now WOOHOO! Must keep diligent and pull it in after vacations where all caution has been thrown to the wind. :) Maybe I will go see Jane's baby on my walk. She never called or emailed to say she had it. Must be a Chinese things because Americans make a formal announcement to their friends.

Well I have 1:37 minutes and the phone is ringing. So I best be going. Nothing important to report so this is a rather boring freewrite. Michael answered it, and I think it might be for him? He isn't clomping up the stairs to bring me the phone.  So must be.  Also the sun is back out again. Maybe a walk to HP pond is in order today? That will give me a calorie burn goal accomplishment!

Monday, June 17, 2013

38. Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth

I became interested in this book because I love the PBS Series, and I was NOT disappointed! I started it on my vacation and finished it less than 24 hours later, devouring every page.

Worth is a master storyteller and draws you right into the drama of everyday life in the East End of London in the 1950's. 

I must caution you though: It is not for the faint-at-heart. Her descriptions are pretty graphic, especially when she tells the story of "Mary" and prostitution on Cable Street. It moved me to compassion for those who get caught up with any kind of sex trade trafficking!

I did love reading the stories about the sisters at Nonnatus House, especially Sister Monica Joan. I laughed out loud on several occasions (really bad when you are in one room in a rental forest cabin with your family when they are trying to sleep).

For the most part, I think PBS has been really true to the most of the stories in the book with minor changes. One thing the PBS series has not yet touched on (and I hope they do) is Worth's spiritual transformation that takes place as a result of living with the Anglican nuns of Nonnatus. The most beautiful lines in the book read:

Now and then in life, love catches you unawares, illuminating the dark corners of your mind, and filling them with radiance. Once in a while you are faced with a beauty and a joy that takes your soul, all unprepared, by assault. As I cycled around that morning, I knew that I loved not only Sister Monica Joan, but all that she represented: her religion, her vocation, her monastic profession, the bells, the constant prayers within the convent, the quietness, and the selfless work in the service of God. Was it perhaps -- and I nearly fell off my bike with shock -- could it be the love of God? p.313
Sister Monica Joan also said something profound a few pages later:
"Questions, questions -- you wear me out with your questions child. Find out for yourself -- we all have to in the end. No one can give you faith. It is a gift from God alone. Seek and ye shall find. Read the Gospels. There is no other way. Do not pester me with your everlasting questions. Go with God child: just go with God." . . . 
Her constant phrase, "Go with God", had puzzled me a good deal. Suddenly it came clear. It was a revelation -- acceptance. It filled me with joy. Accept life, the world, Spirit, God, call it what you will, and all else will follow. I had been groping for years to understand, or at least to come to terms with the meaning of life. These three small words "Go with God", were for me the beginning of faith.
That evening, I started to read the Gospels. p.319 

37. Watership Down by Richard Adams

I feel like the narrator, Ralph Cosham, and I are old friends, as he has narrated several books I have read. He is an excellent reader, doing all the different voices for the characters in this book.

This is an adventure novel. Some people think it is allegorical, but the author emphasizes that it is not a statement about anything other than a story he made for his children while traveling. He is obviously a well-read person who weaves in great quotes from literature into the beginning of each chapter. Loved that the last one had a Jane Austen quote!

We have a population explosion of rabbits in my neighborhood this spring. They are everywhere in our yard. I will never look at rabbits the same way again! 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thursday Thirteen Freewrite

I have not done one of these in the longest time. I have been working so diligently on finishing up the Bible Book Club. Actually, I reached the end of Revelation last Friday! YAY! I just had to edit old posts from Colossians on and was not going to schedule the repost until closer to the date they actually post; but I decided it would save me more time if I could just edit and repost at the same time. So, I am done with that. But then I realized in all the finishing, that I had skipped 3 John altogether! Such a small book, but it is significant because the first inductive study I ever did (July 1977) was on 3 John! (I wanted a short book to start with!).  How appropriate that I would end my study through Scripture where I started! I do believe that is a GOD thing, and I have been looking for that 1977 study. I saved it for years, and I am sure it is somewhere in all my papers. If I find it, I will take a picture and put it in the post. LOL! 

Anyway, I plan on pushing the button for 3 John (have not written it yet) at 9:34 am on June 15, 2013 making it exactly 2000 days to the minute since I posted my first post for the Bible Book Club. What is weird is that original has had 2000 pageviews too! Am I a nerd or WHAT! LOL!

Now, I am digging deeply in Handel's Messiah as a review of the Bible Book Club having already completed my Jesse Tree review in ONE DAY (I worked for about 15 hours straight)! Handel's Messiah will take me much longer (I am only on Movement 5 and there are 53), but I have 25 weeks before it posts! So I think I am safe on that score.

I had this fleeting thought: What if this has been a complete waste of time? I mean really? Altogether, I think it is about 1000 posts (if you include Overviews and Intros that were separate posts) of Bible! Probably 3000 hours of labor. Probably more as the average post takes almost 3 hours, but some of them took up to all day as I mused and 

There is the timer. I am done with thirteen minutes, and I am going to stop.

(Hey, I just noticed it was a THursday THirteen on the THirteenth! LOL!)

Friday, June 07, 2013

BHAG #2 COMPLETE: Bible Book Club

YAY! My journey of blogging through the Bible is complete.

Doing the happy dance!!! Two BHAGS complete in one week!

I am undone!

(Just need to edit a few old posts and repost them to be TOTALLY complete, and I am waiting until June 16 when it will exactly 2000 since I started writing. Such number nerd.)


I have 27 verses left! (Revelation 21)

Revelation 8 went lickety split this Wednesday morning (5:30 - 6:45 am)! But Dr. Wilbur M. Smith wrote: “It is probable that, apart from the exact identification of Babylon in Revelation 17 and 18, the meaning of the two judgments in this chapter represents the most difficult major problem in the Revelation” (Wycliffe Bible Commentary,p. 1509). 

Oh joy! But I see the finish line. On June 15, 2013, it will be 2000 days since the inauguration of the Bible Book Club and despite the challenge of Revelation (and especially chapter 7, I am pressing on!!!!

Update: Finished it with no problem. People are praying!
Update: Divine wrath is hard to swallow (Revelation 16)
Update: Revelation 20 was a killer with the whole pre-post-a- millennial stuff!!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

36. Selected Essays from the "Rambler", "Adventurer" and "Idler" by Samuel Johnson

I am so glad I let Samuel Johnson have the last word on this long classics journey! (See previous post)

"That the mind of man is never satisfied with the objects immediately before it, but it always breaking away from the present moment, and losing itself in schemes of future felicity; and that we forget the proper use of the time now in our power . . ." (No. 2)

"To a community, sedition is a fever, corruption a gangrene, and idleness an atrophy."  

"In the bottle discontent seeks for comfort, cowardice for courage, and bashfulness for confidence." 

Wise words from a very wise man. This is NO JOKE, the whole time I was reading his essays, I kept on thinking of the Greek word for wisdom, sophron, to describe Samuel Johnson, and low and behold, one of the last essays I read was on prudence where the character's name is SOPHRON! 

Johnson is well worth reading!

I had to giggle at this particular review of Johnson on Amazon:

5.0 out of 5 stars Beef Up Your English June 16, 2007 
By Captain Coo 
OK, I'll admit it... When I dropped out of high school at the tender age of 14 for a career of glue-sniffing and joy-riding round the graffiti-sprayed council estates of my native Irvine, I was a 'seven-stone weakling' in terms of using the English language. 
Brought up on a diet of comic books, tabloid newspapers, and football magazines (Shoot, Match Weekly, etc) and 'educated' in a Socialist-inspired 'comprehensive' school, I wasn't really equipped for my future career as an international journalist. But then something very strange and bewitching happened - I discovered 'THE DOCTOR,' as we acolytes refer to him, and started mentally working out on his long, finely wrought sentences. 
At first, each seemingly interminable sentence was like trying to swim the English Channel - I thought I would drown before reaching the other end - but, somehow, I survived and found myself on dry land, confused and wet, but nevertheless alive and raring to have another go. 
In the months that followed, the good doctor's erudite style became Mother's milk to me as I progressively beefed up my English. This enabled me to grab a place at the prestigious university of Thames Polytechnic and, then, on graduation, to a career writing for a wide range of excellent publications, including Riff Raff, Tokyo Notice Board, and the Wall Street Journal. 
The great thing about THE DOCTOR's prose is that he uses a disproportionate number of abstract nouns, which means you have to mentally provide your own examples. At first this can be extremely challenging, but if you stick with it, your brain will become, as mine has, a potent and expressive tool.

(I believe he is making a comparison with Doctor Who when he refers to Johnson as "THE DOCTOR."  This guy is obviously a Brit. So, this made me smile. :)  

BHAG COMPLETE: 287 Classics in 555 Weeks


Started: Wednesday, October 16, 2002 
Completed: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 
at 3:33 PM.

287 books in 3885 days or 
10 years, 7 months, 20 days or . . . 
  • 555 weeks
  • 93,240 hours
  • 5,594,400 minutes
  • 335,664,000 seconds
How appropriate to start and end this journey with the Invitation to the Classics List (85 books).

In between, I read The Well-Educated Mind (154 books) and The Book of Great Books: A Guide to 100 World Classics (104 books if you count sequels and trilogies). Minus the overlap on each list that is 287 
books! (press links to see the lists)

Here is the entire list compiled:


My love for classical literature came very late in life! It was 1996, and I happened by a PBS performance of a musical: Les Miserables. I was enthralled and told my mother-in-law how much it moved me. She went back to her bedroom and returned with the book, Les Miserables, in a thick paperback. I couldn't put it down. I wept through the last fifteen pages in June of 1996 and did not want it to end. On my birthday, the next month, I was at a live performance of the musical. From then on, I was hooked on the classics! 

When I came back from Malaysia in 1999, my friend, Teala, invited me over to  watch what everyone else watched while I was away: Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth! What a delight! But the book is always better than the movie so shortly after that, I visited my mom in California and she got the book for me from her library. OH MY! 

We traveled all over the West throughout the spring and summer, telling people about our time in Malaysia. During our nomadic wanderings, I gobbled up all five additional Austen novels. 

Prior to that, despite having a master's degree, the only classics I had ever read were The Great Gatsby and Siddhartha during my freshman year in high school (1974). I did NOT get those books, I was too young to understand them! 

When we settled back to the States, and I started home educating, I wanted a semi-classical education for my kids. I also wanted to do the four year cycle of history suggested by The Well-Trained Mind and to integrate the literature of the time period we were studying. Somehow, I ran across Invitation to the Classics and David Denby's Great Books in my library, and these books inspired me to read the classics in an orderly way in order to be a good example for my kids; picking and choosing which ones I would have them read.

I had already read a few books on the Invitation to the Classics (ITC) list before the "official" start of this journey on October 16, 2002 (Pride and Prejudice, Pilgrim's Progress, Beowulf, Inferno, and Letters and Papers from Prison). So when I ordered my own copy of ITC, I also ordered The Brothers Karamazov (Read Oct 2002), Purgatorio (October 2002)and The Bacchae (Nov 2002)

A year later, The Well-Educated Mind came out, and I switched to that list. This one took me almost 8 years to complete. Then, I did the 100 World Classics and finished this journey back where I started with Invitation to the Classics! 

Words cannot describe how much I learned. Maybe I will write a book about my journey someday!

But for right now, I am going to rest and bask in the accomplishment!!!

Doing the happy dance!!!

June 24, 2009 When I Completed the Ancients List of The Well-Educated Mind
(See My Photo Set in My Last Post or HERE)

By the way, in the midst of all of this, I started a classics book club with four other women with the original intent of reading the books from the list. But some did not like the books from the list. So we read other classics. That combined with the classics I read "off list" on my own, I have read 320 classics since 1996.

Here is the "off list":

Les Miserables
Silas Marner
Catcher in the Rye
Little Women
Little Men
Jo's Boys
Wives and Daughters
The Picture of Dorian Grey
Tale of Two Cities
Captains Courageous
Man's Search for Meaning (Babes)
The Alchemist (Babes)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Much Ado About Nothing
Wuthering Heights
A Room with a View
Passage to India
Northanger Abbey
Sense and Sensibility
Mansfield Park
Three Musketeers
Hound of the Baskervilles
Atonement (considered a modern classic)
A Prayer for Owen Meany (modern classic)
Cry, the Beloved Country
The Scarlet Pimpernel
The Count of Monte Cristo
Gone with the Wind
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
To Kill a Mockingbird

Classics Journey

A Goal Achieved!6 - Epiphany Book ClubWeek 6: I Love My LifeSlavery in AmericaMellow DayListening to LibriVox Uncle Tom's Cabin
RomanticismPain and Eugene O'NeillFinished with The Well-Educated Mind Dramas! American Literature AftermathWorking Through The Tome
My Early Birthday PresentGarden Book Club Tea PartyHe is just "As I Like Him"11 - The Calamitous 14th Century56 - Major Tome Finished!180 - TWEM Reading
269 - Litte By Little Gets the Book Done284 - Finished The New England Mind306 - Goal Achieved!10 - Project 365 for 2008 & 201139 - Reading for the Plane43 - In Honor of Dickens' 200th Birthday

Classics Journey, a set on Flickr.

BHAGs Almost Finished!!!!

Invitation to the Classics: Selected Essays of Samuel Johnson - 25 pages left!
Bible Book Club: 7.5 chapters in Revelation left (1/2 of 7; 8-9; 14-16; 20-21)!  


Here I go for fifteen minutes. I did not do the fifteen-minute freewrite Friday as I thought. And I totally missed this last Friday. So, I a...