27 December 2010

Grandbaby alert!

My dear daughter, Micah, (and youngest child at age 19) just announced that she and her hubby, Adam, are expecting a little babe on August 16, 2011! My baby's having a baby!! :*D Of course, the event has been duly announced on Facebook. What an age we live in!

Micah on right, with brother Jordan.

23 December 2010

It's just not Christmas without this song...

...sung by this particular man! Talk about anointed. I cry like a baby and can't even sing along because I'm so choked up! ;-)

Of course, you can see it better on YouTube and here are the lyrics if you want to TRY to sing along!

Mary did you know that your baby boy will some day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you've kissed the face of God.

The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the Lamb---.

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is Heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great--I--AM---.

15 December 2010

Little Nathan Aslan Richards' first Christmas...

Are you crying, Grandbaby Nathan? Don't like that big Santa hat? :-/
(No, I'm told by his mom that his dad is holding him up in the air and he's giggling!)

Finished with finals!

Another semester under my belt. Now to enjoy Christmas break!

21 November 2010

cute little cousins...circa 1984...

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My son, Jordan, in the front at about 2 years of age. Other cousins, left to right, Jeremy, Jason and Kimberly. (Son Josh was a new baby and probably inside.)

04 November 2010

Decorating for Christmas early!


HOW VERY ENGLISH! (Wouldn't it be fun to sing in this church?)


28 October 2010

My ever changing point-of-view on the universe...

***I told God, "I really hate this stuff! I hate chopping the body up into little pieces and examining and analyzing how each cell works. I'm more of a poetic, romantic type who would like to keep some of the mystery in life. Can I survive a nursing course with that attitude?"***

That's an excerpt from my September 12th post. I can't believe how my attitude has changed in six short weeks! Yes, Anatomy and Physiology is still my hardest class and I have to study hard to memorize all of the information, but I'm SO impressed with God! How can anyone study the inner workings of the human body and not glorify God! We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Each little cell and each little organism within the cell knows exactly what to do to keep the body alive and functioning. No amount of evolution could have produced even a single cell; only a Great Designer, far more intelligent than we can even comprehend, could have done this. Of course, I already believed this, but I REALLY believe it after seeing what miraculous things happen inside of this body He created. Then there's the rest of the universe...

17 September 2010

Fall has fallen...

The air is getting cool and dry and it feels good to start up the woodstove in the morning to take the chill off of the house.

It's dusk right now and I just started the fire again. There's a definite tang in the air! I've been studying a lot today. Another test in A&P on Tuesday. I'm not dreading it as much this time. I got good grades on both of my Psyc tests and my A&P test last week. Computer Fundamentals is kind of fun. We're making brochures and flyers, something I never tried before. I'm also enjoying Nature Writers, a literature course involving reading a lot of writing by naturalists and nature lovers of old. It's a pretty laid back course, which is nice.

Well, I'm off to do some more reading! Enjoy Fall!

12 September 2010

Crying Over A & P...

Seriously, I just plunked down my Anatomy and Physiology book and had a good boo-hoo. I told God I really hate this stuff! I hate chopping the body up into little pieces and examining and analyzing how each cell works. I'm more of a poetic, romantic type who would like to keep some of the mystery in life. Can I survive a nursing course with that attitude?

Well, after I had a good cry and washed my face, I felt a lot better. I spent some time outside feeding one of the barn cats and her kittens and just enjoying the sunshine and drinking in the greenery of the woods around me. After a little time doing human things and enjoying nature I was ready for another go at A&P. I have a test on Wednesday on things we've done in the lab portion of the class. I also have tests in both of my psychology classes between now and Wednesday! Thankfully, one is open book and the other teacher allows us to bring in as many notes as we can on a 4"x6" card. I'm going to write very small!

To answer my own question, no, I probably wouldn't survive this nursing course if I thought for a minute I would end up working in a hospital the rest of my life. Though I may have to do some training in the hospital, home-health nursing is what I really want to do, and I have to keep reminding myself that this is the only way to get there. If all else fails, I can always be a home-health aide instead. I want to help people to be able to stay at home rather than going to a nursing home. I think that would be rewarding.

Off to study some psychology! (Or maybe visit a couple of blogs first!)

28 August 2010

Finished my first two Developmental Psyc papers!

Woo-hoo! I'm exulting over just finishing my first two papers for Developmental Psychology. They were sort of a mental hurdle I was having trouble even beginning. But the Lord gave me the words and I even got a little testimony in there. (They had to ask whether religion or spirituality is decided more by nature or nurture. They opened the door right up!)

My instructor calls these 250-500 word essays "comments", which makes them sound so easy. I'm going to call them "papers", because I worked HARD on them and want them to sound more important, lol!

Just taking a snack break and then I'm back to the old study. Gotta get outdoors and soak in a little sunshine for a few minutes, at least!

Bye y'all!

27 August 2010

First week of fall semester comes to an end...

Five classes and five teachers, each with their own style and agenda. It can be mind boggling! I'm still sorting through all the online syllubus(es)(i)(?), handouts, audio lectures, virtual flashcards, course schedules, ad nauseum. And that doesn't even include the textbooks, study guides and lab manuals! It may take me a few weeks to really feel like I have a handle on how to use all of these resources, so I'll try to relax and keep an eternal perspective. That always helps!

After the first day of classes I decided that taking two science classes with labs back-to-back just wasn't going to work. I gave it some thought, made an appointment with my advisor and told her I was switching to the LPN track and dropping Chemistry, which isn't a requirement for LPN's. We replaced that class with another psychology class, so now I have introductory psychology and developmental psychology, anatomy and physiology, a literature class and a computer fundamentals class. I think this is a do-able, though certainly not easy schedule.

I have a great bunch of teachers. Not a sour puss among them!

I had a long day at the deli, so I'm going to bed early and then tomorrow I'm going to re-attack my homework. I have lots to do, so I'd better not procrastinate!


20 August 2010

Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

This is one of those rare books that really makes you think and then makes you want to change how you relate to God.

Donald Miller is so willing to be transparent and vulnerable about his own life. His style is casual and often humorous. My 28 year old son, Jordan, loaned me this book and I'm so glad he did. Blue Like Jazz has a stream-of-consciousness sort of feel to it. It breaks many of the rules I'm learning in college writing classes and I think it's great! I found so many quotable passages reading through it that I'm not sure where to begin, but I'll try to choose a few to whet the reader's appetite.


"I wonder what it would be like to use food stamps for a month. I wonder how that would feel, standing in line at the grocery store, pulling from my wallet the bright currency of poverty, feeling the probing eyes of the customers as they studied my clothes and the items in my cart: frozen pizza, name-brand milk, coffee. I would want to explain to them that I have a good job and make good money.

I love to give charity, but I don't want to be charity. This is why I have so much trouble with grace." (quote from Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller p.84)

"The days and weeks before a true commitment to Jesus can be terrible and lonely. I think I was feeling bitter about the human experience. I never asked to be human. Nobody came to the womb and explained the situation to me, asking for my permission to go into the world and live and breathe and eat and feel joy and pain. I started thinking about how odd it was to be human, how we are stuck inside this skin, forced to be attracted to the opposite sex, forced to eat food and use the rest room and then stuck to the earth by gravity. I think maybe I was going crazy or something. I spent an entire week feeling bitter because I couldn't breathe underwater. I told God I wanted to be a fish. I also felt a little bitter about sleep. Why do we have to sleep? I wanted to be able to stay awake for as long as I wanted, but God had put me in a body that had to sleep. Life no longer seemed like an experience of freedom."
(p. 98-99)

"I am wanted by God. He is wanting to preserve me, to guide me through the darkness of the shadow of death, up into the highlands of His presence and afterlife. I understand that I am temporary, in this shell of a thing on this dirt of an earth. I am being tempted by Satan, we are all being tempted by Satan, but I am preserved to tell those who do not know about our Savior and our Redeemer. This is why Paul had no questions. This is why he could be beaten one day, imprisoned the next, and released only to be beaten again and never ask God why. He understood the earth was fallen. He understood the rules of Rome could not save mankind, that mankind could not save itself; rather, it must be rescued, and he knew that he was not in the promised land, but still in the desert, and like Joshua and Caleb he was shouting, "Follow me and trust God!" (p. 100-101)

I'm finding it's harder than I thought picking out passages to quote because they must be read in context. These quotes don't really capture his "writing voice", but the parts that do get rather lengthy. I don't recommend this book for youngsters as he gets into some nitty-gritty aspects of his life, but us oldsters may learn a thing or two. If you're struggling with too much "religion" or just asking questions about Christianity this book will give some fresh perspective. I found it quite life changing.

Is fall almost here already?

Another summer has flown by! I suppose doing summer classes helped to rush it along. Now fall classes begin next week!

I've enjoyed my two week break from school and especially the three days spent with my mom and dad in Texas. Mom, if you're reading this, thanks for taking care of me and showing me the sights. I really enjoyed seeing all our old home places and taking pictures. Angleton has changed a lot, but there is still a lot left of the old Angleton I remember. Glenn, thanks for all your great cooking and for the copy of "Miss Potter" WITHOUT subtitles. What a treat! Now I can visualize you two going through your daily routines down South and I don't feel quite so far away. I'm looking forward to seeing you again in the Spring, and I hope to also look up some of the cousins.

Bob and I spent a couple of hours cleaning the garage yesterday. We're in the midst of a huge cleaning campaign on our little farm and I hope the momentum keeps us going until we have it looking a whole lot better.

We had a big rainstorm last night. Usually the grass is brown and crunchy this time of year, but we've had so much rain this summer that everything is green and lush. My petunias and marigolds look pretty healthy for late summer.

Well, I work this weekend and then on Monday I drive to Wadena for a day of orientation classes. My online classes also begin on Monday. Then it's off and running for the fall semester! I'll be glad when I'm all finished with school!! (But I'll try to get a good attitude going and enjoy it as much as I can.)

If I don't blog for a while, you'll know why! ;)

10 August 2010

Miss Potter with subtitles...

I had a hankering to watch "Miss Potter", the story of Beatrix Potter, but all the videos had been removed from YouTube except this one with Spanish subtitles. I love this movie and all the English scenery and beautiful old houses! Enjoy!

03 August 2010

Questioning the (College) Powers That Be...

Two more days of Introductory Algebra to go. It's a good thing. My brain has reached the saturation point and the excess algebra is running off into the ditches of my mind. Thankfully, my grade to this point is good, so even if I bomb on the final test, I should pass comfortably. Of course, I will study and do my best, but that brings me to the subject of my rant...

What's up with all the prerequisite classes in college? No matter what you want to major in, algebra is required. Oh, that's because you need algebra in order to understand chemistry. Well, you need chemistry in order to understand nutrition. At least that's what I've been led to understand are the reasons I've been required to take these classes. Then, of course, you need College Writing I and II. (I'm going for a nursing degree here, people!) And don't forget Nature Writers!

Okay, let's dissect some of this. A gal in my Introductory Algebra class already has her LPN (for which she didn't need algebra) and is going for her RN. Now she needs the algebra. She tells me that to be an LPN the only algebra she used was a formula for finding the volume of a liquid or some such thing. (I don't pretend that this is a scientifically researched opinion piece. Ahem...)

She also has to take chemistry to become an RN. I remember taking chemistry in high school, and since the class I'm taking in college is Fundamentals of Chemistry I'm thinking it probably won't cover much more than high school chemistry. Now just how much do you suppose an RN has to actually know about chemistry? I suspect it isn't a whole lot.

Now for nutrition. Okay, I'll admit a nurse probably needs to know about this.

That leaves College Writing I and II and Nature Writers. Does a nurse do much writing beyond filling out charts and forms? Yes, her writing should be legible and accurate so no mistakes are made, but if someone gets to this point in their life and can't write a decent sentence, they probably aren't going to learn from a class. Sorry. This sort of thing is picked up through life experience. Nature Writers? Give me a break. (Though I do think I'll enjoy the class if I have time to enjoy it due to the stress of trying to do so many other "required" classes at once.)

My point is this: why not put together one class for nursing students that covers the little bit of algebra and chemistry they will need for their specific job? Throw in some writing practice. Not tons; just enough. Then they may have the energy to do all the Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology and actual nursing courses.

Of course the real reason we're required to take all of these classes is that colleges couldn't survive financially without making us believe that we NEED to take LOTS of classes. "Why not space the classes out and take longer to get your degree?" an innocent bystander asks me. Because I won't qualify for financial aid unless I'm taking enough classes to drive me batty. All of this in the name of becoming well educated and broadening our horizons, right? Ppphhhttt! (I laugh.)

I don't remember signing up for Renaissance Woman 101 and I can educate myself as well as broadening my own horizons, thank you very much! Heck, I've been an autodidact all of my life. Why should someone else decide what sort of trivia I need to stuff my brain with? I can do that very well myself.

And so I come to the end of my rant. I rather doubt that my opinions will change the college system any time soon, so I, like other students, will continue to jump through the hoops that have been fabricated in the interest of filling the college coffers. Good luck, fellow students.

02 August 2010

Listening to Firestarters...

I'm watching a live streaming video of The Gathering 2010, which is a 9 day long Christian gathering in Ottertail, MN. My husband, son and daughter are there, but I had to stay home to finish some algebra homework, so I'm watching and listening as I can. The video begins each evening at 7 and will be aired through August 8. If you're curious you can watch at www.firestartersmusic.com. It's kind of radical stuff, but it challenges us to get "out of the box" in our spiritual walk. It's over an hour drive to get to Ottertail from here, but my family makes the trip and feels it's well worth it. We love these folks!

I just have 3 more days of algebra and I'll be finished with summer school. Woo-hoo!
I was thinking while driving home from school today about what I wanted to do with my nursing training once I graduate. (That's two years down the road.) I realize I'll probably have to work in a hospital for a while to get experience, but that's not what I want to continue to do. My real interest is to do home health nursing. I would like to enable people to stay home instead of needing to go into a nursing home and to make their lives a little easier. I think I would enjoy traveling around from home to home and having lots of variety in my day. I'd also like to do some medical missions trips, either to third world countries or even poor areas of our country. So this is one of those phases of life when training takes place that may not always be enjoyable (though I hope to enjoy some of it!) but is necessary to reach the end goal.

Well, I stayed up too late last night listening to The Gathering, so maybe I'll turn in earlier tonight so I can catch up on my sleep.


21 July 2010

Wild raspberries...

The wild raspberries are ripe and ready for picking in our woods! I picked a bowl full on Saturday and we're still enjoying them. On waffles or by the spoonful they're tangy and sweet and just fun to eat. (Hey, that sort of rhymed!)

It's kind of fun to climb over the fence and wade into the waist high prickly raspberry canes to hunt for the elusive berries. They really are effectively hidden under the leaves, so you really have to work at finding enough of the tiny berries to fill a bowl, but it's worth it. Homer the dog accompanied me on my expedition and every few minutes I'd hear a rustle in the underbrush and find that he was sitting close behind me. I think he's scared of the woods!

While looking for an appropriate photo to accompany this post I found this delightful painting by artist Delilah Smith. Please visit her blog called "Painting of the Day" and enjoy her other paintings. You'll be glad you did!

15 July 2010

Almost finished with summer classes!

Just 3 weeks of Introductory Algebra left and that's it for summer classes. From August 6-22 I'm off and I hope to get down to Texas to visit my folks!

Beginning August 23 fall classes will include Developmental Psychology, Nature Writers, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Fundamentals of Chemistry, Computer Fundamentals and Home Health Aide. It should be quite challenging for an older gal like myself. I'm hoping to get my study area organized and have a real desk. I only drive to Wadena two days per week and the rest of my classes are online.

I know; exciting post! LOL! Just wanted to put something down so they don't delete my blog!!

I took a 3 mile walk and enjoyed the sunshine and greenery. I have a lot of Algebra homework over the weekend, so I'm trying to do some each day and also get in some outdoor time and exercise. I really need it!

Might visit some of my bloggy neighbors now. See ya later!

21 June 2010

Wild at Heart-Book Review

As a book reviewer for Thomas Nelson Publishers I recently read Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. This book is a must read for every man...and woman! For men it is a guide to getting their hearts back. For women it is a guide to understanding the men in their lives and how they can help them to become what God intended for them to be from the beginning.

It all began back in the Garden of Eden when Adam stood passively by, saying nothing, as Eve fell into Satan's trap. This man, who was created to be her protector, failed this most important test, and things have been dicey ever since.

"Adventure, with all its requisite danger and wildness, is a deeply spiritual longing written into the soul of man," says Eldredge and his book drew me along on a fascinating inside look at what makes men tick. He shares the stories of men searching for those missing elements which will give their lives meaning as they seek healing for "the wound" in their hearts. He speaks of their frustration as they live passive, "nice" lives and their longing for a battle to fight, a beauty to rescue and an adventure to live.

Wild at Heart is chock-full of encouragement, information and stories designed to help men find their way back to the center of their hearts. It gives them permission to pursue an adventurous way of life; the way of life God created them for.

Clinicals and tornadoes...

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week I worked in a nursing home in New York Mills, MN. This was the clinical portion of my CNA training and thus ended my coursework for the Long-Term Nursing Care class which is a prerequisite for the nursing program. Glad to be finished! I'm still working on my online College Writing I class and am in the critiquing stages with my third paper. Next Monday I begin Introductory Algebra.

On Thursday evening our area was hit by tornadoes. I worked at the nursing home just 15 miles from Wadena until 2:30 on Thursday. There was a tornado watch at that time, but by the time I got home (60 miles away) the watch had changed to a warning. The tornadoes hit Wadena, which is the town where my college campus is, and a couple of other small towns. It also hit a lot of farms. I drove through town on Friday going to my last day of clinicals at the nursing home and saw a lot of the devastation. I've never seen that sort of thing firsthand and it was unbelievable! The folks at the nursing home were sleeping in a little later than usual because they had been up late taking refuge in the hallways while the tornadoes tore up the countryside nearby. This area hasn't had a tornado in 125 years and it will take a while for them to recover. There were a couple of sad deaths but, considering the devastation, it's a miracle there weren't many more.

Our son, Jordan, moved back from Texas and arrived last night. We (hubby, me and dd Micah) met him in Ottertail, MN and went to worship and fellowship at The Creamery, which is an old creamery that has been converted into a church. It's also called Firestarters because that's the name of the ministry team that refurbished it. Four hours of music and spontaneous preaching. A good time!

I have the week off from driving to school, though I will be working a couple of days and I have to work on my online class, but it will be a nice break. We look forward to catching up on Jordan's life.

Shalom! =0]

28 May 2010

Surfacing...periscope up! =0]

Whew! This school thing is taking more of my time than I imagined! And I haven't worked a day at the deli for a week. (I do GET to work this weekend, though...)

I think just getting acquainted with procedures for writing papers and submitting them has been a challenge. There have been lots of chapters to read and then I wrote an 850 word paper on how taekwondo has given me more confidence. I also had to critique four other students' papers.

My biggest challenge was not having the right kind of word processor. My instructor wants us to post our documents in a .doc format, but my computer only did .docx, which some students can't open on their computers. So, yesterday I finally got my new laptop and with it a program that will allow me to do .doc papers. That's been a huge thing and I'm glad that problem is solved. I also downloaded Microsoft Office which I hope isn't going to be a waste of money. It's way more word processor than I need and it sort of takes over and tells you what to do. Sheesh!

I reached my first milestone college-wise with the submission of my final draft of my first paper for College Writing I. Today I began work on the second paper. It should be a lot of fun. It's a 750-1000 word essay in the form of a fairy tale starring one of my fellow students. We create a questionnaire for the other student to answer and we learn about each other by email, then we take the info we glean and write a story in the genre of our choice (mine was fairy tale) using some of the details we know about the other person. As with my last paper, we also critique four other students' papers. We also have to write a 150-word piece describing the genre we've chosen and we do a bibliography of our sources. I've written this short piece and I've posted my questionnaire on the class discussion board. I think I'm the only one who's done these so far, but since I have to work over the weekend, I thought I should get at least that much done.

Despite all of my talk about writing, my main goal is to become a nurse and I was really intrigued to see a Jewish Voice special on TV the other morning. They do medical missions trips all the time and take the gospel to the Jewish people as well. Medical missions is something I've been interested in for a long time, but didn't have any training. Now I can keep that goal in front of me to help me through when school gets challenging!

It's glorious outside! The sun is shining and the wind is really gusting through the trees. I think a storm is blowing in. I stopped off today at the local Fleet Supply and picked up some petunias and marigolds, but I'll wait for milder weather to repot them outside.

We have two new baby goats and a new colt named Bill. He's having a great old time running circles around his mom who is trying valiantly to keep the other mare in the pasture away from her child. It makes for great entertainment!

Well, I'll probably go outside and help Bob with some chores in a while, but first I'm going to visit a few blogs. It's been a while!


17 May 2010

First day of school...

Things are coming together!

I drove into town to listen to 3 audio lectures because I thought my computer wouldn't "let" me do that. After the librarian had to do some tweeking on her computer so I could listen to the lectures I decided to try the same tweeking on mine and, voila, it works on my home computer as well! Just had to enable some add-on thing and remove a pop-up blocker.

My books arrived, so I'm ready to begin reading the chapters for which I already listened to the lectures. (That was a convoluted sentence!)

I have 5 chapters to read this week and a 2-3 page paper to write, so if I don't procrastinate I'll have plenty of time to finish. I have the weekend off, so I'll do my final typing of the paper then. Then it has to be put on the discussion board next Tuesday so another student can critique it. Whew! I've got some learning still to do as far as making sure it's done on Microsoft Word (which I'll have to go to the library for) and how to put that on a "thumb drive" (my daughter has one) and then get it onto the discussion board. Technology sometimes makes me want to pull my hair out, but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it after doing it a time or two. Thankful for my daughter's help!

I look forward to having a laptop with all the right bells and whistles so everything can be done in one place!!

14 May 2010

Farm Work and College Talk...

What a gorgeous day! It's been raining almost non-stop for WEEKS, but today was sunny, beautiful and in the 70's. Perfection for northern Minnesota!

Bob and I (it was a day off for me) enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and just relaxed, watched some news and discussed plans for the day. Then, when we felt like it, we got ourselves outside and began the job of putting up two sections of electric fence. These were necessary to make a buffer zone between two pastures of horses we didn't want too close to each other. Untangling barbed wire and dragging it around was a good little workout. After the fences were up we turned the horses out into fresh pastures and they all looked so happy! We were tired and hungry after a few hours outside so supper sure tasted good.

Looking out my window now I see the lengthening evening shadows with sunshine still lighting up the treetops. It was a day well spent!

My last post sounded a little negative about the college experience, but things are smoothing out. I just have to hang in there during the nerve-wracking parts and know that "this too shall pass". I messed up my FAFSA a bit by putting in the wrong year for my birthday!! =0/ But I've sent in a correction and I think everything will turn out okay.

Got registered for two of my classes at the registration on Tuesday and then screwed up my courage and registered for a third class from home using the online registration. Sitting in the room full of registrants trying to figure out the registration process was a new and slightly scary experience, but I soon realized that most of the others in the room were in the same boat, so why worry?

Bob and I made a quick trip to the college yesterday (about an 80 mile round trip!) so I could ask some questions, since you can never get through to the right person on the phone. Like the last time we turned up unannounced, Pam the receptionist answered all our questions. That lady is a-MA-zing! They don't pay her enough!

Anyway, I'm all signed up for classes and I picked up my Algebra text, which I won't actually need until June 28. The materials for my "Intro to Nursing in Long Term Care" class will be handed out on the first day of class. I also ordered my "College Writing I" texts online. (A young gal who is Pam's assistant showed me how.) I'm taking CWI via Distance Education because it's an evening class. I'm really liking the people I've met at the college so far. They're very down-to-earth and helpful.

My "College Writing I" instructor emailed all of his online students and asked us to tell him something about ourselves and give him our contact info in case he needs to call or mail something. I enjoyed coming up with a short piece about myself. He sounds very nice and I'm looking forward to beginning that class on Monday.

I hope you're all having a wonderful day!

08 May 2010

Catching up on my reading...

Looking over my course descriptions for the next year I get the distinct feeling I won't have much time for recreational reading. So, I'm quickly finishing up a few books that I have been reading slowly.

Just finished "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. A good book that inspired me to live out my Christian life in practical ways instead of just thinking about it! Long road ahead...

I've been reading "Hamlet's Dresser" at work on breaks and I'm nearing the end. For a man who had an emotionally damaging childhood his adult life turned out pretty well. Interesting reading. Not for young folk because of some language, but an interesting inside look at a dysfunctional childhood. Also full of behind-the-scenes glimpses of theater productions of Shakespeare.

Now I've got to speed read "Wild at Heart" to write a review. I've read it before, but this edition has some new stuff. I want to get that review done and out of the way ASAP. (It's a wonderful book, BTW.)

My daughter has been trying to help me find my way around the college website, but I'm still having problems with passwords that don't work, etc. Hopefully we'll get these things ironed out on Tuesday at registration. It looks like I'll be doing an online class here and there to get everything in.

Au revoir for now! =0]

06 May 2010

Officially accepted!

My transcript has been recorded and I've been officially accepted to the college!

I had to fill out another FAFSA and a form for summer semester financial aid, which is separate from the aid you get for the fall and spring semesters. That should do it for financial aid forms. Now...I wait...

Next Tuesday I will go to orientation in Detroit Lakes since I will hopefully be on vacation on May 18th when Wadena has their orientation. Between now and then I have a "trial schedule" form to fill out with the classes I plan to register for for summer and fall. I'll work on that this weekend.

I still haven't told my boss. At what point do I accept the fact that I'm going to college...for real...and my boss probably needs to know?!? Maybe that point is after I've registered for classes. Sounds good!

I'm off to bed. My deli job is wearing me out. I feel sore and stiff every morning. Almost like I did a vigorous workout the day before. Man! I'm gettin' too old for this! Hopefully all of this bookwork will be a welcome change.

Shalom! =0]

04 May 2010

Journaling About My College Journey

It looks like college preparations and classes will fill a lot of my life for the next two years. (Speaking in faith.) So, I will try to journal about this experience for the benefit of others my age who might be interested in dipping their toes in the waters of collegiate life. =0)

"Collegiate" sounds so fancy and big-time. The school I've applied to is a small community and technical college in a small Minnesota town.

Hubby and I (he went for moral support and hopefully to think up some questions that I might miss) visited with an advisor at the college today. I had hoped to register for classes, but my high school transcript had not yet been "officially" entered into the record, so I will go to an orientation next Tuesday where I will be able to finally register for summer classes.

One other hurdle we had to finish jumping was to fill out a FAFSA application for student financial aid. This didn't take very long online here at home. We need to call tomorrow to see if we filled out the correct one.

This will be a journey of many little steps and lots of details!

I was nervous this morning before our meeting but Bob (hubby) was very encouraging and assured me that I am very smart (his words!) and can do a great job. It's nice to have someone give you a nudge when you begin to stall! The advisor was very nice and our meeting went smoothly.

It looks like I'll sign up for "Intro to Nursing in Long-Term Care" (CNA training) and "Introductory Algebra". Since this is a summer semester these classes will be compressed and intensified, so they should keep me busy. My daughter, Micah, gave me her Algebra book from last year which should be the book I will be using. If not, I can still use it to get a head start! Algebra will be later in the summer.

I still haven't mentioned any of this to my boss at work! I'm waiting to see what happens at registration next week and how much financial aid I qualify for. I will probably still need to work Fridays and some weekends. I have to balance things so I have the energy to keep up with school but we also need to eat. (Well, maybe not as much, lol!)

In all of this God is our provider and Matt. 6:25-34 is our motto!

I'm hoping that by acquiring nursing skills I will be opening up some new areas in my life that God can use.

The journey continues...

29 April 2010

This Ride Is Speeding Up!

Feels like I'm on a rollercoaster that keeps going faster! We went to the school and nobody "official" was available to help us, but the receptionist seems to run the school, so she helped us!

She answered questions and then sat me down to fill out the registration form online. Then she asked if I could come back at 1:00 to take the Accuplacer test! I wasn't expecting that quite yet, but I took it and aced the reading comprehension part. I got a 43 on the Elementary Algebra, which isn't surprising since I've never had Algebra! (41st percentile, so I wasn't at the very bottom!) Next Tuesday I go to see an advisor to sign up for summer classes. Probably Fundamental Computer Concepts, Introductory Algebra and Intro. to Nursing in Long Term Care (CNA). I might have to take more credits to qualify for financial aid, but I'll find out then.

Whew! This is mentally exhausting, but I'm praising the Lord for giving me peace all day. I'm just going to enjoy this experience as much as I can and try not to be fearful about anything. =0)

What's really fun is that my dd will be doing summer classes, too...
She will be doing hers online and will be living close by so we can talk shop and act like old study buddies. What fun!

Looks like I'll be updating my immunizations before the nursing part of my schooling starts, but I have to rack up 12 credits of generals and get my CPR certification before that.

Thank you, Lord, for this new adventure! Help me to keep my eyes on you and on the goal of using this training to care for others. Amen!

I may be going back to school! College at MY age?

My hubby surprised me a couple of days ago by asking me if I'd like to go to college. Don't laugh now, but this was right after we had been watching Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith. For those who haven't seen it, it's about an older woman who returns to Smith College to complete her college degree after her children are grown. ANYWAY...

I've mentioned on numerous occasions that I wish I'd taken advantage of the opportunity to go to college when I was younger. My step-dad was going to pay for my college education, but I didn't have any idea what I wanted to study and didn't want to waste his money, so I didn't go.

I've always known that I DON'T want to work in the deli forever, but didn't really have a plan. I sure didn't think I would go back to school, though it sounded like fun to take a class or two.

I've been interested for a long time in nursing at some level. I'd like to work maybe with geriatric patients or doing home-care. What I'm considering is going to a two year community college and getting an Associates Degree in what they call "Nursing (Generic Option)-Associates Degree (RN)".

It's a little scary in a lot of ways. 1.)Is my old brain capable of all this learning? (But I've seen lots of people who seem less capable than me who are nurses. Yikes!) 2.)It's a 100 mile round trip to the school, but my boys did the same thing for 4 years, so I could probably manage. 3.)I would give up my job, because I can't possibly do both, so financial aid/grants would have to be enough to pay some bills while I do this. We are very much living from paycheck to paycheck, but this would have to be the Lord. Nursing would be a ministry of mercy in my thinking, not just a career. I'm not sure it will pay much more per hour than I'm making at the deli, so that's not the reason I'm doing it.

It was my husband's idea and he's not worried about the financial part. He would also have to give me some space and quiet for studying, which would be the hard part for him, LOL! We're driving down to the school in Wadena, MN on Thursday to talk to someone. Our kids have all gone to community college, so we know the registration process will be a pain in the neck, but that's okay. Anyway, we'll find out a lot on Thursday.

I've already checked out some library books to start refreshing my memory in the area of chemistry and algebra. Heck, I've never even taken algebra, how can I refresh? But I can get familiar with it before I have to take the Accuplacer test.

I'm excited though a little nervous. All my life I've talked myself out of doing things because they looked hard. It's called FEAR. I've been working on that and I'm not going to listen to that little voice anymore! Amen?

Any nurses among you who can give me some input?

Now I'm off to peruse "The Joy of Chemistry" before going to work at the deli. =0)

21 April 2010

Loving Jesus...

I'm still reading "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. It's going slowly because, as usual, I have too many books going at one time! But I came across a few things that made me stop and think. (His book does that a lot!)

He quotes John Piper from his book called "God Is the Gospel":

"The critical question for our generation-and for every generation-is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?"

Francis Chan talks about his Grandma Clara who was "madly in love" with Jesus. He said, "Every morning Clara would kneel by her bed and spend precious hours with her Savior and Lover; later in the day, just the sight of that corner of her bed would bring joy-filled tears and a deep anticipation of the next morning spent kneeling in His presence."

The chapter begins with this prayer:

"O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, "Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away." Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long." A.W. Tozer-The Pursuit of God

This is certainly something I need to pray about and work on. Living in this world can really dull our senses and take our eyes off of the One who means everything.


15 April 2010

How many times do you get to see a meteorite in "person"?

I'm sure you saw it on the news this morning, but I watched it last night as I was sitting in my favorite living room chair. It was about 10 p.m. when a ball of light caught my attention through the living room window. Our window faces south so this fireball was gliding slowly from west to east (right to left from my perspective). It was blueish colored at the top of its arc and turned orange as it got lower. It was so COOL to watch. My hubby was sitting at the computer and I said, "Oh my gosh! Look at that!" By the time my comment registered with him it was too late for him to get to the window. We were concerned, at first, that we might have witnessed a plane crash, but we didn't hear an impact, so we came to the conclusion that it was a meteor. He had a great time teasing me about it being a dream, but I was vindicated this morning when it was headlining the news!

As I lay in bed this morning I could hear the news on TV and as I heard this news story I said, "AHA!!" My hubby, in the living room, just chuckled.

This video must be filmed quite a bit south of our position because the meteor goes from left to right, so they must be filming looking north. Anyway, super-cool! Thanks, Lord, for that wondrous experience!

09 April 2010

Due to ANOTHER computer virus...

I'll be offline for a while, other than the occasional trip to the library to use their computer.

Be back as soon as we get this figured out! ;0)

04 April 2010

Crazy Love, worry and stress...

I just started reading "Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God" by Francis Chan and was struck by this paragraph:

"Basically, these two behaviors (worry and stress) communicate that it's okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we've been forgiven, that our lives are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won't be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God's strength, our problems are small, indeed.

Why are we so quick to forget God? Who do we think we are?"

Just a little taste to whet your appetite. You'll have to get the book and find out what happens next! =0)

01 April 2010

John Bunyan by Kevin Belmonte

As a book reviewer for Thomas Nelson Publishers I recently finished reading John Bunyan by Kevin Belmonte. I found this little 142 page book (not counting appendixes) hard to put down. Having read Pilgrim's Progress many years ago I was curious to know more about the life of its author. Mr. Belmonte did a fine job of taking me back to England in the years between Bunyan's birth in 1628 and his death in 1688. He paints a vivid picture of Bunyan's childhood influences, his growing up and his life as an adult who is jailed for many years as a dissenter. A lot of English history is compressed between the covers of this little book and it is not dry reading. It captures much of what shaped John Bunyan's character as he grew and as his life was transformed by his encounters with the Son of God who would become his Savior. The book is sprinkled generously throughout with quotes of famous men who were influenced by Bunyan's writings; men such as G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Robert Louis Stevenson, John Brown and many others. Later authors whose writings held references to or seemed to be influenced by his writings would include George Eliot, Jane Austen, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Samuel Johnson, Benjamin Franklin, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. With the insights provided by this biography I am inspired to re-read Pilgrim's Progress. I know I will see it with new eyes.

Movie day...so far!

It's a lazy day off. I've watched "Monsters, Inc." and now I'm watching "84 Charing Cross Road" for the umpteenth time! Maybe later I'll go outside and do some yard work! I also want to do a little reading. I'm reading a bio of John Bunyan right now that I'm really enjoying and I want to get to "Crazy Love" which my son Jordan loaned to me.

Have a great day!

27 March 2010

A fun stitching project!

While checking out Jody's Gumbo Lily blog I saw that she was stitching tiny little samplers she calls itibits.

Looking over her recent blogs I found that she had gotten the idea from a blog called "39 Squares". It's such a cute project for practicing various embroidery stitches, I thought I would share it. One more thing I'd love to do, but probably won't get around to! LOL! Find out more here...

39 Squares

Learning about history a la Agatha Christie...

I was reading Agatha Christie's autobiography and found it fascinating to learn about her "school" life. She was mostly taught at home by her mom and later went to a couple of unique boarding schools. She mentions that one of the things she enjoyed was learning history by reading a book called "The Great Events of History". It begins with the crucifixion, which I thought was a very good place to begin. I found it on Google Books and thought some of you might enjoy looking at it.

Great Events of History

I look forward to reading this! =0)

I'm also reading a biography of John Bunyan and found a couple of very old books he read online. (Well, HE didn't read them online. They're AVAILABLE to read online.) =0/ This biography by Kevin Belmonte is intriguing to me because I'm kind of an Anglophile (look it up, hee, hee) and it is written in a very non-highbrow style. Interesting details.

I've been having a good Saturday off. A nice mixture of cooking, reading, Bible study and working outside. (Bringing in firewood, yard cleaning and trimming goat hooves!)

Have a great weekend!

23 March 2010

Faithfulness Farms Giveaway!

Gail, over at the Faithfulness Farms blog, is celebrating her 100th blog post by having a giveaway! All you have to do is post a comment, become a follower and mention her contest on your blog to enter! (Hey, that's what I just did!)

The prizes are:

Click on the old barn logo below to enter:


22 March 2010

Wildlife extravaganza...

Here is an interesting look at the life of a barn owl named Molly. She's sitting in her nest box and we can watch what happens! Click here to watch her.

In other wildlife news, I went outside earlier to check on our dogs and to find out why they're all barking. I heard a really weird high pitched yapping in the back pasture. Training my flashlight beam in the general direction of the sound I saw two glowing eyeballs. A fox? I think so. He sure was noisy! He didn't seem the least bit scared of me and just kept on yapping. I can see why the dogs would bark. Heck, I'D bark if I was a dog. =0)

20 March 2010

Yea, Spring!

It's kind of a pardoxical first day of spring. It started out at 12 degrees this morning and only made it up into the low 30's. At least the snow has all melted.

Jordan, Josh and Jess have been here for the last week visiting. They drove up from Ft. Worth and we were so glad to get to visit and give them a few hugs. It's a long way from Texas to Minnesota, so visits are pretty precious. On Friday, their last day here, we had a small pizza party/baby shower. Quite a few friends showed up and it was fun with pizza, treats and lots of dodge ball and Apples to Apples being played by all ages. Josh and Jess got many nice gifts for the baby expected in late July.

The paradox I mentioned in the first paragraph is that the kids left here this morning with no snow in sight and are now spending the night in Kansas where it's snowing like crazy! Our sons are experienced at driving in snow, so all should go well. Of course, we pray for them constantly. (And all of our kids!)

With the coming of spring (at least according to the calendar) I'm looking forward to planting a small garden. Maybe just a few rows of corn, some tomatoes, zucchini, (not a lot...I still have pureed zucchini in the freezer) and lettuce. I'll have to give some thought to what else I might grow. I'm realizing that I'm not into canning and don't have room for lots of frozen veggies, so I'll mostly grow things to eat fresh.

Another project is cleaning up the yard and outbuildings. We're hoping to work at this a little at a time over the summer. As we get older this gets to be more of a challenge! But it would be nice to see things cleaned up!

Time to stoke up the woodstove and go to bed.

Vaya con dios!

14 March 2010

First walk of the spring!

I suddenly realized this morning that I can go walking! All the snow has melted from the streets and the walking trail. It's kind of brown, muddy and uninspiring out there, but I think I need the fresh air and quiet. This has traditionally been a good time for praying and meditating since our house is small and it's difficult to find a quiet place. I really need the exercise after doing very little of that over the winter! Gotta shed those winter pounds!

I walked a little over 2 miles, which is enough for the first time out. Maybe I'll get around to doing a short stretching routine later.

Our son Josh and his wife Jess, plus our son Jordan have all been living in Ft. Worth. As of this morning they're headed this way for a visit. They're driving, so it'll be late tomorrow, I expect, before they get here. Looking forward to seeing them and giving them a big hug!


03 March 2010

"Dangerous With a Pen" Contest!

Follow Lindsey's progress as she writes her first book. Then enter her contest here>>>
Dangerous With a Pen Contest

I guess I'm into biographies and memoirs these days!

It seems like I've got a lot of bios and memoirs either on my bookshelves at home or on my reminder list at PaperBackSwap! I enjoy reading about others' lives. The exception is the book I'm waiting for in the mail called "In Fairyland" by Andrew Lang. Really! It's an old children's book and I also collect those when the illustrations are really good. It's my version of an art collection, I guess.

Among the bios I've already read are:
One Writer's Beginnings by Eudora Welty
Agatha Christie-An Autobiography
The Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Bill Peet: An Autobiography (A favorite children's book illustrator.)
Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis
Myriam Mendilow-Mother of Jerusalem by Barry Cytron
Ben Israel by Art Katz

Those I'm looking forward to reading:
E.B. White-Some Writer! by Beverly Gherman
J.R.R. Tolkien by Tom Shippey
Roughing It by Mark Twain
Hamlet's Dresser: A Memoir by Bob Smith
Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt
Through the Burning Steppe: A Wartime Memoir by Elena Kozhina
We Are Witnesses: Five Diaries of Teenagers Who Died in the Holocaust by Jacob Boas
The Biography of Hudson Taylor by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor

I'm home from work because of a strained neck muscle, so I should be able to do some reading! What luxury! =0)

01 March 2010

Paperbackswap and what I'm reading...

Had a little virus scare thanks to PBS, but I'm back online. Glad we had an old backup computer! Later I'll try to fix the infected one.

Speaking of PBS, I was just there on the community boards talking about my latest reads and thought maybe I'd post about them here, too.

I've been reading "Breaking Intimidation" by John Bevere for a while now, working my way through it slowly. This is something I really think I needed to read. He teaches about a spirit of intimidation which prevents us from operating in the gifts that God has put in us. What I've thought of as "being shy" I'm looking at with new eyes after reading this. I really recommend this for those struggling with that feeling of intimidation that tells you that you can't do something that you really feel God is leading you to do with your life.

I'm also re-reading "Fearless" by Max Lucado. I love his style of writing and the way he has so much fun with words, even when dealing with a serious topic like fear. There were a lot of "light-bulb moments" for me when reading this the first time, and I'm seeing even more the second time around.

My third book is "Agatha Christie: An Autobiography". I figured she would be a fascinating person to read about, and the book has been interesting, but I'm looking forward to reading about her adulthood. Her childhood has started to drag on, but she is getting older as I read, so I'm seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, LOL! She says many wise things including this on contentment:

"It is astonishing how much you can enjoy almost everything. There are few things more desirable than to be an accepter and an enjoyer. You can like and enjoy almost any kind of food or way of life. You can enjoy country life, dogs, muddy walks, towns, noise, people, clatter. In the one there is repose, ease for nerves, time for reading, knitting, embroidery, and the pleasure of growing things; in the other theatres, art galleries, good concerts, and seeing friends you would otherwise seldom see. I am happy to say that I can enjoy almost everything."

Amen to that! We're beginning to see some signs of spring here in northern Minnnesota, such as temps in the 30's. Everything is still snow-covered, but it looks like we've weathered the coldest part of winter.

Shalom and have a great day!

22 February 2010

One Writer's Beginnings...

I've been reading two books about authors: "One Writer's Beginnings" by Eudora Welty and Agatha Christie's autobiography. I've come to the conclusion that it's kind of confusing trying to keep their stories straight in my head, so I've put Agatha aside temporarily while I finish Eudora's book!

The Eudora Welty book is one I found for 50 cents at the library book sale and what a great find it was! It's LARGE PRINT, which is such a blessing "these days". It's fun to get an inside look at what makes anyone tick, but right now I'm particularly interested in writer's lives. This is a pretty quick read, so I hope to finish it tonight or in the morning, then I can continue with the saga of Agatha Christie.

After the two bios I plan to read some actual books on writing which, every writer knows, is just an excuse to postpone doing any actual writing myself. I bought several writing books at the above mentioned library sale (also the Christie bio). So I look forward to some good reading.

It's dark outside and I can see the occasional headlights of snowmobiles driving by on the trail adjacent to our pasture. The Olympics are on TV, hubby is napping, and I'm off to my favorite reading chair!


21 February 2010

Jingle trucks...

I saw these on the news this morning and thought they were so beautiful! These are very old trucks which are "pimped" by their owners. The article below tells the story better than I could.

Name: CAPT Doug Traversa
Posting date: 11/27/06
Stationed in: Kabul, Afghanistan
Hometown: Tullahoma, TN
Milblog url: http://traversa.typepad.com
Email: traversa@gimail.af.mail

One of the first things that struck me about Afghanistan, besides the stunning levels of poverty I saw everywhere, were the gloriously colorful trucks I saw everywhere. The style of the art reminded me of India, and they had many chains with pendants hanging from the bumpers. I would soon learn that these were called "jingle trucks". I did not immediately learn why, but I spent many days trying to get good photos of them. We are never allowed out of our vehicles unless we are on a base, and jingle trucks never seem to come on base, photos must be taken from inside our moving vehicle. Despite these difficulties, I managed to get some clear pictures.

The most striking thing about the artwork is that it depicts beautiful landscapes, usually with woods, grass, lakes, rivers, and many exotic animals. There are often beautiful cottages or new, modern buildings. All of this is done in bright colors; no pastels here. The poignancy is that the artwork depicts everything these people will probably never experience. The area of Afghanistan I've seen is uniformly brown and trees are rare, and grass almost non-existent. The only animals I ever see are endless flocks of sheep and mangy dogs. Jingle trucks are the only bright color in an otherwise drab landscape, expressing the hopes of all for a land of beauty they can only dream of.

I finally had a chance to learn the secret of why they are called "jingle trucks" when one came onto the Afghan Army base where I work. It was parked, but there was a good breeze blowing, and I heard wind chimes. It was the chains and pendants hanging from the front bumper. This had to be the answer; surely the jingle referred to the music from the pendants! But I had to nail it down, so I took my interpreter Hamid with me to find the driver, and asked him why they hung all the pendants from the bumper. Was it for the music, or for decoration? He shrugged and said, "Who knows? Both, probably." So much for an authoritative answer. Of course, it's not really important. I just appreciate seeing them. I never tire of looking at them as we head to work or back home. They are my favorite works of art, living testaments to the hopes of a people beaten down for over 25 years. And to think, they pay me to be here!

19 February 2010

High school recital music!

I was just going through old high school mementos and found the sheet music for two arias I sang for competitions in high school. Just for old times I'm saving a couple of videos of them. I didn't sing them this well, but just wanted to remember them!

This guy is pretty awesome! If you want to hear more by him look for him under Acapella John on You Tube.

16 February 2010


I've been wandering around cyber-land again and came across the 500 Words a Day Challenge. Fortunately, there is also a 250 Words a Day Challenge, because I'm not sure 500 is do-able for me right now. (Of course, if you're really serious you can go for the 1,000 Words a Day Challenge...)

Anyway, it's good to have a goal when it comes to writing or just about anything, so I'm taking the dare.

The "Words a Day" can include blogging or any kind of writing you want to count. I've been scribbling notes for a YA novel for a few months and this may be a good excuse to get a little more organized and disciplined about that.

Like to write? Click on the button in my right-hand column and join the challenge!

(That was only 140 words?!?!)

Book giveaway!

Michelle at the Beautiful Chaos blog is giving away a copy of her YA novel by the name of Eldala. Just go to her blog and leave a comment to enter the drawing!

12 February 2010

Another great library book sale!

Well, this time I only had 1.5 hours before work in which to scour the boxes and shelves of books for sale at the library, but I managed to find some treasures!
I spent a grand total of $6! =0)

I'm a Beatrix Potter fan, so I was happy to add this little volume of "Tale of the Pie and the Patty Pan" to my collection. I also have a small collection of Chaim Potok books which I love! "Bleak House" is a book I've wanted to read and "Show, Don't Tell" looks like an interesting book on writing.

I couldn't pass up "Holiday Time" by Maj Lindman. I haven't seen this book before, but I read her Flicka, Ricka and Dicka/Snipp, Snapp and Snurr books to my kiddos when they were small. I love her illustrations. "Johnny Crow's Garden" has wonderful pen and ink illustrations, so I just had to give it a home.

Many people have recommended "The Brothers Karamazov", so I now have a copy for "someday". "Walden" is another I've never read, but am curious about. "Writing Without a Teacher" is one of several good books on writing that I found. I already have "Green Dolphin Street", but felt sorry for this little copy! Anyone want it? I thought I had read all of Miss Read's books, but maybe not this one! "Eden's Gate" is a Christian novel that looked interesting. "Twenty Letters to a Friend" has to do with Russia and just looked like something I might find fascinating. The "Basic Horsemanship" was for either my daughter or hubby since they are both horse people.

"A Window Over the Sink" looked like a fun read and "Christian Caregiving" should be full of good information on a subject I've wanted to learn more about. "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" is another book I've heard many mention as a favorite. Then four more writing books! Jackpot!

06 February 2010

A bragging mom moment...

My son, Jordan, recently moved down to the Fort Worth area to spend some time with his brother and sister-in-law. He's been wanting to put some songs on You Tube for some time and I'm glad to see he's finally done it! Nice to see him and hear his voice!

This first song is one he wrote based on "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". He said he wrote it after watching "Australia".

This is a "cover" of a song by Glen Hansard.

04 February 2010

Fearless by Max Lucado

I've been reading "Fearless" by Max Lucado with great interest. Fear is something I've wrestled with all my life, and I think I can honestly say, with the Lord's help, I'm making progress on this front. So when I saw this title available on Booksneeze, which is a site that gives me books for free in return for reviewing them, I thought it sounded intriguing.

I love Max Lucado's writing, and this book hasn't been a disappointment! I just fininshed Chapter 8 entitled "This Brutal Planet". He deals with the age old question: "Why do Christians experience suffering and violence?" I can't type out the entire chapter here, but he makes some pretty good points.

We live in a world that Adam and Eve turned over to Lucifer by obeying him rather than God. He (Lucifer) has been trying to kill and destroy us ever since. Max mentions Hebrews 11 which names many "heroes of the faith" like Abel, who though "being dead still speaks"; Enoch, who "did not see death"; Noah, who "became heir of the righteousness"; Abraham and Sarah, whose descendants are as "innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore". On the other hand, "Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trials of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented."

Nobody has ever died a more violent death than Jesus himself endured. As Mr. Lucado points out, "A calmer death would have sufficed. A single drop of blood could have redeemed mankind. Shed his blood, silence his breath, still his pulse, but be quick about it. Plunge a sword into his heart. Take a dagger to his neck. Did the atonement for sin demand six hours of violence?

No, but his triumph over sadism did. Jesus once and for all displayed his authority over savagery. Evil may have her moments, but they will be brief. Satan unleashed his meanest demons on God's Son. He tortured every nerve ending and inflicted every misery. Yet the master of death could not destroy the Lord of life. Heaven's best took hell's worst and turned it into hope." (end of quote)

He never promised us an easy life as His followers. He did promise to never leave us or forsake us, and that He goes to prepare a place for us so we can be with Him forever after this life. He also said, "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul." (Matt. 10:28)

To get back to the book, Mr. Lucado addresses many types of fear that bind us up and keep us from living the life God intended for us. Some of the fears he deals with include:

fear of not mattering
fear of disappointing God
fear of running out
fear of not protecting my kids
fear of overwhelming challenges
fear of worst-case scenarios
fear of violence
fear of the coming winter
fear of life's final moments
fear of what's next
fear that God is not real
fear of global calamity
and the one healthy terror: fear of God getting out of my box

Fear is not of God. This book helps equip us to triumph over it.

30 January 2010

Lives Keep Changing...

Son Jordan stuffed his little red Grand Am with his most essential belongings and headed from our home in northern Minnesota to Ft. Worth for the winter. (At least, we HOPE it's just for the winter.) His sister in Oklahoma warned of impending ice storms, and after some deep thought he decided to make a run for it before the weather hit. He arrived safely on Thursday evening just ahead of the ice storms. Thank you, Lord! He will be sharing an apartment with his brother, Josh and sis-in-law, Jess. Hubby and I tried to be brave, but there were some tears as we hugged him good-bye. I hope we didn't make him feel too badly, but we just couldn't help it! He, like all of our kids, is such a bright spot in our lives. He's brought us so many chuckles and has grown up to be such an outstanding young man. Of course with all the technology we have now we can all (including all the kids, because they're all far away now) keep in touch via cell phone, Facebook and email. That makes it a little easier, but we're brainstorming our options. Where could we move so we would be closest to the most kids? LOL!

It makes me feel happy to know that Jordan and Josh will be close again. They've missed each other a lot. Two years apart in age they've always been like twins. They finish each other's jokes and just really think alike. I'm very glad that they'll have some time to catch up. We'll see what happens down the road. We're praying for God's best for them and all of our children!

22 January 2010

A miniature writing lesson...

I've been enjoying a book called "The Courage to Write-How Writers Transcend Fear" by Ralph Keyes. It's a lot of fun to read and he has so many helpful insights. On page 108 he talks about a lesson he uses to teach his students about using plain language instead of trying to impress the reader with a lot of fancy vocabulary. Here is that quote:

"To remind students that no one has a monopoly on good writing, I sometimes read aloud from the back of a little bottle of insect repellent:

Don't goop on. Three drops for hands and face is plenty. Rub in well. For chiggers apply sparingly on tops of shoes and socks and along openings of clothing. Repeat as needed. Special Cream Formula goes into pores: lasts longer; won't be sticky, stinky, or greasy; won't injure guns, tackle, or clothes when used as directed.

My students and I analyze this piece of writing. The smallnesss of its forum enforces economy of expression. That's good. Also, the "Directions" genre calls for (but seldom gets) such clear, active language. We pause to worry over goop. Is this word too colloquial? Does it call too much attention to itself? No better alternative suggests itself. Goop gives a graphic picture of the act in question. So goop it is. Stinky is another venturesome term that does its job, and stands in poetic juxtaposition to the word sticky. This piece of writing is a success. It's clear. It's vigorous. It has good rhythm. The writer accomplished her mission." (Ralph Keyes-The Courage to Write)

Cute, huh? This would-be writer (me) is hoping to find the encouragement needed to actually write that 'tween novel!

16 January 2010

Is it just because I'm his mom, or is this REALLY funny?

My oldest son, Jordan, who is 27, is doing what is called a PRACS study in Fargo. It's a clinical pharmacological study using paid volunteers. He's done several in the past and they're supposed to be pretty safe. He's doing this 12 day long study to raise funds for his move to Ft. Worth. Anyway, I thought I would share what he's been putting on Facebook since he got there. You can tell he's been watching too many war movies!

PRACS study log- study minus 2: Food supplies are holding ... movie supply is WELL stocked.... I'm settled into my temporary snow cave but I'm not going to get too comfortable. I've heard some rustlings in the distance and the tracks I crossed yesterday have me planning a move to some higher ground ... END OF TRANSMISSION

PRACS study log- study minus 1: My American body isn't used to only eating 2 or 3 times a day. I'm experiencing some sort of "gurgling" in my stomach...not sure what that means... Today we were placed in sensory deprivation, forced to lie flat with no electronics for hours at a time. I'm proud of my men. Not one broke under the unthinkable strain.

PRACS study log-Day 3 dose day: The days are all blending together now, though I'm pretty sure it's not one of the first two days...because that would mean I'd skipped ahead and done the third day early...The Nazi scientists dosed us with some sort of hallucinogen this morning, doubtless a last ditch effort to extract information...Then the purple ponies flew in on dazzling pumpkins...and the coleslaw...Dennis Quaid...

PRACS study log-Day...6ish: We lost a man yesterday. We think the probing finally broke his will but there is a growing chatter among the men that he was assimilated by his mattress during a sensory deprivation period. In an attempt to raise morale we fashioned some farkle dice from dissected urinal cakes.

PRACS study log-Day 8 : We've all settled into a comfortable monotony. We quietly begin to forge plans of escape. Goldwyn smuggled a cafeteria tray to the holding cell in his stomach. We begin tunneling with it as soon as...it becomes available. We'll get rid of the concrete and soil by sprinkling it into our leftover soups and mud pack facials ...

PRACS study log-Day 10: There is a faint light at the end of the tunnel. Rumors of a negotiation of release... but Elliot spent hours forging surgical implements out of liquid hand soap. And so we are continuing with operation "Open Goldwyn". Today we will begin assembling an anesthetic mask from unwashed socks and wild ocean body spray...

PRACS study log-Day 12: Freedom !! We loaded Goldwyn on a makeshift gurney made from...an old gurney we found. As we prepared the microwave and cat bomb to breach the cell door we discovered that it didn't actually have a lock on it...

With no time to linger on that convenient truth we sped north along the dark hall, down two flights of stairs, crept across an exposed catwalk and crawled through a bustling child care recreational coloring area without detection. And we are now free men again !


=0) I'm a proud mama! LOL!

Glorious Saturday!

I'm bingeing on all of my favorite things today. Hubby was gone this morning on an errand. I took advantage of my solitude by beginning to sort through all of the books on my shelves. What to keep, what to donate to the library sale? I dusted shelves and reorganized things and ended up with THREE apple boxes full of books to get rid of.

I also began watching "Australia" while I worked, but put it on pause when hubby returned. (He's not a big movie watcher.) Now he's gone off to see the tax man and then he's going to a neighboring town to watch our local girls' basketball team play. (I'm not a big high school basketball watcher.) So, I have hours ahead of me to finish that movie, read and just enjoy the quiet activities I like to pursue when I'm home alone. Solitude is hard to come by once your hubby retires! =0)

I've got so many books going and got one more today at the library (Born to Run) which I heard about on Jody's Home-Made Living. (Thanks, Susan L!) I may have to rein myself in and put a few aside while I finish others!

It's a beautiful sunny day and must be in the 40's. A veritable heat-wave!

Well, I've made myself some supper (I know it's only 3:20, but I'll call it tea.) Off to watch that movie.

Have a great weekend!

14 January 2010

Promoting our kids...

Hey, isn't that what parents do best? Take my son, Josh, as an example. He's a young man who loves God more than anything and I think he has a real gift for communicating truth through his writing. The only problem is getting his writing "out there" where people can read it. He's had a My Space blog for a while now, but I don't think many people know it's there. Blogspot seems to be getting very popular, so I've created a blog where I'm going to post his writings.

He already has a My Space blog called Free Love Movement, so I kept that name. If you're curious, you can find it by clicking on the photo of Josh and his wife Jess in my right hand column.

I will only post one or two things at a time so they won't scroll off the page too soon. Thanks in advance for visiting his blog! =0)

13 January 2010

More book joy!

I received BOTH of the Paperbackswap books I was expecting in the mail yesterday. I'm so excited to read both of them! As I mentioned before, one is called "Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare" and the other is "How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci". I've started the Shakespeare book and flipped through the other. I think my current fiction reading will go by the wayside until I finish these!

After my book review of "The Liturgical Year" I had pretty much decided not to review any more books for a while because I didn't see anything on their list that interested me. Now I see that "Fearless" by Max Lucado is available so I snapped that up! See you guys in the spring when I dig my way out from under the avalanche of books! LOL!

Shalom, all!

11 January 2010

A look at my dusty bookshelves...

With all this snow it's great reading weather! I have to admit, I just love looking at pictures of others bookshelves. I like to enlarge them and check out the titles just in case there's something there I can't live without!

My bookshelves are old and simply made, but I love them. Here are a few of the books on my shelves. As you can see, I love OLD books! =0)

Thanks, Mom, for all the C.S. Lewis non-fiction! =0) The Narnia books I collected on PaperBackSwap. "The Wind in the Willows" I bought after reading "Surprised by Joy" where Lewis mentioned it as one of his favorites. I loved it!

Some favorites and some I hope to read...

Ah, Tolkien! "Castle Blair" was a book C.S. Lewis read as a child.

I always adopt books on Jewish subjects when I find them at the book sale. Just a love of mine.

Remember Taylor Caldwell and Frank Perretti?

Old hymnals and Grace Livingston Hill...

I found out that G.M. Trevelyan was C.S. Lewis's history teacher in college, so I'm glad I found this "History of England" written by him. (I actually bought them before I knew of the connection. One of those book sale treasures! I love English history and literature.)

Jane Austen and Bill Peet! I read this Bill Peet book to the kids when they were younger and when I saw it at the book sale I had to rescue it! Poor little book!

Yes, I am an Austen/Bronte fan!

Scott, Trollope and Edith Wharton...

So many delightful books!