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!

08 January 2010

A book review...

The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister.
As a complete neophyte, I read with interest Miss Chittister's explanation of the various events leading up to Christmas and Easter as well as the Ordinary Times.
As one who has never attended a liturgical type of church I have had much curiosity about what the liturgy of a church was all about.
I think some of us who attend less formal, non-denominational churches sometimes feel that informality brings us closer to God.
In some ways this may be true, but I think
something can certainly be said for the liturgical way of following God.
It is all so new and seems so complex to an outsider that I think I will have to read the book more than once to grasp it all.
I was surprised to learn how down-to-earth and scripture centered many of these liturgical events are and, to my way of thinking, they help to draw us back toward God and the real meaning of Christmas and Easter.
As she explains, "The liturgical year, then, is a panoply, an array of events designed to shape us into being what we say we are-followers of Jesus, disciples of Christ, the Christian community. It is a yearlong sojourn through the life of Christ to that ultimate point of self-giving, to that last breath of teaching, to that total surrender to the will of God, to that glorious new life that comes when we put this one at its service."
I was inspired to read more on the subject.
I wrote this review as a Book Review Blogger for Thomas Nelson Publishers.

07 January 2010

Moving day for Jordan...

Last night after work (8:30 p.m.) I headed over to Jordan's apartment to help him move. He's storing most of his belongings at our house because he's moving to Fort Worth for six months or so. While there he will live with his brother and sister-in-law. It's sort of a reconnaisance mission to see if God has something for him to do there. He's unattached, so now is the time to travel and see a bit of the world.

His apartment is on the second floor, so Bob and I, Jordan and three of his friends ran up and down carrying boxes and pieces of furniture. It took two trips with the pickup and two cars filled to the gills to get everything in. At our house I stored most of his things in our loft room, so up and down more stairs carrying boxes! Every muscle is sore! Well, maybe I used up some calories!

He spent the night with us and headed to Fargo this morning where he's doing a 12 day medical research study in order to raise some extra funds for his trip. When he returns he'll take about a week to prepare for his trip and then he'll head south.
I'm hoping the fact that he's keeping his bed, couch, and so many other items here at our house means that he'll be back! We sure will miss him, but want him to follow what the Lord has for him.

Now that most of the moving is done I'm relaxing, visiting on Facebook and watching TV (while drinking copious amounts of tea).

Whew! See you later!

04 January 2010

My snowy background...

I've been bouncing around from one blog background to another! I had a vintage looking tan background with cross-stitching along the margins, but it began to have a HEAVY feeling to me. Then I went to another blog and saw her really minimalist white layout and thought, "Now that's simple and seems to fit a winter theme. No HTML required!" So, for now I'm going fresh and simple. I like it!

Everyone stay warm! I have to get ready for work. Sure enjoyed my long weekend! =0)
(A lovely bit of crazy quilt.)

01 January 2010

A need for creativity....

I have three days off from work and I hope to relax and enjoy it!

I realized today that it's been a while since I've played my guitar, so I just went up to my little loft room and got out the guitar, which I keep in the case with a humidifying device so it won't dry out in the dry winter air. I played through some songs and really enjoyed singing along. Hubby's gone for a few hours so I can let 'er rip! (He loves to listen to me sing, but I get inhibited knowing I have a one person audience! It doesn't bother me to sing at church, but one-on-one is a little different.) After the guitar session I dusted off my tinwhistles and played through "Morrisons" a couple of times. It felt good to play a little music. I decided to skip the fiddle.

I think I'm spending too much free time on Facebook, which is using up time I should be using for time in the Word or reading or doing some creative things that I really need to fill a certain spot in my soul. Know what I mean? I will probably keep checking in on FB just in case one of my kiddos says something interesting, but I could really skip a lot of what goes on there. Blogging, on the other hand, IS a creative pursuit, which I hope to continue!

I have a little magazine rack next to my favorite chair in the living room. I've crammed it full of things that I'm reading and occupations that I'd like to take some time for, such as drawing. I also have a basket of flannel shirts under the rack waiting to be cut up into quilt squares. I actually got some of them cut up, but will do the rest as I feel like it. I have several books that I'm reading and a notebook with notes for that young person's novel I have in my brain. Lots to do, but only small bits of time when I feel like I can really withdraw into my own little creative world. Some types of creativity require a lot of time just for brainstorming, which requires quiet and aloneness for me. As my hubby can attest, when I'm zoned in on a book or movie, he may as well not be there! LOL! SO, I try to do these things when he's gone, so he doesn't feel neglected.

I'm planning to spend some time fixing up some sheet music for a song I like. I need to get it on paper with space to draw the chord charts between the lines because the chords are some that are unfamiliar to me and I want to be able to see them quickly. There's also a Leeland song that I need to listen to a few more times to get the hang of it. So, I'm hoping to have time to work on those. I need to be singing if nothing else, because I feel that's a talent the Lord gave me, where someone else can do the guitar or piano playing better than I. I'm just learning to be sort of passable on the guitar.

I want to finish up a book called "The Liturgical Year" so I can get the review done for Thomas Nelson. It's pretty good, but I may have difficulty coming up with 200 words to say about it! I guess I could just go rambling on like I do here! =0)

I also need to find a new background for my blog. I've looked around a bit, but haven't found anything that works well when I actually apply it. Most have overwhelming borders that distract from the blog. I'll keep trying though. I'm spoiled now and don't want just a plain colored background!

Happy New Year to all!