Winter 101

We got several inches of snow today. My kids are such southerners. After the last snow, Ben left his boots outside on the deck, so they filled with snow. Emma left her coat at church, so she went out to play in today’s snow in a sweatshirt. Ben played outside for awhile today with his coat unzipped, then came in with his shirt soaking wet! Neither wore a hat, though it was snowing steadily, and so came in with wet heads. I feel like we need a Winter 101 course. Winter for Dummies? Winter for Year Round Wearers of Flip Flops? It snowed the day I tested for my driver’s license, lo, long ago; now I’m nervous to drive in it.

Hopefully the roads will be clear by tomorrow. Ten days til Christmas; it’s probably time for me to start shopping.

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Just two quotes tonight, first from a favorite book: Laddie, by Gene Stratton Porter.

“Neighbor, believe me, my highest aspiration is to be a clean, thrifty housekeeper, a bountiful cook, a faithful wife, a sympathetic mother. That is life work for any woman, and to be a good woman is the greatest thing on earth.”

And this, from Hallowed Be This House, by Tom Howard.

“We have come into the place where it is said to us, ‘You are the attendants at this shrine. See to it that what goes on here is a small picture of what ought to go on everywhere. It doesn’t go on everywhere, but your task is to see that it does here. This is the spot allotted to your priesthood. Be faithful.'”

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Stupid Project

One of the great things about homeschooling is that we get to skip projects.

You know how certain teachers always thought it would be so fun to do “centers”, or do projects, or the very worst of all, GROUP PROJECTS.

Those were my least favorite teachers. I’ll read the book, write the paper, answer the questions, take the test, just pleasepleaseplease don’t make me be creative. Or depend on someone else for my grade. (Seriously, the worst.)

The girls are taking a writing class at our homeschool co-op this year. For one recent assignment, they were asked to write a story about the Underground Railroad. The written stories were exchanged and peer-reviewed last week. That was bad enough; the girls were extremely nervous about showing other kids their stories. But this week’s assignment brought a new challenge: read your story in front of the class, with some sort of creative presentation. (Cue weeping)

Abby, who strongly shares my dislike for creative pressure, has begged repeatedly to skip tomorrow’s class. I was tempted to allow it, momentarily, because I feel her pain, but this won’t be the last time she’s asked to give a presentation. She might as well get a little experience. We helped her make a PowerPoint presentation with pictures that go along with her story. She’s still not sure she’ll survive. She named the file “stupid project.”

Emma has been baking Christmas cookies as often as I’ll let her, so she decided to use that in her presentation. A slight story line revision, and a character in her story is now baking cookies! At that point in the reading she will hand out cookies to everyone in class! She baked them tonight before swim practice and youth group, but they still have to be frosted. I guess she’ll be doing that in the morning.

I suppose it’s good for them to have a little experience with projects and presentations, but I’m glad this is an infrequent occurrence for us!

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The Stories are True

I think it was just last year that I first heard about this picture. This year I printed it and put it on my fridge for Advent.

The stories are true.

So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,

“Cursed are you above all livestock
    and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
    and you will eat dust
    all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
    and you will strike his heel.

Genesis 3:14-15

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Monday, Briefly

A few things tonight…

  1. Google Goals is complete nonsense. It doesn’t do what it says it will do at all. It would be cool if it worked, but it doesn’t. Goals that I asked it to schedule daily were scheduled completely randomly, sometimes a week apart. I worked with it for a week and quit.
  2. I’m going to reign in my scheduling/planning instinct and just say I hope to read a Russian next year. Thanks to those of you who weighed in with common sense for my crazy. I still think I need some sort of guide to help me understand War and Peace. Looked at Barnes and Noble as well as my library tonight and found nothing. I wonder if I can get a library card at the local community college – maybe they have a better literary criticism section. B&N has one shelf.
  3. Do you think it’s true that only 10% of cancer is hereditary? I read that this morning, immediately googled, and found a few headlines proclaiming similar statistics. Avoiding all potential carcinogens would involve life in a literal bubble, would it not? I don’t know what to do with that information. I vacillate between trying to avoid things “they” say are toxic, and shrugging helplessly. How do you live with that kind of vigilance?

On that note, I have to find something for dinner. I planned on leftovers, and someone ate the leftover I wanted! This is what comes of taking children to activities…

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Sunday Song: Jesus Christ the Apple Tree

One of my favorite Christmas choral songs. You can listen to it here. It’s gorgeous.

1. The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit and always green:
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree.

2. His beauty doth all things excel:
By faith I know, but ne’er can tell
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ the apple tree.

3. For happiness I long have sought,
And pleasure dearly I have bought:
I missed of all; but now I see
‘Tis found in Christ the apple tree.

4. I’m weary with my former toil,
Here I will sit and rest awhile:
Under the shadow I will be,
Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.

5. This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
It keeps my dying faith alive;
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ the apple tree.

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The Year of the Russian?

What should I read next year?

Sure, I could just pick up whatever looks interesting and read that, but hello, ISTJ. I do love a plan. Especially a reading plan. At the end of 2016 I found a daily plan for reading Shakespeare (all of it!) in one year. It was an impulsive commitment, but I’ve stuck with it all year. Only 2 plays and a few sonnets to go! I was intimidated at first, but over the course of the year it got easier and easier, because I was immersed in his language and style every day. That experience has been so interesting to me – and so enjoyable! – that I’m contemplating doing something similar in 2018.

I keep thinking about the Russians. Continue reading

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