Archive for January, 2011

I am hopelessly addicted to yarn.  I don’t know which I love more – books or yarn.  Like my books, I have yarn coming out of my ears. Unlike the books, most of my yarn is in plastic storage bins. These bins are mostly in the attic, but I confess to having bags under the bed.  Mostly the bags are remnants; a skein and a bit left over from a project here and there.  I have done much better in the “not buying new yarn” category.  Until today. 😆

I have a new niece.  Out of the 22 grandchildren (and one on the way) we now have 8 girls.  I have 3 of them.  Two more have been born in the last two months, with the newest being born last week.  That still leaves 13 boys in the same general location (we don’t live near the rest of the family, so my son isn’t included in the local total).  Can you tell there is excitement about the pink? 🙂

I have done a very good job of restraining myself in the yarn department.  I don’t go into the yarn section just to look anymore.  I don’t bite when I see yarn on sale anymore.  I am really trying to be good and not buy more yarn unless I have a project.

Today, I have a project. 😀 I am going to make my new niece at least a hat and blanket, and then maybe some booties or socks if I have yarn left over.  I still have to manage to make socks, though.

While I’ve been an avid crocheter for 15 years or so, about a year and a half ago, I decided to tackle knitting.  I’ve knit a bit: several washcloths, a large baby blanket, hat and booties.  And I’ve tried to make the same sock at least 4 times now.  (I know, I know, I need to break down and just get on You Tube and watch the part I need help with 😆 ) I don’t feel like I have done enough of it yet to know whether or not I actually like it.

Comparatively speaking, I’m finding knitting harder than crochet, mostly because of mistakes.  When you mess something up in crochet, you just rip it out and redo it.  When you mess something up in knitting (and it seems I only catch these rows past when it was made), the only way I can figure out to fix it is to basically un-knit to the mistake. That takes forever!  I am not a fan of spending more time going in reverse than going forward, but alas, this seems to be the only way to effectively make correction and not screw up the pattern.

I am hopeful that if I do enough of it, that I can see the stitches with the same clarity as I do with crochet. Or, maybe, I need to lower my standards. Perhaps I am too hard on myself in expecting the same kind of perfection in my knitting as I do with my crocheting.

Either way, I am on a high, having new yarn to work with.  I especially love baby prints; maybe it’s the softness of the yarn; maybe it’s the pastels. For this project, I’m using a base of Baby Bee Angel Fleece Babybelle. 

The last blanket I did, I swore I would not use this yarn again, BUT, given the lack of selection and the yummy softness of it, it was too hard to resist.  😆  I am hopeful that I can squeeze in the knitting in a fashion that I don’t lose count of where I’m at, given the busy-ness that is inherent in my weeks.

Mmmmmmmmmm, yarn!  Nothing better! (except maybe books 😆 )

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I am generally leery of self-help books and Christian books in particular, because I don’t want someone else’s opinion or interpretation to affect my view of Scripture.  That being said, this book falls into neither category. 

You are unique.  You worship God uniquely.  God has a unique plan for your life; “a unique destiny to fulfill, and no one can take your place.”

“Exactly what, you may be wondering, is a soulprint?  Think of it this way: Your fingerprint uniquely identifies you and differentiates you from everyone else who has ever lived, but your fingerprint is only skin deep. You possess a uniqueness that is soul deep.  I call it your soulprint.  It’s not just who you are, present tense. It’s who you are destined to become, future tense.  It’s not just who others see when they look at you from the outside in. It’s who God has destined you to become from the inside out. Not unlike your genetic code that programs your physical anatomy, your soulprint hardwires your true identity and true destiny. So while you live your life forward, God works backward.  The Omniscient One always starts with the end in mind.”

Using the life of David as a template, this book helps you identify defining moments and experiences in life that can help you determine your God-given destiny. This book is full of comments that are worth remembering, and thinking on. It delves into identity; integrity, embarrassing moments (and why we need them) moral honesty, and our desperate need for God.

“Your uniqueness reveals God’s greatness.” “The soulprint is the truest reflection of God’s image. Locked within its vaults are your true identity and true destiny.” These are just a few quotes that stick with me.

Written in plain language, this book is a contemplative read. The discussion questions at the end are geared simply to helping a person discover his or her true identity.  Be prepared for tough questions which garner tougher answers.

If you like introspective reading, this book is for you.  If you seek to learn more about yourself and more about God, this book is for you.  If you are a lost traveller on the road of life, this book may well be able to help you find your compass.  Five stars out of five.  I highly recommend this book. 

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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Indeed.  More books.   

I got my Kindle with a goal in mind – to not add to the stacks and boxes and piles of books I already have surrounding me.  Then, via a friend, I found Blogging for Books.  “I can deal with a book or two every month,” I’ve said to myself.  I was simply delighted with the first book I received, and promptly ordered another book after sharing my review, even though the book selecting function was giving only 5 books.

I didn’t want to read any of those books.  None of those books were on my radar.  But, I chose one that seemed to be something I could get through.  Today that book arrived. Maybe it’s something about having the actual book in hand, but it looks like it could be good!

We know that on Wednesdays, I am out of the house for much of the day.  This is a long-standing committment for me, and one I would not choose to give up.  I am a teacher for the homeschooling class at Community Bible Study.  It’s a non-denominational Bible study that is in-depth and Scripture based.  Today, as part of our leadership development, we got a book.  😆

I admit to laughing when she pulled them out of her bag.  I love my Kindle, but I also still love reading BOOKS!  Books, books, books, and now two more books today!  There’s a saying that “the God is in the details.”  I say, God *is* the details!

So, my plan for the evening is to make dinner, and then snuggle in bed with my blanket and one of my new books.  I love it!

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Sign Up!

I meant to post about this a while ago, before I got a book to review, but the last two weeks have been unusually busy, which means I didn’t get to it.

Blogging for Books is a great program for those who love to read and also blog.  This means me.  😀  When you sign up, you get to choose which kinds of books you want to review.  You choose a book from the list; they ship it to you (which takes about 1 to 2 weeks); you read and then review the book on your blog, their site and others that your frequent.

Below is my review of my first book, Lady in Waiting, by Susan Meissner.

Lady in Waiting, by Susan Meissner

I *love* this book!  As a big fan of historical reading, this book was a perfect blend of history and the present.  This is essentially two stories in one; two women with the same first name, tied together through history via a ring.

The modern Jane faces unexpected life changes, borne of decisions not of her choosing.  The historical Jane faces a lifetime of uncertainty, born into nobility and crafted into a political pawn in the Tudor reign. The contrast between eras and the role of women is striking.

Susan Meissner writes in a style that is completely immersing and gripping. This was a book I did not want to set down, and one that sucks you in and makes you lose all track of time. I felt like I knew the characters, and had an emotional investment in their stories. I was sad the book ended, and these characters are lingering in my mind.  I know I will be thinking about them for a good while.

I would definitely recommend this book to friends.  If you like historical drama, you will not want to miss this book! Please click on the image below to rank my review.

Rank this Review!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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And a bit of stressing, too.  My usual stress, once school starts, is, of course, schooling.  Did you ever think you had plenty of time and you would have it all mapped out by the time you got there?  Well, I’m there.  And while I have the map in my head, the details are driving me to stress.

The plan has always been that they would go to college and do dual enrollment, which would probably mean a diploma and getting ahead with college credits.  I have more digging to do, but while I think this is completely attainable, I don’t know that it’s realistic in the time frame I was thinking.  I was thinking the last two years of high school would be the clinchers and the time to crank out in college classes.  Now I’m not so sure.

We’ve got the ground work.  We’ve got the core classes, and I think we’re good with the electives.  But I find the whole thing totally intimidating right now.  There’s so much to think about; so much to prepare for. I think much of the pressure comes from this being the first of our children in this position.  I can’t fail any of them, and he has always been more or less the “test” case, in the regard that test the theory with him and change plan accordingly.

I feel like we’ve been cruising along on plan, but now we’re at the point where it’s do-or-die, kind of, and it’s scary! To that end, I am reaching out to those that I know have gone before me, to pick their brains. I know many people who have homeschooled through high school with success, and I have long known it can be done successfully.  I just need reassurance, I suppose, that we won’t be screwing up.

Which classes to take at college? Which can be counted for at home? What about the stressful schedule? Is he ready?  Am *I* ready?

I know the end result of raising children is to have them become productive, self-sufficient members of society.  And while I know we’re not there just yet, it has taken me by surprise to find I’m here where I am – because I’m not ready!

If you have practical experience to share, please do!

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In unison, they replied, “The dog!”  I still can’t believe I asked!  What was I thinking?!

We have two dogs; a border collie and a cairn terrier, which is more identified as Toto, from the Wizard of Oz.  Both are oddities of their breeds; our older dog is technically a red/blonde merle because of her liver colored nose.  She has all the recessive traits of the breed; two blue eyes, a lack of herding interest when it doesn’t suit her, and bad knees. 


We’ve had her for about 7 years, and estimate she’s about 9 years old.  She’s not the dog that rules the roost.  🙂

Nope, that “honor” goes to our cairn terrier. She was born on Christmas Eve, 2009. Big dog is the dominant dog, she is very patient; more than she needs to be.  And while she is the dominant dog in the canine pack, little dog keeps pushing the envelope. We do have the “bone wars,” when big dog takes the big bone from little dog, but little dog has her way of getting even, like sleeping in big dog’s crate. 

It is hilarious on the one hand and kind of sad on the other, to see the look on big dog’s face when she comes in from the yard and sees little dog sleeping in her bed.  If you have border collies, you know what I say is true: she has this look , “I can’t believe you people are letting her sleep in my bed!  How could you!”  Poor girl.  😆 Both dogs have such great personalities. 

Little dog is also an anomaly for her breed.  Technically, she is a toy breed.  They are supposed to get to be about 10 to 12 pounds, fully grown. Our pup, at 9 months old, was already 19 lbs and some change.  The vet calls her the “great dane” of the breed. She’s considerably longer; this isn’t just a matter of weight.  She’s heavier than usual, but she’s longer than usual, too, and doesn’t look fat or overweight. She’s also more loving than usual for the breed, which we don’t mind, and will demand a lap when she decides it’s time. She also has bad knees, due to thinking she’s a world-class athlete.


Both dogs *love* balls, as you can imagine.  In the backyard, there is a mostly deflated basketball that they love to play with.  While little dog is quite large for her breed, the basketball is easily at least 1/2 as big as she is, which means it’s a riot to watch her drag the thing around.  Today she managed to get it into the house.

If there is one thing to know about me, it’s that the yard stuff needs to stay out.  I cannot handle bringing yard stuff into the house for any duration of time – the house has enough stuff in it as it is, without bringing outside stuff in! Mother listened to the giggling as little dog ran around the house with the large ball, growling and snorting all the while. After a few minute, mother decided it was time for the ball to go back outside, with little dog left inside. Mother repeated her request numerous times, before finally asking in exasperation:

“Who’s the boss in this house?  The people or the dog?!” To which they replied in unison, “The dog!”

As if there was ever any doubt.  😉 😆

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Sent to Bed

“Uh oh,” you might be wondering, “who got sent to bed, and what did they do?” I got sent to bed. And that was after a nap!  My wiser half decided I was too sick to get out of bed, so he sent me back.  I got dinner in bed and a movie plugged in, which was very nice.

Remember me saying earlier that I couldn’t sustain that crazy pace and hoped I wouldn’t get sick? Well, ya. I should have knocked on wood.

To be fair, this past week was spent being around several pretty sick people, so in some regard, it’s not surprising that I have ended up with a viral something.  I have been fighting something off and on for over a month anyhow, and it seems this was the final push. Fall and winter seem to be the worst time for my allergies, so I’ve been snorkly for a while, which was the primary reason I took so much time off running. It always surprises me, though, how fast things settle in my chest.

I did run yesterday, but I split the miles 1/2 and 1/2 because my lungs have been junky and I knew I had a lot to get done during the day and couldn’t afford to run out of energy.  I also took it easy on myself because I knew this weekend was going to be busy and full of preparation, and since I’m on a time limit, I really do need to make sure I don’t totally crash and burn.

I guess I should get to it.  I’ve been up for about an hour, and am already tired and ready for a nap.  It’s also my oldest daughter’s birthday, and that would have meant company if I wasn’t sick.  There are still cupcakes to make, but my guess is that she’ll want to make them herself. I’m hoping to get at least some laundry done before I end up back in bed.  And then I may dig back into the dwindling stack of unseen movies.  🙂

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You’d be so proud.  I got a lot done today, and it wasn’t all just work done in my head!  😀

The homeschooling game party seemed to go over well.  I figure that we had over 50 people there.  At one point, I counted 37 kids sitting still.  I may have missed a few running around in circles.  😆  Several new people came, and it was wonderful to reconnect with those that have been homeschooling for a while.  Everyone was appreciative, and that makes events so much nicer.  All in all, I can count this as a success.

I also tackled the pile on the counter.  Indeed, I chucked the pile of magazines.  😀 Except for one. 😆  I was mostly through it, but I know I can finish it during the commercials on TV later this evening.  And then I’ll pitch it.

I feel good about what got accomplished today.  I feel like maybe the organization outside of my office is starting to happen. I hope this time it totally takes root and is something we can maintain. I have to say, though, I am totally wiped out. 

What’s on tap for tomorrow has already made it onto the to-do list. Tomorrow looks to be lighter, which I am most appreciative of.  I know that I can’t keep up this break-neck pace for long, and thank goodness the weekend is around the corner.  And there’s a list for that, too. 🙂

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Batten down the hatches! I admit, that is not a term land-locked desert folk are generally known to say –  unless you live where I live. I’m not really joking when I say that we have two seasons: windy, and hot and windy. We regularly have high wind warnings and hurricane strength winds that bring massive sandstorms. Ok, we’re not talking about sandstorm in Egypt where numbers of people die and/or get trapped in it for sometimes weeks at a time. We are, however, in the desert.  And it is windy. 

Hurricane force winds are no joke, and are often a regular occurrence much of the year. During the winter, we have wind warnings like other places have snow warnings.  During the summer, we have wind warnings like others have storm warnings.  Did I mention it’s windy here?

Through the years we’ve lived here, I’ve come to learn a few things about the wind.  First, there is no point in wearing a hat or fixing your hair. Second, it’s not unusual to see people in stores sweeping out the sand from the front door. Third, and perhaps, most important, things get blown around.

If it’s not nailed down, it’s gonna be gone. The sand that is blowing around gets in your teeth and stays there, no matter how much you brush them. Often, there are creatures in the sand that are blowing. The one kind of living creatures I’m thinking about today, having hit one earlier, are tumbleweeds.

Indeed, I proclaim tumbleweeds to be alive.

They are often seen on benches, in addition to climbing trees and fences. 

They often travel herds; surrounding their young and sending the larger/older of the group out in front as a scout. 

Their children, like ours, don’t always listen to direction. They like to hop, skip, and jump, which can result in negative consequences for everyone involved.  😦 

With many of their groups, there is a “black sheep”  that does its own thing.  It dodges out into traffic, or plays chicken with oncoming traffic.  This, too, more often than not, has tragic consequences.

Fortunately for tumbleweed, they multiply rapidly.  Not at the same rate as rabbits, of course, but they are pretty fruitful, all things considered.

Tumbleweed like to travel for the holidays. Sometimes, they have parties.

Sometimes, those parties chasing involve people.  Sometimes, they even catch them!

I believe I have stated my case and given sufficient evidence. 😆

So, the next time the wind is blowing hard, remember you aren’t the only one getting blown around. Chances are, there is a tumbleweed family in that wind with the other stuff, going wherever the wind takes them!

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Duck, duck, duck, GOOSE!  That’s me.  The goose.  I’m it.  Now let’s all run and run and run and run in circles!  🙂 

Does this feel like you?  Ya, me too.  😆 I am once again at home, drinking my pot of tea, and looking over my to-do list. 

Looking down the list, I have come to the sinking realization that I’m “it.”

A very near and dear friend used to live across the street, and we spent a lot of time together. We spent time walking every evening, we sang together a few times, and we talked a lot. Her youngest daughter was the same age as my oldest daughter, and she was homeschooling her older children. She was a great inspiration to me, and was a constant source of encouragement. We moved across town while my oldest was in 1st grade, and the following year we began homeschooling.

This is our 8th year of homeschooling. When we started homeschooling, I knew lots of people with young children who were also homeschooling.  As time has gone by, most of those people either aren’t homeschooling any more, have had their children go to college, or, like my friend, have moved away.  I know of a few others who are still homeschooling kids this age, but it seems like the older they get, the harder it is to find time to get together, because the older kids are busy doing things.

Our homeschooling group here used to do things together; more than just park day. We used to have events and take regular field trips as a group.  We had an email list – that not many people were on – and we had one mother who was the “keeper of the list;” a comprehensive list of who in our town was homeschooling, contact information, and names and ages of children.  Boy, was she organized!  She stopped doing the homsechooling list at some point; I’m not quite sure when.  She’s still homeschooling, though.

It took me a while, but then it hit me that all the people who had been the planners and organizers of the group were no longer doing the things they had done for so many years. And no one else was stepping in to do it!

Being the introvert that I am, we didn’t generally participate in a whole lot of events.  This does not mean my children weren’t socializing, and I’ll go into detail on that in another post, since it’s a rant all to its own.  😆 We went on field trips that fit in with our schedules and went to parties as we could. When I got sick, I spent over a year in bed, and basically lost touch with a lot of people, outside those that I saw regularly or was on the email list with. I think it was during this time that the shift of planning and organizing happened.

Believe me when I say that I am NOT looking for more to do! 😆 I tried to organize a get-together for Christmas, but started too late. So here we are now, at the beginning of January, and the party is happening.  I would have been content to let the idea drop, and just wait for a holiday, like Valentine’s Day.  It was suggested at work (the week before Christmas) that I host the party before registration for the new semester began. I agreed, but the negative feelings started creeping in almost immediately.

In my other work prior to this job, part of what I did was to have monthly meetings.  This involved making monthly phone calls to contacts, usually 20 to 30, sending out reminder emails, and lugging around snacks and several crates of books and other materials. Given that I don’t like making phone calls to begin with, this effort was a stretch for me.  I did this nearly 7 years. In addition to all my other duties.

The bad feeling I get from planning any kind of event is that the amount of effort going into making the event happen – trips to the newspaper for advertising, getting snacks, etc etc – does not always = the reward of people coming.  This time, I have confirmation that several people are coming. This is encouraging to a degree.

The last event I planned was a field trip to the vet’s office. With all the people responding, I wondered if we would all fit! The night before, it happened to snow.  A little bit.  This to me means “a dusting.”  It wasn’t on my radar that everyone would bail because of a dusting of snow.  To be fair, two other families came, so it wasn’t a total loss.  It just wasn’t what had been planned for.

Homeschoolers in general are pretty flexible, in my experience. I don’t know if that means reliable.  One of the main reasons we homeschool is so that we CAN come and go as we please, and not be bound by another schedule.

At any rate, it looks like I’m it.  I don’t mind doing my share, and I feel that getting others connected to support is often *vital* to their success, so in that regard, I am happy to do it. It can be daunting to start homeschooling, and challenging to continue past the first year or two.  I remember being “new,” and having the deep appreciation for those that took the time to share information and experience with me.

Being on the other end of the experience pole, I feel like I have information to share that might make a difference for someone. It occurs to me that maybe I am not without passion and deep feeling of any kind – *this* is a topic I feel *VERY* strongly about.  😆 Another sudden realization I just had is that in my old work, I did *a lot* of writing, daily. Perhaps I do process more of what’s in my head by getting it out on paper than I originally thought. It seems I have missed that particular outlet more than I suspected.

The rest of the week is going to be busy.  I’m going to be more busy than I would like to be. But, I am feeling more and more confident that this event is going to be a success.  At the very least, I’ll be there with my kids and the 4 speakers/presenters I have scheduled.  🙂

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