End of the Year Post

Most Memorable Adult Novel I’ve Read in 2017: Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh (2017). I can’t recommend it to everyone, but for those who like being transported to dangerous places (like Africa) and sympathizing with beautiful people who are misunderstood, then this is good.

Most Memorable Non-Fiction I’ve Read in 2017: Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie (2015). It’s really encouraged me to take time out to think things through, to realize that I’m the type of person who likes to think and reflect and read, and to be okay with that kind of a teacher in our homeschool. And to be okay with quiet learning progress (and not noticeable strides in progress).

Most Memorable Children’s Read-Aloud in 2017: Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink (1935). Why haven’t I read this aloud before? We did it in one day. It was that good.

My Favorite Post I’ve Written in 2017: Mr. and Mrs. Roussel. I even wrote a story based on it.

The Favorite Thing I’ve Done in 2017: Got a job at BlogMutt, ghost-writing posts and articles for clients from all over the English-speaking countries. I haven’t made much (yet), but it’s a good feeling to be transferring some money here and there into my savings account. And I like the writing challenges.

Most Memorable Concept I’ve Learned at Church (or Bible Study) in 2017: The comfort God provides is often in our looking forward to our time with Him in eternity. Even among our friends and families, we are alienated. But God loves us completely and has wonderful things for us to come.

Best Thing about Homeschooling in 2017: The continuation of Five in a Row and not following an Ambleside Online schedule anymore. Oh! I also loved the Native America History Unit Study we did.

Favorite Game I’ve Played with My Kids in 2017: Labyrinth. Unfortunately, it’s no one else’s favorite game. Fortunately, I can easily play my left brain against my right brain:)

Weirdest Way We Spent Time at Home in 2017: Speaking names backward. My youngest daughter is Rehteah. Then comes Yluc. The oldest is Eidde, but the girls tease him and call him Drawde. Lucky me, I’m still Mom.

My New Year’s Resolution for 2018 (and I’ve given this some thought): Paint a picture, just for me. But I have to get it done in a year!

Happy New Year!

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Kids Books Repeatedly Checked Out of the Library

We use the library a lot. I have 85 items checked out at the moment. I use it for homeschool, and my kids can’t resist piling up the favorites every time we go. I sometimes have to tell them to go back in the stacks and find something we’ve never read before (because I get tired of reading the same things over and over). Here’s a list of some of the favorites that get checked out again and again. You will soon see that my girls are more likely to check out repeats than my son.

  • George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends by James Marshall. This big book always weighs down the library box. I consider it a book about being tactful and friendly. The stories are sometimes delightfully goofy!
  • Anything by Holly Hobbie, especially Fanny, Fanny and Annabelle, and the Toot and Puddle books. Okay, and also Everything But the Horse. These books encourage imaginative creativity to the tenth degree!
  • The Water Hole by Graeme Base. We love the moose. My youngest can pore over the whole book searching for the hidden animals.
  • Alfie and Annie Rose books by Shirley Hughes. Yes, my kids are getting too old for these, but love for a book is timeless, right?
  • Fancy Nancy books by Jane O’Connor. I’m supposed to like these because they are fun and girly in a good way, and they build our vocabularies, but we’ve checked out Splendiferous Christmas so often… sigh… I believe I’m anti-fancy because of Nancy.
  • My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacco. She is a prolific author, tackling subjects other children’s authors don’t touch. Mostly, she writes stories about real people she has known. This book is about her real older brother. I like the ending, and I like to read the dedication, which is to her brother “with love.” I point that out with extra emphasis to my girls, who can totally sympathize with the “rotten” part of the book.
  • Randy’s Dandy Lions and Cowardly Clyde by Bill Peet. His books have rhyme and rhythm. And usually some decent morals. They have good guys and bad guys, and they have underdogs who rise to the occasion. We like them.
  • Ponyella by Laura Numeroff and Nate Evans. A horse and a Cinderella spin-off. Need I say more?
  • Strega Nona books by Tomie dePaola. These are Catholic (we’re Protestant) and full of magic spells. But somehow dePaola works his charm and makes it more than acceptable anyway.

There’s more. But I’m drawing a blank, so I’ll stop here. The above books are ones we’ve been enjoying for years. Honestly, I think if we owned them we wouldn’t read them nearly so often. Libraries are way more fun than bookshelves at home.

Do you have any favorites that get checked out again and again?

The Martian

I don’t watch many movies these days, but I splurged my time on one a few nights ago. The Martian (2015) is about an astronaut who is left on Mars (his crew thought he was dead), and how he survives. He does get in contact with NASA, which is a neat subplot, and together they work against many odds to keep him alive and get him back home before his food supply runs out.

I love how so many people work very, very hard to keep one man alive. Life is precious. It’s worth more than all the money NASA has. It’s worth more than sleep. It’s worth more than the nightmarish sound of a Martian storm beating against the plastic taped over the entrance of your pressurized shelter.

Why do we spend so much time thinking about things like guns and drugs and ways to end lives when there are people out there needing to be rescued? And as I type that, I realize I could mean that on a physical level and a spiritual level. Probably, there’s no one on Mars right now, but isn’t the inside of a womb enough like another world to relate to the movie? We need to be pro-life at all stages of life. It’s so easy to be lazy and forget about lost people. Sometimes it’s more convenient to forget. But maybe, just maybe, God gives me life so I can keep more lives alive.

Full-Time Parenting

I’ve been staring at the cover of Israel Wayne’s book, Full-Time Parenting: A Guide to Family-Based Discipleship. It’s a good book. I read it awhile ago, and then got frustrated because it’s yet another book that my husband, the father, needs to read with me in order for it to be effective. My husband actually cared enough to listen to me about it for one night a couple weeks ago. I read him some parts of the book. I left the book in a prominent place. I had hopes things might be different now. But the television started working better again, and he’s back to Hogan’s Heroes at nights, and I’m back to my whiny little posts. Okay, they aren’t whiny. I just get the impression sometimes that I shouldn’t be writing here. I should be having a real conversation with someone who cares. But there’s no one. So this is best, after all.

As for full-time parenting, that phrase sums up my reason for existing. If I wasn’t parenting and homeschooling and homemaking, then I’d be a sorry excuse for a person because I’m horrible at the other options… milking cows, doing chores with a skid loader, mowing lawn, removing the old trailer in our front lawn, cleaning up the mess of several generations of Krohns on the entire farm. If I didn’t know that children are a gift given to me by God, I’d be pretty sure they are an excuse to not do the real work that needs to be done.

I’m close to crying. I should stop before I do.

I am thankful for a new school year starting soon. New things to be passionate about. New things to fill our minds.

Ekphrastic Poetry Challenge

Writing poetry about a specific work of art is a good exercise to keep my writing skills sharp, and it conveniently combines my double interest in art and literature. The poetry magazine, Rattle, puts on a new Ekphrastic Challenge every month where any poet can submit a poem (for free) written about the work of art Rattle chooses. Then, after the month is over, the editor of Rattle chooses a winning poem and the artist of the artwork chooses a winning poem. I’ve never won, but it has been fun trying. Sometimes the artwork is such that I have nothing to say about it. But the art for June is my favorite yet! So I thought I’d share it. I already submitted a prose poem, but I might try to write another one. The country road is an image my whole life rides down (Oooo… maybe I can use that metaphor in my poem…)

Here’s the link: http://www.rattle.com/ekphrastic/. Enjoy!