Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I was looking for a sign

Checking my post archives I was hoping to find that I had started my blogging around the beginning of October. That way I could say that I had been on an online literary stint for exactly 3 years. But, alas, it was December. A round number would have been so satisfying. But in any case, here is the sad news. After 2 years and 9 months I am regretfully giving up blogging.

pregnant pause of reflection

Why you ask, agast? Well, the tickling of the idea was forming over the summer as time to book review just didn't appear. Then this fall I attended a meeting that emphasized self-awareness in prioritizing your life and it really hit home.

I am not a multi-tasker. Horrors in this day and age, I know. The simpler the better. Everyone around me benefits when my workload is contained and my mind is not going in a dozen different directions. Blogging was becoming a weight on my shoulders (even when I didn't do it!) and the posts were blah to say the least. So, my contribution to the blog world completed, I move on.

Catch me on Ravelry if you are knitting inclined (teachermom). And otherwise, I hope to see you in person to talk books.

Go with God.

Monday, September 6, 2010

keeping it brief

A technique that I have used in teaching writing to my children is the three word rule. They read a passage and then condense each sentence of the passage to three keywords. The next day they rewrite the passage using only the keywords that they've selected. It's a way to get kids writing without the fear of "what do I write about?" that most of them are prone to.

So here's my take on the three keyword book review:

House Rules by Jodi Picoult - insightful; unsettling; captivating

Corduroy Mansions by Alexander Mccall Smith - amusing; entertaining; perceptive

P.A.C.E. by Al Sears - quick; commonsense; motivating

And that's all she wrote!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mystically Wired

Talking to God - a person that we can't see - is not a habit that our culture actively cultivates. Ken Wilson, in the book "Mystically Wired", submits that human beings are meant to be pray-ers. He claims that indeed, we are wired for it, but our society doesn't lend itself to the quiet and contemplation that will allow us to go beyond our conventional ideas of prayer.
In his book he explores various methods of praying and relaxation techniques that you can use to "go deeper" with prayer. Some of these will take patience, persistence and a willingness to push beyond your comfort zone.

The book is written in a very personal way that draws you along the author's journey of exploring different types of prayer other than the standard ones found in modern homes and churches. Having been exposed to early Christian writings as an immature Christian, his thoughts resonated with me and I found myself wishing to consider his discoveries further. Mr. Wilson doesn't just give you his theoretical thoughts on prayer. This is a how-to manual, so you can begin right away with the practices.

Are you looking to go deeper? Is your prayer life getting a little dusty or few and far between? Check this book out - even adopting one of his suggestions will be a step in the right direction.

Monday, July 12, 2010

No lazy days of summer for me

Summer is in full swing and as usual, is moving along much too quickly. But we finally have some sunny July weather, so it feels like summer at least. I've been reading and knitting and doing some organization (but not as much as I'd like!). A shift is in the wind - more on that in the next weeks.

Books I haven't set aside:
The Boy in the Moon by Ian Brown tells the true story of a boy born with a very rare medical condition that affects his looks and mental and physical development. Written by the boy's father, it is at the same time inspiring and gut-wrenching.

The Alchemist's Dream by John Wilson takes place in the late 1600's and mixes true tales of the search for the Northwest Passage with seemingly fantastic, but also true tales of alchemy and occult.

This Time Together by Carol Burnett is filled with a collection of stories of Carol's life in show business over the long span of her career. The snippets from here and there served to give a better picture of the personality of this well-loved actress. I grew up watching Carol Burnett and truly enjoyed reading about her acting life. What fun she had!

On the knitting front: a mohair/acrylic shawl modeled by my son under great duress (Estelle Watercolours) - my third time to use this yarn and make this shawl. Yellow socks out of Bambino yarn by Chameleon Colorworks. I look forward to cooler weather so I can test out the bamboo. And lastly, some socks for a fundraiser next fall - Regia Jacquard color.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I'm not a feminist, but....

Reading "The Heart Specialist" by Claire Holden Rothman was a glimpse into life before women were treated as the equals that they are today. Agnes White is passionate about all things scientific and aspires to be a doctor like her father. However, the year is 1882 and things like that are just not done. Women don't even go to university, let alone spend many years there learning. They just aren't made for stuff like that. This book is inspired by the true story of one of Montreal's first female physicians, Dr. Maude Elizabeth Seymour Abbott. It was a page turner and I highly recommend it. Many twists and turns.

Do you ever read any of the blogs in my sidebar? Josh Harris's "Mark Driscoll's: Church is not a restaurant" video clip is right on the mark. Take a few minutes to listen in.

We are having a new baby in our church next month. I made a baby sweater that will hopefully fit in the winter. It's made with a yarn that will be washable for the new mom - Red Heart Eco-Ways, in a soft light teal colour. So soft after washing.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Thank goodness for libraries

I've spoken before of my love of libraries. If I ever spend time in a new town for any reason, I usually check out their library. They are such comfortable places. Think of all the money they save us! One day I'll sit down and estimate how much money I would have spent if I had bought all the books I've taken out of the library. In my present Connie Willis period, I would be in the hundreds of dollars by now. The latest is "The Winds of Marble Arch and other stories". Short stories are satisfying to read, as they can be nibbled at here and there. This is a huge book containing 23 stories of varying lengths. Some are in the time travel vein that I've come to expect of her and others general SF. It was interesting to see how diverse her writing skills are, while keeping to the SF genre.

While camping this past week I finished off a pair of socks for a colleague/friend who recently lost her mother. They will be warm and comforting on cold winter days. Online Linie 3 Highland Color; Farbe 842; Partie 69469. Pattern: K3, P1 down the leg on a standard sock.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Traveling to other times

Science fiction - you've got to love it. SF stretches your mind with possibilities that are sometimes brain exploding. I find time travel to be that way especially. What are the ramifications of traveling backwards in time? What if you change something? What if you step on a butterfly or save a life or merely have your atoms share space with a world that didn't have your atoms in it before? When you mix questions like these with a rousing good plot, the result is a story that begs to keep you up late at night. "Doomsday Book" by Connie Willis (my current favorite author) was a delight to read. Set during Medieval times, it had all the historical accuracy and engaging tidbits I love to learn about, coupled with interesting plot turns and complex characters. These were characters you became close to, laughed with and ached for. We are not solitary creatures wandering the earth - we're meant to live in community. Sometimes that isn't easy, but strengthing our understanding of other people is highly worthwhile.
Are you green? Do you carry around a reusable shopping bag? I find that the more bags I have, the more likely that I'll have one when I need it. To that end I knitted a simple bag out of soft cotton that I will feel very trendy carrying to the farmer's market, should I ever get there. Knit Picks Simply Cotton Organic Worsted yarn; Fantasy Naturale Market Bag.