Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Necessity of Escaping




















(our trips always have some adventure
in them.  this is one I could 
have skipped, though.)



This has been an extremely busy season for our family, leaving Mama breathless and a tad overwhelmed at times.  

School has started and it's a year where we are plunging in and we are neck-deep.  Some years, it seems that the work load is easier, others, well, others leave you hanging on for dear life.

In addition to our heavier school year, we have countless things that take up our time, our money, our energy - spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally.

We're pretty spent.

And then Hubs wanted to go camping.  Real camping.  Y'know without hook-ups and sanitation.

I was all for it... on the outside.

The inside of me was screaming, "NO!!  I don't have time for this!  I love my bed!  This is the worst time possible!"

We went.  And it was lovely.

What we forget in the seasons of running around-like-chickens-with-their-heads-chopped-off is that in order to keep running around, we must experience rest. 

Oh, how I love a good paradox.

And we must (let me emphasize that particular word:  MUST) be intentional about doing it.

You know that I'm talking to you, right?

Getting things done is awfully nice.  Satisfying, right?

Take this from a woman who has, at times, made an idol of the almighty to-do list:  It will not sustain you, my dear.

The busier you are, the more escapes you will need to arrange.  

Of course, they need not be big escapes.  An afternoon at the library (all. by. myself.) with a Starbuck's in hand was exactly what I needed a couple of weeks ago.  A short trip to the grocery store with hubs?  Yes, please.  Any time I go anywhere with him alone definitely counts as a date. 

It can also be as easy as shifting some school work aside for the day to pop popcorn and watch a movie or go outside and play. 

We are made for working, you and I, but we're also made for rest. Easy for me to say, right?  I don't know your schedule, your routine, your responsibilities, your workload.  No, but I do know mine and women just like us.  

Make sure that in your times of a hectic, over-loaded schedule, you find minutes to just breathe, relax and be refreshed.

It can be done, I promise.  It just takes strategy.  And maybe coffee.

If you don't, you'll end up like one of those crazy, headless chickens.  And we all know what fate awaits them....  being roasted for supper.

Please don't be roasted for supper.  Rest.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mama's When-I-Actually-Have-Time-To-Myself-To-Catch-My-Breath Book List

Yesterday was our first day of school.  Ah, the freshly sharpened pencils and pointy unused crayons.

Can't you see the leaves starting to turn colors and the autumn breeze shaking the acorns out of their respective trees?

No?

Could it be that it's because it's still August?

Or that it's because I live in the state where any sense of fall comes from the Hobby Lobby cinnamon-scented pine cones and fake leaves that come out of the craft closet?

It's not like I'm bitter or anything.  What utter nonsense.

Even though it's still warm (note me being generous here), school has started without it being fall and cues the end of my yearly summer reading binge.

(sniff, sniff)

I should have been working on the project list.  I should have been organizing the Christmas card list.  I should have been learning to do something quite useful.

Oops.

Here are my glorious, binge-worthy distractions from this summer:

Finished and Placed Back on the Shelf:


Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey - by Jane Austen
Two that I hadn't read and I loved them.  Originally, I was reading them to teach a high school book club, but it's morphed into a book club for anyone who wants to come.  It's amazing to me how many people I've had be interested and then commit to come.  As I do all of her works, I thought these were classic and lovely escapes.

    

The Monuments Men, Rescuing Da Vinci and Saving Italy by Robert Edsel
I am such a history nerd.  And an art nerd.  Put them together and you have a Super History Art Nerd who read all of Robert Edsel's books about saving precious art pieces during the last days of World War II.  The movie is great, but the books really do the story (and people) justice. (FYI, because we have little ones running around, I had to censor the front of Saving Italy because of Michelangelo's David, standing there in his birthday suit.  I put a sticky note over the top of it.  Silly, but effective.)


The Chronicles of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes
You know I just can't wait until January and the new season, so I revisited some past seasons.  Matthew and Sybil are still with us in this book.  Ah, the good old days.  It has stunning photography and has interesting historical notes (which, me being the nerd than I am, makes me quite happy.).


Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth
I thought that this book (which the tv series is based on and I absolutely adore) was tremendous.  I was fascinated with the primitive conditions she shares about 1950s East End London.  Plus, it's a lovely telling of how she came to faith because of the nuns she lived and worked with.  She ended up writing several books and I'm excited to delve into more of them.


Abraham Lincoln's Whiskers - by Karen B. Winnick
I thought this was a gentle story told by the little girl who suggested to President Lincoln that he grow whiskers.  He wrote a sweet letter back to her and then she met him on his way to Washington D.C. for the inauguration.  It was a great read aloud to my kids who will be studying this period of history this year.



Little House in the Big Woods - by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I don't think that children's literature can get any better than this.  All of my kids loved it, begging for more each time I read a chapter.  This books needs no introduction, no review.  It's a hand's down classic.

Still Has the Bookmark in It:


In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
This one was recommended to me by two dear friends who had read it.  It's a thought-provoking read about nuns living in a convent.  Just because you leave the world behind doesn't mean that takes care of the sin in your heart.  In fact, it might just reveal it all the more.  I'll be glad when things slow down a bit so that I can get back to it because the characters are that interesting.



River of Doubt:  Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard
This book follows me throughout my house so that I can snatch bits and pieces whenever I have a free moment.  The story of the former president, a man with a bigger-than-life personality, is a fantastic look into his personality and what made him tick.  There is quite a lot of evolution discussion in here, added by the author.  If you can make it through that, the story is amazing.


Praying The Names of God - by Ann Spangler
This is one of my morning reads and I really like it.  I do wish I could find myself getting lost in it like some other books I've read, but it's a great learning tool.


The Beloved Disciple - by Beth Moore
Is there a book out there that she has written that I don't love?  I don't think so.  This book is achingly familiar in its humanity, divinely hopeful and full of hope and the loveliness of Jesus and our mutual love for each other.  I love having this as part of my morning reading.


The Big Book of What Now Learning Styles by Carol Barnier
I won this book at a workshop which the author was teaching and I was so excited because I was planning on buying it anyway.  I have two kids who learn very similarly to each other and me, which is super-duper easy.  But then there's another one of mine who learns completely differently.  I think this book is really going to help me assess where I need to change to accommodate this sweet learner of mine.  Plus, the author is just a hoot to read, so win-win.

Product Details

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
After finishing Little House in the Big Woods, we had to keep going, right?  So we're following Pa, Ma, Mary, Laura and Carrie as they travel into Indian country.  (side note:  my Jack is so excited whenever we read about their dog, Jack.  He thinks we're reading about him.  Why he thinks he's traveling under a covered wagon and across swollen rivers, I don't know.)

Still Patiently Waiting On the Nightstand:



The Peacemaker by Ken Sande
I heard Ken Sande (founder of Peacemakers International) at our homeschool convention this past summer and was so impressed with what he had to say that we bought all of his Peacemaker books for our family.  I am anxious to learn how to develop harmony in our home which is glorifying to God.  He's an inspirational speaker who is also quite entertaining and insightful.


The Captain's Wife by Douglas Kelley
The mark of a good book to me is one that I can learn from.  This book is the true story of a wife who had to take over her husband's clipper ship when he became ill and had to deal with a very man's world, with the strength and cunning of a female.  I picked this up at a used book sale and I think it will be well worth it.

Product Details

Mornings on Horseback - by David McCullough
I am a huge David McCullough fan.  Period.  Theodore Roosevelt's story fascinates me, especially after seeing his face on Mt. Rushmore this past summer.  I'm looking forward to learning more about him as a person and not just as a figure head.


50 Children:  One Ordinary American Couple's Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany - Steven Pressman
Even though I haven't read this, yet, I am completely intrigued by it.  A story of love and sacrifice and hope and unbearable pain.  Could I send my children off if I knew it was the only way?  Would I?  Unfathomable.


The American Heiress - by Daisy Goodwin
Oh, my, oh, my, oh, my.  I am so excited about this book.  A sweet friend who knows my adoration of Downton Abbey recommended this to me and I can't wait to dive in.  It's set in the 1880s in England when cash-poor English nobility cast their eyes over the pond looking for young wealthy American heiresses.  Sounds intriguing, yes?


So I didn't make it through the whole list.  I don't think I'll ever have every book that I want to read read and back on the shelf.  It's like my Amazon wishlist.  I take one thing off and add three more.  Like my backside, it seems to constantly be growing.

At least books don't contain calories.
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