2020's Word of the Year

2020 word of the year- Release
Release control of what I can't control. Release worry. Release fear. Release...

Friday, December 30

Cars are the bane of my existence...

When I was a child I really never thought much about cars. They got our family from A to Z and that's all that really mattered. I do remember not getting to high school once or twice because it was so cold the car wouldn't start and it was probably to cold for me to be driving 20 miles to school anyway.
After we got married we were stationed in England. We had a car for a short time until someone ran into my husband and the car was totaled. In England as young people, cars were an extravagance. Since we were under 23 the insurance was actually more than the price of a car. Add on road tax and the price of fuel, it was just not something we could afford. So we rode our bikes or took the bus. It really was quite convenient and we never had to worry about unexpected repairs.
But now we live in western Nebraska. Riding bikes in our weather is not so handy half of the year and local buses are nonexistent. Having a good running vehicle is a necessity.
We have 3 vehicles, a mini-van, a comfy sedan and a little pick-up. The pick-up is too small for all four of us and has about 300,000 miles on it. The sedan has almost 200,000 miles and has been a great car. Very comfy to ride in, but the doors won't lock, a thief tried to get into the glove box and broke it and the heater doesn't work. We replaced the heating and A/C module and fixed the cruise control this fall but the heater still isn't working so we're looking at $500 just to let them figure out what's wrong and who knows how much after that?
Last, we have a mini-van with about 127,000 miles on it. Everything works great on it and it's always been very dependable. Until last week when the fuel pump went out. This particular model has the lovely option of the fuel pump being inside the gas tank. So to replace it you have to take the gas tank off the vehicle. Did I mention that before it broke we had just filled the gas tank? The 25 gallon gas tank!!
Does anyone see my frustration yet?
Making the decision to be a single income family has always required sacrifices. We have a nice home, but not fancy. We rarely buy new furniture or clothes, we don't have cable, and we don't have new cars. I'm not complaining. This was the choice that we made so that I was raising our children and not someone else. But like all choices there are always some drawbacks. This week it just happens to be frustrations with cars. The parts have been ordered and by next week we should have the van running and this will all be a nuisance. But it has given me the opportunity to be thankful for what I do have. I have a great husband, a pretty good bunch of kids, good friends, a warm and cozy home and I never have to worry about having enough food to feed my family or wonder if my water is safe to drink. Then I start to feel guilty for having such an easy life compared to other women in the world.
I guess it's all the way we choose to look at life. I may never have a brand new car and that's okay. But when I look at everything I do have I would be foolish to let a couple weeks of car trouble get me down. Don't you think?

Thursday, December 29

2017 Nebraska Reading Challenge

This is the challenge I have come up with to celebrate the 150th year of statehood. The rules are simple, either the book should be written by a person who was born in or resided in Nebraska, or the book itself should be about Nebraska. To qualify for the drawing you need to have read 1 book from each category. The books need to be read in 2017 so if you've already read it, read it again.
If you decided to do the challenge along with me comment on my post. In December if you have completed the challenge then let me know what books you read and your name will go in a drawing for a prize. I'm not sure what the prize will be yet but I can say that it will have something to do with Nebraska.


1. A book of poetry

2. A book about a pioneer

3. A biography

4. A fantasy or sci-fi book

5. A children's book

6. A fictional book

7. A history book

8. A book about nature

9. A book of Nebraska photography

10. A book made into a movie or television show

11. Your choice 

12. A Bess Streeter Aldrich book- yes I'm going to ask everyone to read one of her books because I really like them and think everyone should at least read one. 

Some suggestions for authors: Bess Streeter Aldrich, Mari Sandoz, Willa Cather, Ted Kooser, John Neihardt,  Rainbow Rowell, Alex Kava, Krista Kedrick, Nicholas Sparks, Terry Goodkind, Weldon Kees, Stephen Lawhead, Daniel Quinn, Grace Abbot, Edith Abbot, Charles Bessey, Stephanie Grace Whitson, Nellie Snyder Yost

The Nebraska History Museum has a page of noted Nebraskans that might be of help here. If you need to purchase books this is a good spot.

The idea of this challenge is to be one that is fun and maybe a bit educational along the way. I hope you join me!
For my homeschool friends this could be a great way to study some of the things your child needs for Nebraska History.

Change of Plans in the Reading Challenge

A couple of days ago I posted that I was going to do the Classics Reading Challenge and a challenge by Modern Mrs Darcy. I am still planning on doing the classics challenge but along with the Modern Mrs Darcy I have decided to make my own challenge, and here's why. This is going to be 2017. If you are a Nebraskan you know that 2017 is the 150th anniversary of our great state, so I thought it would be fitting to develop my own Nebraska reading challenge.
Most of my friends know that Bess Streeter Aldrich is one of my favorite authors but there are several other good authors from Nebraska so I thought this would be the year to challenge myself to get acquainted with them. I am still working on my list and I will post it separately because I am going to challenge my Nebraska friends to give it a try. Honestly, I am very excited about this!

Wednesday, December 28

Back to the Classics Challenge 2017

Back to the Classics Challenge 2017

This is the challenge I selected to stretch my brain a bit. I love to read. I always have a book or two that I am reading but I have not read as many classics as I think I should have. So this seemed like a timely challenge for me. These are the books I am planning to read for each category but it may change as time goes by.

1.  A 19th Century Classic - Billy Budd- by Herman Melville (favorite English teacher tried to get me to read this in high school so I feel like I need to read it with this challenge.)

2.  A 20th Century Classic - East of Eden by John Steinbeck

3.  A classic by a woman author- Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

4.  A classic in translation- The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas

5.  A classic published before 1800- Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

A romance classic- Middlemarch by George Eliot

7.  A Gothic or horror classic- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

8.  A classic with a number in the title- Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

9.  A classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title- Watership Down by Richard Adams

A classic set in a place you'd like to visit- The Wreath by Kristin Lavransdatter

11. An award-winning classic- The Good Earth by Pearl Buck

12. A Russian Classic- Doctor Zhivago- Boris Pasternak

Of course if any of my friends have a suggestion that they think I would enjoy more in a certain category I am always happy to hear them.

Tuesday, December 27

Reading Challenge 2017

It's been a couple of years since I have done a reading challenge. I was looking online and found several that interested me. The British Books challenge sounded interesting. The Challies challenge sounded intimidating. The Jane Austen challenge sounded a little too focused for my tastes. The Pop Sugar challenge was very similar to ones I had done before. The Picture Book challenge sounded fun! After a bit of looking I decided to actually attempt to do two challenges in 2017. But they are both smaller challenges so I think I can make it work. The two I decided to do were the  Modern Mrs Darcy Challenge and the Back to the Classics Challenge.
The reason I decided to do both challenges is that I realize I am still very weak in the area of classic literature so I would like to work on that. But I also know that I need to read for pleasure so the Modern Mrs Darcy challenge seemed to fit the bill. Mrs. Darcy actually has two lists so if I try to read them all that will make 36 books for the year. This is not too daunting for me as I usually try to read at least one book a week. The classic books may slow me down a bit.
It's recommended to make your prospective reading list at the beginning of the year, keeping in mind that it's permissible to change it if you so desire. So, I guess in the next few days I will be thinking about what I would like to read in 2017. Anyone want to tag along with me?

Thursday, December 22

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 17

Pun Intended

Many, many years ago I listened to a talk from Diana Waring and she was stating the need for humor in our lives, that it was a vital piece of our education. I remembered this yesterday when my 12 year old was telling me about how much he likes Carl Azuz on CNN Student News because he always ends each broadcast with a pun. I was a bit startled because I realized that we have never even talked about puns, but he's learned about them by watching this program every day. This little bit of wittiness has added humor to my sons' life but it is also increasing his understanding of speech because sometimes we have to discuss what it actually means.

Wednesday, November 16

Math problems

I had to do a double take on this one to figure out just exactly what my son was thinking. After we talked about it we both had a good laugh and a talk about thinking through directions before we actually do the work. ;)

Wednesday, November 2

Linky Love!

My life seems to keep me so busy and yet other than keeping up the house and teaching the boys I really haven't been doing anything. School seems to occupy so much more of my time this year. We are getting a lot done, but I feel exhausted by the end of the day. I don't have time to keep up with friends and I have even been too tired to read. Something needs to change.

I did sit down and make a to do list for the week and tried to plan menus. It's hard when you're tired because nothing sounds good at all.

Meanwhile here are a few links I wanted to share:

Fun for the kids- November Lego challenge

A new blog I discovered and am enjoying. Just the colors make me smile! The Red Feedsack

Something on my to-do list- doll dress

One thing that is making my life a bit easier- Time4Learning

Friday, October 28


I saw this little guy in the store and thought he was so cute!

Thursday, September 29

National Coffee Day

This is usually where I start my day, at my desk, with my coffee and my planner.
I would say this is my favorite coffee cup because it is the only one I will use. Seriously, I could get rid of every other cup in my house. :)

Wednesday, September 28

Teaching My Kids to Listen to Current Events

One of the things that I notice in our younger generation is that they don't seem to have a clue about what is going on in the world around them. I was remembering how we used to read the Weekly Readers in school and wondered if I could find something similar. I found something better! CNN has a daily broadcast of student news. It's about 10 minutes long and they keep it fresh and interesting for middle and high school age children. It is hosted by Carl Azuz, who is witty and interesting. Even my 11 year old son with special needs will watch the whole thing. ( I don't know how much he gets from it, but it is getting him interested in life outside our home.)
Anyway, back to the broadcast. You can find it at  CNN StudentNEWS. And yes, for my conservative friends I know that it is CNN. But the news is interesting and what I have watched is pretty straight forward reporting without bias either way. I wish we could find more of that! The program has given us something to talk about over the supper table and my 12 year old is learning to pay attention more to what is going on in the world. And that was the whole point of the exercise. So far this has been one of the best additions to our school year. I hope you find it helpful too.

Tuesday, September 27

I Thought We Were Better Than This

I try not to talk about political things on my blog. It's not because I don't have strong convictions but rather because someone usually has to point out how uneducated or ignorant I am. So I usually keep my thoughts to myself. Today I am going to make an exception.

Living in a small town in western Nebraska it is easy to become insulated to the outside world. We don't have street gangs or slums. I don't worry about driving through unsafe neighborhoods or feel unsafe going out after dark. And I have never had to worry that I might be treated unjustly because of the color of my skin. I grew up in a white county in a white state and racism never really affected me much until my friend moved to town when I was in 5th or 6th grade. She was native American. In our tiny little community I was stunned to hear the things said about their family. And I was confused. Because she was very nice, very pretty and very smart, how could people dismiss her just because of the color of her skin? That was when I decided that I would value people for who they were not what they looked like. This decision helped me greatly when I married a military man and we traveled to new places with new people in our lives.

In the first few years of our marriage I got to know a lot of people who were of different races than me and I learned so much from them. It wasn't the things we talked about that I learned from but rather just the way they lived and how their childhoods had affected them. For instance, my beautiful Hispanic friend who was a fastidious housekeeper and fanatical about her children being clean. She commented once that all of her life she had heard people talk about " those dirty mexicans" and she would never give them reason to say that about her. This broke my heart and it was an example to me of how words can change ones life.

Fast forward to 2016: This has been a tough year for me because it breaks my heart to see the race war escalate. But it also is disturbing to me because it seems that police officers have been the ones to blamed for most of it. Many of my friends are police officers, retired police officers or wives of police officers and it makes me angry to see the media lump all police officers into one mass of so called corrupt and prejudiced. As far as I can see there are people of all races who are fine upstanding citizens as well as people of all races who are criminals. The same goes for our police officers. There are some who serve their communities every day with compassion and go home with aching hearts for what they have seen. Then there are others who are bullies who hide behind a badge. These are the police officers that have to go.

But there is so much more to this story. There are the athletes who are not standing for the national anthem and people are enraged. And why are they so angry? I had to really think about this because at first it made me angry. I didn't see this so much as a civil protest but as a slap to our service men and women who fought for this country. BUT...our country was founded on this kind of principle of protesting injustice. Theses athletes are not refusing to play, they are not inciting riots, they are simply quietly making a statement to show that they see injustice and a need for a change. I have enclosed a link below to a press conference with a Nebraska football player. I wept when I listened to him. This was not the action of a man looking to get attention but a man with true convictions, a man who loves his country and his God. And to think that people here in my own state actually said that he should be hung made me so incredibly sad.

So this leads me to my dilemma. How do I as a middle aged homemaker in nowhere Nebraska make a difference? Well, I think the first thing I can do is ask God to help me see opportunities here in my own community. I can teach my children and grandchildren to be color blind. If I see a racial or social injustice I need to stand up and speak against it. I can encourage others to love as our heavenly Father loves. I can pray for the people that have a louder voice than me to walk wisely and humbly as they speak out. I can write to my congressmen and ask them to find better ways to help the downtrodden with real solutions to better generations not just give handouts to make people dependent.

It is just a drop in the bucket but drop by drop the bucket will eventually become full. If every mother in America would teach her child to see the person behind the skin color we could make an amazing impact on the world. If we aren't better than this we certainly can be....and we should be.

Thursday, September 1

Saturday, August 20

Making peach jam

My house smells so good right now!

Thursday, August 4

Starting to prepare for the school year

I had originally planned on doing World History with my son this school year but then I saw this Civics curriculum. What a great opportunity to study this during an election year. I love that it uses original documents and as well as literature to go along with the studies. And there is a section to learn about the different holidays and why we observe them. I think I am going to learn almost as much as my son. They had a great deal on their new World History last Spring so I ordered it also to use next year.
Now if I could just get as excited about teaching Math....

Friday, July 8

Wednesday, July 6

Saving the best for last!

I promise that this is the last wedding photo....for today! I saved this one for last because so far this is my favorite. 

Tuesday, July 5

More wedding pics!

 This is a Lutheran church and was just so pretty in it's own right. Being of the Berean affiliation we don't often see these older churches with the beautiful beams and stained glass windows.

 The bridal party!

The couple's first dance as a husband and wife. This makes my heart so warm because this young woman is a true delight and is very good for my son. She is a very welcome addition to our family.

Monday, July 4

Wedding Pics!

My oldest son got married this past weekend and I am excited to share a few pictures with you. The photographer happens to be a friend so she was very relaxing to work with and I think she got some great photos.

Just a glimpse of what the church may be like behind those doors.

Their colors were plum and silver and just absolutely gorgeous!

This is one of the cakes. It was sour cream almond and probably the best white cake I've ever eaten. They also had double chocolate, lemon and carrot cakes.

Happy Independence Day!

May we never forget the sacrifices made by the men and women of this country to preserve our independence and freedoms.

Monday, June 13

Another blogger I like to read

I have been reading Monica's blog at The Homespun Heart for quite a few years now. In fact I first started reading blogs by her and her sister when they used to have swaps. It was a hard time in my life and it was fun to participate in something light and fun.

She has been writing for quite awhile about the word SLOW. Now she is getting ready to publish a book. I'm sure it will be beautiful. I'm sure it will be inspiring. If you are looking for some inspiration in your life this may just be the book. Check out her blog and watch for the announcement.

The Homespun Heart

Friday, June 10

Our baby Venus Flytrap

We found this little baby at the greenhouse last month. I am anxious to see what it does.

Thursday, June 9

Staying hydrated~

The temperature is already climbing. I find that if I drink plenty of water before noon that I can manage to stay hydrated and thus cooler through the afternoon and evening hours. 

I have read that if you wait to drink water until you are thirsty then you are already dehydrated.

I don't know it that is true or not, but I do know that I have to be proactive about drinking my water.
First thing in the morning  I fill up a quart jar of water and ice and keep it handy. My goal is to finish two quarts before lunch. Seriously, if I drink my water then I seem to be able to handle the heat much better.

In the afternoon I might get tired of plain water so I add a packet of True Lemon. These are little packets of dehydrated fruit. They also come in Orange, Lime and Grapefruit, which is now probably my favorite. You can purchase them at Walmart or Amazon. These little packets have been a big help in kicking my soda habit. My boys like to mix the lime and orange together.

This is how the rest of our week looks

Wednesday, June 8

One year ago today

A year ago we said good-bye to this lovely lady.

She was not rich or famous. She was a quiet keeper at home. She was always busy. She loved us all dearly but told us so by her actions not her words.

She was quick to dispense wisdom to us, even if we didn't want to hear it. :)

I still find myself wishing I could call her. Last month I went home for the first time since her funeral. I wanted to go to her house and visit, but I couldn't.

I take comfort in knowing that she is no longer in pain, that she is reunited with loved ones who went before her and someday I will see her again.

Tuesday, June 7

For Today-

For Today

Looking out my window:

Two growing boys swinging and singing

I am thinking:

about finishing rearranging the items in my kitchen cabinets and how badly do I really want to be more organized?

I am thankful:

for being able to spend time with grandkids yesterday

One of my favorite things:

My "loopy" friends who live in my computer and my phone

I am wearing:

t-shirt and jean shorts, it's a cleaning day here, got to dress for hard work.

I am creating:

This week I am concentrating on creating a cleaner, more streamlined kitchen to make my life less frustrating and that I may more easily serve my family and friends.

I am reading:

I am listening to:

I am hoping:

for some time to relax a bit this afternoon (my goals are pretty small most days)

I am learning:

that life isn't always easy but most of the time it's about the choices we make.

In my kitchen:

I've been making Pulled Pork Runzas

In my schoolroom:

It's summer break so I'm working on cleaning out the books we are done with and getting ready for next years.

In my garden:

Our garden is struggling this year. It was just too cold, too late so things are getting a slow start. I hope to have some pictures soon.

My closing note:

We are busy this month and although school is out for us we try to find ways to keep structure in our days. My youngest boy has special needs and a life without structure creates a life of chaos for him and then for us. I am not a person who needs structure and I really don't like structure but I am learning the importance of structure for other people. This is where life takes us sometimes, following a path we did not choose because we want to help the ones we love. 

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 6

Pulled Pork Runzas

Some people might not be familiar with Runzas. Here in Nebraska there is a fast food chain that specializes in them. When I grew up we called them cabbage burgers, and some people call them bierocks. They usually have a filling of cabbage, onions and ground beef.

A few months ago I got a really good deal on pork shoulder roasts and stocked up. I cooked one and shredded it. We ate some and I froze the rest in quart bags that can be easily thawed for future meals.

One day I had a cabbage that needed used and thought I should make Runzas but realized I was out of ground beef. Then the thought occurred to me that I could use the shredded pork. These were the best Runzas I have ever had and will certainly be added to the menu list. The good thing is that I refrigerated the rest and they were great for lunch for a couple of days. My friend makes large batches of these and freezes them for her husband's lunch.

Here is my recipe which is really more of a mix it together and then season until it tastes good to you.

Runza filling:
1 cabbage, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
Mix all of the ingredients above and saute in a little bit of vegetable broth until everything is soft and cooked down a bit. Now is when you want to taste and see if it needs more seasoning. Some people add other spices but I prefer a basic taste.
Add 2 pounds of cooked meat. If you use the pulled pork, you will want to chop it pretty fine.
Mix well and let cool.

Make your favorite bread dough. I used my sister in laws dinner roll recipe and I will try to post that soon. Some people use the frozen bread dough.

Flatten out some bread dough to make a circle or rectangle. Add about 3/4 to 1 cup of filling then wrap it up and seal all the corners so it doesn't leak out. 

I baked it for about 25 minutes at 350.

NOTE: We served the pulled pork runzas with bbq sauce. Next time I may make a few with bbq sauce mixed into the filling. 

Some people add cheese inside.
I made a vegan version with TVP cooked with the filling instead of the meat. No one noticed that it was not ground beef.

Papa spending quality time with some of the grandkids!

Monday, May 9

Thirty Five Years!

9 May 1981

I was barely 18 and he was still 17. We didn't have a professional photographer. We got married in my parent's home. We were a week away from our high school graduation. And we were expecting a baby.
We were scared, excited and had absolutely no idea what we were getting ourselves into. 
In July we lost the baby and for a moment wondered if we should have waited to get married. But we had made a commitment to each other and honestly couldn't imagine our lives without each other.
Through the years we've had our trials but our commitment to God and each other have held us steady.
I always thought if you'd been married for thirty five years then you must be old, but I really don't feel old. I feel tired some days and weary of the struggle of life but I am glad I'm where I am and not 18 again.
I have made many bad choices in my life, but agreeing to marry this guy was not one of them. It was probably the smartest thing I ever did! 

Monday, April 11

Expectation revisited

I never really realized how much I let expectations drive my life.

First, there were the expectations of how one should behave. Not that this is a bad thing, but if you're not careful you can be overwhelmed with trying to please others and stressing out if you think you don't meet other people's expectations. I spent a large portion of my life doing just this and never quite came up to the mark and was always sick due to stress.

Second, there are the expectations we set our hopes on and if it doesn't happen just like we think it should we are severely disappointed. I have a good example for this. In 2002 we were going to Chicago to our daughter's boot camp graduation. I was excited to go see her after 8 weeks of training and I was excited to go to Chicago because I had never been there and my mom always talked about her trips there as a child. So I had this big list of things I wanted to do, places to go, sites to see. In my mind this was going to be so fun. But it didn't work out that way. I won't give you all the gory details but I felt like crying all the way home because nothing had lived up to my expectations. And this was mostly my fault. I should have expected less and then the disappointment would have been easier to deal with.

I have always been a pretty optimistic person but sometimes that can really affect the way that I see life. It affects what I expect to get out of life, and it affects what I expect from my life. And the last few years have been incredibly disappointing. My expectations have controlled my emotions and how I see my life. I am 52 years old and haven't done hardly any of the things I wanted to do with my life. I haven't traveled. I haven't accomplished things I would like to. But the worst thing is that I let my disappointment about this get in the way of the life that I do have. It's so very easy to wallow in your grief over the life not lived and totally miss the life that is here, right now.

So that is why chose the word EXPECT as my word of the year.

Sunday, April 10

Gossip told to teach a lesson is still GOSSIP!

I am struggling today. I lost quite a bit of sleep last night worrying over something that I shouldn't even have to worry about. Sigh...let me start with an explanation. My youngest son is developmentally delayed. He is almost 11 years old but has the mental capacity of a 4-5 year old. He is amazingly honest, in fact telling the truth is something he excels at even if he is brutally blunt. It is not uncommon for him to walk into a home and say, "Pee-ewsky, it stinks in here!" He doesn't realize he is being rude. The subtleties of being polite are lost on him. He thinks it; so he says it. Last year our neighbors divorced and dear Alex still comments on it every time he sees them. He doesn't mean to be rude or hurtful, he just doesn't understand. Most of the time I am able to contain the situation or give people a heads up so they don't take offense.
But then last week happened. Last week a person told my boys something about someone else from our church. I am assuming they were told this trying to teach them a lesson.At least I hope they weren't just gossiping for no reason.  But Alex has talked about it nonstop ever since. Now I am worried that he may bring this up to the family involved and I don't want that. First I don't want to hurt them because they have had enough hurt and are moving on. Second, I don't want them to think that I told my boys about this because I know firsthand what it's like to have your child's mistakes thrown back at you. Trust me, if you are ever tempted to judge parents on the decisions their children make, know that they have already judged themselves more than you ever will. Instead you could show them some grace. They could probably use it.
So now, I have to do three things.

  •  I am left with having to talk to the family in question and let them know what happened so that if Alex mentions it to them they will be prepared.
  • I have to explain to Alex that we don't talk about this because it is gossip and will hurt their feelings and then pray he forgets about it all together.
  • And I have to talk to the person who started this entire situation in the first place. And I really don't do confrontations very well. 
These kinds of things really frustrate me. All of this could have been prevented if someone would have just stopped to think before they spoke. If nothing else it's a reminder to me to use my speech wisely and think about what I say.

A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Tuesday, January 26


If you have a child or grandchild who has dolls with messy hair, you might want to go read my daughter's blog post from yesterday. She has been playing hairstylist!


2016 Reading Challenge

My friend April at Life...Simply Unscripted is having a reading challenge. If anyone is interested the list is right here. I have put the books I plan to read in bold. As usual my planned reading list is always subject to change. I don't mind being fluid, I never know when I'm going to see a new author or find an old book I want to re-read.
I still have some undecided categories so am open for suggestions.

1. A book based on a true story
No Longer A Slumdog
2. A book with pictures
Pocketful of Pinecones
3. A book that “everyone” is reading

4. A book made into a movie
The Other Boleyn Girl
5. A book with a green cover
6. A book set at Christmas time…I dare you to read this in July
Redbird Christmas
7. A book your friend loves

8. A book you bought or checked out just be cause of the cover

9. A book at least 15 years old

10. A book from the library

11. A book you keep starting but never have finished
The Book Thief
12. A book by an author you love

13. A book of poems
Verses of Virtue
14. A book based on another country
Sisterchicks On The Loose
15. A book you were to read in school, but opted for the Cliff Notes version instead
Julius Caesaer
16. A book that will (not guaranteed) make you smarter
10 Gifts of Wisdom
17. A book you allow your child to pick out (this could be interesting)
Harry Potter and the Golden Goblet
18. A book based on a place you have always wanted to visit

19. A book with a color in the title
The Green Ember
20. A book you love, reread and continue to read over and over again
A Lantern In Her Hand
Bonus 21. Challenger Choice

Here’s my challenge…if you read all 21 different books, you will be a Rock Star. If you read 15, you will achieve “You’re still pretty awesome” status. If you read 10 or less, maybe it’s time to carve out some more time for reading. If you read 5 or less, maybe you need to reevaluate your priorities. Reading is great for the mind, body and soul. You might learn something new, find a new place to visit, find a new author, get to the library more often and so much more.

Who’s up for the challenge?!

Tuesday, January 5


(Political Correctness Disclaimer- I used the word retarded in this post. It is not used in a derogatory way but it is used.)
Last year I learned a lot about expectations. When our youngest son was re-diagnosed from ADHD with an emphasis on the H to a disappointing conclusion that he was actually extremely low functioning my hopes were dashed. I must be dense because it took the Dr explaining in terms that I understood, that our son was just a few IQ points above severely mentally retarded that I understood. You see, I thought he had dodged that bullet.
When he was first diagnosed with Infantile Spasms we were told that 65% of the children who survive this type of seizure end up severely retarded. But he survived the seizures and continued to progress. Many hours of speech and occupational therapy and at the age of 5 he finally started to talk. But he was so uncontrollable, so angry, so hyperactive, so incredibly busy. The Dr's put him on meds to help but even though it made him less hyper he wasn't really more focused and he started to develop harmful habits.
In our world of political correctness, the school used the term developmentally delayed. I thought that meant exactly what it said. I assumed that if we continued to work that he would eventually catch up to his peers. That's what delay means right? Slow?  Behind? At one time we thought he would never walk and he did. They said he wouldn't be potty trained but we accomplished that. He was non-verbal and they cautioned us that he might never talk. Now he talks non-stop. So you can understand my confusion with the term developmentally delayed. And now I know why the IEP team at school rolled their eyes at me when they asked what my goal was for my son and I answered that my goal was to help him to be like all the other kids. I was missing vital information.
What I did not know is that today the term developmentally delayed is the same thing as mentally retarded. Apparently the powers that be think this sounds nicer but the problem is that we laypeople don't understand. Seriously if people would have told me 6 or 7 years ago that my son was mentally retarded it would have saved us all from much stress and much grief. You see I grew up around other children who were labeled mentally retarded and I understood that they were wonderful, loving people but they could not learn in the same way that the rest of us did.
So after months of dragging my kicking, hitting, severely distraught child to school in first grade, and after being called many times to come get him from school because he was disruptive, we brought him home for school. After all I had homeschooled my three oldest children so my thinking was that he needed more one on one attention and we just had to find his learning style. After a year and a half I was ready to throw in the towel. This child was so stubborn, refusing to learn, crying, kicking, screaming (I'm surprised the neighbors didn't call the cops) I took him to the pediatrician and she listened to my woes. She also commented that our son was much more mature and behaving so much better than the last time she had seen him,always an encouragement to hear. She complimented both of us on his progress. And she suggested we see a psychiatrist and have him tested, that maybe it would give us some insight.
And that is exactly what we did. That day was eye opening for me. I was allowed to watch the testing from another room and I was astonished at how totally overwhelmed my son became. I could see that he failed miserably. When I heard his answers they seemed so random, nowhere near what was expected of him, but because I had worked with him so much I could understand why he answered what he did. The verdict of the testing was low IQ. In fact the dr said if we could bring him up to the level of a fifth grader that would probably be as good as we could expect.
I did what any mom would do. I went home and cried for a week, maybe two. This news was devastating to me. First I wondered what kind of life will my boy lead? Will he be able to learn to live on his own, to take care of himself? Second I thought what does that mean for us as older parents? Are we going to be able to financially prepare for taking care of him indefinitely.
After I had time to process this new information we had to rethink how we did school. The dr had suggested that the bad behavior may come because our son was so overwhelmed with the work that we were expecting him to do. That maybe we should start from the beginning and take it as slowly as we needed to do. That is exactly what we did and that is where I began to realize how I let expectations drive my life.
This post has gotten very long and I am feeling weary, as if writing about it I have lived it all over again. I will write more on what I have learned about expectations and how they affect my life. Until then I will say good-night.

Final 2015 Reading List

If I liked the book I put an asterisk before it.
1. *The Shape of Mercy- Susan Meissner
2.**The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie- Alan Bradley
3.*Gone With the Wind- Margaret Mitchell
4.***The Nightingale- Kristin Hannah
5. Mr Blandings Builds His Dreamhouse- Eric Hodgins (the movie was so much better)
6. *Truth Stained Lies- Terri Blackstock
7. The Prayer Box- Lisa Wingate
8. Jacob's Way- Gilbert Morris
9. Sisters of the Seashell- Lisa Wingate
10. The Woodcutter- Kate Danley
11. Taken- Dee Henderson
12. Angels Walking- Karen Kingsbury
13. **One Year- Mary McDonough
14.**Evil Obsession, The Anne Cook Story- Helen Yost
15. The Apron Book
16.*Island of the Blue Dolphins- Scott O'Dell
17. *Money Making Mom- Crystal Paine
18. *Agenda 21, Into the Shadows- Glen Beck
19. The Bell Jar- Sylvia Plath (I hated this book!)
20. **The Husband's Secret- Liane Moriarty
21.The Outsiders- S.E. Hinton
22. Christmas Bliss- Mary Kay Andrews
23. **The Man in the High Castle- Philip K Dick
24.**The Auschwitz Escape- Joel Rosenberg
25 I Want It Now- Julie Dawn Cole

Friday, January 1

How I Did on my Reading Challenge

I read 25 books. I did not finish the challenge but I enjoyed most of the books I did read. Note: I don't recommend The Bell Jar.

A friend is offering a different reading challenge this year. There are only 21 books on this list so it should be much easier.

• A book with more than 500 pages-Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
• A classic romance-Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
• A book that became a movie-Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
• A book published this year-The Nightingale- by Kristin Hannah
• A book with a number in the title- Agenda 21, Into the Shadows- Glen Beck
• A book written by someone under 30- The Bell Jar- Sylvia Plath
• A book with nonhuman characters-The Woodcutter- by Kate Danley
• A funny book-Mr Blandings Builds His Dreamhouse- by Eric Hodgins
• A book by a female author-The Shape of Mercy- Susan Meissner
• A mystery or thriller-Truth Stained Lies- Terri Blackstock
• A book with a one-word title-Taken- by Dee Henderson
• A book of short stories-Anderson's Fairy Tales- Hans Christian Anderson
• A book set in a different country-The Nightingale- by Kristin Hannah
• A nonfiction book-Evil Obsession- the Anne Cook Story- Helen Yost
• A popular author’s first book-The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie- Alan Bradley
• A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet-Truth Stained Lies- Terri Blackstock
• A book a friend recommended-The Prayer Box- Lisa Wingate
• A Pulitzer Prize-winning book-Gone With the Wind- Margaret Mitchell
• A book based on a true story--Evil Obsession- the Anne Cook Story- Helen Yost
• A book at the bottom of your to-read list- The Bell Jar-Sylvia Plath
• A book your mom loves
• A book that scares you
• A book more than 100 years old
• A book based entirely on its cover
• A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t
• A memoir-I Want It Now- Julie Dawn Cole
• A book you can finish in a day-Sisters of the Seashell- Lisa Wingate
• A book with antonyms in the title
• A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit-The Husband's Secret-Liane Moriarty
• A book that came out the year you were born-The Bell Jar- Sylvia Plath
• A book with bad reviews
• A trilogy-The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins
• A book from your childhood
• A book with a love triangle- The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins
• A book set in the future-Agenda 21
• A book set in high school-The Outsiders- S E Hinton
• A book with a color in the title-Island of the Blue Dolphins-Scott O'Dell
• A book that made you cry-The Nightingale- by Kristin Hannah
• A book with magic-The Woodcutter- by Kate Danley
• A graphic novel-Ninjago- Rise of the Serpentine- yes I read this to my boys. :)
• A book by an author you’ve never read before-the Husband's Secret- Liane Morarty
• A book you own but have never read-Jacob's Way- by Gilbert Morris
• A book that takes place in your home town-
• A book that was originally written in a different language-
• A book set during Christmas- Christmas Bliss- Mary Kay Andrews
• A book written by an author with your same initials-
• A play-
• A banned book-
• A book based on or turned into a TV show- The Man in the High Castle- Philip Dick
• A book you started but never finished-