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!