New Things

Hello. With the school year coming to a rapid close (4.5 days left after today!), it is interesting to think about how all my life has been different here, and all the new things I’ve done. Following are a few of them, in no particular order.

1. I have eaten frog legs, squirrel, lychee fruit, and chicken feet. Those were each a first. The chicken feet and lychee were probably about the best tasting.

2. I have gone camping with a refrigerator.

3. I have cooked lots of green curry, and made granola bars, and baked bread to sell, and all kinds of culinary firsts.

4. I have lived in a room without an overhead light, with a ceiling so low that my hands touch it when I get dressed, and in a house with an honest to goodness attic from which I could get all kinds of furniture I wanted, or probably even a bedpan or walker if I wanted one of those.

5. I have attended youth Sunday School. When we left Texas I was so sad because I was just ready to move up to the next level, and now I have skipped all those levels, and gone straight to youth. Huh.

6. Teaching. Duh. I have been more of a parent than I have ever been before. I have tied so many shoes and bandaged scrapes and received so many prayer requests for loose teeth and chickens and that noses would stop running. I have tried to get fighting kids to make up, and scolded kids and received tons of notes and paper snowflakes and little paper hearts. And boy, do I know my special sounds and my five times table!

7. I have moved to a community alone where I knew one person. And I’m leaving with some friends and a boyfriend.

8. I have done lots and lots of grocery shopping. It kind of loses its appeal after a while. :P

9. I have seen more snow than I ever remember, and certainly done more driving in it than ever before, and I didn’t get stuck in it once! I’m rather surprised at that.

10. The wind is new to me. Wow, it is intense! It rakes your leaves for you, and blows your snow, and burns lots of calories.

11. Never had I done so much speaking in front of a crowd. I am not even one bit sad that all my chapels are done for the year. Mrs. Hooley had chapel last week, and she had my kids and I sing a few songs, because she liked that I taught them new songs. So we sang “King Ahab” and the gray goose song, and the pussy willow song that Mom taught us as kids. It was kind of fun, although I forget how much playing an instrument in front of a crowd makes me shake.

12. I had a birthday on a funeral. :)

I’m not ready to come home in some ways, but I am ready to see you all again regularly and not just in crammed little weekends. By the way, have I told you that K is moving to DC about the same time I’m coming home?! He’ll be about 3 hours from his family and 6 from us (depending where in DC he lives) which is much nicer than 13. But the job is a new venture, so if it doesn’t work out for PrimeStar to continue the DC branch of their company, he’ll get shipped back to Chicago. So if any of you have any jets to repair, be sure to contact PrimeStar so he can stay there.

I’m at school now, listening to “Butterfly Waltz” on my little bomb of a speaker, and waiting for the kids to show up and fill my day with noise. Today my room mother (who is Brianna’s mother) is taking the kids and me to a park for my birthday. I know, it’s not my birthday, but who am I to complain? They often celebrate summer birthdays some random day in the school year. And the kids have taken notes home to their parents from Valerie, so I’m not quite sure what to expect.

Also today there is a blood drive in Metamora which I’m considering going to. I’ve wanted to donate blood for ages, but I have nobody to go with me and I’m not sure where it is. And tomorrow is a bridal shower for Melinda. We teachers bought her a vacuum, in case you wondered. She’s an awfully nice girl, and her fiance and Stacie’s fiance are in each others’ bridal parties. And Saturday K is playing at a volleyball tournament in Iowa or somewhere which I’m not going to, and Sunday we are going to Steve and Lois Ulrich’s house for dinner. The next Friday is graduation, and that Saturday is a youth farewell party for K and I, and wow, stuff keeps coming up. Oh, and one really fun thing we did lately is on Tuesday evening Tricia, Stacie, Tammie and I went to Megan Ulrich’s gorgeous apartment for butter chicken and naan. Every inch of the meal was delicious, and the company delightful, and the house completely charming. ‘Twas fun.

The entire list!

For those of you are interested, this is the list of books I read in 2014. I made it to 52, although I accidentally read one title twice.

The horse and his boy- C. S. Lewis
Swan house- E. Musser
Mary Emma and company- Ralph Moody
Toby Tyler-?
Masquerade- N. Moser (stupid)
Pied pier of Helfenstein- E. McCarthy
Miracle for Jen- L. Barrack
Gray Matter-?
The Littles- J. Peterson
Garlic and sapphires- Ruth Reichl (my favorite)
The jungle- Upton Sinclair (horrible, but worthwhile)
Daddy-long-legs- Jean Webster
The tale of Despereaux- Kate DiCamillo (the movie is better)
The good day mice- Carol Beach York
Dear enemy- Jean Webster
Mr. God this is Anna- Flynn
The mistress of Shenstone- Florence L. Barclay (I liked)
The magician’s nephew- C. S. Lewis
Let me be a woman- Elizabeth Elliot
Shaking the nickel bush- Ralph Moody
The dry divide- Ralph Moody
Carry on Mr. Bowditch- Jean Lee Latham
Leota’s garden- Francine Rivers (waste of time)
Biking across America- Paul Stutzman
Across China- Peter Jenkins
Mama’s bank account- Kathryn Forbes
The great and terrible quest- Margaret Lovett
The best Christmas pageant ever- Barbara Robinson
Little women- Louisa May Alcott
The pocket book of Ogden Nash
Do you think I’m beautiful- Angela Thomas
Big mountain, bigger God- Duane and Cindy Mullett
Voyage of the Dawn Treader- C. S. Lewis
Understood Betsy- Dorothy Canfield Fisher
Choosing to SEE- Mary Beth Chapman
Miracles in the ER- Robert D. Lesslie M.D.
One thousand gifts devotional- Ann Voskamp
Walk across America- Peter Jenkins
Son of Hamas- Mosab Hassan Yousef
The borrowers- Mary Norton
Hansi, the girl who loved the swastika- Anne Hirschmann
Let there be clothes- Lynn Schnurnberger (fun read)
Hitty, her first hundred years- Rachel Field
The borrowers afield- Mary Norton
Papa Dolphin’s table- Dorothy Gilman Butters
Honeymoon for seven- Alfred Toombs (funny)
Hurry home, Candy- Meindert DeJong
Preacher’s kids- Grace Nies Fletcher
The borrowers aloft- Mary Norton
The best Christmas pageant ever- Barbara Robinson (oops, my double)
O ye jigs and juleps- Virginia Cary Hudson

And that is that. In the words of Virginia Cary Hudson, Hallelujah three times also and amen twice. Revive us again.

Books for 2014 #10 (Final section!)

The new year is here, and I managed to do just what I wanted- read fifty-two books in 2014, not counting little kids’ books. Here I go with the last section of my list.

The Borrowers Afloat, by Mary Norton. Here the tiny borrowers continue their adventures as they escape famine through a drain hole and float down river in a tea kettle. After many narrow escapes, including near capture by Mild Eye the gypsy, they finally reach their dream home, but is it really as ideal as they thought?

Preacher’s Kids by Grace Nies Fletcher. This is a delightful autobiography which explores the delights and drudgeries of being raised in a parsonage. Full of humor, high-spirited kids, a gracious mother, and an overworked father, this book is sure to entertain.

Hurry Home, Candy, by Meindert DeJong. I picked this book up because I love the other works I’ve read by this author, and this one did not disappoint. Candy is a dog who has a traumatic beginning with an unkind mistress, and who gets lost to discover a new life without humans. This book is well written and whimsical.

The Borrowers Aloft, by Mary Norton. In this sequel, the borrowers find that their home really isn’t as safe as they thought when two jealous “human beans” steal them away in the night with great visions of being millionaires in their heads. As the title indicates, however, the borrowers refuse to be held captive long, and their ingenuity saves the day at last.

Honeymoon for Seven by Alfred Toomes. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to marry a widow and combine seven children into one family, well, read on to find out. This book is hilarious, and kept me captive until I was finished. I definitely recommend this one for a fun, light read.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson. Likely quite a lot of you know this story, but for those that don’t, well, you should read it and find out! When the Christmas pageant is overrun with kids from the worst family of bullies in town, well, things can get a little interesting. And when it turns into a surprisingly poignant pageant instead of the normal, dry, routine, the entire town is shocked!

O Ye Jigs and Juleps, by Virginia Cary Hudson. This is one of my go-to books which I constantly reread, because it’s so packed with surprising humor. Someone discovered a collection of essays in a trunk in an attic, written by a little girl from an Episcopal boarding school. Her view on all things religious is hilarious, and her ideas about life in general are refreshing and cute.

And so I conclude last year’s resolution.

Books for 2014 #9

Hansi, The Girl Who Loved the Swastika, by Maria Anne Hirschmann. WWII stories have fascinated me for a long time, and this one did not disappoint. A tale of a girl who worshipped Hitler, and gave her life to his service, this captivating story will pull you in and you won’t be able to put it down. It recounts the story of her rise to being a leader of the Hitler youth, her absolute devastation when Hitler committed suicide and the third reich fell, the horrors committed against the Germans after the war at the hands of the Russians, and her journey to making a new life for herself. You won’t be sorry for the time invested in reading this book.

Son of Hamas, by Mosab Hassan Yousef. If you’re interested in the events going on in Hamas and Israel, and the lead up to 911, this is the book for you. Written by a son of one of the main leaders of Hamas, this is an in-depth look at what really happened, and why, from the inside, and why peace seems so impossible to many.

The Borrowers, by Mary Norton. I read this book aloud to my first and second graders, and while they complained that it was boring, when I was actually reading, they would sit with their mouths hanging open in rapt attention. :) It is the story of a family of tiny people who survive off their pickings from the “human beans'” house, and the desperate times that come when they are discovered by the irate cook of the house. It’s a great book- fun and interesting, yet full of big words to stretch the kids’ little minds.

Let There be Clothes, by Lynn Schnurnberger. Although I don’t consider myself a fashion expert by any stretch of the imagination, I do find it fascinating, and enjoy knowing the hows and whys of it. This book was delightful to read. It’s laid out like a magazine, full of pictures and snippets of random information, and it follows fashion all the way from the very beginning (fig leaves) to the nineties. Not only does it have tons of fashion information, but it also has lots of history tucked in, and is complete with a timeline so you can know all kinds of useless and interesting things like what people were wearing when Albert Einstein was born. It’s a great book to browse through in odds and ends of free time, because of its layout, and it’s written very humorously as well. I enjoyed it immensely.

The Borrowers Afield, by Mary Norton. This is the sequel to “The Borrowers”, and it tells what happened when the borrowers were turned out of the house and had to spend a summer living in a field in a boot. It tells of the hardships of weather, of their capture by Mild Eye the gypsy, and their miraculous rescue from his clutches. This was also a read-aloud to my school kids.

Another I read aloud and unfortunately don’t have a picture of is “Hitty, her First Hundred Years,” by Rachel Field. It is the story of a doll made of ash wood, and her many adventures and perils in her first hundred years. Complete with a ship on fire, living with a snake charmer, being a missionary doll, being an idol for savages, and being a Quaker, this book is sure to interest.

Papa Dolphin’s Table, by Dorothy Gilman Butters is a whimsical tale of a family’s adventures trying to find a house, and living under a great big table for a while. It’s short and sweet and charming.

The year is drawing to a close, and my list is getting mighty close to 52. I think I’ll make my goal if I don’t get stuck in some great big book!

The power of a sky

See, the thing is, it’s very difficult to write blogs or read books when I have such exciting things in my life as this sky


And these kids to teach.

So forgive me if my blog suffers while I delve into a new and exciting life in a new and exciting place. Moving away from all my family to the Midwest to teach school is big, and quite exciting. Sometime I’ll be back! :)

Books for 2014 #8


I’ve been keeping busy, that’s for sure! I’m up to 37 books or so, which is a nice bit ahead of schedule. Perhaps I can fit 60 or 70 into this year instead of 52. Wouldn’t that make me feel smart! :)

Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott. Everyone knows this classic, so I won’t say much except that I enjoyed it a lot, as I always do, and that the unabridged version is quite long! But it was a fun read, nonetheless.

The Pocket Book of Ogden Nash. This poet is, without a doubt, the most nonsensical, charming, and hilarious writer I’ve had the pleasure of reading. For example, “The Lord in his wisdom made the fly, and then forgot to tell us why.”

Do You Think I’m Beautiful, by Angela Thomas. This book looks at the age old question of beauty, yes, and also much deeper at the love of God, and his complete acceptance of us. This was recommended to me by a friend, and I’m glad I took the time for it.

Understood Betsy, by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. This delightful children’s book recounts the story of an utterly spoiled little wisp of a city girl getting dumped on a farm and transforming into a brown, stout child who is no longer hiding behind her aunt’s skirt every time she sees a dog. It is well written, and the story line is excellent.

Big Mountain, Bigger God, by Duane and Cindy Mullett. I picked up this book because it is written by a family I have briefly met, and I wanted to know more about their story. This particular book tells about their oldest son’s second heart transplant, after surviving the first one, and also two rounds of cancer. It is full of miracles, highs and lows, and medical jargon, which of course interested me. :) This family has some incredible experiences to tell.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C. S. Lewis. In this one, Lucy and Edmond once more make it to Narnia, but this time with their cousin who is a complete terror. Such a terror, in fact, that he actually turns into a dragon for a while! Along with King Caspian, these three children set out to discover long lost Lords from Narnia, and along the way, they survive a sea serpent’s attack, the land where dreams come true, and have a narrow shave with a pool where everything turns to gold. They finally make it to the end of the world, which is a place so wonderful that I wish I could visit Narnia too now.

Choosing To See, by Mary Beth Chapman. This is the story of how the Chapmans adopted three darling little girls from China, and their journey through grief and questions when the youngest girl was killed in a tragic accident.

Miracles in the ER, by Robert D. Lesslie, M. D. I have read several others in this series this year, and loved them, and this one did not disappoint. It’s full of stories such as a patient coming coming in with four nails through his shoe, and writhing in pain, although when they removed the shoe, all of the nails had miraculously missed his foot.

One Thousand Gifts Devotional, by Ann Voskamp. I had read Voskamp’s original book some time ago, and really loved it, so I knew this one would be good as well. It’s the same idea as “One Thousand Gifts”, just broken into sixty day-sized portions. It was an excellent nudge towards gratitude for me, since I forget so easily, and so often.

And that is it for this time. More coming later!

Books for 2014 #7



Biking Across America by Paul Stutzman. Well, the title pretty much describes the content. That’s right, it’s the story of the author’s jaunt across the United States on a bicycle. He had some very interesting encounters and crazy experiences. However, I found the writing style a bit dry.

Leota’s Garden, by Francine Rivers. This tells the story of an elderly lady who has nothing left to live for; her family is in shambles, her husband is long dead, and she has never told the secret that destroyed her family. However, through some unexpected encounters, the truth comes out, but only after it may be too late to do any good. I didn’t like it as much as some of her other works, but it was ok.

Across China, by Peter Jenkins. I loved Jenkins’ books about walking across America, and expected to find this one as full of lovely and crazy people, and fun adventures. However, I was sadly disappointed. The author seems to have grown much more cynical since his previous works, and I did not enjoy this book very much. On the bright side, I did learn some cool things, like the fact that it is possible to freeze your eyeballs, and that it will make your vision hazy. Who knew!

Mama’s Bank Account, by Kathryn Forbes. This book is as delightful as “Across China” is not. This lovely memoir of growing up in a boarding house with lots of opinionated aunts, and an equally opinionated, although very sweet, mama is sure to be worth your time. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good picture of this book.

The Great and Terrible Quest, by Margaret Lovett. If you want a fairy tale full of brave knights, unsuspecting princes, courageous jugglers, and wise old women, this is just the thing for you. It has every element that a fairy tale ought to contain, and is sure to entertain.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson. This is a short book, in fact, I read the whole thing in the bathtub! Want to know how the neighborhood terrors can turn the annual Christmas pageant into the best one ever by blackmailing their ways into the cast? Then read on.

Of tears and unicorns



Last night I was in the mood to do some drawing. So I sat at my desk, and this picture just asked to be drawn, so I obliged.

Well, I tumbled into bed soon after, and proceeded to dream the most awful dream about my good friend dying and being buried before anyone even told me. Even worse, I was sure (due to some strange happenings) that he had been buried alive, and no matter how I pleaded and cried, nobody would pay any attention to that dreadful possibility. What a wretched, miserable dream! I was immensely relieved to wake up and discover it wasn’t true. But in the future, perhaps I should stick to drawing rainbows and butterflies at bedtime, then I might dream about unicorns and glitter instead, don’t you think?

Whew, glad that’s over!


, ,

A while ago I wrote about a hundred day drawing challenge that I was doing with a friend. That’s right, draw something, anything, every day for a hundred days straight. I had no idea 100 was such a big number! :) But now it’s past, and I am glad! However, I am even more glad that I did it, and stretched my meager drawing skills a little more.

Following are a few of my personal favorites from the challenge. Nothing professional, but it was fun.








Books for 2014 #6



Mister God, This is Anna, by Flynn. Oh boy, I don’t even know how start describing this one. It is one of the staples of my library which should be reread every so often just to stimulate my brain again. It is the true story of a little girl named Anna, and Flynn, who found her roaming the streets at the age of four after running away from home. This is no ordinary little girl, however. The questions she asks, and the perception she has of “Mister God” blow my mind and stretch my imagination again and again.

The Mistress of Shenstone, by Florence L. Barclay. I picked this one up because I had read another of Barclay’s novels and liked it, and also because I have a thing for old, fantastic, absurdly dramatic novels. This one did not disappoint. It is a classic fairy tale in “real life”, full of drama and anguish and love, with a perfectly happy ending.


The Dry Divide, and Shaking the Nickel Bush, both by Ralph Moody.
I’ve told about at least one of Moody’s other titles this year already, and these two are part of the same set, telling his life story. In these volumes, Ralph leaves home and goes out west, looking for a cure for his diabetes. He ends up penniless, and driven to crazy adventures such as stunt riding for Hollywood movies, doing plaster busts of self-important businessmen, and even buying a mortgaged farm from a poor, abused widow, and turning it into a big profit. These books were great fun.


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