Sunday, September 30, 2012

Reading Log for September, 2012

Finished a few good ones this month.  I have a whole lot of books "started" with bookmarks moving slowly through them.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - JK Rowlings - 4 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)
The big guys and I have been reading this all summer, at bedtime.  We finished it last night, so tonight we can watch the movie!

Hittite WarriorHittite Warrior- Joanne Williamson - 5
This was some excellent historical fiction, taking place in the time period of the Judges.  Generally I don't care for historical fiction using Biblical people, because I don't like the liberties that are taken with scripture.  A recent "not finished" of this sort was Adam and His Kin by Ruth Beechik.  The characters of Deborah, Barak, Sisera and Jael are fleshed out, but nothing happens that is contrary to scriptural accounts.  This is on a lot of homeschool reading lists, and for good reason.  My older boys and I read it together.

Garment of Shadows (Mary Russell, #12)
Garment of Shadows - Laurie R. King- 2
Ms. King better get some good stories going again, or I am going to be done with Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes.  The last couple books have been lame, and not only lame but hard to follow.

Walking in Power, Love, and Discipline: 1 & 2 Timothy/TitusWalking In Power, Love and Discipline (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus) - Kay Arthur - 3 - used this as a guide for my ladies' discipleship group.  If I had never used any of Mrs. Arthur's other studies I would love this, but it was only okay by comparison.

The ExpatsThe Expats - Chris Pavone - 4
This was a fun book.  Kate has left the CIA, without ever having told her husband she was in the CIA.  Now they are living in Luxembourg with their two sons, and strange events make her wonder if she is being tailed, or her husband.  Overall, an interesting thriller.  Some of the situations toward the end defy credulity, and the story being told out of chronological order was hard to get settled into, but still a good story.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday Morning on the Homestead

It is a beautiful morning here.  Couldn't be better.  Except for me and my failings.  Sniff.

This week, after having done (imho) so well with my diabetes control....fell off the wagon.  I have found that as long as I exercise almost every day, I can eat a bit of sweets and not have it affect my blood sugar levels much.  All has been going well.  And then this exercise. No Wii Fit, one time on the treadmill, much hanging around the house.  And no cutting back on the carbs to correspond with my lack of exercise.  So, last week my fasting numbers were in the 104-111 range, the last few days they have been 126, 128,124, and we won the prize today with 130!

So, I got off my butt, slid the Wii board out from under the loveseat, and ran/stepped/boxed with my Mii.

Are Wii and Mii supposed to be capitalized???

Anyway, here is my strange dichotomy.  I have done great with my Bible study this week.  Got up every day and really studied and wrote.  I am using a new way I learned last weekend at True Woman 2012.  Priscilla Shirer gave a teaching on the 5 Ps of Bible Study (Pore over it, Ponder it, Paraphrase, Pull out the spiritual principles, Plan obedience) that has revolutionized my time in the Word.  It is supposed to be 10-15 minutes,  1-2 verses a day.  Of course, I get carried away and spend about 30 minutes, then I text what I wrote to my friend Julie who was with me.  I am in James, she began with Titus. the time I get done it is time to feed the cats, get the kids up, they want breakfast...then we start school, with our family Bible study and prayer time.  The next break I have is at lunch, and I want to a)eat and b)read.  Afternoon is spent finishing school, housework, laundry, working on stuff for our business (the accounting never ends!), besides the myriad of other things to do - then fix dinner.  After dinner, finish folding laundry, read science for the co-op I teach, bedtime reading, get my own shower in...and I am done, it is 10:30 and all I want to do is check my email, play Words with Friends, and read three pages before I fall asleep.

Obviously, this system needs some tweaking.  But, it is all a growing process, and overall, things are going well.

So, if you think about it, pray for me, that I will keep it simple, that I will keep my focus on my priorities, and that I will seek wisdom from the Lord in every aspect of my life.

And here, a few pictures of autumn on the homestead:
The garden, still lush-looking, but settling down for the fall.  Nevin replaced the wildflowers with mums.  The huge green plants to the left-center are sweet potatoes.  This is our first year with them.  Queen Esther is front-right.  

Hunter the Tomcat in his tree.  He is just a little over a year old, and has turned into a beautiful  fellow.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday Morning on the Homestead

A busy week behind me, a busy week ahead of me.  This weekend I am going to the 
True Woman 2012 conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. I went in 2010, and had an incredible time, so I am really looking forward to this year. I am road-tripping with three other ladies, so you know it is going to be a blast!  

But, for now, a few scenes from the homestead:

Mr. Hunter was chased up into the tree by old Esther kitty.  He tried to make it look like he meant to be there all along.

And here is what the garden looks like in the fall!  Nevin replaced the now-deceased wildflowers with mums.  The giant sprawling vines on the left are sweet potatoes - I cannot wait!  We have never grown our own before.  I have a killer sweet potato biscuit recipe.

And that is it for today.  Going to get my haircut, run some errands, have lunch with a friend, get ready for science and all my Wednesday craziness here........

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Support Comes From All Around Me

Last night I attended my first Diabetes Support group.  It was pretty much what I expected, though it was more of a "class" and less "discussion" oriented. It was very similar to the sort of teaching I am getting from Joan, my Diabetes Instructor from Kick Diabetes - St. Louis.  We had a workbook of scenarios, dealing with nutrition, medication, feelings, exercise, etc. and had to get into pairs, read the "word problem" and then answer questions about what we thought the person needed to do.  My partner and I had "hypoglycemia", which is low blood sugar.  I have not experienced this in my brief diabetes journey, and my partner was a nurse who was observing the class as part of her continuing education.  So.....I think we did pretty well, but I did note that our information was strictly theoretical.

I keep thinking I am outside of the norm for Type 2.  Joan told me I was "the skinniest newly-diagnosed Type 2" she'd ever met (bless her!!) and last night I was definitely the youngest person in the room.  Maybe not by much, but the next youngest were in their 50s with grandchildren, and there were a lot of ladies my moms' age.  Everyone was very welcoming, and I do plan to go back.  Next month we are meeting at Schnucks and then going through the store and learning how to shop.  My initial thought was, "I am NOT doing this!  And I already know how to read labels."  But you know what - I need to do this.  I thought I knew how to read labels and Joan showed me some things I didn't know.

I see it as a defect of character that I always think I already know so much.  When I went to Weight Watchers four years ago I thought I already knew it because I had had gestational diabetes three times and had to learn to do meal plans, food journals, read labels, etc.  Now I think I know it all from the incredible combined knowledge of that and Weight Watchers.  And you know what?  A lot of what I "know" is wrong.  Or has changed.  Nutrition science moves forward, constantly.  The things I learned about food exchanges in 1998 when I had my first son are not the same as they are now.

Be Teachable - that is a good theme for life.

Yesterday I got a letter from a Christian sister who is in prison.  I will give more info later when I have time, but for now, just know that Michelle is saved, and she is leading Bible studies and ministries within the confines of a womens' state penitentiary.  The Big House, as it were, not one of the little jails.

It would be very easy for me, as a good church woman (and deacon's wife, have I mentioned that? Don't forget I used to teach Sunday School, too) to feel that my years of church experience and Bible exposure put me in the position of being somehow "more" Christian than this lady who is a fairly recent convert, and btw, is in jail.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.  This lady is a spiritual giant, standing next to my puny faith.  Yesterday I was grumping about, basically having a few extremely minor things not go my way.  Then I get this, my first letter from Michelle.  I had written her a month or so ago, sent a few pictures from the garden (the frog and butterfly over to the right, there) and a couple pictures the little guys colored.

She blows me away.  She made me a card, with the inscription:

Jesus Is:
The light that is Brightest
the word that is Surest
the peace that is Calmest
the counselor that is Truest
the friend that is Nearest
the companion that is Dearest

And this is part of the letter:
"God has not only made us alive in Christ, but He has gifted us for His purposes.  His Holy Spirit fills us and we are equipped to do any task He has ordained for us.  Our service to Him must flow out of our joyful praise and adoration of Him.  It must be more than an academic or mechanical theology or knowledge of God.  It much be to God.  W are not merely trophies of God's grace.  Show signs of life!  The born-again nature is FIT to do good works.  How can a light not shine?"

I began to cry as I read this.  This women, sitting in an incredibly dark place, reaches out and ministers to me, whose world is only light right now.  I was ashamed of my attitude, convicted of my sin.  And I have learned.

Keep learning today!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Status Report: September

Sitting…on the couch.
Eating…nothing right now - ate a Weight Watchers ice cream a little while ago.  Might have another soon.
Plugging…a couple Diabetes blogs I am following, Sweet Success: My Life With Type 2 Diabetes and Diabetes Mine - check both these ladies out!
Adjusting…to living with Type 2 Diabetes, and getting back into the full swing of school this week - including our science co-op!
Thankful…for so many things, especially our home-based life right now.  We have cut out a lot of running and "busy" and I am being very selective in what makes me leave the house.    I love having Nevin home, and love being with the boys.  
Missing…ordering tickets for the student programs at Powell Symphony Hall this year.  One of the things that got cut.  I will miss it.  The boys won't.  
Wishing…that Nevin would get home from his installation before the thunderstorms hit.
Preparing….a pot roast.  Also having a green bean casserole I found on Pinterest.  Where you can follow me, by the way.
Anticipating…A whole day tomorrow to get some cleaning and organizing done; Sunday worship with my church family, and then an afternoon and evening of rest with Nevin and the boys.  Also eagerly anticipating True Woman 2012 in less than two weeks!
Thinking…about 1 John 1 that we read together this morning.  If we are in the light, and have fellowship with Christ, we are no longer in darkness.  So how come sometimes we still act like we are in the dark???
Noticing…that many people really don't understand Type 2 Diabetes, and that includes people who have it and primary care doctors.  
Reading…The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins and having a hard time getting into it.  
Realizing…that these piles of folded clothes are not going to put themselves away.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Reading Log for August, 2012

August was a good book month here -certainly a lot of diversity!

First up is "The Organized Heart: A Woman's Guide to Conquering Chaos" by Staci Eastin.  This one is a 5, and one that will be re-read.

working cover 364h 263w
I read most of this on the train coming back from Kansas City.  It is published by Cruciform Press.  Cruciform is a small publisher with a nifty idea - thin, to-the-point books dealing with deep theological topics, but put into very concise language.  These are the sort of books I'd be happy to share with friends/  Sometimes I would love to share books on topics like, say....idolatry.  Or sanctification.  But the sheer mass of the book keeps me from doing so.  No one likes to be handed a really thick book with, "Here, read this." But these books, generally around 100 pages or so, do the trick.  And - to top it off, they publish books every other month or so - and you can subscribe to them, just like a magazine.

The Organized Heart is different from every other "how to be more organized" book that I've read (and I have read A LOT) because it is not a new system - no index cards, no Excel spreadsheets, no giant calendars with post-it notes.  It gets to the heart of the issue - my heart, by addressing the idols that keep me unorganized - perfectionism, busyness, possessions and leisure.  The author, Staci Eastin, is a Missouri homeschooling mom of three, and her blog (how I discovered this gem) is over on my blog roll.  I highly recommend this book.

Next up, just a 2.  Stand By Me: Souled Out Sisters by Neta Jackson
Stand by Me (A SouledOut Sisters Novel)

I loved the Yada Yada Prayer Group books, some more than others of course.  I enjoyed the House of Hope series.  This one....I will probably read the series, just to keep up with my friends in the Yadas, but the new characters are ANNOYING.  I have noticed that the main characters tend to get on my nerves - Jodi Baxter was the least interesting of all the Yadas.  Gabby Fairbanks was someone whose impulsiveness and poor judgment would get on my nerves badly.  But Kat, the environmentalist-college student-busybody was beyond irritating.  Will Kat and Nick live happily ever after?  Most likely (it is Christian chick lit, after all) but really, who cares?

Next up, more dealing with diabetes in The Complete Guide to Carb Counting, which I will give a 4.
Complete Guide to Carb Counting: How to Take the Mystery Out of Carb Counting and Improve Your Blood Glucose Control

Carbs (flour, sugar, know, the good stuff!) turns to sugar when you eat it.  Glucose levels go up in the blood.  One of the ways I maintain my blood sugar levels is by planning how many servings of carbs I have each day, space them out, eat them with protein, etc. This, along with exercise, is really helping to keep my blood sugar controlled.

Another diabetes read is Sugar Nation by Jeff O'Connell
Sugar Nation: The Hidden Truth Behind America's Deadliest Habit and the Simple Way to Beat It
Jeff discovered he had pre-diabetes and went on a personal journey to discover research and treatment for Type 2 Diabetes.  He is pretty radical - comes down hard on the medical profession (some of which I definitely agree with), the American Diabetes Association, and anyone else he can find.  He also goes on a fairly radical lifestyle of next-to-no carbs, supplements and working out.  There was a lot I took with a grain of salt, but this book did cause me to think more about what I am being told and who is telling me, and to educate myself about this disease.  It is a 4.

The Hidden Flower is one of Pearl S. Buck's lesser-known novels.  Immediately after WWII, American troops occupied Japan.  There an American soldier fell in love with a Japanese girl.  This book went to a lot of places I was not expecting.  The Japanese girl was actually Japanese-American - she and her father were both born in the USA, but moved to Japan to avoid the camps Japanese citizens were shamefully placed in.  Her brother died fighting for America against Japan.  Then, for her to marry an American and go back to the USA, and face the discrimination there....let's just say this started out all love-love-kissy-kissy and I did not think I would like it, but once again, Pearl S. Buck's characters don't do what is expected and the story explores elements I never imagined.  I don't know if this is still in print or not, I found it used on either Paperbackswap or Bookmooch.  I give this one a 4.

Modest: Men and Women Clothed in the Gospel is another offering from Cruciform Press.

Modest 364

This book does not even touch things like how long your skirt should be or whether or not a woman should wear jeans (praise God!).  It goes straight to the heart - what is modesty, as an issue of the heart?  What does scripture say about being modest, for both men and women, and what does this mean?  Much deeper than a legalistic list of do's and don'ts.  I give it a 3, because I think it was almost a little over-edited and could have gone deeper.  But hey, it is one of those to-the-point books from Cruciform!

Prince Caspian, Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.  I hate to say it, but only a 3.  Caspian was not one of my favorites, nor the little guys'.  Too much backstory, not enough action.  But, hey, it is part of the Chronicles, and so we love it as part of the bigger whole.

The Beautiful Mystery (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #8) by Louise Penny
The Beautiful Mystery (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #8)
Hard to believe, but only giving this one a 3.  I have loved most of the books in this series, but not this one.  The mystery was interesting, though a little drawn out.  Then, in the middle of the book the Inspector's nemesis on the force shows up, and it just goes from ugly to uglier.  One of my favorite characters disappoints and I am just going to leave it at that.  I left the last book (a year ago) all hopeful about an exciting turn of events.  Now I feel like I have a year to wait and see how badly some lives are screwed up.  Thanks, Louise.  Maybe at least next year she will take us back to Three Pines, the setting of most of the stories, and we can at least have some fun with the crazies there.

And that is it - my nightstand is piled high with the goodies I am anticipating for September!