Tuesday, July 18, 2017

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writing life: power in observation

Recently, I have been inspired by other home educating Mamas who have sough to improve their ability to do something simply by growing their ability to observe.

One Mama went from drawing a basic line drawing with some rudimentary shading to drawing a very lifelike image of the same thing a few months later. She simply grew her power of observation between the first and last efforts.

Isn't that amazing?! And what a lesson!

More than likely, any of us could grow in any number of abilities and do a great many more things by simply growing our ability to observe. There is power in observation!

There are some folks, like me, that require some explanation of things to really grasp them. For instance, I might see the same thing over and over, yet without a verbal explanation of it (if it's one of the skills that I have difficulty with, especially), I may not comprehend how to replicate what I have clearly seen! I can usually even describe what I've seen, but it's like there is a disconnect between that and comprehending HOW to do it myself.

My eldest daughter is not like me. She can watch something done a few times and then almost perfectly do it herself thereafter. What a gift!

Which are you? Or somewhere in between? Have you ever learned to do something simply through observation?

Monday, July 17, 2017

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Monument 14 Savage Drift by Emmy Laybourne, a book review

Monument 14 Savage Drift by Emmy Laybourne is the final book in the Monument 14 trilogy. It is a good conclusion to the story of Dean and the others of the 14.

This story continues to follow Dean, Alex, Astrid, Niko, Josie, and the rest until we know the majority of what happens to them during this time of cataclysmic changes and their aftermath.

I recommend this book only for older teens and adults. The subjects handled within are definitely for mature audiences. There is a horrific scene and a few upsetting ones that could be disturbing to tender-hearted youth and may not be appropriate at all for younger than sixteen-year-olds. I will help my girls avoid this series until they are sixteen or older.

Laybourne does a good job of describing what could happen after a series of seriously destructive natural disasters followed by the release of really bad chemical compounds. I think, in many ways, some of the things she describes would be worse than what she portrays, really. I did like most of this book and the series in general. I did not like the description of really horrific stuff, but I know many enjoy that kind of thing.

Have you read Monument 14 Savage Drift? What did you think of it?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

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my thoughts: on winning

What is it about winning that is so very… enticing? I mean, war is, at least in part, seeking to win… to the extreme. Winning an argument. Winning a prize. Winning is exciting, right?


Are we pre-wired to seek to win? I think we are, honestly. The thing that is misunderstood in this plane… because we are in a fallen state… is that one person doesn't need to lose for another to win.

Stephen Covey is the main one I know in our modern day who coined the term #win win#. Even though we are in this fallen world, we are not required to be of the world in the way it thinks and does things. It is easy to fall into thinking that there can only be one winner (like the Highlander)… but God's way is so much better and, by far, preferable.

There are some instances when one winner is really necessary. Like in a race. Or in a game. And similar. Yet even in those instances, we are able to choose to celebrate together rather than the winner lauding it over the other(s).

I think it takes greater strength, courage, and character to help others feel like winner even though they may not have officially won the game, or prize, or race, or whatever.

What do you think?

Monday, July 10, 2017

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Monument 14 Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne, a book review

Monument 14 Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne is fast paced and easy to read. I started it in the evening and finished it before I fell asleep. The action and my care for the characters kept me hooked til the end. I look forward to reading the next in the series.

In this second book of the series, we learn more about what happens to Dean, Alex, and the rest of the 14 children we came to know in the first book. One group out on the road, their progress is tracked through Alex and in the bottom of the page marks the miles. Dean and the four with him remain at the big box store and the day count continues to mark their lives on the bottom of the page when the story is about them. I like that denotation at the bottom of the page. It makes it really easy to differentiate and give a sense of place and time while reading.

As with the first, I will not have my girls reading this installment until they are significantly older. There is one intimate scene. Not as detailed as the one in the first book, but definitely older teen to adult entanglement issue. The gore was less detailed than the first, which was a relief to me.

Have you read Monument 14 Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne? What did you think of it?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

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writing life: it takes time

I love to write. Usually it comes pretty easily… especially when I sit down to write some of the stories of my life for my family. My novels take a little more effort for me to sort of submerge myself into the given world of whichever story before I can write what I feel like it something good for that story.

Time.

I have been using most of my time lately focusing on building my Lilla Rose business again. And I've had a few good paychecks as a result. Those are definitely encouraging. Still, all the time I've spent on my business efforts (and efforts to help my children with their business, too!) takes away from time I could spend writing.

Still, I work on my business stuff because I hope to earn enough through these efforts to accomplish things around our property, provide some things for our children, AND self-publish some (or all?) of the stories bumping around in my head.

Also, my business is good practice, really. I've done enough reading to know that Indie Authors (self-published) must market themselves to achieve any sort of success in selling their works.

So, all this time spent on Lilla Rose is valuable for more than just earning dollars! Though, we will definitely put those dollars to good use. I am also learning valuable skills for marketing my novels! In these ways I can see part of why Heavenly Father was nudging me to get back to my Lilla Rose business! He is so awesome!

Monday, July 3, 2017

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The Fetch by Laura Whitcomb, a book review

The Fetch by Laura Whitcomb is described as a 'supernatural romance' on the cover. Through the first third to half of the book this description was not realized at all. By the end it is. It is a very tasteful romance with little physicality.

Calder chooses something no other fetch has chosen and then must make amends to return to where he belongs. I'd never heard of a fetch, so learning about that role is part of the story and was very interesting to me.

I do like this novel and recommend it, though it moved really slowly for me in the beginning. Reading the whole thing was worth my time, though I did wonder a few times if it would be. My twelve and ten year old will be allowed to read it if they want to.

Have you read The Fetch by Laura Whitcomb? What did you think of it?

Friday, June 30, 2017

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Hooray for Fish! by Lucy Cousins, a book review

Hooray for Fish! by Lucy Cousins, illustrated by the same, is a simple picture book for children. A little fish invites the reader to follow him as he swims around seeing other fish. The text describes the fish it sees.

The illustrations for this story make it enjoyable for little children. The words are few, so without the art, it wouldn't be much. The art is very colorful, big, and bold.

My children really enjoy looking at this book and ask for it repeatedly. So, it is worth having for the children because they find it so enjoyable.

I would not have bought it, but am happy to have it for my kiddos.

Have you read Hooray for Fish! by Lucy Cousins? What did you think of it?

Monday, June 26, 2017

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Supernaturally by Kiersten White, a book review

Supernaturally by Kierten White is a good continuation of Evelyn's story which began in Paranormalcy. Again, my girls will have to wait until they are older to read this series. But it could be appropriate for those older than fourteen.

I like that Evelyn begins to realize some changes she needs to make in her approach to thinking about things in this book. She is less vapid throughout, but especially by the end. Her fighting skills are seriously lacking, especially compared to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Thankfully Evie doesn't have as much need for them in this book as the last.

Have you read Supernaturally by Kiersten White? What did you think of it?

Friday, June 23, 2017

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Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett, a book review

Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett, illustrated by the same, is a fun story about a Texan armadillo. It is also a little less about cowboy boots, the armadillo's mom, and brothers.

The artwork for this story is really fun with lots for little ones to look at as a parent or older sibling reads to them. The pictures are primarily bright reds, blues, greens with plenty of browns mixed in. One of the things I enjoy so much about these illustrations is that it gives a feel for Texas, probably mostly western Texas, and the cowboy culture. Another thing I enjoy and appreciate is that the secondary story of the armadillo's mom and brothers looking for him is illustrated in smaller artwork at the outside of each page once the main armadillo has wandered off. Those parts of the artwork definitely add a great deal more than what the text describes.

My children really love looking at this book and ask for it repeatedly. They will readily sit and look at it quietly many times over. That, in truth, is the best recommendation for this book's artwork!

The story is good, too. The voice is very easily Texan, which is fun… even more now that we live in Texas. However, we enjoyed this story very well while we were still in Florida. Florida also has many armadillos and cowboys, in case you didn't know.

Have you read Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett? What did you think of it?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

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writing life: when it gets hot, part 2

Have you ever chosen to live without central air and continued to work in the heat? I sure would enjoy hearing from you if you have! Whether your experience is similar or totally different! Make sure to let me know if you are someone who prefers hotter or cooler weather. That definitely does make a difference.

You see, I used to believe I loved winter. Most of the homes I lived in while I was growing up had central air and heat. So, I thought I loved the cold weather because you could always put on extra clothes and blankets. While this is still true, I have learned that I do not prefer either the extreme of cold or heat. I love the temperate days of spring and fall!

The heat of summer, though, still has the most difficult-for-me to endure temperatures. I have felt as though I would melt a few times, in all honesty. When the heat is combined with more than mugginess… with wetness hanging in the air, I have experienced oppression. Just to be clear, I refer to the last definition of oppression, which is: mental pressure or distress. Seriously! I believe it was sort of a perfect-storm-for-Tori (PSFT) situation that came as a result of the actual weight and pressure that abounds when the temps skyrocket and the weight of water in the air combine in #just# the right (or wrong!) way.

There have been a few days when I accomplish very little as a result of the “PSFT”. I freely admit those days are more frequent when I've been preggie than at other times! Though I am not proud of it, I have a tendency to be a bit weaker when preggie than when I'm not.

Have you experienced any personal difficulties with actually working because of the weather? Please share!