Tuesday, February 28, 2017

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writing life: what it looks like when I work

Where I work heavily influences what my work routine looks like. When at home, if the computer is fully charged, writing blog posts or making some progress in one of my wip (works in progress) is usually the first thing I do when I sit down to work.

Working for me is like ripping a fabric and having thread hanging out reaching for each other. My attention must necessarily be on my children since they are my first responsibility. Writing is very difficult for me as a result because I am frequently pulled out of the world of my thoughts and the train continues on without me. Sometimes I'm able to catch it and continue the ride. At others, I sit with my head in my hands wondering why I'm doing this at all.

I actually know. I just wish I didn't feel as if I had to do it. I resent the circumstances that have put me in a corner which is why I'm doing what I'm doing so vigorously and constantly. I resent broken agreements. If they were just re-made, that would be one thing.

Refocusing…

The computer having a fully charged battery enables me to write either blog posts or continue with one of my stories. If the computer is not an option, I have written notes for blog posts on paper. They rarely end up much like the notes, but at least I have many thoughts already recorded. A good starting place, in essence.

Usually, if the computer is unavailable, I'll work on Cap'N Golly plans and rhymes. His rhymes take a bit of time, doncha know! I also write silly songs and more serious songs on paper rather than the computer. So, if I find myself unable to use the computer and have a song started, but not finished, I might work on that.

If I have Cap'N or other video to edit AND any power in the battery of the computer, I have been known to work on that instead of writing. That's because video editing is still a rather time consuming process for me and I have self-made deadlines in mind. I really like to attain small goals. When I do, it makes big ones feel more likely to happen!

Working without breaks (of the chosen or unwanted kind) lasts, at most, thirty minutes. If it lasts longer than that, either I'm ignoring wrong choices among my children, or they are too quiet. Moms… you know what I mean!

GrA still needs to nurse pretty frequently, so every forty-five minutes or so, I stop to spend some time with him. Sometimes I'm able to nurse and type. That worked out better when he was smaller. As he gets older and typing while nursing isn't quite so workable, I tend to read while I nurse. Usually I read books planning to review them on my blog.

Of course, there are also breaks for food (direction and or preparation). And I do need to sleep sometimes, so there's that.

There are town days that I need for internet connectivity. I'll share about that next time.

Monday, February 27, 2017

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I first read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury when I was a youth as assigned reading for English class. I was so deeply impressed it has remained among my very favorite books ever. It is a classic, for sure.

Unfortunately, to my mind, the movie of my youth wasn't nearly as amazing as the book. It's so difficult to capture the richness of a mental movie in one on film!

Art mimics life or is it the other way around? This is one of those books that seems to be penned by a prophet in some regards. I couldn't have imagines the flat televisions that span almost a whole wall or projection TVs of today. I didn't see it. Huxley did.

Though the soap operas that include the watcher are not entirely realized now, reality television does, in some ways, seem to be moving us in that direction.

Will there ever be firemen who destroy books with fire? Or communes where you're only real work and the reason for your existence is memorization and repetition of the literature one is responsible for remembering and then, one day, teaching to someone else? As for me, I hope not with great intensity.

Yet somehow, the movement from paper books to various digital formatted texts moves alone bit by bit… insidiously. If we stop paper book production, we will eventually lose something infinitely precious. Digital files are so very easy to destroy. So, too, are paper… but if enough people have the paper copies, some persist somewhere.

I really enjoyed reading this book as a youth and adult. My children will read it sooner than later. It is fully of valuable subjects for discussion.

Have you read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury? What did you think of it?

Friday, February 24, 2017

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Three Little Cajun Pigs by Mike Artell, a book review

Did you know I was born in Louisiana? Yeppers. My Mom and Dad grew up there. My Dad fancies himself a Cajun even though he probably isn't as far as it goes. Still, we tend to really love the stories that have a Cajun flare. Three Little Cajun Pigs by Mike Artell definitely fills the bill.

Mardi Gras is February 28, 2017 (this coming Tuesday) so I share this book now in honor of the biggest party that happens in the US outside of Christmas and New Year's.

It's a fun and funny spin on the classic tale of the 'Three Little Pigs'. In the bayou, of course, the antagonist must needs be a gator instead of a wolf. As a result, the story has some differences which are entertaining.

Reading out loud may be a challenge, but fun when you get a little practice, because the story carries a flavor of the Louisiana “cajun” sound. My five year old boy enjoyed it particularly.

My children and I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it. The illustrations by Jim Harris are fun and perfectly fit the story. The gator is especially well done and entertaining throughout. The art is nicely colorful without being overwhelming, so my three year old likes it a lot.

Have you read Three Little Cajun Pigs by Mike Artell? What did you think?


Thursday, February 23, 2017

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learning to burn, part 24

Please begin at the beginning!  And remember... this is my very first draft... strange (usually all caps) notes to myself and all!!!  It'll change as I work through it... once I've finished it!  Since GrA is nine and a half months at this writing (I'm scheduling ahead, doncha know), he still needs me lots.  You know, since I'm a breastfeeding Mama and hoping to make it two years with him.  So... please be patient as the story is very... first-drafty!!!!  lol


“Is your mother living?” (I THOUGHT HE ALREADY KNEW SHE WAS BUT CANNOT REMEMBER)
“Yes. Why do you ask?”
“You were just talking about her as if in past-tense. Like she'd died or something.”
“Oh no… it's just been so long since I've seen her and I don't really consider her my teacher, currently. You know, since I've been gone so long.”
“How long have you been gone?”
“Well, I'm sure it's over a year now. But I may have lost track of how long somewhere in the middle, so I'm not entirely sure.”
“How did you lose track of time?”
“I don't know. I'm not even sure I did. It's just… it seems like I have memories about things that I can't quite remember. So, I think it's a possibility.”
“Have you asked Binia about it?”
“No. I hadn't even thought to! That could really straighten me out, though. Thanks for the suggestion!”
“Sure. I hope it helps. By the way, I'm really glad you're actually talking to me now. I feel like I'm getting to know you a little.”
“Uhh, well… okay. I mean, you're welcome? I don't know that you'll be glad to know me really well once you get to know me well.”
“Why would you say that?”
“My Mom. She said I was really difficult to live with. So, I guess I kind of assume I'm just generally difficult to get along with.”
“I guess it's possible. I can't imagine it now. I'll let you know if that changes.” Ofonode smiles mischievously and Eminghare returns a smile as she turns away.
Could I tell him? Do I dare share about my people? What would he think? I sure would like to have a real friend. And maybe… just maybe he would understand… at least a little, since he has this burning thing…
“It's been easy to travel with Os. Except for the attacks, of course. It's been so much easier than my life in my village. Basically everyone knew I was really late to flame and I could tell they wondered if I would ever alight. In a way, though, it's been more difficult, too. I mean, I always felt a little worried that I'd start flaming when others were around and then what? How would I explain it away? I don't think everyone would be as cool about it as you are. I think, if it's not too weird to say or for you to hear, you might be my first real friend ever. I mean, I had a couple sorta-friends back home. But I know they wondered about my fire along with everyone else. Is that too weird? I mean, I know we haven't known each other all that long.”
“No. I was just thinking something a little like that. I would like for us to be friends.” They both smile as they look at each other. I won't be okay with just being friends with this girl. Ofonode looks away first, blushing slightly at his thought.
“Ofonode, I'd like to tell you something, but I'm not sure exactly how to go about it. I mean… I've never actually told anyone before.”
Ofonode nods, not daring to speak any interruption.
“Well, my people… we were called peculiar before the surface changes happened and we became as isolated as we are now.”
“Us too! I mean, my people. We were basically ostracized and persecuted. At least, that's what I've been told. We've lived apart so long that I've never experienced it and only the oldest in the village have any memories of it. I was just a baby when my mentor saved our village from the death-bringing quakes that rocked the landmasses.”
“Me, too. I mean, we think of little ones as babies until they are four years among us. So, I was still a baby as we think of time. But in the villages I've lived in as I've traveled, I would have been counted a young child before then.”
Oseratin shivers and moans. Eminghare and Ofonode look at him, both feeling very startled and at least a little bit disappointed.
The fake Binia moans and begins to quake as Oseratin's eyes flutter rapidly. He moans again. The imposter shakes violently once more and then jerks into a sitting position. She is almost sitting in Ofonode's lap. Eminghare feels a wash of jealousy rush through her. Blushing she stands quickly and moves to Oseratin's side.
Os begins to collapse just as she sits beside him. She pulls him toward her and shifts so that his head is cradled in her lap. Eminghare and Ofonode look at each other.
With her eyes still closed, the invader cloaked as Binia says, “He will remain asleep until I am released and on my way. I have won the menspar. He is my prisoner. I will release him when you release me.”
Ofonode looks at Eminghare with alarm and wishes he could speak to her mind the way Ofonode and Binia are able. He sits, thinking hard and staring as if looking with enough focus would enable him to reach into Eminghare's mind to communicate with her. He feels shocked when he hears her voice, though he's watching her face and her lips haven't moved.
'Yes. You can hear me. I was trying to get around to telling you about this. It's one of my gifts. This is one reason I was so hurt by Binia's silence during our travels. I can link with everyone. At least, I've been able to with everyone I've tried. I never could link to Binia… I guess since I thought she was a lizard that probably inhibited me.'
Ofonode sighs and shrugs slightly as he thinks, 'Well, it's not like I told you everything up front. What should be do?'
Eminghare shrugs back, 'I think she's bluffing. Honestly. And even if she's not, I don't think it'll hurt to wait a little while longer to give Os some time to reach out to us… or something. Also, I have a lot more to tell you about my abilities. I just think we need to focus on the situation at hand before I blab more about myself and my people.'
'Okay. You owe me some stories, I'm thinking!'
Eminghare smiles and nods.
The two sit quietly together as the sun moves toward the ground. Both jump a bit when the female invisian speaks, “You are running out of time. I will end your friend if you do not release me before the setting of the sun.”
'It sets so quickly. Should I let her go, Eminghare?' Ofonode reaches out to his friend, hoping she can hear him.
'Yes. I can hear you as long as I keep the connection open. I still think she's bluffing. I don't know exactly why, but it seems like she is the one that can't last. I don't want to kill her or anything, but if that's how this ends because we're trusting Oseratin to make it through and back out, well, I guess that's what's got to happen.'
'Yeah. I agree. It seems like she's desperate. Okay. Eminghare, I have to tell you, I'm feeling really tired. I've been struggling for the last while and just didn't want you to think I'm weak. But I'm not sure I can keep her still until the sun sets.'
'Oh! What can I do to help?'
'I'm not sure you can do anything. I don't feel hungry or thirsty. I'm just getting weak. I've never used my fire for so long. Not by half. And I guess it's starting to get to me. I think I might fall asleep and I'm sure she'll be free to do as she wants then. I must remain conscious to keep her still.'
'Well, if you feel like you're willing to trust me, I might be able to help.'
'If you think you can, I'm willing to let you. I just can't imagine how you could!'
'Okay.' Eminghare gently puts Oseratin's head on the ground and moves to sit behind Ofonode.

He feels her put a hand just over the very top of his head and just as he senses the other at the very base of his back and top of his bum he feels a shock as if a jolt of electricity has run up and down his spine an unknowable number of times. After just a moment of the sensation, Ofonode realizes that his thoughts, only a moment before become increasingly fuzzy the way they do as he drifts off to sleep have cleared and become uncharacteristically crisp and well-defined.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

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my thoughts: TRUMP

Dear President Trump,

I didn't vote for you. I was worried, you see, about the little I do know and the great deal I've heard and felt that if you could do any good for the country it would be minimal. And I wasn't really sure of your motivations. Let your displeasure at this revelation, for I know it will be great, be soothed by the fact that neither did I vote for your “primary” competition: Mrs. C.

Writing now, in this open letter is in hopes that this message may somehow make it to your eyes. My Mom has said many times that if one person gives you a compliment, at least ten other people thought it and didn't take the time or have the courage to tell you themselves. I love to give compliments and have felt compelled to give you this one for a little while now.

First, your refusal of remuneration for the work you will do in the office of President is commendable and honorable. I have been highly pleased and impressed by this action on your part. I esteem you, sir, for making this choice and in so doing you planted a sweet seed of hope in my heart. And not just hope in you, which is wonderful in itself, but also hope in the political system. I despise politicians. Our country was ever meant to be lead by statesmen. In refusing pay in your role as President, I believe you have shown your desire to be a true statesman. What pleasure I feel in the hope that this is your motivation! Thank you… thank you for that seed of hope!

And then your actions… you have surely done far more than I have heard. For, you see, I live a simply life in the country. No television. Little internet (only what I can get on my mobile phone when the signal is good and it is often NOT). No radio. So, basically, I don't hear all that much. Yet, I have heard good things.

A man who was set against you… a member of the black power establishment (not panthers or anything like that, as far as I know… just one of the big wigs who seem more interested in divisiveness under the guise of civil rights) visited you and came away from that visit touting your acclaim. This was impressive, for sure. It is my opinion that seeking to communicate directly and clearly will often lead to such changes. You have proved it with, at least, him and I am so very pleased!

The business deal in which you directly asked a company to build their new location within the states. They agreed. As a result you brought a significant number of jobs to the US. BEFORE you were in office. Simply by directly speaking to someone who could make such a decision and posing the question. I'm sure I've oversimplified drastically. There may be bits involved in the deal that many will be displeased about, but I guarantee those who will be gainfully employed will not be among them.

Given what I know, I have great hopes that your interactions with Putin are positive and bend on healing our alliance with his country. Your predecessor did so much harm to so many long-standing relationships. I have great hope that you will move us back into a more peaceful situation with them, others, and especially Israel.

I turned 41 in December. I've voted a few times. I've watched the actions of your predecessors with chagrin and sometimes despair. Never before you have I felt hope in praying for The President. I pray for you frequently. I pray that you will choose Godly advisers and be surrounded by statesmen and stateswomen!

Your immediate predecessor gave much lip service to hope and change. Much of the change he wrought was probably his intent, but never the wish of those I know! I felt my hope in his work disappear long before his time was extended. You have said nothing about hope and change… yet I have felt hope spring forth from the seeds planted by your actions, which indicate efforts to bring the kind of change that may well heal this nation of harm, perhaps especially debt accrued by those who came before.

President Trump, I hope you will continue to do as you have thus far done of the good I have named and heard. I believe you may be guided by our Father in Heaven and as you seek to do what is best for these United States, may you feel of His guidance and know the right path to bring our Nation to healthier and more fiscally sound days. I'm praying for you, Mr. President!

Sincerely,

Tori Gollihugh

Monday, February 20, 2017

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Space Case by Stuart Gibbs, a book review

Space Case by Stuart Gibbs is a mystery for youth set in a base on the moon. Dash finds himself in a place he doesn't like doing things he doesn't prefer and surrounded by lots of people he doesn't particularly like. And then, one of the few people he does like dies. Basically everyone thinks it's an accident brought on by a guy slowly losing his mind, but Dash is pretty certain that's not the case. Even though he's going against orders, he decides to find out for himself.

The drama and action that results kept me very interested. The revelation at the end of the story is especially interesting and the story leaves off with a perfect opening for continuation. Will we get to see more of Dash and his friends? My daughters and I hope so.

My eldest two daughters really enjoyed this sci-fi mystery.  I enjoyed it pretty well, but not nearly as much as they did.  However, since they are the intended audience, I'd say it's a pretty good recommendation for someone between 9 and 13 years old.

Have you read Space Case by Stuart Gibbs? What did you think of it?

Friday, February 17, 2017

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Will It Be a Baby Brother? by Eve Bunting, a book review

In Will It Be a Baby Brother? by Even Bunting, a little boy's Mom is pregnant. He is very sure he wants a baby brother and will not be happy with anything else. He even says he will give the baby to his aunt if it's a girl. Does he continue to feel the same once the baby is born if it's a girl?

This is a sweet story. My children enjoyed it very much.

If you have a "getting ready for the next baby" sort of library, like I do, this would be a great book to add to it!  I hope I will be able to add it before our next one starts 'baking'. 

The illustrations by Beth Spiegel do their job very well. In some places, they support the story. At other times, they show more detail that expounds on the words of the story.

Generally a good story, this would be particularly good for parents to read to their child or children in preparation for a new arrival. I like it a lot.

Have you read Will It Be a Baby Brother? by Eve Bunting? What did you think of it?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

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learning to burn, part 23

Please start at the beginning!  And remember... this is my very first writing.  There may be some strange and odd notes about my thoughts... or lack thereof!


“Menspar. It is battle of mind to mind for the mind.”
“That doesn't sound like a good idea. This is the best plan we have?”
“It is the only plan. We must not return to the place of your dream unprepared and without knowing for sure we must go there. There will assuredly be too many of them there.”
The two quietly prepare. Os lays Eminghare down close to the rock wall of the outcropping and well under the roof. Ofonode puts the fake Binia down outside the roof and puts himself between it and Eminghare. Os sits very near the head of the invisian with whom he will battle.
“Please keep your flame in your hands while I am engaged with this one. If you lose control, I will be at the mercy of it because it will know and I will not… if that happens, it could harm my body while we still menspar.”
“Great. No pressure or anything. I mean… sheesh! I haven't had good control of my flame, like, ever! How can you put yourself in such danger?”
“Because our circumstance calls for bold action. And I trust you.”
Ofonode feels warmth flood through his body. He feels like he's grown a few inches over those four words. The flame in his hands grows brighter and the invisian shudders.
“Wow… I think my fire may be even stronger when my emotion is positive!”
“That does seem likely. I'm glad to hear you think it may be so.”
Os puts his hands on either side of the other invisian's head and then looks up at Ofonode and winks before closing his eyes. After a few minutes, Ofonode feels the invisian shudder. He immediately feels concern for his friend and watches as the flames in his hands seem to diminish. Before their intensity changes too much, he changes his thoughts and reminds himself of the intelligence and competence of his friend. In fact, he knows that he would not have made it so far in his journey if not for his companion. Surely, he will make it through this challenge. Ofonode feels so sure of it, he feels like his assurance in a palpable thing and looks at his hands to find them brilliant with many colors of flame and the invisian seems to shiver in his hands.
As he studies the invisian he holds, while also carefully monitoring the flame in his hands, he is startled to realize that its Binia-camoflage is fading. As he watches, it completely disappears. He realizes that the invisian lying in the sand is a shockingly beautiful female invisian. How could someone so lovely be so bad?
The fake Binia shivers and begins to shake in Ofonode's hands. As he watches her, she shifts among many forms. Each form, though, is more like a shadow over her own form rather than a complete change. Ofonode feels shocked to see a couple human forms that look familiar among the many other shapes the invisian shows. He wonders if these are all forms she has taken and feels certain they must be, but decides he'll ask Os when his friend is back.
A couple hours into the menspar, Eminghare wakes. She comes to Ofonode and gently rests a hand on on of his stiff and slightly shaking arms. He startles and heat floods into his hands, especially the one connected to the arm Eminghare is touching. She raises her hand and the heat decreases.
“I'm sorry. I tried a few times to ask what you were doing, but neither of you heard me, I guess.”
“No. It's okay. I guess I was just focusing really hard.”
“So, what's going on? Oseratin hasn't moved even a little since I woke up. I'm not even sure he's breathing. And why is this one here instead of Binia?”
“Well, I guess we lost track of Binia after Os picked you up while we were still running. This one, we're guessing, took her place to mislead us so the others could capture us. Os is trying to find out where Binia is and whether we can do anything to get her back. I'm sure he is alive. He has to be.”
“Yes. I'm sure he is. Will we know something soon?”
“I have no idea. He's been at it for a few hours now. I have no idea how long it could take.”
The female invisian begins to shake again and Eminghare looks alarmed.
“Does she do that often?”
“No. Only a few times. Every time she's shaken that much happened at the very beginning… right after Os went in to find out what he could find. Maybe that means something good...”
Eminghare nods. “Is there anything I can do?”
“Yes! I'm thirsty as heck and getting seriously hungry….”
She disappears behind him and reappears with her hands full. She puts the canteen down first and then the backpack. “Would you like water first?”
“That sounds wonderful!”
Eminghare helps Ofonode drink from the canteen. Then opens the pack, sifts through the things in it, and pulls out a bag of travel cakes. “I think this is pretty much all there is now. There might be different types, but all the bags feel just like this one.”
“That's fine. I'm so hungry I'm sure it doesn't matter what I eat just so long as I eat.”
The cakes are small enough that Ofonode can eat a whole one with each bite. He wants more than the three he eats, but refuses any more because he has no idea how much longer they have until they reach their destination.
“I know you're still hungry. You don't want to eat because you don't know how long this is going to take and it's extending our travel time, right? You're worried.”
“I think worried isn't entirely accurate. Aware and wary, I think are more fitting. Worry would drain my flame. Being wise doesn't.”
“I see. But what do you mean… drain your flame?”
“Don't you see the fire around my hands?”
“Um… I guess it's a little brighter than normal. Why?”
“What do you mean?”
“You always look like you're on fire compared to most people. The flames around your hands is brighter now that you mention it, but it's always there. That's why it's been so difficult for me to trust your friendship, you know. My mother taught me to be wary of the ones who burn.”
“Oh. Wow. That's… kinda crazy. I mean…” Ofonode feels shocked and slightly confused and completely at a loss for words.
“What's going on with your hands?”
“Well, I guess I've been learning a bit more and in a rather intense lesson-type-situation to control my flame. To me, I do not look like I'm on fire. The only time I've seen my own flame is when I was angry before now. I think my flame might be even brighter when I feel very strong good emotions, but I'm still not entirely sure how to make it flare without first feeling angry.”
“You sound like stories my mother told me….” Eminghare almost whispers, “What else have you learned?”
“Well, I didn't have any control of my flame at all when I left my village. I still don't, really, but I'm hoping to figure it out. I guess, while I've been holding this invisian, I've been trying to control the intensity of the flame in my hands. It's a lot harder since you touched me. I guess I have a lot of work still to do to have good control even while interacting with others.”
“Yes. It's always easier to control ourselves without distractions and disruptions.”
“So… you said something about your mother telling stories. What's that about?”
“Oh, well, you know. Mothers tell stories, right?”
“I don't know. My parents died when I was very young.”
“Gosh, I'm sorry. I totally forgot. Didn't your Aunt tell you stories?”
“Sometimes. Mostly as part of a lesson.”

“Yeah. My mother did that, too. I guess she liked to try to teach us right before we went to sleep. So, she told stories and talked about them at bed time.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

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my thoughts: seasons of mother love

Love deserves attention all year long because God is Love, of course.  Yet, I am climbing on the band-wagon to pay special attention to this special subject this month in honor of Valentine's day.  If you missed my other tribute all about my man-crush, make sure to check it out.

If you have children, have you ever pondered on the seasons of 'mother love'?  I have been pondering just that a great deal of late and want to share a few of my musings.

Although in some way it must necessarily be absolutely the same as demonstrated in the Mandelbrot Set, it seems to me that my love for my children feels more different than similar to my love for my husband.  Perhaps it feels more similar to the love feeling i feel toward my siblings... only somehow bigger for my children even though I have known them a far shorter a time.

Perhaps one explanation is the service given to children creates a sort of humongous love that doesn't quite compare to any love before it.  For service builds and fortifies love.  Yet still it feels more than that explanation somehow.

So, regarding the seasons of mother love specifically... the pregnancy and newborn months absolutely smoosh together for me.  Though, i definitely prefer holding my newborn to pregnancy!   This phase of the relationship is bumpy and a bit scary, right?  Or is that just me?  I've been through this cycle of seasons now six times and each time it's been a variation of the same.  Two miscarriages in there probably help to keep me feeling nervous and on edge during pregnancy.

That ends up to be about a year of growing adoration, pleasure in the new person's existence, and lots of scary moments, which all somehow work together to solidify the loving feelings.  Birth is also in there, which is a tremendous act of service.  So that helps the live thang grow, for sure.

Then there is the season of loads of accomplishments happening in a short space of time.  I mean, come on!  Crawling, walking, teething, sitting up, standing, eating, giggling, first temper tantrums, individuating!!  All happening before their first birthday.  It's a whirlwind of change and accomplishment.  If someone had told me that i would be as proud (and maybe more so) of my sixth child reaching each of these milestones (and more) as i was of my first, i probably wouldn't have believed them.  But it's totally true!  And with the joy in their learning, i feel love burst forth and wash through me.  Love during this season is easy to feel and sometimes overwhelms to tears.

The next year is usually relatively peaceful.  Most of my children have learned to talk or communicate pretty well before they turn two.  Between two and three there is lots of playing going on.  It is easy to feel live for my little ones during this.time, too.

Usually right around when mine turn three years old, we get to experience the beginning of what usually lasts about a year of full-on boundary-testing, tantrum-making, ugly-crying (and that's probably me more than my toddler), full-on individuation work! Whoever said it was terrible twos must have had early bloomers! Mine have all gone through the terrible threes for sure!  This is the first time i have any 'dislike' sort of feelings.  I will note that i experienced this.early with my first.  She was a "button pusher" " from six month old and she loved to push mine!!  Thankfully, we can love people even when we may not like what they do.

Thereafter comes a season of greater peace, which lasts until they are about seven and a half.  For some reason my three eldest started to think they knew everything at seven and a half.  My thirs is now eight years old, so i don't have nearly as much experience with the seasons of mother love with older children.  I'd love to hear from any Moms who have been through those seasons once or more!

During this season of smarty-pantsedness, my three eldest have felt it absolutely necessary to question my judgement and decisions in practically all things.  It has been exhausting.  It is also another season where the 'dislike' feeling pops up frequently.  No matter what, though, i strive to end the day with a hug, words of love, and our special "love fits" handshake.  I have had to increasingly focus on choosing to think lovingly even if i don't feel loving during this season... and much of those that follow.

My two eldest are 10 and 12.  They have both started into the hormonal season right around ten.  Heaven help us when all 4 of our girls are older!  There is opposition in all things, so they are just as wonderful as they are at times horrible.  And i am adult enough (i hope and work hard) to choose those loving thoughts even when the feelings of the same are absent.

I imagine the seasons following what i know are lots of a smooshing of all the previous because there is so much that happens before children leave home as adults.  Learning to drive, school at various levels..

Adult children... the only way i can even sort of imagine that is by thinking of my own relationship with my parents.  I hope i will do at least as well as they have done with me!

Monday, February 13, 2017

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The Time Thief book two in The Gideon Trilogy by Linda Buckley-Archer, a book review

The Time Thief by Linda Buckley-Archer is a wonderful follow up to The Time Travelers. I enjoyed the first. You can read my review of it HERE. This second is even better. The way time is handled becomes increasingly complex. The treatment of the characters in the midst of the issue of what happens if people go back and forth in time is really interesting!

Perhaps my favorite character is the Peter lost in time. Though his feelings are at once simple and complex, they are easy to identify with and feel compassion for. Kate's predicament is more complicated and harder to comprehend because some of her greatest troubles arise directly from the process of traveling through time.

Buckley-Archer's characters in the past, though secondary, are enjoyable. In this book, my favorites may well be the Queen, and the French scientist. All of the characters are good, those are just my favorites.

My daughters have read this and enjoyed it very much. The whole of the story is easily appropriate for any age reader. There are some difficult subjects brought up in the course of the series. For instance, stealing and whether or not it is morally reprehensible when done to sustain life. It is my opinion that such subjects are worthwhile discussion topics between parents and their children. So, I'm completely comfortable with the subject matter in this series.

Have you read The Time Thief by Linda Buckley-Archer? What did you think of it?

Friday, February 10, 2017

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Where the Forest Meets The Sea by Jeannie Baker, a book review

Jeannie Baker, both author and artist for Where The Forest Meets The Sea, is a talented creator. The illustrations are also stand-alone pieces of collage art. She collected materials from Daintree Wilderness in Australia and researched while there, so parts of the art she used to illustrate this story are actually from the place the story is about.

This story seems to be in support of leaving the shrinking rain forest in Australia alone. We follow a boy and his father as they make a trip to a beach where the forest comes as close to the shore as possible. This is untouched rain forest. The boy wanders off to explore the forest.

When the day is over, the boy doesn't want to leave. They will return soon, so says the father, but will the beach and forest remain pristine. The author/artist does an amazing job of alluding to the potential changes.

I enjoyed this book. My children like it, though they don't understand quite why it's as great as I think it is. I definitely recommend it.

Have you read Where the Forest Meets the Sea by Jeannie Baker? What did you think of it?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

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Learning to Burn, part 22

Please start at the beginning.  And remember... you're reading my unedited first purge of this story.  It'll be better after I read it over... I think. hehehe

Ofonode jumps out of sleep and onto his feet. “Did you have another dream?” Os asks.
“Yes. We need to leave now.”
Binia's lizard head raises slightly and Eminghare has risen on an elbow. Oseratin addresses them, “We must leave immediately. Ofonode has dreams that come to life very soon after he wakes. We must depart.”
The groups is running with Os in the lead and Binia bringing up the back in the early morning darkness within five minutes of Ofonode waking. Their senses on high alert, they pay careful attention to their path to avoid falling.
“We fast approach the place. We must run harder. They will be ready for us if we take too long!” Ofonode pushes himself and comes head-to-head with Os. He glances back and is relieved to find both Eminghare and Binia keeping up very well.
“So we are running toward the problem, I gather.” Os seems to speak as though they were on a mild saunter in the best of circumstances. Ofonode wonders as the invisian's ability to run to hard and fast and breath as though he isn't.
“Yes.” Breathing hard, he pauses between each word, “If we didn't we would be caught. They wanted most to hurt you and Binia. We must run faster.” Ofonode pushes himself harder and gets a little ahead of Os before the invisian increases his pace.
“All will be well. We were up and away much faster than last time and we made it through that, didn't we. The Lord is on our side. We'll make it through this, too!”
Ofonode feels himself relax into running and is able to push himself a little harder as a result. He glances back a few times to check on the other two. Binia looks just like Ofonode. Eminghare, though, looks like this pace may be getting to her. We have to get far enough past the place to avoid the attack. Where was it? That… yes, it was there. It's only a little bit farther and we can slow down a little.
“Have we raced far enough, Ofonode?” Binia asks, sounding a bit worried and Ofonode is sure she is worried about Eminghare.
Still breathing hard and having a difficult time speaking Ofonode responds, “Not yet. Must get far enough past the place. We only passed it a moment ago.” He can hear Eminghare breathing raggedly behind him and dares not look to check on her. He looks, instead, at Os. He's sure his eyes are pleading with his friend.
Os speaks nothing, but slows slightly. When Ofonode sees him out of the corner of his eye again, his anxiety for Eminghare dissipates. The girl is in Oseratin's arms. How in the world did he pick her up while running? And now running as fast as he was before… this guy is amazing! Os, unaware of Ofonode's exact thoughts, but seeing the boy's relief over the girl, smiles. His breathing is no longer with ease and he is concerned over his ability to maintain the pace long, but he is pleased that his young friend cares so deeply for this girl. She is just special enough for him and Os finds himself hoping that the two will choose to spend their lives together.
“I think we can slow our pace for a bit.” Ofonode doesn't really know how far past the point of ambush they should run, but he feels so tired they have to slow down because he can't keep going like this.
They run and run, slower than at first. Surprising as it seems to him, Binia calls to Ofonode and Oseratin from what sounds like a bit of a distance, “Stop. We need to rest.” The two stop and turn to watch as Binia catches up. She doesn't look winded or uncomfortable with the run as she reaches them. Ofonode looks to Os wondering why she would ask them to stop when she looks like she's having no trouble with it at all. Os shrugs.
“I'm tired. Surely we've run far enough now.”
Again Ofonode looks to Os. “Have we run far enough now?” Os asks his young friend.
“I… I guess so. I mean, for now. We can take a short rest, I guess.” Ofonode is grateful that someone else has called for a break, but he feels uneasy that it is Binia because she seems perfectly fine to keep going. And why was she so far behind us? I never heard her breathing get uneven or difficult… when did she fall behind?
1-4-17
Ofonode loses track of his thoughts as the group settles for a rest and a bite to eat. Oseratin has a difficult time waking Eminghare. She doesn't wake completely, but enough so that she can eat a few bites and falls back into what seems a deep sleep.
1-6-17
“Maybe we should stay here for the night. Eminghare doesn't look like she's doing well.”
The hair on the back of Ofonode's neck rises. He knows the words Binia has just spoken are good and probably true, but something about them sets him on edge. What is it? Why am I so troubled?
In his mind, Ofonode hears words that are not his own, “I, too, am troubled. We should not stay here. I do not know what is amiss, but Binia's words do not fit or feel right.”
Ofonode feels great comfort in the hope that Os is speaking directly to his mind and that his friend has confirmed his own irrational-seeming concern.
“We must go on. I think we're still too close to the place in my dream.” Ofonode speaks, closely watching Binia. She seems to tense and frown slightly at his words, but recovers herself quickly.
“And I can carry Eminghare much farther. She weighs so little.”
“Stopping now or later will not matter much. We won't reach a town or anything before nightfall. We should stop here and rest until she is completely well.”
Anger swells in Ofonode's heart and explodes out of his eyes and sparks from the ends of his hair, fingers, and toes. He feels completely surprised by the fire bursting from him, yet also completely comfortable with it, which is a first. His flame circles his head and holds there. Flickering in the air. “We must continue. I do not know where we will rest for the night of if we will walk through the night, but we will not stop here. We will leave in a few minutes.”
Binia cowers away from Ofonode. As he stares at her through the flames of his fire, he sees a shimmer and shift… as if she changes slightly. He can't quite figure out what he's seen, but feels sure it's as if some of Binia's features have changed from her own to another person's for the briefest moment. What is going on here?
“What troubles you, my young friend?” Os asks in his mind.
I'm not sure because I'm not sure what I've seen!
“Try to tell me and we can puzzle over it together.”
There. It just happened again! As I stare at Binia, it seems… I don't know… it seems like some of her features change and she's not quite Binia any more. But that can't be… can it?
“It should not be, that is for certain, but it is possible. Perhaps this is why we have felt troubled each time she speaks even though she has said fitting things… Yes, that would make it all fit together.”
What? What makes it all fit?
“Binia fell behind. None of us saw her for some unknown amount of time. When she caught up, she seemed untired by our run. It could be that this is not Binia at all, but a camouflaged invisian of the Drack Order.”
Drack Order? What is that?
“No need to get into the details of is not. Suffice it to say that they are those who are against and fight those like me of the Holy Order.”
An invisian has taken Binia?
“Likely those you saw in your dream. I'm sure it's more than one. Only one could not take Binia down.”
So, that means they have her?
“Almost certainly.”
How do we get her back?
“We must restrain this one and then I will enter a menspar and, hopefully, obtain her location. We can determine what we will do after we know where she is.”
What should I do?
“Restrain this one.”
Me. By myself?
“Yes. You are more than capable. Don't you see how comfortable you are in your flame? It is still about your head. Bring it to your hands and hold this interloper. You are unlikely to truly damage it unless you flare uncontrollably.”
What do I do?
“Figure it out as you go along. I'll follow your lead. I still hold Eminghare, remember.”
Still staring at the fake Binia, Ofonode stands, “It's time to go now. We've had a long enough rest. I think it would be a good idea for you to lead and set the pace, Binia. Since you fell behind before. We don't want to lose you or for you to get hurt and we don't know it!”
Binia nods, rises, and takes the lead. She runs smoothly and doesn't look a bit tired. Ofonode follows with Os, holding Eminghare, taking up the rear.
The group runs a few miles when Ofonode sees a potentially protective outcropping that has the regular curve, but also an almost-roof. With a burst of speed, he catches up to the Binia look alike and, allowing himself to feel anger and imagining the anger flow into in his hands, grabs both of the faker's upper arm in his flaming hands. He slows and lifts the invisian so that he doesn't trip in the maneuver.
“I was thinking we could take shelter under that outcropping while you do whatever you need to do.”
“Yes. That sounds like a good plan. I will rest Eminghare on the ground away from the interloper. If you can lay it down, it may be easier for you to restrain it while we battle.”

“Battle? What do you mean?”

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

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my thoughts: my man-crush

The month of LOVE... you know with V-day and all.  To celebrate the month of love, I decided to write about my man-crush.

He's hot.  And not just physically.  I'll tell you about that in a minute.  Right now, you get to read  about what is most attractive to me about him.

My man-crush is genuinely a really good guy most of the time.  He works hard and is a genius, talented, and super skilled.  You know, because talents are things one doesn't really have to work hard to do or learn and skills are things we learn to do with greater effort.

His brains are, as with most guys really, the sexiest thing he's got going for him because he can turn a phrase and flip a girl's heart when he wants to so do.  And his voice is the kind that you can listen to forever.  Even if what he's saying is total bunk, his voice is easy on the ears.

He is a great Father and willing to allow God to plan his family.  Doesn't that just make your heart flip-flop?  I mean, how many guys out there are willing to put that much trust in God?  My man-crush only wanted two children before he got married.  He now has six.  That's some huge trust in God right there.  How totally attractive is that?  I don't know about you, but it's hot to me!

Whoever said that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach was being overly one-sided, in my opinion.  My man-crush is an amazing Chef and one of the things that keeps him at the tippy top of my *hot guys* list.  Even more awesome, i get to eat his work sometimes.

If you've guessed by now that my man-crush is my husband, then you're right.  Now, i'm going to tell you something else.  This might surprise you a little... right now... lately... i don't really like my husband very much.  He did something seriously unacceptable recently and i haven't been able to entirely let it go.  So, i don't like him much right now.

But i can reflect and see that he really is a good guy most of the time.  And i would rather have more children with him than any other guy i've known.  And he really is an amazing Chef.  Oh, and i almost forgot to tell you about his phyaical hotness.  So, i really did plan to try, but as i think about it and trying to explain his physical appeal, all i can think is "i just have to include a picture of him in blue jeans wearing his cowboy hat."  So, that's what i'll do.  You can see for yourself.  If you don't see his hotness, i'll share with you how i see him.  You've got to let me know, though, if you can't see it plain for yourself, now.

Monday, February 6, 2017

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The Time Travelers book one in The Gideon Trilogy by Linda Buckley-Archer, a book review

The Time Travelers book one in The Gideon Trilogy by Linda Buckley-Archer is a great novel. My two eldest girls (12 and 10) really enjoyed it and so did I.

Two kids end up in the past and this story shares the beginning of their adventures in time travel. The premise is interesting. A great sci-fi with lots of historical details mixed into the adventures the two experience.

I do recommend this story. There is little of a questionable nature. I especially appreciate how character is portrayed… that good deeds are portrayed as admirable and those things that are not good are acknowledges as such, though extenuating circumstances are described.

Though I didn't have the second book to read immediately, I wished I did.

Have you read The Time Travelers by Linda Buckley-Archer? What did you think of it?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

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learning to burn, part 21

Please read from the beginning... and remember... this is my first draft of this book!  That means you're reading the drivel that comes first to my mind without alteration.  I'm sure it'll be significantly different when I go through and read the whole thing!

“Sure.” he tries to say keeping the excitement out of his voice. “It would be nice to feel like I'm helping you travel more safely. I have to tell you, though, funny things sometimes happen while we're traveling.”
“You, too?” Eminghare's eyebrows are high and her eyes wide.
“Yeah. What weirdness have you experienced?”
“You first.”
“Eminghare, if we're going to travel together, you've really got to try to trust me. I think I am a trustworthy sort of person.”
She sighs. “Well, you saw that Binbin can fly. And boy am I glad. She saved me from huge snake-like things. One of those crazy-creepy things even flew, but it seemed like it couldn't get very high.” Ofonode is leaning toward her, intently listening to everything she's saying. “She can also breathe fire, but not easily. After she does, she has to sleep for a long time. So she's only done that once. And once…”
Before she can continue, the two small lizards reappear.
“It has been so long since I've seen another invisian friendly with humans. It has been a pleasure to see and become acquainted with Bineenia. You are, Eminghare, a very fortunate young lady. I want to convey my deepest sympathy for your silent travels. Binia, here, never learned to speak in your language. She has been trying to communicate with you for the whole of your journey, but has only been successful in a few instances. And she's unsure whether you understood that it was she who you heard in your mind.”
“Oh! I'm so glad! I thought she was unhappy with me for some reason!”
“Let me continue, my dear. I have much to share with you.” Eminghare nods and listens closely as Oseratin continues, “Binia, as she prefers to be called by anyone other than you, she has grown very fond of your name for her, but would prefer if Ofonode would please call her Binia, is an invisian. We know Ofonode has told you this. Since we will travel together, as you two have arranged, Binia and I believe we should communicate some specifics with the two of you and make plans together.”
Ofonode and Eminghare nod their heads and drop into squats.
“Okay. To begin, Ofonode you will know much of this, but I have not told you all, so please pay close attention. Invisians are alien to this planet in that our bodies were not created of the dirt of this earth. Also, our binary system has a red and blue star. Yours, of course is yellow, which is very different, as you may imagine. You have encountered a few of our kind who desire to overtake the planet and consume, use as slaves, or simply kill beings like you. Binia and I are not like them. Unfortunately, those like us are the minority and we were scattered very early in our time on the planet because most of us are scientists of the Holy Order.
“You might find it difficult to believe when you simply hear the words, my dear, but after you see what we will show you momentarily, you may more easily believe that we, invisian, were created by the same God you call Father. We also worship him and call him Father because he is in the same way he is to you.”
Os pauses for a few moments as Eminghare sucks in a deep breath of shock. Her face is very still and she seems to be trying to process what she's heard. “Please continue Oseratin.” she says in a whisper full of air, like she's having a difficult time catching her breath.
12-30-16
“Binia and I, although you have only seen her in her lizard-like form, would like to show you both how we look when we are in our form like yours. I think you have not seen her in her dragon-like state. We want to know if you are both willing to see us in the additional two forms we take regularly?”
Eminghare is quiet so long Ofonode isn't sure she's heard and he jumps a little when she answers simply, “Yes. Show us.” He nods his agreements.
The two invisian immediately shift into their dragon-like forms and lift a little off the ground. “We can both fly. Not all invisian have gained this ability, thankfully. On our own planet our wings were solely ornamental. It seems, many of those who seek to consume and enslave your people have grown too large to fly high even when they can fly. So, even though we are small compared to those we stand against, our size is an advantage in flight.”
Ofonode and Binia land lightly and shift immediately into their humanoid forms, “And this. In addition to these shifts, Binia can become completely invisible. I am able to camouflage to some extent, but it is a sorry sham compared to Binia's ability. You have both, to varying degrees, experienced telepathy. We are much better among ourselves. This is a benefit, but also painful when we encounter those with whom we are in opposition. They can use it just as well as we and use it painfully against us. Some of us are able to manipulate time. Others can tesser. Some can read minds precisely. Still others are able to move physical objects with our minds, telekenesis. Very rarely to all these gifts manifest in individuals. Binia, though, is one of the rare ones.” Binia looks into the distance and seems slightly more tense than her previously somber and anxiousness of a moment before.
“We must move. Our position has been stagnant far too long.” Binia speaks clearly and slowly, only sounding slightly foreign.
“How can we understand you? I thought you couldn't speak our language!” Ofonode doesn't think before the questions explode in a rush from him.
“I couldn't. Communicating telepathically with Oseratin conveyed the basics of your language… almost like he has passed his knowledge to me as you might give someone a glass of water. They must consume the water of their own choice, but they have it. I drank deeply of his gift while he spoke to you both of us. So I am now able. We must move on now.”
The small group begins walking again.
“Do you think it's safe to travel on the road?” Eminghare asks no one in particular.
“Yes.” The two invisian answer together. Os raises a hand slightly and briefly toward Binia and she continues, “The majority of our trouble has come when we travel through the fields and woods. Oseratin and I have compared our experienced and we are almost completely sure that the other invisian will not attack while we are on the main thoroughfares.”
The four continue silently walking swiftly for a few hours. They sit to eat only speaking to prepare their food. All exchanges are gentle and kind, but there seems to be a distance and tension in the space around them. Ofonode feels it and wants to change it, but doesn't know what to say or do, so sits quietly feeling awkward as he eats.
When the four are almost all finished eating Eminghare speaks very quietly. Ofonode wonders if she is hoping no one will hear her at all. “It makes total sense that you couldn't speak my language, but you could have at least shown me who you were. I mean… all of you. You've seen all of me, afterall.”
Binia seems unchanged, so Ofonode thinks maybe she didn't hear Eminghare's words. He wonders if he should say something to her for Eminghare.
12-31-16
“If I could make you understand,” Binia says to Eminghare, “my friend, I would. The best I can do is tell you that I tried to learn your language, but for some reason I could not. Still I spoke to your mind many times and I'm sure you heard me toward the end because of your subsequent actions. My fealty has only grown stronger and I hope you will try to trust me again because I did not purposefully deceive you. Oseratin did not tell you that we were sworn to remain only in our lizard-like and dragon-like forms before we scientists of the Holy Order were separated. I didn't feel able to break my promise even though I considered it numerous times. Please forgive me any harm my choices have done to our friendship, Eminghare.”
1-2-17
Ofonode could tell the girl's shoulders relaxed as Binia spoke her apology. Even though he'd known Eminghare so short a time, he felt tension slough off as he watched her relief. Why do I care so much? He was trying to figure out his question to himself when Os spoke up.
“I think we've traveled as far as we can safely do for the day. I haven't been this way before, but that spot over there looks safer than anywhere else I've seen along the way so far. We can sleep with our backs against the outcropping of rock and start a fire between it and the road.” He looks around for feedback.
The rest of the group readily see that his observation is good and nod in agreement.
“Should we sleep in shifts?” Ofonode asks.
“I am certain that between Oseratin and me, we will wake with the slightest disturbance. We should all sleep as much as possible as soon as we've finished eating.”

Os nods and the group leaves the road, heading to the rocks. They eat and settle down to rest without incident.