Monday, December 15, 2014

Quick Lit :: December 2014

Well, Twitterature as a name has gone the way of MySpace.  What?  MySpace is still around?  Well, there goes my analogy...

Anyway, the name has changed, but Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy is still hosting a link-up for short, snappy book reviews.  Here's what I've been reading...


 

The Nesting Place :: Myquillyn Smith


Beautiful throughout--and not just the pictures, though they're reason enough for paging through this design tome.  Mid-read I took the plunge with a thrift store run and a bit of sewing to create some throw pillows that we already love.  A good kick in the pants to prioritize loving the space you have.


The People of Sparks :: Jeanne DuPrau


Follow-up title to The City of Ember was very good.  What happens when a city of people who have dwelt underground for 200 years emerge and descend, mostly helpless and clueless, on a people group who have built a community after an apocalyptic sort of disaster?  This book is what happens.


Compact Living :: Michael Guerra


I grabbed this self-published-looking title from a library display rack.  It wasn't stellar, and it wasn't tremendously applicable to my situation, but I swoon over the thought of small spaces and tiny houses enough that I skimmed it pretty hard.  Definitely got Professor and I talking about convertible furniture and using space well, so it was worth the time reading.


Smart Money, Smart Kids :: Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze


Seasoned advice (and heartwarming stories from their own lives together) for all ages and stages of raising money-smart kids.  A lot of stuff I already knew, but there was enough new and motivating material that this book will eventually have to find its way onto my bookshelf for future reference.  Recommended for anybody with kids!


Food: A Love Story :: Jim Gaffigan


I laughed.  I cried.  I laughed until I cried.  And then I ate Hot Pockets.  Amen.  (Seriously, if you need a laugh and prefer your comedy be pretty clean, this is the guy for you, and his latest doesn't disappoint.)


I'd love to hear about what's on your nightstand!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

On feeling the weight of the "lost years" {Romans 8:1-14}

"I know my friends, and I know the work they have produced, and I know what is in their future. They will experience the mess and the chaos of birth and newborn land and shifting, growing families. They will cocoon inside of themselves, for months and even years perhaps, pouring out their bodies as sacrifices of love, rocking and shushing and feeding and cleaning and wiping, all while they tend to the endless minutia of everything else they are in charge of in their lives. They will continue on in that long obedience of selflessness, the continual little deaths and rebirths that parenting is comprised of, and one day they will lift their heads up and find that their head is clear and their mind is itching. They will start writing again. And they will be better than ever. Their babies will make them better writers."--D.L. Mayfield, from the blog post "Write Like a Mother"

I hauled my big, boy-child filled belly up the children's library auditorium Monday morning, chasing down an almost-two renegade who didn't want to be at story time. She escaped and made her way to the play area on the other side of the library, desperate to hug on the plush Mickey Mouse who lives there.

When I caught up, I had to sit down for five full minutes to catch my breath (in my defense, it's a long way up those steep auditorium stairs...especially in new boots).  That's what my life feels like right now: tired and breathless.

Tired and breathless and happy.  Battling resentment and distraction.  Laughing and soaking in the fleeting moments that I wish I were doing a better job of capturing.  But I feel silenced somehow, like the words are right below the surface, eager to climb onto the page but unable to break through the barrier.

A good friend called these the "lost years," which is comforting in its camaraderie ("You mean I'm not the only one?") but heartbreaking in its loss.  I want to lose less, remember more.

If I don't write, I won't remember, but if I write something will get bumped from being done...and already so much goes undone.  Still, for one minute, I will write those things that should be remembered...

*Zaboo talks and talks and talks.  She has latched onto the words she knows (the list grows exponentially all the time) and speaks them at her only volume--LOUD.  Her chipmunk voice and missing word sounds are precious, and as her mama, I feel privileged to often be the only one to understand her.

*"Darkness."  It's the game these girls request each night at dinner.  When it gets dark, the lights go off and the flashlights go on.  We listen to the "Monster Mash" (which started one night on a whim, but they latched onto it and won't let go) and dance before Professor hides in the dark so we can seek him.  We also started "Marco Polo," which means hunting with no flashlights--and which also leads to constant shouts of "Marco!" all the livelong day.

*Pookie is reading.  It is agony and pure bliss to suffer through "The cat sat on the mat" and "Bud the pup got in the mud."  It frustrates my to-do list to have to slow down and let her process, but I am so glad I am teaching her to read.  Watching understanding dawn as she figures out a sentence--and better, laughter when it's a funny one--is a true gift.

*Also, Pookie has shed a lot of tears lately.  We watched Homeward Bound for the first time and when all hope looked lost, she lost it, too.  Every ladybug she finds is named Sassy and when she accidentally sent one down the drain of the bathroom sink...so much waterworks.  (I made the mistake of answering, "When can we get a pet?" with "When we're debt-free."  The girl reminds me of this fact constantly...)

And while I'd like to go on, I'm being asked a million questions about what Olaf thinks of the snow and what Elsa says to him.  And then there are chores to supervise, reading lessons to do, parks to visit, and errands to run...all before lunch time, dishes, diaper change, and nap time...which means more work time.  This baby boy is being built on powdered sugar doughnut holes and as much Diet Dr. Pepper as I can get without going over health recommendations.

All of this to say...I'm struggling through Romans 8.  It's getting harder to keep which verse comes when straight.  I haven't been as diligent.  This is my confession.  Please pray for diligence in this; it is a worthwhile endeavor, even though it is hard.  Then again,  all worthwhile endeavors are, aren't they?

Here's through verse 14, a video shot at the park last week.  I'm actually through verse 17 now, but as I haven't gotten around to recording it yet, this will have to do for an update.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Twitterature :: October 2014


Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy hosts a monthly link-up for sharing casual, tweet-sized book reviews.  Here's what I've been reading in September and October



All Joy and No Fun :: Jennifer Senior


I enjoyed Senior's TED talk, so when I saw her related book on the library shelf, I snatched it.  For somebody feeling tossed about in the winds of parenting, I can see where this would be a very reassuring read.  Interesting anecdotes and comparisons throughout, but I think I liked the abbreviated TED talk better.







Peace Like a River :: Leif Enger


Beautiful novel.  A coming-of-age story with a hint of the spiritual.  A family's world is rocked by vengeance upon vengeance and the way those consequences play out is realistic, miraculous, heartbreaking, and beautiful all at once.




Someone Else's Love Story :: Joshilyn Jackson


I'd enjoyed a previous title by Jackson, so I took a gamble on this one.  Way more sex talk than I was bargaining for, but the story was interesting enough to keep me hooked (even if it meant skipping a bit here and there).  Man and woman cross paths during a convenience store robbery, changing their lives in more ways than might be expected.


The Mysterious Benedict Society :: Trenton Lee Stewart


Orphans called by a secret society to thwart the evil plots of a secretive evildoer, intent on world domination through controlling all people's thoughts.  Fun juvie-fiction pick; I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.




City of Ember :: Jeanne DuPrau


An underground city meant to save humanity has lost one of its most important secrets: instructions for when their 200 year stint underground is meant to be over.  A pair of youngsters must battle the establishment and the clock to find a way to save their city.  It took a major thunderstorm on library day to get between me and the next installment--but that will be solved soon enough!



I'm not sure if it's the fall or my increased workload of rather dry material, but I found myself reaching for fiction over and over...with no end to the story spree in sight.  Any favorite page-turners you can recommend would be greatly appreciated!

{P.S. This post contains affiliate links; if you click and purchase anything through the site, I receive a small commission.  Thanks for your support!}

Friday, October 10, 2014

It's a... {plus Romans 8:1-8}

It took ages to get an OB appointment after our move.  I was 24 weeks along by the time I finally got to see a doctor, and going into the appointment I didn't have high hopes of getting an ultrasound for another month.  Another month of waiting and wondering: girl or boy?

Dear reader, in Arkansas, they love themselves some ultrasounds.  They had a mini one on a cart that they rolled on in, bedside, smack in the middle of my appointment.

Is the suspense killing you?

Well, here we go...we're having a...

BOY!

Professor was so sure for so long that he'd have all girls, but this pregnancy felt so different, I was not at all surprised.  A baby boy.  We couldn't be more thrilled.

But do you know what else is thrilling?  Romans 8.  {How's that for a transition?}

I listened to this sermon by John Piper the other day.  The first fifteen minutes are solid Bible recitation.  He then talks about nine reasons to memorize Scripture.  It's very, very good and worth listening to while you fold laundry (or mindlessly play Facebook games because it's your day off.  Not that I went that route...) or something like that.  So, so good.


And then there's me.  I've gotten through verse 8.  Please forgive the bobble in the middle; it doesn't usually happen but between the camera staring at me and the buttered butterknife that a little person pressed up against my foot mid-recitation...I got a bit distracted.  {And all that detritus on the counter and desk in the background?  That's called real life, baby!}


Thursday, September 25, 2014

On Being a Neuron {Romans 8:1-4}

I heard a great thought in a podcast the other day.  The idea was that we look around at the body of believers and see talents like preaching, teaching, evangelizing abroad, ministering through meals, giving--we look at all these things and wonder what's the matter with us.  Why am I not doing all of those things?

Then the speaker went a step further, explaining that we try to be a hand and a foot and an eye and...all kinds of parts, all at once.

Hmm.

In this season of life, with little people (and another on the way) forever underfoot, I don't feel like a foot for the cause of Christ.  I don't feel like a hand or an eye or even a nose.  Yes, it is important to raise these little people, but it feels so small.

So maybe small is good.  And do you know what is small?

A neuron.

Our thoughts and memories are stored in neurons.  I cannot go and serve the way I might wish, but I can use my thoughts and memories wherever I am.

I've taken on the challenge of memorizing Romans 8.  By baby's arrival.  I have an image in my head now of holding baby and whispering the words of that deep well of truth into his or her tiny ear.

I'm through verse five as of today (though you'll only hear through verse four below).  Will you keep me accountable?


Friday, August 29, 2014

Where I've Been

Didn't this summer feel like a whirlwind?  It sure did for me!  Here's a little update on the Jorgenson family...


We're having a baby!

I've alluded to my pregnancy on this blog, but I never officially announced it.  So...we're expecting!  Unexpectedly!  God is a comedian, but at least His timing is always perfect.  We are due in January 18th and will find out about the gender soon.

We shared the news with our far-flung friends and family through Facebook with this fun throwback to the nineties...



Professor graduated!

After five years of hard work, Professor is officially Dr. Jorgenson, PhD in genetics.  I couldn't be more proud!  Neither of his parents went to college, so watching them watch him present his doctoral research was really something special.  

Pookie is of the firm belief that graduation means root beer floats and parties.  Something like that!

We moved!

With the end of one season, another begins.  At the end of July, the in-laws helped us pack up their trailer and move 600 miles south.  It's a little scary being this far from home, but we're settling in and consoling ourselves that it's only "for a few years."  Professor is doing post-doctoral research and already getting some positive results.  The Lord is good--even if the results stop coming in (but we sure do like having them!).

We don't live in a basement anymore!

Of course, moving to a new state means a new dwelling.  Do we still live in a basement?  No sir-ee!  We found a private homeowner with a two-bedroom apartment (a few hundred square feet more than our old place) over his garage.  It's not immensely bigger than our old place, but the layout makes it seem huge and wedon'tliveinthebasement!!  I keep window blinds up because nobody walks by and stares in at me; there are trees out nearly every window, so it's like living in a treehouse.

Plus.  I. have. a. washer. and. dryer.  I have officially joined the 1%, y'all!  And yes, I've moved far enough south that I say y'all now.  Deal with it.

I'm working like crazy!

If you had told me a year ago that a major income opportunity would be propelling us forward toward our financial goals, I probably would have laughed in your face.  But it's happening!  And I'm working my tail off for it!  I'm up at 5:30 to work before the girls get up, I work all through naptime, we have TV time so that I can work some more, and I sneak in work whenever they're playing nicely.  Sometimes even when they're in bed.  I'm exhausted, y'all (see, there it is again, sneaking in...), and often feel like I'm not doing anything well enough.  Add in pregnancy hormones and mommy guilt and some days I just want to crawl back in bed.

But.  I will say it again: God is good.  He is providing for our family in a way that I can clearly see.  It is stretching but in a way that forces me to use my time more wisely.  I also need to work on being fully "present" wherever I am, but the time constraints have already done some great things for our family.  And padding the bank account in the process isn't too shabby!

Phew!  That read almost like a Christmas card, didn't it?  But now you are all caught up in the world a la Jorgenson.  Come back soon, y'all!  (Oops, there it is again!)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Twitterature :: August 2014


Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy hosts a monthly link-up for sharing casual, tweet-sized book reviews.  Here's what I've *finally* gotten through this month after a dry, weary season without my beloved books!

The Gown of Glory :: Agnes Sligh Turnbull

Sweet, quaint, lovely.  Preacher and his family with typical small town ups and downs and typical small town drama spread among a delightful cast of turn-of-the-20th-century characters.  Just what the doctor ordered to get me back into a book!





The Prisoner of Heaven: A Novel :: Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I have a love/hate relationship with Zafon: I stayed up all night to finish his first in one sitting but was underwhelmed by the next one.  This was beautifully crafted, but some of the problem spots (jumping narrator/POV when it's not possible and the words "ashes" and "shadows" on every stinking page...) pulled me from the story, but I couldn't resist a good take on The Count of Monte Cristo.  #worthit, despite the flaws.
Year of No Sugar: A Memoir :: Eve O. Schaub

Fun, informative, thought-provoking without being real preachy.  Rethinking some habits, even if I'm not ready to purge sugar entirely from our house (Professor might not be as accommodating as Mr. Schaub).  I hope to hear more from Schaub, about sugar or anything else.
The Giver :: Lois Lowry

Classic.  Good as the first reading eons ago.  Probably better.  Excited about the movie release, but this re-read confirmed what I already know: #thebookwasbetter
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