Some Hymns For Saturday

I am not a musical person.

There are undoubtedly some songs that have helped me through times in my life, which is what good music is supposed to do.  I hate to admit that the Beach Boys got me through my Junior High years…but I guess it’s better than other options. There was one song, “In My Room,” to which I still know the words.  That song was a special place to which I could visit, and rest. Music is the salve through which we find hope for love, or healing through pain.

Many people have spent periods of their lives writing out their feelings, especially through difficult times.  King David certainly spent  a good amount of his life finding his emo spot, and sitting in dank caves crying and writing poetry; which is the natural state for all poets, whether they want to admit it or not.

Last night, a friend posted some super cute lyrics his daughter was singing, and I am completely inspired to find a melody to go with them! I am also her Sunday School teacher, and we are teaching class in a few weeks…so, thankfully, I have some time to mosey through some songs and try to find one that fits. I would love to surprise her with her lyrics in a song.

Although, her words are more of a hymn verse than a contemporary verse, so I’ve been looking through hymns this morning. You know, not all hymns are the same, and some of them I just mumble through. But there are a few that are so beautiful, it feels like they truly reflect the love of God. That is a very difficult concept to understand, especially when the world feels like it is falling apart and filled with unredeemable death.  It is a quandary, to find the words to separate the beauty of God from the torment of pain.

Yet, through some of these hymns…it is like I remember the memory of God. That is what it feels like.

I found one hymn this morning that is lovely, and peaceful. I can’t use it for the hymn I want to put together for Sunday School in a few weeks.  But while I am sitting in my sitting room, letting the morning sun rest on my lap, and feeling the knots of the week slowly unwind inside of me… it is actually what I needed to hear today.

 

Talk Me Down.

It has been about 4 years since I last went to the optometrist and got glasses.

So, it’s about time to get rechecked and get a new pair of glasses.

I am thinking about getting big, fat, black RayBan hipster glasses.

Talk me down from this.

Otherwise, I’m just going to look pretentious.

Maybe. Or, I could look like Catharine Zeta Jones…you never know!

323956-catherine-zeta-jonesStriking resemblance.

 

Saturday Morning Crafts: Quills

Photo on 9-26-15 at 9.30 AM #2

 

I was sitting on the front porch, working on some newsletters, when Eve brought me a craft she put together.

She brought me a chicken feather, a pad of paper, my purple iroshizuku ink, and my leatherman…and asked for a quill.

This took a whole 1 minute to put together for her, and she is dipping and writing with her own quill!

Very easy Saturday morning craft 🙂

Stephen Fry Is My Spirit Animal: The Panic Of Social Anxiety

This article originally appeared on Ravishly.ravishly_0

Stephen Fry Is My Spirit Animal: The Panic Of Social Anxiety

Contributed by Tamarah Rockwood | 08.12.15

@tamrmint

Elsa’s Got Nothin’ on My Kids’ Ice Skating Skillz

One of the littlest girls had a weird dream last night, and maneuvered herself under her bed in her sleep…resulting in waking up under her bed at 4am, and completely freaking out. Which, I believe, is the correct response to waking up at 4am under your bed, when you are 3 years old.

So, Nova and I helped her into her bed and they both fell back to sleep.

I have never had that superpower, so I’ve made coffee, done a load of dishes, did some reading…and uploaded some pictures!

So, before I show you these pictures, I just want to make something clear: we don’t really ice skate that often. We definitely skate a couple times a year, and we all love ice skating (well, most of us do). But when it comes down to choosing between going to the beach, or tromping around in the woods, or going exploring…and ice skating; unfortunately, even though we all love it (well, most of us), we will choose something else to do.

This all being said: we had a lovely time at our very good friend’s birthday party this weekend, and they had the brilliant idea of having it at an ice skating rink! Win-win for everyone (well, almost everyone).

 

IMG_6017

My lovely girl.

IMG_6018

This was the 3rd time of taking the picture, but everyone was looking at me and they all smiled at the same time right after I pressed the button…I have a few other pictures of the kids standing here, and they all took turns smiling in each picture. I figured I’d have to just pick one out of the bunch 🙂

IMG_6022So, the thing with the girls and skating is that…we just don’t tell them they don’t know how to ice skate.

This is Eve’s first time on the ice without us, and she was doing twirls and turns and hanging out with her buddies. Like we do this all the time.

 

IMG_6024Just chillin’ on the ice. Hangin’ with her peeps.

IMG_6026

Nova is honestly very adept on the ice, and we should put her in lessons.

 

IMG_6027

The boys?  Enjoy the ice, but they skate like they are wearing evening slippers. Lots of shuffling.

IMG_6029

Dad, naturally, took the initiative to do some footwork lessons with them.

IMG_6030

Now, when I said not everyone enjoyed the ice…I was talking about Alice.

She was pretty certain she was going to die, and made sure everyone in the ice rink heard her over the music playing that she was “GOING TO DIE” because the ice was too slippery.

We got her out on the ice for a little while, but only if Dad was holding her.

IMG_6032

IMG_6034

And then we had a wonderful birthday party with our good friends, and we got to meet all of their lovely friends and family as well 🙂


IMG_6036

After that, we got some black coffee and water (because someone wasn’t being as responsible as she should have and went and gave herself a mild gluten reaction…WTG, me), and we went driving for a little bit through Union Lake area.

Did you know the Sleepless in Seattle houseboat is over here, and I had a great excuse to take a picture of it because there was a gigantic rainbow behind?

So, if you’re wondering, it is here. And there are signs very clearly stating that this is a neighborhood and not a motion picture lot…so, shoo.  But I just needed to see it because I love that movie, and I have watched it an embarrassing number of times, and I just had to find the house to see that it was real. It is a lot smaller than I expected, but it’s there!

It is a very cute neighborhood though. The houseboats are the cutest little floating houses, and they are all laid out like they are in a suburb, and they have little floating planter boxes full of little flowers, and there are some “front yards” that have fountains running all along the house, and then the water just runs right into the water they are floating on.

I could never live on a house boat because I would have nightmares of the house sinking every single night.  But that is just my neurosis…these were seriously cute houses.

IMG_6040It is the house on the very end, behind all the masts.

And then the rainbow just got brighter 🙂

There are a lot more rainbows up here than I ever saw in California! Never really thought of that before!

IMG_6042

 

And that was our very lovely Sunday!

 

Things Holden Caulfield Would Hate: IHOP Is A Phony

Having Celiac means I am acutely aware of what I eat.

Steak? Gluten free.

Wine? Also gluten free.

Beer? …more gluten free than Udi’s gluten free bread. Figure that one out.

For the most part, I make meals at home. From scratch. With whole ingredients.

Cucumbers? Bell Peppers? Round things that look like I should know what it is? Looks like food to me!

Not for any politico-philosophical reasons; it just works better for my diet. I don’t have to worry about contamination problems if I buy a potato, or wonder what is inside a carrot.

But eating out is a whole other story.  I don’t know how the chef is preparing the food, or if bread dust is floating around my salad, or if a sauce has flour in it.  I mean, I will find out. I’ll just find out the hard way, unfortunately.  There is a place here in town that claims to make gluten free almond flour cookies. And I will totally say: that was the best cookie I have had in a long time.

Unfortunately, it was not as gluten free as they think, and I spent the next 5 hours struggling to breathe and my muscles were all clenched with a sprinkling of heart palpitations.

It was so not fun.

But I know that it is a risk every time I eat something that was made by someone else, in another kitchen, using ingredients I cannot see.  The other night, for instance, we had dinner at a super fun restaurant filled with old couples, draped in red velvet and playing TCM with Robert Osborne on the TV hanging in the back while serving black coffee in beige coffee mugs.

Listen, this is the kind of place I like. Be quiet.

Their menu was very helpful and had a “(gf)” next to meals that were considered to be gluten free. So, I ordered the lemon chicken dish.  Everything was fantastic, and gluten free…except for the fried onions placed on top of the whole meal.

Gluten? On my gluten free dinner? Fun times!!

So anyway, I just let the waiter know that you actually can’t put fried onions, that are putting little gluten crumbs all over everything, on a gluten free dish. He was cool and said he would “greatly chastise” the kitchen.

This all being said, and getting to the actual story…

Alright, alright. Keep your britches on.

A few weeks ago, we did a Costco trip.  It is a lot easier for us to take everybody to Costco together, because everyone has a say in what we get. “Do we need milk?” “YES” “Do you want apricot jelly or strawberry jelly?” “Strawberry!” 

So, it does mean that there is a caravan of 7 people walking through Costco together…but we are quick and efficient, and we get it done within half an hour.  Bada-bing, bada-boom. Outta there.

After our trip to Costco, it was time for dinner…and there ain’t nothin’ you want to do after buying the food than making dinner. We were about to try Taco Time, since that is a huge thing up here, and we have never tried it; when suddenly, Ben suggested pancakes.

And pancakes always win. Plus, there was an IHOP right across the street.

IHOP is definitely a risky place for me, kind of for obvious reasons.  Pancakes? Waffles? Hash browns fried on the same skillet as the pancakes? Omelettes also cooked on the gluten-laden skillet? It is just a recipe for contamination.

However, I have found that communicating the word “Celiac” with the waiter usually makes the difference between getting gravy and croutons, or not getting gravy and croutons.  Except for surprise fried onions, that weren’t supposed to be there in the first place: for the most part I can maneuver around restaurant menus pretty well.

So, Ben ordered 5million pancakes and an omelette for the kids to split up; because those omelettes are the size of Nebraska, and everyone still eats until their bellies are full with just one Country Omelette.

I, on the other hand, said:

“Okay, so here is my order. I have Celiac, so if you could just put that next to mine, that would be great. I would like the vegetable omelette with egg whites, and could I have a side of fruit with that instead of hash browns?” 

Seemed pretty gluten free and safe to me. But when it arrived, it was dripping with a sauce…and sauces always have flour.  Always, always, always.

So we beckon the poor waitress over, and ask her to inquire upon the ingredients of this sauce. Because you can’t scrape off sauce…I’ve tried before, and failed miserably.

This is when things get scary.

This is when the story actually begins.

The manager comes over with the waitress, with a genuinely worried look on her face.

“So, you ordered the vegetable omelette…and you have Celiac?”

“Yes, but I was just concerned about the sauce. Otherwise, everything looked lovely.”

“But, you really have Celiac? Because, you can’t eat the omelettes…”

“No, I just ordered the omelette, but I didn’t know about the sauce. I was just worried about the sauce.” (I really don’t like to be a bother)

“No…you can’t eat the omelettes at all.  We put pancake batter in the eggs. The entire thing is loaded with gluten.”

…..

……..WHAAATTTT??!!!!!!  Why is there pancake batter in the eggs? Holy crap, I was about to eat an entire gluten laden meal that would have destroyed me!  This isn’t just a little problem where I take an alka seltzer for an upset stomach. This is a “I can’t breathe and my heart goes nuts….for hours” kind of problem.

Holy crap, why is there pancake batter in the eggs.

And it says it right there…after we rechecked the menu! It says it right there that they “put a splash of batter in the eggs, to make it more fluffy!”  And I totally didn’t even see it.

I thanked the manager profusely for letting me know, because that would have been so painful. That really was awesome on her part for noticing this and coming over and telling me.

Because when I told the waitress that I needed a gluten free meal, and I ordered an omelette, it didn’t occur to her that the omelette was not a gluten free meal.  So I am in deep gratitude for the manager realizing this.

After this near miss, we started looking around the table at what we were eating.

Maple syrup, that was not maple.

Strawberry syrup, that had no strawberries.

Blueberry syrup that has never seen a blueberry.

Omelettes, that are actually pancakes.

Cheese, that is mostly oil.

Non-dairy creamer which was not begat from a dairy farm.

Butter that we can’t believe is actually butter.

Suddenly, looking around the table…I wasn’t sure we were actually eating food, at all. Besides the black coffee and bowl of grapes that they brought me, I cannot be entirely sure that anything we were feeding our kids actually had any actual food in the ingredient list.

It is a little hyperbolic, but I could only think of the pink meat which was served to the citizens in 1984. Or the Soylent chips that was served to the population in Charlton Heston’s famous film.  Or the ambiguous nature of packing plants that Upton Sinclair featured in his book, The Jungle

And the problem is that we don’t always see the pink meat if it is on our plate, or think about what is actually in the Soylent chips if we are given them by the store. Everyone else is eating them, and they aren’t dead, so they must be fine! 

For the most part, unless something radical happens to shift our perspective of the situation, we won’t realize that what we think, is not what it seems.  Until something shakes the foundations of a platform, it is impossible to see what is real, and what is a phony.

And that is what Holden Caufield was railing against the whole time, in the first place.

Phonies. The lot of you.

Makes you kind of want to live a life that is a little more shaken. A little more real.

So, I’ll just leave you with this:

Snapshot of Myself

Sometimes, you can lose sight of yourself in the hustle of life.

uploads_dc5a17f1-6e85-4662-b8f8-bb58653a7014-AmericanHustleBannerNo, not that kind of hustle.

Facebook has been the most interesting social experiment. Phrases such as “Facebook official” are now a thing. For example, “Kate and Dylan are engaged, and today Kate made it Facebook-official.” I was also listening to someone just yesterday tell a group of people how she is “never on Facebook; who has the time?? I just post pictures for family.”

…I am on Facebook, all the time. I honestly love it, because it is a safe forum where people can share kids’ pictures, life events, personal accomplishments, rants or articles/events that interested them.  I love that! I love the freedom that people have of sharing a music video that touched them, or an essay about something that spoke to their heart, or a Bible verse that is helping someone through a tough time.  I love the forum that we have created together.

What has been interesting to me has been to watch how different people interact with it.  I actually avoided it for many years, until we moved away from some friends, and a very good friend who I trust sent me a Facebook friend invite. I said…oh, all right. Just for her, because she is sweet and I like her.

So then I had one friend.

Now, I have about 150 friends. Which is a big number! I didn’t have 150 people at my wedding…far, far less than that actually.  But these days, numbers mean something different.  150 now means that I am very selective with whom I share my kids’ pictures and my life’s events.  Other people I know have 700-1,000 friends. Which, on one hand, boggles my mind. That feels like an audience, not a group of friends. But on the other hand, it means those people are much more open to share their lives with people, and that is an admirable quality that…I just can’t do.

I say as I post my life on a blog.

Anywho.

There was a Facebook analysis quiz from Cambridge that will “tell you who you are by what you like on Facebook.”

And I thought, hmmmmm…..

That is very interesting. Because even the word “Like” means something different now. I “Like” things because I want to be supportive of people I know; it does not reflect so much on my own personal “Likes” and interests.

So, I took the test, and it was pretty interesting!  Apparently I am more Catholic than Lutheran. I am a little, tiny bit Jewish, a big hunk of Christian and not at all atheist.

My political views are almost even across the board, which was very interesting…since I am so extremely opinionated and very deliberately lean one way with my own personal values.  But apparently, I am accepting of other people’s viewpoints for the purpose of working together to make the world a more loving place. (until we get in the voting booth, and then y’all are goin’ down)

So, here we go: A Facebook Snapshot of Myself.

This is a prediction of your psycho-demographic profile based on your Facebook Likes. It uses a snapshot of your digital footprint to visualise how others perceive you online and therefore may not be an entirely accurate picture of who you really are. You could take more psychometric tests as well and compare the results!

Screenshot 2015-09-11 07.42.27
If you want to try this out, then click here!
(and if you read my blog, I’m sure you know that I don’t do affiliated links. So Cambridge is not rewarding me for posting any of this. They don’t even know I exist.)
Okay, so who am I, according to my Likes on Facebook:
I am a woman…which is a good start, and I am in my 30s.
Screenshot 2015-09-11 07.21.43
I have a ton of Liberal and Artistic friends, since apparently I am Liking all their stuff.
I am more spontaneous a person than a strictly routine person (which is great).
I do not engage much with the outside world, which means I’m a contemplative introvert. I’m glad that came through loud and clear.
I am also not easily riled up.  Because if you piss me off enough, I’m just going to unfriend you and ban you.  Done and done… and moving on with life.
Screenshot 2015-09-11 07.22.14
Apparently I am intelligent, but not too intelligent. Which is a good balance. There are some people who are too smart for their own good, and can’t see the humor in life. Those people need a farting machine for Christmas.
I am also pretty satisfied with life.
But, I also live in a forest. On an island.
My “satisfaction with life” may have just jumped 5million points.
Screenshot 2015-09-11 07.22.21
I don’t think I have lesbian tendencies, according to this. 3% lesbian is pretty low. I don’t think that even counts on the gaydar.
Screenshot 2015-09-11 07.22.41
This was the most interesting, just because of how many wildly different churches we have been to in the past few years.
According to Facebook, I am Christian. I am not really Lutheran, but I like the Pope, and I am only slightly Jewish. The rest of the time, I keep my relationship with God to myself. Because we’re tight, and I like Him.
Politics: who knows.
Screenshot 2015-09-11 07.22.46
Finally, my relationship status.
This one was the most interesting to me, because I like to think that I keep my marriage off Facebook…but sometimes, you never know. My relationship with Ben is actually very private. I don’t tell people about little things we talk about, or arguments we may or may not have, and I don’t rant about anything online just as I don’t brag about anything, either.  And, according to this…that is pretty much what I’ve done. According to Facebook analytics, I might be married. I might be in a relationship…but I’m probably single. Since I don’t talk about my relationship all the time/at all.
Some things are very personal to me, and I keep those things off the internet.
I hate to say it, but there really is a time and a place for things.
My marriage is not internet fodder, and no one else is invited to vote on my relationship with Ben.
Same with the kids.
Boundaries, people. Healthy boundaries.
Screenshot 2015-09-11 07.23.06
So, there you have it! I’m a history-buff who is not a lesbian, or a Lutheran, and likes the Arts and I’m in my 30s.
According to Facebook.

Signs You Have Back-to-School Anxieties: You Clean Your Desk.

IMG_5607I’m so devoted to this school year, I even cleaned my desk. 

 

School officially starts this week…the first day of school is on Wednesday, except our group is doing a picnic that day instead, and one of the classes we are going to doesn’t really start until Thursday, but then they get Monday off for Labor Day, and then our homeschool group has their actual first day of class next Tuesday…

So, I’m just starting our homeschooling day today. Ain’t nobody got time for that scheduling mess!

The bottom line is: I am super excited to start school.

We just need a good, solid routine to get back into, and I am all over that. We moved in the middle of the last few months of school, so it was too late to join anything.  So we have just been doing school on our own and getting together with friends during the week.  It honestly was a much needed break that gave me a good amount of time to rest and recover from moving, and I was able to rethink our homeschooling operations without being rushed…but by this point, my schooling Shabbat has ended. I am so ready for school to get going again.

I have already organized our entire week, hour by hour, and printed out a color-coded spreadsheet for our weekly agenda and tacked it to the wall underneath the calendar in the kitchen. We have morning routines, school routines, evening routines…the kids will know when to get up, when to get out the door, lunch is, when class happens, when homeschool happens, when they should be taking showers, and when they should be in bed.  This should get us into a good rhythm.

Naturally, on my own, I’m not much of a routine person. But functionally, with this many people in the house and with a homeschooling agenda, it is necessary; if not mandatory.  If I don’t have a totally solid routine to work off of, I don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m going, or if I should make another pot of coffee before noon, or whether or not I should change out of sweat pants…(probably), or if the kids are keeping up with their studies, or if any of us have remembered to take showers. And smelly feet in our car is the worst.

But the truth is, when I start every year of school with the kids, I spend a good few days (see: weeks) with my stomach in knots. What curriculums should we use? Are the kids up to speed? Am up to speed? Are we doing this right? Is the earth still spinning…is that on the agenda??

I take my kids’ education very seriously, and I want to make sure they are getting as many opportunities as possible to learn and excel.

However, when one of my kids forgets what a fraction is in the middle of summer…my brain exits my skull and finds the nearest cliff to jump off.

You forgot what a fraction is?! Are you  *kidding*?? What have we been doing all year?! Gahh!

I did spend most of yesterday freaking out over this. Not gonna lie.

What I did, instead of throwing in the towel, was rolled up my sleeves and found my bootstraps…and got busy in our schoolroom with the kids.

Forgetting things over the summer is pretty typical for kids, so I’m going to be spending some quality time working with them for the first few weeks. I am going to be going through each subject with them, step by step, until we get back into the rhythm of working.

Already, I have seen the kids get back on track:

11888532_10207416848481447_4604119568544149586_obookwork,

11896151_10207416763599325_4381263403422989933_oreading time,

11921833_10207416761239266_6258847006401535561_ocomputer work,

IMG_5602

and our classroom mascot, for moral support.

IMG_5603

We might need to make that pot of coffee a little earlier…

IMG_5606

 

 

The Cake Is A Lie: 5 Faux-Habits of People Who Always (seem to) Have A Clean Home

Who left all these mugs out on the counter??  …oh, yeah. That was me.

The Lies of Home Cleaning Articles, And Why They Are From The Devil

I don’t remember where I saw the last article giving tips on how to keep a busy home clean.

It might have been facebook, it could have been in my email from some subscription I don’t remember signing up for, in order to get froyo coupons. It doesn’t matter, though: these articles are as prolific as the germs for which they claim shouldn’t exist in your sink. And I knew I shouldn’t click the link. I knew it when I saw it…but like a dork, I did it anyway.

Just off the bat, I knew it was going to be a useless article with zero helpful ideas, and just more reasons why the entire facade of a “clean home” is a big fat lie.

Clicking “Habits of Mother’s With Clean Homes!” is the same bs bait and switch as the game Portal’s “Cake” red herring.

For some context: in the game “Portal,” you begin the quest with a completely fictitious aspirational reward, with finding cake around the level as the motivation. The cake is supposed to be a benefit to you, somehow, so you keep heading towards the cakes. It’s like finding the green 1-Up mushrooms in Mario, for example. The more green 1-Up mushrooms you get, the more lives you get; and the more lives you get, the longer you can play! Score!

Except, the 1-Up green mushrooms end up being completely useless. They do nothing for you, and pretty soon you run out of lives…and your character is dead. You finally find out in the next level that not only is the cake not your motivating factor, but actually, “the cake is a lie” is spray painted all over the walls.

All this being said: these seemingly inspiring articles are exactly like the cake.  You keep trying to get better at tidying up, though!  And you click on these links that are supposed to inspire you on how to keep your home clean all the time…even though you have an army of people living in it, and the fact that I wasn’t put on this green earth to scrub grout every day… even though they are all a useless, unmotivating, fruitless lie.

And I have put off finishing the laundry just so I can explain why:

1. Laundry problems: “Just put your clothes away right after you take them out of the dryer!” 

I have proven to myself time, and time again, that I am more than willing to relandscape my entire yard before I am willing to fold laundry. It is boring, it is time consuming, and it is never ending.  With every folded shirt I think of the two clean shirts that are on the kids’ floor. For every sock I wash, I think of the dozens that are missing. Sometimes we find them, but they are in extremely unhelpful places, such as the backyard, the dishwasher or the back of the pantry.  There have been a few times when I really did keep up on the laundry, and I really did fold them all right out of the dryer and put them away in their respective drawers. I did it for a whole week once, just to see if it could be done.

And it could be done! By golly, I did it.  But do you know what else I did that week?

Nothing.

I didn’t have time for anything else other than maintaining laundry; even with the help of my minions.
That stick and carrot didn’t last long, I’ll tell you what.

2. Kitchen Maintenance: “Wipe Down Surfaces After Every Use!”

I can see how this would be a really good habit to get into.

Goodness knows, the amount of coffee grounds, yogurt and bread crumbs spread across my counters, alone, could probably feed a small village.  I like to keep the counters cleaned, as much as humanly possible in a house with 7 people who use the kitchen constantly, and 3 loads of dishes each day. I have given up trying to keep on top of the dishes: it’s just an infinity loop, at this point.

However, the stove is another matter.

After I am done making dinner, and we have sat and ate said dinner, and the kids have cleared the table…I am done.  I am doney done. There isn’t one more thing I want to finish or clean for the rest of the night.  So washing the used pots, or the used stove, just doesn’t happen. Even though it would probably be a good idea, and it probably would make life easier…after a day of chasing after 5 kids, finishing homeschooling, making 3 meals for a bundle of people, and making an effort to ignore the pile of clean laundry on my bed…I am just too tired to clean the stove. I just don’t care at that point.

Unless there is cake on the stove. And then I care a little bit more.

3. Daily Wear: “Put Shoes and Jackets Away Every Time!”

lol…..!

omg. Okay, so, do you have little kids? And time to tell them to put their shoes away every 5 minutes? Because, it’s not happening. We have a shoe rack, and the kids are supposed to put their shoes on the dedicated shoe rack before they enter the house. However, sometimes they put their shoes back on when they go to play outside for 5 minutes. And if I am in the shower, or getting coffee, or daydreaming about maid services for a few minutes…those shoes are going somewhere else, other than back on the shoe rack.

And we have a few jackets hanging on a tree in the backyard; so I discovered yesterday afternoon, when I was outside looking for shoes so we could go to the Library and return the books… we also found.

4.  Bedding: “Have a Practical Amount of Blankets”


Listen, the truth is I love forts more than my kids do.

Soo, we just have more blankets than is “practical.” Simple as that.

5. Stuff: “Do Not Have Extras of Anything”

I’m not really sure what they are getting at here….

like, I don’t need extra Happy Meal toys? Because I have plenty of extra Happy Meal toys. Or Legos? Trust me, you can never have too many Legos.  Shoes? Lipsticks? Sunglasses? Wineglasses…?

Bottles of wine??

Listen, I’m just gonna stop it here and say that this list isn’t my piece of cake.

Back to the home essentials.

There we go. That’s my happy place.

The Most Important Spot: A Reading Room Of One’s Own

“Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others.

-Virginia Woolf

Despite Elizabeth Taylor’s infamous play, the actual script had nothing to do with Virginia Woolf.  The author, Edward Albee, had written the play and was still struggling with a title for it.  He actually saw some poor Lit major’s frustration scrawled into the wall of a restroom, that said, “Who is afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Now she lives in infamy through Albee’s play.  And if you know anything about Woolf, I’m sure you can imagine how delighted she would be by this.

 

“There is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”
Virginia Woolf 

 

That all being said, Virginia Woolf is one of my favorite writers and thinkers. I remember when I first read some of her essays in college, and reading the societal frustrations she railed against.  While reading her essays, I was appalled to discover that although women were granted the right to vote only in 1920, which in my opinion has been a blemish to the history of our country; but, women were continually forbidden from libraries well into the 1970s:

huc-demands-keep-clifffies-out-of-lamont_courtesy-of-schlesinger-library_700px_0link

So, there is no space for women in the library. I’m sorry, there are just too many women who want to be well educated! If we took one in, we would have to take them all in!

They also simply do not have enough books to fulfill the needs of women. However, the boys are still allowed into the girls’ library, since “boys cause less disturbance in a female environment than vice versa.”

And finally, the official Harvard opinion in 1966 is that the men at Harvard were not emotionally ready to be around women yet.  Even though “boys cause less disturbance in a female environment.”

However, women may be allowed in the library from 2 to 5am. That makes sense. I have no idea why some women have been upset over silly things.  Like being allowed into a library.

 

“Like most uneducated Englishwomen, I like reading–I like reading books in the bulk.”
Virginia Woolf

 

Reading is not only very important, it is crucial.

It is crucial to becoming a well balanced person, and especially a person who has the desire of education.

This is why I take my kids to the library once a week. This is why I am constantly finding good literature to download onto my Kindle for us.  This is why we have a sitting room with big squishy chairs for reading.

The love of reading doesn’t come easily to everyone, though. So many people have been stuck with literature in school that never spoke to them, and the stories just became “words on a page.” And the thing is, there are thousands of books out there…more than enough for everybody!  There is literature out there that speaks to every individual. Sometimes you just have to have someone else show you where they are; and invite you in.

Which is where I come in…

This is my kids’ reading corner.

I was displeased with the way the schoolroom felt…it just felt like a room. No life to it. So, I took all of my boxes of fabric from out of the closet and the kids helped me pick out some decorations, and we created their own reading space. It is well lit, has comfy pillows with matching reading mats, plus a reading cupboard handy for the books they are going through.

IMG_5539

This opens the room up, so instead of being a large box…it is now a reading environment!

IMG_5542

Now the kids have their own special place to read, and they have been super excited about designing it with me.

Making a reading room for one’s own is vital to creating a safe place to let your mind explore. It doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive.  It just has to be comfortable and inviting; and with many, many books available.

I would heartily recommend a reading room of one’s own for everyone.