life, death, and those moments in between

This month has been particularly rough on my family. My great-great aunt had surgery. My father had a heart attack on the 4th. (He had competent, immediate care, healed quickly, and was allowed to return home on the 6th. He is a workaholic but this has forced him to slow down.) On the 11th, the pastor of our church passed away. He’d been an integral part of my life for thirty years.

Even with all of this stress and worry, my inner critic refuses to quiet. I’m ignoring her comments about not accomplishing enough the past few weeks. In the midst of all this, I’m focusing on the things I did accomplish: knitted a Cara Bear, knitted a dress for the Cara Bear, made twelve dozen cookies for the funeral, finished two books, held an impromptu photo shoot with my sisters, rearranged my kitchen and living room, made dinner for tomorrow, and dessert for the Bible study, read over the home economics curriculum I purchased. Honestly, I’m quite proud of my accomplishments. In the midst of all the emotional upheaval, I endured. I allowed myself downtime, knowing the emotional upset would wreak havoc on my fibromyalgia. I’ve played board games and cuddled with my children and my nieces.

In short…I’ve lived the past few weeks. I didn’t force myself through the motions. I felt every emotion, allowed myself to feel and express them, instead of hiding. I’ve reveled in the everyday: my soon-to-be-twelve-year-old daughter climbing into my lap, my fourteen-year-old son embracing me constantly, the sixteen-year-old sharing his favorite television episodes, my niece leaning against me as I knit her Cara Bear, savored scones with lemon curd, played in the rain. These moments I remember. The ones I cherish. That is life…and I’m so very thankful for every moment.

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Nearing the home stretch

Six weeks. Six weeks. *breathes relieved sigh* Six weeks until another school year has concluded.

Don’t misunderstand. I love homeschooling. I love the freedom of spending all day with my children, studying whatever takes our fancy. It makes learning fun, joyful.

Now, my children do have certain workbooks they have to complete. Most days they choose to complete their workbook pages every single day. Sometimes they choose to complete all their workbook pages on one day. They also have certain subjects they are required to study as the Bookworm (my oldest) is in high school. The Elf is in junior high which means he will receive credit for finishing the high school subjects. The Fey also watches and writes essays on the high school subjects. She will have to write a few more essays on those subjects in a year or two, but not really repeat everything.

For many of our elective courses, we’ve used Great Courses. They’re are incredible. These are used as the main subject matter with related books to help write essays. Currently we’re watching Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy taught by Alex Filippenko, Ph.D. and How to Listen and Understand Great Music taught by Robert Greenberg, Ph.D. Both of these courses are excellent. I love watching them. Even my ten-year-old niece loves to watch them, even though much of the later astronomy lectures are beyond her understanding. Both professors are animated, passionate, and throw in amusing comments.

I honestly cannot recommend these courses enough. We’ve watched several history courses; some were enjoyed more than others. Feel free to email me about those.

It’s time for a cooking lecture with Chef Bill Briwa. He makes cooking fun…not to mention we all come away hungry. 🙂

Five….

Five.

Five books.

I’ve read five books this week. Five. It’s an odd thing of which to be joyful. There was time I’d easily read over a dozen books a week. It was a regular occurrence in the past when I ran a review site. For the past seven years I’ve barely managed to read a dozen a year. To read five in one week. Inconceivable.

A beloved friend believes my reading this many books in one week is a sign. It means psychologically I’m returning to a better state. Less stressed. Confidant. Sure of myself. Creative.

At this point, I’m not overthinking it. I’m merely rejoicing about reading five books. It’s a nice number: five. Who knows…it might become my new favorite number.

Review: The Lure of the Wolf

The Lure of the Wolf by Jennifer St. Giles

Aragon is a Blood Hunter, a strong warrior determined to rid the mortal world of a deadly enemy. He throws aside his devotion to his comrades in his desire for vengeance. A medical doctor, Annette has forgone personal relationships in her desire to focus on saving lives. Her intense longing to find her sister lands Aragon in her life and puts her in danger from Aragon’s mortal enemy.

The Lure of the Wolf is fascinating. It has an amazing world with an incredible history (I would love to read an entire history of the various races and such, but I’m weird that way). Annette and Aragon have extraordinary depth and are perfect for each other. They are both warriors in their own way and choose to understand the other’s motives, even if they might not like them.

I enjoyed every moment of this book. It grabbed my attention and didn’t release me until the final page. I’ll definitely be reading more of Jennifer St. Giles’ work.

Review: The Scarletti Curse

The Scarletti Curse by Christine Feehan

Normally, when I write a review I start with a brief synopsis. However, the synopsis available on the paperback (or on Amazon’s kindle page) is quite accurate and descriptive enough to pique my interest. Quite a feat in itself. While not set on a remote moor or English countryside, The Scarletti Curse is a gothic tale, complete with gloomy castle, secrets, grave danger.

This was actually the first book by Christine Feehan I’ve read. She has a beautiful writing style. Tense, taut, descriptive. I didn’t stop reading until I finished the book. The heroine, Nicoletta is delightful, sincere, and caring. I understood and sympathized with her to be free, to roam the hills. Giovanni is dark, brooding, demanding, secretive, and protective. He doesn’t come across as the overbearing alpha male, at least not too much. He does listen and respect Nicoletta.

I quite enjoyed the time spent reading The Scarletti Curse. Now I want to read more of Christine Feehan’s work.

 

It’s time…

I have been away from this site for two years. I kept meaning to return. To write. To review. I composed dozens of posts in my head. Never sat down to put them on paper. Promised myself I would update the site “soon”. Procrastination is one my failings.

Why is procrastination a failing for so many? I can’t speak for everyone but as for myself I think I know the answer. I’ve spent the past three months, examining myself and my habits, motives. I am, quite honestly, afraid of failure. Afraid I’ll disappoint. Afraid of exposing myself.  Not to mention, putting things off is so much easier than doing them. In my quest (It has to be a quest; I’m too enamored of fantasy novels for it not be a quest. *g*),  to discover myself, to learn what I truly desire, what brings me happiness, I keep returning to those three main fears.

What is failure? I believe the definition is different for everyone. Where I see abject failure in my life, others see accomplishment. I have to define failure myself. But what is it? Is it failing to meet my daily goals? Or is not trying? I have fibromyalgia. I live in constant pain. There are days I cannot physically accomplishing everything I WANT to, but I accomplish what is NEEDED. If I accomplish what is necessary, then I cannot be failing.

Disappointment. Who am I disappointing? My parents? I have known I would never live up to my mother’s expectations. I am not her favorite child. I will never meet her ideas of me. But that’s okay. I am finally growing into the person I WISH to be. The only one I can disappoint is myself.

Exposing my self. This one is my greatest fear. It’s also the one thing I struggle greatly at overcoming. I often joke that my trust issues have trust issues. It’s true. My struggles with trust stem from my childhood. I find it hard to let people in, to allow them to see my true self.  It’s one of the reasons I wanted to blog. I could allow people to see me without being physically exposed.

I still have a long journey ahead of me, still have much to learn, to discover, to experience. Now is the time to start. No more procrastination.