Sunday, December 31, 2006

Book Reading Stand-outs: 2006

Middle Grade Fiction:

Penny From Heaven by Jennifer Holm (2006)
Set in the 50s, the author chose well in writing this story in first person present.

The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit
The narrator made this book so fun. Just how did E. Nesbit do it?

Young Adult Fiction:

Sorcery and Cecilia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
As Miss Erin says, "This book could be described as Jane Austen meets Harry Potter." The authors played the "letter game" in which they each pretended they each were a character and wrote letters back in forth. Their game became a delightful book.

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (2006)
Death is the narrator and the author makes it work. Story of a girl growing up in a foster family in Germany during WWII. FYI, this book was first published in Australia (where the author lives) as an adult fiction book.

Young Adult Nonfiction:

The Wand in the Word by Leonard S. Marcus (2006)
Conversations with writers of fantasy such as Lloyd Alexander, Brian Jacques, Dianna Wynne Jones, and Terry Pratchett. I read a library copy, but Erin and I were always wanting to go back to something that was quoted or referenced in it; so guess what I received for Christmas?!

Adult Fiction:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
This is a book in which you miss the characters after you have finished reading.

The Dean's Watch by Elizabeth Goudge
An enchanting novel set in a cathedral city on the fen. Since E. Goudge lived in Ely for part of her life, it was fun to read the descriptions depicting the fen country of old and the amazing cathedral that we were able to see on our England trip. Read it next Christmas.

Mrs. Mike by Benedict Freedman
A classic novel which takes place in the early 1900s of a young girl who moves from Boston to Alberta, Canada for her health. She marries a member of the Royal Mounted Police and they move to a remote settlement in northeast British Columbia. Based loosely on a true life story. Thanks ghillies for recommending this.

Leave it to Psmith by P. G. Wodehouse
I'm not sure I ever laughed aloud so much while reading a book to myself. If you've just seen the play, you must the read the book.

Adult Nonfiction:

Life is So Good by George Dawson
The life story of a man who lived some of the 19th century, all of the 20th century, and a little of the 21st century. Read this to start your new year. (see earlier post)

Sir Walter Raleigh by John Buchan
"Snapshots" of Sir Walter's life taken mostly from stories of people that knew him.

Great Books:

Bede's History of the English People
My second reading of this book proved quite enjoyable.

Other fun reads:
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
84 Charing Cross by Helene Hanff
Howl's Moving Castle by Dianna Wynn Jones
Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith

Sunday, December 24, 2006

May you have a child-like Christmas

Merry Christmas!
Here's a quote from my aunt's Christmas letter:

"It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty founder was a child Himself." Charles Dickens

Monday, December 18, 2006

Exciting MonDAY!

"I'm thankful that we got this sickness, mom, otherwise I wouldn't have gotten into 3-D art." Brady, (who has actually said this to me a couple of times.)

Today each of the kids' work are featured on web-sites (not their own.) Their work featured is work that came about because of our long-term illness. Daily schoolwork has been an impossibility because of our intense health struggles, but they've redeemed their time and pursued endeavors that help them to feel like they are learning and accomplishing things. Both of their "hobbies" came about because they felt rotten enough to only be able to do things that they enjoyed doing, at a pace that didn't overtax them. They've found out that people need some kind of work to do even when they can hardly move. Yes, they've had to spend lots of time watching movies and playing video games, but even a sick person can't do this all day long, day after day. Thankfully, they've been blessed to be well enough to follow through on these new past-times and even experience some success along the way.

Miss Erin is the featured book reviewer this morning at the Cybil's site for the Review of the Day. Her review is of a book she needed to read as a nominating committee member of the fantasy/sci fic. category. This web-site was established when a group of bloggers decided to start their own book awards for children and young adult books and it all came to fruition (very quickly.) Please check out the site and read the post for today.

Brady has an image featured as Picture of the Day at a content and software web-site. Please check out it out here: The picture that is featured is one he made for me as an advent gift (our family gives advent gifts to one another 12 days before Christmas.) While you're at it, visit his web-site to see lots of other wonderful images.

What a day! Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Doctor help

We didn't plan this. But it's a good thing.

Two doctor's offices are currently reviewing our records and trying to figure out how to help us.

A couple of weeks back I posted that I was going to get some testing done to send to a Health Institute in Colorado. The day I did that, the Intern at our doctor's office in Seattle called to say that they had just received information and samples of a new treatment. They had been discussing our case at the office and called us to see if we'd like to try it. After finding out a little more about it, I told him, "Sure!"

In the meantime, when my results of the tests I took for the Colorado doctor were faxed to me, I immediately sent them to the Seattle doctor. The Intern at his office called again to get a little more information about our current status and said he was going to research things a little more. He wants to make sure the protocol of supplements he's prescribing to go with this new treatment will be what we need. We may just start one or two of us on this regime at first to see if it makes a big enough difference, before everyone takes the treatment. It's taken with a nebulizer and requires some time and effort.

This morning we faxed all of our tests from this spring (that the Seattle doctor had ordered) to Colorado upon their request. I have an appointment to talk to them by phone this coming Tuesday.

It's a great feeling to know that two doctor's offices are studying our case (especially when we thought the Seattle doctor had "given up" on us.) If you think of it, please pray for wisdom for these doctors in the next few days as they decide on the next protocol to help us overcome this chronic illness.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A musical delight

Check out this fun description of a choir rehearsal that God allowed us to be a part of.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Friday and Saturday were the last two days I enjoyed the help of E. Now she's off to Oregon for five months. Before she left, she helped bring the sweet smell of simmering Granny Smith apples into our warm kitchen.

Granny Smith apples are the apples of choice for our low sugar diet and the low Fall prices enticed me to buy a case to store up for the winter.

We canned 13 quarts.

Mmmm... chunky sauce with cinnamon and nutmeg.

It's possible!

A Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free Thanksgiving Feast


Fresh Turkey
Stovetop Holiday Dressing
Green Beans with Pine Nuts
Sweet Yam Casserole
Cranberry Sauce
Dinner Roll
Chocolate Cookies with Rice Dream Ice-Cream (We made pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin and butternut squash a few days later.)


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day celebration thanks to my helper, who worked hard helping me to prepare these yummy dishes, and to our friends, who invited us into their home to eat and celebrate with the fun crowd they had gathered. God is very kind. So thankful!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm most thankful for God's Word that teaches me such things as these:

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

"And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered." Joel 2:32a

"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever."
Hebrews 13:8

Sunday, November 19, 2006

November Beauty

I love the colors that branches show after their leaves are gone. This is at the edge of our neighborhood. Can you find the winter wheat?

I spotted this old farm implement (rake) at the edge of a field a mile or so down the rode from our neighborhood. The only sound to be heard while taking the picture was the croak of a frog.

Isn't winter wheat grand? To think we catch glimpses of green in the fall and winter... That just didn't happen in the Midwest.

Our ornamental pear tree in our front yard was full of glory this year. And what makes its shine all the more appealing is that it waits until the maples across the street are all dull and drab before it gives the neighborhood the *grand finale*.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday Potpourri

  • Went to a wedding and felt like Cinderella: Did I dance? No. Did I get ready instantly with the help of a fairy godmother? No, but with three days rest, a helper to make dessert for it, and my dh in charge of obtaining the wedding gift, I did. Why like Cinderella? Because I was transported out of the everyday realities of our current world (sickness and survival) and given a few hours in the fantastical world of beautiful celebration and feasting.
  • Giving blood again: Just me this time. Have to drive 90 miles to a lab for a huge blood draw on Monday. Lord willing, it will make it safely to a Health Institute in Colorado on Tuesday or I'll be doing it all over again. We're hoping to get some more help in gaining better health.
  • Looking for a kitchen helper once more: My current helper has some unfinished business in Oregon for the next 4 or 5 months. She leaves after Thanksgiving. Big sigh.
  • Books, books, wherever I look: Erin has another job in which she gets paid in books. Books arrive daily by mail, UPS, and FedEx from publishers all over the country. She's on a nominating committee of the Cybil awards. These awards are the first blogger awards for children's/young adult books of the year. Articles about the awards have been featured in a Chicago press release, a Publishers Weekly newsletter, and this week in the Idaho Statesman. (She's loving the job, by the way!)
  • All of us had really good treatments this week: A first!
  • I'm currently reading Sir Walter Raleigh by John Buchan: Enjoying it lots.
  • The sun has been shining this week: *SMILES*

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Our Trip to the Doctor

Our trip to the doctor in CA had a couple of detours along the way. One was intentional. We stopped in SLC for a few days to meet our new nephew, Reese. Isn't he a cutie? The first morning there, however, my sister and I received a call telling us our 93 year old grandpa had died. We were very close to Grandpa so we immediately started trying to figure out how to get to the funeral in South Dakota.

We all managed to take a break from our planning and packing to take the train to downtown SLC that night, Friday, the 13th, in which we went to a "The End" party at Barnes and Noble. For those of you in the dark, this was the release day of the last Lemony Snicket Beaudalaire series books.

Grandpa's picture is taken just a few weeks before he died. He's celebrating his 75th class reunion at the homecoming Alumni Banquet! Earlier in the summer he was honored to be the Grand Marshall of the parade celebrating our hometown's 125th birthday. Grandpa went out in style, I'd say. I already miss him, but am grateful that he is not battling old age any longer and is enjoying the streets of glory in Heaven.

Brady started being in a lot of pain while we were in S.D. and we actually cut that visit shorter than planned as well and got to the doctor in California. Thankfully, Brady felt relief soon after his treatment and Erin and I didn't need a treatment. Yahoo! We ended up being in California two full days longer than we needed to be (due to all of our crazy flight schedule changes) so we were able to get out a few afternoons for short jaunts.
We stayed with dh's Aunt Dorothy and she treated us to a couple of parks that were really close to her and didn't require an all day commitment: Legoland and the Wild Animal Park.

Legoland amazed us. In Miniatureland, USA, five cities were represented with buildings (all of Legos) 1/20th of the original buildings size.

Pictured here, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, and a life size elephant spouting water.

The paragliding was near my dh's cousin's gift shop.

At the Wild Animal Park, the baby elephant said "hi" to us, flapping his ears. He was born September 11th.

Part of the fun of being in California is seeing all the exotic plants. I just love "Birds of Paradise."

The surfers were at a beach near Aunt Dorothy's. My original picture turned out rather dark, as smoke had swept in from the bad fire near Palm Springs that afternoon. Brady to the rescue! Thanks to his creative abilities with Photoshop, this picture turned out quite cool!

Let us also give tribute to another highlight of our trip: following the Cardinals to and through the World Series. Gotta love those Cards, World Series Champions!

And one last highlight, go to Erin's blog to read about another fun event we went to in CA.

We were gone 17 days. That's a lot for three invalids! I can't give enough thanks to all of our relatives that helped us in so many ways on this trip - in Utah, South Dakota and California. We didn't eat out once, can you believe it? (Which is great, because right now, as you may know, with our allergies it isn't safe for us to.) Thanks a million for the grocery shopping, washing the dishes, the wonderful hospitality, the rides to and from airports, the entertainment treats, the cars, etc. Also thanks to friends back at home who prayed for us and "held down the fort." We were truly blessed by your faithful love in action.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Every tree
That sheds autumnal glory
In hope of spring
The eternal life
of God
Peter Leithart

Friday, October 06, 2006

Miss Erin's tag

Blonde: The hair color. I never desired to have it, which is a good thing because my dark roots would have peeked out most insistently.

Cellphone: The little thing that you hold up to your ear at the grocery store when you forget to bring your list. I don't have one and I rarely wish that I did.

Peach: Colorado. Except a Colorado peach couldn't be singular, they're like potato chips - no one can eat just one. Okay, these I want. Right now, 'kay?

(In case you're wondering, Erin's tag gave me these three words and I had to write what first thought came to mind when I saw them.)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

October Beauty

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came -
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.
The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses Maple
In scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.
Then, in the rustic hollow,
At hide-and-seek they played,
The party closed at sundown,
And everybody stayed.
Professor Wind played louder;
They flew along the ground;
And then the party ended
In jolly "hands around".
~George Cooper "October's Party"

Here's my October pictures of beauty in my neighborhood. I don't have a digital camera and so I was saving the last several pictures on my film for my search, but after my surprise gift (see below) I only had three pictures left on my camera to use. Erin accompanied and assisted me in my search. We walked to the park that is a couple of blocks from our house. Walking by the pond always reminds me of our walks in Iowa down a long gravel lane that had cornfields on one side and beautiful lake homes along the lake on the other. Red-wing blackbirds were always singing in the corn, and here they are always singing in the cattails. Erin liked the three tall trees with their graduating colors against the bright blue sky. I was disappointed that my pond picture is a little blurred, but decided to post it anyway.

Thanks, Sookie, for posting "October Party" on your blog. I hadn't read that poem in years and it is one of my favorites. Btw, have you ever wondered why autumn is the winner hands down when it comes to poems? Maybe that topic is for another post. Cheers!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Surprise Gift

Saturday, I got out to run a few needed errands in the late morning. As I finished up and was starting to head home I passed a sign for a rummage sale. I hadn't been to a rummage sale for ages and so decided to stop in, since my errands hadn't taken as long as I thought they would. I was looking at a table full of VHS movies when I heard the guy behind the cash box tell someone that he had three tickets for the college football game to sell. All morning I'd been moping a bit because I was in the town where the game was going to be - it was an Indian summer day and the excitement was not only in the air, but bouncing up and down on campus and all around the downtown shops and cafes. We hadn't been to a college football game since we'd gotten sick and I missed our once a year or so outing.
I heard him say next that his tickets were for one adult and two youth. Brent was working that day and so it was exactly what we would need. As the other man left, I walked up to his table and asked him how much he wanted for them. He said he'd sell me all three for $10. My mind started reeling. When I had left home, Erin had been feeling terrible. She couldn't go to an event that she had been trying to get ready for that morning. Brady had gone to it and I knew he'd be exhausted. I had spent too much of my limited amount of energy, as well. From an earlier inquiry I had learned that game time was at 4:00 - we'd have time to get home, have lunch, and get prepared to go out again, but not to rest. I stood staring at the table which held the tickets. "Who are they playing?" I asked still trying to fight the temptation. "USC," the man answered explaining why he couldn't go, with his boy behind him telling me the Trojan's win/loss record the last three years which was already known to this Pac-10 enthusiast. At that point, I knew it was useless to pay attention to any bodily protests. It was a "no brainer." "Sold!" I exclaimed.
At home, our thoughts volleyed between joy and jublilee to outright panic. We can't go. We have to go. Erin can't go. We all have to go. Brady can go with our neighbors. Somehow, when it was time to leave so that we wouldn't have to walk miles from our parking spot to the stadium, we all managed to get into the car and set off for the game. What a thrill being part of the sold-out crowd as the home team put in a great effort and didn't give up the fight even after falling behind by 13 points with just over five minutes left in the game. We had to leave at that point, but we heard the excitement of the next drive and touchdown by the Cougs as we walked to the car. We listened to the exciting opportunity for the Cougs to score the winning touchdown on the radio as we slipped out of town missing the after game traffic jam. Time ran out and the home team lost by six points, but we felt like we had won the lottery. Better than that, we knew that God had given us a precious gift. "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." Psalm 37:4.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Health tips

Just wanted to share some of what I learned today in my research for a "cure."

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
Mark Twain.

As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death. Leonardo da Vinci.

Water is the most neglected nutrient in your diet but one of the most vital.
Kelly Barton

Here's to your health!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Yesterday we sat by a river and picnicked. We watched Canadian Geese "practicing their maneuvers for flying south" as Brady put it. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day. It was the first day of Fall. A day in which we weren't thinking of winter, but perhaps the geese were.

by Sally Andresen

The geese flying south
In a row long and V-shaped
Pulling in winter.