“The Healing Place of the Soul” – inscription in the Library of Alexandria

A few years ago, Valentine’s Day snuck up on me, and I wanted to get something for Brent.  I had heard of a Sci-fi book that one of his friends had recommended, so I thought I’d buy it for him and send it to his Kindle.  Well, I sort of got confused and accidentally sent it to my own Kindle.  Then I figured out what I did and gifted it to him too.  So as not to let a good book go to waste, I decided to delve into it myself.  I don’t think I got up from the couch until I was finished.  This past week, Brent mentioned that he started reading it again. A few days later I was also bored and decided I needed an escape so I opened it up too.  I haven’t quite finished it yet, but since Andrei is at a convention this weekend, and Brent is working, I’m confident that I will find the time to indulge myself with the rest.

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
This story is about a world where, when you turn 75, you are allowed to enlist in the space army.  You have the wisdom of your age, and you get a new, super improved body.  You’re never allowed to come back to earth, and if you survive your enlistment, you’re sent to another colony to finish your days.  The book is just fantastic and hilarious.  There is some language, if that bothers you.  I can’t wait to finish it this weekend.

Articles:

12 Indispensable Mindful Living Tools

When you start a new project or venture, if you feel the fear of failure, instead of thinking, “Oh no, I’m going to fail” or “Oh no, I don’t know how this will turn out”, try thinking, “Let’s see. Let’s find out.” And then there isn’t the fear of failure, but the joy of being curious and finding out.

What held your interest this week?

Wordless Wednesday

October 31, 2013 — Leave a comment

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“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.”  William Faulkner

I read my normal Crime and Punishment and Psalms this week, but mostly I’ve been devouring something else.  Not a book, not an article, a message board thread journal story thing….

Mom’s Journal of the Zombie Years
I was reading a thread about the latest Walking Dead episode when someone linked to this story.  It’s a zombie survival story, but with a twist.  I love a good post-apocalyptic story, but mostly they are about fighting and guns and killing and gore and death.  This story is written in a journal from, but by a mom.  Even after the Poo Hits the Fan, kids still outgrow their shoes, teenagers have arguments, and the dishes need to be done.  This story takes the perspective of Sissy, a wife and mom of 5, and her family as they weather the NRS virus outbreak (zombies) and how they handle life afterward.

It’s written in a message board so between each journal entry is its own post and there are people in between commenting and begging for more story.  If you can get past that, (and zombie avatars) it’s an excellent read.  I’m pretty sure someone near the end links to it in downloadable form.

It’s also crazy long.  I’ve been reading it every day this week and I’m only halfway through.  Currently I’m on Day 251 of their survival.

If you like survival stories or prep stories or just want to be entertained, check it out!

Prepping for Winter

October 25, 2013 — 2 Comments

When we lived in our house, the only thing we really had to do to prep for winter was cover the air conditioners and cover the windows.  The one winter we forgot to plastic the windows, our heating bill went up significantly.   Now that we’re in an RV, winter prep is a bit more… experimental.

Last winter we did no insulation of any kind.  We put a heater in the water bay to prevent the water lines from freezing – even so a different part froze at least twice and our sink didn’t work.  We put a dehumidifier in our bedroom to run all night and still we had literal ice cubes in the corners of the room.  At least one cold snap, our 30 lb propane tank didn’t even last 24 hours and each one is about $30.

So this year we are trying to be more proactive.  By far the coldest room is our bedroom.  It’s lower than all the rooms, it has an outdoor door and less insulation because it’s technically a garage.  The tiny vent that blows heat into the room does barely anything.  I was thinking about looking for some styrofoam insulation sheets to line the walls with but was concerned about the price.  Thankfully the first place I always look for building materials is the ReStore and just as I was about to walk out the door I spotted a few garage door insulation kits for the very nice price of $15.  We jammed them behind the bed and used the extra ones on each side.  I also threw some pool noodles (essentially the same thing as pipe insulation) on the floor next to the bed to cover the cold floor.

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As you can see, the window in the bedroom is a normal looking window and I plan to use the plastic on them.  Unfortunately the other windows in the house are not designed that way and it would be impossible to plastic them.  However, I am going to attach bubble wrap under the window shades and hopefully that will help.  Although I have a feeling our walls have less of an R-value than our windows, but I do what I can.

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There’s also this thing in our bedroom – I’m assuming it’s another vent of some kind in case you’re working on your vehicles back there.  I’m going to shove some bubble wrap in there too.  There’s one on the other side of the room too but it’s on the bottom and it’s covered by a foam board.

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The other thing we did last year to save money was turn off the water heater altogether.  Something about the water heater being on an outside wall and very little between it and the elements was starting to get expensive to keep running.  We’d heat up water in the teakettle to do dishes or take our bucket showers. This year I plan to get a big bad thermos to store some water in so I’m not constantly running the teakettle and the stove.

I’m planning on documenting how long each 30 lb tank lasts based on the temperature.  I wish I would have done that last year to compare but I guess I can just look at the totals for the year and see if we ended up saving anything.

“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

My favorite way to read a book on Saturday is this:  Read one chapter, get up and do something else for the same number of minutes of the number of the chapter.  Continue in this manner until about halfway through the book when you run out of things to do and get so sucked into the book that you can’t bear to put it down for even 5-6 minutes.

Books

Crime and Punishment Part Two.  The first section was about the Crime, and the second was about his mental self-punishment.    It reminded me a bit of The Tell-Tale Heart because of the insanity and torture he puts himself through.  Will he be caught?  Will he turn himself in?  I won’t tell!

The Great Divorce by CS Lewis.  This was a fantastic book.  I want to read it again in a year or two and ingest it all over.  The basic plot is about how “ghosts” can visit the outskirts of heaven and the “spirits” there can try and convince them to stay.  The ghosts all have their reasons for leaving again whether it be not wanting to give up their art or their love of their child, or one poor guy who was just too pissed that his wife didn’t miss him while waiting for him.  I saw glimpses of my fallen self in every character.  Very thought provoking.  Very humbling.

The choice of every lost soul can be expressed in the words, “Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven.”  There is always something they insist on keeping, even at the price of misery.  There is always something they prefer to joy – that is, to reality.

And, Psalms, for October:

Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us no one can recount to you.
Were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare!
Psalm 40:5

Articles

The Seven Most Common Learner Mistakes

Fail early and fail often is a better motto. Make mistakes so you can learn why they are mistakes. Many misunderstandings are like landmines—hidden until you walk over them accidentally. Only by walking that terrain thoroughly can you expose them all. Your ego may be bruised a little, but the benefits exceed the cost.

When Jesus is Present Where Jesus Isn’t Present

In other words, neither the Church nor a formal confession of faith in Jesus need be present for God to be at work in someone’s life. For us as Christians, this should be a humbling reminder that though we may often be the vehicle of God’s grace and activity in the world, we are not its source.

This article reminded me that Gods word is written in *all* of our hearts.  It’s our true nature that we be with Christ, but our own humanness that prevents it from happening.  But everyone has that spark of God’s love inside them.  That is why we recognize him when He comes looking for us.

What did you read this week?  Send me some links, people! :)

Worshipful October

October 18, 2013 — Leave a comment

Reading Psalms this month has been great for me – there’s so much encouragement and joy amidst David’s crappy situation.  Entering winter in the RV is a stressful time for us and this is just a reminder that everything will be okay no matter what.

We worship the Lord not only because of who He is but also because of what He has done.  Above all, the God of the Bible is the God who acts.  His goodness, faithfulness, justice, mercy all can be seen in His dealings with His people.  His gracious actions are not only etched into ancient history, but are engraved into our personal histories.  As the apostle Paul said, the only reasonable response is worship (in Romans 12:1).

When I think about worship I sometimes think about a teenage fangirl all hyped up over the latest boy band.  She wants to talk about them all the time, she wants to follow them everywhere, she wants to wear their clothes, she wants to follow them across the country – everyone knows that they are singly focused on that one thing.  It’s an obsession.   That’s true worship.  When your heart is wholly focused on only Christ and what he wants you to do.  Every moment lifting your hear to God’s will and aligning your actions with His.  Being obsessed.

If worship does not propel us into greater obedience, it has not been worship.  Just as worship begins in holy expectancy, it ends in holy obedience.  Holy obedience saves worship from becoming an opiate, an escape from the pressing needs of modern life.  Worship enables us to hear the call to service, clearly so that we will respond “Here I am! Send me!”

I’m personally not a huge fan of Christian music, but I’m going to try to bring worship music into my days this week – courtesy of The Drop.  We’ll see how it goes.

 

Wordless Wednesday

October 16, 2013 — Leave a comment

Homework at Starbucks

 “You are the same today as you’ll be in five years except for two things, the books you read and the people you meet.”  Charlie “Tremendous” Jones

 

I decided to start chronicling what I read every week on my blog here.  I always like hearing other’s book recommendations and my “To Read” list is way too long, but if you have any more suggestions, I’d be glad to hear them, of course.  :)

Books

Troubling a Star by Madeline L’Engle.  Brent got me a bunch of L’Engle books for my birthday last year and I’ve been working my way through them.  This one was one of better ones in my opinion.  Could be because it was about Antarctica and visiting there is on my Must Do List.   I love her books because it’s just assumed that everyone is a scientist or a literature buff and no one is snobby about it.  I could be friends with everyone in her books.  :)

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  I read Part One anyway.  I plan on only reading one part per week because I want to savor it more.  I may have read it before but I can’t remember so that tells you that I should slow down and try again.  It’s free on Kindle cuz it ‘s a classic :)

Psalms – been working through them because of my Worship Challenge.

 

The heavens declare the glory of God;
The skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day the pour forth speech;
Night after night they display knowledge.

 

Psalms 19:1-2

 

 

Articles

A Sermon on Faith, Doubt and Mustard Seed Necklaces

This text has often made my faith feel inadequate. Because I’ve always heard it as this syllogism:  With only a teensy weensy amount of faith, Nadia could perform miracles. Nadia does not perform miracles, therefore Nadia has so little faith it’s not even as big as that mustard seed around her neck.

 

Why are There Still so Few Women in Science?

The most powerful determinant of whether a woman goes on in science might be whether anyone encourages her to go on. My freshman year at Yale, I earned a 32 on my first physics midterm. My parents urged me to switch majors. All they wanted was that I be able to earn a living until I married a man who could support me, and physics seemed unlikely to accomplish either goal.

 

What did you read this week?

 

October – Worship

October 7, 2013 — 1 Comment

September was confession and I confess I read the chapter, had high hopes and then did nothing about it.  Next year maybe?  I guess I did confess to myself that I didn’t want to be a vegetarian and I was sticking to it because of some weird foodie pride and then I gave it up.  And I confessed to Brent (and now all of you) that the reason I only cooked bacon when no one was home was because I snitched at least fourth of the package every time.  And now I don’t have to hide that shameful secret anymore.  Also I’m finally over bacon.

Anyway…

October’s focus is worship.  I had a hard time reading the chapter because in my mind worship=singing and I think that worship is so much more than that.  But it’s culturally ingrained so I’m trying to redefine it in my mind.

If worship does not change us, it has not been worship.  To stand before the Holy One of eternity is to change.

I think a word that more resonates with me is adoration.  I feel adoration and awe for God when I’m in nature, when I look at the night sky, when I see something in science that connects with something seemingly totally different but they’re really connected.  I feel awe for God when I see people helping the forgotten, when I see groups coming together to do something wonderful or artistic or even fun, when I see people putting aside their differences and opinions to show love to one another.  These are the things that make me want to shout and tell everyone how amazing this world is – how amazing our creator is.  I need to cultivate that feeling this month and look for it.

I decided a tangible thing I could do this month was to read the Psalms.  There’s so much emotion there, and not even all good emotions.  David laying his heart out in front of God in anger and sadness and vulnerability – but always coming back at the end to say that God is good and will protect him.  Even through the crappiness, we can end our day with praise.

I came across this verse today -

You have filled my heart with greater joy, than when their grain and new wine abound.  Psalm 4:7

I think that sums it up perfectly.  Think of a happy scene when you’re having dinner with your family on a holiday or at your favorite birthday party.  All warm and fuzzy inside.  But it is no match to how I feel when I’m standing in awe before God.  It truly feels like my heart will burst out of my chest and I’m almost breathless to contain it.  To me, that’s what worship feels like.

I really, really needed this month!

I realize August is two days from over, but believe me when I say I hadn’t forgotten about this challenge.  I just am having a really hard time knowing how to do it.

Oh by all means, the actions I have down.  As a mom, other moms will agree that it’s a 24 hour Service job.  But I’m having a hard time accepting it as a virtue.  My inner self has a hard time finding joy in Doing All the Things.  My ego wants more from this life.  My mind is bored.  My dream life does not involve dishes.

In the stages of death to self, I’m stuck in anger and bargaining.  Not sure how to get out of it.