Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Does this bring back memories?

I found a poem that I think most (okay, I think all) parents can relate to at least a little bit.

Mind Your Manners

Don't drum on the table.
Don't play with your food.
Don't talk while you're chewing;
it's terribly rude.

Don't leave the fridge open.
Don't slam the screen door.
Don't throw dirty laundry
all over the floor.

Don't fight with your brother.
Don't pull the cat's tail.
Don't open your big sister's personal mail.

Don't pester your parents.
Don't stick out your tongue.
Don't do what your parents did
when they were young.

(by Bruce Lansky in Rolling in the Aisles)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

And now I can go to bed

I just finished If You Want to Be Rich and Happy, Don't Go to School? by Robert T. Kiyosaki. My favorite part of the book was that he kept teaching and repeating the idea that the the universe only knows abundance. It is just us, the people (especially Westerners) who preach the idea of scarcity. When we change our mindset, we can literally revolutionize the world!

This book talks from the side of creating an educational system that will best foster our children's creativity and ingenuity in creating their best possible futures. A must read for every parent concerned about their children's education because every parent is their child's best, most influential teacher.

And now, I am not touching another book for at least two weeks! Unless it's to read to my kids!

Monday, October 15, 2007

3 key ingredients for creating wealth

As I mentioned before, I have been reading Robert Kiyosaki's book, If You Want to Be Rich & Happy, Don't Go to School. In it, he discusses how our educational system creates failures. He is a big proponent of becoming a "generalist" rather than a "specialist" because our world changes far too rapidly. We risk becoming obsolete if we don't continue to learn and grow and adapt with the times.

In the chapter on How to Become Wealthy on a Small Budget, he discusses three key ingredients for creating wealth. In his words, he learned them when he lost his business and his money in 1978.

1. He learned humility, committing himself to life-long learning.
2. He found out what it feels like to lose his spirit. He kept his knowledge, but he lost his spirit, his confidence in himself.
3. He learned the value of wealth. He learned when he was about 32 what it feels like to have no "cash flow". Because of it, he committed to building wealth instead of merely chasing the buck and spending the dough.

It's the second one that I learned after I was layed off several years ago. Kyosaki talks about how at one time, he got so low that he applied for government assistance. I remember going to file for unemployment and learning what I would have to do to get it, including standing in line, and waiting for my dole. I could not do it. I did not/could not do it.

To this day, I have never received unemployment check. I was entitled to it; I had worked a number of years for that employer, but my spirit could not endure it.

I am not judging anyone that does receive governmental aid. Instead, I am tremendously grateful that I did not have to take it. My spirit could not have endured it. (I am equally thankful that family stood by us when things did get tough enough to need help.)

I remember using WIC checks for food when I was pregnant with my boys. I felt humiliated even though I knew many, many people do that, especially for their first children. Conversely though, I remember how exhilarated I felt to know that I did not have to be on WIC for my next baby even though it would have been easier. Our budget was tight, but the jubiliation was real!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Birth order: What of it?

Have you ever heard people talking about how the birth order of your children makes a difference in how they learn? I know I have heard that many times in homeschooling circles!

As I read The Birth Order Book, by Dr. Kevin Leman, I started to chuckle and then to all-out laugh! Especially when I read the chapters on the "baby" of the family and the second-born girl in a family of two girls. Why? Because that was me from the tip of my toes to the end of my hair!

All I can say is that I am sooooo grateful that my "big sister" put up with me rather than killing me! I think I deserved killing at times. She never even tried to "lose" me on her way to somewhere that she wanted to go and had me trailing along behind.

Of course, I think it worked to her advantage that our mother was the first-born with a little sister that she had to share everything with, take to everything, etc. Big Sis really didn't have to share much, and I don't remember her babysitting me. When she was in 7th grade or so, we hit my mom with the desire for our own rooms. Mother didn't resist, and we had plenty of rooms for each of us to have our own.

Marriage wise? I did just fine, thank you very much. I married a first born. I hope my daughter does as well, but not my sons! Two "oldests" is tough, according to this book. The oldest children tend to be very goal directed and perfectionistic, a tough marriage. Hopefully they'll find last borns. Now, to give them their own rooms!!! (Working on that!)

One regret with this book is that Leman doesn't talk about twins very much at all. I was able to glean a few ideas though. Like the closer together the first and second children are, the harder the rivalry. And the second child tends to dethrone, or else go in the opposite direction, of the first born. Twins are in a tough spot there! The rivalry is intense, but at least in our case, the interests are similar.

Thankfully, our twins are both very concerned with fairness for both of them. And they are very concerned with the other's welfare. One thing Leman suggests time for first-born sons is time with the mother alone. I think that makes a difference for twins too.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday

My What Works for Me: That'll Teach Them is a little late. It's only Friday, after all!

I stumbled across a wonderful way to "remind" the kids that things like teasing are not acceptable. It's push-ups. Whenever the kids don't pay attention or something else in taekwondo, they do push-ups. So I'm copying. The boys have to do push-ups whenever they tease (a big problem in our home lately!) I'm not sure it's achieving the desired end as quickly as I had hoped, but I think it's working.

A nice side benefit for them is that they are building up their strength. They can do a lot more push ups than they used to do. (I am increasing how many push-ups they have to do for each infraction. Ten push-ups don't faze them anymore.) If they argue, we tag on 10 more each time they resist. Today, "Dragon" raised his by arguing to 50 and then finally realized it would be to his benefit to get it done! Smart boy! "Monkey" doesn't have to do push-ups nearly as often anymore, and he never argues about it.

Rachel & Leah, again

After I finished the book by Orson Scott Card (below), I went back to the book of Genesis in the Old Testament and reread the portion about Rachel and Leah. Can I just say that a lot of literary license was taken? Especially since not much is said about their handmaids in the scriptures, but the book fully develops their characters as well! Made sense for an author to do it, and he did it very well, but it did make me chuckle. Card certainly wasn't tied down to any scriptural requirements with them!

Another book will be coming soon. I've almost finished The Birth Order Book, by Dr. Kevin Leman and another one will be done in the next week called If You Want to be Rich & Happy, Don't Go to School, by Robert T. Kiyosaki. (Of course I like the title of that one! I homeschool!!!)

Saturday, October 6, 2007

I didn't know this was the 6th in the series!

I just finished the first book in The Chronicles of Narnia, titled The Magician's Nephew, by C. S. Lewis. From Wikipedia, I learned that it was actually the 6th book written. By its "internal chronology", it is first. I totally enjoyed it. It set up The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe wonderfully and answered some questions I had while reading The Lion. . . .

The book raised another question though, like "What happened to the tree?" You'll have to read it to find out what tree! The answer is probably already there though. It is intimated that it will only last for a few hundred years to protect Narnia from evil. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe doesn't happen until quite a long time after The Magician's Nephew takes place.

More importantly, I discovered how to entice my sons into reading it. I put it on the coffee table after finishing it, exclaiming over it, and Dragon promptly picked it up. I think that book will stay very much in sight! Once he's done with it, I have no doubt my other son will be interested in it too. Right now, he is engrossed in the Tennis Shoes series.

P.S. I'm up to 36 books so far this year! Woot!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Rachel & Leah

Why do I read books half the night? So I don't take time away from homeschooling my children, of course. And still get to read all that I want. And be exhausted later or learn to power sleep, an art that I perfected years ago when I worked as a technical writer and kept an active social life on the side.

This time, it was the book Rachel & Leah, by Orson Scott Card. I have to admit that I have never read any of his sci-fi/fantasy books. We own them, of course. My husband enjoys them. I also periodically read his essays at which I enjoy. I'm just not terribly hip on fantasy. I have tried, but . . . .

My husband keeps telling me I pick each author's worst books to read. To which I wonder why we own them. :-) (It doesn't help that I've actually been so adverse to a few of them that I have literally thrown them away. With my hubby's permission so obviously he was not attached to them either.) Personally, I think it goes back to that Fitzgerald dude that I had to spend an unearthly amount of time teaching about his "wonderful" book (The Great Gatsby) that I didn't care for on the first reading. It didn't improve by having to dissect it. The student teacher doesn't get to pick the books though! :-( (I also tend to steer very far away from lengthy book series. I get bored with the story or the intensity or lack of such after the first book or two---three if the author is very good.)

I had a friend in 9th grade that kept funneling me a fantasy series which I loved though. If only I could remember what series it was! On the other hand, that was the year I read some Harlequins and was enthralled through at least the first two. That was also the year I discovered Gone With the Wind (quite on my own). So I had some taste anyway even if I did try the Harlequins briefly!

Back to Card's book. I loved Rachel and Leah. They are part of the Women of Genesis series, and I have loved each one of them. They are awesome! I love the insight and the total likelihood of the emotions and thoughts he writes about. I think that so many authors manhandle the women in the Bible. They had the same feelings, the same issues, as we do. We are not stick figures, who move around dumbly according to some preplanned program. We are women of free choice, even the most unthinking chooses to not think.

Why would those women be any different? This book is fiction, obviously because you cannot write a book length novel about any one person in the Bible without adding information or at least dialogue. I think it succeeds though, because it considers challenges and responses faced by other women and allows us to think about our own challenges and responses we make to them. And I love books that do that!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A memoir of courage

I just finished the book, The Children of Willesden Lane; Beyond the Kindertransport: A Memoir of Music, Love, and Survival. In my opinion, this is an incredible book. I had never heard of it until the library began promoting it. The author, Mona Golabek, is a concert pianist and the daughter of the girl (Lisa Jura) memorialized in this book.

It opens with Lisa going to her final lesson from a master in Vienna. The opening chapter paints a stark reality as she learns what it is like to live with the Nazis as a Jew. Even more heart wrenching is her realization that she can no longer take piano lessons because the Nazis will not allow mingling of Jew and non-Jew. The reader also realizes that this is a girl with tremendous musical talent.

The next scene is one in which the Nazi soldiers wreak destruction in her own Jewish community, and her father is hurt. Her parents face the heartbreaking decision of having to choose which of their daughters they will send from Vienna. They only have one ticket on the Kindertransport and two daughters young enough to go. As she leaves, her mother holds onto her and encourages, no commands, her to hold onto her music, knowing it will be the only familiar thing to sustain her.

The book follows Lisa in her struggle in London, first to learn that the cousin who sponsored her coming cannot take care of her, and then to find a home that will allow her to remain with other children like her. The reader feels the terror and fear and finally realizes the joy she finds in her daily life. Throughout, she listens to her mother’s counsel and follows her music, finding solace and hope in it.

This book left me in tears many times and exulting over her successes in others. What a touching story of hope and love triumphing over fear!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


I have now made it to Isaiah in the KJV Old Testament! I am thrilled!!! I have read many of the individual books in the OT before and I know the stories and history covered in the Old Testament, but this is the first time (including seminary) that I am actually reading it cover to cover! At times, it has been hard going, but other times it has been tremendously fascinating!

It helps that my kids and I have been studying Ancient History in school for the last year. Things are coming together for me with both going at once. I believe another reason the OT has been so much easier to understand is because I am reading the Book of Mormon alongside it. Okay, so I've read the Book of Mormon several times since beginning the OT. It's a much easier read, but it brings the Holy Ghost in so that I understand the OT so much better!