bethlee (bethlee) wrote,

update 1-17-11

I was thinking of writing on the 15th, when it turned to summer weather here. The breeze was cool but the sun very hot. So it was a lovely day. A perfect summer day. I do remember back in my college years reading a poem with the words midwinter spring, and then we had a day where the temperatures jumped 40 degrees warmer, even though the snow stayed unchanged! My friends at the dorm changed into bathing suits and brought out their towels and took a quick picture laying out on the snow! But no, here it is truly warm. 78, at 8:30 in the morning! It's like we're south of the equator here. In summer, true summer, we have foggy cool days, so it isn't much like summer for those who visit Santa Barbara on their summer vacation. It's lovely to live here with free time in your schedule for an hour at the beach on perfect days like today.

But we also have wind storms! The wind was howling in the mountains as I stood outside talking with a friend yesterday afternoon. I could hear it before it came our way. It's not cold wind, just strong wind, and things not heavy enough go, fly far. I'm still getting used to that, thinking always: have we picked up outside, brought everything in?

Ravinia is sitting at the table stringing popcorn to put on the Christmas tree which is still outside, having been blown over twice now. It will disappear on Wednesday night, so I think she's okay to get on with her plan of popcorn and birdseed hanging on the tree. I suppose we have Northern birds visiting us, and they don't really need a Christmas tree mid-January, but there it is.

I discovered and have been having fun this fall trading books. Then recently I decided to cull our book collection again and sell books which I could post on Amazon (if they were going for pennies there I'd list them on paperbackswap). They're jumping off the shelves! This is wonderful because it makes shelf space as well as the hope of coming out even for new books. New books I've enjoyed are Engaging Father Christmas, the sequel to last year's Finding Father Christmas, both by Robin Jones Gunn, and A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World, by Paul Miller (NavPress) for book group discussion on Feb 9, and Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren Winner which is a nice comparison of Jewish traditions and how they're done or not done by Christians: Sabbath, Kosher, Lament, etc. I'm waiting eagerly for my copy of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (Zondervan) to be sent by Amazon and considering ordering a second copy for my neighbor Sierra Butler who reported 951 on her gratitude list since I'd given her a journal. Any of you beat that? The prize is the book! (I was proud to get to 500 at Christmas.)

Did you hear of the movie, Race to Nowhere? I didn't go to see it but heard about it from friends both at Westmont and in the homeschool group at park day. There was a panel discussion after the film and one of the panelists was a high achieving student such as those featured in the film but without any hint of "crash and burn"! Similarly related has been the discussion of a provocative article in the Wall Street Journal, "Why Chinese Mothers are Superior" (author didn't pick title, and superior may be toward their children or toward other mothers, reader's response tells about the reader! Also it may be a joke on "mother superior" but not easily.) The link to the article is
There's a wonderful response article here:
And responses to her book in China here:
My own response is that the first article is somewhat true, realizing she's painting in broad strokes. My relationships with Chinese mothers have been particularized: they are Christians, and they are rich with individual personality. I could write on and on, but we'll leave that for further discussion if you want to write back, okay?

It's later now. We've done a bit of school even though the neighborhood kids have the day off. Yesterday Ravinia totally surprised me asking, "Can we do school?" but she explained she wanted more of the read aloud book, The Hawk and the Dove by Penelope Wilcox, a chapter of which I did start at bedtime and finish this morning. It's a wonderful book, a bit above a 10 year old level, but not if read together. I had heard of homeschool kids asking to do school, but so far Ravinia had only asked on Saturday mornings if it were a school day. Quite funny, and yes, I do highly recommend Wilcox (3 book series) for book group reading.

She's off now to the lower neighborhood park to play with the Covington kids and whoever else shows up. I'll do house chores, gardening, and walk down later with the dog, Strider (Did I mention Ravinia has a dog-walking job for the semester? I haven't done much and Ravinia has learned responsibility to get the dog on time, to pick up after her, and love, play with, and return her. She's getting paid even, and puts the money in the Heydi envelop.), but right now I'm enjoying typing and a glass of iced tea!

I hope you are doing well whatever your weather (I do sometimes miss the snow!) and are able to enjoy and praise God for his manifold goodness.

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