Monday, January 31, 2011

The Strong-Willed Child

The Strong-Willed Child: Birth Through AdolescenceThe Strong-Willed Child: Birth Through Adolescence by James C. Dobson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

It's becoming clear that little E has a very independent spirit. Which is good, really, it'll make her a critical thinker and strong individual. We think already that her physical looks are from her Daddy, but her personality, for better or worse, is definitely more like her Mama's.

But, her strong spirit is going to take some serious molding to really make it shine. Mama and Daddy know best, regardless of what the little one thinks. So, I read this book in order to get a sense of Dr. Dobson's perspective on the matter. I have to say, I went in with a really bad attitude towards Dobson (the reasons for which is a long, long story worthy only of being told in person). In The Strong-Willed Child, Dobson has the same paternalistic, agenda-pushing tone that I remember from previous encounters.

BUT. I did get several good ideas out of the book, including the necessity for consistency, regardless of the kind of punishment, and the importance of avoiding empty threats. There were several chapters on later childhood which I may have to revisit at a later date, but for now, I think I have some solid concepts to work towards.

And, finally, one can't discuss The Strong-Willed Child without mentioning spanking, which Dr. Dobson wholeheartedly endorses (with certain limits). I'm very on the fence regarding the use of spanking (my fence-sitting is the subject for another in-person discussion), and Dobson's said endorsement changes none of my hesitance.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Tile and Grout

I've not been very good about posting pictures of house renovation stuff. I think once it's all done and I can look back on the whole project, I will do a whole series. 
But I got a couple pictures of B and his dad putting grout on the tub surround, so I thought I would post them. We've come a long, long way from the day B and my brother installed the tub:

 Most of the house is painted yellow, including the bathroom, and the tile around the tub is white, with two blue mosaic-y strips around. The vanity is a black-ish stain.
So yellow and white, with blue accents and black furnishings. We'll see how it turns out.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Walking is Good for the Soul

Life is ramping up with activity and thoughts of the coming events of summer. 
Many seeds to plant and plants to grow; 
new babies (not ours, before any rumours start!);
friends moving nearer. 
Now is the time for planning and anticipating and preparing.

And enjoying the lengthening days and bright bright sunshine of late. Thank God for sunshine!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Folk Bloodbath

Josh Ritter is definitely one of our top folk artists right now (Dan if you're reading this, you should really check him out...though he doesn't play the banjo).

We recently discovered that he has a degree in American folk music history. Of course he has a degree in American folk music only makes sense.

And so, without further ado:

Folk Bloodbath:

The Sun Returns

With many consecutive days of snow and cold and wind and cloud, my brain is foggy and it's hard to keep up the motivation to think and interact--either with people or with words. But I continue to have a responsibility to myself, to E, to the blog and to God to keep thinking, even when it's fuzzy thinking.

So, trying to get back on track with Epiphany. I've been listening to sermons online from our old church in the city and enjoying the insight received there. I'm having a very hard time being motivated to read my just feels like "same old"...the same words I've read a hundred times. I'm a PRO at skim-reading (one has to be to survive grad school) and I feel like I'm just skimming. I need to shake things up. I've been meaning to get a different translation for a long time, like the New Living Translation...I really need to get on that. I did, however, order a meditation guide recommended by a friend and spiritual advisor, so hopefully that will help me find my epiphany.

Winter always makes me hermitatious--wanting to hole up--but it's a vicious cycle, because when I do that, I get depressed, which makes me want to be a hermit even more. What I really need is to stay active--physically, spiritually and relationally--even in these dark and cold winter days. I know many people suffer from this problem in the winter.

Consequently, this quiet exploring time in the church calendar, when we're to examine Christ's life, presents a bit of conundrum for me in conjunction with winter. It's a meditative time in the calendar, but it would be much easier for me if there were something I could do instead of just be thinking. But thinking is important just takes more concentration and effort, and my fuzzy brain is lacking in concentration skills right now.

So, the plan is to fight the hermit temptation, and to look for ways to reach out and to motivate and stimulate my intellect and spiritual journey.

Who's with me?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Meanwhile, Indoors

It's cold and very snowy outside, making outdoor time less than pleasant
(ask E about her faceplant in a snowdrift...)
so we're trying to stay occupied indoors
...but also quickly going stircrazy.

Things are coming together quickly on the house.
Linoleum went in Tuesday,
kitchen drawers and cupboards went in Wednesday,
the island went in Thursday.

Tonight is a night off working on the house and a date night instead,
to which we are all (especially yours truly) very much looking forward.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Epiphanic Thoughts

"We who have seen the light of Christ are obliged,
by the greatness of the grace that has been given us,
to make known the presence of the Savior to the ends of the earth...
not only by preaching the glad tidings of His coming;
but above all by revealing Him in our lives...
Every day of our mortal lives must be His manifestation,
His divine Epiphany, in the world which He has created and redeemed."
--Thomas Merton

In my experience, preaching rarely works. Preach; preachy; preaching. No matter what the version of the word, it has negative connotations for me...ones of "holier than thou" attitudes, of  hypocrisy, of empty words, of force. Now, not all preaching is like this--I appreciate a good meaty sermon very much--but I don't think it makes a very good life attitude.

Which is why I strive to reveal Christ, rather than preach Him. I learn best by watching the good example of others...and I'm sure others do too. And now, with a pair of small bright and aware blue eyes following me and taking in all my words and actions, I need to be even more aware of how I model Christ in my life.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Farewell and beyond

Image borrowed with permission from B's photographic project.

Today is officially Epiphany: the sixth of January, the Twelfth Day of Christmas..
With it comes the end of the Christmas season in our books. We packed up our decorations and took the tree outside.

But, in my reading about Epiphany, I am discovering that it marks not the conclusion of Christmas so much as the beginning of a season of thinking about Christ's life. Churches begin a new season with Epiphany...decorating with white for the first week to recognize Christ's baptism by John, and then switching to green until Transfiguration.

So, from Advent to Christmas to Epiphany we travel. And in this time of Epiphany, I shall re-examine the life of Christ as presented through the gospels, and ask:

What kind of man was He, in whom we place our faith of salvation? And, what makes Him so worthy of this faith and trust?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Magic of a Morning

 It's a beautiful day.
 After a chaotic and unusual day yesterday, I'm thankful for the gentle mystical beauty of this morning.
We got up and went outside first thing;
to shovel snow, to go for a short walk and stretch our muscles, and to enjoy the sunrise through the fog.
What a lovely start to the day.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Waiting for Epiphany

A friend dropped by with a book.
A gift for Epiphany.
And a much needed reminder to return to my  project of the church year, and a inspiration for said project.
(Thanks friend!)

What is Epiphany?
It is the day we celebrate the coming of the three kings to see the infant Jesus. Which represents the spreading of the Gospel to all nations. The multicultural threads of the story of Immanuel, God with Us.

Another question:
What is an epiphany?
According to the dictionary
"a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience." (bolding for emphasis mine).

In the previous mentioned epiphanal gifted text (yes, I just made up the word epiphanal) the reading for January 5th is from John Donne, one of my favourite spiritual writers. In regards to Epiphany, he writes:

"...Every action that manifests Christ to us is his birth, for Epiphany is manifestation. Every manifestation of Christ to the world, to the Church, to a particular soul is an Epiphany, a Christmas Day."

I like this, this idea of a manifestation of Christ to an individual being an Epiphany. One example of this--the first example--was Simeon's experience when Jesus was first presented at the temple. Simeon literally and physically experienced The Epiphany...the presence of the Christ. Really, that's what The Shack is...a story of a man experiencing an Epiphany...God manifested in his life in an earth-shattering manner. 

In this season of Epiphany that begins on the 6th and ends with the beginning of Lent, may we find said Epiphany...these "simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience[s]" that manifest Christ to us. And, greater yet, may we be a manifestation of Christ in the lives of others.