The Bookmarked Life is my take on catch-all posts–a record to help me remember this season of life.
Right now I’m:
I went to a great concert this week with a couple of friends. If you get a chance to hear All Sons and Daughters and Sandra McCracken, you should go. Their sound was more what I would describe as hipsterish (in a good way) than their YouTube videos suggest. At any rate, during Sandra McCracken’s set, she told about how she loves to write new music for old hymns and Psalms, to help her think about the words in a new light. She described how during a recent difficult time in her life, she would stand at her kitchen counter with her Bible open, singing Psalms out loud to whatever tune came to mind. I thought, that’s bookmarked life! Sometimes I think when we get too used to a particular tune or style of music, we get into a rut of certain harmonies and melodies and it’s easy to overlook the depth and richness of the words we’re singing. I want to be changed by all of what I read–whether it’s a novel that raises new ethical questions, a book of history that helps me to set the present in perspective, or a Psalm that lets me know it’s ok to be angry at injustice and ask God hard questions. I appreciated the insight into how changing a setting can give even familiar words a higher impact.
…Furnishing my mind
Instead of candy in their Easter egg hunt, the kids found “fortune eggs.” Each contained a rolled up message like a fortune cookie, and their good fortune is that they will get a new sibling in November! Everyone is pretty excited about this development. In between the first trimester exhaustion and sickness, my mind is swirling with possible carseat configurations. The kids have begun the “what should we name the baby” discussions already. So far Agamemmnon and Roberta have been vetoed. Firmly.
I’m reading a biography of Queen Victoria and another on her son Edward VII, which ties in nicely to our school studies of the latter half of the 1800s this semester. The books are full of interesting anecdotes, like the time an old woman pelted Prime Minister Gladstone with a piece of gingerbread, rendering him nearly blind in one eye. It’s one of those moments where you aren’t sure whether to cluck in sympathy or laugh at being blinded by a bit of cookie.
…Living the Good Life
Although yet another round of stomach bug went through the family during Easter week, we did do some egg decorating. I bought some interesting gilding kits on 90% off clearance after last Easter, so we gave those a whirl.
Eliza was not allowed to paint the eggs, but she didn’t seem to mind.After our church’s egg hunt, I took the big kids to the living history museum near our house to see how Easter was celebrated in the 1800s. We saw a lady trimming bonnets and learned how you can dye eggs with onion skins, beets, and things like that. Also, the kids tried out a yoke for carrying water buckets and pronounced it heavy.Since I was singing in church on Easter, I had to be out of the house early and didn’t get to witness all of the Easter morning joy. Instead of full baskets, I put out an activity book, a new book to read, a small toy, and a mechanical pencil for each kid. I’m not sure why, but the mechanical pencil was HUGE for them. I also made hot cross buns from my friend Heather’s excellent recipe as is now our tradition, and left some brightly colored eggs.
We’re at that point in the year where it seems a real slog. Some people burn out in February; I burn out in April. It’s not hard for me to keep up with our history and literature and science, because we love to read and discuss those things. And I am pretty good about requiring everyone to keep trucking with math and handwriting and spelling. It’s the side stuff that begins to edge out–grammar and languages are harder to motivate for. But I’m gearing up to tackle all of it more diligently next week, and fortunately we’ve gotten ahead earlier in the year so a bit of a breather was not an enormous setback.
I’m trying to bear in mind the lessons I learned during my last pregnancy about slowing down and giving myself grace. I’d rather not have to learn them on bed rest again this time around! Because I don’t have much energy and it’s hard to concentrate when you feel ill all the time, I’m focusing in on the things that are really priorities–getting school done, keeping my business going, and getting enough sleep. Other stuff is taking a back burner, and that’s mostly ok. Some of it is necessity–it’s very hard to cook dinner when the smell of cooking food is anathema! We are experimenting with eating a lot of cold foods that don’t have a scent! And yes, that does narrow the field a bit! But certainly balance is about shifting to fit the circumstances, and we will get back to normal (or whatever the new normal will be!) eventually.
This week I enjoyed a podcast in which Michael Hyatt and Michele Cushatt interview Greg McKeown, the author of Essentialism. McKeown expanded on the themes in his book and offered some insight he’s gained since finishing the book (which I highly recommend you read, by the way, if you haven’t already!)
What are you bookmarking this week?