Monday, June 30, 2008

Another book

I married someone who loves to listen to lectures and books. While I find that admirable it is not something that comes easy to me. I am way to focused a listener (or hearer) so the world needs to be still is I am going to listen. Well, with the arrival of an IPOD in my life a little over a year ago, I am slowly learning to listen to books while I walk, bike, garden, or sew.

I am a big fan of Audible, and that is where we get much of our listening material for long roadtrips. This past winter, I purchased Velvet Elvis from Audible and am now just getting around to listening to it. It is going on my shelf of books I believe everyone should read... or listen to. (If you are the listening type, it is a GREAT recording, read by Rob Bell himself.)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

BBQ weekend

Yesterday our friend David and his daughter Chloe had us over for a BBQ at East Pond. While the sun didn't come to their party, we had loads of fun with them. I was so blessed to get some great photos of a dragon fly.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Read this before you go to your bbq today....

Our friends Jerry and Christy are adopting a little girl (Hanna) from Ethiopa. They have a blog about their process and some of what is going on in Ethiopia. I challenge you to read this, prayerfully, today.

Friday, June 27, 2008

2 books

that I am reading at the same time....

The Sabbath is by Abraham Heschel. Every time I pick this up I think "oh I have to put that quote on my blog" and I realize that it is practically the whole chapter. This is such a gracious and amazing look at the Sabbath and why it is such a gift to us.

Adrenal Fatigue, by James Wilson, is a book I bought because some of my research about depression and thyroid mentioned this. It is a good look at what our current pace of life can do to our bodies, but I am most impressed that over half of the book is about wellness. Lots of good information.

I didn't plan on reading the two books at the same time. It just sort of happened. But they happen to be wonderful partners to each other.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Slow Down - it makes good cents

Last week, we hit 53mpg in the Prius. I don't remember hitting that last summer, and I am pretty psyched about it. Driving has become much more of a game with the mpg indicator 16 inches from my right hand while I'm driving. I know which routes will bring me home most efficiently. I spend time doing math in my head (if I drive this many miles at this many mph vs that many mph, what is the time difference) to stay awake on longer trips. I coast down our dead end street and into our driveway resisting the impulse to accelerate one more time in those 100 yards. Yes, I would call myself a 'nempimaniac'.(Nempimania (also Nenpimania) is an obsession with getting the best fuel economy possible from a hybrid car. It is derived from the Japanese "nempi" (燃費)--a contraction of nenryōshōhiryō (燃料消費量) meaning fuel economy, and mania, meaning "craze for." Nempimania is exhibited by owners of the Toyota Prius and other hybrid owners by various habits aimed at maximizing fuel economy: slow starts, "Pulse and Glide", timing stoplights, driving barefoot, etc.)

But as a Prius owner, I have a dirty little secret. Actually it's big, and black. A 2000 Ford Windstar. We've had it almost as long as we've had Caleb. We bought it when we were driving from NY to ME a couple times a year, and living at a boarding school. It has very low mileage, and it's gas mileage.... well, you know.

For awhile, we told ourselves that it was the only reasonable option for a family with three young children. But we have found that three children (in 2 boosters and 1 standard carseat) can
be smooshed into the back seat. Yes, I admit it is smooshing. But when the kids are older, they will understand that smooshing meant we had the flexibility to go on some of our more fun summer roadtrips.

Well, now we own the Ford, so no matter how bad the mpg is for the tank, is it really worth another debt-line? For now, we think not. So now I am trying to learn to drive differently, when I drive. At this website here are some recommendations: And here is a quote that should at least get you thinking:

At 65 mph you're burning 10% more fuel than at 55, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. At 70 you lose 17% of your fuel economy, and at 75 it’s 25%. The numbers get worse from there. (

But what is most stirring for me is how a necessary lifestyle change has become a place of growth and healing and rest. Let me explain.

Do I need to go there now? When gas was 'reasonable', I didn't ask that question. Just hurried everyone out of the house (2 boosters, 1 carseat), stuffed everyone in the car, hurried, through the errand, hurried home. Repeat. As many times as it happened to enter my mind. Now I evaluate: no I won't be cooking with that for a couple days so it can wait; oh, I'm already planning to be over there tomorrow night; and even recently I had the joy of telling someone "I'm sorry I can't, it's not one of my driving days".

Do I need to shop? Face it, shopping, the going out and going shopping, is often an emotional outlet. Sure the kids need new underwear or you need a new SD card, but when I get honest I remember that that has been the case for a couple weeks (or more, sorry Anna). And nobody is going to lose sleep, nor am I going to lose productivity (lost that years ago) by choosing to (a) order it online, (b) not acquire it at all. So not only do I save my gas pennies, but sometimes I save many pennies. Of course this means that I need to re-discover healthy ways to deal with the legitimate emotional need, but I think that is for another post.

Speed limits. Speed limits are to driving as Sabbath living is to spiritual disiplines. I love this part. It has gone far beyond the saving money game. Driving the speed limit, in town or on the highway, has become a delightful time of peace for me. I had no idea how hurried I was until I began to play the 'save gas game'. I coast to stop signs and red lights. I accelerate only when necessary. It is like tithing. (Marc talks about when we were in debt and we would pay the tithe first - he says it felt like he was screaming at the tithe "You don't own me, I'm the Son of the King".)

If my lifestyle has been 70mph, and I change my lifestyle to 55, then there are potentially 15 minutes added to a particular trip. Do I really need to save that 15 minutes for something in my day? Or do I give it conversation in the car? Or to listening to a great book or lecture in the car (this summer we are enjoying Narnia books from Audible)? Or actually taking time to see where I live?

I filled the windstar with gas almost two weeks ago (it wasn't even down to the 3/4 line so it wasn't too painful). My goal is to make this tank of gas last 4-6 weeks. I'll keep you posted on how we do.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Harry Potter 7 and Caleb

(if you haven't read it, there will be spoilers)

Caleb is reading the 7th Harry Potter to begin his summer. He has read the first six over the past year. Today, we were driving home from Britnee's graduation/birthday party when we heard a big sigh from the back seat. I looked back, and there was Caleb, a little pale with his hand on his forehead.

"What's the matter Cale?"
"Dobbie just died."

A heaviness settled over all of us. I remember when Dobbie died the first time for me. One of the saddest book moments that I have ever had. But I think seeing Caleb try to come to terms with it was even more heart-wrenching than Dobbie's death itself.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Firefox 3

Firefox is releasing version 3 on Tuesday. As part of their publicity campaign they are trying to get the Guiness World record for most downloads in 24 hours.

If you go to, you can pledge and play with a really cool map that shows how many people in each country you mouse over have pledged to download on Tuesday. It's quite fun and a little mind-bending.

Iceland: 998; Uruguay: 2, 747; Bangladesh: 538; Cuba: 364.....

Who knew?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New Hat

Here is my new hat. In between morning and afternoon tasks of weeding and planting, I made this! Cool what can be made from scrap fabric, isn't it?
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Monday, June 02, 2008

cool words

I just spent some delightful time browsing this list of words:

I can't tell you why, but it was just too fun to remember some and learn some new words.


I just spent an hour and a half with an Ortho gun shooting all the dandelions in our yard. And there are a LOT of dandelions in our yard... like you would think we seeded dandelions instead of grass lots of dandelions.
futility noun uselessness as a consequence of having no practical result

(*bloggers disclaimer* I am not saying that Ortho is a futile product. In fact, we have had great success with the product in our war against dandelions in past years. I will keep you up to date with this summers battle to have a 'proper suburban yard' - um, if I remember.)