December 30, 2008

Winter Scenes


Thinking 0f Winter today...it is supposed to be close to 70 here in Sunny AZ!

December 28, 2008

Arete Classical Studies Group

My reading group, Arete Classical Studies, is starting up it's spring 2009 reading program. It is a free group for slow readers (just means we do follow a schedule, but you are welcome to read at your own pace). This group is predominately Christian, but we are open to anyone who would like to read chronologically through the Western Canon of great literature.

Our spring study begins with the early Middle Ages and consists of Church History. You can read more at my blog: http://areteclassical.blogspot.com or join at the Yahoo reading group, http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/areteclassical

Here is the posted reading schedule for Spring 2009:

January 5 - Eusebius, book I
January 12 - Eusebius, book II
January 19 - Eusebius, book III
January 26 - Eusebius, book IV

February 2 - Athanasius, Intro-Chapter 4 (Eusebius, book V)
February 9 - Athanasius, Chapters 5-9 (Eusebius, book VI)
February 16 - Augustine, book 1 (Eusebius, book VII)
February 23 - Augustine, book 2 (Eusebius, book VIII)

March 2 - Augustine, book 3
March 9 - Augustine, book 4
March 16 - Augustine, book 5
March 23 - Augustine, book 6
March 30 - Augustine, book 7

April 6 - Easter break
April 13 - Augustine, book 8
April 20 - Augustine, book 9
April 27 - Augustine, book 10

May 4 - Augustine, book 11
May 11 - Augustine, book 12
May 18 - Benedict, Chapters 1-30 (chapters are very short)
May 25 - Benedict, Chapters 31-73

The online texts are linked from my blog. Please join us if you have a desire to read along with a discussion group.

December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

We are spending this Christmas with my parents and parents-in-law. Christmas Eve will be spent with DH's parents and Christmas day with mine. My father had minor surgery yesterday and is out of commission for the festivities tonight (dinner and Church). We are hoping he will feel better tomorrow -- considering that I am making dinner (at my parents house).

Christmas at the Botanical Gardens in Phoenix
Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/old_man/2133395319/

This has been a really nice Christmas month. Normally, I find myself rushed and not in the mood to enjoy the lights, the music, and the gift giving. This year, however, it has been OK so far. Well, except for a slight mishap while hanging some lights (I slipped and put my hand through our front window -- no damage to me other than being scared by the crash -- but our window didn't survive!) I determined not to hang any more lights up after our $250.00 unexpected "Christmas House Present!" My son was not pleased. We always participate in our street's yearly house lighting stint. From the corner of our street, all the way up to the next block, every house has outdoor lights on. It is a big deal here in Phoenix, where we decorate our cacti and other desert plants. We seem to love Christmas lights in the desert -- I guess it takes the place of winter snow!

The real disappointment for this season was not getting to hear/see my son's Chamber group perform at our local mall. My son's teacher had to leave town to help care for a ill family member and the performances were cancelled. Somehow it just wasn't the same without the mall performance (though we are grateful that our beloved teacher is back home and all turned out well!)

I guess I would say that I am looking forward to 2009 right now. 2008 has been an OK year for us. After our very scary 2007, with DH being ill and all, this year has been rather low-key. Nothing has really happened, one way or another. It has been a steady year for business, a good year for home schooling, and a good year family-wise (no illness, no deaths, etc.) I am looking towards a new year, filled with hope and prosperity and plenty of God's goodness and graciousness.

May the Lord richly bless you this Christmas season and may He give you a successful New Year in which your thoughts, your time and your talents, turn heavenward to give Him the glory.

December 18, 2008

Graduate School

It is funny how your life can change from one moment to the next. Two weeks ago, I was resolved to continue on a certain path and today I am heading out into uncharted waters. The person I am today is completely different from the person I was just a few weeks ago. Sure, I am still the same person -- home schooling mom to one gifted student, website designer, wife, daughter/daughter-in-law and so on. Inside, however, I am changed. My life has taken a turn, one that was completely unplanned and unexpected. It wasn't a total surprize to me...in fact...it was something I had buried down deep in my heart over 15 years ago. A desire, a dream really. It was left unfulfilled while I took a different path...the one that has led me to this place today.

You might be wondering what is going on...what has changed? Well, I have decided to return to college and pursue my PhD degree. This has been a long-time goal of mine, one in which I had to put on the back-burner when I found myself pregnant with my only child, back in 1993. At that time, I was almost finished with my undergraduate degree and was contemplating graduate study. My professors were encouraging me to do it and I was testing the waters, trying the idea on to see if it was a good fit for me.

I cannot say really how I knew I was meant to go to graduate school, other than the obvious prodding and pushing by my college mentors. I had a still, small voice inside me that was championing me on as well, but I was mostly persuaded by my professors and friends (and family) who thought I should "do it." I wasn't sure myself, but I did go through the initial stages of finding out about it. I toured nearby schools, took the GRE test, and picked up applications from schools where I thought I might like to study. The one thing that didn't "fit" was the actual program of study. I was a Humanities major in college and loved my program. It was classically designed, with a touch of Charlotte Mason tossed in, and was the most interesting and engaging course of study I could have taken. I wanted to continue studying Humanities, but the schools nearest me didn't offer the same type of courses. I decided instead on Literary Criticism, but felt unprepared without a Masters Degree in English Literature. I kept looking and looking, trying to see how it might work until one day, quite surprizingly, I figured out that it wasn't meant to be.

I was 30, just about to graduate from school, and found myself pregnant. My DH and I had been married 9 years and wanted children very badly. None found their way to us and when we received the news, were overjoyed at the thought of having a baby. However, a baby and graduate school just didn't mix, they were like oil and water. I knew I could go on, put my son in daycare and focus on my goals, but this wasn't what I felt inside. No, inside I knew that I needed to be a Mom first, college student second (actually about 19th on the list!)

It was one of the most difficult decisions of my life...to put my graduate study on hold. The idea had taken hold of me and had put a spark into my heart. I felt so strongly that I was to go on to school that I spent most of my pregnancy in tears. How could this be? I believed in my heart that I was take care of my son, stay at home and be a full-time mother. How could I feel both things so strongly?

Well, 15 years have passed since that day and I have wrestled with graduate study off and on. I have laid that desire at the Lord's feet and given it over to Him again, and again, and again. I have chosen home schooling, being a wife and mother, over being a career woman. My goal back then was to become a college professor. My goal later on changed and I became a SAHM.

I started this post with these words....the funny thing....well, the funny thing is that my desire to attend graduate school has never waned. It has remained a desire in my heart for the past 15 years. Yes, the flame has remained a soft flicker, but nonetheless, it has remained lit. I cannot really say what happened to me and why now I am planning on attending school, other than to give credit to the Lord Himself. He has called me to do this and has given me permission to do it now.

This post is rambling, I know, but I am trying to piece it all together. How the Lord directed me to this program, this course of study, this path....now. Moreover, how He has led me to our local University where the program of choice just happens to deal with education and curriculum studies. Oh my....the current research being done at this University is centered on defining what makes a person educated (ahem, Miss Mason) and also considers the needs of students, both public/private schooled and home schooled! The Lord has landed me smack-dab squarely in the middle of a major University where I can study something of keen interest to me personally. He has opened the door and told me to walk through it.

I am still swooning over the realization that He has given me permission to do this and that this is something I really, really, really want to do. My head is full of details and still swims with questions of logistics. How will this come to pass? Will I be accepted? Can I afford this path?

For now, I am content to know that this is His will. It is the culmination of 15 years of longing, sighing, and wanting something that just wasn't meant to be. In His great mercy and with His loving compassion, He has permitted me to have the desire of my heart. God is so good. His mercy endures forever!

My life verse(s) is Psalm 37: 4-6

4 Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:

6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Praise God for He is So GOOD!

December 6, 2008

School Update

WOW! It is hard to believe that Christmas is almost here. This is my favorite time of year (also the time when I get the most depressed -- I love the season, but find myself sad a lot of the month). We have started to get ready for the holiday and have put up the tree and added lights to our house. Last evening, I was hanging lights in our front window when I fell and my hand hit the glass and shattered the entire pane. I wasn't hurt, more scared at the thunder of the glass crashing around me. We put up a temporary cover (cardboard) and will have to have the glass man out today to repair that window pane. UGH! So much for embellishing our holiday decorations. I told my son that I had enough and that there would be no more lights this year! Sigh!! DH said that maybe in a day or two, I would feel differently....well...we will see!

School is going well. We have just finished term 1 and so far so good. We are back to Ambleside Online, at least for our support system. I hope to use it again next year when we cover American History.

Some awards/achievements/announcements:

  • DS passed his Ham Radio General Class License exam in November. This was a HUGE achievement as the exam and prep class were very, very hard (some Calculus). The exam is one where you have to pass a minimum number of questions, rather than one where the best score counts. He passed and he is so pleased! He is now deciding whether or not to keep his current call sign or register for a vanity one.
  • Two holiday performances are on tap: December 20, DS performs along with Chamber members at the Arizona VA Hospital Nursing Home; December 21st, DS performs @ 4:00 p.m. along with Chamber at the Paradise Valley Mall (Tatum/Cactus Blvds)
  • DS saved his money and has recently purchased a Canon ZR-950 video camera. He is making movies and recording everything that happens around the house (even the window breaking event from last evening -- a reminder to him -- help your Mom FIRST before recording the story!!)
Well...sending you many wishes for a blessed Christmas season!