Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Exciting News for American Heritage Girls!

American Heritage Girls is launching a new program that I know will make lots of families happy. I've had lots of comments and emails from moms who wish their girls could be part of American Heritage Girls but don't have a nearby troop. There is a solution now: the AHG Trailblazer program.

Missionary and military families living abroad, families who live more than an hour's drive from a troop, or families with a disability or condition that limits them from attending a regular meeting can now take part in American Heritage Girls as a Trailblazer. This is much like the Boy Scouts' Lone Scout program. (If you don't know about that and have a son who is interested in Boy Scouts but you don't have a troop nearby, check out more information here.)

While AHG does have troops currently in 35 states and is growing every year, many parts of the country are still without a troop or have only one or two troops per state. I'm excited that so many other families will now get to experience American Heritage Girls!

And I'm telling you, the handbook alone is a great addition to any homeschooling curriculum!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Miscellany

* Only one more week of enrichment classes for this year! This session has gone incredibly fast. I've been teaching two sections of Basic Essay Writing for 5th-8th graders. Each class has 15-16 students, and I've enjoyed all the kids so much. Middle schoolers are so much fun—so interesting and funny. I love being able to teach in the context of a homeschooling support group, where I don't have to follow a school's curriculum—and where we only teach in two 10-12 week blocks!

* I find it interested that without fail, the No. 1 reason people come to my blog via Google is for this post: Fashion of the '80s. Seriously, like 20 people click on that every day from Google. I should spice it up and make it more worth their visit.

* And a couple of contests from fellow bloggers! In honor of her 100th post, Sarah at The Forest Room is giving away a beautiful necklace made by Ugandan widows with HIV. In honor of spring, Lisa at The Berry Patch is having a spring photo contest. She's got three prizes to give away.

* Jesse's out mowing the lawn for the first time this year. I love the smell of fresh cut grass and onions!

* I'm off to take Laurel to the dentist to have two more baby teeth pulled. Braces will be following in the next few months!

And that's all I have to say for now. Except that I need chili oil and loathe the thought of having to stop at the grocery store.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring Where You Are Photo Challenge

Lisa at The Berry Patch is having a spring photo contest. She's got three prizes to give away, and the contest is simple! All you have to do is document what kind of spring is happening in your area this week. I'm not sure that Lisa, who is in Maine, really wants to know what lovely things are happening here in Tennessee this weekend, but here are a few snapshots from our yard today (and my daughter took these--isn't she fabulous?):


Grape hyacinths


The last of the daffodils


Flowering crabapple

The azaleas are just starting

And the redbud is truly breathtaking.

What's blooming in your neck of the woods this week? Go out and take some pictures, write a post, and sign up at The Berry Patch!

Duncan's Kitchen Decor

It's not that I particularly needed my kitchen cabinets and drawers labeled…

But how could I possibly take all 20 signs down after he worked so hard on them—and spelled most of them without any help?

Sigh. At least I know where to find my junk.
I was wondering where it all was.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Living Lovely with Family

This week's theme for Living Lovely with Family at the very lovely Mt. Hope Chronicles: special treats, random surprises, and seasonal activities.

Special treats makes me think of, well, food. I often bake cookies and cakes. The problem is that I am usually baking these treats to take to some kind of function—church potlucks, scouting events, parties, etc. It always cracks me up and somehow touches me tenderly when I make a batch of cookies and they say, "What are these for? Where are we going?" When I assure them that they cookies are just for us, they are simply gleeful. Note to self: make more desserts.

Admittedly, I'm not particularly good at random surprises, probably because I don't particularly enjoy being surprised—caught off guard or unable to take part in the planning. (I probably need therapy for that.) But my kids do love to be surprised, and I'm working on being better on that. Just the other day my daughter asked me to sometimes not tell her when friends are coming over so that she'll be surprised. "But don't you want to clean your room first?" I asked. "Good point," she said. (She may need therapy later, as well.) But I do have a few surprises up my sleeve. Like yesterday I said to the kids, "Did I mention that we are having spring break this week?" They loved that.

But usually it's just little things, like sometimes I'll swing by and pick up a movie for them and let them watch outside of their "technology time-zone." (Translated, that means that my kids can't normally get on the computer, Wii, TV, etc. until after 4 p.m.) And here's a little something that they absolutely love: The Order of the Queen. This is a special edict issued by the Queen, whereas the day is declared “Game Day,” “Baking Day,” “Movie Day,” or such. No regular schoolwork is allowed. I'll print out an actual edict in an Old English-type font and roll up as a scroll to be opened at the usual start of school (if you have such a thing) or stuck under their doors.

That makes me think about another surprise that we had in college which I think I'll start implementing around here. Each spring we had a special day to look forward to: a surprise day off, with all classes canceled and lots of festivities going on around campus. This would be called "Marvelous Monday," "Terrific Tuesday," "Wonderful Wednesday," etc. depending on the day of the week, which had to be perfectly sunny and delicious. We wouldn't know until that morning, when we'd find an announcement slipped under our doors. I think I am going to have to work on starting a "Wonderful Wednesday" tradition around here…

And finally, seasonal activities. For us that pretty much means being in the mountains.

We live just 20 minutes away from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and the mountains hold something special every month. We often take advantage of a warm day in January for a hike. Late February brings our annual trek to Cades Cove to sit amongst patches of daffodils and soak in the blue spring sky. In late March the wildflowers awake and the redbuds and dogwoods color the forests with purple, white and pink. April brings the true onslaught of wildflowers, and May through September are camping months. Autumn is astoundingly gorgeous in the mountains, and we take several hikes during October and November. December is the one month that we don't normally go to the mountains, but of course there is no shortage of seasonal activities during the Christmas season!

How does your family make connections? Share on your blog and leave your post link over at Mt. Hope Chronicles. And while you're there, take some time to peruse and be inspired!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Today Really Is Our Anniversary

You've probably realized by now that we in SmallWorld like to have l-o-n-g celebrations of milestones, and 20 years of marriage is a major milestone. But this really is probably the last post about our 20th anniversary. Tomorrow I'll get back to posting regularly about fascinating topics like dead rodents.

I love what I gave Dr. H. for our anniversary, so I'm going to tell you all about it. While he was away at Cornell U. giving a seminar and eating at delicious restaurants, I was at home frantically scanning photos and going through every single letter and scrap of paper that we ever wrote to each other. Amazingly, we both saved everything, even though we broke up a lot, once even for 8 months. I also read through my journals and emails that I'd saved. I pulled out all kinds of quotes from these writings, like this one written soon after our engagement in 1988, when I lived at home in New York and Randy lived in Johnson City, TN:
"I hope you like the earring. I got a pair at the Cupboard in Cincinnati and I've got one in my top hole, so you'd better wear it. They're our engagement earrings!"
I know my friend Julie will appreciate that one. And this one, written by me to Randy when we were students at Milligan College and newly dating:
"I know that soon there well be the time when we'll have the rest of our lives to be together… really together."
I had no idea what that meant back then, but I knew that he was the one.

Eventually, I narrowed the photos and quotes to 35 pages in a Shutterfly photo album/journal. I took us on a journey in words and pictures across 23 years from 19-year-olds to college graduates to new parents to 40-somethings. And I was soooo glad that the book arrived in the mail in time (barely) for me to take it on our anniversary weekend trip.

We cried a lot.

And, really, this is the last time I'm going to blog about our anniversary. But I just want to say that my cup truly overflows. I am blessed beyond measure. I'll end this the way I ended our book, with a quote from my journal in 2002 that really says it all:

"My life is so much better than my dreams ever were."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

You Know What I Love About Little Boys?

I love that they simply must poke the dead rodent by the back door with a sword.

Aniversary Bash Winner and Other Miscellany!

* Thanks for all the comments on our 20th Anniversary Bash contest! I do hope you all get a chance to go to your anniversary destinations. Our little cabin in the mountains was absolutely perfect, and although I am still a bit sore from our hike to Chimney Tops, that was perfect, too. And Christy, a fellow homeschooling mom I see in real life every week, congratulations! You are the 20th Anniversary Bash winner! Check your email for your prize, coming soon!

* I'm sorry for the gigantic photo of me on my header. As soon as I mop the floor, I'm going to resize that. There is a limit to how big a photo of oneself should be!

* The latest Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Homeschoolbuzz. After I mop the floor and resize my header, I am going to spend some time perusing this week's entries!

* If you're wondering why I have so much time on my hands to blog, mop, resize, and peruse: my younger two kids are doing another 5-day day-camp at our local Montessori school, which still hasn't opened but continues to offer occasional classes for homeschoolers. This time they are doing "CSI: Cool Science Investigations," and I'm playing catch-up at home.

* I am going to go reacquaint myself with the mop now.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Our Anniversary Hike

We were determined to hike the Chimney Tops Trail during our anniversary weekend. For years we've been saying "someday," but this is really not the kind of trail you hike with young kids. OK, a few people were hiking this with their under-12 kids, but I would have been terrified that one of them would fall off the edge somewhere.

"Two miles into the hike, you will be able to see the chimneys themselves. Care should be taken as you follow the path to the right that leads to the top. Here you can see Mount Le Conte to the east, Mount Mingus to the south, and to the west, a steep wooded side of Sugarland Mountain. Injuries have occurred in this area, as there is a hole large enough to fall into, so take precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones safe."

"Despite the obvious risks, even the upper end of Chimney Tops trail is worn smooth in places by the hoards of hikers willing to risk life and limb to experience "the chimneys." Why? Adventure perhaps? Or perhaps the urge to explore the chimneys for themselves? Perhaps others go simply to be edified by the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, while others go to enjoy the abundant beauty of the old growth forest and flora to be found there."

"Although only two miles in length, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park trail to Chimney Tops requires strength and caution. Nevertheless, due to the excellent views available from this trail, as well as abundant wildflowers, streams and large trees, many feel a hike up to 'the chimneys' is well worth both effort and risk."

I was utterly exhausted after the hike, but it was worth every excruciating step.

(Quotes from GSMNP.com)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Three Beautiful Things: Weekend

1. We're celebrating our 20th anniversary.

2. We're going away for the whole weekend.

3. By ourselves.

What beautiful things are happening in your life?

Don't forget to leave a comment here to have a chance at winning in our 20th Anniversary Bash!

Monday, March 16, 2009

20th Anniversary Bash #2!

There we were, nearly 20 years ago, counting down the minutes until we were really, truly married.

And here we are, 20 years later, counting down the days until we are really, truly going away by ourselves. Every now and then Dr. H. and I go out on a date, usually to a concert or out to dinner. But we're pretty sure we've only been away overnight (without kids, that is) once or twice since we had kids, and one of those times was when we went to look for a place to live—in Iowa. So that was about 14 years ago. We're not sure when the other time was, so we're not even sure there was another time.

But this weekend we are going away. The kids are being farmed out to friends, and we have a nice little cabin reserved in the Smokies. Not in Gatlinburg, mind you, but on the Peaceful Side of the Smokies. (That's Townsend, for those of you who aren't local yokels. Think Christy.) We could go far, far away, but when you 20 minutes away from a place that's beautiful beyond description, why waste time traveling?

But if we had a week or so and plenty of money, we'd be going someplace tropical. Or Scotland. Or Australia.

I'm going to make it really easy on you this time. For Part 2 of our 20th Anniversary Bash, all I want to know is: where would you go for your 20th anniversary get-away? Or if you've already had your 20th, where did you go?

All you have to do this time around is leave a comment here, and you'll be entered in the contest. I'll be drawing the winner, by the way, next Monday. After we get back from our get-away weekend.

20th Anniversary Bash Winner #1!

I have so enjoyed reading your stories of wedding invitations and wedding music as Part 1 of SmallWorld's 20th Anniversary Bash!

As I promised last week, I have randomly picked a winner! My friend Laura wants to know how I "randomly" pick winners. Here is my scientific process: if you actually took the time to write a blog post, you got 2 entries (i.e., your name in a hat twice). If you wrote 2 separate blog posts, one for invitations and one for music, you got a total of 4 entries. If you left a comment with your answer, you got one entry, or two if you did both music and invitations. Get it? So I wrote your names all down on slips of paper, wadded them up, and drew one single name. My daughter said, "I hope it's Laura because she sent us Bananagrams" and my son said, "I hope it's Sam" because Sam is our youth minister, and then my daughter saw another name and said, "I hope it's Laurel" because that's her own name, and then I quickly wadded them all up and the winner is…

Lisa at The Berry Patch!

Lisa wrote one entry for invitations and another for music, which just goes to show that it really does pay to be an overachiever!

Thank you all for playing. Stay tuned for Part 2 of the 20th Anniversary Bash, coming soon!

SmallWorld's Wordsmithery: Metaphors and Strong Verbs

Welcome back to SmallWorld's WordSmithery! I know it's been a couple of weeks, but like I said in the last lesson, I'm keeping it real here. I don't do a whole lesson each week, and I don't want you to feel pressured to either.

If you are brand new here, you really must go back and start at the beginning or, frankly, you'll be rather confused. Here's what we've covered so far:
Lesson #1: Introduction and Journals
Lesson #2: Introduction to Creative Writing, Featuring Good Words
Lesson #3: Using Powerful Words to Create More Interesting Writing
Lesson #4: Similes

That brings us up to Lesson #5: Metaphors and Strong Verbs. As always, this lesson is loosely scripted. You might eliminate some things or add others as you go. I try to put the "speaking" parts in regular type and the answers in italics. And remember: parents/teacher: you should be doing the assignments, too! Here we go!

Metaphors and Strong Verbs

(Note: if you don't go through your journal assignments from the previous lesson on a regular basis, this is the time to share your journals! Also, if you didn't share your "Self-Portrait" exercise from Week 4, this is the time to share those. Remember: we only use encouraging words!)

I. The Lesson
A. Review: Last week we talked about similes. What is a simile? (A LIKE WHAT word. A comparison using “like” or “as.”)
B. Today we're going to talk about another type of comparison. This one is called a METAPHOR. Does anyone know what a metaphor is? (Allow for answers)
C. Metaphors are so much like similes that sometimes it’s hard to tell them apart. A metaphor compares two things, but it does NOT use the words “like” or “as.” A metaphor is telling you that one thing is like another without using the words LIKE or AS. Listen to these examples:
1. The ocean is a huge swimming pool.
• Why is that a metaphor instead of a simile? How can I change it into a simile?
2. My dog is a hungry wolf. (as the same questions for all examples)
3. Books are food for the brain.

D. This is a poem comparing the sun with both a metaphor and a simile. Read "Sun" by Valerie Worth. This is from her poetry collection All the Small Poems (and Fourteen More). I strongly recommend purchasing this book! Can you pick out the metaphor and the simile? (metaphor: the sun is a leaping fire; simile: the sun is like a quilt)

The sun
Is a leaping fire
Too hot
To go near,

But it will still
Lie down
In warm yellow squares
On the floor

Like a flat
Quilt, where
The cat can curl
And purr.
Repeat with Worth's poem "Stars" (metaphor: stars are fire-oceans, seas, crystal sparks)


While we
Know they are
Enormous suns,
Gold lashing
Seas of heavy
Silver flame,

The look as
Though they could
Be swept
Down, and heaped,
Cold crystal
Sparks, in one
Cupped palm.

E. Let’s try some of these together on the board. (Write on board--or paper--one at a time. Allow for plenty of answers. For example, "music is a waterfall on a hot summer's day." Make sure they do not use "like" or "as.")
1. Music is
2. The sun is
3. My cat is

F. So metaphors are just another way to make your writing more exciting. We’ve talked about using interesting words and using lots of good adjectives and similes and metaphors. Now we’re going to talk again about VERBS.

A. What can often be the most powerful part of any writing is a VERB. Let’s talk a little more about how important verbs are.
1. What is a verb? ( An action word. Let's not go into helping verbs, linking verbs, and being verbs here. We're sticking with "action" for this.) Is mountain a verb? Is green a verb? Is throttle a verb?
2. Verbs are action words. You can choose a weak verb like EAT or a strong verb like GOBBLE. You can use a word like PUT (as in “I put the book on the table”) or a word like “thumped” (I thumped the book on the table.)

B. Let’s listen to all the strong verbs in the poem "Raindrops" by Sallie Burrow Wood. Listen, and then tell me the verbs* as I read it again. Notice how, in this poem, raindrops do so much more than just "fall."
Rain Drops

~ Sallie Burrow Wood

C. Listen to these sentences:
1. “The old man walks into the room.”
“The girl walks into the room.”
What words are the same in both sentences? (walks) What part of speech is this? (verb)
What words are different? (old man/little girl)
2. So I used the SAME VERB with two very different people: an old man and a little girl. Let’s try this again together. Let’s start with the sentence about the little girl. Let’s bring her into the room again, but change the very to better make us see the AGE, SIZE, MOOD, AND CHARACTER of the little girl. (Note: it helps if you ask them to act these out.)
1. Let’s make her happy but ONLY by changing the VERB.
The girl ____________ (wait for answers--encourage them to use "happy" verbs like bounces, skips, hops, jumps, bounds) into the room. Show me what the girl might look like if she is coming into the room happily.
2. Let’s make her MAD but ONLY by changing the VERB
The girl ____________ (wait for answers, like stomps, stamps, thrusts) into the room. Show me what she might look like if she were coming into the room mad.
3. Now let’s do the same thing with the old man.
a. Let’s make him tired.
The old man ____________ (Encourage them to physically do this, and wait for answers, like trudges, hobbles, limps)
b. Let’s make him excited.
The old man ___________ (Encourage them to physically do this, and wait for answers, like hurried, ran, jumped)

Excellent! So you see how much you can do with your writing just by using exciting verbs.

If time, write these words on the board and see if they can find more exciting verbs. (Acting these things out always helps them to find more verbs. They could also use a thesaurus here!)

Journal Writings
****WRITE EVERY DAY!!!****

Use any kind of words you like: nouns, verbs, adjectives

Day 1
Complete the following similes:
• funny as a ______________
• quiet as a ______________
• ugly as a _______________

[For example: ugly as a two-headed baby turkey]

Day 2
Complete the following as a metaphor:
• The moon is…

[For example: The moon is a lighthouse guiding the earth on its nightly journey.]

Day 3
Change the verbs in this group of sentences into STRONG VERBS:
• Randy was eating pizza. James was eating chips. Kelly was drinking a milkshake.
[For example: Randy was chomping pizza.….]

Day 4
Describe your morning routine using exciting, strong verbs.

[For example: I jump out of bed, thunder downstairs, and skid into the kitchen, searching frantically for my breakfast. ]

Have fun with this week's lesson!

Missed the previous weeks? Click on the links below for the whole WordSmithery experience!
Click here for Assignment #1: Introduction and Journals
Click here for Assignment #2: Introduction to Creative Writing, Featuring Good Words
Click here for Assignment #3: Using Powerful Words to Create More Interesting Writing
Click here for Assignment #4: Similes

All material on the page copyright 2009, Sarah Small.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

It's SmallWorld's 20th Anniversary Bash!

**This post will stay at the top until March 16th, when I reveal the contest winner! Please scroll down for new posts!**

As I mentioned last week, this month Dr. H. and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary! I think an Anniversary Blog Bash is definitely in order! I'm going to be having two contests, giving you two chances to win. This week I want to hear about one of two things: music or invitations.

I was one of those little girls who always dreamed about my wedding. Probably a lot of it had to do with having three older brothers who got married when I was between 8 and 16 years old. I was a bridesmaid in all their weddings, so of course I fantasized a lot about my own wedding. I didn't think about cakes or dresses, though, I thought about wedding songs and invitations. Many years later, I finally to plan my real wedding with a real-life fiancé. You can read all about our wedding songs here and all about our invitations here.

And now I want to hear about your wedding music and/or invitations! Here's what you need to do. Write a blog post about your wedding songs. What were they? Why did you choose them? OR tell me about your wedding invitations. Did you pick out a special verse or poem, design your own, or what? Tell me whatever you want about one or the other, or write two different posts, you'll be entered two times! After you've written your post, sign Mr. Linky at the bottom of this entry with a direct link to your music or invitation post. If you write two different posts, be sure to sign Mr. Linky twice in order to get entered twice! If you don't have a blog, you can just post in the comments; I do not discriminate against the blogless!

I'll pick a random winner on Sunday night, March 15th, so you have until midnight to enter. And the prize? Of course we have to go with a 20, so the winner will receive a $20 amazon gift card via email. And if you don't win this week, there will be another contest next week!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Miscellany

* In just one week, Dr. H. and I will be away on our anniversary get-away. We have actually never done a weekend away—without the kids—in 16 years. Our original plans, a couple of years ago, was that we and two others couples who are also celebrating their 20th anniversary this year would go on a tropical vacation. We were thinking island, sand, ocean, etc. We were also working on the assumption that we would all magically have thousands of extra dollars. Since that didn't work out, we've put that on hold until our 25th anniversary year (surely we'll have thousands of extra dollars by then, right?), and this year Dr. H. and I are going away all by ourselves to a nice little cabin in the Smokies. Please don't come look for us.

* But you can still help us celebrate! There's still time to get in on my first 20th Anniversary Bash contest, and I'll start another one on Monday! Leave a comment over there or be adventurous and write a whole blog post!

* Thank you to Sarah over at The Forest Room for giving me the Kreativ Blogger award. (Now you all know that it is killing me that the creator of this award—who is probably long-lost in blog world—felt the need to spell this Kreatively, but I'm trying to not be a Spelling Nazi about it.) I have to put a word in here about Sarah in the Forest. I think she has just about the sweetest family I've ever seen, and I want to go to school at her house. AND I also really miss homeschooling with sweet little ones around whenever I read her blog, which is every day. Please visit her. She has fantastic ideas, and you'll feel calm and peaceful after visiting her blog.

* I will have another WordSmithery assignment out tomorrow, really! I haven't forgotten; time just seems to go so quickly.

* My 81-year-old mother fell down a flight of stairs this week. That is difficult for me to write. My father sent us all an email late one night after her afternoon fall, and I went to bed sobbing. Part of my weeping came from the utter gratefulness that she did not break a single bone, nor was she even seriously hurt. She did sustain a nasty bump on her head and bruised shoulders and arms, but she is recovering well. How miraculous is that? She is nearly 82. I know that God put his arms out to cushion her fall and keep her from somersaulting head over heels, which surely would have resulted in broekn bones. Part of my weeping came from fear and from feeling so helpless. My parents have gone back to New York to again put their house on the market, so that they can move down here permanently. (They have a house here less than a mile down the road.) My mother's fall makes the move seem even more urgent. I long for them to be out of that big house with its multitude of stairs and heavy upkeep. And I miss them. In these last years of their lives, I can hardly bear not seeing them every day.

* And so I take a deep breath and go on, thankful that my parents are healthy and active. And for this beautiful life.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Living Lovely with Family

I love this new meme at Mt. Hope Chronicles. Heidi's blog is one I never miss. I actually feel peaceful, serene and inspired when I visit her blog! When she announced that she was starting this new meme, I had to smile because for about a year I've had a note to myself to start a "Family Friday" meme. I am so glad she is doing this!

This week's theme—the inaugural edition—is to simply share on your own blog what you do (hope to do in the future, have done in the past, or remember from your childhood) to make daily connections and memories with your family.

The first daily connection that popped into my head is the family dinner. We do, indeed, eat supper together every night with few exceptions. But what really connects us—and what connected my own family growing up—is that we read together every day.

We have been reading aloud to our children from literally the first day that we brought our oldest home from the hospital. It didn't matter then what we read; I can remember Randy reading such things as the Journal of Systematic Botany and Western Civilization to Jesse when he was 3 weeks old. More than anything, we wanted our children to hear language and the sounds of our voices and the way that words fit together.

It seems that in the early years, we spend most of our days reading. All three literally cut their teeth on a hefty board book edition of Good-Night Moon. We always read three books at naptime and three books at bedtime, until they reached the chapter book stage. For awhile we read three chapters each evening, but as the books become longer, the chapters do too! I was blessed to be able to read to my oldest in the evenings until he was probably 12. I think our last evening read-aloud was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, right after Watership Down. Our younger two are eight and 11 now, and we continue our tradition of evening snack and a couple of chapters in the current book(s).

Because we homeschool we also read together during the day, as well. I probably spend an hour to two hours each day reading aloud to my younger two children. We always have a read-aloud going on (right now it's Across Five Aprils), as well as various history, science, and Bible readings. Of course I don't read to my oldest anymore, who is a junior, but his love of literature is deeply rooted. Rarely a day goes by that we don't talk about what he's reading and how he likes it. I love that he tosses away books that are clumsy and trite or have painful dialog.

I have two other posts on reading with children at my SmallWorld Reads blog: here and here (finding books for children).

If you have a daily family connection that you'd like to share, head on over to Mt. Hope Chronicles!

And if you'd like to win a $20 gift card so you can buy more books at amazon.com, check out my 20th Anniversary Bash to find out how you can win!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wedding Invitations

A freaky thing happened last summer. I was going through boxes of my stuff at my parents' house, discarding some, keeping more. I found an artist's sketchbook with a few drawings, which I ripped out so that I could give my daughter the rest of the book. At the back of it she found a wedding invitation that I had written—almost three years before Dr. H. and I were actually married. And nearly everything about it was correct, even most of the attendants. I was in awe of my confidence and overwhelmingly thankful that it had, indeed, all worked out. I had no idea what was coming in the next couple of years when I wrote that; I was just submerged in the security of new love.

It follows with my writing nature that I would have thought long and hard about wedding invitations. I'm pretty sure I never really cared much what the invitation itself looked like, as long as it wasn't cheesy. For me it was all about the text. Music and poetry have always been part of our life together, but finding just the right quote to fill a little space…

Eventually we settled on this quote from the song "Helplessly Hoping," written by Stephen Stills and recorded by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Dr. H.'s father, Ralph Small, officiated at the ceremony. He took our invitation quote and then built the ceremony theme around the verse from Ecclesiastes: A cord of three strands is not easily broken. What an awesome way to start our life together.

We were among the first of our friends to get married. I saved subsequent wedding invitations for several years. Most of them are rather similar—formal, black font on a creamy background. My favorite bears this quote: "Somewhere, inside of something, there is a rush of greatness; who knows what stands in front of our lives" (from the musical Hair). I still love that quote. (And I'd kind of like to see Hair again, come to think about it.)

Do you have a story about your wedding invitation? Tell me about it over at my 20th Anniversary Bash! Leave a comment over there OR write your own blog post and link back there on Mr. Linky. You can do it, and you might win a $20 amazon.com gift card! And if you don't have anything to say about your invitations, tell me about your wedding music. Again, just click HERE and leave a comment (or link back on Mr. Linky) to be entered!