A look back at October as November Slipped In

Hey!

November seems to have arrived for me quicker than usual. The holidays are just around the corner and I’m still trying to recuperate from the month long writing challenge. If you missed the posts from my #write31days writing challenge on Wisdom From the Animals, you can find all of them here.

October was filled with writing, reading, and teaching. I think, at last count, I was participating in four Bible studies. Obviously, God is working on me and knows I need constant surveillance!

On books, I’d recommend To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee which I reread and  For the Love: Fighting For Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker. I really enjoyed both of these books.

For movies, my recommendations for old releases are The Good Lie about the lost boys of the Sudan starring Reese Witherspoon and The Big Year which is a comedy about amateur bird watchers and the competition to count the most species in a year starring Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson. The best new release that we saw was The Martian starring Matt Damon and based on the book by Andy Weir. So excellent!

In the music category for October, I downloaded a lot of Andrew Peterson. I particularly like The Burning Edge of Dawn CD and Behold The Lamb of God CD. I’m pretty excited about Adele’s new music too.

We went to see our son at the end of the month. I was so glad to see my boy. I missed him. He is doing great and school is jam packed with study. He is pursuing his doctorate in Geographical Information Science from the University of Illinois. I have no idea what he does but I’m proud. His advisor is tops in the world in this field so I think he is getting the education he needs as well as an introduction to Chinese since his advisor and most of his doctoral candidate group is Chinese. We ate at some great restaurants in the Champaign/Urbana area and learned a lesson: Never-ever-under-any-circumstance book a hotel room just off campus on a Halloween weekend. Bad idea. 4am. Two nights in a row. Enough said.

Jack got his undergraduate degree from U of I so he was pretty excited to be on campus again. We took the Amtrak train with a sleeper car. An excellent way to travel. You do need earplugs since the train whistle blows at every intersection.

austin and jack

Delta spent almost 2 weeks with my parents in Arkansas. We affectionately refer to her time with them as doggie boot camp.

daddy and delta

That rundown concludes the days of October that fell like fall’s leaves and ushered in November so quickly I barely got a chance to notice.

Blessings,

Mimi

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 NIV Bible

From A Mississippi Poet

Hey!

In the spring, I had an unexpected offer to review two books of poetry by an author from my home state of Mississippi. I was and still am so flattered that someone would ask me to review their work and post a review online. I have to admit along with the surge of excitement also came the weight of realization of “what if.” I worried about what if I disliked the work, what would I say, and then how would I review the work kindly and gently but honestly? Fortunately, that worry was lifted and unfounded as I began to read Patricia Neely-Dorsey’s books of poetry.In his Letters To A Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke instructs a young writer –

“write about what your everyday life offers you; describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty – describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember.”

This sage advice perfectly captures what Patricia Neely-Dorsey has accomplished in her work. For those from Mississippi, a sense of home and place will resonate strongly in the words and take you to the front porch, the church potluck, to musings about Elvis, and even to the budding of love. But, I believe her words transcend beyond the borders of our state and reach any who feel a connection to their home, to a simple life filled with the love of place, family, and friends as well as those who are curious about what it means to be southern.

Patricia Neely-Dorsey is a woman who cares deeply for her home state and is a reflection and vocal proponent of showcasing Mississippi’s finer points. She is the recipient of the title Official Goodwill Ambassador of Mississippi by Governor Phil Bryant and one of her newer poems (not included in these two books), Meet My Mississippi, is being considered for selection as the official state poem. Her poem, Country Living, below, is included in a textbook for high school students in Germany learning English as a second language.

From Reflections Of A Mississippi Magnolia:

Country Living

It’s grassroots.

It’s simple.

It’s basic, not plush.

Uncomplicated.

Uncluttered.

Unhurried.

Unrushed.

It’s relaxed.

Unpolluted.

Unequaled.

Unmatched.

From My Magnolia Memories and Musings:

Them Blues

Somebody’s always singing

Them Monday Morning blues songs

Them sho’nuff done me wrong songs

Them stayed out all night long songs

Them moaning, groaning love songs

Them bear your heart and soul songs

Them feel it in your bones songs

Them make you weak and strong songs

Them letting go and holding on songs

Them totally yours and mine songs

Them everybody knows songs…

We ALL love them blues…songs

One of my favorites is about reading but has a twist. From Reflections Of A Mississippi Magnolia:

Avid Reader

I want to be

Your favorite book,

That you read

Over and over again,

From cover to cover,

And get lost in the story.

Not a fairy tale.

Not a mystery.

No cliff hangers.

Just

A Plain

Old Fashioned

Love Story

If you love what you’ve just read and would like to learn more about Patricia, check out her website found here. Her books can be purchased on her website or you can also find her on Facebook here.

Blessings,

Mimi

“My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” Isaiah 32:18

Tidying the Nest

Hey!

Earlier in the summer amidst all of the clutter and chaos my house became after we began a renovation on an RV all summer (post to come), I looked around and thought, “This house is a disaster and as soon as the kids move out I’m purging all this stuff BIG time!” Technically, I might have actually said that statement out loud more than a few times. I think my receptors to words like clean, tidy, organized, and stress-free were heightened because I heard these words everywhere associated with Marie Kondo’s book. So, after much hype on blogs and GMA, I drank the koolaid and bought the book.

Ms. Kondo is touted as an organizer extraordinaire. She has developed a method of organizing called the KonMari method that has literally swept Japan’s households clean of clutter. Ms. Kondo describes her methods in detail throughout the book as well as sharing some of her personal history. All of that aside, I was underwhelmed by the book. I’ve read organizing books before, and just maybe I was hoping for a cleaning fairy wand, but I was disappointed.

What I did like about the book:

Her methods for folding are genius. I’m still working through the discarding of my clothes but I’m impressed so far. As a lifetime baller of socks, the idea for storing socks has really helped me save time and helped me to quickly get to the socks that I want. Also, the order and manner of discarding is unique. When I sorted my tops, for instance, the book instructs you to pile all of your tops from everywhere in the house (except the ones in the laundry) together to sort. Instead of room by room or closet by closet, she has you gather all of the like items into the same location before you discard. I found this idea easier than other methods and quicker. Lastly, Ms. Kondo states that the discard will take months. She’s right. Her approach is more comprehensive but I believe it will yield better results. This idea is obvious yet candidly refreshing.

 

What I did not like about the book:

Some of the practices that she would like you to incorporate as you are tidying are unrealistic and are perhaps better understood in a Japanese culture. I found some of them odd and off-putting. For instance, she suggests that you remove all of the contents from your purse each night, thank the purse for its service and allow it to rest for the evening before refilling the purse in the morning. Not going to happen here. Poor purse. She also requests that you verbally greet your home when you arrive and as you tidy your space and discard items that you thank the items for their service. Again, not for me. These practices are probably a reflection of her Shinto beliefs.

Ms. Kondo also shares parts of her personal history to explain her passion for organizing. I found most of these personal stories distracting to the book’s purpose. One story would’ve been sufficient instead of interspersed throughout the book. Perhaps, these personal insights would’ve been better suited to a memoir rather than a book on organizing. In addition, I also found the English translation glitchy at times. While the words were probably translated right, the overall gist was wonky in these places.

 

Ms. Kondo’s mantra to use while discarding is: Does it spark joy?  Overall, I’d say this book is a 2.5 stars joy out of 5 stars joy rating. I’m encouraged to use what I like from the book and discard the rest.

Blessings,

Mimi

So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.” 1 Peter 2:1-3 The Message