Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Scientific terms

I currently homeschool my kids. I do so for a variety of reasons, none of which have anything to do with hating public school, as some people assume.

Anyway, this year we have an excellent science book called Science in the Ancient World. It's awesome. Each chapter has an experiment that goes with it and we're learning stuff about people like Galileo and Aristotle. Stuff I never knew much about before.

Today our lesson was about a man named Erastothenes, who lived around the time of Aristarchus, the guy who first theorized that the earth was NOT in fact the center of the universe. No one believed him at the time, but that's beside the point. Aristarchus knew the truth, darn it all, and was finally vindicated in his beliefs over 1500 years later when heliocentrism became the norm. But again, that's beside the point. We're talking about Erastothenes.

Erastothenes was the first person to calculate the circumference of the Earth. How he did it is an amazing story involving the sun, shadows, and geometry, but anyway he did it. So in school this morning we discussed at length how he did it, what a sphere is, what angles are, what circumference means and that sort of stuff.

I was feeling pretty proud of teaching my kids about something as cool as Erastothenes and the circumference of the Earth. I felt like maybe I'm good at this homeschooling thing after all. How many six year olds know about these things, right? Surely this information will somehow enrich their lives for years to come. Right?

It didn't take long for my bubble to burst. My husband came home briefly for lunch and saw what we had been studying and asked the boys about it.

"Who is Erastothenes?" he asked. My heart grinned in anticipation of the display of knowledge I just knew was coming.

"Ummm...." one son said. "Well......"

I turned my attention to the other son. He would save the day, I thought. He would demonstrate right then and there that all my efforts had not been in vain.

He cleared his throat and confidently gave his response. "Erastothenes is the guy who circumcised the Earth."

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


So I guess it's been awhile since I posted. Things like the new siding (and new windows, doors, and trim) project at our house, three kids passing around a stomach bug with ALL that entails, and trying to rescue my house from the crushing weight that was October have not left me much time for reflection. Or story-telling. And I do love a good story.

But then I got an email this morning reminding me that November is National Adoption Month.

There are few things I love to talk about more than adoption. Since February 2011, when we started our own adoption process, I've read and heard and learned so much about adoption I could go on for days. During the time we were waiting for permission to travel to pick up our daughter, it was almost all I could think about. But there are already millions of websites and articles out there about all that and I don't need to add another one. And I don't plan to turn my blog into a personal soapbox about adoption. (collective "phew!" from all readers, I know)

Instead I want to share a video that summarizes our 3 1/2 year adoption process. Videos are more exciting than articles, right? And if you're not interested, just don't click the link.

Some of you saw this video a couple years ago but it says what I want to say better than I could with my words.


P.S. Yes, I know it's weird to see me with long hair in the video. And no, I don't ever plan to do that again.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Bad dreams

I hate the feeling of regret.

Coming up on two years ago, I had a bad dream about an old friend. I spent several days worrying about this person before I finally googled their name, thinking I might be able to find an email address or some way to get in touch with them. I wanted to make sure they were okay. I wanted to tell them I was thinking of them.

The very first result Google gave me was a link to this person's obituary. They had been speeding around a sharp curve in the dark of night and died instantly when their car failed to make the turn and hit a tree. It had happened only a few weeks earlier.

It took me a long time to get over that.

Last night I had another bad dream. It was terrible actually. In my dream, another old friend from my high school days was strung out on drugs and tried to kill me. This person was someone with whom I used to be close, someone I loved, but I had lost touch with them when I moved away from my hometown.

You can understand why I checked Google immediately when I woke up this morning. As far as I can tell, my friend is still alive. After my initial relief, however, the regrets came pouring in. Why didn't I keep in touch? Why wasn't I a better friend? Why can't I protect and take care of and save the whole entire world? Why, why, why?


This leads me to the message I'm trying to internalize today. Actually, there are two messages, and they are directed at myself, but maybe some of you can relate so I will share them with you all as well:
1) You are not in control of the world. God is.
2) Don't think you'll get another chance. Sometimes you don't.

It's kind of a downer of a message but maybe that's appropriate for a cold, dreary day like today. And maybe it's to be expected after a long night of bad dreams. But I don't want to keep looking back and having to wonder: Why? Or worse: What if? Do you?

If you have someone in your life you've been meaning to reach out to or something you've been meaning to say or do - don't put it off any longer. Don't keep waiting for the perfect opportunity. Because there's nothing worse than regret.