Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Man's Search For Meaning

I have been re-reading Victor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning. There is a theory that man evolved from animals. That we once walked hunched, giving in to our baser instints as we scrambled through our basic lives. It is interesting to read of the accounts of World War II from a psychologists point of view. Who are we? In such a short book Mr. Frankl recounts images that would prove those baser instincts. That animalistic genetics that must, if the theory be correct, reside within each of us. It makes me grieve for humanity. But then there are the other stories. The few men who would give up a piece of bread, on the point of starvation, to someone who needed it more. The rush outside to witness a glorious sunset. The men who missed meals to hear a rare concert of Italian arias from someone who did not always look like a walking scarecrow. Surely these stories whisper, there must be a spark within us that yearns for these things. A spark that separates us from our baser selves. From whence did this spark come? From the monkey hanging from the tree or from something divine? My favorite quote of Mr. Frankl's is that the war showed us who we truly are.

 "After all, man is that being who has invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who has entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer or Shema Yisrael on his lips.

I have a friend who recently blogged about how she usually only reads realistic fiction. It made me think. I am continually bouncing through genres. Classics, mysteries, historical, biographies, fantasy, science fiction....if it is well written then I will give it a read. Lately though I have picked up quite a few 'beach reads'. This is my term for fun reads that really require no thinking. As much of an escape as these are whenever I return to truly great works I often wonder why I don't read them all the time. They change my thoughts, my attitute towards my life, my conversations with my husband. In essence, they change who I am.

More Great Quotes From Man's Search For Meaning
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our reponse lies our growth and our freedom.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
When we are no longer able to change a situation we are challenged to change ourselves.
Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked.


Monday, June 18, 2012


Monday is like a spelling test that your teacher has just passed out, and you haven’t had time yet to make any mistakes. It’s like a blank piece of art paper that you haven’t messed up. Monday is like the second after your teacher asks you a mental math question in front of the whole class–but you haven’t given the wrong answer. Yet. Any good thing can happen on a Monday!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Sometimes you need a break. Sometimes a break is given to you.
Our internet stopped working.
The world did not end.
Bills got paid.
Schedules were maintained.
Hmmm, I can live without blogs, pinterest, and facebook. I can successfully navigate a phone book, a map, and a phone.
But dear internet, I missed you.
It's good to have you back.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Yesterday I typed a huge post complete with itinerary of our homeschool day and the craziness that ensues each and every minute. Then my littles squirt walked by and pushed the ever so tempting green  button that turns the computer off.
To sum up...
We had a schedule of Writing, Language Arts, Reading Lessons, History, Math, Geography, and Piano. These do not happen at the same time. One kid will be working on reading while two others do math and mom tries not to permanetly put little squirt in her crib from drawing on the couch while trying to figure out why the definition of a noun has changed since she was in school.
Then the air conditioner guy shows up. I had put in a service order with our home warranty company since the AC had started to make a noise like a small fiat. I  was expecting a phone call to schedule the appointment. The guy called and said he was five minutes away. I tried to be happy (how often do they come that fast?) but the house was truly a mess. The AC guy walked in, told me the loud noise was from me not changing the filter,changed it  and charged me 60 bucks. After he left I turned it back on and the loud noise went from a small fiat to a MAC truck.
We were also hosting bookclub at our house at 3. My kids had helped plan out the activities and made refreshments. No one showed.
Hubby came home around 6. I had forgotten that he had a class that night at 6:30 that lasted 3 hours. I was going to be feeding the kids dinner, cleaning up, and getting them into bed by myself. I was a little terse with hubby before he walked out the door. It wasn't his fault he was leaving, he had told me repeatedly about it but at the moment I didn't believe him.
After the kiddos were in bed I purposefully at the remainder of the cookies from bookclub. There were a lot left over due to the no shows. Then I opened a bag of chips to conteract the sweetness. So much for the diet.

Ever have days like that? No one died, no major accidents or catastrophes but like Atlas the world just seems awfully heavy.

Today I woke up feeling lousy. My kids and I huddled in my bed, still in pjs deciding not to get up and going right away. Schedules be damned was the motto (at least in my head) We finished reading the book 'The Inventions of Hugo Cabret' so we could have a movie night tonight. Another AC guy showed up after I put in another service request. He thought my MAC truck comment on the description request was funny and told me so. My hubby came home briefly in between meetings and gave me a hug. He said he would try to get off work a little early today. A bookclub mom called to apologize for missing yesterday and asked if we could hang out today. We might make more cookies before she gets here.

And suddenly I am no longer Atlas holding the world on my own. There are others and as always when you share, the weight is not so heavy anymore.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I love vacuums. It's weird I know. I should get super excited about jewerly, chocolates, and big stuffed teddy bears and I do. The fact is that I only own a few pieces of jewerly I truly care about and I'm awful about remembering to put them on. I am always a girl who loves her chocolate but it only lasts so long. Big bears? I have five daughters which means my home is overrun with stuffed animals. What I love is a really good vacuum that works and is easy to fix. When I first got married my mother in law gave me a Kirby. Dang those things last, and last, and last. They are also heavy. Then my husband bought me a new Bissell. It was lightweight and when the tube got jammed I could unhook it and easily get the crayon/hairbow/stuffed teddy bear out without too much fuss. Plus my house was clean. Last week my Bissell finally died and I went shopping for a new one. It came yesterday. It is shiny and bagless. It picks up super amounts of dirt. Oh yes, I was born in the wrong era.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It Doesn't Have to be Complicated

This week has been crazy. My in laws were here from China but not technically 'here'. You see, we live in Texas and in Texas everything is big and far away. I have a very love/hate relationship with the size of it all but mostly I veer toward the love....until last weekend. When my in laws call and say they are in Texas it means a 6 hour drive to spend a few hours. I love them but this time I packed up my husband and two of our squirts and kissed them goodbye. Then I took the older squirts and we did a manical crazy cleaning frenzy. I had started to spring clean (read Tolkien post here) but this gave a huge jump in organization. In between we tried to have a little fun.
Frozen yogurt for dinner.
Steady streams of nerds and mini chocolate bars.
Music blaring while sweeping out the garage.
And you know what? It was fun. With every squirt home all day, every day, I often feel like the quality time gets a little reduced. We do a lot of quantity but most of it is mom hovering over their shoulders correcting math or asking them to wait one minute while I finish taking care of a little squirt's basic need. This last weekend we talked. A lot. There were no interupptions. Yes, baby was home but she was pretty mild and could be hauled around and talked over. After the weekend was over I asked if they were sad that they didn't get to go with their Dad.
Well, maybe a little, but they had fun.
Some weeks I feel like I have a lot of great, unique parenting and homeschool ideas that I like to try and see come to fruitation. Then this weekend we did things that were not creative or intellectual but we made memories. I spent time with my kiddos and really, isn't that what it is all about?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Oh the noise!

At this very moment there is a new train toy that whistles, sings, chugs, and thumps. As a rule I try to keep the noisy toys at our house to a minimum but this one snuck in. Baby squirt though is highly entertained and since 6 year squirt is helping her push it back and forth it keeps both of them entertained. 8 year squirt is playing the piano. I can hear snatches of rehearsal songs and then the random up and down the keyboard she really likes to do. 4 year squirt is singing to herself in the playroom and 10 year squirt keeps shooting questions my way about her reading assignment.

Oh the noise.

The piano just stopped and someone is complaining that someone else won't play with them. 10 finished reading and asks to be done. She spun the chair around only to smack baby in the head. Oops. Now crying is thrown in. Back in a minute.

The doorbell rang in the intermission. The next door neighbor brought over crayons and a coloring book for my little squirts. She is incredibly sweet. Retired with a husband who had to go into a nursing home right before we moved in. She says it does her good to see my kids running around the yard. She is really, really, sweet.

Broke up a small fight. Quiet. Maybe I should see what they are doing. Quiet can be scary. Nope, chatter, the buzzer on the dryer just went off and the phone just made me jump a mile by ringing. Different tones for different people. This one I'll answer.