Monday, January 30, 2017

WHAT I'M READING V. 18



Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller

This was an amazing read. I have been thinking a lot about suffering recently in regards to suffering in the world, suffering amongst our friends and family, and the suffering of self that is part of living in this world. We live in a society that tells us we need to alleviate and avoid suffering at all costs, without giving us tools to deal with inevitable suffering and without valuing the way suffering is one of the pivotal things to help us grow and mature. This book addresses some of the misconceptions and dives deep into what it means to suffer, how God regards and deals with suffering, and what it means to walk with others in suffering.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Reading this book was akin to being in a trance. I was drawn in by the setting and writing, but felt wary of the implications of an allegory. I had a co-worker who read this and ended up hating it but I thought of it more like a dream sequence, a watercolor painting, that you just need to embrace and go with. In that way it was enjoyable but there was some confusion about the way the figurative journey of the couple seemed to be abruptly cut short at the end that didn't make sense to me. Read it if you are remotely interested in the premise, it was a widely beloved book of 2016.

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

Two elderly people - Addie and Louis - who live in a small town and have both lost their spouses decide on an arrangement to sleep together, not a sexual arrangement, to stave off loneliness. The book is about their nights talking and getting to know each other. It is a short book and moves quickly- a lovely, simple and vivid picture of a small town and initiate look into these people's relationships.

Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith

This is a 900-paged tome of a book about the life and work of their painter, Van Gogh. I love a well-written biography and this is that - it is compelling for its writing and it's portrayal of this time period as well as his life. My progress through this one is slow but I am really enjoying it.

Friday, January 27, 2017

LAST WEEK WITH MY PARENTS


This has been an odd sort of week for several reasons I won't share here, but as a result I feel both full of loss and full of gratitude.  

I have had an almost cold all this week. I feel groggy with a scratchy throat and congested face in the mornings and evenings, but during the day I am fine and make it through. I am going to attribute the survival to this tea by Traditional Medicinals called Gypsy Cold Care. It has yarrow root  and elderflower in it and it works wonders; to either stave off of the oncoming cold entirely, or by mitigating symptoms so that you can get through the day. I have employed this tea several times since I learned about it from my coworker, and now I press it into the hands of anyone that needs it. 

My parents are here, but not here. They are here in the States and have been keeping themselves very busy, going up the East Coast to visit my sisters and currently they are at a conference in Michigan, and then after New York they are going to come back to Richmond for a few days before they have to fly back to Korea. These photos are from a couple of weeks back when they first came to stay with us. We were all thrilled to pieces about it. Just one day after they left, Sloane said, "Are they coming back yet? They have been gone for soooooo long."





My mom always brings the girls such wonderful books over from Korea. My mom is a children's book aficionado and is an avid appreciator of art and beautiful things, so we all get to be influenced by that. Sloane so looks forward to this time of discovering new Korean books and reading with my mom. 




My dad loves getting silly with the girls, and the girls love it right back. In regards to raising kids, my dad (part jokingly, but mostly seriously) has given me the advice that it is good to surprise them with silliness, enthusiasm, and humor once in a while to catch them off guard. He says it keeps them on their toes and keeps them excited about life. 


This is my dad and Sloane making faces and being silly together.  


It is so sweet to have them pitter pattering around the house, and having my girls throw up their arms for a hug every time they spot their grandparents. 



On Saturday, we drove up to visit my sister and brother-in-law, and I got to see their new place for the first time. We all have moved around so much throughout the years and so it always feels like a necessary milestone to visit each new place.

Here are a few more photos of our afternoon together.



















Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A DAY IN THE LIFE



One of my favorite kind of blog posts are "a day in the life" captures of a regular day. I've always thought I would do more of those, but it only works on a certain kind of day. It has to be a day when I am mostly at home all day, which is rare, where the pace is slow and measured and I remember to pick up my camera.  Looking back, the last and possibly only one I've done here is almost four years ago, when Sloane was about 8 months old. I love it because it allows me to document the rhythm of a normal day and it is great fun to look back on!

This particular day was a couple of weeks ago in January, a day at home when I had to get some work done so after breakfast I set the girls up in the family room with toys, books, and an audio book. They played like that for a couple of hours, with me popping in to say hi (and snap these photos). 


Spotify has many stories and books (!!) and I found fairy tales that Sloane became engrossed in. There were some other ones that weren't so great, but we liked "Magically Told Fairy Tales" produced by Artie Becker & Johnny Holiday.



Logan loves playing with these stacking cups! They also double as cups and bowls when they are pretending to cook each other meals, and vessels for water when they are playing in the tub. 







For lunch, they got an assortment of vegetables - mushrooms, zucchini, carrots) along with baked tofu bites and turkey. 

I can't remember what Sloane was dressed up as here, but it is very normal these days for her to dress herself in a dress, stockings and hat. 





My lunch was a sweet potato and chickpea buddah bowl, which I love eating. Any variation of roasted vegetables + protein + some sort of dressing in a bowl is one of my favorite quick meals. (I usually also add quinoa but not always because Ken can't stand the stuff.)




Logan goes down for a long afternoon nap after lunch, and once she did, Sloane and I made curry hot chocolate  That's right, curry! It works. 



In the afternoon, Sloane and I worked on reading - her reading to me (Ted and Friends) and me reading the other books pictured below, including Charlotte's Web (which we are rereading), Peter Pan (always Peter Pan) and Poems to Learn by Heart (which has a collection of really wonderful poems and illustrations).



In the Ted and Friends story that we read that day, there was a part about a store that had an open and closed sign, and for some reason she was fascinated by this concept and wanted to make our own to see what it was like. So we did!


Then we did some observational drawing. I love watching how she interprets things that she sees onto paper. 



Then she wanted to copy down notes from a piano book, and she worked really hard on this, which she declared was a song that she was writing. 


This is her singing me the song that she is composing. It was a song about everything going to sleep at night. She said she would sing it for Logan later.




We played with Logan when she woke up, and then when Ken came home, we packed dinner for the girls and all headed over to our crossfit gym. Ken and I usually take turns going to the gym, but now that Logan's bed time is a little later, we might be able to pull this off more during those rare time we both are able to get off work a little earlier.



Our friends, the Clinches, were there with their boys, which meant Sloane had friends to play with... 



...and Logan had friends to sit (stand) next to. 


We love the coaches at our gym! 




I can't remember what the workout was now but it involves thrusters and burpees and while I was doing them I noticed out of the corner of my eye that I had a little fan club following along....


We went home afterwards to put the girls to bed and then Ken and I did CBR together. It was a good day!