Tea and Books Tuesday – September 3rd, 2019

While I was sitting in the waiting room at the dentist’s office today, I finished reading Chasing Eden by Cherilyn Clough. I started reading it on Monday, and really couldn’t put it down. I was facinated by Cherilyn’s memoir and her stories of growing up with a dysfunctional/abusive family dynamic. What struck me the most though, was that she didn’t come across as bitter about her experiences, and seemed very balanced in the telling. She didn’t tell only the bad about anyone, rather both the good and bad. I found myself rooting for Cheri and hoping that by the end of the book, she would have found a way to escape the situation she felt trapped it.

Chasing Eden deals with some difficult and depressing situations, but Cheri manages to write it in such a way that I felt hopeful rather than depressed at the end of the book. I think that’s one thing that makes her memoir really unique and why I enjoyed reading it so much. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely feel terrible and horrified at some of the things that happened to her, but I also see her not giving up despite all of it, and that’s why I think the tone is hopeful by the end of the book. There’s a sequel in the works, and I’m definitely going to pick it up when it comes out because I want to know how the rest of Cheri’s story turns out!

The tea featured in the photo today is Soho by Harney & Sons. I’ve liked any of their teas that I’ve tried, and this black tea with chocolate and coconut notes is delicious! It’s a nice afternoon pick-me-up, and I think it will also feature in my morning tea rotation as well. If you’d like to shop their site using my affiliate link, and get $5 off your first order of $30 or more, then just click here.

So, let me know in the comments what books you’re reading, or which tea blend you’re drinking this week!

Summer Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

I started out the summer with a challenge list of 13 books to read. I only checked off nine boxes, but that’s OK! The point of the Teish Knits Summer Reading Challenge was to read some great books that I’d enjoy. I definitely read some great books this summer, and I’m part way through a number of other books that I just haven’t finished yet. (Whether it’s knitting or reading, I’ve always got more than one in-progress at any given time!) I hope you read some fantastic books this summer, and that you enjoyed hearing about what I’ve been reading. I definitely had fun with this particular challenge.

Now that summer is all but over, I’ve been debating about what to do to fill the Tuesday blog slot. I’ve decided not to bring back my Thoughts for Tuesday posts, but to instead do a Tea and Books feature. Originally, Teish Knits was called Tea and Conversation, so this will be something of an homage to my blog’s original name. Not to mention an excuse to write about two of my favorite things!

Let me know in the comments what book you enjoyed reading the most this summer, or what your current favorite tea is! And stay tuned for more chatting about tea and books at Teish Knits.

Lesson Planning: Digital vs. Paper

Author’s Note: I am an independent contractor who does work for Well Planned Gal. I was not hired to or asked to write a blog post about planning with their products on my blog, nor am I receiving any kind of compensation in exchange for doing so. I have been using their paper planners for the past 9 years, and talk about them in this post because that’s what I still use today for my own homeschool planning.

I’ve been up to my eyeballs in lesson planning this month. New Book Day for us is on September 2nd, so after finishing up final grades and sending off reports back in July, I jumped right into making sure that I was ready for the upcoming academic year. Well, as ready as I can be!

I’ve been using the Well Planned Day paper planners since Munchkin was in first grade. I still am too attached to my paper planners to give them up completely! A few years ago though, I added the My Well Planned Day online planner to my planner line-up. While having a nice paper planner on my desk for day-to day reference is still my preference, I’ve been surprised by just how helpful the online planner has been, and can’t imagine not using it at this point.

My Well Planned Day does require some extra time and effort to set up before the beginning of the school year. There are some lesson plan add-on options that will let you “plug in” pre-planned assignments so that you don’t have to type in anything. These are wonderful, but they aren’t an option for every course that I use. For the ones that don’t have an add-on option, I create the course and then add assignments myself. This does take a fair amount of time for a full year of assignments. In the past, I’d avoided planning out a whole year at a time on paper because inevitably, something happens that requires shifting things around. If you’ve written out a year at a time, then it really is a headache to try and update the paper planner. With the online planner though, I can move things around with just a click or two of my mouse! I can also see when our projected finish date is for every course we’re working on. That’s a huge help for staying on track through the year. I can enter grades for assignments right in the online planner, and things like grade reports, attendance reports, and even a high school transcript are generated for me. This is a wonderful feature when I’m getting semester reports put together. The student log in option has been perfect for one of my boys. He much prefers digital planners, so being able to log into the website on his mobile device and check off his assignments is perfect for him. (He can only see his assignments and check them off as completed though. He can’t add grades or delete assignments from the student log in!)

So, why do I still use the Well Planned Day paper planner if the online planner has all those helpful features? There’s something about me that still loves paper, pen, and beautiful planners. Since we do a year-round school schedule, we take every seventh week off. I transfer lesson plans to my paper planner in six week blocks. That way I’m set for the block of classes between breaks, but if something changes our schedule, there’s not too much to shift around. I personally prefer having a paper plan to refer to throughout the day, rather than needing to log into my planner account. You can print assignment lists and teacher lists from the online planner, but the paper planners are spiral bound and truly beautiful.

If I had to pick just one, I’d probably switch to the online My Well Planned Day. For now, I’ll keep using both! But what if you don’t want to use both? How do you decide which is a better fit for you?

Pick the paper Well Planned Day if:

  • You would rather plan with paper and pen
  • You want to record what you’re doing as you go along instead of planning everything out ahead of time
  • A physical planner that’s beautifully designed helps you stick with planning and record keeping better than a digital planner
  • You don’t mind calculating semester grades yourself as long as you have pages to keep track of the grades and attendance for each semester
  • You’ve tried digtial planners and calendars and they just aren’t a good fit for you
  • You don’t want to enter a year’s worth of assignments up front

Pick the My Well Planned Day online planner if:

  • You are comfortable using digital calendar and planner tools
  • You want to plan your whole year ahead of time, but still maintain the flexibility of updating and changing plans as needed
  • You want a planner that will calculate attendance, grades, and even generate a high school transcript for you
  • You want your students to be able to log in and check their own assignment list
  • You want a paper sheet to refer to each week, but you don’t mind printing off a weekly assignment list to hang up or put in a 3-ring binder
  • You don’t mind investing the time to enter a year’s worth of assignments at the start if it means saving time while still being able to be flexible later on

If you still aren’t sure which planner is a better fit for you, head on over to Well Planned Gal and check out the options. There’s a Peek Inside button under the description for all of the paper planners that shows you an online preview that you can “flip through” to get a good idea of the page layouts. You can also sign up for a free 30-day trial of the online planner. You don’t have to enter a credit card, so there’s no sneaky auto-renewal at the end of the trial!

If you have a question about how I use either of the planners, leave a comment, or use the contact form to send me a message. I’ve been using these planners for years, and I’m always happy to answer questions about them!

What about you? Do you prefer paper planners and calendars, or are you a digital planner?

Summer Reading Challenge Update – August 21st

We’re doing a reading challenge here at Teish Knits this summer, and it’s not too late to join in! You can download the challenge prompt list and bookmarks here. This is a strictly fun, no pressure challenge, so you can interpret the prompts as broadly as you like, and choose to do fewer of them if reading 13 books this summer seems too overwhelming. Every Tuesday, I’ll be sharing my own progress here on the blog, and I hope you’ll stop by and comment either on the blog or social media and let me know what you’re reading!

An e-book.

I finished reading The Powers of the Earth by Travis J I Corcoran last night, but I couldn’t write up my review last night because I was still internally screaming over the massive cliffhanger! The second book is already out, so there’s no wait to start the second book in the Aristillus series.

The Powers of the Earth is not for everyone. I was intrigued when I heard it compared to Atlas Shrugged and the concept of a moon colony further piqued my interest. There’s a lot of discussion among characters and even internal debate on topics like economics, politics, ethics, and even a bit of religion. While that sort of thing isn’t to everyone’s taste, I’m fascinated by the topics myself. I tend to lean rather libertarian myself, so I didn’t mind the inclusion of that in the book, and I appreciated that there were some of the tougher points, and some of the potential problems with that ideolgy explored in the context of the story. No system is perfect, and that’s true even in the Aristillus moon colony!

I’m a sci-fi geek at heart, and that was part of the appeal of The Powers of the Earth. I found the setting of a moon colony to be interesting reading, and I honestly wouldn’t have minded delving a little deeper into it. Admittedly, when I first came across the talking dogs, I was beginning to wonder what I had picked up. The dogs were the results of genetic engineering who have an interesting history of their own. I quickly grew to like the characters, and the interesting point of view they brought to the story. The inclusion of an AI is another good twist and I’m still not sure what to make of this particular AI. I guess I’ll have to read book 2 to figure it out!

There are interesting characters in The Powers of the Earth, and while the idea of a Moon or Mars colony clashing with Earth isn’t exactly new, I enjoy the premise and this is a slightly different take on it. It’s a long book, but that’s not necessarily a problem! The cliffhanger means that you will want to have the second book, Causes of Separation, on hand. (There’s no book 3 out at this point, so if the second one ends on a cliffhanger, then I’m really sunk!) There is some strong language in the book, so I would not recommend it for kids and younger teens. In a book dealing with an invasion, there will be some violence, but it’s not particularly graphic. If you’d like a nice long read, and you don’t mind sci-fi books that like to dive into the philosophical, then The Powers of the Earth is worth a look.

Summer Reading Challenge Update – August 5th

We’re doing a reading challenge here at Teish Knits this summer, and it’s not too late to join in! You can download the challenge prompt list and bookmarks here. This is a strictly fun, no pressure challenge, so you can interpret the prompts as broadly as you like, and choose to do fewer of them if reading 13 books this summer seems too overwhelming. Every Tuesday, I’ll be sharing my own progress here on the blog, and I hope you’ll stop by and comment either on the blog or social media and let me know what you’re reading!

A book about health.

Adrenal fatigue is a term I’ve heard pop up over the past few years, and my interest was rather piqued. A number of books on the topic were mentioned, but with a title like Tired of Being Tired, I wanted to pick up Dr. Jesse Lynn Hanley’s book and see if there was anything that might be helpful to me.

The checklist quiz at the beginning of the book did “diagnose” me with significant adrenal fatigue. While I’m still not 100% convinced of validity of the checklist results, I do know that I need to start paying more attention to my health. With 40 waving at me from July 2020, I know that my body just can’t handle some of the things it used to when I was 25 years younger. Relying on way too much caffeine and sugar just to get through my day may have “worked” back then, but I think most of us would agree that it’s not a desirable or sustainable lifestyle. If nothing else, Tired of Being Tired has been a bit of a reality check for me.

The dietary advice in the book is fairly sensible, and not anything to out there. Other advice about exercise, rest, supplements, deep breathing, and such are also pretty sensible, and mostly the sort of thing that I know I should be doing already. I did appreciate the integration of both physical health, and mental/emotional health into the equation laid out in Tired of Being Tired. I tend to think that one of the key things missing in healthcare today is this integration of looking at all sides of health because they are truly interconnected. The book isn’t written from a Christian perspective, but there are comments from patients of Dr. Hanley’s who reference things like praying, and gratitude towards God as some of the things they practice that improve their health. So, while some of the mental or spiritual suggestions in the book may not be ones you’re comfortable trying, you can still find plenty of content that may be helpful.

While much of the content is about things I’m aware I should be doing already, and pretty common sense, it was not a bad reminder that I need to prioritize some of these things better for the sake of my own health. I’ve even taken up biking around my driveway as a result of the gentle nudge from reading Tired of Being Tired. It may seem a bit strange for a grown woman to ride a circle around her front yard on a bicycle, but I enjoy it, and it gives me a few minutes of exercise, fresh air, and sunshine for the day. It’s also why I’ve given up my 16-32 oz per day coffee habit. (Yes, it’s still tough, and I still miss coffee. I do allow myself just one cup on the weekend so that I’m less tempted to give in during the week!) If you’re feeling on the edge of burned out, or past that point, this book could be a helpful guide. As always, please consult your practitioner for medical advice regarding your health concerns.

Life Happens… Checklist or Not

Since I last posted here at Teish Knits, I turned 39, we had two unexpected doctor visits (everyone is fine and it was nothing serious), the dryer started giving me attitude, we wrapped up the reports for the 2018-2019 academic year, and I quit coffee. I have not gotten as much reading done as I planned.

If there’s one constant in life, it’s that life will always end up derailing my nicely laid-out planning checklists. Sort of like in this comic from The Awkward Yeti:

(Seriously, you should follow this website because the Heart and Brain comics are hilariously accurate!)

All joking aside, I do tend to be the one with a checklist for everything, and difficulty adapting to the things that were not on the checklist or needing to complete the checklist *gasp* out of order.

Even if things didn’t go exactly by the checklist, the end of year school reports got done. Cleaning out the laundry room was technically on my list, so this is a chance to do that a little earlier. Giving up the coffee is one thing that I really need to do for my health. (I’m not giving up tea though. That’s just crazy-talk!) I’ll move things around on my checklist and adjust. Incidentally, this is why I have come to love FriXion erasable pens for my planning.

There is plenty on my to-do list for this weekend, but I’m going to make it a point to do some reading! Hopefully that means that there will be a reading update on Tuesday with my thoughts on at least one finished book.

What about you? What have you been reading this week? What off-the-checklist stuff has life thrown at you? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Summer Reading Challenge Update – July 24th

We’re doing a reading challenge here at Teish Knits this summer, and it’s not too late to join in! You can download the challenge prompt list and bookmarks here. This is a strictly fun, no pressure challenge, so you can interpret the prompts as broadly as you like, and choose to do fewer of them if reading 13 books this summer seems too overwhelming. Every Tuesday, I’ll be sharing my own progress here on the blog, and I hope you’ll stop by and comment either on the blog or social media and let me know what you’re reading!

I’m a day late and a book short on this week’s update. Actually, I’m in the middle of three books, but I didn’t finish any of them this week so reviews will have to wait. Here’s what I’m reading though…

Getting old is a pain in the neck–an actual pain in the neck. Our weekend temperatures were more suited to Mt. Doom than Maine, with Saturday hitting 100. For a place that has snow on the ground half of the year, that’s more heat than we can reasonably handle. We spent two nights camping out in the living room because it has a window AC unit. There was a day when I could sleep on the floor and my spine didn’t even notice the difference. Those days are obviously behind me!

I’m going to put a warm rice pack on my sore neck while I keep reading, and I’ll have a review of at least one of these books for you next week! In the meantime, let me know what you’ve been reading this week either in the comments or on social media.

Summer Reading Challenge Update – July 16th

We’re doing a reading challenge here at Teish Knits this summer, and it’s not too late to join in! You can download the challenge prompt list and bookmarks here. This is a strictly fun, no pressure challenge, so you can interpret the prompts as broadly as you like, and choose to do fewer of them if reading 13 books this summer seems too overwhelming. Every Tuesday, I’ll be sharing my own progress here on the blog, and I hope you’ll stop by and comment either on the blog or social media and let me know what you’re reading!

An Audiobook.

I’ve listened to Churched by Matthew Paul Turner before, but I decided that I wanted to give this one a re-listen for a few reasons. I was raised Baptist-ish, and while not strictly fundamentalist, the influences were there. That means that while my experiences weren’t to the same extreme as Matthew’s, I can identify with a few things, and I definitely know a few folks who would be nodding through most of the book. There are complaints that it comes across as too snarky, or irreverent. I don’t have that opinion, but keep that in mind when deciding whether this book is one you want to add to your reading list.

While a good deal of the stories Matthew shares in Churched made me chuckle, some left me with a bit to ponder. The chapter when Matthew is witnessing door-to-door and meets a Catholic lady who isn’t exactly what he expected from a Catholic was one that stands out to me, and the other is when he has a conversation with his dad about an unsaved acquaintance. There are some poignant truths amidst snark. I think the final chapter is relatable to a lot of individuals who aren’t completely sure what to make of the theology and church traditions they grew up in, and haven’t quite figured out where they fit in the denominational scheme of things. I’m one of those people.

I think Churched is probably one of those books that you either really like, or really don’t. It’s under 5 hours long, and read by the author. Other formats of the book are available if your interest is piqued, but you don’t care for the audiobook format.

So, what are you reading (or listening to!) this week? Let me know in the comments or on social media with the hashtag #teishknitsreadingchallenge

Summer Reading Challenge – July 9th Update

We’re doing a reading challenge here at Teish Knits this summer, and it’s not too late to join in! You can download the challenge prompt list and bookmarks here. This is a strictly fun, no pressure challenge, so you can interpret the prompts as broadly as you like, and choose to do fewer of them if reading 13 books this summer seems too overwhelming. Every Tuesday, I’ll be sharing my own progress here on the blog, and I hope you’ll stop by and comment either on the blog or social media and let me know what you’re reading!

A favorite the you want to re-read.

I read The Kobayashi Maru as a teen. I’ve gone through phases of reading Star Trek books off and on since then, but this book remains one of my favorites. I enjoyed how they walked through four different main characters and their very different approaches to the famous (or infamous) Kobayashi Maru simulation found in Star Trek lore.

The Kobayashi Maru is a short read, but just what I wanted while I relaxed in the AC with some iced tea over the weekend. If you’re not at all familiar with, or a fan of Star Trek, this book likely won’t appeal to you, as it won’t make much sense without the context of the show and movies. It’s not what most would consider fine literature, but it’s a fun, interesting book featuring some of my favorite fictional characters. You’ll have to find a copy used if you want the print version, but you can also find it in e-book format.

This isn’t exactly related to the Summer Reading Challenge, but I got my print copies of Heroes of the Realm in the mail today! I’ve long enjoyed reading the works of other authors included in the anthology, and it still seems a little surreal that I have a story published in the same book as their work. Not to mention the beautiful cover art by Kirk DouPonce. It’s been such fun to experience every step of the process from editorial notes, to getting my first galley proofs, to holding the book in my hands. The editor, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, further convinced me that editors are some of the heroes of the publishing industry. And I don’t think anyone could overstate just how much Rebecca and Scott Minor have done for the Christian speculative fiction writers and readers out there. All this to say, the people involved in publishing this book are people I admire and respect, and I’ll never stop being thankful that I got to be a little part of such a special project.

243 Years Ago…

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.