Monday, April 27, 2015

Come With Me; Cast Worries Away

"I'm so excited, Mommy!" Paul shared the night before. "I can't believe we're going to the Cleveland Zoo!"

We've wanted to go there for ten years, but owning a house and repairing it frequently swallows up these dreams all too often. Saturday was Educator's Day, gifting us with four free tickets.

So, there we were after all these years. The animals were wonderful to observe. We all felt pretty blessed, except that Peter's OCD took away his smile most of the trip, and Mary's anxiety over storms and car breakdowns reared its ugly head as well. Beth's arthritis means she can't walk all over the zoo like a typical six year old. Thirty minutes in and she needed a stroller, over which I received some surprised and nasty glances due to her height and age. To some, she looked pampered and spoiled and lazy in her stroller and I had to consciously ignore the stares. I knew it wasn't fruitful to dwell on them.

The day seemed to represent life in all its messy gloriness. Legitimate heaviness was there, sure, but if I chose to focus on it, I missed the blessings all excited little girls, Mary skipping with joy all over the zoo, Paul making sketches of the animals, and God's glory reflected in every creature.

Life is astoundingly hard. Sometimes the days just seem full of uphill climbs. Sometimes it seems there's nothing to look forward to but more hills the next day. Hope can get lost as our chests and hamstrings burn from the exertion.

I encounter ugliness, but I also find God's grace around every bend, eclipsing the pain. He doesn't make the pain go away, I'm afraid; that isn't his modus operandi most of the time.

Instead, he changes our perception of the pain by passing his glory over it. Our pain remains, but we're distracted from it by his awesome display of glory. Awe struck by his love, we lift our eyes off of ourselves and weep with joy over his presence.

He provides sustenance for us daily, just as I bake and provide the daily bread here. Homemade bread has no preservatives; you can't bake ahead even if you had the time. You bake and eat, bake and eat, bake and eat, as though it's manna in the desert, falling at just the right time.

Is there security in this method?

Well, it depends on whom or what you're depending on for your security. If you're depending on Momma, then no. Sunday morning I don't bake bread. I get six people ready for church. Saturday morning I get distracted by trying to catch the house up and sometimes forget to bake bread.

So, no. Momma's method for delivering bread is only secure five out of seven days...not very good odds, with two breadless days.

God's manna delivery is secure, if we seek first His kingdom. We don't need to awake with anxiety, wondering if our hunger will gnaw away at us all day. We can awake with joy, knowing God will provide.

Abraham put his son Isaac on the alter in Genesis 22 and appeared to be ready to murder him. How strange, I've always thought. What parent goes through with those motions?

Isaac inquired about the source of the burnt offering, saying “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.”

And Abraham want on preparing to burn his son.

The Offering of Isaac - Genesis 22 (source here)22 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go tothe land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy[a] will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.

Should I give the tithe on Sunday, knowing he'll provide for the broken door next week? Or do I fix the door...or the toilet...or the rusting bottom of the van, whichever the case may be, and then put the leftovers in the offering plate?

If your pattern is to store up your manna, then you'll choose to forgo the plate until your broken things are fixed...if that ever happens. If you look to God daily for your needs, knowing he doles out as needs arise, then you'll confidently have money ready for the plate--and not any less than last week.

The longer I live--the more that goes wrong in my life--the more I see exactly why Paul the Apostle uttered it: To live is Christ, to die is gain.

Nothing matters except the Gospel. Jesus didn't save us so we could enjoy conveniences and perks. He didn't save us so we could have everything working well in our bodies and minds and houses and cars, or to have the time or money for the things we want.

He saved us hoping we'll identify with him in suffering, bringing him glory through our weakness, our ills, our dependence. He saved us to be banners of love, receiving from Him vertically and handing out His spiritual riches horizontally. He saved us to advance the gospel through us.

To live is to walk with Christ, even on the narrow, uphill, barely-there trails. To live is to never wonder if the manna is really coming. To live is to know that His grace is sufficient, his love divine and perfect.

To live is to know that a place is prepared for us in our Father's House, and over the next bend, He's waiting for us.

On the trail to the next bend, we need only focus on the blessings all around--the trees, the singing birds, the toiling insects, the hidden crocuses, the wild daffodils, the smell of the pine, the sound of the needles and leaves under our feet, the blue of the sky. The blessings all around us are his graces, his majesty, his glory, his very presence.

Come with me. Cast all your worries away and get lost in the blessings, excited at knowing we'll be face to face with Christ soon, as faithful servants, not ashamed of the gospel. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Raccoon is back!

This is broad daylight! Momma raccoon thought we would be stupid enough to leave the grill off the shed attic. My guess is that when the freezing nighttime temps returned, she wasn't content to live in someone's tree, or in the rain gutter (or someone else ran her out of their shed). She's climbed the tree and the roof twice trying to get the grill off while still keeping her baby in her mouth. We hadn't seen her since my husband scared her out last weekend with a chainsaw, and then boarded up the damage she caused in the siding.

She went running out at the sound of the chainsaw, then returned that night for her babies. Husband deliberately took the grill off and left it off so she would go back and retrieve her babies. I saw her take two babies out but I don't know how many there were in total (usually 1 to 6, born in March or April).

We've seen raccoons around here for a few years but never living on our property. They are somewhat used to people and like all the trash cans they can easily raid. Raccoons are capable of opening doors and jars, if you can believe it. Getting rid of her won't be so easy, with so many sheds and trash cans around.

In California all one had to do was call animal control, but here in Ohio there's no public service for wild animal removal, and typically it costs a few hundred dollars to trap one, and a few thousand to get them out of an attic, and you're not allowed to hurt them or do any poisoning or the like (not that we'd want to do that).

The kids and I are wondering if she's being so persistent because she may have already transferred one baby into the back door of the shed, before Peter noticed that it was opened and closed the door.

Have you ever had a raccoon in your yard? What worked for you?

Weekly Homeschool and Life Wrap-up 4/24

Outside my window

Winter returned to Northeast Ohio as soon as I put the sweaters in storage boxes, and just as the tulips were about to bloom. We'll have another 30 degree night and I'm trying to remain hopeful about our flowers. Last year they didn't make it. The crocuses, hyacinths and daffodils have done well.

On my mind...Field Trips

We have a lot of medical appointments between the neurological issues and the juvenile arthritis issue, so field trips have never been plentiful for us. If I pursued those and continued to be faithful with appointments as well, no teaching would get done. Three of my four children need explicit teaching so we must show restraint with our scheduling.

Not to mention, the stress involved in the neurological issues just compels a mom to keep it all as simple as possible for everyone's sake.

However, this summer, while still doing some school, we will add our share of 70-mile radius field trips, starting with some cultural and science opportunities in Cleveland, the closest big city. Funds are extremely limited so we can't think big, but it's time to show my children around nonetheless.

Middle School Learning

The boys are continuing with Sonlight Core H (World History Part 2), reading Story of the World Early Modern Times, Madeleine Takes Command, Kingfisher World History Encyclopedia, and Usborne History of the World.

Synopsis: This historical novel, set in 17th century New France, features Madeleine de Vercheres, a teenage girl who takes up arms in defense of family, country, and faith against the Iroquois.

Madeleine Verchere's story is based on a true account of colonial French Canada of the 1690's. Harassed by Iroquois, the Verchere family's fort must keep a continual guard. 14-year-old Madeleine is left alone with two younger brothers and few others when the Indians attack. We follow the brave and determined stratagems of Madeleine and her small circle. Madeleine's youthful leadership, especially of her brothers, will win the reader's admiration.

My Thoughts: This novel is a powerful one for any late elementary to early high school child. It provides an inspiring and detailed portrayal of courage, bravery, leadership, principle, and strategic problem solving. For any child who ever wondered: "What does courage look like?"...this is the novel to hand them. I was very impressed and so thrilled that my boys were reading it. Sonlight chooses stories that move you, teach you, and compel you to reach for higher ideals. 

Next up for the boys is an award-winning mystery novel entitled The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler.

It isn't as scary as it looks. Weird cover, but I tried not to let that dissuade me. It teaches much about 18-century Japan.

School Library Journal Synopsis: Grade 6-8 A Sherlock Holmes-style mystery set in 18th-century Japan. Fourteen-year-old Seikei, son of a tea merchant, longs to be a samurai, although he knows that this is an inherited honor he can never hope to attain. While on a business trip, Seikei and his stern father take shelter at the Tokaido Inn where a cruel and oafish samurai, Lord Hakuseki, is also staying. A precious jewel is stolen from the lord, and a young girl whom Seikei has just met is accused of the theft. He risks his life by speaking out to defend her and Judge Ooka, called in to solve the crime, is taken with the boys bravery and enlists his help to solve the mystery. This sets Seikei onto a dangerous path where he goes backstage at Kabuki theaters, meets an enigmatic actor, and more than once must act in the honorable way of a samurai. He remains resourceful and courageous, although he often fears he may be on the wrong path. Judge Ooka maintains a steady presence, urging Seikei to observe, be logical, and reason out the motives for the crime. The plot builds towards an exciting, dramatic climax. All of the action is placed solidly in the context of the Tokugawa period of a Japan ruled by an emperor and a shogun, and pervaded by the need to defend ones honor above all else. An unusual and satisfying mystery that will be enjoyed by a wide audience.

My Thoughts: I'm not done prereading it, but I'll let you know more soon. There are two sequels.

Middle School Writing

Write Shop Junior Level E is a good program, well-written and thought out, and well-organized, but if you're teaching four children, it has too many steps and lead-up activities to be feasible. I'm sorry I spent the money on it, but don't let that dissuade you. For smaller families, I think it's an excellent curriculum option. 

I don't have time to tweak it, so I've decided for other reasons too, to go out on my own with the teaching of writing. College-level writing is a big leap and many homeschooling moms say they wish they had given more difficult assignments leading up to it. I've been giving the boys mini literary-analysis essays so they can get used to citing text to support and strengthen their arguments. In high school they have to use two sources in their papers, so now is a good time to practice.

I'm also varying the type of writing they're assigned, including narrative, descriptive, expository, and persuasive. Check this link for an excellent sample and explanation of a literary analysis paper.

We had a raccoon have babies in our shed sometime in the last month, so that made for a good narrative paper. Daddy tried different tricks to rid our property of the critters, since we couldn't afford to have professionals come out. After three attempts they're gone, hopefully for good (very humanely done; no animal harmed). Let me just say that raccoon mommas are very good mommas.

Current Passions

Peter continues to plan his garden, research plants and herbs, and try to predict the last frost. He can read horticulture books for quite a while, though he tells me he just skims them for information. Actually, he does more researching than planning, which I think will help him sometime if he wanted to own a nursery, help farmers, etc. His knowledge base is really growing and he has plans to heal our woes with herbs, which will be appreciated.

Mary and Beth continue to love sewing and making clothing for their stuffed animals, and Beth continues to make homemade dolls out of anything and everything. She tells me she gathers ideas from books and loves to think up new ones. She sees them in her mind, she explains.

Paul continues to love, love, love with a deep passion the computer programming classes on Khan Academy. It's all he talks about and he starts all his subjects early to have ample time in the afternoon for his programming, which means we have a lot more competition for any computer time around here, since we have just the one PC and a Kindle Fire. Paul is almost done with the first course and is wondering how he can use this for the glory of God. I explained that Christian organizations need programmers and web designers and he could easily turn it into a God-honoring pursuit.

I continue to bake a loaf of whole-wheat flax bread each day, with it coming out of the oven around lunchtime. I use the breadmaker on the dough cycle only, rather than using it for the actual baking. The last rise occurs in a warm oven. As well, I'm continuing to research the healthiest foods and work out how to afford them.

I continue to enjoy reading all the books from the boys' curriculum, as well as reading to the girls.

Lower Elementary Happenings
Mary, my second grade dyslexic reader, is in All About Reading Level 3, and she also began reading the Magic Tree House books I got her for Christmas. She still needs help on at least 4-6 words per page, but she's working hard and pulls them off the shelf without my prompting, which is huge for a dyslexic reader. They don't typically like reading, but we're hoping to beat those odds around here. This mom loves books and that helps a lot. If books are valued in a home and given a place of respect in the daily time schedule, I think we're doing all we can as parents and teachers. Read them, have them all around, and talk them up.

My kindergartner is doing far better in math but Mary still struggles with the numbers a lot. The blog on my side bar entitled The Dyslexic Advantage has been invaluable to me as a teacher and parent. I read more this week about why math is so difficult for 50% of dyslexics. It feels like such an uphill climb, but I like a challenge. 

I think when Mary starts 3rd grade Teaching Textbooks math (CD ROM) next January, she will be helped a great deal. The visual and the auditory together have really changed the game for Peter, who began using the program in the 3rd grade. He and Mary have a similar learning profile with math (dyscalculia), although dyslexia affected Peter far less in reading than it does Mary. And Mary fares better as a speller/writer than Peter did at this same age.

I have some outstanding Social Studies picture books to share, newly published in 2015.

Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson and Sean Qualls Published March 2015

School Library Journal Synpsis: K-Gr 2—This powerful and winning picture book tells the story of a young man overcoming the odds. Born in Ghana with a deformed left leg, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah experienced stigma as a result of his disability: his father abandoned the family, and many assumed that the boy would be little more than a burden. However, with the encouragement of his mother, Yeboah refused to give up, hopping to school (instead of walking) and even learning to play soccer and cycle, despite receiving no extra help or accommodations. Thompson's lucidly written text explains how Yeboah cycled 400 miles in 2001 to raise awareness, forever changing how Ghanaians perceived those with disabilities. The narrative is simply and clearly written, and the illustrations are skillfully rendered in charmingly emotive ink and watercolor collages. A brief author's note explains how Yeboah inspired legislation upholding equal rights for the disabled and how he continues to make strides, working with organizations that provide wheelchairs to those who need them and setting up a scholarship fund for children with disabilities. VERDICT This uplifting account will resonate with readers and supplement global and cultural studies. A triumph.—Kathryn Diman, Bass Harbor Memorial Library, Bernard, ME

My Thoughts: Beautifully done in every respect. An outstanding addition to any elementary social studies curriculum; inspiring for all ages. I disagree with the above reviewer that the interest level is only as high as 2nd grade. My older boys were captivated and educated too.

In the New World: A Family in Two Centuries 
by Gerda Raidt, Christa Holtei Published March, 2015

School Library Journal Synopsis: This fascinating picture book blend of fiction and nonfiction uses the story of the Peterses, a made-up German immigrant family and their fifth-generation American descendants, to explore immigration in the 19th century. Through well-crafted text and charming, detailed drawings, Holtei and Raidt convey the severe economic conditions that precipitated the Peterses' journey in 1869. Charming panoramas of the Peterses' home and village and close-ups of their careful planning prepare readers for the trip's progression, including what items the family carried with them in the one trunk allowed aboard the Teutonia. Onward from their passage in steerage, the Peterses disembarked in New Orleans and transferred to the steamship Princess on their way to Nebraska. There they made their final connection to their new home via covered wagon. Well-written paragraphs expand on topics such as "Life in Steerage" and "Seeing the New World." The narrative then highlights the fifth-generation of Peterses, who traveled back to their ancestral home in Germany to uncover their history. This tale emphasizes the triumph born of hard work and industry, themes that reflect the experiences of many immigrants to America, and humanizes this period. VERDICT A thoroughly delightful and informative story that may even inspire some readers to discover the joys of genealogy for themselves.

My Thoughts: My girls and I were fascinated with this beautiful, charmingly-illustrated book. Ages 6 and 8, they're usually pretty wiggly, but my girls they didn't squirm a bit, listening attentively the whole time, and interjecting a few comments here and there. They learned a lot and I was very impressed with the presentation of the material.

John Muir Wrestles a Waterfall 
by Julie Dannebery, Jamie Hogan, Published March, 2015

School Library Journal Synopsis: Gr 3–5—This attractive picture book retells naturalist and writer John Muir's climb up a steep trail behind a waterfall along Yosemite Falls in April 1871. Danneberg includes information about Muir's love of the outdoors, his house in Yosemite (where he slept in a hammock that hung over an indoor spring), and his exploration of the park's natural setting. Lucid descriptions and the use of the present tense make the story immediate and relevant. Hogan's expressive renderings of the explorer's face are the highlight of this book, depicting the excitement and awe that Muir experienced standing beneath the falls. Many pages include supplemental information about the man and his love of nature. Quotations used in the text are cited, along with suggested readings and pertinent websites. VERDICT This is a solid work, ideal for those looking to add to collections or units on environmental studies, geography, writing, or biography and sure to inspire further interest in Muir.—Patricia Ann Owens, formerly with Illinois Eastern Community Colls., Mt. Carmel

My Thoughts: Excellent choice for all, but especially for your nature lovers. I've been to Yosemite four times as a California resident and I miss it terribly. Raising children in Ohio is better on a lot of fronts, however, so I have to remember Yosemite in my daydreams. We took our boys there one last time before we moved here, when they were 22 months and 3 and a half. The girls have never seen it.

Earmuffs for Everyone: How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs 
by Meghan McCarthy, Published Jan. 2015

School Library Journal Synopsis: K-Gr 3—This picture book charts the evolution of the earmuff. McCarthy starts in the 18th century, discussing the ways that various inventors improved on one another's designs, until Chester Greenwood made one last tweak to the wire headband and applied for a patent. Woven into the narrative is a description of patents. Children will also come away with a greater understanding of the nature of inventions. The book ends with a brief biography of Chester Greenwood and a section about the dedicated citizens in the state of Maine who lobbied for a Chester Greenwood Day (made official in 1977). Back matter includes an author's note, a note about patents, and a photo of the annual Chester Greenwood Day parade in Farmington, Maine. Rendered in acrylic paint, the illustrations are appealingly cartoonlike, portraying people with exaggerated round eyes and faces, and complement the concise but upbeat text ("[Isaac Kleinert] also made dress guards, which protected ladies' clothing from sweat. Ew!"). A solid addition for those seeking titles about inventors and inventions.—Samantha Lumetta, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH

My Thoughts: This book is cool! Read it to your older children too and let them dream about the patent they will one day apply for.themselves, when they get that invention under way. It's great for budding engineers and truly creative kids...and those who need to be encouraged to think creatively. It just made me smile and I was so grateful for the engaging storytelling style and the excitement it caused around here.

More new trade books next week! How was your week?

Weekly Wrap-Up

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Christian Trade-Off

When the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts and we are born again, a trade-off occurs. We give up control over our lives to make Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. We are bought and paid for and made into servants of the Most High. And in trade for that, we get two things:

Eternal Life
The Lord's Presence

Eternal life is a down-the-line thing; it's hard to even imagine sometimes, though we know it will be perfect and beautiful.

What is very tangible and always available now is the other blessing: the Lord's presence.

Oftentimes we fail to take advantage of this blessing. We don't sit down and invite His presence, so half of the blessing of our salvation is not realized in our lives on a daily basis. We are missing something huge that facilitates a powerful witness to others. Those who take advantage of his presence are a balm to others and a testimony of His grace.

Here are verses for strength, hope, peace and joy. Print them out and sit down with them as often as you can, and especially when you're suffering. They've been powerful and game-changing for my children and me many times. His presence is powerful and transformative. Don't live without it.

For Strength
Joshua 1:9 I repeat, be strong and brave! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic, for I, the Lord your God, am with you in all you do.”
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.”
Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord is indeed going before you – he will be with you; he will not fail you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged!”
For Hope
Romans 5:1-5  “Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory. Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Romans 15:13 “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in him, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
1 Peter 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, into an inheritance
imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you, who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
For Peace
Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
Isaiah 54:10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
For Joy
1 Peter 1:8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Isaiah 12:6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you."
Isaiah 35:10 and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
John 16:22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.
Psalm 30:5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins
Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ephesians 3:19 And to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Jeremiah 31:3  The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
John 15:9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
Psalm 103:11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Nourishing Your Family Series: Greek Yogurt

As you may have noticed, Greek yogurt is threatening to overtake the dairy case at your local market. It's fast, convenient, and very healthy, so this is one bandwagon you can get on with confidence.

Over in Greece they strain yogurt (called straggisto) and use it as a key ingredient in other foods, such as tzatziki dip. However, they don't use the term "Greek yogurt", which has become a hit in Europe and America.

Before we discuss the specific benefits of Greek yogurt, let's go over some comparisons.

How does it stack up to regular yogurt? Pretty well, with less sodium, far less sugar, much more protein, and only slightly less calcium. Greek yogurt is made by separating out the liquid whey, so it contains less lactose, making it a good alternative for people with lactose-sensitivity or allergy.

Just beware of the fat and buy the non-fat or low-fat version. I've been consuming non-fat dairy for decades and believe me, you'll get used to the taste quickly and afterwards, even low-fat dairy won't appeal to you.

If you can handle sour cream, you can handle non-fat, plain Greek yogurt. I drizzle a tiny bit of maple syrup or raw honey on mine. Don't stir in the syrup or honey because it won't add much overall taste or sweetness that way. Just use it as a topping.

Another alternative is to add dried cranberries, raisins, or fresh blueberries or strawberries--the list is endless.  If you must have more flavor and sugar (our your kids want it), try Chobani flavored non-fat Greek yogurt, which is a good, natural brand with less sugar than regular yogurt.

Sugar Content Comparison:
1 cup non-fat, plain Greek yogurt = 9 grams sugar (naturally-occurring sugar, not added)

1 cup Chobani non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt = 20 grams sugar (evaporated cane juice adds sugar)

1 cup Chobani non-fat strawberry Greek yogurt = 23 grams sugar (evaporated cane juice)

1 cup Activia peach low-fat yogurt (regular yogurt, not Greek) = 38 grams sugar (sugar and fructose)

Maximum recommended daily added (not naturally occurring) sugar for women is 25 grams or 6 teaspoons (100 calories).

A nutritional note about adding honey or dried fruit to non-fat, plain Greek yogurt:

1 T. honey =  17 grams sugar

60 raisins (1 oz) = 17 grams of sugar

1/4 cup of dried cranberries (Craisin brand) = 29 grams sugar (find a brand with less added sugar than Craisins)

Dried cranberries contain antioxidants and can help regulate blood sugar for Type 2 diabetics, but it's important to find a brand with lower added sugar--and Craisins isn't one of those brands!

How does honey compare to table sugar as an additive? Honey contains the same basic sugar units as table sugar--glucose and fructose. But granulated table sugar, or sucrose, has glucose and fructose hooked together, whereas in honey, glucose and fructose remain in separate units. Fructose does not convert to energy as efficiently as glucose, so foods containing granulated sugar high in fructose convert to fat stores more easily than honey.

1 tsp. table sugar = 16 calories
1 tsp. honey = 22 calories (but people use less of it. It's sweeter and denser.)

Here we go: The health benefits of Greek yogurt:


Protein is necessary for cell growth, building muscle, and repairing tissue. As we age we need more protein to keep our skin and our immune system healthy.

1 cup of non-fat, plain Greek yogurt = 23 grams of protein 
1 cup non-fat, plain regular yogurt = 13 grams
1 cup of non-fat milk = 8 grams protein
4 oz. grilled chicken breast = 36 grams protein


Greek yogurt is packed with B-12, which we need for energy level and healthy brain function. In the American diet, the other significant source of this vitamin is meat.


Our bodies must have a balance between sodium and potassium--especially important in American diets, which tend to be high in sodium from processed foods. Greek yogurt is high in potassium and helps with this essential balance.

Iodine (helpful for weight loss)

Greek yogurt is full of iodine, which is essential for proper thyroid function and as such, is necessary for a healthy metabolism and a healthy weight.

Calcium (and limiting fat production)

Not only is calcium necessary for bone health, but also for limiting fat production. Here's how: Cortisol is a hormone whose release can cause the body to store more fat (stressed much? Wondering where that fat is coming from?). Calcium is linked to the regulation of cortisol output. 

Here's the science surrounding the stress hormone, cortisol, excerpted below:

"In scientific lingo, the stress response system is called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis). After perceiving a stressor, a small brain area called the hypothalamus sends a chemical message to the pituitary gland. From here a new chemical message is sent out of the brain through our blood, to the producers of stress hormones called the adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys. This message says “secrete cortisol”."

Thus, by consuming a diet high in calcium, you can partially limit fat production. One cup of non-fat, plain Greek yogurt contains 30% of your daily calcium.  We're encouraged by nutrition experts to get calcium from dietary sources, rather than from supplements.


Greek yogurt is packed with probiotics, which are microorganisms (good bacteria) that normally live in our intestines. Without a proper balance of good bacteria, bad bacteria build up and damage our immune systems. A healthy digestive system is especially important for those with disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome.

Do you eat Greek yogurt? How do you like it? 

Along with a slice of homemade wheat/flax bread, it's my favorite lunch treat, and I also sometimes use it in place of meat to reduce our grocery bill (in place of meat just for me, not the others). Peter loves it too, and Beth is acclimating to it, but she misses her vanilla Activia, which I quit buying due to the additives and sugar. My husband, Mary, and Paul have never liked any kind of yogurt.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Kristen Welsh With Her First Sponsored Child

Once your heart swells with love for a sponsored child, you dream about visiting your child, something which Compassion International facilitates for you periodically, grouping sponsors together for each trip based upon where the Child Development Center is that serves your child.

Different scenarios will go through your head as to how God might provide the money, as well as what it will be like to run up and squeeze the stuffing out of your beloved child-of-the-heart, and share your love as well with the whole family. The trip of a lifetime doesn't begin to cover what a privilege this would be.

Kristen Welsh's first sponsored child, with whom she and her son have been sharing letters for 8 years, lives in Ethiopia and since she had to go there to meet with Fair Trade Friday partners, she visited her sponsored "son" as well, now 13 years old.

It was so beautiful. I'm still crying and would love for you to go over to her site and read it, as well as the rest of her posts from this week. She and her 16-year-old daughter were in Kenya to do Mercy House business, and to meet Maureen's new baby! See the "special delivery" post in the list below to read about her Mercy House partner, Maureen's, new baby.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Weekly Homeschool and Life Wrap-Up 4/17

First, the blessings. This week felt like a roller coaster ride. Having to dig deeper this time, I'm going to break one of my own personal rules, which is not to count blessings that are a mere comparison to those who have it worse than me.

Giving Thanks For These Blessings:

~ The Islamic State group is brutally raping young girls and keeping them as slaves. These girls, some of whom have escaped, will have scars and horror for life and my own pain here, mostly associated with a son's neurological problems, will never get that deep. Sometimes, raising a special-needs child to independence feels like an impossible feat, outside of God's miraculous healing, which doesn't seem to be on the horizon. It's hard to live in a nearly constant state of stress, but far harder to live in a constant state of horror. Both kinds of pain remind us that we are just passing through here. Lord Jesus, come for us!

~ We can see leaf buds on our trees, waiting to display their brilliant glory.

~ Daffodils blooming, a sure sign of God's love for us.

~ Hugs and kisses from my six-year-old sweetie.

~ The continued blessing of homemade honey wheat bread.

~ That family devotions can profoundly change our outlook on life and love.

~ An outstanding, thorough teacher for our small group adult Bible study at the new AWANA church.

On my mind:

For a number of reasons I wanted to expand my children's reading by using the Kindle with immersion reading, but when we set it up with The Three Musketeers, I researched the novel and found that it includes rape, murder, plunder, adultery and the most villainous and possibly most intriguing female character in the history of the novel. Milady, is her name, and she's a cold-blooded killer. And the Three Musketeers, with their fourth convert? Pretty terrible people. There are no heroes in this book, it appears, though many consider it the best of the best as an action-adventure page-turner. If you want to be a professional writer, study it for the expert character development, but think twice before giving it to your child. Far more of a guilty pleasure book than an edifying classic.

So, barring any problems with Treasure Island--and so far I've read of none--we're downloading that. They'll listen to a classic for 20 to 30 minutes a day using immersion reading, on top of their regular curriculum, because I can see they need the extra vocabulary development, which Newbery Medal and Honor books just aren't giving them.

We enjoy and study literature out of a love for the arts, sure, but as Christians timeless literary works also helps us see, on a deeper level, the human need for a Savior. It's one thing to know that we personally need a Savior, but it's still another to look all through history and see it over and over again--and literature through the ages drives that home.

So, I persevere in finding the best books for my children and myself, even though it takes up time I don't feel I have.

If you want a better understanding of literature through the ages, this site (Chicago Center for Literature and Photography) includes a series of essays by a man who is committed to reading 100 classic books and giving his take on whether or not they deserve classic status. His essays start with an overview of each book, followed by the pro and con arguments from academics about whether the book is a classic. He ends with his own, often witty opinion each time. I like his essays because as I read them, I gain better understanding of historical and cultural references, for one. His project started in late 2007, and he included books he hadn't already read, so your favorites might be missing, which only means he'd already read them prior to 2007. Part of his goal was to expand his own knowledge as an up-and-coming literary critic. His project is popular among GoodReads enthusiasts, among other literary groups. Here is his project list. The ones with a link are those he's already reviewed:

~500 BC: The Art of War, Sun Tzu
~360 BC: The Republic, Plato
~170 AD: Meditations, Marcus Aurelius
~1350: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
1485: Le Morte d'Arthur, Sir Thomas Malory
1722: A Journal of the Plague Year, Daniel Defoe
1726: Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift
1806-32: Faust, Johann Goethe
1818: Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen
1818: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
1819: Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott
1835-40: Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville (two books)
Early Victorianism
1844: The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas
1847: Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
1847: Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
1848: Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
1851: House of the Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne
1852: Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe
1854: Walden, Henry David Thoreau
1857: Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
1860: The Mill on the Floss, George Eliot
1861: Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
1862: Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
Late Victorianism
1868: Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
1870: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne
1871: Alice Through the Lookingglass, Lewis Carroll
1874: Middlemarch, George Eliot
1876: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
1877: Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
1879: A Doll's House, Henrik Ibsen
1880: Washington Square, Henry James
1880: The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky
1883: Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
1884: Flatland, Edwin Abbott
1886: The Masterpiece, Emile Zola
1895: Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy
1896: The Island of Dr. Moreau, HG Wells
1897: Dracula, Bram Stoker
1898: Candida, George Bernard Shaw
The Interregnum
1900: Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser
1901: Buddenbrooks, Thomas Mann
1901: Kim, Rudyard Kipling
1902: Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
1903: The Call of the Wild, Jack London
1903: The Way of All Flesh, Samuel Butler
1906: The Jungle, Upton Sinclair
1908: The Man Who Was Thursday, GK Chesterton
1911: Zuleika Dobson, Max Beerbohm
1914: Tarzan of the Apes, Edgar Rice Burroughs
1916: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
1918: The Magnificent Ambersons, by Booth Tarkington
1919: Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson
Early Modernism
1920: The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
1922: The Castle, Franz Kafka
1922: Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis
1924: A Passage to India, EM Forster
1925: The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
1925: Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
1928: All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
1929: A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
1929: The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
1932: Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
1934: The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett
1934: Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller
1934: The Postman Always Rings Twice, James M Cain
1939: The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
1945: Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
Late Modernism
1947: The Plague, Albert Camus
1951: Catch-22, Joseph Heller
1951: The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
1951: The End of the Affair, Graham Greene
1954: Lord of the Flies, William Golding
1955-74: The Ripley Trilogy, Patricia Highsmith (three small books)
1957: Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak
1957: Pnin, Vladimir Nabokov
1957-60: The Alexandria Quartet, Lawrence Durrell (four small books)
1960: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
1960: Rabbit, Run, John Updike
1961: Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein
1962: The Man in the High Castle, Philip K Dick
1966: The Fixer, Bernard Malamud
1967: The Confessions of Nat Turner, William Styron
1967: One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Postmodernism and Contemporary
1969: The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K Le Guin
1969: Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut
1972: The Gods Themselves, Isaac Asimov
1975: Humboldt's Gift, Saul Bellow
1980: A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
1980: The Executioner's Song, Norman Mailer
1980: The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco
1981: Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
1985: The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
1987: Beloved, Toni Morrison
1989: The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, Oscar Hijuelos
1992-98: The Border Trilogy, Cormac McCarthy (three small books)
1993: The Shipping News, E. Annie Proulx
1998: The Hours, Michael Cunningham
2000: Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri
2001: Empire Falls, Richard Russo
2002: Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides

OCD News
We had to stop the new OCD med, Zoloft, because of a pretty intense anger side effect, which contributed to the roller coaster that was our week.

The battles belonging to parents with special-needs children are profound, isolating ones. God has to be my refuge, and time again I am reminded that people, even my own husband, can't help me walk in grace and love and peace. Only God canConstant stress is inevitable, and every child has enough of a sin nature to be tempted to use their disorder as a manipulative device, so you don't always know when they're legitimately suffering, and when they're being stinkers.

Not wanting to end this on a sour note, let me just say that the Lord's grace is palpable here, so no worries. A Psalm is never far from my reach, and when we read them together and pray their hope, we are renewed, always.

Time to scoot to the library and the store, so more school details coming next time.

How was your week?

Weekly Wrap-Up

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Rethinking The Three Musketeers Assignment

Okay, so. I might regret assigning The Three Musketeers to my boys. It's not innocent by any means, and I have to read it myself from cover to cover first, rather than with the boys. Just wanted to warn you, lest you think the classics are all kids books. It might end up being fine, but I'm not sure after reading some reviews.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Kids, Classics, Kindle

In an effort to expand their vocabularies and instill intellectual discipline, I've begun having my boys listen to rigorous classics on our Kindle Fire HD, using audiobooks with immersion reading. Immersion reading, as most of you probably know (we're always the last to know) is listening to a professional narrator read the text while you follow along with the printed text in front of you on your Kindle. The words the narrator reads are highlighted in chunks, thereby allowing children to read higher level texts with pronunciation help on difficult words, along with the touch dictionary feature, allowing them access to definitions quickly and conveniently, with no heavy dictionary in tow. Let's face it: Most of us don't have the discipline to use a big bulky dictionary when we're trying to enjoy a book. 

This morning they were listening to The Three Musketeers. While technically a middle school book, the vocabulary is quite advanced; at least three words from the first chapter were entirely new to me, for example.

We've lost touch with these old classics as educators and readers partly because they require intellectual discipline and a mature attention span--both of which we're losing in this fast-paced era. As a reader and especially as a wannabe writer, I love the genius of his sentence structures, his vocabulary, and his plots, but if I'm tired, Charles Dickens is likely to put me to sleep during long descriptive segments. He's not always adept at moving his story lines along--he and a lot of other giants in literature. Three pages spent on scenery or describing a character can try the patience, depending on our mood.

Children have even less patience and stamina, so immersion reading is brilliant.

There's something to be said for intellectual discipline, and it's my job to push my learners in the right direction. I eat broccoli because I should, and I read great literature for the same reason. Over time, passion grows for the finer things (and a little melted cheese helps!). I've always felt that the richer our reading material, the richer our own prose and vocabulary become over time. The best writers are voracious readers. A writing teacher simply can't impart talent, but great books do it, brilliantly.

Thirty minutes a day to start, I told my boys as we set up the Kindle with The Three Musketeers. They were very good at clicking on the dictionary feature to look up unknown words, but at least for me, the highlighting of the text became distracting after a time. One could easily put too much mental focus on the words, at the expense of the plot. So, I suggested they listen to half a chapter with highlighting of the words, and another half with just voice.

Taking advantage of Whispersync for Voice on a Kindle Fire Tablet and also now on iOS and Android, you need to have purchased both the text version of a book and also the audio version, which you can get as an upgrade once you have the text version. Most older classics are free, and the audio upgrade is usually only $.99.

Immersion reading is not to be confused with the text-to-speech option in which a computerized voice reads the text for you. Oh, man. We hate that voice!

Many of you probably already use the nifty immersion reading technology, but for those who are slow to catch on, like us, you might find this post extremely helpful, from Homeschooling With Dyslexia. An excerpt is included below.

The exciting thing for me is the development of Immersion Reading for Kindle Fire (the latest generation) and Kindle Fire HD owners. With Immersion Reading, Kindle edition books are synched to the corresponding Audible audio edition AND as the books are read the text is highlighted while it is narrated via the Audible audio book.
We have long used audiobooks and had our dyslexic kids listen to the book as they followed along in the paper version. The trouble is that they can often lose their place and end up just listening, thus losing the multisensory input. The benefits of this immersion-type of listening is similar to those of the Neurological Impress Method (NIM). In this instructional method, the parent (or tutor) reads a text that is slightly above the student’s reading ability while running their finger under the text.
This multisensory instruction allows the child to see and hear the words at the same time and is very effective for building word recognition and fluency.
There are nearly 15,000 Kindle books and Audible audiobooks available for Immersion Reading and Whispersynch for Voice as well as a nice selection of free sets including, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Tale of Two Cities, The Three Muskateers, Gulliver’s Travels and other classics.

So, tell me. Do your children enjoy immersion reading? Do you have some classics ready to go? Please share your experiences.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Books & Essays for College Bound Students

I read recently that high schools are not assigning the caliber of novels necessary to prepare students for college. Transitioning seamlessly into college requires not only that students read and understand challenging books, but also that they know how to write a good literary analysis paper.

Whether you homeschool or use a traditional route, as a parent you'll want to be aware of this list of books put out by the College Board. You'll also want an outstanding explanation and example of a good literary analysis paper.

There are many different types of colleges and some will certainly have abandoned the classics as irrelevant. It won't hurt to be prepared for anything, and to look into the expectations of the colleges our children have in mind. The more liberal the college, the more likely it is to assign books written well after 1900.

Further reading: Most college freshman read at a seventh-grade reading level.

Here is the College Board featured list:

Middle school books 
Achebe, ChinuaThings Fall Apart
Crane, StephenThe Red Badge of Courage
Dumas, AlexandreThe Three Musketeers
Golding, WilliamLord of the Flies
Hurston, Zora NealeTheir Eyes Were Watching God
Huxley, AldousBrave New World
Lee, HarperTo Kill a Mockingbird
London, JackThe Call of the Wild
Miller, ArthurThe Crucible
Morrison, ToniBeloved
O'Neill, EugeneLong Day's Journey into Night
Orwell, GeorgeAnimal Farm
Poe, Edgar AllenSelected Tales
Remarque, Erich MariaAll Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, EdmondCyrano de Bergerac
Stevenson, Robert LouisTreasure Island
Swift, JonathanGulliver's Travels
Twain, MarkThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Welty, EudoraCollected Stories
Wright, RichardNative Son

High school books 
Agee, JamesA Death in the Family
Austin, JanePride and Prejudice
Baldwin, JamesGo Tell It on the Mountain
Beckett, SamuelWaiting for Godot
Bellow, SaulThe Adventures of Augie March
Bronte, CharlotteJane Eyre
Bronte, EmilyWuthering Heights
Camus, AlbertThe Stranger
Cather, WillaDeath Comes for the Archbishop
Chaucer, GeoffreyThe Canterbury Tales
Chekhov, AntonThe Cherry Orchard
Chopin, KateThe Awakening
Conrad, JosephHeart of Darkness
Cooper, James FenimoreThe Last of the Mohicans
Defoe, DanielRobinson Crusoe
Dickens, CharlesA Tale of Two Cities
Dostoyevsky, FyodorCrime and Punishment
Douglass, FrederickNarrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Dreiser, TheodoreAn American Tragedy
Eliot, GeorgeThe Mill on the Floss
Ellison, RalphInvisible Man
Emerson, Ralph WaldoSelected Essays
Faulkner, WilliamAs I Lay Dying
Faulkner, WilliamThe Sound and the Fury
Fielding, HenryTom Jones
Fitzgerald, F. ScottThe Great Gatsby
Flaubert, GustaveMadame Bovary
Ford, Ford MadoxThe Good Soldier
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang vonFaust
Hardy, ThomasTess of the d'Urbervilles
Hawthorne, NathanielThe Scarlet Letter
Heller, JosephCatch 22
Hemingway, ErnestA Farewell to Arms
HomerThe Iliad
HomerThe Odyssey
Hugo, VictorThe Hunchback of Notre Dame
Ibsen, HenrikA Doll's House
James, HenryThe Portrait of a Lady
James, HenryThe Turn of the Screw
Joyce, JamesA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Kafka, FranzThe Metamorphosis
Kingston, Maxine HongThe Woman Warrior
Lewis, SinclairBabbitt
Mann, ThomasThe Magic Mountain
Marquez, Gabriel GarciaOne Hundred Years of Solitude
Melville, HermanBartleby the Scrivener
Melville, HermanMoby Dick
O'Connor, FlanneryA Good Man is Hard to Find
Pasternak, BorisDoctor Zhivago
Plath, SylviaThe Bell Jar
Proust, MarcelSwann's Way
Pynchon, ThomasThe Crying of Lot 49
Roth, HenryCall It Sleep
Salinger, J.D.The Catcher in the Rye
Shakespeare, WilliamHamlet
Shakespeare, WilliamMacbeth
Shakespeare, WilliamA Midsummer Night's Dream
Shakespeare, WilliamRomeo and Juliet
Shaw, George BernardPygmalion
Shelley, MaryFrankenstein
Silko, Leslie MarmonCeremony
Solzhenitsyn, AlexanderOne Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
SophoclesOedipus Rex
Steinbeck, JohnThe Grapes of Wrath
Stowe, Harriet BeecherUncle Tom's Cabin
Thackeray, WilliamVanity Fair
Thoreau, Henry DavidWalden
Tolstoy, LeoWar and Peace
Turgenev, IvanFathers and Sons
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr.Slaughterhouse-Five
Walker, AliceThe Color Purple
Wharton, EdithThe House of Mirth
Whitman, WaltLeaves of Grass
Wilde, OscarThe Picture of Dorian Gray
Williams, TennesseeThe Glass Menagerie
Woolf, VirginiaTo the Lighthouse