Break

Keep calm and wait … what?

If you hadn’t noticed, things have been quiet around here lately. I didn’t plan to take a break from blogging, but it happened anyway.

And that’s okay.

We need breaks from time to time. We need to relax, to take some deep breaths, and to recharge. We need to try new things, and experience new experiences.

Above all, we need to live.

It’s so easy to get lock into writing. To focus on word counts and deadlines. It’a even easier to get caught up in the business of writing. To spend more time on social media trying to be heard above the din of voices.

We spend so much time on output, we forget about input. Reading a book, taking a walk, singing, or  playing a musical instrument. Talking to our friends, engaging with our partners, or playing with our kids. And then we wonder why the output stops.

No input, no output.

No living, no life.

That’s why we have to take breaks, and that’s why the blog has slowed down and why it will pick up again once I am filled.

Five Minute Friday

And this week, a two-for one (to catch up with both online communities):

Cheerleaders of Faith

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Bloggerhood Etc. 6/23/14

At a berry pick

Photo: Julia Ozab

Summer is here! And the blog is slowing down just a bit as we prepare for my dad to to fly up from San Diego tomorrow and visit us for the week. But there’s still a lot going on elsewhere on the blogosphere, and here’s some of best.

Best List.50 Awesome Summer Activities for Bored Kids (No Parents Required)” by Linda Sharps at The Stir.

Best Guest Post. “De(tales): A Grief Observed” by Jody Lee Collins at Cara Strickland’s blog Little Did She Know.

Best Parenting Post.My First Week as a Stay-at-Home Dad” by B.K. Mullen at The National At-Home Dad Network.

Most Tragic.The Seven Signs You’re in a Cult” by Boze Herrington at The Atlantic.

Sweetest.I Met Him Online. It Was Love at First Pixel.” by Elizabeth Esther.

Funniest.The Agony and the Ecstasy of Raising a Toddler” by Grant Snider at Huff Post Parents.

Most Thought-Provoking.4 Reasons I’m Not Going to Heaven” by Micah J. Murray at the Redemption Pictures blog.

Best Special Needs Post.What if She Lives With Us Forever” by Ellen Stumbo at Not Alone.

Best Satire.Be Not Deceived: There’s No Such Thing as a Christian Banker” by Benjamin L. Corey at Formerly Fundie.

Best Idea.Little Libraries” by Randi Bjornstad at The Eugene Register-Guard.

Best Series (starting today!).  “The Non-Blogger’s Guide to Blogging” by Addie Zierman at How to Talk Evangelical.

Best Trailer for a Very Bad Movie.Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” at Honest Trailers (via YouTube).

“I’m sorry”—Michael Bay.

Bloggerhood Etc. 6/16/14

Flygirl

Photo: Robert Rummel-Hudson

Hope all the dads out there had a great Father’s Day! Now on to the best of the week.

Best Special Needs Post.Flygirl” by Robert Rummel-Hudson at Support for Special Needs.

Most Disturbing.4.5 Degrees” by xkcd.

Best List.9 Brilliant Contemporary Composers Who Prove Classical Music Isn’t Dead” by Lisa Bernier at Policy Mic.

Best Question.Writing: How Do You Do It?” by Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds.

Most Provocative.If Gay Christians Go To Hell, So Are The Ones Who Don’t Recycle” by Benjamin L. Corey at Formerly Fundie.

Best Parenting Post. 10 Bad Habits Parents Need to Break Like Yesterday” by Dynamom at Scary Mommy.

Most Profound.The Way of the Gun” by Nish Weiseth at A Deeper Story.

Best Advice.Why Reading to Your Daughter is the Most Masculine Thing in the World” by Tom Burns at Reading Rainbow Blog.

Most Ridiculous Controversy.Breast-feeding mom’s college graduation photo stirs controversy” by Lisa Flam at Today Parents.

Best Commentary.Eric Cantor’s Loss: A Pro-Life Democrat’s Take” by Steve Schneck at The Whole Life Democrat.

Best Father’s Day Post.If I Could Do It Over” by Jim Higley at the Chicago Tribune.

Best Trinity Sunday Post.Wheeee! Some Thoughts on the Trinity” by Fran Rossi Szpylczyn at There Will Be Bread.

Most Present to the Moment.Noticing” by Cara Strickland at Little Did She Know.

Best Sendoff.Don Cherry techno compilation of the 2014 NHL playoffs” via YouTube.

See more of Don’s musical stylings here.

Review: Anything but Silent

anything but silent

Today is Apraxia Awareness Day. In place of my usual Wordless Wednesday photo post, I am sharing a book about one family’s experience with childhood apraxia of speech. If your life has been touch by apraxia in some way, I hope you read it too.

It’s been over five years since our daughter Anna was diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech, and before she was diagnosed we had never heard of this surprisingly common motor-speech disorder. We felt so alone. But we found help from fellow parents online and we found the Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America (CASANA). We weren’t as alone as we thought.

Fifteen years earlier, Kathy Hennessy had to grapple with this same diagnosis twice. Both her daughter Kate and her son Andrew had apraxia. Fifteen years earlier there was nowhere to go for support. The internet was in it’s infancy, and apraxia was little known even among speech language pathologists. I can’t imagine how alone she felt.

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Anna’s Favorite Apps, Part One

Anna and I check out her new iPad Air

Photo: Julia Ozab

We bought Anna an iPad for her birthday, and what’s an iPad without apps? I took a  look at an iPad at Anna’s elementary school while Julia searched online, and together we found a wide variety of educational games along with some just for fun. Now that a few weeks have passed, I asked Anna what some of her favorites were? She likes a lot of them, so I’ll be featuring them here each Tuesday over the next few weeks.

(Note: specs and screenshots via the App Store)

Part One: Spelling, Grammar, and Reading

scramble mode

FreeFall Spelling

  • $1.99
  • Category: Education
  • Updated: Oct 31, 2012
  • Version: 2.4
  • Size: 65.0 MB
  • Languages: English, German, Spanish
  • Seller: Merge Mobile, Inc.
  • © Merge Mobile, Inc

Compatibility: Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Fish Tank

Description: Practice spelling in three different modes—scramble, drag—and typwriter fun—and win fish and aquarium supplies to fill a virtual fish tank.

Anna’s favorite part: Feeding the fish.

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A Half-Year in Review

Today, July 2nd, is the 183rd day of 2013 and it’s midpoint, with 182 days passed and another 182 days to go. It’s been quite a year so far.

I began January, and the New Year, with a new word. I thought through a few options before settling on “balance.”

(I) like that balance is both a verb and a noun (that’s the writer in me again) and it seems to be what’s most lacking in my life right now . . . I see in it something I find missing in my own Sturm und Drang existence. Yes, drama is great for art, but it’s not so good for real life, and we all deal with enough uncertainty in life.

So “balance” it is. My word and my goal for 2013.

It’s been a real struggle, far more than last year’s word was, but it’s still my goal.

In February, I noted a major step in my daughter Anna’s progress in learning right from wrong.

Julia and I were in the bedroom chatting when Anna came in. She was crying.

“Mom, Dad, I fibbed. Please turn off my computer.”

“What was that?” I asked. Neither of us quite understood what she was saying.

“I got a reminder today and I said I didn’t.” More tears flowed. “I hid it at school so you wouldn’t see.  I’m sorry I fibbed.”

We could tell that she knew she did wrong and she was genuinely upset about it. I turned off her computer and we discussed her punishment.

“Anna,” Julia said. “You know you did wrong in school, and that lying about it was wrong too.”

Anna sniffed and nodded.

“But you also did the right thing in telling the truth.”

We still had to punish her, but we lessened the punishment as a reward for her making the right decision.

In March, I put together a short list of “Empowering Books for Young Girls” inspired by a simliar “Mother-Daughter Book Club” list for older girls compiled by Lori Day.

As much as they both love to read, I can see Julia and Anna in a mother-daughter book club in a few years. In the meantime, I’m saving Lori’s list and putting together one of my own for younger girls.

This list is by no means exhaustive. It’s just a handful of books (or book series) that Anna really enjoys, and that feature girls around her age as either the primary or secondary protagonists.

Since I complied this list, she’s progressed to beginning chapter books, adding the Ivy and Bean and Junie B. Jones series to her favorites. We’ve also reread the Ramona books and she does a pretty good job reading the first paragraph of each chapter on her own. In another year, I think she’ll be able to read them on her own too.

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