Monday, August 26, 2013


I always hate it when people say, "Oh, I'm getting so old."  I refuse to be old!  I refuse to feel old!  Which is why, against the law of physics, Scott and I went down several slides at 7 Peaks in a double tube, flipped over twice, and are both now covered in bruises.

We have no picture or video of this hilarious water park experience...but you can imagine my head under Scott's knee with the tube on top of both of us.  We flailed around corners and down 10-foot drops, trying to turn around before we were ejected from the slide to the pool.  Our entrance was so horrible the lifeguard offered to help us find an EMT.

For some reason, we went down another slide.  Same outcome.

I am now saying, "Wow, I'm old."  Old enough to be okay with hanging out in the kiddie pool with the girls.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Genius of John Adams (and David McCullough)

Everyday for the past six months, I've stepped on the treadmill, turned on my iPod, and hammered out several miles while listening to John Adams.

In my past life, I taught history.  I loved parts of it...other parts I endured.  Sorry to those that love Chinese history, but it was incredibly difficult to get tenth graders and myself to distinguish between the Ming, Qin, and Xin dynasties.  On the other hand, I love American History, specifically the era of the Revolutionary War.

It was quite a shock to realize how little I knew about John Adams.  What wasn't a shock was to read an amazing book by David McCullough.  His ability to weave history into something real, present, and captivating is a gift.  One of my favorite talks by McCullough, The Glorious Cause of America, focuses in on 1776.  I listened to it several times, then finally jumped into John Adams, anxious for more.

I learned so much from the example of John Adams, realizing how ignorant I have been of his life. My favorite lesson came early in the book:  both John and Abigail would repeatedly quote, "Be Good and Do Good".  Living this motto, they repeatedly sacrificed their own desires and wishes to serve America.  I think of myself as patriotic, but I realize that I have much to BE and to DO if I am to live up to the patriotic standard that John Adams and others like him set.

One depressing part about reading the book came on the last page.  I felt like I was losing a tutor and inspiring friend.  I want to read it again-now-and learn everything I missed on the first reading.  I heard it said once that a book that didn't require a second reading probably wasn't worth reading at all.  I agree with that:  if I can learn everything in a first reading, it probably isn't that great of a book.  On the other hand, a book like John Adams can't possibly be understood in one reading, and therefore has much to offer.  So, when I read it again, I'll be on the watch for all the stories and strength of example I missed on the first reading.  One thing will be the same:  David McCullough will draw me into another time and place, helping me live in my time and place as a better and stronger person.  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Check these out---awesome blogs

I have a list of blogs I love--most of them are family blogs and incredibly funny, entertaining, and keep me smiling at my friends.  Then--there are two blogs written by people I've never met, but wish I could.  I come back to these again and again, because their thoughts are always fresh and genuine, inspiring and unique.  Check these out:  

This Too is written by Melissa Sarno, an amazing writer that lives in New York City.  Her posts are about books, the city, her life, and writing.  The writing is simultaneously simple and elegant; every time I read her words, I'm inspired to write more and write better.  

 Study Hacks is by Cal Newport, my current favorite author.  (I wrote a post recently about his most current book So Good They Can't Ignore You).  I've read all his books, check in with his blog often, and am always enlightened by his theories.  Even better--I like how his theories improve the quality of life and work.  What's not to like about that?

Hope you'll enjoy these blogs as much as I do.