Sibling Assignment 2016.1 So Many Books; So Little Time #3Siblings

The first sibling assignment for the year 2016 was assigned by brother Bill.  Here is the assignment he gave us to stretch our creative non-fiction muscles.

For the next assignment, write a piece of creative non-fiction  that ends with this sentence (or a slight variation): "Suddenly, bittersweet vellichor filled my entire being."
One rule:  you cannot write about a bookstore in any way, but you will be writing a piece that ends in the wistfulness that comes when visiting used bookstores. 

Christy's blog post about The Art of Waxing and Waning is here, and here is Bill's post about his time in a wooded park in the D.C. area.

I am a reader.  From the time I can remember, books have been a part of my life, and the life of my family.  I could read by the time I was five-years-old.  Parents and siblings read to me from the time I was born. 

            Visits to the local public library was a constant in my life, and continued to be whether I lived in Kellogg, Glendive, Meridian, or back to Kellogg.  I have been a part of a “Book Club” for almost 14 years.  My childhood home was filled with shelves of books.  My current home is filled with shelves of books.  Books have always been a part of my life.

            Recently I spent a morning in the Kellogg High School library, or “Media Center” as it is now contemporarily known.  I had some students taking an assessment on the computers, so I spent time walking around and looking at titles of books on the shelves of the library.

            I remember before Christmas I had also been in that library, but I had been in the back room, and saw a shelf with book after book of rare Idaho History titles that I want to take home and read.

            On both the occasions I found titles I would like to read someday, but realized the list of the amount of books I want to read someday is quite long.

            Last week I revisited, once again, our local Kellogg Public Library to pick up a two books I had put on hold.  One was the book that had been chosen for my January Book Club title, and one was the second in a series of the Book Club book that we had read in December.

            My project last weekend was to clean out my office, and get it organized.  Much of the disorganization of my office was caused by books I had retrieved from shelves in our basement to bring up and put on the shelves in my office.  Many of these books had to do with Idaho history, and have been used in research for a book I have been working on for over 10 years.

            As I was finding those books downstairs, I also found some books that are old friends, books I had read years ago that I want to revisit.

            I look at other parts of the bookshelves in my office, and find books I have never read, but want to read someday soon.

            Will I ever have the time to read all the books I want to read?  I used to have an Edward Gorrey sweatshirt I used to wear that said “So Many Books; So Little Time”.  So true.

            Then I look on my Nook booklist.  I look on my Kindle booklist.  E-books are now a part of my personal library.  Each in my e-library I hope to read someday.  But is there the time?

            Another new collection in my growing library is also audiobooks.  Now I cannot only read books, but I can also listen to them as well.

            But will I ever have the time to visit all the places I want to visit within the pages of the hundreds of books that fill the shelves of my home, my school library, my local public library, my e-books, my audio books?

            This fall I have entered the world of an older Jean Louise Finch who struggles with her view of her father in “Go Set A Watchmen”, read an intriguing fictionalized account of the life of author Virginia Wolff and her sister Vanessa in “Vanessa and Her Sister”, met an eccentric Frenchman who is the chief of police in a small French village in “Bruno, Chief of Police”, and continued reading Joanne Harris’ magical story of Vianne Rocher in her book “A Peach for Father Francis”, a sequel to the book “Chocolat”.  I also read my friend Carrie Stuart Park’s newest book “The Bones Will Speak”, where she created a thriller that began right in my own hometown. I am currently half-way through following the adventures of Mark Whatney on Mars in the book “The Martian”.

            And put two more books on hold at the library for more reading pleasure.  The first is “The Paying Guest” by Sarah Waters, and “Last Bus to Wisdom” by Ivan Doig.  It looks like one takes me back to post WWI in England, and the other to Montana.

            When I look at the books I have recently read, the ones I have read and want to revisit, and think of all the books sitting there, waiting to be opened, suddenly, bittersweet vellichor fills my entire being.
from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
n. the strange wistfulness of used bookstores, 
which are somehow infused with the passage of 
time—filled with thousands of old books 
you’ll never have time to read, 
each of which is itself locked 
in its own era, bound and dated and papered over 
like an old room the author abandoned years ago, 
a hidden annex littered with thoughts 



Sibling Assignment 2015.23 Empty Nesters and Family Retreat #3Siblings

I gave the assignment this week:

"Look back over 2015 and write about one of the most memorable things that changed you, and write about the transformation."

You can find Bill writing about his photo taking here, and Christy about living back in her hometown here.

One of the more memorable things that has happened in my life this year is this fall when all three of my daughters were no longer living in our home.

Oldest daughter Molly relocated to Coeur d'Alene after getting a job at Post Falls Middle School, and will be returning to college in January to complete her Bachelor's degree at Lewis Clark State College.
Middle daughter Zoe is completing her senior year at the College of Idaho in Caldwell.
Youngest daughter Cosette moved into her first apartment, and is in her second year of college at the University of Idaho in Moscow.

I am not going to lie to you.  I really enjoy having the house a little quieter, and our schedule a little calmer.  I like that Paul and I spend more time together relaxing at home.

What I don't like are the long absences of being apart from our daughters, or having us all together at once.

Zoe finished up her junior year spring, and went directly to her summer job in Oregon.
We didn't see her from her spring break to August.  That was way too long.

Because of our schedules over the summer, all five of us were never able to be together as a family.

So we went from Easter to Thanksgiving until all five of us were together again.  That was hard.

It has made me realize how much I need to cherish the time we do have together.  Especially at this time in our lives, when all of the girls are still unmarried, no children, and it can be just the five of us.

Because of this long lapse in the five of us being apart from one another, I thought  would be a nice idea to take two days over Christmas break when all the girls were home and have a "Family Retreat".

Before Thanksgiving, I asked the girls if they would set aside December 28 and 29 for family time.  When I made this request, I didn't know what we were going to do, but I did know it would be spending time together.

We had a bit of a "Staycation Family Retreat".  We stayed at our house, and had an agenda of things we wanted to do over the two days.

We began the time sharing prayer requests and Paul prayed for us all. 

Throughout the two days, we watched Episodes I - VI of the Star Wars movies, since we had just gone as a family to see Episode VII.

We played games.  We found out the girls did not enjoy Trivial Pursuit 80's Edition.  They said they might like it if there were questions of things that happened after they were born.

But playing "Scribblish" was a highlight!!

We share meals and had discussions.  Some of these topics included:
"What can we do to encourage you when you are going through a bad time?"
"Is your outlook for the world hopeful or fearful, and why?"
"Share a topic you would like the family to discuss."
"Share about your relationship with God and Jesus, and what that means to your life right now."

What a precious gift those two days were with my family.  Becoming an Empty Nester is a good thing, but having everyone home together to share memories is a real blessing.