Audiobook 2, chapters 7 and 8 from “Soldier at the Door”

Be ready for my ranting, via Mahrree, about how schools should be. I was a homeschooling mom for many years, and am now a full-time high school English teacher, but teach in private schools rather than public. My three youngest kids, however, now attend public schools, but for how long, I don’t know.

I’ve been immensely blessed to be able to teach pretty much how and what I want in schools. I make sure all the standards are covered, but I try to bring in the love of books and language, not the drudgery of worksheets and memorization.

No children are ever at the same level of readiness, no test will ever effectively evaluate a child’s learning, and no teacher can make learning happen if the children–and their parents–aren’t all working together. I know exactly how I’d design a school, working with and for parents and kids, accommodating both part-time and full-time students, and some day in Zion/Salem, I hope to implement it.

Kids don’t need to be force-fed learning. They naturally love it!

But schooling kills it. Tragedy.

Audio Book 2 “Soldier at the Door,” chapters 4, 5 and 6 ready!

UPDATE: My friend RJ pointed out I hadn’t mentioned chapter 4 was up! Numbers always are problematic for me. That’s why I teach English and not math. I’ve included chapter 4 here.

Bronchitis eased up enough for me to read 42 minutes at a time before my lungs said, “They really want to hear your barking seal impression–here we go!” Fortunately I could splice these very long chapters together with Wondershare. The first I did before stomach flu/eastern virus struck at the beginning of the month, the second last night.

As I read last night, I was again struck with how much Edge and Idumea resemble America today. The government exists only because we pay for it; without us, they are nothing. And our children aren’t their responsibility, they are ours. The Creator/our God has given them to us parents as a stewardship, not to the government. I’m encouraged to see parents standing up around the country to school boards complaining about questionable teaching practices.

There’s an ancient saying that vaguely sounds like a nicety, but is actually a curse, and we’re definitely living it now: “May you live in interesting times.”

I feel deeply it’s only going to get more interesting. We’ll make it through together!

Merry Christmas, and watch out for the New Year

Merry Christmas, friends!

I had so hoped that today I could give you a full download of book 1 in one chapter-separated audio file, and a lot of Book 2 chapters as an audio book.

However, at Thanksgiving we were visited by the stomach flu bug, which a week later was followed by COVID. Both my husband and I were felled at the same time, nearly within the same hour. There were COVID outbreaks at both of our jobs, before and after we became ill, and at our son’s part-time job (he brought us home the stomach flu first).

For 10 days we were knocked down, hard.

Blessedly, our college-age son was well enough to get drive-thru dinners for his siblings, and our teenage daughter who had no symptoms could go through self-checkout lines and get us supplies of Gatorade and soup (shout-out to Progresso and Campbells Chunky soups for being so easy and making us feel like we were swallowing down bowls of vitamins).

We’ve also been enormously blessed to have understanding bosses who cared more for our well-being than the fact that we were missing over a week of work.

But most of all, I’m grateful for specific blessings of health. One Saturday, five days sick, I crashed, hard. My tachycardia heart couldn’t calibrate itself, and I felt a fatigue I’ve never experienced before. I worried that this might be “it.” But I also knew it wasn’t “it”. I know there is more that I need to do in this life. And since 99.7% of people recover (with few ever needing hospitalization), why should I not think I could?

I asked my husband to pray for me, specifically requesting that I begin to get over this. He did, promising that I “would begin to reclaim my life, day by day.” The next day, I was well enough to get down to the couch. The next day, I was stronger still.

By the next Saturday, one week later, I felt so healthy that I scrubbed all of the bathrooms, rearranged my closet (my “recording studio”), tossed out three bags of purged junk, and made dinner AND dessert. Two days after that, I walked my regular three-mile circuit, pulled by a puppy I’m babysitting, with no problems.

Prayer works.

In fact, it’s really the only thing that does.

I still have bronchitis which visits me yearly, but even that is waning, so hopefully soon I’ll have enough voice and fewer coughing fits that I can get back to recording Book 2 very soon.

I feel reborn in a strange way. Everything about my body feels different somehow, similar to as after having a baby. The body has to “find” itself again and reclaim what it used to be. I’ve heard others recovering from COVID mention the same thing. (And not all of it is bad–I see advantages to not having a sense of smell: my house has never smelled cleaner! Anyone have stinky diapers they need changed? I can do that, no problem.)

But already I know I won’t go back to what I was. Nor do I want to. I feel God pushing me on to different planes. I did a lot of thinking when I was feverish and exhausted (not much else you can do except watch reruns of “The Crown”).

Much was taught to me during those two weeks, and I’m looking into ideas and meditations that I haven’t before, finding great strength and insight I haven’t expected. (And I also have all these lovely natural immunities; bodies are strong and resilient.)

Nothing’s the same, anywhere.

Friends, if you haven’t felt that the world is different yet, you have to, or you’ll be surprised in very unpleasant ways.

Two years ago, this COVID threat began to rise in Wuhan, China. But that wasn’t all. More came with it, much that we couldn’t yet see, but it’s been impressed upon me for the past two years that the world is changing, and will continue to change. I believe much of that will be revealed in the next year.

There’s no going back to “normal.”

Why would the “Administrators” give back power once they’ve taken so much hold of it? Not without a battle, not without some kind of catastrophic collapse of power. That will be coming, I feel it in my gut and in my mind.

I haven’t seen one country in the world relinquish any of the additional control it’s illegally seized since this all began. Trust me–none ever will peacefully.

When I wrote Book 6 Flight of the Wounded Falcon where Young Pere travels to Edge and finds a strange, unpredictable place, it nearly broke my heart to do that to Edge, a village I’d grown to love.

But a strange impression came over me as I drafted those pages: Our world would also, in a few years, become as strange and unpredictable. It would become unrecognizable. And it has. Frankly, I didn’t think it’d happen for many more years—I wanted to be older and wiser when everything started to go weirdly downhill. But it’s happening now.

Nothing in the next few years will be anything that we’re used to. All we can do is hold on and listen to the promptings of the Spirit, which may tell you to do something different than it tells me, because we are all on different paths.

Most of all, we need to have compassion for each other, love for those whose paths are different, and choose to cling to each other, and not let the sharp divisiveness that is trying to pit city against city, family against family, parent against child. It’s been prophesied, but it doesn’t have to happen to you or me.

Isaiah, Jeremiah, John the Revelator and others saw our day. And honestly, they saw terrible, strange things. But we can get through these years if we choose to love despite everything, choose to support instead of tear down, and choose to hear Him, who I promise is coming, sooner than we realize.

It’s time to build Zion, beginning in our own hearts.

All my love and hope for you this coming year. We’ll need all that we can get.

Audiobook FINISHED! Chapters 23-24 now available

It’s finished, guys! I thought this would take me until January to get finished, but once I decided to do it, I found ways to keep going. The Forest at the Edge of the World is complete! (And that last chapter is just over an hour, so take an extra long walk or deep clean your fridge as you listen. Why do I write such long chapters?!)

Yes, that means Book 2, Soldier at the Door, will be coming soon. I need to work on the thumbnail for it, then I’ll start recording chapter by chapter for that one as well.

Audiobook Chapters 20-22

Today I took my students through some Emerson, and one student said, “I feel he’s calling me out! I’m always procrastinating and I just can’t make myself do something it it’s not going to be perfect. He says we doubt ourselves and that holds us back!”

“Well?” I responded.

“Well, he’s right!” she declared, guiltily and angrily.

“And what was true nearly 200 hundred years is true now. This is just human nature, but we can dare to be better.” Then I told them about my great fear and hesitation to make these Youtube videos of me reading very imperfectly my imperfect book chapters, but that I’m doing it anyway. I can’t wait for perfection; I’ve always been a B+ student, and sometimes B+ is the best we can hope for.

And that this process has been immensely fun and going faster than I anticipated.

They claimed they were going to listen to my chapters someday, but they can’t now because none of them are allowed computers in our treatment center. And when they leave our program, they’ll have forgotten all about this and I’ll be safe from their mocking. (Whew.)

Still, this has been so much fun. I’m totally enjoying this. And it seems about half a dozen people are as well. Last couple of chapters should be up this week sometime.

Audiobook Chapters 17-19

I teach high school English at a residential treatment center, and today I showed my students selections of “Mulan” as part of a unit in Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. (We’re tracking the cycle in a variety of stories and movies, such as Harry Potter and Hunger Games).

As my students spontaneously sang along with, “Make a Man Out of You!” I realized that Capt. Shang has a lot in common with Perrin, except that Perrin is of Japanese descent (“shin” means “truth”) while Shang is Chinese.

I hadn’t realized before how much Shang may have unconsciously influenced my character development of Perrin:

“Tranquil as the forest . . .”

(Admit you, you sang along in your head, didn’t you?)

“Mysterious as the dark side of the moooooon!”

(There. We both knew we had to finish it.)