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    7 Quick Takes

    January 3, 2014 by Brandy Vencel
    — 1 —

    If you haven’t filled my survey out yet, I’d love for you to do so. I have to admit you have had me laughing over here. Here is an example: early in the week, to the question “I wish you would write more about” someone answered “your goats.” I don’t write much during these couple weeks of festivities as a general rule, but my first thought was, “Hey, that’s something my brain can do right now! And I’d enjoy it, too!” So, I wrote a post on goats. You know what happened the next day? I read some new survey answers and, to the question “I wish you would write less about…” someone answered, “your goats.”


    I think in 2014 I shall write neither more often, nor less often, about my beloved flock than I have in the past.

    — 2 —

    Q-Age-Six became Q-Age-Seven this week. I won’t go on and on about how heartbroken I am about my little girl growing up because then I’ll have to hear it from Mystie. The family party is tomorrow, but our tradition is that, on your birthday, you get to choose your dinner. In Daughter Q.’s case, however, it is lunch, because she is a New Year’s Eve baby and her father and I go out to dinner that night, while she parties it up with her siblings at Granddad’s house.

    So, what did she choose? Sandwiches. Turkey with swiss on sourdough with only mayo {no veggies except onions!} and please, oh please, can there be sauerkraut next to the sandwich, but not on it? I love this girl. She has already mastered her Starbucks order {kids’ vanilla steamer, please} because she’s comfortable with her own bossiness. So while the other children in the family spend hours of gut-wrenching soul searching, trying to decide on what’s for dinner, Daughter Q. took about two seconds to make her call.

    — 3 —

    I’m making an owl cake for this year’s family celebration. Photos will be forthcoming, and in the meantime you all can pray for me. It is very…elaborate. Ahem.

    — 4 —

    This year, I taught E-Age-Eleven how to make his own New Year’s resolutions. I’ll be honest: the child was driving me nuts, and I thought some goals might help. Plus, I’ve been making mothering resolutions every year for a long time now, and it dawned on me that even though I may still “resolve” certain things for him, he really is old enough to do it himself. And there is no time like the present for learning to accomplish something with your time rather than frittering it away, right?

    I have always used that passage from the New Testament, where is says that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. It has served as a sort of outline for me. So I took a piece of paper and folded it in thirds and wrote “wisdom,” “knowledge,” and “stature” at the top. I told him that “wisdom” can be spiritual goals {like reading through certain books of the Bible or praying certain things or whatever} or it could also be a place to put spiritual growth in ideas — basically an understanding of something that would come from reading and thinking. “Knowledge” would be more of a skills category. “Stature” would be the place to put goals for our body.

    And of course there is “other” on the back, in case we think of something that doesn’t seem to fit.

    We also talked a bit about making goals specific rather than general, so that we can really know what we want to do and, in the end, whether we actually did it or not. So, say, the difference between, “Learn more Spanish” and “Pass 12 sections on DuoLingo.”

    He was really excited about the knowledge category and started chattering all about getting himself to Bach’s Two-Part Inventions in piano and mastering certain exercises in Latin and Spanish. My second child likely won’t be ready for this sort of thing at his age {though she may surprise me}, but this was the perfect thing to pass off to him this year and start off with a little more independence than he had last year.

    — 5 —

    I have a lot of posts in my head right now. Most of them probably ought to have been published this past week, being the week of New Year’s, but I figure the entire month of January is fair game for all things fresh and new, right?

    — 6 —

    Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? My pastor told us that about half of people make them, but less than 10% keep them. So, if you make them, are you able to keep them?

    — 7 —

    Windows 8 freaks me out. A benevolent donor gifted our school with a new laptop {thanks, benevolent donor!!} and it runs Windows 8 and has a touch screen. I figure the only reason I even half knew what I was doing when I first turned it on was because I have a Kindle Fire and have therefore seen an app before. But still! Goodness. I feel like an old lady. I mean, I know how to open an app, but not how to close one. I can’t figure out how to turn the computer off. I was offered a copy of Windows 8 for Dummies free when I registered the computer {no joke}, but didn’t download it because Microsoft wanted to know too much about me. I mean, why don’t I just hand them my social security number and mother’s maiden name and call it a day?

    I figure it gets better, right?

    And that is all for this Friday. If you haven’t done so already, please fill out my survey. I’m closing it to responses sometime next week, so do it soon. It’d mean so much to me to hear from you.
    Happy New Year, all. May you be blessed!

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  • Reply Sarah January 6, 2014 at 12:21 am

    Just file learning Windows 8 under the ¨knowledge¨ category of resolutions. πŸ˜‰

    My husband gave me a new laptop last Christmas with Windows 8 already loaded. He´s an IT person at work but is not a Windows user. He wished me well with it, and it really was sink or swim for me. I figured since I taught myself to use Vista four years ago, I could figure this out too, so I found YouTube videos and hacks on various websites and lo and behold, I figured it out. Personally, I was freaked out at first and even called Dell, telling them I wanted to send the laptop back. They suggested I play around with it for awhile but send it back if I really hated it. I got over it, though I do not really like Microsoft. I just appreciate what I can do with their products. Next time, though? I´ll be getting a Mac.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 6, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      This is good advice, and I *need* to follow it because that laptop isn’t going away anytime soon. Thank you!

  • Reply sara January 4, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    No resolutions here. I’m resolved every day. Sort of.

    I almost wrote goats.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 6, 2014 at 4:31 pm

      You sound like my husband! I asked him if he ever made resolutions {because he’s never mentioned them}, and he basically said that he didn’t see the point. He sets goals as he needs to…but he’s much more of a doer than I am. I find the annual rhythm gives me a good reason to set goals that I really should be setting anyhow. πŸ™‚

      You almost wrote goats. Ha! I see you don’t mention which column, and I shall not ask. πŸ˜‰

  • Reply amy in peru January 4, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    i despise windows 8 and am just oh so thankful that the computers that use it in my household are not my own. i have had just enough experience (forced, albeit), that i can navigate them now (after a considerable effort), but i think it was a big dumb change for microsoft to do. perhaps there are reasons it was necessary, but i have somehow failed to see any of them.

    january. i hope it’s good to stretch these things out, because i’m the same as you with thoughts awhirl. however, i’ll never be as good as getting them from mind to blog as you are…

    i’ve never really done very much with new year’s resolutions, besides read other people’s, but i do like to reflect and consider. i don’t like to do something just for the doing’s sake and then not follow through. generally speaking though, i do make resolutions of sorts, just not super definitive, i guess, and only those that i fully expect to follow through with. i’m annoying.

    NB. if ever you reply something that you desperately want me to know, please e-mail or pm, ’cause i rarely get back over to a post after i’ve commented UNLESS i happen to remember (which is rare) to subscribe to comments before i hit publish. just sayin’. i’m that kind of forgetful. i only say so, because i don’t want to miss it if it’s something i should know… and so that you don’t wonder if we talk in some other context when i seem like i have no idea… which may be 100% true… πŸ˜‰ of course, i’d like to be more communicative, but… i don’t get out much, not even to comment as often as i’d like…
    πŸ™ ocasionally, i show up at the post months/years later but that’s a different sort of amnesia. πŸ˜‰

    • Reply amy in peru January 4, 2014 at 9:41 pm

      p.s. i came back real quick to say that i like your new design AND that may have qualified by its length for my one and only comment for this quarter. oh, AND i recently love owls.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 6, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      Oh my goodness you make me laugh, my friend. I agree that Windows 8 was a dumb change. With that said, my husband would NEVER agree to a Mac, so there we are. πŸ™‚

      You love owls only recently? We have an owl in our neighborhood that is about the size of a toddler. It is sort of creepy when it comes to visit, staring at the rabbit hutches and all…

  • Reply Willa January 3, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    I have heard many bad things about Windows 8, to the point where whether the machine depended on it or not was a factor in my recent new laptop decision.

    But what I was really going to say is that I love your wisdom/stature/favor plan for resolutions. I was just thinking about that verse today as a possible motto for the year, so it fit right in with my thoughts.

    Blessings on your new year!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 4, 2014 at 1:09 am

      Ooh! I like that as a motto for the year!

      I keep thinking that Windows 8 is probably just fine, but I need to learn to figure it out…which requires time. Time I don’t have, or don’t want to set aside for it!

  • Reply dawn January 3, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    I like your resolution formula.

    I’ve done 2 days of my resolutions (I skipped the first). 5:30, when my husband gets up, is *really* early.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 4, 2014 at 1:07 am

      Ooh! Getting up early is hard! πŸ™‚

      I am fine at 6am or later, but I have to be careful about earlier than that because it seems to effect my immunity, regardless of what time I go to bed. But come early summer, I always have to get up at that time whether I like it or not. πŸ™‚

      Good for you, Dawn! I am impressed!

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