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    Thoughtworthy (Christmas Book, Magnesium Oil, Review Years, and MORE!)

    December 1, 2017 by Brandy Vencel


    This post contains affiliate links.


    :: 1 ::

    Each year, I pick a Christmas novel to read. For seven years in a row, I read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. For the past three years, I added Jostein Gaarder’s The Christmas Mystery (which I highly recommend — it’s one of my favorites). But the children asked for something new this year, and who am I to deny them? Jenny Overton’s The Thirteen Days of Christmas is the latest addition to my ever-growing collection of Christmas books, and while it’d be fun to read it with the church calendar (there are chapters titled, for example, St. Nicholas’ Day and St. Stephen’s Day), I can’t deny that it fits almost perfectly into my schedule. DecemberTerm (my fancy name for our Christmas Circle Time) consists of 12 school days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and there are 13 chapters. Is this providential? I think so.


    :: 2 ::

    We had a rash of street hockey related injuries last week, which reminded me of the oft overlooked miracle that is magnesium oil. Do yourself a favor and keep some on hand! I make mine myself, though it can be purchased in prepared form if you prefer. The recipe is simple: equal parts purified water and magnesium bath flakes. Put in a cheap spray bottle.

    What do we use it on? Anything achy. (Beware spraying this on broken skin — it’ll burn!) We’ve used it on sprained wrists and ankles, uncomfortable lower backs, tense shoulders, and more. It is one of my favorites from my medicine cabinet.


    :: 3 ::

    Speaking of DecemberTerm, some years need to be review years. Or, at least, I have found this to be true for us. As younger children come up, it’s amazing what I think they know, that they don’t actually know. So, this year, instead of adding anything new to our stores of Christmas memory work, we’re doing all review: one poem and two songs per day, plus our daily recitation of Luke 2:1-20. Everything is kept in a binder, and when we get to the end, we begin again. (I use a post-it flag as a bookmark.)


    :: 4 ::

    I was trying to think of a fun field trip for St. Nicholas’ Day this year. No, I don’t usually do field trips for the day. But I’ve always wanted to. And then I started thinking about how my oldest might not even be here for St. Nicholas Day two years from now, and so instead of getting depressed, I planned a field trip.

    I’m taking all of my children to go see The Man Who Invented Christmas. As I mentioned above, I’ve read it aloud to them seven times so far. I think last year was the first year I didn’t read it since I’d begun. So they know the story well, which means they should have a deep appreciation for the movie. Or, at least, I hope so.


    :: 5 ::

    This month in 2011:

    The Mother as Fairy Truth
    I recently gave this post a little update at the end.


    :: 6 ::

    This week’s links collection:


    :: 7 ::

    Bonus links on Net Neutrality:

    Okay, okay. So the sky is falling and all that. That’s one side of the argument. If the panic over this issue has shown me anything it’s that many people have big passionate opinions and have done zero research to back them up. Most of the pro-Net Neutrality people I’ve encountered online (1) cannot make real arguments and (2) can’t actually define Net Neutrality. This concerns me greatly, and I’m pondering what to do to make sure my own children graduate understanding the value of having a well informed opinion rather than just parroting back what they’ve heard from others — and also understanding what does and does not make a real argument.

    My experience was interesting to me. I started by asking questions in a couple blogging groups and when no one could answer them I asked different questions and at one point no one answered me but I was accused of being a libertarian jerk who doesn’t know what she’s talking about, all while I hadn’t yet done the research to develop my own opinion on the issue.

    Naturally, since no one could share any research, I did my own.

    So I’m going to share what I found most compelling. I’ll start with the simpler stuff and end with the most difficult. I know only a fraction of you will care, and that’s okay.

    I firmly believe that the best kind of opinions are held by persons who can explain both sides of the argument in a logical and understandable way. We don’t always get there, of course, but I consider that the ideal. Since it’s so easy to find pro-Net Neutrality propaganda, and yet I ended up coming down on the “let it go” side of things, I’m sharing what persuaded me. I don’t expect all of you to agree with me. Please do your own thinking and develop your opinion accordingly.

    • Title II is the key to net neutrality—so what is it? from The Daily Dot
      • This was first written in 2014, which was before Net Neutrality was implemented, but it’s been updated. In order to understand Net Neutrality, you need to know a little 1930s legislation that Net Neutrality is based upon.
      • It was funny to me that the “horrific effects” they predicted from rolling back the Title II classification looks like it would save me some money.
    • Net Neutrality v. Title II: Explained from Medium (Tech Policy Corner)
      • This article is a bit confusing because the author separates out the ideal of Net Neutrality from the actual law we call Net Neutrality (classifying broadband as a Title II public utility). You’ll have to pay attention closely to follow what he’s saying.
    • Why I’m trying to change how the FCC regulates the Internet from The LA Times
      • From the man himself! Find out why FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wants to do this in the first place.
    • Net Neutrality, Reclassification and Investment: A Counterfactual Analysis from PHOENIX CENTER FOR ADVANCED LEGAL & ECONOMIC PUBLIC POLICY STUDIES
      • This is an academic paper and therefore difficult to wade through (statistics and math, folks!). If you do wade through it, the author makes a good argument that Title II classification caused an investment reduction within the industry.
    • Pai’s Right on Net Neutrality and Title II from Truth on the Market
      • This article is semi-scholarly and by the author of the book How to Regulate. If you read the article closely, you’ll see it’s a similar thought process to that used by economist Thomas Sowell in some of the early chapters of The Vision of the Anointed.


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  • Reply Mariel December 6, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    Brandy, thanks for the movie rec. I was able to take my daughter to a matinee today and we both enjoyed it very much. Christopher Plummer is a great Scrooge. Afterwards, my daughter asked to read the book, and asked for a quill and blue ink so she could be “just like Charles Dickens.” And with quills and ink 40% off at Barnes and Noble, how could I say no? 😉

  • Reply Monique December 6, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Just saw this video two days ago on the Pertussis vaccine.

    Dr. Suzanne Humphries testifies at the West Virginia Education Committee the morning of Saturday, March 18, 2017. She discusses history and problems with the pertussis or “whooping cough” vaccines (DPT, DTaP, & TDaP)

  • Reply Samantha December 2, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Brandy here was a video I watch on net neutrality that I found very helpful! It’s a little long but it sure did help me understand the issue better! I love your weeks link collection I usually go and read them all every week!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel December 2, 2017 at 8:23 pm

      Thanks, Samantha! I look forward to watching it! 🙂

  • Reply Tanya Stone December 1, 2017 at 10:37 am

    I’m curious to know what you think of the film. For my part, having seen the trailers, it looks rather melodramatic. I hope it’s good. “A Christmas Carol” is definitely my favorite story and I love many different film verions of it, so I hope the story of it’s origin is well done. 🙂

  • Reply Laura in Ontario December 1, 2017 at 6:57 am

    I bought some magnesium spray because I had heard it might help me sleep. I was not even aware that it was good for aching muscles, that’s good to know! One thing I found out by accident is that it actually makes a pretty decent deodorant. But don’t spray it on after shaving – you’ll regret it. 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel December 5, 2017 at 9:22 am

      Here is my secret: I use Milk of Magnesia as my deodorant! It doesn’t sting like the magnesium oil. ♥

      • Reply Laura in Ontario December 8, 2017 at 6:00 am

        No way! Thanks for the tip!

  • Reply bec December 1, 2017 at 3:25 am

    I firmly believe that the best kind of opinions are held by persons who can explain both sides of the argument in a logical and understandable way. Yep.

    • Reply Crystin December 1, 2017 at 6:41 pm

      I firmly believe that the best kind of opinions are held by persons who can explain both sides of the argument in a logical and understandable way.

      So much this!

      Is it bad that I don’t care enough to really understand or research Net Neutrality? I just have too many other interesting things to research…

      • Reply Brandy Vencel December 5, 2017 at 9:19 am

        He he. I don’t think it’s terrible that you aren’t interested in NN — it’s impossible to be interested in literally ever issue that arises! I think it’s much more important for us to be cautious about thinking we have opinions when really we just have emotions about an issue. 🙂

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