Saturday’s Share: What’s a Picture Worth?

Welcome to Saturday’s Share – Reflections and impressions inspired by and celebrating images from daily life, to add a bit of sparkle to the weekend. Happy Saturday!

Today’s Share pretty much sums up my life. There’s beauty, joy, and words. There’s that girl; the one who picked those pretty flowers out of the cottage garden by the front door, and brought them to me in a plastic basket that’s been scuffing around here for years now. I wonder if she knows how much prettier that sparkle in her eyes is than any flowers ever could be?

And there’s my laptop, and the original draft of Chameleon’s Dish, the novel I’ll spend 50 hours rewriting as my NaNoEdMo challenge, as soon as the calendar shifts…and yes – all this activity was taking place on my bed – because some afternoons just happen to be like that, here.

Sometimes pictures say a lot about who we are, and how we live. Maybe that’s more true, and less true, today than at any other point in human history. Taking pictures has become almost effortless. I can do that with my little pay-as-you-go not-quite smart phone; my Kindle Fire, my laptop, and two cameras (one sophisticated; one point-and-shoot).

Sometimes, I just go through the house and snap random shots of our life as it is, so that I can look at them through the camera’s framing rather than my own. I can see a huge mess; the camera sees a small detail, like this photo…

Then, I can go to PicMonkey, and edit the picture in many ways, making something that might have seemed unhappily chaotic magical in a whole new way!

It gives me a better vision of my life. There’s less grumbling about imperfections; more seeing the wonder around me.

That’s something that’s missing from the oldest photographs, when people dressed up, posed stiffly, dared not smile….because a photo was precious, and a huge effort to capture. The magic then was maybe in being able to capture the moment at all…and so much more quickly than a portrait could be painted.

There’s always talk about the “good old days” – and I’m not going to say that there aren’t bits of bygone days that I would have rathered keep than see them evolve.

But, in this way, I am very grateful that I can use technology to capture these moments, share them, and see them anew.

That’s pretty magical, isn’t it?

How about you? Are there things about modern life that make your life seem magical and more wondrous than it did, before? Are there pieces of the past that you still mourn?

Happy makes more happy. I’d love to hear your stories and see your happy photos. Drop me a comment, or post a link, and join in the happy-making fun!

After all, Saturdays are for sharing! 

NASA Johnson Style!

Last Friday, I posted my Top Five Gangnam Style videos on Friday Frolic.  In response, my Facebook friend Maria sent my this too-good-not-to-share NASA parody!

Dancing, space, gadgets, and astronauts….how can this NOT be a hoot?!

Technology -Thankvember Twenty-Third

Curious? Click here!

Technology -Thankvember Twenty-Third

I live today in a world very different than the one I was born into. I know that there is a tendency in people of a certain age to reminisce about the good old days, but this is not that kind of post.

Yes, there are trivial places in which I think our technology has gone a bit overboard, and critical ones where I feel it’s lagging behind, but I don’t want to focus on those, either, in this post.

This post is intended instead as a celebration of the ways in which technology enhances the lives of this family.

We are all simple people, and we all enjoy taking in mew ideas, information, and inspiration. So, for all of us, the new devices and systems for entertainment and communication are, in a very real sense, fantasy come to life.

It began with getting cable TV. For the first several years we lived here, we didn’t have cable, and could rely on only one channel. The American transition to digital television led to our making the choice to have basic cable installed.

Immediately, we all had access to a much wider slice of the world. Around the same time, Jeremiah, then seven, became intensely interested in handheld games systems. His first was a Game Boy Advance, which he purchased with saved allowance money.

A few months later, we replaced our faltering dial-up Internet connection with a wireless Roadrunner connection, and my new laptop was now connectable everywhere, at a speed that matched the availability of information.

Meanwhile, game systems continued to join our lives – Jeremiah seems to thrive with learning presented within a technological format, and he learned how to connect and use, in fairly rapid succession, the Gameboy, a DS, and a DS-i; and he was instrumental in the purchase of a gaming joystick, a Gamecube, a Playstation 2, and an Xbox 360.

Eventually, I replaced my large laptop, first with an older tablet that was not what I was looking for, and then with a much smaller, but more efficient, Lenovo Ideapad S9. The tablet and the old laptop floated between owners for a while.

Both children eventually acquired Nintendo 3DS units, and our family acquired a Roku and a Wii.We all got simple pay-as-you-go cellphones, and Jeremiah got a laptop like mine.

We have had a streaming Netflix account for a couple of years, and it is used (mostly through the Wii console, or the Roku) on one of our two modestly sized flatscreen TV’s – we bought inexpensive models in smaller sizes, so that we could have the features we most wanted.

This week,after saving my personal spending fund for several weeks, I was able to buy myself a Kindle Fire HD. I am loving this little device, which offers me worlds in the palm of my hand…

For all the technology that has enriched us, allowed us to speak with people on other continents about all manner of things, that spreads ideas and experiences and images across a far-flung network, free for us to partake of.

Our lives are richer because of this technology. We are richer, wiser, and fuller because of it.

The enriching gifts of technology. Public domain image-click for source/

 

ROW Goals Update #10

Excerpt from  my 12/3/99  Writing Practice:

(…And musings from today, 5/6/12)

I’d write more and better, if only…:

  • I had a brand new computer… (my Sweet L’il Lenovo does everything I need, and then some.  It’s not brand new.  It’s a returned lease laptop, and I bought it on Ebay  for a mere $117.99). 
  • A room of my own… (I’m not sure why I thought this was a big deal, when it was just Jim and I then, and our work schedules allowed me time alone most days).  Now, I have a cubby of my own, about 8′ by 10′, made from three wall bookshelves bolted to the wall and each other, with no door, and in clear sound range of our common living areas.  I have two active children who do not attend school, and mess and noise and work come with them – and I find writing time and space far more easily than I did, back in 1999).

Sweet morning message. =)


  • Nothing but free time… (Free time is one of those concepts that far too often goes un – examined.  How much of my time MUST be given to other things,with no choice on my part?  Very little, really.  These days, I find that pockets of time exist in each day, without ignoring my family or the things I choose to do to maintain our home, and support our lives.  I choose to use some of these pockets to pursue my passion for writing.  I use the rest of my time for living richly, giving to my loved ones, and being present in my life -which provides me with a steady source of things to write about! ).

Lemon Juice Invisible Ink, made by Jeremiah.

  • More writing books… (When  I wrote this, the Internet was a smaller place, and I didn’t really know how to use it for writing information.  Over the last few years, I have given away all but my most precious writing books, and I have become a lot better at finding information specifically suiting my needs of the moment, which saves time, mental clutter, and physical space).
  • More writing friends…  (While I love having a network of friends who write and know how it is to live twice at once, with words and ideas always spinning in their minds, writing is still a solitary affair.  No number of friends can help, if I am not willing to give myself fully to my writing, during my writing times.  No lack of writing friends can keep me from doing that, either.  Whether I write or not is my choice, always).

Annalise and her new “Sedona Sunrise” quilt – a gift from her Oregon gramma.


  • part-time job… (Hmm…  ‘nothing but free time’ AND ‘a part-time job, too’?  Clearly, I wasn’t thinking logically.  It seems, now, like I was looking for excuses…because writing is a thing that fits very easily into the spaces that exist in life – IF I choose for it to.  If I insist on perfect conditions, then I will be focused more on the lack of perfect spaces than on all those little pockets of time that COULD give me imperfect writing spaces aplenty).

After the equine nuptials in the front yard…


  • More support at home… ( I think what I was wanting here was for Jim to be as excited about my writing as I had convinced myself I was, to stroke my ego and tell me that, yes, THIS was important, to validate me and my choices.  Now, with more people in my home, and two of them young enough that their own pursuits shine more brightly than anyone else’s, I’ve realized that I need to be my own support.  I validate my own truth and passions when I choose to write.  If I take my passion seriously, my family will, more or less, accept the statement, “I am going to write now.”  Not in moments when they need me; but in other moments, when they are pursuing their own passions.  If my validation and support come from myself, primarily, I will not bemoan others’ focus on their own lives, and I will be free to delve as deeply as I choose into my own passion).

Playing with numbers…sometimes it looks like schoolwork, but generally not. This was joyful play for Jeremiah.


  • Lots of sales… (Again, there seems to be a certain lack of logic here.  Lots of sales…of WHAT, if I’m not willing to take my writing seriously enough to create whether I am selling anything or not?  Today, I write because – well, I write.  I have since I was seven, and I was creating stories in my mind, playing with words and ideas, in toddlerhood.  Writing is as essential to who I am as my gender and utter left-handedness.  I can choose to scribble in order to fill notebooks that I then stuff into an ever-growing pile in a dark cabinet, where no one sees them…or I can know that my drive and desire to write are about sharing my soul and my truth and my fantasies, offering them up, generously, casting them out upon the tides of life and trusting that at least some of them will be carried to fertile places where they can grow and thrive for someone else.  I can choose to do this freely, and, in time, also receive payment for some of these word-seeds.  But money is not and never really has been a very good motivator for me.  I tend to find richness in many other things, and living simply brings me more joy and peace than a swollen bank account ever could.  Now, I write, and I share, out of the essence of who I am, because I believe that our unique selves are the greatest gifts we can offer to anyone else).

First-ever try at “formal” division.


  • A guarantee it’ll be good… (Again,I don’t seem to have been seeing this logically.  “Good” is a very broad and vapid word.  It’s not passionate, deeply true, delightful play….it’s just ‘good’.  In truth, my best writing comes when I simply pour forth what’s inside me, whether deep ponderings about my life or fictional romps, or something else. When I open the gates and let my words and ideas out, there is generally something ‘good’ there – and now, to me, ‘good’ is less valid an assessment than “true for me, right now, and something I feel strongly about sharing”.  The more I share, the more easily I can tap into my truth again,and again…).

Impromptu lemonade stand.


List of Ways to Increase Writing Time:

1) Write for 10-20 minutes as soon as I get up.

2)Take 10 minute writing breaks during housecleaning, or after each chapter in a book I’m reading.

3) Fill one practice notebook each month, as fast as I can.  The challenge makes me WANT to write, and doing it fuels me for the next time.

4) Spend one afternoon (3-4 )hours at a cafe in Eugene.  Write.

Potential Lemonade Tycoons…living in a rural area! =)

5) Skip one TV show.  Write.

6) One night a week working for Newcomers.  Write.

7) When Jim’s driving, write.

8)While doing laundry, write.

9) Write for 20 minutes before bed each night.

10) Clean desk and have projects ready to work on – always.

11) Carry notebook and pens everywhere.  Whenever I get a chance, write.

12)Take notebook into the woods.  Write.

Signage…

13) Write freehand first-  less excuses, and can use typing time to revise.

14) Issue projects as challenges to be met – then find a way to meet them.

15) Reward system :  I need to write for 2 hours today before I can…Make the goal worth the time –  and don’t give in!

16) Listen to Writing Down the Bones  or another book on writing while driving.  When I stop, take 5-10 minutes to write down ideas before leaving the car.

There seems to be a sort of desperation, or at least clutching, in the above, and a sense, too, of force and penance.  It’s really prevalent in all of my posts during this period.

He thought he could stump me! =D

The assumption seems to be that writing time is near impossible to find, and that one must force oneself to do it.

It’s a lack mentality, and fear based.

It’s the pattern of my childhood, which is unconsciously lived well into my adulthood.

Today, I know that finding time is as simple as each choice.  It’s a few minutes of doing what I love, or a few hours.  My time is exactly as abundant as my life; so is everyone’s.  

Jim found this note when he got up. Sweet surprise.

I don’t force myself to write.  I come here to revel in words, in thoughts, in feelings, and in sharing.  There is treasure, here, that I can carry into the rest of my moments and hours, making them richer.

I come now from a place of peace and abundance and love.

It makes all the difference. 

Reading:

  • Read at least 3 articles a week from my To Be Read files on computer, and categorize those I choose to keep or share.
  • I read  this article on advising our children in ways that support their growth and independence.  As with  most of Peter Gray‘s articles (and his lectures, which I have caught in part at NEUC 2010 and 2011, and plan to again this August), it resonated strongly with me, and I plan to comment within the next few days.
  • This goal has been attained for this week.

Annalise took this picture of her new horses, acquired at the yard sale…

Blogging:

  • Complete Cooperative Catalyst post and relevant links (interviews with both children, and their “day in the life” posts from last year) ; submit to editor.
  • All four of the related posts I plan to link to my post are now  updated, edited, and embellihed with links and images.
  • I have finished editing the actual guest post.
  • Next, I am going to take a deep breath, gather my courage, and write to the editor with the news that I have, at long last, written something I am ready to share…
  • Create a “flow chart” for posting to shanjeniah and The Unfettered Life.  Use these, and adapt as necessary, throughout the round (with allowances made in April for the challenge).
  • As mentioned at the last update, I have not found any type of rhythm for this.  It might be the May Challenge, or that the structure is too intrusive for my “pantser” inclinations.
  • I have decided to set this goal aside.  I may pick it up again later, when I am more ready for it, but, for now, it just seems more restrictive and guilt-inducing than useful.
  • Add pages/ edit sidebar layout on shanjeniah.
  • I have added a page titled  My 2012 Challenges.
  • This will allow me to remove the clustered clutter of the challenge badges on my sidebar, during the coming weeks.
  • I have a basic page, now, with links to all the challenges, and badges for each.
  • I plan to add links to my grouped post for each challenge.
  • I will also experiment with creating a slideshow using these badges, to place into a widget (so that I get to publicize these great challenges and  keep my collection of pretties, too).

Big tough wolf!

Networking:

  •  Explore She WritesTwitterStoryDamPinterest;and LinkedIn .  Use, develop, evaluate, adjust.
  • I visited LinkedIn, reviewed my contacts, and shared “Everdeep”.
  • I intend to return during the coming weeks and leave some messages for connections I have been eager to catch up with.
  • I visited She Writes, and this time lingered long enough to get a better feel for how the site is set up.
  •  I also discovered that I have seven comments waiting to be answered there.
  • I will be working on answering those and following up with specific groups during the coming weeks.
  • Continue joining hops, fests, challenges, and other community blogging effort.
  • I am participating in the Story a Day May Challenge.
  • May 3  - “Everdeep”.
  • May 4  - Bus Station”
  • May 5 – not yet posted.
  • May 6 – not yet posted.
  • I have looked at this week’s Storyteller Writing Challenge.  The photo prompt struck me with instant recognition!
  • I will be writing this as one of my Story a Day May posts.
  • I have a slightly too- long story, and will be revising it after posting my goals update.
  • Comment on and share blogs regularly; share my blogs as widely as seems feasible, and in diverse ways.
  • I am continuing to expand my comfort zone here.
  • I have been sharing posts via LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google Plus.
  • Do 3 guest posts and  host 3 guest bloggers this round.
  • I have my first guest post waiting to be formatted and scheduled.
  • I plan to host Elizabeth Anne Mitchell‘s guest post on May 18 or 19.
  • I have a theme for my return guest post, and will be writing it soon.

Saturday evening, in the yard with horses…

Submitting:

  •  Submit at least 10 pieces of flash fiction or poetry this round.
  • To celebrate the inclusion of my poem, 4AM Callin the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction GazetteI am preparing to submit a flash fiction piece there.
  • I have tentatively selected my piece, “Sarjyn and the Kingdom of Man Above”, originally written for the Storyteller Writing Challenge, pending rereading and potential revising.
  • I have submitted 1 out of 10 pieces toward that goal.
  • Submit at least 5 essays or lists this round.
  • I completed all elements of my Creative Catalyst guest post package, as noted above.
  • It’s a rather large amount of material, so I began by sending an email to the editor for direction on how best to proceed from here.
  • The long-standing ice has been broken.  I’m taking some deep breaths before delving into the next submission – my Anything Goes piece for the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette.
  • I have a rough draft I think I really like, and will soon be rereading and revising over the next days, prior to taking the leap and submitting it.
  • Continue submitting to hops, challenges, fests, etc; at least 3 each month.
  • I am participating in the current ROWnd of ROw80 - obviously…
  • I am also challenging myself with the Story a Day May Challenge.
  • I have a story in progress for the Storyteller Writing Challenge.
  • I also have several less intensive challenges; these are listed at My 2012 Challenges.

Happy girl.

Photography:

  •  Organize all photos on hard drive/move to organized Picasa web albums or delete.
  • I have synced all remaining folders in my My Pictures file to my Picasa Web Albums, with privacy settings until I sort and edit them.
  • Once the editing is complete, I will be able to delete these files from my hard drive.
  • This will leave only a few random photos that have wandered off into the crannies of my computer, to track down and gently rehome…
  • Watermark all photos that appear on my blogs, and all those I post going forward; begin watermarking favorites not on blogs.
  • While adjusting visibilty settings on my Web Albums, I found a way to add watermarks to complete albums with just a few clicks.
  • I will next evaluate both watermarks.  If I am satisfied with the batch mark (I don’t see a way to customize the text or color, although there may be one), it will save me a few hours’ work.
Marketing:
  •  Explore marketing articles on my Facebook Writer Page.
  • I read this article on creating a sell sheet.
  • The site it came from,  Bryan Thomas Schmidt, is packed with useful information.  I will be returning.
  • Add useful articles to my shanjeniah  Marketing Articles page.
  • I added the article above to my Marketing Articles Page.
  • Use this information to help define my direction; adjust as needed.
  • The shape of the marketing to come is becoming a bit more defined.
  • I’m not ready to say much about it, yet, but I know for certain that it will have more by far  to do with passion and purpose than it will to do with making money (not that I will turn down payment; but it will never supersede following my passions.

Dog in the yard…..


Organizing:

  •  Edit all 2009 posts on  The Unfettered Life.  Consider layout and design changes.
  • I have edited the existing text and added many, many links to my post, Learning Nothing….The Final Frontier.
  • This is a larger and more involved update than I had originally thought, and I need a bit of time away from it, before adding the few paragraphs of new text and doing photo edits and additions.
  • I am therefore going to set it aside for a little while, and begin reading and assessing the following post – sometimes things go better for me if I remember the pacing that was so vital as an Old Faithful Inn waitress!
  • I will add these edits in, assembly-line style, so that I can do them in a rotation that first expands, then, later, contracts.
  • Take clips from first Penzu notebook.
  • I have taken another clip, which appears above as the intro to this update.
  • This leaves 14 more posts to clip to attain this goal.
  • Input Chameleon’s Dish to Scrivener; complete story arc for Blood and Breath.
  • I have input Chapter 1 Scene 4 of Chameleon’s Dish.  This completes the inputting of Chapter 1 – a step in the decidedly right direction! =)
  • I have added Chapter Six to my story arc.
  • Clean up computer downloads, documents, photos, and other clutter – move it or lose it!
  • I cleaned up my Dropbox file, adding folders for all categories and shifting all free-floating documents into appropriate folders.
  • I also cleaned up my Homeschool Adminstration file, adding folders and categorizing as needed, and condensing some stray folders.
  • I added a Videos to Edit folder to my Documents file.

The Corkster!

Self-care:

  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Thursday:  Did not fight with the mower.  Good kid time.  Hot shower.
  • Friday:  Allowed myself to be tired and somewhat indolent. M*A*S*H with Jim.  Khan Academy division with Miah.  Lise’s newly improved note-writing skills.  Unicorns.
  • Saturday: One mile walk with Miah.  Hometending.  Saying yes to many treasures at a yard sale.  Seeimng my poem in print, and money in my PayPal account.   Sharing that with those I love.
  • Sunday: Moved futon to backyard.  Gassed mower, several failed attempts to keep running –  water in air filter, maybe?  Grass i getting pretty high –  Miah had a tick.  Removed.  Hometending.
  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • Thursday:  Attempted mowing (mower uncooperative).  Hometending.
  • Friday: Hometending.  Took things slow; tired day with achy head and back.
  • Saturday: Walked about a mile with Miah.  Hometending.
  • Sunday: Moved futon to backyard.  Gassed mower, several failed attempts to keep running –  water in air filter, maybe?  Grass is getting pretty high –  Miah had a tick.  Removed.  Hometending.
  • Add self-decorating to every week!
  • Yup –  there’s still blue in my hair, and I am wearing my sequined shirt.
  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • Thursday: Lots of family time. Reading and writing abounded.
  • Friday: Photography.  Stating my needs clearly.  Intimacy.  Watching them learn, learn, learn!
  • Saturday: Walking; being with the kids, lots of reading; taking a submitting leap. Tickles and important conversation with Miah.
  • Sunday:  Lise’s lilacs on my desk. A focused but relaxed day. A tidy bedroom that awaits Jim’s weekend.  Creating.  Sleeping in when I needed it.  The moon.
  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • Annalise: Unicorns, time together outside, tickles and hugs.  Yesses all over the yard sale; 17 new horse models, with tack.   Detangling her hair.  Let her use my fancy camera to take movies of her horses.  Yes to independent walks.
  • Jim:  Time together.  M*A*S*H.  A calm if messy home.  I made a snack and brought it to him in bed.
  • Jeremiah:  I stayed together when he fell apart.  Long, deep, conversation. Playing with Khan Academy and division together.  Yes to monkey platter plate, calculator, UNO,  and lemonade pitcher at the yard sale.  A long walk together.  Patient tick removal.  Hugs and cuddles and tickles.  Talk about growing up.  More freedom to walk farther, alone.

“This is my best side….”

It’s been a week filled with Big Learning.  Notes from Annalise.   Miah learning how to divide during a 17 minute Khan Academy video.    Venn diagrams ad the Olympic rings.  Reading.  Invisible ink made from lemon juice.  Homemade lemonade and a stand.  Independently  walking to explore a yard sale and an 1800′s cemetery.  Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull.  Continents and philosophy.  The Mayan calendar, and ours.  Manifest Destiny and the Revolution.  Euros, pounds, and yen.
There’ve been some upsets, most handled peacefully.  That’s still something we’re learning, and, when there is so much other growth going on, the way can get bumpy for a while, as we readjust…Oh, and I made money writing, too! =D

 Sima garo provides!

 Please Allow Me to Introduce Another 5 Followers:

Welcome to my messily peaceful little corner of the universe!
And here is the ROW80 Linky, so we can see what thew other ROWErs are up to this week!

Photo Credits:

  • Images of model horses and wolves by Annalise S. Burton.
  • Video filmed entirely by Annalise S. Burton.
  • All other photos by blog author, Shan Jeniah Burton.

Related articles:

Flow Chart For – shanjeniah

 

This chart will serve as a guideline for developing my posts and focusing my energies while here, to continue making shanjeniah.com a true reflection of myself.

It is subject to perhaps frequent changes and tweaks, because it isn’t a hard-and-fast schedule (I prefer flow).  It’s a tool in my service, and not the other way round.

So here we are….the inaugural flow chart, to be implemented, perhaps in stages,  as I wrap up my Blogging From A to Z posts.

 

 

Sunday -

  • ROW80 update
  • Answer blog comments

Monday- 

  • Editing (recent posts)
  • Develop drafts folder posts.

Tuesday -

Wednesday - 

  • ROW update
  • Answer blog comments

Thursday - 

  • Excerpt or freewriting
  • Sidebar organization
  • Page updates

Friday - 

  • Flash Fiction

Saturday - 

Book Review #3 – The Last Child in the Woods

The Last Child in the Woods - Saving our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder  by Richard Louv

I found this book interesting and informative.  I  heartily agree that nature is something too seldom considered, in our current American culture, and that something intrinsically vital to our physical, mental, and emotional health is endangered because of that lack.

I enjoyed reading about peoples’ experiences with nature as children and adults; programs designed to help kids who haven’t had natural experiences to learn about the wilder world; and the positive, restorative qualities of nature that are beginning to be well-documented in studies.

The character and place descriptions and  were rich and telling, and I liked the way the author referred to his own life, as a child and as a parent….it personalized the entire book for me.

I thought that many of the questions  regarding how children are to learn how to live in the natural world if they never have the opportunity to do so; and some of the thoughts about the dangers that lie in wait in a world where children do not know nature, to be pointed and urgent.

The author rails against children not having the requisite time or freedom to simply be in wild places, to use natural resources to create shelters, take their food, bring water…..

And yet, as so many mainstream writers do, he misses an enormous elephant sititng right in the midst of his book.

Author Richard Louv

I did find the either/or and all-or-nothing of the author’s perspective troubling…..he seems to have decided that technology is an inescapable trap, and must be kept largely away from children, because kids who use technological devices won’t be also deeply connected to the natural world.

It isn’t that way. Kids with freedom for both, can choose either, neither, or both.

This seems to me to invalidate a lot of the other panics he seems to have, and makes him a little less credible to me.  He seems to be thrashing around, wasting huge amounts of energy to solve a problem, but to be blind to one simple solution –  free children from compulsory schooling, and they will have many more hours each week to spend in nature –  and those who are so inclined, will, even if they also love enjoying the latest technological advances.

And what seems to be missing altogether is an awareness that school sucks a child’s hours away, that the “nature programming”, conceived and administered by adults, really does not allow for children to make their OWN discoveries, in their own ways and in their own times…

I will admit to personal prejudice.  The children in this house, who are not required to attend school and do not choose to, who love technology (one more than the other, but both fully embrace it), also spend many hours in natural pursuits.  One of them breathes nature; it is her single greatest passion at this point in her life.

While we support this passion, we do not attempt to direct it.  We offer opportunities, we support fort building and bug collecting and birdfeeding.  We go for walks and hikes and we camp.

We don’t put an agenda on it.  We simply enjoy the natural world, each in our own ways, and together in various assortments.

And we tour places we might never see, learn about species alien to our local ecosystems, because we have access to technology that makes our world wider.

Overall, I found the book to spend more time in propagandizing an attitude than in actually  focusing on how to get nature back into the hearts and souls of every American…and so it struck my more as a rant than a serious effort to study a problem from every possible angle, and offer solutions that consider all aspects of the problem.

Ratings:  1 to 5; 1 as lowest.

Readabilty: 4; very easy to read

Thought/Perspective  Provoking: 3; I was opened to new insights and issues while reading.

Credibility: 3;  The author ignored the idea that school does not need to be part of a child’s life, and that learning about nature doesn’t need programs as much as it does time in natural surroundings.

Overall rating: 3.  A good book, thought-provoking, and with some fairly large blind spots.