L. M. Montgomery’s Birthplace

I’m telling about my 55th Birthday Adventure to Prince Edward Island with my friends Darlene and Ruth. We drove up the East Coast on a late September weekend. On Monday, we visited Green Gables Heritage Place and walked on the trail through the Haunted Wood to Montgomery Park and L. M. Montgomery’s Cavendish home. We finished the day with a short drive along the shore where we saw a fox.

Tuesday, our second day on the island, dawned with pouring rain. But that answered the question I’d had in planning the day: Should we begin our journey with all the L. M. Montgomery sites, or break them up with sight-seeing and hiking? The answer was that a rainy day was an absolutely perfect day to visit museums, and that’s what we did, beginning with L. M. Montgomery’s Birthplace in New London.

It’s a lovely little house, only about fifteen minutes away from Cavendish by car. I kept thinking about how different that would have been a hundred and forty-five years ago, when people got around with horses and buggies. It was a beautiful drive, too, with more hills than I had realized would be there, and plenty of farms and trees with leaves changing color.

Now, Lucy Maud Montgomery only lived in this house a couple of years. Her mother died when she was still a baby, and her father gave her into the keeping of her mother’s parents in Cavendish. So Maud Montgomery was brought up by her grandparents, very similar to the situation of her heroine from Emily of New Moon.

Even though Maud didn’t live in this house to remember it, the house is packed with L. M. Montgomery memorabilia, including an exact replica of her wedding gown.

I loved the original manuscripts and scrapbooks!

There were also some first editions of her books.

Clippings from articles about her included a picture from Cavendish shore. I now filled in the red-colored cliffs I’d seen the evening before!

The rooms upstairs were furnished for the time period.

This is the bedroom where Lucy Maud Montgomery was born on November 30, 1874.

We lingered over the displays and then did some shopping. I chose some books about L. M. Montgomery and Prince Edward Island that I didn’t already have and couldn’t simply buy on Amazon. They stamped them as purchased at L. M. Montgomery’s birthplace.

Then we prepared to drive on to Silver Bush, the place where Maud Montgomery’s “merry Campbell cousins” lived, the place she got married, and the place she came back and visited for the rest of her life.

Christmas Havoc

Some verses in Isaiah 54 and 55 have meant a lot to me during the whole divorce process.  Particularly Isaiah 54:15 and 17 whenever any mention of the trial came up.

So, in preparation for going to court, for the last few weeks, I’ve been having my quiet times in Isaiah 54 and 55.  Today it just so happened that the rather odd verse came up that is right in between those two powerful verses for facing a court case.

Isaiah 54:16 —

“See, it is I who created the blacksmith
who fans the coals into flame
and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc.”

Today, when I read those words about the destroyer working havoc, all I could think about is Christmas.

Last night, at Home Fellowship, one of the men mentioned that this week he told his kids,  “Kids, Christmas is going to break your mother.”  It became a saying, because we felt like it could apply to all the mothers present!

This morning I slept super late, and I was very discouraged — I had planned to do so much to prepare for Christmas today!  I’m working six days in a row next week.  Now how on earth will I get it all done?

So I thought about Christmas when I read, “It is I who have created the Destroyer to work havoc.”

Surely it’s true that God created Christmas.  But where did the havoc come from?  Why does Christmas destroy our peace of mind?

I think it’s American culture that heaps expectations on Christmas, especially on Moms.  We’re supposed to make everything perfect — gifts for everyone, parties, projects, decorations, baking and cooking, everything has to be just so.  In Germany, the Germans didn’t seem nearly so over-the-top about Christmas.  But Americans go overboard with everything.

Why would God allow all these expectations to grow up around the celebration of the birth of His Son?  Why would He let Christmas become so full of havoc?

I got to thinking that maybe we need it to be havoc in order to take a good look at all those expectations.  Maybe it’s God’s grace that the expectations have gotten to be more than any one person could ever possibly meet.  Maybe it forces us to take a look and decide only to do what we can, and what’s meaningful to us.

After all, who will be happy if we really do get everything absolutely perfect?  Will our kids really care?  Do our friends and family want us to go into debt?  Do they care if maybe our gifts are a few days late?  If our decorating causes more stress than smiles, is it really worth it?

Anyway, thinking about Christmas as a Destroyer working Havoc this morning made me smile.  It helped me take it all less seriously and lighten up.  I did what I could, and the rest will have to wait.  And if stress drives out joy, it’s just not worth it.

I don’t want to think of Christmas as Havoc.  I want to think of it as Joy.

A Job!

So, I told about my RIF Notice, but I never told about the happy follow-up.  I was granted a placement.  Human Resources looks for a vacancy at the same pay grade in another county agency and looks at your resume to find one where you might possibly be able to fit.

It was a big surprise.  The day before, they had offered me a half-time Librarian I position.  I had to do a lot of agonizing.  Is half a job better than no job?  I’d need Unemployment compensation either way — I definitely can’t make ends meet in a half-time job.

I decided to turn it down, so they asked me to come in to the office and sign off that I was not interested in any part-time placement.  When I did, they showed me two Management Analyst I positions!  Now, admittedly I was a little annoyed that these were the same paygrade as a Librarian I, yet they don’t require a Master’s degree (like a Librarian position does) and they don’t supervise anyone (like my position did).  However, I did feel like I could do the work — and my paychecks would continue!

So — for three days now, I’ve been working as a Management Analyst I for Family Services, the Office for Children, Community Education and Provider Services.  Basically, we issue permits for family day care homes that have too few children to be licensed by the state.  We also manage the USDA Food Program for all the providers in the county, including School Age Childcare Centers and Head Start programs.

It looks like my job will mainly be managing data, which I admit I find interesting.  I’ll also do quite a bit of unannounced visits to monitor compliance with the USDA Food Program.  So maybe I’ll get to see kids after all.

I am really sad to be away from the books and book lovers of the library, and the sweet children with their parents.  (The not sweet ones?  Not so much!)  However, there are some perks.  The biggest is that I am still getting paid!  But also the hours are much much nicer — 8:00 to 4:30, instead of two days a week 12:30 to 9:00 pm, as I would have to do at the library once the hours are changed.  No more weekends either. 

It was strange to come into work and not have to scramble to get the library open!  And I don’t have to worry about problems with the building or customer complaints!  I’m laughing afresh at people who think the library is a calm and peaceful and quiet place to work.  Working in an office is about a hundred times quieter!  And without having to be open to the public, they are very flexible about working hours, so I could change my schedule if I found it was too hard to get there by 8:00.  (So far, I’m almost making it!)

Now, I admit that I will still be looking for a librarian position.  I got that Master’s in Library Science to become a librarian.  However, it’s nice to be looking while I actually have a job — and it looks like I’m going to enjoy this job very much while I have it.   So who could ask for anything more?

Shelves made from Books! Too Delightful!

Okay, from a Library list, I just discovered the website www.thisintothat.com.

Click on “Gallery” and then go to “Funniest Shelves.”  Or use this link:  http://www.thisintothat.com/gallery/funniest.html

This artist makes bookshelves–from books!  The titles are part of the fun.  The first “funny” one has a shelf made with “Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty” supported by “All the King’s Men” and “Anatomy of a Murder”–with an eggbeater through it.

This does seem to be a good use for old books that have outlived their traditional usefulness.  He has an entire bookshelf built with an outdated Encyclopedia Britannica set.  I wish I had discovered this site a few weeks ago, when I was still taking Collection Development class.  I would have offered this as a solution for what to do with weeded books!

I did get a pang when I saw a shelf with a carpentry theme.  One of the books, Sawdust in His Shoes, was a children’s book that I loved when I was a kid.  It’s about a circus performer kid who has to leave the circus and can’t stand it–he ends up finding his way back to the circus.  I had forgotten all about that book, but I read it so many times.  I can think of quotations from it even as I write this.  Hmm.  I will get the author off of the picture and see if I can find a used copy.  Or maybe I should buy the shelf!

Thing 17: PBWiki

On Monday, during Storytime, I read The Cat in the Hat.  So now, talking about the 23 Things of this Learning 2.0 program makes me think of Thing 1 and Thing 2!

PBWiki is great.  In my Resources for Youth class, we used PBWiki to do our group project and make a website of resources for young adults.  It’s nice when all group members can edit the same site.

I wasn’t as impressed with the Learning 2.0 PBwiki, because it’s fairly unorganized and full of clutter.  Maybe someone being in charge to keep things looking alike would help.  Still, it’s an easy way to have lots of people contributing to a finished product.

My co-worker, who started a month later than me, has finished her 23 things.  I need to get busy!  I just finished my Master’s coursework, so now why don’t I finish this up!