This month I joined in #Narniathon21 hosted by Calmgrove, with a post about The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I thoroughly enjoyed this venture into one of my childhood favorites and look forward to the next installments. I also summed up my Year in Fiction, my Around the World reading, and some highlights of the blogging year. Yes, December is a very retrospective month!
Books read in December:
- See No Stranger by Valarie Kaur
- A Libertarian Walks into a Bear by Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling
- A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – Reread
- Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim
- Murther and Walking Spirits by Robertson Davies – Reread
- Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis – Reread
I’ve been busy with teaching English to a number of one-on-one students and also leading a biweekly conversation class. I love helping people to communicate and to become more confident in their language skills. My literature-based lessons are attracting some students on italki and I especially enjoy those. I’ve decided to offer lessons to children age ten and up, after a successful experience reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with one young learner.
In my own language studies I have one tutor who focuses on German grammar — because I’m basically self-taught, I have some odd lapses and gaps she’s helping me to fill in — and one who also offers literature lessons. I’m pleased that with him I’ve gotten to read several classic short stories and poems, including one I really loved by Berthold Brecht: “Legende von der Entstehung des Buches Taoteking auf dem Weg des Laotse in die Emigration.” Since I started out the year reading a translation of the Tao Te Ching, this was an appropriate way to end 2021. You can read an English translation here.
This month, I shared some pictures from a trip we took to Ticino back in October. In a dreary, slushy time of year, it was nice to revisit memories of that lovely place. And I posted a favorite verse by Rudolf Steiner that characterizes the two sides of Christmas: shepherds and kings, warmth and light.
A few years ago I started doing a review of the year during the “twelve holy nights” from Christmas to Epiphany (December 25 to January 6). I go through my journals and diary and remember all the events of the year, month by month. I write up a summary and add thoughts about where I’ve come to now, in relation to the things I was thinking about and struggling with during that time.
It’s become something I really look forward to and that helps me to gain perspective on my life. It’s encouraging to see how I do learn things and make progress, often in a way that cycles back through the same topics, but slowly coming to a higher level and sometimes a breakthrough. When we’re in the midst of things we often lose sight of where we are in relation to the big picture.
Do you have any practice that helps you to look back at your life and keep things in perspective?