Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Things to do when your ISP is down for a week
- read Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre
- plant 50 freesia bulbs
- direct planting of plum tree
- put alyssum and lobelia seeds around base of plum tree
- take naps
- prune 10 -12 foot high suckers out of old crape myrtle
- have son build teepee out of crape myrtle branches
- plant honeysuckle near teepee
- read Dorothy Sayer's Unnatural Death
- direct the planting of two boxwoods, replacing two dead shrubs in hedge
- put out delphinium seeds
- wait impatiently for Easter so vegetables can be planted

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Dorothy Sayers is so funny and is really good at describing personalities:
Miss Climpson was one of those people who say: "I am not the kind of person who reads other people's postcards." This is clear notice to all and sundry that they are, precisely, that kind of person. They are not untruthful; the delusion is real to them. It is merely that Providence has provided them with a warning rattle, like that of the rattlesnake. After that, if you are so foolish as to leave your correspondence in their way, it is your own affair.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Gotta go now. John is asking whether crabs and fishes are good or bad and whether they can talk, because he thought he heard a good crab talking to him - "it was a Dwacie-twab*," says John, "a yiddle gel** one, a dood*** one."

We don't have any crabs about, to my knowledge, so this bears investigation.
Cheerio! :-D

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
*Gracie-crab
**little girl
***good

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and bless├Ęd we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, be leaving, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.

Words by Katharina A. von Schlegel, tr. by Jane L. Borthwick
Music by Jean Sibelius

Friday, March 19, 2004

Headship, submission, and P.G. Wodehouse

The housekeeper's room at Blandings Castle, G.H.Q. of the domestic staff that ministered to the needs of the Earl of Emsworth, was in normal circumstances a pleasant and cheerful apartment. It caught the afternoon sun; and the paper which covered its walls had been conceived in a jovial spirit by someone who held that the human eye, resting upon ninety-seven simultaneous pink birds perched upon ninety-seven blue rose-bushes, could not but be agreeably stimulated and refreshed. Yet, with the entry of Beach, the butler, it was as though there had crept into its atmosphere a chill dreariness; and Mrs. Twemlow, the housekeeper, laying down her knitting, gazed at him in alarm.

"Whatever is the matter, Mr. Beach?"

The butler stared moodily out of the window. His face was drawn and he breathed heavily, as a man will who is suffereing from a combination of strong emotion and adenoids. A ray of sunshine, which had been advancing jauntily along the carpet, caught sight of his face and slunk out, abashed.

"I have come to a decision, Mrs. Twemlow."

"What about?"

"Ever since his lordship started to grow it, I have seen the writing on the wall plainer and plainer, and now I have made up my mind. The moment his lordship returns from London, I tender my resignation. Eighteen years have I served in his lordship's household, commencing as under-footman and rising to my present position, but now the end has come."

"You don't mean you're going just because his lordship has grown a beard?"

"It is the only way, Mrs. Twemlow. That beard is weakening his lordship's position throught the entire country-side. Are you aware that at the recent Sunday school treat I heard cries of 'Beaver!'?"

"No!"

"Yes! And this spirit of mockery and disrespect will spread. And, what is more, that beard is alienating the best elements in the County. I saw Sir Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe look very sharp at it when he dined with us last Friday."

"It is not a handsome beard," admitted the housekeeper.

"It is not. And his lordship must be informed. As long as I remain in his lordship's service, it is impossible for me to speak. So I shall tender my resignation. Once that is done, my lips will no longer be sealed. Is that buttered toast under that dish, Mrs. Twemlow?"

"Yes, Mr. Beach. Take a slice. It will cheer you up."

"Cheer me up!" said the butler, with a hollow laugh that sounded like a knell.


I've been increasingly coming to the conviction that owing to my husband's position I need to be careful what I say in public regarding politics in general, and the military in particular. Those of you who know me in person, or who saw some of my online discussions on certain current events several months ago, know how passionately I can argue my political convictions, and it has been a struggle for me to learn when to keep my mouth shut. And as long as my husband is content to serve in the military, I must be content to be a military wife, trusting in God's sovereignty.

This is why you'll find very little political blogging at The BadgerMum.
South Dakota abortion ban defeated
"I guess it was too good to be true," says Samantha in NY. "After some political maneuvering South Dakota's proposed abortion ban was defeated in the senate by a vote of 18-17."

I don't have anything to add to what Samantha said, except that I'm glad they tried, and I hate backboneless politicians.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Learning by osmosis
As much as I want my kids to have some formal music instruction I've never had the resources to do it, but we do sing a lot, and listen to lots of music and talk about it. This morning, my mom, who has been visiting, put on something by Handel. My three year old listened for a little while and remarked, "This sounds like German music."

!!!

My favorite hymns in the Trinity are the German ones from the 16th and 17th centuries, but I hadn't realized how much John had picked up just from hearing us talk about what we love.

Monday, March 15, 2004

A little surprise?
A copy of Lois Lensky's Strawberry Girl, which my Mosey has been wanting to read, the first three of the Horatio Hornblower series, hardback 1930s editions no less, a video set of Pride and Prejudice to replace my poor worn out taped-off-the-TV-and-always-had-bad-sound video, and a letter in her own hand, and she calls it a little surprise!?!

It got here just a few minutes ago. Thanks, Jennifer! It's a queenly gift! ;-)

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Help a student
Michelle is surveying Christian bloggers as her project for her master's degree. It's a two part survey - after you complete the first part, she'll send you an email with a link to the second part.

Even if you're not interested in the survey, check out her site - it's snowing there!

Thursday, March 11, 2004

For Kolbi who thinks she does not deserve Muffinhood
Kolbi, dear, have you read your sidebar lately? I mean the little place where it says:

Kolbi has over 7 years of
experience in gratefully
submitting to the head
of her family, which has
ultimately led to peace
and contentment.


That is the essence of muffinness. If it helps, just think of yourself as an Urban Muffin. :-D

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Two Questions
A couple of my readers asked questions of other readers in the comments below that haven't been answered yet. Just thought I'd repost them here where they can be more easily seen. I'm sure they were overlooked when my comment system was not functioning properly, which btw, was entirely my own fault. Somehow I inserted a "return" in the line of Sensus Plenior's code, and that's what caused the malfunction. :-p
From Robin to Christopher Witmer, sparked by the discussion on Covenant Theology:
Chris Wittmer, you said:

"Whether one agrees with your statement will tend to depend on how Israel is defined. It is certainly a statement that I agree with, but I see the faithful of Israel as a remmant that was taken into the church. (As an aside, I might add that I no longer read Romans 10-11 as describing something that remains as yet unfulfilled, but rather as already fulfilled. One could read those chapters as still having a future referent -- either partially or wholly -- without it making any difference to what you're saying.)"

WIthout giving up my own position on this matter, I want to ask you; if the faithful of Israel were taken into the church, then what do you do with the Nation of Israel and the Jews of today? Who are they and where do they fit in?

Thanks

Robin
From Jennifer to Robin on the topic of fathers and adult daughters:
you said "I will stand and give an account for how they were raised; they are responsible for their own sins past the age of reason "

where do you get this from Scripture? This seems to imply "they are responsible for their own sins past the age of reason, I am responsible for their sins prior to the age of reason." Or maybe it's better to ask "If they are responsible for their sins after the age of reason, who is responsible for their sins prior to it?"

I just don't see any support in Scripture for the whole concept of "age of reason." Which reminds me - are you using the term age of reason as synonomous with "age of accountability"?
Today Lilian is 14 months old and my blog is exactly two months younger. Many thanks to those of you who read this stuff, and especially to those of you who comment because you are what make blogging so fun.

Through blogging, I have learned some really important stuff, like the fact that I am a Numenorean, King Arthur (Monty Python's), an interpersonal thinker, Lucy (from Peanuts), Jean Valjean (still haven't read that!), a possum, the United Nations, the book of Romans, Elinor Dashwood, Meg March, Shetland wool, Moses, the Colussus of Rhodes, and I speak Dutch fluently!

To commemorate the day, I took this quiz:

What Sort of Hat Are You? I am a Halo.I am a Halo.


I believe I am perfect. Others may not think so, but those others are wrong. What Sort of Hat Are You?

Taken together, I would say that all this tells me I should spend a liitle more time learning from this part of the book of Romans!

Seriously now, one of the nicest things that happened to us last year was because of this blog - a group of lovely young people in Oklahoma began reading my blog and we spent a Sunday worshiping and fellowshiping together (it's at the bottom of the page), and have since become friends. Technology is pretty cool. :-)

**Update** I am so ashamed of myself! The first really cool thing that happened because of this blog: On March 28, Alexandra stumbled across my blog and commented. I was excited to find out that she was the very same Alexandra in Ukraine who had been a member of a church we visited in Midland, and for whom I had been praying for several months! We had never met before and still haven't met, but someday we will, someday....
She was born to discover the falsehood of her own opinions
Eight years ago my mom video-taped A&E's Pride and Prejudice and sent it to me. After watching it (in one sitting! I had no idea how long it was going to be!), and thoroughly enjoying the story, I checked the book out of the library. I had lived in this earth three decades, and it was the first time I had ever read anything by Jane Austen! (Hark! It is the voice of my readers, crying "Philistine!")

The book I checked out also had Sense and Sensiblilty in it, so I eagerly began to read it. What a stupid story! Elinor and Edward were the dullest romantic characters I'd ever read. I wished Marianne would just shut up and get over Willoughby. (Hark! It is the sound of my readers picking up stones!)

In spite of this disappointment, I read several more of Austen's novels, and by becoming more familiar with Jane Austen's world, I have learned to value what she valued.

Last week I finished reading Sense and Sensibility for the second time, and this time I saw that Elinor is not dull, she loves her family enough to guard her words so that she will not hurt those who are dear to her. Edward is not stupid, he is that unshakable man who keeps his word even when it hurts. Marianne wasn't whining, she was confessing her sins.

*******

Since I'm still scatter-brained and I can't think of anything sensible to say, here are some related links.

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew - lots of good basic information here. Explains titles (who outranks whom, and forms of address), social customs, basic etiquette, and lots more. Did you know that there was a special tax on man-servants? So only fairly wealthy people had a man-servant (the Bennets did not, but the Dashwoods - even after being disinherited - did!)

Jane Austen: Public Theologian article by Peter Leithart. Here's an interesting tidbit: "In a play, only the worst actors (like Bottom) want to change roles. The good actor has been assigned his role and does not want to become somebody else. If he did so, the play would fall apart... In a traditional society, the goal of life is to act well in the assigned role—to say your lines properly, to do what your role assigns to you." This is particularly encouraging when I'm feeling cranky and am tempted to act the way I feel. What I ought to do is to remind myself that I should act according to my role - I'm the wife, therefore I should act respectfully, or, I'm the mother, therefore I should act kindly.

A Man of His Word - article at Ladies Against Feminism about Edward Ferrars. Reading this article is what prompted me to go back and re-read the novel. I'm glad to have my original opinion of Sense and Sensibility proven false!

Monday, March 8, 2004

Three cheers for Jonathan Barlow!
Comments are working again. :-D
I've been too scatter brained lately to put my thoughts together coherently, but I want to share a few things with y'all.

1. For Christmas Mike bought me Religion and the Rise of Western Culture: The Classic Study of Medieval Civilization, by Christopher Dawson, and I am absolutely loving it! There's been an awful lot of talk about cultural relevance lately, so reading this book has been a pleasure.
The conversion of Western Europe was achieved not so much by the teaching of a new doctrine as by the manifestation of a new power, which invaded and subdued the barbarians of the West...

... the relation between religion and culture is not that of assimilation and permeation, but rather one of contradiction and contrast. The lives of the saints and ascetics impressed the barbarians because they were the manifestation of a way of life and a scale of values entirely opposed to all they had hitherto known and accepted....

The Western Church did not come to the barbarians with a civilizing mission or any conscious hopes of social progress, but with a tremendous message of diving judgment and divine salvation. Humanity was born under a curse, enslaved by the dark powers of cosmic evil and sinking ever deeper under the burden of its own guilt. Only by the way of the Cross and by the grace of the crucified Redeemer was it possible for men to extricate themselves from the massa damnata of unregenerate humanity and escape from the wreckage of a doomed world.

...

Meanwhile throughout the West the liturgy was becoming more and more the centre of Christian culture....

Whatever else might be lost, and however dark might be the prospects of Western society, the sacred order of the liturgy remained intact and, in it, the whole Christian world, Roman, Byzantine and barbarian, found an inner principle of unity. Moreover the liturgy was not only the bond of Christian unity. It was also the means by which the mind of the gentiles and barbarians was attuned to a new view of life and a new concept of history. It displayed in a visible, almost dramatic form what had happened and was to happen to the human race – the sacred history of man's creation and redemption and the providential dispensation that governed the course of history, the great theme which is so majestically unfolded in the prophecies and prayers of the Paschal liturgy.


2. An article on the place of mercy ministries in the Church.

3. A prayer for ministers:
O LORD Jesus Christ, we beseech thee that the Ministers of thy Gospel, here and everywhere, may be true to their calling. Endue them with thy Holy Spirit, that the may remember the words of Holy Writ, that their understanding thereof may be enlightened, and that their witness may be in truth and with power, to the salvation of sinners and the edifying of saints. May they rightly and duly administer thy holy Sacraments, and by their life and doctrine set forth thy true and lively Word. May they be to all men wholesome examples in faith, word, love, chastity, and fidelity; that so thy Name may be glorified, who art, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.
Amen.

Friday, March 5, 2004

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Isaac and Hannah's baby, Serene Maria, was brought safely into this world yesterday afternoon. :-D

Thursday, March 4, 2004

Garden update
My daffodils are blooming. Actually they were forced. That is, on Tuesday afternoon when I went out to the front garden, almost all my daffodil buds had been plucked from their bed under the peach tree and laid neatly upon the retaining wall. I put them in a glass of water and set it on the windowsill above my kitchen sink. Most of them are blooming now, and I hope that the four or five that are left in the garden will be blooming in the next few days. The muscari leaves are out, but I don't see any bloom stalks coming up yet.

The buds on the peach tree are swelling. I just planted it last fall - wonder how soon to expect fruit? In the same garden with the peach tree and the bulbs, resides the only blueberry that survived the summer. I'm going to plant two more this spring and that's it! I hope they live!

If I get as many tomatoes this year as I did last, I'm going to take some of them to the farmer's market once a week and sell them. A couple of years ago, Organic Gardening said that a nice way to make more sales at a farmer's market is to sell boquets, so this year I've started some seeds that (if I don't manage to kill them!) will grow into cutting flowers: delphiniums, cornflower, yarrow, carnations, wall flower, and daisies. Seeds are so cheap that I can sell boquets for a dollar or two and make almost all profit.

In the houseplant department, my Christmas Lily finally decided to bloom. Mike gave it to me Christmas 2001 and I cared for it according to directions, watering it until the foliage died down then storing it in the dark for several weeks before bringing it out in early November 2002, but that year it didn't bloom. Lots of leaves, but no blooms. So I faithfully cared for it again the rest of that season, watering it until the foliage died down et cetera, but it wasn't ready to go into the dark until the end of October, so it's only just now blooming. Strange plant. I suppose next year, if it blooms, it'll be an Easter Lily!

After killing two ficus trees, I finally figured out what I was doing wrong - I was keeping them too wet. As far as I can remember that is the only plant I've ever killed with kindness. Usually they die from neglect. :-( Well, the current victim is a month old and is putting out lots of baby leaves, so I guess it's happy. Oh, one other thing that may have made some difference. Lilian loves playing in the ficus's dirt, and I have never been able to train her to stop doing it, so I put a layer of Spanish moss on top of the dirt, and Lilian doesn't like it, so this one has had the pleasure of undisturbed roots. Of course, the week before I put the moss on it, John sprayed the dirt with Lysol All Purpose Orange Breeze cleaner. I scraped off the top layer of dirt and added a fresh layer, and it doesn't seem to have bothered the tree.

Hmm. Maybe when I plant my blueberries I should have John spray them with Lysol. ;-D