Friday, January 20, 2006

I.Q. Test
muchas gracias to Heidi

Here's a one question IQ test to help you decide how you should spend the rest of your day....

There is a mute who wants to buy a toothbrush. By imitating the action of brushing one's teeth, he successfully expresses himself to the shopkeeper, and the purchase is done.

Now - if there is a blind man who wishes to buy a pair of sunglasses, how should he express himself?

Think about it before scrolling down for the answer...

He opens his mouth and says, "I would like to buy a pair of sunglasses."

If you got this wrong - please turn off your computer and call it a day.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Thankful Thursday
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17)

Technology stuff: electricity, running water, indoor plumbing, central heat, a dry house
Fun stuff: Set daily puzzle, family read-alouds (currently Prince Caspian), my children's plays
Homely stuff: crochet, my husband's great-grandmother's bread bowl, my grandmother's quilts

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I need my space
Tonight Mike took me out to a cute little seafood cafe just down the road from here. When we first went in there were only two other tables occupied, each in a corner on the far side of the place, so we took the booth in the third corner. I like being able to converse and not worry about being overheard. Shortly after we ordered, another pair came in and took the booth directly behind me, and then a family came in and took the table right beside us.

What's up with that? There was so much room for folks to spread out, but no, they had to sit right beside us and I had to listen to their conversations all night.

I hate it when people do that at the check out lane, too - stand so close behind me that I can practically feel their breath on my neck. I guess I'm just an abnormally private person, but when I'm in public amongst people I don't know, I really need my space.
The epistomology of gratitude
God has given us rain and sunshine, grain and beer, wheat and bread, so that we might grasp the most obvious of all untouchable and objective truths -- our obligation to be grateful.

Monday, January 16, 2006

I'm trying to post something every day so that extra-wide post with the snow pictures that's messing up my sidebar will hurry up and drop off. Unfortunately I can't think of anything worth saying today. The alternative, I suppose, would be to find out if there's some code I need to learn so I can fix it.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Yesterday I walked around the north side of property for the first time since we've been here. About half of the land is woods that are so overgrown with brambles I've just never bothered to venture out, but the kids have been busily cutting a trail around the perimeter since we moved in.

From the front door you walk west down to the wide grassy area that has to be kept clear on account of the fiber optic cable that lies buried there, then you turn northwest and follow that path along into the woods, and then turn west along the trail. The path is still fairly narrow and uneven, and it's wise to bring along a sturdy walking stick. You climb over a fallen tree and then walk along the edge of a ravine until you come to another fallen tree that makes a nice path when you get up on top of it. Several feet along the trunk you jump off and you've come to The Point - the place where the east-west ravine is met by the southwest-northeast one. The kids can scramble down that ravine and up the other side and come out behind our garage on the eastern edge of the yard, but until they finish the proposed footbridge I don't think I'll try it.

The smells were wonderful - that pungent, earthy, rotting-wood, leafy smell that was so much a part of my own childhood. I'm glad my children have this place.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Queen's Return
Susan couldn’t pinpoint exactly when she stopped believing in Narnia completely, but she knew when she started to stop. It was the term after the trip to America, when she finally became one of Those Girls.

Of course, Lucy's my favorite character in the Narnia stories, but being the oldest in my family I've always understood Susan, and I grieved upon learning that she'd betrayed Narnia herself, and often wondered what happened to her. This fanfic is a very well-done "what if" and one I think Mr. Lewis might approve of.

Thanks to Alexandra for pointing it out.
We had high winds all day yesterday and then during supper our power went out. Now I do have sense enough to keep plenty of candles and food and drinking water on hand in case of emergencies, and we have a propane-burning heating stove with a smallish cooktop, so heat is not really a problem, but living so far out has means that I need to expand my preparations in other ways. In the city when you lose power, you still have tap water, for instance. Out here, on well water that has an electric pump and no way to draw water by hand, when the power goes, the water goes too.

So last night we had very very little water for washing up. I did the best I could and then we all went to bed. That's one nice thing about being without power - there's just not much to do after dark to distract you from a reasonable bedtime. Well, we had all the kids tucked in and the power came back on, so we fill up several more containers of water in case it went out again, and one older kid got back up and took her usual bedtime shower. We got the breakfast porridge started, which I hadn't done earlier since I didn't want to open the fridge to get the buttermilk out. Turned the heat up a little higher than usual (just in case) and went to bed again.

The wind was still pretty high and I fell asleep listening to it roaring through the treetops and praying the Lord would protect us. The power went out again sometime during the night, so this morning I cooked the porridge on the gas stove and started a kettle of water for coffee.

My Sunday mornings tend to be pretty rushed. It seems like I always have one more thing to iron, and the morning bathers always seem to take longer than usual on Sunday. I know that's not really the case - it just seems that way since Sunday morning is the only morning of the week where I have a definite deadline for Getting Things Done. Naturally, this morning everything really did take longer than usual, and we missed church.

So I have two areas of "preparedness" I need to work on - washing water and that kind of thing is one, but the most important is something that I have a really hard time with anyway, and it's a sin problem plain and simple. God's Word says, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God... (Ex. 20 8-10)" The first part of that is a pleasure to keep, but the second part - Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work - oh boy, do I need to work on that!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Look what I got in the mail today

Mike and #1 Son have been working on a chicken coop, built using mostly found materials and guiding info found a Backyard Chickens. The plan has been to buy several chicks in a couple of months, but since I've learned that means we won't have our fresh eggs for several months, we're thinking we might buy a few hens so we can have eggs sooner. Naturally, advice is always welcome.

We still have not found a source for raw cow's milk, so my stepdad recommended we get a couple of goats - milk plus lawn care service - so we're looking into that now, too.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Egalitarianism in the Church
Early in December our furnace went out and we had the repair man come by. Mike was at work when the crew came, so I showed them to the basement and to the best of my ability explained the problem to the head guy. He took a look at the system, including a modification Mike had made, and started in on how this was all wrong, it should never have been done this way, etc etc etc. Now, I have to explain something about myself here - in real life I'm fairly easily intimidated, and frankly I didn't like this man's tone. His attitude was I'm the professional and I know all about these things and you don't have any business monkeying with stuff.

Yes. He's the professional. That's why we called him.

BUT. I'm the mistress of this house, and I'm the one who's paying him to do a job for me. I would be glad to learn something from a man who can explain it to me, but I did not go into the basement in order to be lectured by a hired man.

In our current cultural climate this probably comes across as snobbery, but here's what's going on. The professional assumed an attitude of authority over me based upon his professional training. But that's not at all how it's supposed to work. Biblical authority is delegated authority which is based upon position or role. And even though that man knew more than I did about the furnace, he owed me respect as a woman, as the lady of the house, and as the person who would be providing his dinner that night.

(Of course, I didn't talk back to him - I went up and called Mike so he could take care of it but I didn't tell him how I'd felt until after the guy left. I stayed upstairs and baked cookies for them to take home.)

Anyway. I said all that to say this: This is illustrative of the problem we're having in the Church in America today. We think that just because a woman has theological training, or is a gifted communicator, that her skills are what give her the right to a certain position within the Church.

It's not simply male/female egalitarianism that is the problem. It's egalitarianism that would deny that there are superior and inferior* roles that are defined by God and delegated by him, in the Church as well as in the Family or the State.

*I'm using "superior" and "inferior" the same way the Westminster Larger Catechism does in explaining the 5th Commandment - Q.123-33

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

First quiz of the new year - "Are You a Heretic?"
I didn't understand all of the questions, and now I have to go see what Nestorianism, Monophysitism and the Apollo-thing are!

You scored as Chalcedon compliant. You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant




























Are you a heretic?
created with

Saturday, January 7, 2006

First Sunday after the Epiphany
The Baptism of our Lord

When Christ’s appearing was made known,
King Herod trembled for his throne;
But He Who offers heavenly birth
Sought not the kingdom of this earth.

The eastern sages saw from far
And followed on His guiding star;
By light their way to Light they trod,
And by their gifts confessed their God.

Within the Jordan’s sacred flood
The heavenly Lamb in meekness stood,
That He, to Whom no sin was known,
Might cleanse His people from their own.

And O what miracle divine,
When water reddened into wine!
He spake the word, and forth it flowed
In streams that nature ne’er bestowed.

All glory, Jesus, be to Thee
For this Thy glad epiphany:
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Ghost forevermore.

Words: Cael­i­us Se­dul­i­us, 5th Cen­tu­ry; trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by John M. Neale (1818-1866).
Music: "Er­halt Uns, Herr,"
Geist­liche Lied­er (Wit­ten­berg, Ger­ma­ny, 1543)

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Thankful Thursday
Christmas, books, "so great salvation," family who came for a visit, friends who are coming for a visit, sweet hubby, singing Christmas hymns with the whole family, eucharist, chocolate, music, prayers, books, babies, Christmas for twelve days!, Resolve carpet cleaner, chocolate, toddlers, venison, pretty white lights, candles, porridge for breakfast, hot tea, Christmas break from regular work, my daughter's piano teacher, crisp apples, more books, happy children, seasons, LIFE from our good and bountiful God who has lavished all these blessings on us...

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

“ make our lives an art...”

One of the books I received for Christmas was one I've been wanting for several years, I'll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition, a collection of essays by twelve Southerners, originally published in 1930. There's so much good in here that I'm afraid I'm devouring it too rapidly to be able to taste it all, so I'll have to reread - perhaps to the family. I think it would make a nice read-aloud in the winter evenings after Christmas is over. In the four essays I've read so far, several common themes keep reappearing, and today I'd like to share a bit of one of them - the idea of an aesthetic life, of living beautifully and graciously, which has nothing at all to do with material wealth.

“We feed and clothe and exercise our bodies, for example, in order to be able to do something with our minds. We employ our minds in order to achieve character.... We achieve character, personality, gentlemanliness in order to make our lives an art and to bring our souls into relation with the whole scheme of things, which is the divine nature.”
(John Gould Fletcher, “Education, Past and Present,” pp. 119-120)

“The arts of the [antebellum South], such as they were, were not immensely passionate, creative, or romantic; they were the eighteenth-century social arts of dress, conversation, manners, the table, the hunt, politics, oratory, the pulpit. These were arts of living and not arts of escape; they were also community arts, in which every class of society could participate after its kind. The South took life easy, which is itself a tolerably comprehensive art.”
(John Crowe Ransom, “Reconstructed but Unregenerate,” p. 12)

“The art gallery or art museum theory of art to which philanthropists and promoters would persuade us views art as a luxury quite beyond the reach of ordinary people. Its attempt to glorify the arts by setting them aside in specially consecrated shrines can hardly supply more than a superficial gilding to a national culture, if the private direction of that culture is ugly and materialistic.... The truly artistic life is surely that in which the aesthetic experience is not curtained off, but mixed up with all sorts of instruments and occupations pertaining to the round of daily life. It ranges all the way from pots and pans, chairs and rugs, clothing and houses, up to dramas publicly performed and government buildings.”
(Donald Davidson, “A Mirror for Artists,” pp. 39-40)

“[O]nly in an agrarian society does there remain much hope of a balanced life, where the arts are not luxuries to be purchased but belong as a matter of course in the routine of his living.”
(Ibid, pp. 51-2)