Tuesday, December 30, 2003

For the first time ever I got called up for jury duty.
It came in the mail today, and as much as I hope that someday there will be a season in my life when I can be a good citizen and serve on a jury, this just ain't it. So I asked for an exemption based on having "legal custody of a child or children younger than 10 years of age and service on the jury would require leaving the child or children without adequate supervision."

I suppose I could hire someone to take over for me, but my goodness, I have no idea what bonbon-eaters get paid these days!

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Merry Christmas!

All my heart this night rejoices,
As I hear, far and near, sweetest angel voices;
“Christ is born,” their choirs are singing,
Till the air, everywhere, now their joy is ringing.

Forth today the Conqueror goeth,
Who the foe, sin and woe, death and hell, o’erthroweth.
God is man, man to deliver;
His dear Son now is one with our blood forever.

Shall we still dread God’s displeasure,
Who, to save, freely gave His most cherished Treasure?
To redeem us, He hath given
His own Son from the throne of His might in heaven.

Should He who Himself imparted
Aught withhold from the fold, leave us broken hearted?
Should the Son of God not love us,
Who, to cheer sufferers here, left His throne above us?

If our blessèd Lord and Maker
Hated men, would He then be of flesh partaker?
If He in our woe delighted,
Would He bear all the care of our race benighted?

He becomes the Lamb that taketh
Sin away and for aye full atonement maketh.
For our life His own He tenders
And our race, by His grace, meet for glory renders.

For it dawns, the promised morrow
Of His birth, Who the earth rescues from her sorrow.
God to wear our form descendeth;
Of His grace to our race here His Son He sendeth.

Hark! a voice from yonder manger,
Soft and sweet, doth entreat, “Flee from woe and danger;
Brethren, come; from all that grieves you
You are freed; all you need I will surely give you.”

Come, then, let us hasten yonder;
Here let all, great and small, kneel in awe and wonder,
Love Him Who with love is yearning;
Hail the star that from far bright with hope is burning.

Blessèd Savior, let me find Thee!
Keep Thou me close to Thee, cast me not behind Thee!
Life of life, my heart Thou stillest,
Calm I rest on Thy breast, all this void Thou fillest.

Thee, dear Lord, with heed I’ll cherish;
Live to Thee and with Thee, dying, shall not perish;
But shall dwell with Thee for ever,
Far on high, in the joy that can alter never.

~Paul Gerhardt
(tr. Catherine Winkworth)

Sunday, December 21, 2003

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas?
It is currently 72 degrees and the ice cream truck is going down my street right now, playing "Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam...." This must be what Christmas feels like in Australia. :-D

Friday, December 19, 2003

In an effort to justify my position as Clog in the Machine on the Discoshaman's blogroll, I have sent my first letter to the editor of Reader's Digest.

I was interested to note your statistic that fully "7% of U.S. households are married couples with kids where just the husband works." As a housewife and homeshooling mom of seven whose husband brings in the family's sole income, I imagine this figure is ridiculously high. Of all the single income families I know, I cannot think of one where the husband holds down a paying job, and does all the housework and child care while his wife spends her life on the couch watching soaps and eating bon bons.

As an added cloggish touch, in the information field requesting my first name, I put "Mrs. Michael."

Although I have been published once before (my only other foray into the world of letters-to-editors being addressed to the Montgomery Times and quoting the entire text of the Mayflower Compact in order to refute some wise soul who claimed we can have no idea what the Compact said), I will be just tickled pink if RD publishes my letter.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

One guess where I'm spending this afternoon with my three oldest dibbuns! ;-)

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

I redecorated.
Can you tell? ;-)

I'm not sure about it, though. I'm thinking of swapping the green and gold. What do y'all think?

For those of you who saw it before, do you like this one any better?

Sunday, December 14, 2003

No Christmas pudding for us this year.
I have not been able to get to the commissary ahead of the hunters in order to get suet. It seems all the deer hunters add suet to their deer meat (what - are they grinding it up together? That's the only thing I can figure out.) So, if I think about it after deer season, I might go ahead and get some and just save it for next year. Or maybe we'll go ahead and make it and eat it, just to be sure I'm doing it right, so I won't have a great big flop next Christmas.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Hey, this is fun Found at Mike and Kristen's blog - Make a snowflake.

Here's one I made.
Since Anne Marie asked. :-)

This is the flag of Scotland, also called the St. Andrew's Saltire [cross]:

The confederate battle flag uses the St. Andrew's cross, but reverses the colors:

This is the Christian flag:

Thursday, December 4, 2003

Subversive gift-giving
Last year I bought a subscription to Tabletalk for my mom and step-dad for their Christmas present. Mom loves it and a couple of times she has called me to talk about something she read there.

Last month, one of the adult Sunday School teachers at her Methodist church was unable to teach, so Mom took his class for the whole month and that month's Tabletalk for her lessons!

When we were there for Thanksgiving, I asked if she wanted me to renew it for her, and she told me she had already bought a 3 year subscription for herself!

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Do you suppose...
that if Peter Jackson made movies out of C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy, the Christian book stores would finally start selling the books?
More Christmas preparations
Visiting Dr. G's blog yesterday, I saw his recipe for Plum Pudding on the website. That recipe, with a little bit of info, is in his wife's cookbook, which I gave my oldest on her 14th birthday this year.

I've had plum pudding once before in my life. A college in Arkansas had an annual madrigal dinner at Christmas time and served it. I was invited to the dinner in 1986, I think, and was surprised to find out that plum pudding is not at all like chocolate pudding or even banana pudding; it's more like a muffin - a moist, dense muffin with warm sauce poured over it. It was so rich I couldn't eat the whole thing!

I'm a couple of days behind on the traditional aspect of it, but I have to go to the commissary today anyway, so I think I'll buy the ingredients and try to make this treat.

At his blog, Dr. G gives more history of Stir-up Sunday, plus some info on St. Andrew, and a quote, "Chesterton and Christmas Pudding," so I'd recommend reading it, if you haven't already done so. The post is dated November 29.

Monday, December 1, 2003

WWJB - What would Jane Blog?
I've gotten a few hits by people looking for pentamom blog. I am sorry to tell Jane's admirers, but she steadfastly refuses to have her own blog. But all is not lost - if you want to know what the Pentamom thinks, all you have to do is google "pentamom." That search turns up every comment The Wise One has ever made at the Discoshaman's blog. :-D
Faulty memory - need help
Not too long ago, some blogger or other, I thought it was Valerie, posted a link to an interesting article that discussed the roots of American Negro Spirituals. I told my mom about it last week and she want to read the article, but I can't find it.
I should throw a party or something
Valerie was my 5000th visitor! :-D

Sunday, November 30, 2003

What is your literary taste?
(A post at The Native Tourist got me to thinking about this.)

As a teen, my first favorite author was Agatha Christie, followed closely by C. S. Lewis, whom I began reading when I was about 17 - the theology stuff; I thought his fairy tales were beneath me. *blush*

In my 30s I learned to love Tolkein, Austen, and Rosemary Sutcliffe, and my current favorite is Dorothy Sayers, so all in all, it appears that I have a very provincial taste in literature.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Our old advent wreath finally broke down after being used more than half a decade, so I'm making a new one. It's not quite done yet - I ran out of greenery, but it's coming along...

I used a foam wreath form, one garland of greenery (n.b. the $2.99 garland from Hobby Lobby is puny - I'm going to have to buy another one), a bunch of holly, and bunch of ivy. I cut the branches off of the garland, and cut the holly and ivy into managable sizes, then stuck everything into the wreath form. It's pretty easy to get good looking results, and only costs about $20 to make, including the candles.

We have used the devotions from Christ in Christmas: A Family Advent Celebration for 10 or 11 years now. The kids love it so much that earlier this year, when Mosey heard Mike and me talking about making a few changes in our Advent celebration, she nearly broke down crying! They love doing the same things each year.

On the first Sunday of Advent, Saturday night for us, we turn out all the lights and the children try to walk around the living room without bumping into each other or the furniture. Then Mike quotes from Isaiah 9:2 "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light," and strikes the match to light the first candle.

This year we'd like to sing more Advent hymns during the season and save the really bright Christmas hymns for the Twelve Days of Christmas, but I only a few Advent hymns. Any ideas?

Sunday, November 16, 2003

The Twenty-Second Lord's Day after Trinity

LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy household the Church
in continual godliness;
that through thy protection it may be free from all adversities, and devoutly given to serve thee in good works, to the glory of thy Name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Isaiah 58
1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.

2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.

3 Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.

4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.

5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?

6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rearward.

9 Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;

10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day:

11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

My sentiment exactly
Thanks to Alexandra for pointing me to this jewel!

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

Carl Sandburg

Arithmetic is where numbers fly like pigeons in and out of your head.

Arithmetic tells you how many you lose or win if you know how many you had before you lost or won.

Arithmetic is seven eleven all good children go to heaven-or five six bundle of sticks.

Arithmetic is numbers you squeeze from your head to your hand to your pencil to your paper till you get the answer.

Arithmetic is where the answer is right and everything is nice and you can look out of the window and see the blue sky-or the answer is wrong and you have to start all over and try again and see how it comes out this time.

If you take a number and double it and double it again and then double it a few more times, the number gets bigger and bigger and goes higher and higher and only arithmetic can tell you what the number is when you decide to quit doubling.

Arithmetic is where you have to multiply-and you carry the multiplication table in your head and hope you won't lose it.

If you have two animal crackers, one good and one bad, and you eat one and a striped zebra with streaks all over him eats the other, how many animal crackers will you have if somebody offers you five six seven and you say No no no and you say Nay nay nay and you say Nix nix nix?

If you ask your mother for one fried egg for breakfast and she gives you two fried eggs and you eat both of them, who is better in arithmetic, you or your mother?

Friday, November 14, 2003

Why is it...?
The things I most want to blog about the very things that get stuck at the ends of my fingers and won't come out.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Mrs. Cumbee's Botany Lesson
I found out what the mystery plant is (isn't it wonderful what a little Googling will do!). It's an Agave, which is in the amaryllis family. It is related to aloe vera, which is why it looks so much like one!

The agave can be used in many ways: different varieties provide soap, food (in the grocery stores here, I have seen blades of agave for sale - I just never associated them with this "tree"!), and fiber (the popular sisal comes from agave). The flower stalk produces a juice that, when distilled, is called tequila.

The century plant, as it is also called, has a long lifetime, though not 100 years as its name implies. Plants take from 10 to 50 years to mature and it's at this point that the bloom stalk begins to grow, and does so at a rate of up to two inches a day! After blooming, the plant dies, but new plants will grow up from the fruit it dropped.

My husband, who took the picture below, says he's pretty sure the plant is taller than I estimated. He was only able to get about 50' away from it since it's on private property, but he figured the leafy part of it was at least 4' high, which would make the whole thing 16' or more.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Dr. Seuss tree

Well, that's what we call it anyway. I have no idea what it really is.

These plants are growing alongside the road about 3/4 mile south of our house and we've been watching with interest all year - they didn't have those tall parts last year - those grew up this spring. The picture doesn't reveal how impressive the things are in person. The bottom of the plant is like a huge aloe vera - it's over 3' high, and the top part must be 12' or more.

Sometimes living in west Texas is like living on another planet!

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Time travel
Elaienar is chatting with her friend Miwaza right now. Here in Texas it's 8:45 pm, but in Japan it's almost lunch time tomorrow!

Technology is so cool.
Carmon reveals all!
Out of her frustration and anger, Carmon has made a rebellious decision that affects not only herself, but her children, too. And probably her husband. She just didn't mention that.

The weather was still hot and everywhere I went, girls and women were dressed immodestly. Women older than me with their bellies poking out between their crop tops and their low-rise jeans. Little girls with platform shoes and provocative clothing. Tight everything and no shame. I got mad, I got frustrated, I made a statement.

Carmon is now wearing dresses every day.

Does this mean that Carmon has turned into a frumpy prairie muffin? Has she even come to the point of wearing jumpers?

"Yes, I (gasp!) have been wearing some jumpers," says Carmon. "But I said modest, not frumpy...and there is a difference."

Oh, and just in case there's any doubt, let me assure you that jumpers are not frumpy.

Sunday, November 9, 2003

WARNING! Pet Peeve Ahead
I find it supremely annoying that some Christians who refuse to celebrate Church holy days have no qualms about celebrating and promoting State holy days.

Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Quiz time!
Apparantly I am a classic first-born.

You are Meg March
The eldest of the four, a femine Meg takes good
care of her younger sisters and helps by being
a role model. She is ladylike, soft-hearted,
well-mannered and generous. All in all, Meg is
a typical soft woman who possesses qualities of
a housewife. Despite the soft-heartedness, Meg
is someone who is decisive and faces challenges
with courage.

Little Women-- Which Character Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

:: E L I N O R ::

You are Elinor Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility!
You are practical, circumspect, and discreet.
Though you are tremendously sensible and allow
your head to rule, you have a deep, emotional side
that few people often see.

Take the Quiz here!

Friday, October 31, 2003

Rejoice, the Lord is King! Your Lord and King adore;
Mortals give thanks and sing, and triumph evermore;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Jesus, the Savior, reigns, the God of truth and love;
When He had purged our stains He took His seat above;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

His kingdom cannot fail, He rules o’er earth and heaven,
The keys of death and hell are to our Jesus given;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

He sits at God’s right hand till all His foes submit,
And bow to His command, and fall beneath His feet:
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

He all His foes shall quell, shall all our sins destroy,
And every bosom swell with pure seraphic joy;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice,
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Rejoice in glorious hope! Jesus the Judge shall come,
And take His servants up to their eternal home.
We soon shall hear th’archangel’s voice;
The trump of God shall sound, rejoice!


Alastair has a great post on the origin of Halloween, and how much we have to rejoice over.
Have I been missing out on something all my life?
What do you call the night before Halloween? I responded the same as all Arkansans who were surveyed: "I have no word for this."

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Liturgical baby
At eight months, Lilian is not talking yet, but she sings "Amen" with us at the end of Doxology before supper, and she sings with us after evening prayers in a clear monotone, "Aa-ah, aa-ah, aa-aa-aa-aa-ah."
The days have gone down in the West
There was a time when the passage of the day was reckoned by the movement of the sun which God made to rule the day, and was measured out by the ringing of the parish church bells. For a thousand years, the church bells called us to worship and tolled our passing out of this life.

But for us moderns, instead of having the sun's rule, we have the Secretary of Transportation telling us what time it is in our district, which was set up for "the convenience of commerce."* Instead of living our lives to the sound of the church bells, we change our clocks for the civic virtue of saving energy.

Every time we go on daylight saving time I pitch a little fit because daylight saving time reminds me of the death of Christendom in the west, and the fact that I and my children will most likely not live to see its resurrection.

This touches on a discussion going on at Gideon's blog about different flavors of the conservative movement. Dave Koyzis mentions that conservatives lack an "animating vision of life." If we see Old World Conservatism as a last desperate effort to preserve Christendom, it gives us a clue as to why we are so ineffective at communication our vision. Either we've forgotten what it looks like ourselves since it has been dead and gone for so long, or we just have not found a good way to communicate it to the modern mindset.
Well, look at that!
I can speak fluently Dutch!!:)
you are dutch. no other possibility.or, you are
from belgium, that could be the case too.

can you speak Dutch????
brought to you by Quizilla

Actually, I'm just good at guessing answers on a multiple choice quiz. :-p

I found this quiz at the site of a young blogger named Hannah, who likes music and ballet. Warning: this is a Xanga blog and Xanga is very clique-ish - one must have a Xanga account in order to comment.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

The Laughing Linden Branch
Forum friend Isaac has entered the blogosphere with two lovely haiku (or is it haikus?), observations of the effect of kimshi on a lineoleum floor, and thoughts on the current state of Anglicanism.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Title goes here
Every time this week that I've thought of something I wanted to blog about, either I haven't had time to do it, or I haven't been able to get my thoughts organized enough to write anything worth the time it would take to read it. Tonight I have several random observations. That way I don't have to blog about not blogging anything at all, the way Theognome did once. :-D

I subscribe to two magazines: Credenda/Agenda and Organic Gardening.

My 11-year-old found Lingua Latina to be too challenging, so this week we started Minimus Latin. The stories in the book are based on a real family, a Roman prefect and his wife and three children, who lived in the north of England from AD 97-102. After two days I can say with complete confidence: "So far, so good." ;-p

Several of my kids have croup this week. We seem to go through this two or three times during the fall and spring, when the weather is very cool at night and very warm in the day. I've learned that the best way to deal with croup is generous use of eucalyptus oil, both in a vaporizer and sprinkled on the child's pillow.

Today I read P.G. Wodehouse's Laughing Gas for the first time. It's probably not one of his better ones, but the plot took a very surprising twist along about chapter four, the story was entertaining, and it had a sweet ending. I would recommend it. (Has anyone ever not recommended a Wodehouse?)

My 14-year-old, who is taking an online history class through Studium Discere Tutorials, has been assigned an 8-10 page research paper on a topic of her choosing, related to the class, of course. She is considering comparing different creation accounts with the Biblical account. This is her first big paper, and I've never taught anyone how to do it before. Prayers and advice, as Valerie says, would not be underappreciated.

I enjoy reading the theological threads over at A Better Country but too often my sole contribution to any discussion is to ask people to explain their terms. I have learned more "-isms" since becoming Reformed than I ever knew existed. Recently, an innocent question sparked quite a discussion that included the term "amyraldianism." Rather than display my ignorance yet again, I did a web search and found this very helpful site - a Theological Terminology Dictionary.

Things I learned tonight by looking through my referrer logs
- There are people do web searches on getting a whipping
I wonder if they need one, or know someone who does?
- Somebody out there is in the market for a terror alert level necklace
Do you suppose they actually do any good?
- If you do a web search for the terms "lingua latina" "ran screaming" or "white linen and pipe-clay" I am the only hit you will get
Am I a niche blogger, or what!
- If you ask the question can you re pot broken aloe? or go looking for seamus haney, beowulf, study notes you will not find the answer online
But I thought the internet had all the answers!

Friday, October 17, 2003

I don't mean to brag or anything, but...

Ain't she purty?

Taken this afternoon - Princess Lilian in the Royal Chariot.
Elaienar has posted a couple of her drawings on her blog, dated October 16 and 17. For some reason, she doesn't have permalinks. I'll look into that as soon as I get a chance.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

This is our third fall in west Texas and every year we've seen flocks of monarch butterflies migrating south for the winter. The first fall we were here, a cloud of them hovered over our back yard for several minutes before moving on. They are not so numerous this year, but my son has counted about 200 of them in the last quarter-hour! He and Mosey are trying to take pictures of them, but they are so small I don't know if the pictures will turn out.
Afternoon tea for three

The night before
Make loaf of white bread using soy milk - guest is severely allergic to milk and eggs.

The morning of
After eating breakfast, cleaning up kitchen, sending hubby out for forgotten items, nursing baby and putting her down for nap, start bread machine with second loaf of bread, bake birthday cake (to be served with dinner), send 14-year-old and 3-year-old out to garden to pick tomatoes. Have 14-year-old blanch and peel several firm tomatoes, then slice them thin and lay on paper towels to drain. In the meantime, prepare dough for scones, cover with damp cloth and set aside.

Begin preparing sandwiches: slice first loaf of bread thin, butter two slices, put tomates on one slice, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover with other buttered slice, cut off crusts (feed these to the 3-year-old son and 8-year-old son who are greedily eyeing the loaf), cut sandwich into six dainty pieces. 14-year-old daughter arranges them artfully on plate. Repeat two times.

Take birthday cake out of oven and set aside to cool.

Hubby comes home from shopping. Put away groceries, fix a quick lunch (the birthday girl requested macaroni and cheese - the boxed kind), nurse baby.

One p.m. - the guest arrives
Her mother and two brothers come in with her, bringing a suitcase full of doll things, a doll-sized table and two chairs. 12-year-old son requests that the guest's brothers be allowed to stay so they can go out when Daddy takes all the boys out of the house while the girls have tea. Consent cheerfully. Chat with guest's mother for half an hour or so.

Shoo the menfolk out of the house and put 3-year-old son down for nap, so preparations can resume.

Peel and slice cucumbers, then lay on paper towels to drain. Have 14-year-old rinse and drain watercress. Make four cucumber sandwiches same as tomato sandwiches. Try to find baby in order to put her down for nap. Before panicking, ask birthday girl if she has seen baby. Find out that birthday girl put baby down for nap half an hour ago. Sigh with relief, thank birthday girl, and return to kitchen. Taste watercress, which you've never had before. The stuff tastes like poison! What are people thinking, making sandwiches out of this weed! Make one watercress sandwich anyway, as a concession to tradition. Test one to be sure it won't kill the birthday girl, her sister, or the guest. Find out that watercress sandwiches are quite delicious. Make two more of them.

3:15 p.m
Send birthday girl and guest to set table - this keeps them from eating all the sandwiches in the kitchen. Start boiling water for tea.

3:30 - only one and a half hours after the planned time for tea
Have 14-year-old serve sandwiches and tea. Begin rolling out and cutting scones. Shoo guest back into dining room - the scones will be served after the sandwiches are eaten! Bake three batches of scones. Give dinner bell to guest to ring when she needs something so she will stop coming in the kitchen or shouting for 14-year-old every two minutes. Refill teapot. Serve first batch of scones with non-dairy whipped topping, having been unable to figure out how to make lemon curd or Devonshire cream without eggs and milk. Baby wakes up - birthday girl gets her out of bed and puts her on floor in dining room. Make shortcake. Put baby in swing so she won't eat crumbs off of dining room floor. Consider taking bell away from guest, who rings it every two minutes, in order to teach her how to wait to be served. Decide against it because she is so sweet and 14-year-old is enjoying playing the part of a Cockney kitchen maid. Place shortcake on a warm plate, top with strawberry jam, syrup (sugar-free), and powdered sugar. Serve shortcake. Nurse baby.

4:30 - girls finish tea and go to play with dolls
Begin cleaning up. 3-year-old wakes up from nap and wants snack. Feed him then continue cleaning up. Menfolk arrive home and want snack. Feed them leftovers from tea. Go sit with hubby in living room. Notice how very indifferent your feet and legs feel. Guest's father and oldest brother arrive, but do not want snack - they've been selling Krispy Kreme donuts for a Boy Scouts fundraiser, and are not hungry! Go to kitchen and help 14-year-old clean up.

7:00 - guests have left
Sit on living room floor and stretch legs. Play piano for half an hour to wind down. Nurse baby. Hubby very sweetly asks if he should start the chicken for supper. Consent cheerfully. Doze off nursing baby. Wake up, go to kitchen and make frosting for cake. Hubby and 14-year-old have made delicious chicken/pasta/vegetable dish for supper. 12-year-old has set the table. Sabbath bread is warm - pour wine, turn on Von Weber's clarinet concertos, light candles, bless God, and eat! Give birthday girl her gift. Eat cake and ice cream. Bathe baby, nurse, and put her to bed. Go back to kitchen to clean up, again!

10:45 - finally finished cleaning up!
Understand why those people in Jane Austen's books have a housekeeper, cook, kitchen maid, scullery maid, butler, footman, and nursery maid!

Friday, October 10, 2003

Friday, October 3, 2003

Evolution Development of a poem
Theognome said that my haiku below was "not bad." Just so you all would know how not bad it is, I thought I post the previous four versions of it.

The first version:
Lone watermelon
so sweet, cool, and delicious -
last taste of summer

After I wrote it I decided to check out my handy-dandy college literature book and see if it said anything about how to write haiku. It said things about restricting adjectives, and being evocative rather than descriptive. That produced versions 2 - 5:
My children ate the
watermelon today and
savored every bite.

My children eating
volunteer watermelon
savor every bite.

My children eating
volunteer watermelon
savor every drop.

My children eating
the only watermelon
savor every drop.

After further consideration, I've come up with another version:
Summer's End

Six children sharing
the garden's only melon
savor every drop

Bloggers are rumoured to be weirdo exhibitionists anyway, so I suppose no one will be surprised if I bare my less than poetic soul in this exercise. I read once that one way to understand poetry is to write it yourself, so I try my hand every once in a while.

Now honestly. If this is really only "not bad" and there is no potential whatsoever for me ever to become "pretty good," somebody please let me know and I won't inflict this junk on the public. But if there is potential, I welcome instruction! :-)
My children eating
the only watermelon
savor every drop.

Thursday, October 2, 2003

Interview questions for Elaienar
1. It's your birthday and Daddy has been saving up all year so I can take you out for a fun day. First we go to Hastings where, miraculously, every book and music CD you ever wanted is for sale! But, you can only have one of each. What do you pick and why?

2. Next we go to the mall. I'm going to buy you a complete outfit including accessories. By some great miracle, the stores there happen to have things you actually love. Describe the outfit you pick out.

3. We've eaten lunch and now it's movie time! It just so happens that there is a theater in town that is playing exactly what you want to see. What is it?

4. We have a few hours left to do one more thing before we eat supper and go home, and within easy driving distance is the very thing you want to do. What is it?

5. Now it's supper time and you can eat anyplace you want to as our little Texas town amazingly enough has all the best restaurants in the world. Where do we go and what do we eat?


Post these questions and answers on your blog along with the following instructions:

If you would like to participate too, here are your instructions:
1. Leave me a comment saying "interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions (not the same as you see here).
3. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

*ahem* Attention, please!
I am pleased to announce that with the inception of the blog currently known as Elaienar's Blog I have entered the worthy ranks of parents-of-bloggers.

I would also like to point out two new blogs by fellow Middle Earth dwellers, The Road Goes Ever On And On, and her sister Shieldmaiden. I have also recently learned that my daughter's Japanese penpal Miwaza, has a blog. It is a pleasure witnessing this influx of young, reformed, homeschooling bloggers. I tell ya, this is a great world!
Illuminated Manuscripts
Back on May the 2nd I mentioned that I'd like to try my hand at illuminating Bible verses. Well this afternoon, my eldest and I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a couple of calligraphy pens, several colors of ink, and two hardback sketchbooks with acid free paper, so we could get started. After we got home, I did Psalm 1, and I'm planning on doing all the Psalms as I have time. I'd post a picture of it if I had a way of getting photos online. While I certainly hope to improve with practice, I think it's not too shabby for a first effort.

Valerie, you should just do it! I spent about an hour playing around with the pens and trying out lettering styles and practicing flourishes, then later when I had another hour, I did the whole Psalm - it was so soothing. If I can find time to do it, you can, too!

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Questions for Toni
1. Your "about me" page says that you enjoy studying foreign languages. Which have you studied, which is your favorite, and do you speak any of them well enough to pass for a native?
2. If you could lead a class teaching homemaking skills to girls, what would you be most likely to teach?
3. Is there any place in the world you haven't been that you would love to go to? Tell me all about it.
4. Your favorite food list includes almost everything on the planet! Is there anything that you would never ever eat (unless maybe your life depended on it)?
5. What does poetry mean to you?

Questions for Samantha
1. How did you become a Christian?
2. You have links to Classical Christian Homeschooling and Trivium Pursuit on your blog. Are you implementing anything you've learned from them? What does the classical model look like in your homeschool?
3. What motivated you to begin doing illuminated manuscripts, and how much progress have you made?
4. It's a Thursday, and it's too lovely a day to stay cooped up indoors, so you cancel school, gather up the kiddos and go.... where?
5. When choosing names for your children, how do you decide what is a good name? Do you have any special stories about your children's names, or names you have picked out for any children you may be blessed with in the future?

*Be sure you post the following info on your blog when you post the answers:
If you would like to participate too, here are your instructions:
1. Leave me a comment saying "interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions (not the same as you see here).
3. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Gideon's blog has been down almost week.
Interview questions for Carmon

1. What favorite books from your childhood have you shared with your own children?
2. It's Sunday and you've just come home from the perfect church service. Describe it.
3. Your husband has announced that it is high time the two of you went on a second honeymoon and the sky's the limit. Where do you go?
4. Which and why?
Austen or Shakespeare?
Spring or Fall?
Heidelberg or Westminster?
Chocolate or cheesecake?
Jeeves or Bunter?
5. Your children are all grown up and married. Describe a typical day.

*Be sure you post the following info on your blog when you post the answers:
If you would like to participate too, here are your instructions:
1. Leave me a comment saying "interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions (not the same as you see here).
3. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


(P.S. Mike was just reading your blog, and he said, "Well, Kelly, if I didn't know better I'd say this was you!" :-D )

Thursday, September 25, 2003

A hearty "AMEN!" to Carmon who says so clearly what's been knocking around inside my head for awhile.

On related note, the Texas law is set up so that it's practically impossible for a third-party candidate to get on the ticket. I've contacted the Texas Constitution Party to find out if anything is being done about getting the signatures necessary to get CP candidates on the ballot, and was told that nothing is being organized right now. So frustrating.
Interview questions from Barb

1. Who was your favorite neighbor as a child and why?

My best friend, Nancy, who lived across the street from me. Nancy was three months older than I and we were friends from the very beginning. My mom has pictures of the two of us doing everything together from the time we shared a play-pen until they moved away when I was in kindergarten. Behind Nan's house was steep bank covered with large, sharp stones, and one day as we were carrying the stones that had slid down the bank back to the top, Nan dropped hers and it tumbled down the slope and smashed into my fingers as I was picking up a stone. It hit me so hard that it knocked one of my fingernails off! Poor Nan was so upset she ran screaming into the house. Her older sister, Karen, wrapped my finger in a towel and walked me home. After I got home from my trip to the emergency room, Nan sent over a little china tea set that she had begged her mother to buy for me – she was afraid I would never play with her again! But of course I would because Nan always let me have my own way. She was the youngest of five and I was the firstborn, so naturally, even though she was older than I, I got to boss her around. :-p

2. Are there any stories, traditions, or objects that have been handed down through generations of your family?

About all I know of my Daddy's side of the family is that the first of them to come to America were apparantly a disreputable lot. They found out the authorities were planning to put them on a boat to Australia, so they came to America to escape! I guess that was the Price side of the family – the Pyle men were mostly ministers. One Price ancestor even married a Choctaw woman, LIttle Fawn Beside the Stream, at a time when to do so was incredibly scandalous. She lived to be 103 years old and smoked a corncob pipe! We went to my grandmother Pyle, nee Price, for Thanksgiving every year. She always made macaroni and cheese because it my brother's and my favorite dish. My Daddy taught me how to make cornbread dressing just like grandmother's and I still make that dressing and macaroni and cheese for Thanksgiving every year. I have several quilts made by my grandmother – I have slept under her quilts all my life. I also have her mother's potato masher that I use quite often.

My mother's grandfather McConnell was the youngest of eight children, and his mother died not too long after he was born. His oldest sister had just had a baby, so she took in her baby brother and nursed him. Their father, Robert Houston McConnell, was named after Sam Houston, who was a family friend. I have seen the McConnell family genealogy – it has been traced back to a James McConnell, who was born in 1715 in Ulster Ireland, and emigrated to Pennsylvania no later than 1745. On her mother's side of the family, the first Davis in America was a 13-year-old stowaway named Jonathan, who ran away from home to escape a cruel stepfather. He fought during America's War for Independence and was at Valley Forge. After the war, he settled in Pennsylvania, but his son moved to South Carolina. His grandson moved to Georgia near the GA/AL border at about the same time that the Cumbies from South Carolina (Mike's family) were moving to Alabama. After the War Between the States, many people in that area moved to Arkansas, including several Cumbies – the ones who stayed in Alabama changed their name spelling to Cumbee. When my great-grandfather Davis asked my great-great-grandfather Foster for his daughter's hand, he was told "Yes, as long as you don't move to Arkansas." They married, and shortly after that, they moved to Arkansas in a covered wagon. They never saw their families again. :-( Once when I was about 17 years old my mom asked me if there was anyone I was interested in, and I told her I didn't know anyone worth marrying besides my cousins. After Mike and I were engaged, we found out that we are distant cousins! After he retires, we hope to move back to that part of Alabama where both of our families come from and put down some roots!

3. If you could change one thing about our federal government, what would you change and why?

I suppose you mean the structure of the government or how it functions, and not the people in the governnemt, or else I'd just wave a magic wand and make them all think like me. ;-) Trying to think of just one thing that will make any real difference almost has me daunted. First, I thought about repealing the 14th amendment, which would essentially reinstate the 10th, but the Constutition is mostly ignored anyway, so that wouldn't do much good. Then I thought about de-federalizing the military, so that when the President wants to send troops anywhere, he not only has to ask Congress to declare war, but he would also have to ask the state governors to send their troops. I think this would keep us out of all these overseas imbroglios, but it would still leave the leviathan bureaucracy in place. Something that might be more effective, and I have to credit Pieter with this idea, is to abolish all direct taxes – income tax, inheritance taxes, Social Security et al. This would force the federal government to stay within Constitutional bounds.

4. Which one and why?

Beatrix Potter or A.A. Milne?
Beatrix Potter! I love her paintings, but especially her stories – the wry sense of humor ("This is a fierce bad Rabbit; look at his savage whiskers and his claws and his turned-up tail."), and understatement ("...don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your father had an accident there; he was put into a pie by Mrs. McGregor."). My favorite scene is where Old Mr. Benjamin Bunny is looking for little Benjamin Bunny and his orphaned nephew Peter Rabbit, who have been trapped under a basket all afternoon after stealing vegetables from Mr. McGregor's garden.
At length there was a pitter-patter, pitter-patter, and some bits of mortar fell from the wall above.

The cat looked up and saw old Mr. Benjamin Bunny prancing along the top of the wall of the upper terrace.

He was smoking a pipe of rabbit-tobacco, and had a little switch in his hand.

He was looking for his son.

Old Mr. Bunny had no opinion whatever of cats. He took a tremendous jump off the top of the wall on to the top of the cat, and cuffed it off the basket, and kicked it into the greenhouse, scratching off a handful of fur.

The cat was too much surprised to scratch back.

When old Mr. Bunny had driven the cat into the greenhouse, he locked the door.

Then he came back to the basket and took out his son Benjamin by the ears, and whipped him with the little switch.

Then he took out his nephew Peter. [The illustration shows Peter getting a whipping, too.]

Then he took out the handkerchief of onions, and marched out of the garden.

Breakfast or dinner?
I tell you what, if I had roomservice I'd pick breakfast every time. I love breakfast food – scrambled eggs, cheese grits and sausage, biscuits and gravy, sliced fresh tomatoes, hashbrowns.... Alas, these days we ususally have cold cereal, except for Sundays when I try to have something especially nice like blueberry muffins, or peach cobbler. So, in the real world I will choose not our everyday suppers – they are usually fairly plain – but our Sabbath dinner – special prayers and blessings, all the best dishes on the table and sometimes candles, sweet bread, wine, good food, and hymns.

Jackson or Lee?
Since I know so much more about Lee, I will have to pick him. The two were totally different in very complementary ways, but were very similar in the essentials, as far as I can tell. Last year I read Steve Wilkin's biography of Lee, Call of Duty. It was so good that I think every Christian man ought to read it.

Mountains or beach?
That is soooo tough! I prefer living in the mountains to anyplace else on earth (I am an Arkansas hillbilly, after all, of Scottish and Welsh descent), but the ocean is so therapeutic. Lying on the beach with the wind caressing you and the sun pressing down on you, the sound of the waves and the seagulls and little children playing, are all like a giant soul massage. Right now I'm feeling like a massage.

Chopin or Mozart?
I love listening to them both, but I can actually play a few things Mozart composed, so I'll pick him.

5. How has your parenting style changed over the years?

I couldn't think of a single bloomin thing so I asked Mike (is that cheating?). I've gotten better at noticing and nurturing the differences between the boys and the girls, so that a large part of my teaching them points them to becoming godly men/husbands/fathers and godly women/wives/mothers. I hope I have also gotten better at recognizing the difference between childishness and sin.


If you would like to participate too, here are your instructions:
1. Leave me a comment saying "interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions (not the same as you see here).
3. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Recent search engine hits
Most of the search engine hits I get are about things I've blogged on recently, though not necessarily in the same post, like egyptian exhibit ft worth texas, seratonin +depletion, cod liver oil wal mart, Latin conjugation of gaudy, "sir gawain" "modern translation" and "REC Book of Common Prayer."

Some are so funny. Two recent ones were ask Jeeves about repotting aloe veras, and ask Jeeves- no to reinstating military draft. Maybe I should include info for future confused visitors about how to ask Jeeves a question. ;-)

Some are the names of bloggers: Jenny Carmon, Valerie blog, and link:gideonstrauss.blogspot.com.

My favorite one lately, though, was this one: +"Doug Wilson" +blog. I wonder if the searcher read his comment about blogs in the latest issue of C/A and was checking to see if Mr. Wilson's practice is consistent with his, um, criticism. That particular search turns up a lot of familiar names. The Reformed community must be awfully small.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

One thing for which I am truly thankful
My mother is an incredibly gifted musician - at the age of three she was able to play on the piano the melody of any song she heard; by the age of eleven, she was the church organist; she has an incredible memory and can play almost anything she's ever heard before. She has taught piano for most of her life. I believe she told me she had her first student when she was 13 years old! Mom teaches music in an elementary school in Arkansas, and her students love learning from her.

When I was growing up, Mom would often play the piano for us after we went to bed. My brother usually asked for the Carpenters, and we both loved Scott Joplin, but my favorite was Chopin's waltzes, especially the Valse in A Flat Major. She really can play anything and she taught us by her example to enjoy all kinds of music.

I wanted to be able to play like my mom and I tried to pick out tunes, but I never could find the right notes, so instead of playing actual melodies I spent a lot of time banging away at the piano, pretending that I was a great musician in front of awestruck crowds. My mother must have been a very tolerant person to have put up with that cacophany - I don't handle that kind of noise nearly as well from my children as my mother did from me.

At last, when I was about seven or eight years old, my mother, bless her heart, tried to teach me how to play the piano. It was not a success, mainly owing to my jealousy and obstinacy - I figured since I wasn't born with The Gift, as she had been, there was no point in my practicing. Well, she sent me to Mrs. Jones, from whom I took lessons for two difficult years. That woman expected me to play in recitals, and I was terrified of playing in front of strangers. One recital, I was so nervous that I thought I was dying and I didn't really mind that, I just hoped it would happen before my turn came!

But then, when I was in ninth grade and regretted that I had not learned better, my mom encouraged me to take lessons again, and recommended Mrs. McGrew, a lady in our church. I took from her for three years, and in spite of practicing nearly every day, I never got very good, but today I can play well enough to accompany the family when we sing hymns, and for that I am truly thankful.
We've come a long way, baby
Last year while we were studying modern history I began reading the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers but I had to put them aside. I hope that by the time I've finished homeschooling my children I will have acheived the intellectual capacity necessary to read and understand these newspaper articles written for 18th century farmers and laborers.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Twenty-five years ago tonight
I found out that after years of waiting (no, I'm not telling how many years!) I had finally had a sister!

My sister is the most loving, caring, and giving person I know. When I'm visiting her, she takes me to her beauty shop, sets me in a chair, and says, "Now just relax! There are no kids here and I want you to relax and let me take care of you." Then she does my hair, face, nails... Oh, it's almost heaven!

Happy Birthday, Anne Marie!

I love you.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

I did a Carmon
Not on as grand a scale, I grant you, but then I'm only a novice. :-)

Bride of Fortune, Harnett T. Kane (the life of Mrs. Jefferson Davis)
The Five Red Herrings, Dorothy L. Sayers
Favorite Poems Old and New, selected by Helen Ferris
Smoke on the Mountain: An Interpretation of the Ten Commandments, Joy Davidmon
The Greek Way to Western Civilization, Edith Hamilton
Favorite Dog Stories, James Herriot
The Portable Mark Twain: A delightful assembly of his favorite and most representative writings selected and introduced by Bernard DeVoto
Men and Ideas in the Sixteenth Century, Hans J. Hillerbrand
A Wonder Book, Nathaniel Hawthorne
O Ye Jigs & Juleps! A humorous slice of Americana by a turn-of-the-century pixie, aged ten, Virginia Cary Hudson
Lady in Waiting, Rosemary Sutcliff (the story of Sir Walter Raleigh and his wife Bess Throckmorton, who was a Maid of Honour to Queen Elizabeth. I never even knew he was married!)
Woodchuck, Faith McNulty
Selected Essays contains essays by W.M. Thackeray, R.L. Stevenson, and Matthew Arnold, among others
Our Reading Heritage: England and the World, a high school literature textbook published in 1956 - it looks better than my college lit book!
The Black Stallion, William Farley
Five Children and It, E. Nesbit

A whole slew of Landmark books:
Daniel Boone
Davey Crockett
Robert E. Lee
John Paul Jones
Dolly Madison
The Monitor and The Merrimac and Other Naval Battles
Sam Houston
The Barberry Pirates
Chief of the Cossacks
Ghengis Khan and the Mongol Horde
The Vikings

I also got a few birthday books, so I'd better not list them. :-)

Friday, September 12, 2003

It's almost fall!
The sun is shining, it's 72° and breezy, the little ones are playing in the back yard, and I'm dreaming about the yard work I want to get done this fall.

We're planning to build a privacy fence, a three-seciton compost bin, a tool shed with a potting porch on it, and put up a decent clothes line. It's ambitious, I know, but this weather makes me feel like I can accomplish anything! I also have two pieces of furniture I need to refinish, and I've been waiting for cooler weather so I can do it on the carport and not broil in the heat.

Of the dozen blueberry bushes we planted this spring, it appears that all but two have died. I guess we didn't water them enough - they are all brown and shriveled. The blueberry bed is in the front yard and we also planted roses, confederate jasmine, blue salvia, lamb's ears, sage, French lavender, lemon verbena, and a clematis there. These other plants are all doing well, except for the clematis, which never came up. I've never planted one before, so I don't know what I did wrong. Next spring I'm going to add some more herbs to the bed: chamomile, lavender officianalis, and oregano. Maybe parsley, too.

The vegetable garden is in the back yard and is still going strong. Our tomatoes are still producing prolificly, we have plenty of peppers, and we even have a volunteer watermelon coming up beside the compost! It has one fruit on it, about 8" long and 3" across. I hope it has time to ripen before it gets cold here in November or December. I've never grown watermelon before, so I don't know how long they take. The squash plants have all shriveled up and died. I guess they couldn't take the 103° weather we had last month!

The kids have gotten out the water hose and are flooding the patio, so I'd better scoot!

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Especially for Shimmer
My husband's parents always give me money for my birthday and I always buy music with it. For my last birthday, I bought Faire is the Heaven: Music of the English Church, by the Cambridge Singers. This beautiful music is sung a cappella by a boys choir (with a few men for the tenor and bass parts) in the Lady Chapel of Ely Cathedral which was built from 1321 to about 1350. It sounds wonderful! The only other thing I have that comes close to that sound is Bach's St. Matthew Passion, and the version I have uses women's voices for the soprano solos.

There's a good variety of music on this CD. The songs are arranged in chronological order from the 14th century to the 20th. They are mostly Psalms and prayers, and there is one Dutch Easter carol!

Saturday, September 6, 2003

Another pet peeve
Using the word "gentleman" to refer to any old Tom, Dick, or Harry.

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

The communion of the saints
It is such a blessing to meet people for the first time and to feel so close to them right away, like they are close friends or family members you haven't seen in a long time.

A few weeks ago, I got an email from a young woman in Oklahoma, who happened across my blog and noticed that we live in the same town where her father lives. Since he does not go to church, she asked me if she could come with us the next time she visited her dad, so of course I said, "Yes."

This Sunday morning, Kelly and three of her friends (Kelly M, Lisa, and Robert, brother of Kelly M) came to the base chapel with us. We all ate lunch at the fellowship hall after the service, then they came home with us and we spent the rest of the afternoon talking and getting to know each other, and what a delight it was!

As a bonus, I learned that Robert is a fellow blogger.

Friday, August 29, 2003

Learning Languages
We have floundered around for several years trying to figure out what to do in this area. I always wanted to learn several languages myself, and I've wanted the children to learn too, but we kept pushing it aside, thinking that Other Subjects were more important. It's so hard to get out of the habit of thinking that we should be following some ideal program of study developed by tradtional schools, or even other homeschoolers, instead of figuring out what God wants for our children!

We've always prayed that God might call any or all of them into the ministry or to missions,* so a facility in languages will be important for them - both Biblical and modern. And now, our three oldest have been asking to learn languages, so we are even more motivated than ever.

Katherine, who has already invented at least one language of her own, wants to learn Gaelic. She has always been interested in our ancestry and dreams of visiting Scotland someday. She also has a Japanese penpal and would love to learn Japanese.

Stephen is fascinated with my copy of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in middle English and has spent a lot of time comparing it to the translation by J.R.R. Tolkien. He also started a notebook on Old English using the translation of Beowulf by Seamus Haney, which has the Old English and modern translation on facing pages.

Mary Rose wants to learn German, which she says is a beautiful language. I learned that two years of German is a pre-requiste for Old English in colleges that teach it, so I think it would be worthwhile for Stephen to learn it, as well.

Right now we're forging ahead with our Latin studies, thanks to the Lingua Latina curriculum that Matt recommended. Katherine began chapter five this week. She has been able to cover about a chapter a week so far. Stephen works at about half that speed, and Mary Rose is just finishing up chapter one.

They are all benefiting from studying Latin. This curriculum makes the student think hard, and this is especially good for my 12yos and 10yod who tend to want to be told the answer instead of having to figure anything out. I believe Matt said that Lingua Latina teaches the student to think grammatically and lexically.

Also, when Katherine begins studying Gaelic she will already have some experience with strange things like people's names changing depending on whether one is simply saying the name, or is addressing the person. In Latin, the change is fairly simple. For instance, Medus in the nominative case is Mede in the vocative. Davus becomes Dave, and dominus, domine. But it is much more complicated in Gaelic. In a man's name, an "h" is put in after the first letter and an "i" before the last, so Tormod becomes Thormoid. But this makes a big changed in the pronunciation. Tormod is "TAR uh mut" (with a slight trill on the "r"), but Thormoid is "HAR uh mitch" (don't forget the trill).

We haven't really started officially studying Gaelic, even though I've bought a Teach Yourself Gaelic tape and book set. I think the vocabulary and grammar of the language should not be too hard to learn, but the really hard part is the pronunciation and rythym of the language. Once or twice a week, we just listen to the tape and imitate what they are saying, not worrying yet about meaning, just trying to train our ears and tongues.

My younger children are still working on English. :-)

Nathan, who has apraxia, a neurological condition that makes learning to speak extremely difficult for him, is managing five and six word sentences now, but his pronunciation is still funny (Naythun, Ah b'leeve youh Chinese! as his great-grandmother, Nanny Jewel says).

Poor Grace, my four-year-old is still trying to figure out why she has to say "Yes, Man," to me and no amount of explaining that the word is "Ma'am" and that it is French for Madame and means "my lady," has enabled her to call me that. She thinks "sir" is prettier, so she calls me "Yessir, Mama," and her Daddy, "Yes, Man." :-D

John has that sweet three-year-old lisp, so that you have to pay special attention to the context to understand exactly what he's saying. For instance, the word "Toe-wee" can mean either "story" or "toy."

And last but not least, 7 month old Lilian is learning the sign for "please" so she can ask politely for more food at the table.

*Slight qualification - we pray that God calls our sons to the ministry or to missions. We pray that our daughters might either marry ministers or missionaries, or be the mothers of future ministers and missionaries.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

In all the discussions about Judge Roy Moore lately, the most disturbing thing I have seen is Christian men arguing that there is no inalienable right to install a 10 commandments monument in a public building.

They seem to say that the only rights the states and the people have are the ones that are specifically and minutely detailed in the Constitution. The problem with this way of thinking is that inverts (or should I say "perverts"?) the Constitution, which lists specific and detailed powers granted to the Federal government, and clearly says that everything else belongs to the states or to the people.
There's nothing funny online anymore!
I used to get my daily dose of belly laughs from Duane. Hey! Has anybody checked his blog lately? It doesn't say "Used to be a blog," anymore, it's back to AmberBach, and Sarah's blog is back to normal too, though the latest date for both is February 20. I wonder if this means something?

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

For Carmon
Because she asked so sweetly and she's such an encouragement to me.

Early this summer I ordered a boxful of books from Carmon which contained, among other things, Dorothy L. Sayers' The Nine Tailors, the first of her books I've ever read. Since then, I've read four more Lord Peter novels plus a collection of Lord Peter short stories. There are still about a half a dozen others that I haven't read yet, and I'm enjoying them so much I would be glad to own her complete works.

As he spoke, the sound of a church clock, muffled by the snow, came borne upon the wind; it chimed the first quarter.

"Thank God!" said Wimsey. "Where there is a church, there is civilization."+

Even though the Lord Peter stories are mysteries, some of them involving murder, what Miss Sayers wrote about was Christian civilization. Born near the end of Queen Victoria's reign, Miss Sayers lived through the revolutionary social changes of the early 20th century, and a recurring theme in her stories is the contrast between the coarseness of modern behavior the more genteel manners of the past.

"How about a punt at 3:o'clock from Magdalen Bridge?"

"There'll be an awful crowd on the river. The Cherwell's not what is was, especially on a Sunday. More like Bank Holiday at Margate, with gramophones and bathing-dresses and everybody barging into everybody else."

"Never mind. Let's go and do our bit of barging along with the happy populace...."

Harriet smiled to herself as she went to change for the river. If Peter was keen on keeping up decayed traditions he would find plenty of opportunity by keeping to a pre-War standard of watermanship, manners and dress. Especially dress. A pair of grubby shorts or a faded regulation suit rolled negligently about the waist was the modern version of Cherwell fashions for men; for women, a sun-bathing constume with (for the tender-footed) a pair of gaily-coloured beach-sandals. Harriet shook her head at the sunshine, which was now hot as well as bright. Even for the sake of startling Peter, she was not prepared to offer a display of grilled back and mosquito-bitten legs. She would go seemly and comfortable.

The Dean, meeting her under the beeches, gazed with exaggerated surprise at her dazzling display of white linen and pipe-clay.

"If this were twenty years ago I should say you were going on the river."

"I am. Hand in hand with a statelier past."

The Dean groaned gently. "I'm afraid you are making yourself conspicuous. That kind of thing is not done. You are clothed, clean and cool. On a Sunday afternoon, too. I am ashamed of you...."

She was punctual at the bridge, but found Peter there before her. His obsolete politeness in this respect was emphasized by the presence of Miss Flaxman and another Shrewsburian, who were sitting on the raft, apparantly waiting for their escort, and looking rather hot and irritable.*

But Peter and Harriet are only pretending.

"You will find the tea-basket," said Wimsey, "behind you in the bows."

They had put in under the dappled shade of an overhanging willow a little down the left bank of the Isis. Here there was less crowd, and what there was could pass at a distance. Here, if anywhere, they might hope for comparative peace. It was, therefore, with more than ordinary irritation that Harriet, with the thermos yet in her hand, observed a heavily-laden punt approaching.

"Miss Shuster-Slatt and her party. Oh...! and she says she knows you."

The poles were firmly driven in at either end of the boat; escape was impossible. Ineluctably the American contingent advanced upon them. They were alongside. Miss Schuster-Slatt was crying out excitedly. It was Harriet's turn to blush for her friends. With incredible coyness Miss Schuster-Slatt apologized for her intrusion, effected introductions, was sure they were terribly in the way, reminded Lord Peter of their former encounter, recognized that he was far too pleasantly occupied to wish to be bothered with her, poured out a flood of alarming enthusiasm about the Propagation of the Fit, again drew strident attention to her own tactlessness, informed Lord Peter that Harriet was a lovely person and just too sympathetic, and favoured each of them with an advance copy of her new questionnaire. Wimsey listened and replied with imperturbable urbanity, while Harriet, wishing that the Isis would flood its banks and drown them all, envied his self-command. When at length Miss Schuster-Slatt removed herself and her party, the treacherous water wafted back her shrill voice from afar:

"Well, girls! Didn't I tell you he was just the perfect English aristocrat?"

At which point the much-tried Wimsey lay down among the tea-cups and became hysterical.*

The "good manners" of several generations ago were not just about wearing the right clothes and using the right words. The way men and women treated each other, the way parents regarded children, the way social superiors took care of their inferiors and inferiors defered to their superiors, was all a part of a culture that lived out Christianity, each esteeming the other better than himself. Christendom was not perfect then, but at least then we had an idea of what it meant to live as a people of God, and our standard was the world's standard.

Lord Peter lived with the disillusionment of post-WWI England. The political intrigues, the knowledge that the old security was gone and that another war could erupt at any time, the realization that the old way was dying and the "new cilization grow[ing] in on it like a jungle*" and that his nephew, the heir of the family estate, might be just as inclined to sell the property for the development of strip malls as to preserve his heritage, leads him to long for the peace, for the escape, of Oxford.

...how I loathe haste and violence and all that ghastly, slippery cleverness. Unsound, unscholarly, insincere - nothing but propaganda and special pleading and 'what do we get out of this?' No time, no peace, no silence; nothing but conferences and newpapers and public speeches till one can't hear one's self think.... If only one could root one's self in here among the grass and stones and do something worth doing, even if it was only restoring a lost breathing for the love of the job and nothing else."

She was astonished to hear him speak with so much passion.

"But, Peter, you're saying exactly what I've been feeling all this time. But can it be done?"

"No; it can't be done. Though there are moments when one comes back and thinks it might."

" 'Ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.' "

"Yes," said he bitterly, "and it goes on: 'But they said: we will not walk therein.' Rest? I had forgotten there was such a word."*

He longs for the university, not the Church, for though Lord Peter was raised in the Church, he admits that he is not devout, and this is why his search for rest ends in bitterness.

I haven't read enough of Miss Sayers' books to know if she offers a solution, but in the short story "Talboys," Lord Peter has settled down, married, and is the happy father of three children. The quiet domesticity of that story gives a clue to the answer.

I believe a large part of rebuilding a Christian civilization lies with families who live out Ephesians 4 at home, at work, wherever the Lord calls them.

O Almighty Father, thou King eternal, immortal, invisible, thou only wise God our Saviour; Hasten, we beseech thee, the coming upon earth of the kindgom of thy Son, our LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ, and draw the whole world of mankind into willing obedience to his blessed reign. Overcome all his enemies, and bring low every power that is exalted against him. Cast out all the evil things that cause wars and fightings among us, and let thy Spirit rule the hearts of men in righteousness and love. Repair the desolations of former days; rejoice the wilderness with beauty; and make glad the city with thy law. Establish every work that is founded on truth and equity, and fulfill all the good hopes and desires of thy people. Manifest thy will, Almighty Father, in the brotherhood of man, and bring in universal peace; through the victory of thy Son, Jesus Christ our LORD. Amen.#

+ The Nine Tailors
* Gaudy Night
# The Reformed Episcopal Prayer Book (1963)

Monday, August 25, 2003

Thursday, August 21, 2003

I think it's time to ditch the VeggieTales
Today I was reading the story of Daniel in the lion's den from my Bible, and Grace calmly informed me that Daniel was a cucumber.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

The heat wave is broken!
For the last two nights, after weeks of highs in the 100s, the temps have gotten down into the 60s! Oh, I love this weather. The mornings are cool, and I can open up the house and have all the fresh air I want.

Of course, my children mostly resort to sweaters, because they think they are freezing to death if it gets below 70. :-D

They are all outside right now making bricks in the back yard. We have just read about the Tower of Babel, and they are building their own ziggurat, for the glory of God, of course! The prototype was about 2 1/2 feet high. I'm not sure how high the real thing will be.

Tuesday evening, John came in and told me there was a great huge beetle digging in their dirt, and he wanted me to come look at it. It was not a beetle; it was some kind of hornet! It was tunneling into our yard, presumably to lay eggs, thus creating an enemy colony not eight feet from my back door and only two feet away from the picnic table! Hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets are all enemies and they are not allowed to live in our territory, so Stephen armed himself and went out to battle.

For bugs like this, we have a special long-range weapon: Real Kill Wasp and Hornet Killer with 20 ft Jet Spray. Strategically placing himself about 6 feet to the west of at the enemy at an elevation of three feet (on top of the picnic table), Stephen took aim and fired a salvo. It was a direct hit, and though the enemy resisted bravely, it was overcome by Stephen's superior firepower.

The next morning I went out and measured the thing. It was nearly 2 inches long, with a diameter of 1/2 an inch and a 2 or 2 1/2 inch wingspan. I scooped it up with a shovel and dumped it in the garbage can. I wouldn't want anyone to step on it. Blech.

Mary Rose just came and informed me that she and Stephen have pet grubs. *shudder* I played with bugs when I was a kid too, but somehow they just don't have the same attraction for me.

Now it is time for morning prayers and Bible lesson. We have added Te Deum to our little liturgy. We sing it just after confessing our faith.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Well.... I'm speechless!

You're the United Nations!

Most people think you're ineffective, but you are trying to completely save the world from itself, so there's always going to be a long way to go.  You're always the one trying to get friends to talk to each other, enemies to talk to each other, anyone who can to just talk instead of beating each other about the head and torso.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, and you get very schizophrenic as a result.  But your heart is in the right place, and sometimes also in New York.

Take the Country Quiz at the Blue Pyramid

Actually, maybe this is why I've been having such a hard time arguing politics lately!

Thursday, August 7, 2003

Our visit with the Clinging Vine
I already blogged about the visit to the Kimbell Art Museum, but the really fun part was getting to meet Anne in person for the first time. She was a very gracious hostess and had lunch for us: grilled burgers and some heavenly chocolate thing I've forgotten the name of. Anne even knew all my kids' names! Quite a feat -- I don't even get them all right all the time.

Anne's daughter and son kept the three youngest while the rest of us went to the museum. After we got back, her son, Charles took this picture of us.

Nathan is in the front, then behind him is Mary Rose, then Grace, and John. On the couch: Katherine, me holding Lilian, Anne, and Stephen.

(Anne, I stole this picture from you!)

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

My Katherine and me
Just now I went back to the girls' room to tell Katherine to turn off her light. She was reading, for the dozenth time, I guess, Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates. Earlier today, she was reading a book that has four of Kipling's novels, so I ask her, "What's your favorite book that you read today?"

"Kim," she says. "It's my favorite Kipling story."

"I saw the movie once," I say, blushing.
Studying History
We love history and we love reading good books, so naturally a good deal of our time is spent reading historical fiction.

Five years ago when we were studying ancient Egypt for the first time, we read two books by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. Set during the reign of Amenhotep III (c. 1411-1375 B.C.), the main character of The Golden Goblet is Ranofer, the orphaned son of a goldsmith, who discovers that Gebu, his half-brother and guardian, is part of a gang of grave robbers. Mara, Daughter of the Nile is a slave who becomes involved in a plot to overthrow Queen Hatshepsut (c. 1505-1484 B.C.) so her step-son, Thutmose III (c.1490-1435), can rule alone.

Mrs. McGraw is so good at drawing the reader into her stories that I came away from those books feeling as though I had an extensive knowledge of ancient Egyptian culture. When I'm reading good historical fiction, I have to remind myself that it is fiction!

This year in our study of history, we have come back to the benginning and will be studying ancient Egypt again in the coming weeks. Two weeks ago, the kids and I went to the Kimbell Art Museum in Ft. Worth with Anne to see the Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt exhibit. It's taken me this long to comment on it because I am silly enough to be so intimidated by Anne's excellent observations that I didn't want my mention of it to limited to "It was totally cool."

So my official observation is: I liked it. ;-)

The artifacts were beautiful and reminded me of many things we read about when we studied ancient Egypt five years ago. In The Golden Goblet, one of the goldsmiths is making a necklace for Queen Tiy set with little three dimensional golden honeybees. There were two pieces of jewelry that reminded me of this necklace. One was a necklace made of gold wire and gold beads set with about two dozen enameled gold amulets, one of which was a honeybee. The other was a bracelet that was designed a lot like the slide bracelets that were popular a few years ago, that had two 3D lions crouching like a Sphynx.

There was a life-size statue of Thutmose III, and a statue of a scribe that I have seen before in history books. There was a statue of Senefer, Queen Hatshepsut's Royal Architect, and his wife and daughter. Senefer is one of the main characters in Mara.

In spite of all the beautiful artifacts, I was a little disappointed in one thing. Most of the information given described the Egyptian religion. Very little of it was about the people represented, and I had hoped to learn more about the people and events that we'll be studying this year.

Still, it was a good experience overall. If we could go back, I'd only do one thing differently. Instead of everyone in the party wearing headphones and listening to the audio tour, I'd have only one person wearing headphones who would then share the information so we could discuss what we were seeing together.
The Discoshaman has moved!
Well, John and Alexandra are still in Ukraine, but John's blog, Le Sabot Post-Moderne has moved.

Friday, August 1, 2003

I have been so remiss
We were out of town so much last month and I wasn't online much the month before that, and I completely forgot to put a link up for fellow blogger Jane, AKA Pentamom. So it's there now, Goldberry's blog.

Oh yes, Tim Berglund, too.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Blogger's block
I started that article on prioroties in homeschooling, but I didn't have time to finish it, and the inspiration left me. I know what I want to say but I'm having trouble getting it down. Today I meant to post a link to an article by Carmon about the nursing mother's cotton brain syndrome, but I can't find her archives.

Speaking of that cotton-brain thing, net friend Jane, wife of pastor Bret McAtee, told me that it's a seratonin depletion caused by a lack of sufficient fatty acids. I've been taking cod liver oil and trying to use only cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, as well as limiting the wrong kind of fats. It seems to be helping.

Milk fat is good, too, if it's unpasteurized*, but that's next to impossible to find. There's an interesting website out there called Real Milk about the nutritional benefits of unpasteurized milk.

Along these lines, I just discovered that Wal-Mart sells organic milk. No antibiotics, pesticides, or added hormones. It's about six times the cost of the regular stuff, but I figure it's worth it. There is some speculation that the early puberty seen in girls these days is at least in part attributable to the hormones given to cows to make them produce huge quantities of milk. My 10-year-old daughter is starting to show signs that she'll be Maturing in a year or two! Scary thought!

Speaking of maturing daughters, my oldest is fourteen now, and I'm facing the fact that from now on I have to keep really good records of her school work in case she ever wants to go to college. Some days she says she never wants to leave home, and others she talks about what she'll be studying in college. Elijah Company has a forum where I found this bit of good advice:
I did have my dc keep a list of books read during highschool. We just used a simple spiral notebook, tabbed it off with various categories (classics, historical fiction, sci-fi, biography, etc) and they would jot down the title and author in the appropriate section. This was helpful to me when it came time to put together a transcript as I could give credit for American history or science or whatever depending upon what books they had read.

Katherine reads so much, she should have a notebook full in just a few months. She's great at all the Language Arts. I just need to get her math up to speed. We've decided that our kids can graduate from homeschool when they are able to keep a budget and balance a checkbook. LOL

Well, so much for writer's block. I guess the stream of consciousness style works better for me than trying to get my thoughts organized!

*Edited for Cotton-brained content. Milk fat is good if the cattle actually get to eat grass all day long, not just grain. Pasteurized milk is good for other things, though.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
We are getting in so many tomatoes each day that we're giving them away! Our chaplain's wife, admirable woman, told me how easy it is to freeze tomatoes, so I'll be doing that next week.

Monday, July 21, 2003

"They love Texas!"
Tonight Grace was telling me about King John in Disney's Robin Hood:
Texas! Texas! Beautiful, lovely Texas! Ha-hah, ha-hah!

Saturday, July 19, 2003

A milestone
Today, at 1:23 pm, somebody clicked through Rabe Ramblings and was my 2000th visitor. Thanks to everyone who visits here, and especially to those of you who comment!

Friday, July 18, 2003

Take Carmon's quiz

You're an opossum...a dreamy homebody who has
trouble rousing himself from his stupor,
wandering aimlessly straight into trouble. Wake
up from your slumber, and walk circumspectly
(Eph. 5:14-15).

What Kind of Road Kill Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
New books from Draught Horse Press
Last year when we were studying American history, I looked everywhere for these books by Clarence Carson, and couldn't find them. I'm so glad they're available now. DHP says Carson's "assesment of the trajectory of American history is solid and conservative. His opinion, like ours, is that Leviathan is the problem, and he traces its development over the past four hundred years."

A Basic History of the United States

Basic American Government

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Priorities in Homeschooling
Part I

The obvious priority, because it applies to all parents, is to "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Since "man's chief end is to glorify God and fully to enjoy him forever," everything we do should be with the ultimate goal of glorifying God. Beyond this obvious priority, I've had quite an *ahem* adventure figuring out how to work academics into the equation.

My first year was an academic disaster. The curriculum I had chosen was so overwhelming! Every day I had to do Bible, reading, math, calendar, penmanship, history, science, health and safety, music, poetry, and physical education. The curriculum said it could be done in two hours a day, but I found out that whoever gave that estimate obviously did not have, in addition to the first-grader, a preschooler, a toddler, and a nursing baby.

The first day, I got through Bible, reading, math, calendar, and history (plus two loads of laundry, cooking and cleaning up after three meals, and countless dirty diapers). On the second day, I did Bible, reading, math, calendar, and science (plus two loads of laundry, cooking and cleaning up after three meals - you know the rest). The third day I did Bible and calendar, and got caught up in history. I was beginning to realize that I might never get to some of the other lessons!

On the fourth day, Hurricane Opal inturrupted us, so we did Disaster Preparedness, that is, we went to the BX and bought a camp stove and a lot of bottled water, then came home and taped up the windows – plus two loads of laundry.... That night and the next day we had a family with us that had had to evacuate a military base in Florida because of Opal.

Because of that storm and the chance we had to minister to another military family, I realized that Real Life should be as much a part of homeschooling as learning math.

By the next Monday, I had decided that the two really important things were to read through the Bible with my children so that they would become familiar with God's Word and love it, and to teach my children to read! History lessons were so much fun we did them in the afternoon during our regular story time.

To be continued...