Monday, April 28, 2003

Definition of a Gentleman?
Yesterday afternoon John, my 2 1/2 year old, asked for an orange. After I gave him the peeled orange, he very politely said, "Hank oo, Mama," with a big smile as he always does. I said, "John, you are such a gentleman; you are always sweet to Mama."

"I sweet to Mama?"

"Yes, you are." John brings flowers to me almost every day. He always comes to me with a big smile and a hug when he wakes up from his nap, and he always says, "Hank oo, Mama," when I do anything for him.

John thought about this for a moment while chewing his orange, then he said, "I mean to montsuhs! [monsters]."

My three boys spend a lot of their free time slaying dragons and fighting orcs in our back yard.

"Yes, you are. You are mean to monsters, but you are sweet to Mama and your sisters."

How's that for a working definition? A gentleman is mean to the monsters and sweet to the ladies. :-)

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Towards a Theology of Architecture

Is architecture a moral issue? Buildings can be put to immoral use, but does that mean that the building in and of itself is immoral?

If we're talking about styles of architecture, some are surely more pleasing than others.

This building
[image temporarily removed]

is certainly superior to this building.
[image temporarily removed]

It's likely that the theology behind the first building is superior to the theology behind the second, but now we're talking about the building's use, not just the building itself.

Everything about the cathedral points to the beauty, the majesty, and the transcendance of Almighty God, whereas the metal building looks like a warehouse. Come to think of it, it would make a fine warehouse, and the cathedral would make a sorry one because the construction would imply that we're worshipping the stuff it's storing, but that doesn't say anything about any inherent morality of the building.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have buildings that were built for an evil purpose: pagan temples, gas chambers.... And now I am reminded of how I phrased my second question: in and of itself. Particular buildings cannot be taken "in and of themselves," but they are bound up with the purpose of their construction, and therefore can be called moral or immoral.

What about architectural syles? When we say that Gothic is good because it's beautiful and Bauhaus is bad because it's ugly, is that a moral judgment?

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Boy howdy!
In Texas they do everything big. This afternoon, one of my children came in the house with a dandelion puff that was (I am not making this up!) three inches across! If I were really smart, I'd get a picture online for y'all to look at.
Well, I suppose this fits...
...considering the last quiz made me a Numenorean

Well, u-- um, can we come up and have a look?

What Monty Python Character are you?
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(Found at Barb's blog.)

Monday, April 21, 2003

Christ is Risen!

Good Christian men, rejoice and sing!
Now is the triumph of our King!
To all the world glad news we bring:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

The Lord of life is ris'n for aye;
bring flow'rs of song to strew his way;
let all mankind rejoice and say:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Praise we in songs of victory
that love, that life which cannot die,
and sing with hearts uplifted high:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thy name we bless, O risen Lord,
and sing today with one accord
the life laid down, the life restored:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

~Cyril A. Arlington
My kids just plugged Shadowlands in to the VCR. The opening sequence makes me wish that I was an Anglican. And that colleges were not co-ed.

Monday, April 14, 2003

My inquisitive little boy
This morning John inspired me to write a new verse for Larry the Cucumber's "I Love My Lips" song.

When I was two less than four
I got my lip stuck in the door
And it hurt bad
I was not glad

I've never written lyrics before -- what do y'all think about it? And is artistic inspiration always this traumatic?
That was fast!
Valerie sent me her copy of G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy last week and it got here today! The book has a lovely Old Book smell, and just reading over the chapter titles is making me quiver with anticipation -- The Maniac, The Suicide of Thought, The Ethics of Elfland (oooh that one sounds really good!), The Flag of the World, The Paradoxes of Christianity, The Eternal Revolution, The Romance of Orthodoxy (I wonder if that's where Sarah's quote came from?), Authority and the Adventurer.

Thank you, thank you, Valerie!

I have read nearly 30 pages this evening, and I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to read a book that has no split infinitives. ;-)

Friday, April 11, 2003

"Quality Worship Artwork"???
How ironic that that's what's being advertized in the banner. If they only knew how I've been complaining this week about this happening in the base chapel, they'd have been afraid to put it there.
I had a pleasant surpirse yesterday.
Inspired by Matt's blog I decided to read Goodbye, Mr. Chips. Our library does not have it, so I bought a used copy of it online and it came in the mail yesterday. It is not a very long book, and I read the whole thing yesterday afternoon.

The main character is a schoolmaster at Brookfield, who was hired in 1870 and taught Roman history and Latin there until the end of WWI. Throughout his career he saw many changes to society - I think the 1890s in England were as revolutionary as the 1920s in America. Through his eyes the reader gains a sense of the importance of history, or, as Mr. Chips would put it, a sense of proportion.

It seemed tragically sensational when the first Old Brookfeldian was killed in action - in September. Chips thought, when that news came: A hundred years ago boys from the school were fighting against the French. Strange, in a way, that the sacrifices of one generation should so cancel out those of another. He tried to express this to Blades, the Head of School House; but Blades, eighteen years old and already in training for a cadetship, only laughed. What had all that history to do with it, anyhow? Just old Chips with one of his queer ideas, that's all....

And once, on a night of full moonlight, the air-raid warning was given while Chips was taking his lower fourth in Latin. The guns began almost instantly, and, as there was plenty of shrapnel falling about outside, it seemed to Chips that they might just as well stay where they were, on the ground floor of School House. It was pretty solidly built and made as good a dugout as Brookfield could offer; and as for a direct hit, well, they could not expect to survive that, wherever they were.

So he went on with his Latin, speaking a little louder amid the reverberating crashes of the guns and the shrill whine of anti-aircraft shells. Some of the boys were nervous; few were able to be attentive. He said, gently: "It may possibly seem to you, Robertson - at this particular moment in the world's history - umph - that the affairs of Caesar in Gaul some two thousand years ago - are - umph - of somewhat secondary importance - and that - umph - the irregular conjugation of the verb tollo is - umph - even less important still. But believe me - umph - my dear Robertson - that is not really the case." Just then there came a particularly loud explosion - quite near. "You cannot - umph - judge the importance of things - umph - by the noise they make. Oh dear me, no." A little chuckle. "And these things - umph - that have mattered - for thousands of years - are not going to be - snuffed out - because some stink merchant - in his laboratory - invents a new kind of mischief." Titters of nervous laughter; for Buffles, the pale, lean, and medically unfit science master, was nicknamed the Stink Merchant. Another explosion - nearer still. "Let us - um - resume our work. It if is fate that we are soon to be - umph - interrupted, let us be found employing ourselves in something - umph - really appropriate. Is there any one who will volunteer to construe?"

Maynard, chubby, dauntless, clever, and impudent, said: "I will, sir."

"Very good. Turn to page forty and begin at the bottom line."

"The explosions still continued deafeningly; the whole building shook as if it were being lifted off its foundations. Maynard found the page, which was some way ahead, and began, shrilly: -

"Genus hoc erat pugnae - this was the kind of fight - quo se Germani exercuerant - in which the Germans busied themselves. Oh, sir, that's good - that's really very funny indeed, sir - one of your very best -"

Laughing began, and Chips added: "Well - umph - you can see - now - that these dead languages - umph - can come to life again - sometimes - eh? Eh?

Afterward they learned that five bombs had fallen in and around Brookfield, the nearest of them just outside the School grounds. Nine persons had been killed.

Wednesday, April 9, 2003

New Creatures

New creatures; the Creator still the Same
For ever and for ever: therefore we
Win hope from God's unsearchable decree
And glorify His still unchanging Name.
We too are still the same: and still our claim,
Our trust, our stay, is Jesus, none but He:
He still the Same regards us, and still we
Mount toward Him in old love's accustomed flame.
We know Thy wounded Hands: and Thou dost know
Our praying hands, our hands that clasp and cling
To hold Thee fast and not to let Thee go.
All else be new then, Lord, as Thou hast said:
Since it is Thou, we dare not be afraid,
Our King of old and still our Self-same King.

~Christina Rossetti

Tuesday, April 8, 2003

How do they know?
Just now there were two advertisements in the banner for maid services!

Saturday, April 5, 2003

I hate daylight savings time.
But I've figured out a way to make the change easier. I move my clocks up on Friday night, so I have all day Saturday to get used to it. Haven't been late to church one time since I started doing it this way five years ago.

Friday, April 4, 2003

Don't quite know what to make of this.
I've always turned up Hobbit on these tests. I even took the test again and changed a few of the answers to my second choice, but it came out the same.

To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
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Thursday, April 3, 2003

Wonderful quote from Sora's blog.

8+ children means that at least half of them know how to clean up the kitchen, clean a bathroom and make a meal. It means that you can holler: "Get in the van, we have to leave!" and in 5 minutes they are all in the van, *buckled up*, and you grab your purse and hop in. It means you can get up at 8:30 in the morning if you want to, take a shower, head to the kitchen, and all the children have already eaten, and they saved some French Toast for you and even made you coffee. With a word and a wave of your hand, the kitchen gets cleaned up and you sit down and start reading History. It means you don't have to do the vacuuming anymore. It means you can take a walk with your hubby--just the two of you. It means you can go out to dinner (!!!) without paying a baby sitter! It means you aren't starved for conversation with someone who can say their "R's".

Sometimes I get so down on myself about raising the children and I forget how much they have actually learned. When I read this today, I was reminded how much my own children do help out around the house. Katherine does lunch almost every day, and she can cook supper when I need her to. She cleans the kitchen and bathrooms, and does the laundry as well as I do, and she's good with the younger children. Stephen can do the kitchen and bathroom cleaning and the laundry, and he's good at taking care of minor repairs around the house. Mary Rose is learning the cleaning stuff, and she's really good with the babies -- she will even change a dirty diaper without being asked!

Now, if I can just teach them to speak politely to one another! :-P