Thursday, October 28, 2004

Thankful Thursday
1. CiCi's Pizza
2. green tea
3. a doctor who listens to me!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Oh, ah...
Kolbi has a new blog with a clever blogroll - each link has a brief description of the blog. If anyone happens to visit my blog based on Kolbi's description of it ("Such a sweet blog"), and if you happen to read the last post I just made, well, um, I'm not always so cynical. On my blog, anyway. Heh.
This is a "grass roots" movement?
Tonight was our monthly homeschool mom's meeting, and the first thing on the agenda was a talk by a local Republican party worker. It seems that our county is notoriously conservative, but the county just to the north of us is not quite so conservative, and that district is having a fairly tight race between the Republican and Democratic candidates for U.S. House of Representatives, plus the president is not quite comfortably far enough ahead of Mr. Kerry in that county. So this Official Republican Party Man (ORPM) has been authorized to go to all the homeschoolers and Christian schools in our county to ask them to travel up to the neighboring county seat this weekend, and spend three days, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, walking through neighborhoods passing out flyers, and standing around public places waving signs.

The ORPM explained that our neighboring county was somewhat conservative, but the conservative voters always made a better turnout after a lot of "grass roots campaigning." He then spoke a bit on what the weekend would involve, and assured the women present that money would be no object. The party is paying all expenses. Food, hotels, and travel costs (including chartering a bus, or paying for gas for the folks who prefer to take their own vehicle). All expenses paid.

A few of the women seemed interested, but after the OPRM was done, the mom who had introduced him thanked him, and then suggested to the other moms that if enough of them went, they'd be able to get one hotel room for the girls, one room for the boys, and one for the moms, "and we can have a fun mom's fellowship - and it won't cost us anything!" At least two more moms signed up at this point.

Needless to say, I was not one of them.

Monday, October 25, 2004

In my post last Thursday, I referred to my three-and-a-half-year-old son. He just informed me that he's not three and a half, he's four. I do not know where my brain has gone. It's not like this snuck up on me, or anything. I mean, he's been four since July. :-p

Define yourself
Somehow I missed the Triangulate! meme when it made the rounds last year, but Jon Amos revived it on his blog and it's so fun I'm passing it along now. From the game's creator: "[T]he idea of the game is to identify three facets of your personality. You can use 3 movies, 3 musical genres, 3 songs, 3 authors, 3 cars, 3 occupations, etc. to try to shows different sides of who you are. For example, I would say I'm one part banker, one part interior designer, and one part English teacher. Of course, these three things don't entirely define who I am, but they give you some idea of what I think about myself."

For now, I'm defining myself in terms of color. I am
1 part purple
1 part blue
1 part gray

Go ahead, try it. Define yourself.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

How lovely is Thy dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts to me!
The tabernacles of Thy grace
How pleasant, Lord, they be!

My thirsty soul longs ardently,
Yes, faints Thy courts to see;
My very heart and flesh cry out,
O living God, for Thee.

Behold the sparrow findeth out
A house wherein to rest;
The swallow also, for herself,
Provided hath a nest.

Ev’n Thine own altars, where she safe
Her young ones forth may bring,
O Thou, almighty Lord of hosts,
Who art my God and King.

Blest are they in Thy house that dwell,
They ever give Thee praise,
Blest is the man whose strength Thou art,
In whose heart are Thy ways.

Words: Scot­tish Psal­ter, 1650
Music: “McKee,” from an Af­ri­can-Amer­i­can spir­it­u­al, ar­ranged by Har­ry T. Bur­leigh (1866-1949)

My friend Laura (aka "dormitantius"), once quipped, "If a web log is a 'blog' wouldn't a book log be a 'klog'?" That was so clever I figured I'd better get one before everyone has one *wink, wink*, so here it is:

Thursday, October 21, 2004

More real bits for Donna and some mothering stuff for Kristen
Yesterday afternoon I dropped my eldest off at the library and took the two younger boys along for the ride. My three-and-a-half-year-old asked questions the whole entire trip which I tried really really hard to answer patiently and thoughtfully.

"Mama, how do spiders get in houses?"
"Mama, why are houses old?"
"Mama, what's that place?"
"Mama, what bus is that?"
"What persons go on it?"
"Where do they go?"
"Mama, what's that place?"
"Mama, where are we going?"
"Can I go in, too?"
"Mama, what's that's place?"
"What do persons need banks for?"
"Mama, is that a church?"
"Is that a church, too?"
"Why do they make all the churches here?"
"Mama, what's that place?"
"Why did God make wasps?"
"Do Luke cough?"

Though my voice was never raised, by this time having made my third wrong turn, dissolving into hysterics I told him not to ask me any more questions.

Margaret mentioned in a comment below that she had never heard me raise my voice to my children, and though I fail plenty, this is an area where God has really blessed me, so I want to share a couple of things I've learned along the way.

Before I married, I provided after-school care for K4 through 1st graders at a Christian school. On my first day of work, while sitting outside the classroom waiting for the teacher to introduce me, I resolved never to raise my voice to these children, a resolution which was broken on the playground less than an hour into the job when it was time for the kids to line up and go back inside. After work that day I bought myself a whistle that I trained the kids to respond to - one long blast meant "line up," and two short ones meant "stop!" - someone was either about to get hurt or was behaving badly.

After that first day, I never did raise my voice to those children, and by the end of the school year, after spending 25 hours a week with two dozen four to seven year olds, I concluded that God had uniquely gifted me to be a good mommy to a large family.

Ha! Pride goeth before a fall, and successfully managing several small children in a controlled environment for five hours a day is nothing at all like managing one or two small children in a normal house all day, every day, with no weekends off or vacations, but I did learn one valuable lesson that I've put into practice since that time - if at all possible, use a whistle or bell to call the kids when they are too far away or too spread out to speak to them in a normal tone of voice. Over the years we've used different bells to call the family to a meal or to call them in from play. You just don't want yelling to become a habit, or for your kids to be used to hearing your voice raised. That should be saved for extreme emergencies.

The other thing I've learned by experience is that when I do raise my voice in anger or frustration it's almost always because I neglected a problem when it was small and more easily dealt with and didn't get around to taking care of it until after it had gotten big enough to make me angry. I've also learned to pay attention when I'm just plain irritable because it's so easy to sound angry or peevish or to respond sarcastically without noticing it. There are days when I have to take a deep cleansing breath and pray quickly, Oh God, HELP! almost every time I open my mouth to speak!

And I will gladly confess that the reason I pay so much attention to this area and work so hard on it is because it's such a weakness for me. Oh how my flesh enjoys the sins of the tongue, and oh how thankful I am that God has heard my many many prayers and is conforming me to the image of his son!

Identify your particular weaknesses early on, and begin working on them soon, before your sin has hurt your children. For me, this means not only curbing angry or sarcastic speech but making the effort to smile and to speak with kindness and gentleness even when I don't feel like it.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Oh my goodness, I forgot! It's Thursday!
Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD. The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion. (Psalm 134)

1. A funny daughter. Just now when I realized that I hadn't posted my "thankful three" yet, I, in a semi-panic, asked my eldest, "What am I thankful for today?" and she replied, "Food, clothing, and shelter," knowing full well that I was asking for something really specific. Well, it made me laugh, anyway.

2. Liturgical worship. Just this week Psalm 134 made a strong impression on me because of our evening prayers. Most nights we use Evening Prayers from Lutheran Worship and the last thing before the benediction, the leader sings, "Let us bless the Lord." The response is, "Thanks be to God." How awesome is that? God is blessed when we thank him for his many blessings on us!

3. Fall leaves. My youngest are out back right now raking up the leaves then playing in them and raking them up again. Fall always reminds me of being a little girl.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

New exercise routine if you're over 40 (and even if you're not). You might want to take it easy at first, then do it faster as you become more proficient. It may be too strenuous for some.

(This routine was sent to me by my dear friend Heidi this morning and I want to offer her my deepest gratitude for showing such loving concern for my general health and well-being. She is a true friend.)

Always consult your doctor before starting any exercise program!



That's enough for the first day. Have some chocolate.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

I to the hills will lift my eyes;
O whence shall come my aid?
My help is from the Lord alone,
Who Heav’n and earth has made.

He will not let thy foot be moved,
Thy Guardian never sleeps;
With watchful and unslumbering care,
His own He safely keeps.

Thy faithful Keeper is the Lord,
Thy Shelter and thy Shade;
’Neath sun or moon, by day or night,
Thou shalt not be afraid.

From evil He will keep thee safe,
For thee He will provide;
Thy going out, thy coming in,
Forever He will guide.

Words: The Psalter, 1912.
Music: “Dundee,” Scottish Psalter, 1615

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Updating sidebar
Several new blogs plus a weather pixie have been added in the last few weeks, and I'm updating my book list. I read several while I was on hiatus this summer but I didn't keep track of them so I'm not sure I have them all listed. It's been very helpful having an easily referenced list as it's encouraged me to read more. My reading of real books droppoed off rather precipitously when I discovered the internet. :-(

The Lord's Service has been on that list all summer long, and yes, I really am still reading it! I haven't progressed very far because I keep re-reading the same sections! What would you do - keep on reading it slowly, not progressing beyond a paragraph or two a week, or just finish the book really fast, knowing that you could always come back to it later for more in-depth reading?
This Thursday's Thankfulest Things are...

1. A periwinkle-flowered* garden

This is the "blueberry hill" we built in the spring of 2003 and planted with eight blueberries, all of which have died. However! the blue asters, blue salvia, pincusion flowers, lavendar, evoluvus, lamb's ears, and sage are all doing nicely, as are the various white and yellow roses, and I am happy.
*For Valerie, who knows how much I love periwinkle

2. A hard-working hubby

We have five rose bushes growing here beside the driveway, and before Monday, they were accompanied by a thin strip of lamb's ears transplanted from the blueberry hill, and completely surrounded (and sometimes engulfed) by grass. Here, Mike is digging up all the grass and making it into a real bed where, later that afternoon, he helped me plant four dozen daffodil bulbs, pink, white, and yellow snapdragons, pink and white petunias, two pineapple sages and two red-flowering sages, and more lamb's ears. Unfortunately, I forgot to take an "after" picture.

3. A very good book
Last week, Carmon had a poll in her sidebar asking which Jane Austen novel is your favorite, and I had to answer "Please don't make me choose!" Peter Leithart's excellent explanations of the major themes of each novel just cemented my prior conviction - my favorite Jane Austen book is whichever one I happen to be reading at the time.

You simply must get this book! And don't forget - "Real Men Read Austen." :-D

Monday, October 11, 2004

Happy tired
Been gardening all day. Took lots of pics. Too tired to poszzzz.....

Saturday, October 9, 2004

Praise God, ye servants of the Lord,
O praise His Name with one accord;
Bless ye the Lord, His Name adore
From this time forth forevermore,
From this time forth forevermore.

From rising unto setting sun
Praised be the Lord, the Mighty One;
He reigns o’er all, supreme in might,
Above the heavens in glory bright,
Above the heavens in glory bright.

On whom but God can we rely,
The Lord our God Who reigns on high,
Who condescends to see and know
The things of heaven and earth below,
The things of heaven and earth below?

He lifts the poor and makes them great,
With joy He fills the desolate;
Praise ye the Lord and bless His Name,
His mercy and His might proclaim,
His mercy and His might proclaim.

Words: The Psalter, 1912
Music: “Andre,” William B. Bradbury

Friday, October 8, 2004

The BadgerMum's simple 3-point plan for getting your house clean and clutter-free:
1. Put the books, good furniture, and items you simply cannot part with on a U-Haul
2. Call the local charity and ask them to pick up everything that's left
3. Move into a new house

There you have it: simple, elegant, stress-free.

Also not very practical if you’re not in the military and don’t move every few years.

Yes, I know it’s dreadful, but I honestly don’t know how to deep-clean a house without moving! The easiest way for me really deal with clutter is to strip a room down to its bare necesseties, and then replace only what must be in that room according to its function.

I did just that last week in the school room. It was so messy-looking with three student desks and three sets of track-and-bracket shelves on the walls, a fish tank, a computerless computer desk, and never enough room for all the books and notebooks and other supplies, so we went to the stuff-mart and bought two white five-shelf bookcases and two matching white storage cabinets. These we placed neatly all against one wall, with the bookcases, which are taller, in the middle and one cabinet on each end. The room is just over 12 feet long so they fit with a few inches to spare.

In place of the desks, we moved in the 3’ by 5’ kitchen table, and placed it with one end up against the wall under the window. Mr. Fish is now happily residing in the corner of the room nearest to the dining room/library. The computer desk, now serving as a plant stand, and two of the student desks, sitting back-to-back, fulfill the table's former duties in the kitchen's breakfast nook.

The school room looks so much better now! One solid wall of storage and one large table provide a visual unity that is much more attractive than the cluttery disunity of three separate study areas. The table has room for the three oldest children to study at the same time, and this evening it provided a comfortable place for Elai and me to sit and chat in a relatively private spot.

And having storage behind closed doors is absolutely essential to my sanity, if you know what I mean.

Thursday, October 7, 2004

Thankful Thursday!
1. the peace that passes understanding

2. early morning quietness

3. friends who check in every Thursday to add their own thanksgiving lists; they motivate me to keep on being thankful :-)

4. Valerie is back!

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

There is so much to love about fall
the stultifying heat of summer is over
migrating songbirds have returned to us
the wind is refreshing
pecans are falling and pumpkins ripening
cool evenings and mornings have returned
we sleep with our bedroom windows open
the air smells clean

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Surrogate blogging

Liza Q's family has been studying the middle ages, so for Michaelmas they put on a medievel feast, including a dramatization of the story of St. George and the Dragon. Liza has generously allowed me to share these photos of their day, along with a few notes on how the day went. Thanks, Liza!

Some random thoughts on the day...

We got some ideas about Michaelmas from Catherine Called Birdy and The Royal Diaries:Elizabeth 1.

Our soundtrack (The Chieftains, The Battlefield Band and The Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos) was lovely.

Peasants preparing the feast

Our home-made (no sewing, just scrounging around our closets and the dress-up clothes box) peasant costumes came out better than we expected!

Noble guests

Our store-bought costumes were very pretty.

Liza's ideas for the food were very creative:
The duck, which was easier to locate than a goose, was easy to make and tasted better than I remembered. Doing many things the easy way (like buying canned soup and bread from the bakery) made for a very relaxing time. Not authentic, but still lots of fun. Adding almond extract to French Vanilla pudding mix works very well. Marzipan looks better than it tastes. OK, that's just Mom's opinion - some of my children strongly disagree!

Valiant St. George and the beautiful princess Una

Una's costume was bought at a medieval festival sponsored by Medieval Adventures.

St. George triumphs over the dragon!

Friday, October 1, 2004

The thing I greatly feared has come upon me
The cordless phone is lost... and I can't page it because the battery has gone dead!

A funny cloud formation that I saw at Twylah's blog yesterday reminded me of some strange clouds we had this summer. The younger kids came running into the house shouting, "Mama, there are hands in the sky!"

So I went out, looked straight up, and saw this:

The sky was covered with this strange formation, but it only looked hand-like directly overhead. Off at an angle, this was the view:

Have you ever seen anything like that? The clouds were rolling and churning, but they kept that finger-like formation the whole time.