Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Reformation Day!
Today the kids and I read A Place to Stand: The Word of God in the Life of Martin Luther by Gene Edward Veith, one of the "Leaders in Action" series that I love, during quiet time. There's so much that could be said about Martin Luther, but I really liked a description of him by a man who attended the Leipzig Disputation where Luther debated John Eck for seventeen days.

Martin is of medium height with a gaunt body that has been so exhausted by studies and worries that one can almost count the bones under his skin; yet he is manly and vigorous, with a high, clear voice. He is full of learning and has an excellent knowledge of the Scriptures, so that he can refer to facts as if they were at his fingers' tips. He knows enough Greek and Hebrew to enable him to pass judgments on interpretations. He is also not lacking in subject material and has a large store of words and ideas. In his life and behavior he is very courteous and friendly, and there is nothing of the stern stoic or grumpy fellow about him. He can adjust to all occasions. In a social gathering he is gay, witty, lively, ever full of joy, always has a bright and happy face, no matter how seriously his adversaries threaten him. One can see in him that God's strength is with him in this difficult undertaking. The only fault everyone criticizes in him is that he is somewhat too violent and cutting in his reprimands, in fact more than is proper for one seeking to find new trails in theology, and certainly also for a divine; this is probably a weakness of all those who have gained their learning somewhat late. (Petrus Mosellanus, quoted in Martin Luther: His Road to Reformation, by Martin Brecht)

O God, our refuge and our strength: You raised up your servant Martin Luther to reform and renew your Church in the light of your word. Defend and purify the Church in our own day and grant that, through faith, we may boldly proclaim the riches of your grace which you have made known in Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Friday night fun

Five Songs I'm Currently Loving
Elaienar tagged me and wishes me to list my current favourite songs.

THE RULES: List five songs that you are currently loving. It doesn't matter what genre they are from, whether they have words, or even if they're any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying right now. Post these instructions, the artists, and the songs on your blog, then tag five other bloggers/friends to see what they're listening to.

Most days I don't listen to much music, because I don't tune out sounds very well. Music never stays in the background, consequently I don't like having it on unless I'm able to sit still and devote myself to it, or if I'm doing something that doesn't require much thought. However, here are the first five songs off the top of my head:

1. We just watched "Fellowship of the Ring" again two weeks ago, and I love the music that plays just as the nine walk into the Great Hall of Dwarrow-Delf (music by Howard Shore)

2. The Gloria in excelsis Deo from Vivaldi's Gloria in D (track 1 here)

3. My six-year-old has a beautiful voice and sometimes sings "Castle on a Cloud" from Les Miserables, by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, Cosette's song

4. O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

5. Um... well, this next one is not one I'm currently loving - more like obssessing over, but I don't remember its name. I think it's a hymn tune and it goes Hm hm hm hm hmmm la da de da daaa... Oh, well, never mind. I'm obssessing over it because it was in a strange dream and I can't get it out of my head. Maybe I should go turn on a really good CD. Bach's Brandenburn concertos usually drive out all negative thoughts.

And now, my victims:

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It 's comforting to say that 'practice makes perfect'....
You are 'Gregg shorthand'. Originally designed to
enable people to write faster, it is also very
useful for writing things which one does not
want other people to read, inasmuch as almost
no one knows shorthand any more.

You know how important it is to do things
efficiently and on time. You also value your
privacy, and (unlike some people) you do not
pretend to be friends with just everyone; that
would be ridiculous. When you do make friends,
you take them seriously, and faithfully keep
what they confide in you to yourself.
Unfortunately, the work which you do (which is
very important, of course) sometimes keeps you
away from social activities, and you are often
lonely. Your problem is that Gregg shorthand
has been obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Found at Maisy's blog.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thankful Thursday
Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.... Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God. (from Psalm 50)

I'm thankful that we serve the most merciful and all-powerful God of the universe.

I'm thankful for my dear friend Margaret who always encourages me in my faith. Plus, she's thankful all the time, not just on Thursdays.

I'm thankful for indoor plumbing and heating when it's freezing* outside.

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*Please note that when the BadgerMum says "it's freezing outside" she is not speaking about the temperature at which water freezes, but the temperature at which the BadgerMum feels uncomfortably cold, which is generally below 56°F.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Alfred the Great

"Our supreme and holy Grace, protecting us and ours, deliver us, God, from the savage race of Northmen which lays waste our realms." *

Everything that can be said about King Alfred has already been said, far better than I can say it, but there is one very striking thing I read recently that I really want to point out.

G.K. Chesterton's The Ballad of the White Horse begins with a vision of the Virgin Mary by the young King Alfred, who asks her if he will be victorious in battle. She replies, in part:
"The gates of heaven are lightly locked,
We do not guard our gold,
Men may uproot where worlds begin,
Or read the name of the nameless sin;
But if he fail or if he win
To no good man is told.

"The men of the East may spell the stars,
And times and triumphs mark,
But the men signed of the cross of Christ
Go gaily in the dark.

King Alfred is not told whether he will win any battles at all, but what he learns is of far greager importance. "The message of this poem is that it is up to us to choose the right side, even if there is a risk that it is not the winning side." *

Let us learn from this hero of the Faith, and pray with him:
We pray to you, O Lord, who are the supreme Truth, and all truth is from you. We beseech you, O Lord, who are the highest Wisdom, and all the wise depend on you for their wisdom. You are the supreme Joy, and all who are happy owe it to you. You are the Light of minds, and all receive their understanding from you. We love, we love you above all. We seek you, we follow you, and we are ready to serve you. We desire to dwell under your power for you are the King of all. Amen. *

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Items of interest:

The Lindisfarne Gospels

O God, Our Maker, Throned on High, hymn attributed to King Alfred

Today's lectionary

The History of the Kings of England, by William of Malmsbury

The Heroic Age, a multitude of Anglo-Saxon links

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Historical, literary and musical tidbits
Today is St. Crispin's day, on which the Battle of Agincourt was fought in 1415, the small English army roundly defeating the much larger French one.

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Shakespeare's Henry V contains this wonderful speech by the king before going into battle.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a-tiptoe when this day is nam'd.
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall see this day, and live old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbors
And say Tomorrow is Saint Crispian.
Then he will strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say These wounds I had on Crispin's day.
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But hell remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester
Be in their flowing cups freshly remembered.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother. Be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentleman in England now abed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap while any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin day.

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For the Victory at Agincourt

Owre kynge went forth to Normandy,
With grace and myyt of chivalry;
The God for hym wrouyt marvelously,
Wherefore Englonde may calle, and cry
Deo gratias:
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria.

He sette a sege, the sothe for to say,
To Harflue toune with ryal aray;
That toune he wan, and made a fray,
That Fraunce shall rywe tyl domes day.
Deo gratias:
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria.

Then went owre kynge, with alle his oste,
Thorowe Fraunce for all the Frenshe boste;
He spared 'for' drede of leste, ne most,
Tyl he come to Agincourt coste.
Deo gratias:
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria.

Than for sothe that knyyt comely
In Agincourt feld he fauyt manly
Thorow grace of God most myyty
He had bothe the felde, and the victory
Deo gratias:
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria.

Ther dukys, and erlys, lorde and barone,
Were take, and slayne, and that wel sone,
And some were ledde in to Lundone
With joye, and merthe, and grete renone
Deo gratias:
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria.

Noe gratious God he save owre kynge,
His peple, and all his wel wyllynge,
Gef him gode lyfe, and gode endynge,
That we with merth mowe savely syng
Deo gratias:
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria.

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Cyber Hymnal has a hymn called O Love, How Deep that is set to a tune called "Deo Gra­ci­as," The Agincourt Song, 1415. I would assume the above song to be the original words to that melody, but if it is the melody has been changed a bit to make it fit the hymn. I'd love to know whether my speculation is true, and be able to listen to the original melody, if it's different than what Cyber Hymnal has.

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Cindy (Dominion Family) posted a link to Kenneth Branagh's rendition of the St. Crispin's day speech. More info at George Grant's blog.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Thankful Thursday
(I woke up late this morning and forgot it was Thursday - an evil allergy seems to have attacked me during the night, so I'm very foggy-brained today.)

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. (Psalm 68:19)

As I watch my children grow up, there are so many things to be thankful for. I'm thankful for the developing understanding and sense of humor I see in my almost-fifteen-year-old son and thirteen-year old daughter, who are laughing at all the right parts during the reading of Jane Austen's Northangar Abbey. I'm thankful for the sensitivity I see in my sixteen-year-old daughter who hugs me when I'm getting stressed out, and takes care of countless little tasks when I need a nap. I'm thankful for the affection and camaraderie between the four youngest ones, who do practically everything together.

I'm thankful for my dear husband, who bought me a very nice sewing machine - much nicer than I would have picked out for myself - to replace my defunct older one. Now I can get back to work sewing for the children, and making slipcovers for my living room furniture.

Oh, yes. I'm thankful for Claritin, which usually clears away the allergy-induced brain fog.

What are y'all thankful for?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Ah, country living...
This morning Number One Son found a possum in one of the garbage cans. It wasn't doing much of anything, though - just lying curled up amongst some torn garbage bags, looking placidly at us. I think it was playing possum.
A cheerful man
"That gray, threatening sky had turned black by now. It was a swollen mass of inky clouds, heavy with the thunder, lightening, and rain which so often come in the course of an English summer to remind the island race that they are hardy Nordics and must not be allowed to get thier fibre all sapped up by eternal sunshine like the less favoured dwellers in more southerly climes."
P.G. Wodehouse, Fish Preferred

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Thankful Thursday
Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD... (Psalm 134:1)

Today I'm especially thankful for all the rain the Lord has sent us this past week, for my birthday girl, and for my Number One Son who is bugging waiting patiently for me to get off the computer right now so he can do his Latin homework!

What are y'all thanful for?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Odds and ends

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American civilization has reverted to the hunter-gatherer stage. The other day, Mike told me of a conversation he'd had with a guy up at work who's going to be moving away soon.

"You haven't even been here four months," said Mike.

"It's okay," said the Modern American Nomad. "You go where the food is."

Yeah, we know all about that first-hand. That's why we're here in Virginia instead of Alabama where we wanted to be.

I guess I need some of the same preaching I just gave to my sister. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)."   "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content (I Timothy 6:6-8)."

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Today is Columbus Day, my hubby's favorite - probably because it's so unPC. We're doing American history this year for the first time in ages, and as part of our curriculum, we're using Steve Wilkins's tape series, "America: The First 350 Years." In the section on Columbus, Wilkins includes several quotes from books written by Columbus. Here's a gem from the Book of Prophecies:
I am a most unworthy sinner, but I have cried out to the Lord for grace and mercy and they have covered me completely. I have found the sweetest consolation since I made it my whole purpose to enjoy His marvelous presence. No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Savior, if it is just and if the intention is purely for His holy service. The working out of all things has been assigned to each person by our Lord, but it all happens according to His sovereign will, even though He gives advice. He lacks nothing that it is in th e power of men to give Him. O what a gracious Lord, who desires that people should perform for Him those things for which He holds Himself responsible! Day and night, moment by moment, everyone should express to Him their most devoted gratitude."

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

We almost had a baby born on Columbus Day. 13 years ago, I went into labor with our third child on a Friday afternoon. The pains only lasted a few hours, but they had started up again on Saturday morning and were proceeding apace - the contractions were only about five minutes apart and felt quite strong, although they were relatively painless, so we went in to the hospital only to be sent home again with a "Well, maybe this weekend, but definitely not today."

By late Sunday afternoon, they started up again and I tried various things to see if it was the real thing or not. I walked - they got stronger. I laid down - they got stronger. Along about 7:30 I was feeling so very comfortable on my waterbed that I thought, I could just have the baby here, and then we could call the hospital and let them send an ambulance to pick us up. I know it's Not The Thing among Prairie Muffins and PM Wannabes, but I really enjoy the hospital stay. I like having the baby all to myself, and I like having meals brought to me regularly without having to tell anyone how to make them.

Well, I mentioned this to Mike and he thought I should go to the hospital, so after getting up again and making sure that walking around wouldn't scare the contractions away again, we tootled along to the base hospital, arriving around 8:30pm. They put me in the observation room and spent about an hour deciding that they really should admit me, then sent me over to the LDR. Around 10pm I began feeling the urge to push. Now this was interesting because the whole time I'd really never been in much pain, unlike the two previous babies. Discomfort, of course, but not really intense pain like before. The nurses told me DO NOT PUSH while they ran out to get the doctor, but I'd learned this the first time around - working really really hard at not-pushing is the worst part of the whole thing, so instead of trying not to push, I just stayed relaxed and let my body push at will.

About this time, my dear, devoted husband said, "Don't you want to wait a couple of hours? Then the baby can be born on Columbus Day."

Sorry honey. Much as I'd like to oblige you, I ain't waitin for nothin!

Our Mosey was born at 10:10 pm on October 11, thirteen years ago, and what a blessing she is.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Better late than never?
My sister asked, "What would you tell a 27 yr old that is afraid shes gonna be alone forever but doesnt want to be?"

Weeks late, but here it is. Procrastination does NOT pay off. A month ago, I knew how to answer this, but because I figured it would not be a Nice, Encouraging Post, I delayed, hoping I could think of some other way to say what has to be said, but I fear it cannot be done, and now because I've piddled around so long, it's even harder to find the right words.

Sweetie, there's not much to say that you haven't already heard before. You know that God is sovereign and you know that he loves you and you know that you should trust him to work all things together for your good. I don't have anything new or particularly encouraging to add, so I will pray for you.

Almighty God, whose Son had nowhere to lay his head:
Grant that Anne Marie may not be lonely in her solitude,
but that, following in his steps, she may find fulfillment
in loving you and her neighbors;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Maybe it'll work this time

I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve started and not finished over the last few weeks.

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This week we’ve made pumpkin butter and ketchup - with canned pumpkin and tomato paste from the grocery store, but I use fresh whey with both of them and let them sit at room temperature for a couple of days before refrigerating so the lacto-bacilli have time to do their stuff.

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We killed several chickens last weekend - it’s the first fresh chicken we’ve had in awhile, but doing several on a hot day is NOT a good idea. Every fly in the county came to the feast.

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Speaking of hot weather, today it was 96° in the shade. That’s just too dang hot.

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School is still going fine. One completely new thing we’re doing this year is learning French. I’ve wanted to learn French for years but when I was in high school my daddy wanted me to take Spanish. I don’t regret that since it made Daddy happy, but since this is something I’m good at, something I enjoy doing, and we can finally afford to do it, I talked to Mike about it and he said, “Go for it.”

We’re using The Learnables, and though I can’t vouch for its long-term effectiveness, after almost six weeks using it I can say that I really like it and it seems to be just what I needed. There’s a lot of listening, which I think is crucial for training the ear. I’m almost finished with Level 1 and will start Level 2 as soon as it arrives - hopefully by the end of the week. The children are moving much slower than I am - it will probably take them 30 weeks to finish Level 1 - but they look forward to the lessons and have started using phrases they’re familiar with when it’s appropriate in daily life.

Only the younger four are studying French with me - the older three are learning Japanese, and because they use it so much most of us have picked up on a few simple phrases, like greetings. It’s kind of funny to get up in the morning and hear one person say, “Bonjour,” to which his sibling replies, “Ohayo!”

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After debating whether to replenish our fox-destroyed laying flock last winter, we finally got tired of not having our own fresh eggs and bought several new layers this summer. We have eight now, which is just barely enough to feed us, but nowhere near enough to have any for sale. Mike has several coworkers who want to buy free range eggs and would buy from us if we had a large enough flock. As soon as we finish the fencing to keep them away from our yard and porch I think we’ll buy several more.

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Have I mentioned that we have a pig now? The woman who bought four of our goats a few months ago gave us a pig as partial payment. The whole deal was bartered, with us getting our lawn mower repaired as part of the bargain. It was a nice way to do business.

Oh, the pig’s name. My eldest daughter wanted to name him and I told her she could as long as she kept in mind that we’re going to be eating him. I suggested “Pork Chop” and “Ham Hock” as possibilities, but she decided to go with “Lambchop.” She has a rather unusual sense of humor.

The coolest thing about having a pig is never feeling guilty about cleaning out the fridge and having to throw things out.

“Ha!” I say to myself. “I haven’t wasted these leftovers by letting them get a little too old. I’m just turning them into bacon.”

Now all we need is a dog to eat leftover meat and we’ll have it made.

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Well, it’s getting late and I’m ready to go to bed.

Good night all, and please keep praying for rain. We’ve still only had four or five inches since I started tracking it back in April.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Thankful Thursday
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good:
for his mercy endureth for ever.

O give thanks unto the God of gods:
for his mercy endureth for ever.

O give thanks to the Lord of lords:
for his mercy endureth for ever.
(Psalm 136:1-3)

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Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
(II Corinthians 5:17,21)

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What is thy only comfort in life and death?
That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.

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These are the Gifts of God for the People of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.
(BCP, Invitation to the Holy Eucharist)

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What are y'all thankful for?
Encourage one another.