Thursday, September 29, 2005

Thankful Thursday
Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. (from Psalm 103)

1. Toothpaste and toothbrushes. Really. Don't you just love the way they massage your gums get when brushing your teeth? And then there's that tingly fresh, smoothly clean feeling afterward that just makes me happy.

2. My two-year-old. I just love two years old, it's such a funny, sweet age. My Baby Princess loves to pretend she's a kitty-cat and she pretends to be one so much that sometimes it seems she thinks she really is one! Take last night at supper, for example - we had a barley casserole with sliced water chestnuts in it. One of her water chestnuts fell on the floor, and the princess promptly got out of her chair, got down on all fours, put her face to the floor and licked up the water chestnut. Then she stood up on her tippytoes and deposited it onto her plate, and wandered cheerfully away!

3. "Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again."

Let us bless the Lord.

Friday, September 23, 2005

"[I just read] Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which can only be described as annoyingly witty British humor. Didn't much like it, really."

"Yikes. You are kidding?? I love it."

"Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the turn of phrase and British wit, but often it felt like the plot was merely to set up the next joke."

"What plot?"


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Thankful Thursday
Today, I'm thankful for the Prayer Book, which teaches me how to pray when I'm struggling.

Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we thine unworthy servants
do give thee most humble and hearty thanks
for all thy goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all men.
We bless thee for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for thine inestimable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ,
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we beseech thee,
give us that due sense of all thy mercies,
that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful;
and that we show forth thy praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to thy service,
and by walking before thee
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost,
be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Speaking of homeschooling...
...found this quiz over at Maisy's blog.

You are a Tigger Homeschooler. Tiggers jump into
homeschooling with both feet, as a grand
adventure. Everything is about learning, and
their days (and houses) show it.

What kind of Hundred Acre Wood Homeschooler Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
Thankful Thursday
Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day. (Psalm 72:8)

Thank you, Lord, for my sister, whose birthday is today. Watch over Anne Marie, O Lord, as her days increase; bless and guide her wherever she may be. Strengthen her when she stands; comfort her when discouraged or sorrowful; raise her up if she fall; and in her heart may thy peace which passeth understanding abide all the days of her life.

Thank you, Lord, for improving health to be able to do the work you have set before me.

Above all, I give you thanks for the great mercies and promises given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord; To him be praise and glory, with you, O Father, and the
Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Thoughts on homeschooling
in response to Scott Terry’s post here

Our homeschool has gone through lots of changes over the years. Actually I don’t think we’ve ever had two years that looked the same. When we first started out, I only knew what I didn’t want – a traditional classroom textbooky school-at-home. The first book I ever read on homeschooling was one a neighbor lent me when my eldest was four or five years old, Home Grown Kids, by Raymond and Dorothy Moore, who also wrote books with titles like School Can Wait and Better Late Than Early, so you can see which way I’m biased.

Around the second year we were homeschooling, I read Clay and Sally Clarkson’s Educating the WholeHearted Child, and of all the good information in that book, the one thing that really struck me was a little sidebar where the Clarkson’s explained their emphasis on music and literature and de-emphasis on math and science. They said that since God has sovereignly placed each child into a particular family, and each particular family has its own strengths and interests, that should be what helps you decide what to teach your children, and what to place less emphasis on. In their case, being a "words a music family" their children participate in a local Christian drama group that puts on several musicals a year, and they don't do lots of other worthwhile things.

Nowadays, that seems really self-evident to me, but then, it was quite a revelation. It has really helped me figure out what to focus on and what to leave by the wayside, if I think in terms of our family's calling and then how each child, which his individual gifts and needs, fits into that.

Before going on, let me say that we are in essential agreement with R.C. Sproul, Jr's Tuesday night Bible study tape series, When You Rise Up, that our primary goal is to raise our children to be faithful Christians who will pass their faith on to their own children. After that, we aim to teach our sons to be godly men and our daughters to be godly women.

As far as academics go, our curriculum is an eclectic kind of Raymond and Dorothy Moore/Charlotte Mason mix, but our view of how children learn and what should be emphasized at different stages is based on the classical model – the Trivium, which is not so much a curriculum as a method. Dorothy Sayers’ excellent speech, The Lost Tools of Learning is a very helpful, though lengthy, treatment of the value of following the classical model. Here is a shorter explanation, written by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn, of Trivium Pursuit, who explain that while the classical model is a very helpful one, the Christian ought not to be training his children in classical humanism, which is not at all the same thing as a Christian classical education.

Another excellent source of information is Cheryl Miller’s Classical Christian Homeschooling website (old site found here).

With my bad health for the past year and our recent move, our own schoolday consists mainly of household chores and talking to each other. The three oldest are taking some online classes from Studium Discere Tutorials, my middle girls are learning to crochet, and the boys are learning more about caring for the property. We hope to get chickens some time in the next month, so that will be another area for all of the kids to work on.

If you're interested in the classical model but are concerned that it's nothing but whitewashed paganism, I'd strongly recommend reading the Bluedorn's article The Things to Do Before Age Ten. Their book, of which this is an excerpt, is the one I wish I'd had from the very beginning.
For Kristen
This post is in response to Kriten's questions in the comments to this post.

Kristen, it really sounds like you're handling both situations well. In the case of unsolicited advice, most of these people mean well, so it's best to smile and thank them as you've been doing. If there's one person who persists, or who comes back to ask if you've acted on her advice yet, you might try saying something like, "My husband and I have decided not to do it that way for now," thanking her for her concern.

I'm afraid this is something you'll just have to get used to since you'll be getting a lot of unasked for advice until you're either older, or have more children, than the would-be advice giver! It's the same way with criticism about your parenting choices. Some people don't handle it well when they see a child being raised very differently from the way they raised their own, and they react verbally without thinking - "Civilized people don't nurse their babies that long!" LOL Others will be honestly concerned about you - that you're draining yourself, or taking away from Lexi by nursing Kate.

Giving a brief, thoughtful, non-defensive answer as you've been doing should work well with people you know, but what's always hard for me to handle is the remarks I get from total strangers. Once when someone asked if we were done having babies yet, I playfully replied, "My goodness, I'm not that old!" which was my way of saying "Mind your own business." Depending on the person, you could say something like, "You know, my husband is a classical scholar and we enjoy exploring ancient customs," with a broad wink.

Ultimately though, you need to be so confident in God's provision for you and your children through your husband that you don't feel judged. They can't judge you anyway since they're not in authority over you, but people will criticize you. By forbearing with them, you have the opportunity to be courteous - not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing, but knowing that you are called to this, to inherit a blessing.

Plus, it'll help you remember not to nag the young mothers when you're the older woman.

Monday, September 12, 2005

A little help, please?
In the comments to this post a reader asks about the My Book House books by Oliver Olive Beaupre Miller. The ones I own are still in storage and I really don't remember much about them beyond the fact that they were recommended to me by one or two friends with excellent taste in children's literature, and that they contain many short stories and extracts from classic children's literature.

I've googled around a bit, but can't find out anything more than that. If any of you happen to know more about the books, please leave a comment. Thanks!
Ask the BadgerMum
When Valerie was visiting me she said, "You've got to talk to M. about her garden - she's having some trouble," and I said, "Oh, no, I really don't know much about gardening - I'm still such a beginner myself." But then, on the following Sunday, we were at M's house for lunch after church, and she mentioned that her squash vines had been growing like crazy but that they hadn't gotten any fruit. So I told her the little bit I know about squash - they have male and female blossoms which only open in the morning and showed her how to tell the difference, and that if there aren't any pollinators buzzing about accomodating the female blossoms the gardener will just have to do the job himself with a Q-tip. I also suggested she be sure the garden has adequate daylight and water, and offered some suggestions for companion plants to attract pollinators. In other words, I know more about gardening than I realize I do. I just need someone to ask for advice.

When I first started this blog, even though I'm not what St. Paul would call an older woman, since my kids are all still at home, I am an older sister. After 17 years of marriage and homemaking, after having seven very different babies (some dreamy, some active, some compliant, some stubborn, one special needs, all very "creative"), and homeschooling for eleven years, I'm farther down the road than lots of moms and I can at least tell you what I've learned so far, or what to read for more information, and some mistakes to avoid. But I don't really feel like I know much, and I'm no good at posting Advice just out of the blue.

[Paranthetical thought: Hey! Does this tie in to Valerie's recent post on spiritual gifts, or what?]

So, anyway... go ahead, ask me questions. How can I help you in your calling as daughter, sister, wife, or mother?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

From depths of woe I raise to Thee
The voice of lamentation;
Lord, turn a gracious ear to me
And hear my supplication;
If Thou iniquities dost mark,
Our secret sins and misdeeds dark,
O who shall stand before Thee?

To wash away the crimson stain,
Grace, grace alone availeth;
Our works, alas! are all in vain;
In much the best life faileth:
No man can glory in Thy sight,
All must alike confess Thy might,
And live alone by mercy.

Therefore my trust is in the Lord,
And not in mine own merit;
On Him my soul shall rest, His Word
Upholds my fainting spirit:
His promised mercy is my fort,
My comfort, and my sweet support;
I wait for it with patience.

What though I wait the livelong night,
And till the dawn appeareth,
My heart still trusteth in His might;
It doubteth not nor feareth:
Do thus, O ye of Israel’s seed,
Ye of the Spirit born indeed;
And wait till God appeareth.

Though great our sins and sore our woes,
His grace much more aboundeth;
His helping love no limit knows,
Our utmost need it soundeth.
Our Shepherd good and true is He,
Who will at last His Israel free.
From all their sin and sorrow.

Words: Mar­tin Lut­her, 1523 (Aus tief­er Noth schrei ich zu dir); composite trans­la­tion.
Music: "Aus Tiefer Not"; mel­o­dy by Martin Luther, 1524, ar­ranged in
Gesangbüchlein, by Jo­hann Wal­ter, 1524

Friday, September 9, 2005

This is beyond cool
LibraryThing, a very simple way to catalog your books online. I've been needing to do this for ages, but being the perfectionist that I am, since I couldn't decide what would be the best way to go about doing, I never even began. The first 200 books are free, after that there's a one-time $10 fee that allows you to list as many as you like.

Found at Emeth's blog.

Update - I don't know if this will work, but here's a link to my library.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Thankful Thursday
I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? 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. (from Psalm 50)

The weather has cooled down so much that we've been able to sleep with our windows open. I'm thankful for the cool weather and that we live in a place where I can safely sleep with the windows open.

This morning, my five year old little man and two year old Mama's helper were awake before me, singing and cracking eggs into a bowl. I'm thankful for children who are healthy, cheerful, and love to work.

As I'm sitting here typing this, my Little Helper has taken my hair down and is brushing it out, a rather painful process for me and one which requires me redo work, but I'm thankful for my little girl who loves to do such girly things as play with Mama's hair.

What are y'all thankful for today?

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Do other bloggers do this?
I was just looking through my list of saved drafts, and I have twenty-three unfinished posts sitting in there. There are two or three quizzes I took and never posted, probably because I figured the blog needed a post for a change. At least two I never posted because they were snarky, but the rest range from brief notes to paragraphs of unfinished material.

The draft this quiz appears in was dated the 19th of September, 2004.

Earth Mama
You're an earth mother! Your friends sometimes
call you Gaea, because you're the original
earth goddess! You and your kids both have
dirt under your fingernails, and you spend as
much of your time as possible out of doors.
Your kids have an incredible appreciation for

What kind of a freaky mother are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Found at Alexandra's blog

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

My eldest is taking an online Rhetoric class from Studium Discere Tutorials and it looks very good. The textbook was written by Peter Roise, the teacher, and each chapter includes three exercises, one on Theory, one on Imitation, and one on Practice. The Theory exercises are reveiw questions of the lesson's material, the Imitation exercises are outside reading of excellently written material, and the Practice exercises are generally writing paragraphs using the principles taught. The first few weeks the students will be reading the Psalms, followed by Pride and Prejudice. You can see the complete reading list here. Throughout the year, the students are supposed to keep a commonplace book, and submit one extract each week in a class contest. The first class was yesterday, and my favorite phrases keep popping into my head - I've offered a couple of them to my daughther, but dang, I wish I were taking this class!

A few things I would enter into a commonplace book, if I kept one:

"[T]he lady was of apparantly a British innkeeper of that orthodox school who regard guests as a nuisance."
C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet
Thanks to Valerie for reminding me of this one!

"For the great Gaels of Ireland
"Are the men that God made mad,
"For all their wars are merry,
"And all their songs are sad."
G.K. Chesterton, "The Ballad of the White Horse"
Miss Kelly M. introduced me to this one.

" 'Thank God!' said Wimsey. 'Where there is a church there is civilisation.' "
Dorothy L. Sayers, The Nine Tailors

"Complaint is the flag of ingratitude - and it waves above the center of unbelieving hearts."
Douglas Jones, Angels in the Architecture

"With this Ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow."
1662 Prayer Book

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

It's starting to feel like fall here now. The highs are still in the upper 80s and into the 90s, but the nights get down into the lower 60s and the humidity has dropped significantly. I love fall - it's my favorite time of the year... until spring comes, that is, and then spring is my favorite.

We're planning for next year's garden and this one looks to be our first Real Garden. Up until now we've not had the room to freeze much, and I've never canned and don't have supplies, but here we've discovered something wonderful. Under the garage is a root celler! We'll spend the winter figuring out how much we should plant in order to keep our family in root crops for a year. We're planning on potatoes, turnips, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, and parsnips. We're also planning on growing dried beans for the first time, since I recently learned from a commenter at Scott Terry's blog how easy it is to preserve beans.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Mike's searching eBay for an old-fashioned reel mower that the younger boys can use to help manage the lawn here. And of course, there's always the added advantage of being able to run the machine on bread and butter instead of gasoline.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Next Wednesday, September the 14th, is Holy Cross day. Does anyone know the history of this holiday? Specifically, why do we commemorate the Cross in the middle of September?

Saturday, September 3, 2005

Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.

Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.

Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.

Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.

Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.

Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.

Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.

Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word.

So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.

And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.

So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.

And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.

I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.

And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.

My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.
(Psalm 119: 33-48)

Thursday, September 1, 2005

You mean they know what they’re eating?
A recent issue of a trendy organic living magazine had an article extolling the virtues of various women farmers, including a woman who runs a shellfish farm she inherited from her grandparents. The article notes that “[b]ecause shellfish naturally purify and filter water, they are a good example of farmed seafood that’s truly beneficial to the environment.”
I think I’ve just figured out how to make money out of my used Brita filters.
Thankful Thursday
So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations. (Psalm 79:13)

1. I am thankful for my dear husband (aka The Computer God) who has been able to recover data from my poor dead computer.

2. I am thankful that friends in Mississippi were safe from the storm.

3. I am thankful for Psalm 78.