Monday, January 31, 2005

Meat and Potatoes

I am eating the fruit of good writing and it is NOT a fiction novel! (But I will digress a little into the fiction realm...) I admit it, I am hopelessly addicted to great literature. I mean REALLY I am. I just received a recent order from one of the best financially fabulous book sources, Bookcloseouts.com. Not only did they have really marvelous literature for my children, George Macdonald's timeless book, The Princess and Curdie, and several of E. Nesbit's always marvelously entertaining books, The Enchanted Castle and The Story of the Amulet, but they had a boxed set of romantic classics for ME!

Truly I thought I was in heaven (well alright, really the kitchen) when my dear husband brought in the box. They even sell a hardback edition of Tolkien's, Roverandom, one of his lesser known works he made up for his boy. There are many classic books on this site often for half (or less!) of what you can buy them new. I even found a French Immersion program on there for a very good price. Happy hunting!

ANYWAY, back to my non-fiction commentary. In reading Ruth Beechick's famous work,
You CAN Teach Your Child Successfully
, I came across some beautiful gems and would like to share them with you.

"Language, in fact, has a claim to being a more human field of studies than any other. Theologians have written of the logos (word) as the image of God within us, and even unbelievers see that a major difference between man and the animals is language. Some scientists would like to discover that dolphins or monkeys or something else have thoughts and communication systems akin to man's, but instead, there seems to be an unbridgeable gulf between animal and man. And the gulf is language."

"Human children begin easily, as with music - learning words and, more importantly, the meaning and thoughts behind words. They graduate to sentences and longer communications. They move on to books wherein are stored the products of man's high use of the logos within him - along with many mediocre and useless and downright trashy products, which we will not consider here. Now if we allow children to read only words and thoughts about the objective world because we have defined those as "true," and we deny them the subjective world, the world of language itself, because it comes from within and we define it as "not true," then we may be denying them familiarity with what is most godlike about humankind. So let's give our children stories - and poems - the literary products of man's image-making abilities."

So while I am really enjoying my reading of Mrs. Beechick - she is in truth, giving me good reason to keep reading my enjoyable fiction! But in all seriousness, there are rich truths to be gleaned from her work and I am grateful to be reading it - slowly and savoring it. Meat and Potatoes!


Saturday, January 29, 2005

Some things are certain.

That is one of my favorite quotes from The Return of the King. Arwen states this and her certainty is real and beautiful to me. There are so *many* uncertainties in this life that to know you have found what truly is certain is a comfort beyond words. This comes to my mind because of a deep conversation I had with my two eldest daughters. We were in the midst of our Bible study time with Training Hearts, Teaching Minds and have been learning about His anger and curse towards sin and the amazing miracle of salvation through Jesus. Our most recent question was What is faith in Jesus Christ? Where does it come from and how do we know we have it? How do we know we are saved? I loved the Monday devotional answer:

"The answer to the previous question told us what God requires from us to escape the anger and curse we deserve for our sin. We learned that God requires us to have faith in Jesus Christ. Our faith does not save us. [But wait!!] The Lord Jesus Christ saves us. He did everything that needed to be done to save us from the anger and curse of God. Faith is the way we reach out and receive all that Christ has done for us."

"If I were starving to death, someone might offer me food. I would reach out with my hand to take the food I was being given. My hand would not save me from starving; the food would save me. My hand is just what I use to accept the food that is being given to me. That is what faith is like. The faith does not save us; what Christ did for us saves us. The faith is what we use to reach out and take what Christ did for us and make it ours." (page 281)

And then on Tuesday it made it all that more clear!

"...Faith is the way we reach out and receive for ourselves what He has done. Faith in Christ is not something we work up on our own. If it were, then we could say that we are saved because of something we do. Faith in Christ is the gift of God. God requires faith from us, and then He Himself gives us that faith so we can escape His curse." (page 281)

Ephesians 2:8-10 is really an amazing proof text for this: "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."

To me this is marvelous. What a maker and savior we have - that any should be saved at all. We are all so unworthy of His love, yet He gave it freely and not as a result of anything I did. Of this I am certain.

I know that my daughters struggle with certainty of faith - they are young and have not faced many challenges to it. While they have the priviledge of growing up in a Christian home and in a sound church at some point they will know with certainty if they are truly His. I read for them some verses that have often been of great comfort to me to help me in this area.

"And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life."
1 John 5: 11-13

May you know today that you have eternal life in the glorious Son of God and may the faith He gives you strengthen your heart and mind!


Thursday, January 27, 2005

Fun for you all - I think anyway! :+)

For those of you who homeschool Classically, or like some Classical materials, or well, who just like free stuff - I have a link for you that you might just find exciting. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's Winter Contests are full of really great products that are helpful for your homeschool. I thought you might like to know. :+)

~ * ~
My dear sweet husband - it is so nice to have one I just have to say - sent me the following forward that he received. I am not normally a person who likes forwards that are sentimental or that put a "God thinks this way or said this about things" type of message, but this was sweet and a nice thing to receive from my own personal Aragorn. I realize not every woman is this way, and really, I am not very much this way either, but heck, it was just very sweet and I hope you think so too. So without further blathering from me, here it is. :+)
~ * ~
A little boy asked his mother, "Why are you crying?"
"Because I'm a woman," she told him.
"I don't understand," he said.
His Mom just hugged him and said, "And you never will."
Later the little boy asked his father, "Why does mother seem to cry for no reason?"
"All women cry for no reason," was all his dad could say.
The little boy grew up and became a man, still wondering why women cry.Finally he put in a call to God. When God got on the phone, he asked, "God, why do women cry so easily?"
God said: "When I made the woman she had to be special. I made her shoulders strong enough to carry the weight of the world, yet gentle enough to give comfort.I gave her an inner strength to endure childbirth and the rejection that many times comes from her children. I gave her a hardness that allows her to keep going when everyone else gives up, and take care of her family through sickness and fatigue without complaining.I gave her the sensitivity to love her children under any and all circumstances, even when her child has hurt her very badly. I gave her strength to carry her husband through his faults and fashioned her from his rib to protect his heart. I gave her wisdom to know that a good husband never hurts his wife, but sometimes tests her strengths and her resolve to stand beside him unfalteringly. And finally, I gave her a tear to shed. This is hers exclusively to use whenever it is needed."
"You see my son," said God, "the beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart - the place where love resides."
Gotta love those husbands! I sure do.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Dinner for 24?

It was great fun last night to have friends over that we have not seen in some time along with missionary friends heading back to the field in Mexico. There were 16 children and 8 adults and it was really a nice relaxing night for me! It is hard to believe because I have not always been up to entertaining that many people. Children are so easy though if they are well-behaved and these certainly were - even my own! :)

My dear sweet friend, Jen, just jumped right in and cut up the salad and potatoes and just got right to work - just like a sister. I love her to death. We have delightful conversations about theology and homeschooling and all sorts of things. She makes me think and I enjoy her company immensely. She is my dear friend recently gone to mission work in Mexico so our times together are rare now and all the more dear.

The other familes are dear friends I work with and have known for a long time (before working together) and we just enjoy our time mutually a great deal. It is a wonderful thing when all the adults and children get along with NO issues. How marvelous it is to have good friends! I am blessed.

Enjoy that fellowship!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Concerned about too many carbs? I have the answer!

For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutritionand health.It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting medical studies.

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

4. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

CONCLUSION:Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

Have a smiley kind of day!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Comments anyone?

I have been enjoying the comment section of a number of blogs I frequent, but most especially The Upward Call. Kim's blog is wonderful and I recommend it as a daily dose of sound reality and food for the heart, but her comment section has a blog life all its own and I find it fascinating. It is almost like a board with its interaction and expression. Not only do we get Kim's thoughts, but many others who may or may not have a blog. It is a virtual coffee shop I think. :)

While I would much rather sit and chat with these ladies for hours in person, that is simply not feasible. I will gladly take a virtual coffee/formal tea shop than nothing at all. Thank you, ladies, for offering such fine reading material and for allowing us to be a part of your world.

This is *not* meant to comment negatively on those who do not choose to offer comments, but simply to share how much I enjoy being a part of those that do. I do certainly believe that a person's blog is truly their own to do what they will with it, comments or not! :)

~ * ~

Well we watched in its entirety Thomas Hardy's, The Mayor of Casterbridge, last night and let me tell you being up until after 2:00 am was NOT such a hot idea. That said, it was a very interesting movie. I liked it and found it to be done well - how can CiarĂ¡n Hinds do a poor acting job? The story was a sad one, but not a tragic one like Wuthering Heights. It had moments of happiness and romance, but certainly the main character, Michael Henchard, was a rogue. I will read it in the future, but it will not be at the top of my list. I had not heard of Hardy until recently and just purchased a book of his. Review to come. :)

I am still making my way through, You CAN Teach Your Child Successfully, and yes, I still believe it. I am enjoying Mrs. Beechick's writing style and information - she is an immense encourager. Thank you, Mrs. J., for the assignment!


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

There is weakness, there is frailty...

there is a disolusioned Windows user to be found here. I am in computer recovery. "We love you, Kate!" Thanks, I appreciate it. Sigh!! I simply do not understand why a computer needs to be faulty - why does it need to die? I understand why WE are faulty, why WE need to die - "What does every sin deserve? The wrath and curse of God." And that is no joke either. But I do not understand why computers have to be frail and full of error. OK, enough of that for one day! God is in control and I know that with all my heart. In comparison with the rest of the troubles of the world - this is nothing and I know that. :+)

~ * ~

In other news, can I tell you a heavenly scent?! Fresh paint! We successfully painted a room this weekend a lovely blue. We will be adding some flower stencils and Grandma L may be painting some scenery or other fun additions to the walls. It is like a new room - brand spanking new. I love fresh paint! For just a little money the room is transformed to the delight of us all.

~ * ~

Well as much as I would love to chat with you all, I must be off. Too much neglected housework and laundry, and many hands make light work!

Warmly wishing you a lovely day,

Saturday, January 15, 2005


Some of you know that I work from home on my computer. Wellllllllllll, my computer died on me. Yes, it finally bit the dust and I am not so sure it is temporary. My dear wise computer wizard of a husband is working diligently to fix it, but there are a LOT of really important things on it that will be "poof" GONE if he cannot. I would ask those of you who wish to please pray for the recovery of my system files so that life can go on as we know it. It is truly NOT the end of the world, *but* I can see it from here. :+) I am, should you be wondering, blogging from my dear sweet husband's computer. Sigh. At least I can blog, right? Grin.

Thanks for your prayers!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Time is of the Essence!

By: Irene Foster

Now is the time to get things done...
wade in the water, sit in the sun,
squish my toes in the mud by the door,
explore the world in a boy just four.

Now is the time to study books,
flowers, snail, how a cloud looks;
to ponder "up" where God sleeps nights,
why mosquitos take such big bites.

Later there'll be time to sew and clean,
paint the hall that soft new green,
to make new drapes, refinish the floor -
Later on... when he's not just four.

~ * ~

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Cream Tea for you and me!

For those of you who wonder just *what* in the world clotted cream is, here is your answer:

Devonshire clotted cream:

A cream tea cannot be considered as such unless there is cream and the type of cream that should be used is clotted cream. Originally, clotted cream was only produced in the Westcountry - this is where the rich soil, mild climate and the right breed of cattle came together to create milk with a high enough cream content to produce clotted cream. Even today when clotted cream is in greater demand (and available at supermarkets!) it will almost always be made in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset. If you exclude the modern milk processes and vegetable fat substitutes then there are only three types of cream - single, double and clotted. Each of these gets increasingly richer, thicker and luxurious.

Before the days of pasteurisation, the milk from the cows was left to stand for several hours so that the cream would rise to the top. Then this cream was skimmed and put into big pans. The pans were then floated in trays of constantly boiling water in a process known as scalding. The cream would then become much thicker and develop a golden crust which is similar to butter. Today however, the cream is extracted by a separator which extracts the cream as it is pumped from the dairy to the holding tank. The separator is a type of centrifuge which extracts the surplus cream at the correct quantity so that the milk will still have enough cream to be classified as milk.

Clotted cream has a consistency similar to soft butter and can be used as a replacement for butter in such things as toffees. It's great on freshly baked bread with honey (or honeycombe!), jam, syrup or black treacle (known as thunder and lightening!) - but most importantly is perfect for putting on a scone.

The above was taken from the site linked above and holds a world of information on a "proper" tea and recipies for scones as well! There is a picture of this perfect cream from heaven on the page. I hope you enjoy!

Dreaming in cream,
"Do you have anything I might put clotted cream on?"

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Mixed Nuts for this week!

It was the best of times it was the worst of times...
Literature Quiz! (Just kidding, of course.) I really loved this book, A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, but I am not going to chat about the book today, but about a well-done movie version my dear husband and I saw the other night.

I am a picky gal when it comes to movies versions of books and this one was faithful with good acting. If the person was French, they were French in real life and if they were British, there were as well. This is only an added benefit, but it was all the more realistic because of it. There is no way to reproduce such a work in its entirety because if you have read it you know that Dickens liked to give much detail. That is one thing I like most about older books - or great books as we Classical folks like to term them :+) - the detail is not lacking. I have a dear friend who believes that much of the last 200 years of literature would not have been published had it been written today and I think I may have to agree with her having read some very modern fiction. There is just nothing like a Bronte or an Austen or a Tolkien! I am not saying I dislike modern fiction, it has its place, but I don't think most will become classics. I hope that does not sound snobbish as I do not mean it to be. I think I have just not been transported into the worlds of that time in the same way I am when I read a Bronte or Tolkien.

On the other side of the coin, I do have to give credit to Ellis Peters for her mavelous works of fiction in the Cadfael mysteries. A Morbid Taste for Bones is the first of many marvelously creative stories of a detective monk in the 1100's. I could not put these down! Thanks to Circle of Quiet for many late nights with these books. :+)

I also just finished reading Wuthering Heights . It is truly a dark book, but a fascinating one at the same time. In my mind it is a reminder of what life is like with no bearing - with no Savior. It is stark animal behavior in some ways from one person to another where no love lies. However, there are a few sparks of light, of forgiveness, of what life can be like with the right mind, but these are brief indeed. I will not say to read it for inspiration, or for encouragement, but for its own. The Bronte sisters had such tragedy and sadness in their own lives and this is certainly seen in their work, but it is worth reading all the same. I also recently saw the movie version with Ralph Fiennes and it was a solid portrayal of the book that I do recommend.

I am in the midst of a book that I am reading upon agreement. It was a ladies agreement that I would read it if she read Jane Eyre. Well, no great surprise to me, she is vastly enjoying her book while I am patiently reading mine. My assignment was not a work of fiction, but Ruth Beechick's, You CAN Teach Your Child Successfully. And I believe her. I have the highest respect for Mrs. Beechick and know I will glean a great deal from her. It is about time I put down the fiction - no one will get hurt. :+)

I hope you have a lovely winter day - it is cold and rainy here - just the way I like it.


Friday, January 07, 2005

You, my brown eyed girl!

There are the days when my blond haired baby of two delights in drawing large red permanent circles on the walls of the hallway. There are the days when she decides she does not care for the meal I have served and shares it with the tile flooring. There are the days when she shakes her head in frustration because I will not give her what she wants. THEN there are the days when she is my darling brown eyed girl. It is times like these that make being a mother so very worthwhile; the days you know you are in the right place, at the right time, with the right little one. It is when her eyes sparkle with joy at your tickling and she asks, “Gen!” and you tickle her again. It is times like tonight when I sing to her and she stares at me with those big beautiful eyes just listening and then rolls them back as she laughs at me and says, “Momma!” She is learning what it is to be funny. She is learning that she is unique and wonderful and God’s precious gift to me – even on those hard days. But what I am learning is that the delight I feel in her personality truly awakening is the same I felt with my first – that this small character will someday be as bold or daring or quiet or subdued (doubtful there though) as she wishes to be. This, my little brown eyed girl, is as unique and wonderful as Eve on the day of her creation. What a marvel to be a part of it and to watch her unfold! As the baby in her leaves and the little girl emerges, may it please the Lord that I should be able to see it and appreciate each and every moment. I love you my brown eyed girl!


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

British finds of lovely scope...

In 1990 I spent 3 months in England, primarily London. It was a glorious time, but also a difficult one as it was the first time I had really been away from home and truly unable to come back. One of my favorite places was the British Museum. It holds more glorious treasures of antiquity than a person could see in a week's time. I found myself standing before Assyrian lions that guarded the entrance to the ancient towns of these warring people, face to face with Egyptian mummies, surrounded by the Temple of Artemis (Dianna) – you know the one that Paul of Scripture discovered had zealous adherents? I could experience first hand the history and it came to life. I think that was when I began to understand the great and marvelous importance of history. What a beautiful thing it is to see what so many others – for thousands of years – have seen. It becomes a part of you in a way that is hard to describe. I am part of the great march of history.

In light of this, I wanted to share with you the British Museum curator’s top ten finds of their entire hoard. Curiously there are no books – which I find to be sad because I know they have an enormous manuscript section. However, their choices span Great Brittan’s history from BC to AD. I hope you enjoy it!

From the intro of the British Museum's Top 10 Treasures:

What are the most important British treasures in the British Museum? What makes one treasure more important than another?

Adam Hart Davis from the BBC asked British Museum curators these questions when making the programme 'Our Top 10 British Treasures' for BBC2 (New Years Day 2003).

In most people's minds, the word 'treasure' is linked with images of gold and silver worth huge amounts of money. But the BBC was surprised by some of the choices that the curators made; for the British Museum what makes a treasure valuable can not be measured in pounds or dollars, but in what it can tell us about our past. Curators selected not necessarily the most expensive 'treasures' found on British soil, but those whose discovery had made the most significant contribution to how we understand British history.

This picture is a compilation of their top ten. To visit again would be a marvel. I could live there for years on tea and scones with my dear friend Circle of Quiet. Care to join us?

Monday, January 03, 2005

Gutenberg Treasures!

Feast your book-loving eyes on this site! You can get up close and personal to an original Gutenberg Bible. A stunning gift to the internet world can be found here: British Library. You can compare velum copies to paper copies from a large list of pages to choose from. Truly a treasure to share!!

This is only the first view! When you see the pages you can click on them for a close-up look at the beautiful detail. I hope you enjoy!