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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ho! Ho! Ho!

My family (especially my girls!) really blessed me this year. They know me well enough to know what to buy for me, and that means a lot to me. My oldest daughter knows my personal addiction to Victorian novels--especially Elizabeth Gaskell. She went out of her way to buy me Cranford. I am extremely excited to read this and will start it upon completion of The Silmarillion--which I have been slowly reading late at night. Christmas has put me off the regular reading time I steal for myself. :+)





My second daughter knows how much I like music and how much I like good soundtracks. She purchased the Narnia soundtrack for me. If you have never paid attention to the music in this film, you are missing something! I really love it.




Our family's favorite gift though, is the one that Daddy brought home the day after Christmas. Our new puppy, Annie.  Isn't she a doll? That is a very very happy Hannah holding her. Hannah is our resident dog lover (along with her siblings) and she has wanted a dog for many years. Abigail is a close second for excitement. :+) We are all very happy with our dachshund and she is as cute as a button!



 


We are heading to my mother's house on Friday night for my family Christmas. We had planned it for the weekend before, but sickness prevented the event. All the children are very excited and Annie will be joining us for her first trip to Grandma's house.





So how was your Christmas? Did you enjoy the day? We sure did.




Note: I am officially dense. :+) Ever since the blog upgrade my settings were changed so I was not notified by email that any of you wonderful people had commented! I did not know I had received so many kind comments! Please forgive me for not responding to any of them. I was unaware they were there and really honestly thought no one was reading my blog! Thanks so much for all your kind words. They mean so much!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

It's nearly here...

...and we are all waiting with great expenctancy. (At least the children sure are!) :+) I will be off the blog for several days and I just wanted to wish you all a lovely and beautiful Christmas. We will be busy with family and fellowship and I didn't want to forget you all. May our great God and King, who sent His Son to bring salvation to sinful men, bring you His peace and joy this year.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas around our house

There are many blogs that are showing pictures of their Christmas finery. I don't know that our decor can be considered "finery" but they sure bring us joy!



Here is our little Christmas tree nook. We have three little trees up on a steamer trunk full in the corner of our living room.



 


Here are our living room windows with the rest of the Christmas tree ornaments as well as the stockings "hung from our garlands with care." :+)







Here is the view of the top of our piano--a favorite place of mine to decorate no matter what time of year we find ourselves!





Here are our nutcrackers up close. :+)





Here is what greets you when you enter our home. It is a much-loved pie safe that was made for me by my mother's loving husband.





Here is the close-up. I love my red jug and my cranberry candle!





And here is my Christmas crew!




We hope you are enjoying your Christmas season as much as we are.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Letting the universe fill me...

Um, what?!  The full instructions, found on my tea bag, are: "Meditate by emptying yourself and letting the universe fill you." All I really wanted to do was to find some relief from this nasty head cold with the Yogi Tea, Breathe Deep. I was not looking for a message of false hope. Can I just say that that is one of the biggest lies out there? Believe it or not the "universe" is not waiting for you and is not ready to fill your soul. That is false hope in a fallen world.



There is only one good thing that will fill your soul, that will give your heart freedom to soar the heights of God's amazing love, only one that will enable you to breathe deeply of the clean air of God's forgiveness--that is the Holy Spirit. There is only one God and King and He is reigning even now. The world will offer up all sorts of fancies on the platter of life, but they are all bitter and full of death. There is true peace, true forgiveness, true joy to be found in this life, but it will not be found in the world. It will be found in Christ.



John 14:27
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."



I hope you find peace in Jesus this Christmas.



Monday, December 18, 2006

If you like to talk for hours...

The paradoxes of life amuse me. Here I am a Christian for many years, conservative, a mom of five, homeschooler, etc. (and I even own two denim jumpers!) YET, I really like great music—funky, strange, silly music. We are sitting here listening to the Spin Doctors’, Two Princes. It was initially the chorus that looped me into liking this song. It is a man singing:

Said if you want to call me baby
Just go ahead now
And if you like to tell me maybe
Just go ahead now
And if you wanted to buy me flowers
Just go ahead now
And if you like to talk for hours
Just go ahead now



But what kept me listening was the music. I KNOW that as a young woman I would always argue with those in authority about the music I listened to—that it was the music that I really loved and didn’t care about the words. Well, I have to say that I mostly stick by that today. This song has great funky music that is nothing like the more conservative tunes I like to listen to as well. I do care though, about the words. Thankfully these are OK. :+) It is fun to just get up and dance with your children, make silly faces in the never-missing video-camera we have here under the ownership of my first child. The movies of an ill mother (for I happen to be feeling on the low side of the health chart today) grooving to a very beat-filled song, in her sweats, with no make-up on—well, let’s just say they will not be making it to uTube. :+)



Enjoy your children today – dance a little for me!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What do they think?

What goes through the minds of the people in nursing homes at this time of year? Last week the sweet little Cub Scout pack that my son belongs to made a bunch of Christmas cards for the residents of a local nursing home. Last night we went to sing Christmas carols and deliver them. This is always a very hard thing for me because I feel such terrible sadness for the residents of these places. I don't feel sad because they are treated poorly; for in this home I don't think they are. Most of them just looked so very worn and lonely.


 


What must it feel like to be at the end of your life, surrounded by strangers? It is hard to comprehend. Does our singing and card-giving minister to them? My heart ached as we left there. Do they receive visitors mainly during the Christmas season? How does this make them feel?


 


There was one woman that came out to her door and stood and sang with us. I brought my ever-ready-with-a-hug-and-a-smile daughter, Elizabeth, to greet her. She gave her a big hug and just grinned like crazy at her and told her "Merry Christmas." It was all I could do not to cry. I am greatly moved by the aged because I think in our society we hugely undervalue them. Many of these people were not obviously needy - some were not bedridden and helpless. I wonder where their families are. I cannot blame a family that places their family in the care of a nurse when they are unable to care for them--I understand that. But what about those who don't require that kind of care? Are they unwilling to "burden" their family?


 


Isn't caring for those that cared for you what families are for?


 


I cannot answer for all the decisions that people make, but I *so* desparately hope that I will be able to offer care to any of my family members that may need it. Those kinds of places are there for a reason, and I do not say we should not have them. However, I never never want to have to use them.



I hope the mile of boys and families blessed someone in the home we visited. I hope the songs brightened their night. I hope I can find a way to minister to them at some other time of year. Do any of you do this and if so, how? I would like to find a way to make their day a bit brighter, and help my children see the beauty in blessing others.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christmas - Glory to God!

In response to Jen's Christmas post, I wrote this:


 


In the same way we thank God for our liberty and freedoms here in the US on the 4th of July (for they are given by Him and Him alone), I thank God that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us during the Christmas season. I love that the whole world celebrates this time of year, that the songs sung by my sister-in-law's secular (Sac. State) choir were almost exclusively Christian God-honoring songs. That the entire *church* we heard them sing in erupted with thunderous singing of His holy birth, death, and resurrection. I love that even the secular institutions choose songs that were created in the church to honor our Savior. I love that even those who are unsaved will sing of His saving grace at this time of year. It is a brief glimpse of what is to be--what is to come. That every knee shall bow, every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord.


 


I love this time of year and thank God it exists for all things secular are ultimately His. Col. 1:16 says it perfectly:

"For by Him all things were created, [both] in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created through Him and for Him."


 


May your Christmas season be a joyous one as you celebrate the Advent of the Savior!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Fundamental Freedom

"Homeschoolers need more oversight. Prove to me why they don't?"


 


This was asked on a homeschooling board I read a while back. I was thinking about this tonight as I was sitting in my local Barnes & Noble, sipping a gingerbread latte, and enjoying some really fine conversation with several other homeschool moms. My response to this question was the following:


 


Fundamental Freedom


 


It is the fundamental feedom of the parent to choose what they feel is best for their child. It is an inherent right that parents have, for better (one hopes) or worse, to decide what their children do or do not learn.


 


As defined in the M-W online dictionary "inherent" means: essential character of something: belonging by nature or habit.


 


It is our inherent right to parent. It is not the inherent right of the state. Just because some people think it is the right of the state or as some use the phrase, "compelling state's interest" to make sure that all children are "properly" schooled, does not make it so. Who defines "properly?"


 


According to John Taylor Gatto, "A small number of very passionate American ideological leaders visited Prussia in the first half of the 19th century; fell in love with the order, obedience, and efficiency of its education system; and campaigned relentlessly thereafter to bring the Prussian vision to these shores." The Prussian ideology is easy to find.


 


Gatto says the major ideas of Prussian education brought here are: the purpose of state schooling was not intellectual training but the conditioning of children "to obedience, subordination, and collective life;" whole concepts or ideas were broken into disjointed "subjects" and school days were divided into fixed periods "so that self-motivation to learn would be muted by ceaseless interruptions." The last idea was that the state was viewed as the true parent of children.


 


I, obviously, don't think it is good from any standpoint (especially my Christian one).


It is, in my opinion, the heart of parental freedom to choose to school their children.


 


What do you think and why?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I love Christmas specials!

I get all sorts of interesting emails from all sorts of places tempting me to shop *now* because there are some fabulous deals available. Well, every so often they are absolutely right and I do buy! I thought I would share with you some of the fun things I have found--some I purchased and some I did not. (I have to be careful here as some of my children read this blog! To my children - do not read any further!!) :+)


 


Knowledge Quest is having a Stocking Stuffer Sale and this means that some very neat geography games (as well as some other really wonderful items) are on sale. I really love this company and its owners.


 


The Old Schoolhouse Store is also having a tremendous Black Friday (through this Saturday) sale. Depending on how much you spend you receive a huge stash of other goodies so check it out! Remember--always free shipping!


 


Timberdoodle is one of my favorite stores on the net--always great service and high quality products. You will not find junk at Timberdoodle. They too are also having a sale on some of their games and curriculum items.  


 


I like this product! It is a KikaFlik and they are having a free shipping sale too!


 


Vision Forum has a bunch of items on clearance and if you order today you will receive free shipping. I do enjoy this store!


 


Books are often on the Christmas list as gifts and I find some amazing deals at BookCloseouts. I have also recently discovered the goldmine that can be found in the "New and Used" section on Amazon.com's individual item listings. I have found some amazing prices on books that normally are very expensive or they just cannot be found to buy from Amazon. I bought a beautiful full-color book for $.86 (plus $3.50 shipping). I was very pleased and have also found some curriculum needs that way.


 


Hearthsong always has creative Christmas gifts for children and they always have something on sale too. Some of their "Christmas Overstock" is 70% off. (I was able to get some fun stuff there too!)  


 


Contructive Playthings and Back to Basic Toys both have really nice quality items for underneath your tree. I just love wooden toys and both of these companies have them.


 


OK, that is my Christmas rundown! I hope you are enjoying the beginning of the Christmas season. We have already enjoyed listening to A Christmas Carol and the Classical Kids Christmas cassette as well as read our first Christmas book, The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree. We are ready to start our December devotional, Bartholomew's Passage: A Family Story for Advent. We read the first in the series last year, Jotham's Journey: A Storybook for Advent. The first is still available for those of you interested in a tremendously exciting Advent story! From what I understand the author is searching for a new publisher so it makes some of the books hard to find. It is worth the seach though and we will be starting Bartholomew's Passage this weekend.


 


What are your new plans for this year?

Friday, November 24, 2006

My Lady Sweets


I have really been enjoying the growing stages of our girls. They are like beautiful flowers just beginning to grow in the spring. It is wonderful to hear them talk about the newness of life and the world around them. I try to spend time with just my older girls on a semi-regular basis. We try to do it every Tuesday night, while Daddy is with John at Cub Scouts and the littles are in bed, but sometimes that does not work out. The times it does though, are precious and I am enjoying it so much! 


 


We read in one sitting (though it was quite a bit of reading) The Stranger at Home, by an unknown author. It was last published in 1871 and has been republished in a beautifully bound hardback by SAT Publications. They are particular in what they publish and have made some wonderful choices! This is a wonderful book! It is probably the author's childhood story though they do not know this for sure. It is written in a very personal way. From the website:


 


"The story centers on Elvira, a spoiled and rebellious girl, and how her godly parents and wise siblings deal with her disruptive behavior. (...) Of special note is the sweet, gracious, yet irresistible power of God in the last chapter."


 


We were very moved by the whole story. It was also really wondeful to have a quality  book backing up our authority as parents in story format. There certainly is no end to books that buck it. These same publishers gave us The Basket of Flowers. That made for many nights of meanful reading and deep conversation over tea and cookies.


 


This week past my eldest and I were able to have some rare alone time. We started a lovely book called Beautiful Girlhood. It has some of the most meaningful and precious words in it for this mother and daughter! It was hard to make it through some of the portions to be honest. My "little girl" is fast becoming a beautiful young woman. Sometimes I want time to stop and other times I just cannot believe how amazing she is. I am truly blessed with my children.


 


Here are some wonderful quotes:


 


"Childhood holds its promises, womanhood its fulfillments, and youth, those golden days of girlhood, the transition. This change is almost too great for us to comprehend. We marvel when we see the tiny, green bud develop into a mature rose of brilliant hue; how much more wonderful is the change from the crudeness and imperfections of childhood to the beauty and grace of young womanhood!"


 


"The awakening comes suddenly. Not that you will know the day or the week when the change comes, nor will you be conscious of the miracle in your nature, but the things of childhood will slip away. The little girl in you loses interest in her play-world.  (...)  Your mother looks on with dismay as she sees these changes, for she knows that her little girl is getting away from her and that she must make room in her heart and life for the young woman developing before her eyes.  She would put it off a little longer, for she will miss her little daughter, her baby girl; but even mother-love cannot stay the hand of time."


 


Oh, these words brought tears to my eyes because they are true! It is happening before my eyes and my lovely daughters are growing so fast. I am so very grateful for this time--this time to sit and listen, to share and discuss. I am so glad for a good relationship with my children. May it always be so! 


 


I desire to connect in a different way with my younger children and have this kind of special time too though it is very different as they flit like butterflies from one thing to another. The darling feverish manner of little ones! How they are all so funny! How do you connect with your children? What special things do you do to reach their little hearts? 


 


I hope you all had a very nice Thanksgiving. We sure did--and we have much to be thankful for! 

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thankful for Life

I am reflecting tonight after a lovely day with family and friends. The homeschool mom I wrote about a short while ago passed away today. It is hard to imagine that a husband and two children, as well as a host of other family members are mourning their lost loved one. Time flies so quickly and we never really know what kind of time we have left with our own loved ones. Remember those precious family members and invaluable friendships today.


 


We are very thankful.  

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

So many things

There are so many things to be thankful for and I am going to try to update this throughout the day with items that we are all truly grateful for.

I would like to start out with a powerful post by Michelle Malkin. Let's not take our freedoms for granted.

From California at 2:56 AM...


Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Who are you?

I don't do these quizzes very often, but this one was lengthy enough that I thought it might give a more realistic answer. My children did this too and it was fun to see their answers. What is yours?


 


Which "Pride and Prejudice" character are you most like?


 



You scored as Elizabeth Bennet. 
 
You are independent, passionate and unconventional, with a sharp tongue and a quick mind. But you have a quick temper and sometimes forget who you're talking to...

Elizabeth Bennet - 75%
Charlotte Lucas - 70%
Jane Bennett - 60%
Lydia Bennett - 55%


 


Those of you who know me can tell me if this fits! LOL

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lifting Her Up

From another mother in the homeschooling trenches came this:


 


We have had several discussions with the doctor and have come to the conclusion to stop all treatments altogether.  It just was not working in my body.  Sadly this means I am now officially on hospice care.  I am comfortable and not in much pain.  My doctor said I would have one to six months; however, we agreed in reality it would be more like 1 to 2 months.


 


This takes my breath away. She is a mama just like you and I are, loving her young ones, loving her husband. She is preparing to leave them forever. It breaks my heart for her and, of course helps me to take stock in my own family life.


 


Please join me in prayer for Lorrie Gnos as she prepars to meet her Savior, and for those she will leave behind. May the hand of our great and mighty God bring them His precious comfort.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Belated but never forgotten

This past Sunday, as most of you are aware, it was Veterans' Day. I did not do a specific post for this day, and was glad I waited. That night I watched Fox News' Company of Heroes. It was a moving account of the first battle in Fallujah by the U.S. Marines of the India Company of the Third Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. They were so dedicated! Their families were so brave! What they discovered in Fallujah would soften the most hardened anti-war protester--torture chambers, massive hoards of terrorist weaponry, and civilians killed because they were not fighting Americans. The images were hard to watch, frankly, and it is a wonder that any of our soldiers survived. The movie was an inside look into the preparation, execution, and recovery of a battle by an embedded news reporter. We also got to see the homefront--and what some of these brave families endured. Some of them gave the ultimate sacrifice of a son, a husband, a father. It was heartrending.


 


I know the war is controversial, and I know there are many questions that are unanswered. I also know that there are tremendous acts of bravery--courage beyond what is considered the measure of men. Men like Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith who alone, covered the withdrawal of his men from a suddenly vulnerable position, and gave his life in the process. And men like Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham who threw himself on top of a grenade to protect his patrol--he gave his life for his men. These two men will be receiving the Medal of Honor posthumously. It is these kinds of men and their bravery and sacrifice that we honor on Veterans' Day--that I honor today.


 


There are so many that have sacrificed, who continue to do so, and will continue, until there is an ending to the madness of terrorism. My heart physically hurts for those who have lost loved ones, but I will forever be grateful. Those who gave their lives will forever have my thanks. May God be with their families and may He be with those still in harm's way.


 


Thank you, Veterans!


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Calling Him Lord...

Submission. That can be an inflammatory word when understood incorrectly. I have appreciated two recent posts, one from a favorite inflammable blog source here, and one from Kim at The Upward Call.


 


I believe that true biblical submission is a gift to a marriage and does not subvert the wife. I am grateful for both of the perspectives in the above-linked posts. It is a beautiful concept that I am afraid we often miss. I hope you don't miss these posts!

Friday, November 10, 2006

God is still on the throne!

The elections were a huge disappointment to me, but with the current spiritual state of our nation it should not surprise me so much. It does though. It is hard to comprehend that a parental *notification* (mind you, not even *permission*) proposition did not pass. How can this nation be so so apathetic to its babies? The whole election left me feeling this deep sense of loss. What will become of our nation with the way it is heading? Only God knows, but I am SO glad He does.


 


I take great solace in the fact that God is sovereign and rules over the affairs of men. By His providence, the day after the election, we read all about God's providential moving hand:


 


Proverbs 16:9
The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.


 


Proverbs 16:33
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.


 


Proverbs 21:1
The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.


 


and then of course there is the biggest verse of comfort found in


 


Romans 8:28:


And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.


 


So it was no providential accident that we read that the next day either, was it. I grieve for our land because I love this country. I love what this nation originally stood for. I want our land to be one that glorifies God is all it does. But right now, it does not. May God providentially move the hands of our leadership--for he can you know. Just ask King Nebuchadnezzar.


 


"Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws.


 


"But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever;


 


For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,


And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.


All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,


But He does according to His will in the host of heaven


And among the inhabitants of earth;


And no one can ward off His hand


Or say to Him, 'What have You done?'


(Daniel 4)


 


Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Voting Day!

As always I am last-minute in both voting and reading about all the various propositions and some of the candidates are new to me. Most of the propositions, in this state of non-accountability, should have been decided by our elected officials. For whatever reason they have not been and so that responsiblity falls to the voters. Well, there are some very important ones on our ballot and we are getting out to vote to have our conservative say in this very liberal state of California.


 


I like this guy. Paul Green Jr. is running for State Senator in our district and he just sounds like the nicest man with the right ideas about government and, more importantly, the right ideas about the moral issues that are important to me. May God give him victory.


 


Surprisingly on our ballot this election is Proposition 85, Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor's Pregnancy-Initiative Constitutional Amendment. It is appalling that a minor--as young as 12!!--can get an abortion in our state at all, or that any woman can, but even more so that parents are not even notified. You cannot give a child an asprin in a public school, but yet they can covertly escort them to an abortion mill and "take care of" the living baby inside. It is sickening to me. You should have seen the garbage commercials that came out against this proposition. May God allow it to pass!


 


There is also another interesting proposition on Imminent Domain. If you have been following this at all in the national news you will know about the much-discussed unconstitutional grabbing of private land. I am happy to see this on our ballot and really hope it passes. Let the developers develop on honestly purchased land, not land stollen from those whose families have had it for decades or centuries--or land stollen from churches!


 


It is rare that I blog anything political, but that does not mean I don't feel strongly about these issues. I really pray that God will bring victory to the godly who are running and move in the hearts of the men and women already serving. May His will be done in this misfit state!


 



 


Get out and vote!


:+)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Company Revisted

What a lovely day with an even more lovely woman. I have wanted to meet Amelia for many years and what a treasure she is in person. Those of you in her church--you are blessed people! I would love to have her as a local friend. There are few people in my life who understand Tolkien in the way that she does, and understand my love of his work too. She gave me one of the nicest gifts in the book, The Silmarillion. I don't even know why she gave me such a gift, but I am really thankful for it. :+) It is so lovely with full-color paintings by Ted Nasmith.


 


We hobbits had much second breakfasting and lunching and dinnering from morning until late in the evening. It is wonderful to meet a kindred spirit in person and I really very much enjoyed our time. She showed me all her pictures from her TOS UK trip and so, DeeDee, I got to see who you are! :+) She says hello to you! Thanks for letting me ramble about a dear sweet person. :+)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Company!

I am very excited today. There is a special person I have never met, but have worked with for years, chatted theology, great literature, and, of course, J.R.R. Tolkien with, and she will be in my very home tomorrow at 8:00 am! That person would be the brilliant mind behind the Literary Lessons of the Lord of the Rings, Mrs. Amelia Harper. I have long desired to spend some time chatting fantasy literature, LOTR, and life with her in my home (while enjoying second breakfast) and I just can't believe it will happen tomorrow!


 


So what does that mean for today? It means I had better get off this computer, get going on school, and get this house in shape! What would a fellow Hobbit think if she came to my uncleaned hole in the ground? :+)


 


Enjoy your week!


 

Monday, October 30, 2006

Balancing of Days

I am really trying to find the balance in all my computer use and I find that the less I am on the computer the less I really want to be! :+) So, that is part of the reason I have not blogged since my prayer request.

Update on Grace: she is home and recovering from her nasty bout with sickness. Her baby is nursing again and is a happy little squishy clam. Grace's husband is happy about both of those things. :+) I can only imagine what he went through trying to feed a baby a bottle she did not want at all. Praise God she is doing well and in recovery mode now. God is good!


 



 


The older three children went with Daddy to Angel Island this Saturday with Cub Scouts and hiked all the way to the top of Mt. Livermore. The pictures here are taken from the top.  Above is the Golden Gate Bridge and below is Tiburon. The pictures and video from the summit were spectacular. (Unfortunately I had to shrink them to fit the blog space here, but even these pictures show you what a lovely day they had!) I had forgotten how pretty the Bay Area is. It has been ten years since we lived there and believe it or not the memory fades. The Sacramento area has truly become our home, summer heat and all.


 



 


We are in the midst of a gorgous fall day--slightly breezy and warm, but cool enough for candle burning. :+) I just love this time of year!


 


We celebrated the youngest's birthday yesterday. My not-so-little baby is now four. Four! It is amazing to see her growing so fast. Those of you struggling with babies--remember that it goes all too fast! I don't know when it all happened, but it is a good reminder to limit my time on the computer.


 


There we are! Full circle to the beginning of this post! I am limiting myself, and it has been liberating and wonderful. I even finished a brilliant book this weekend, North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell. What a lovely, marvelous,  rich, and filling book! The movie is very similar in the feelings it evokes, but of course the book is filling to the soul beyond the measure of the movie. (And the movie was wonderful!)


 


I think I am going to set aside my Victorian passion for a while and read something nonfictionish. I have not settled on it yet, but will let you know when I do.


 


Have a lovely week, all! We are off to a brilliant start.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Please Pray

My dear friend Grace is in the hospital with colitis as a result of the medication taken from two severe breast infections. She is now on serious medication that prevents her from nursing and the baby is at home and refusing a bottle. Please pray for Grace and for her husband Korey at home with a very unhappy baby and their three year-old. Thank you!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Eldarion to Christ

How many of you knew who Eldarion was? If so, you have read the various Appendices to The Lord of the Rings. (Can you tell I am a Ringer?) :+) I just finished this amazing work for the third time. With each reading it gets richer and richer and the characters come more alive to me. Reading the Appendices give me so much to chew on. That Tolkien would have written them at all shows you just how much he was truly living in Middle Earth. For those of you who have read The Silmarillion, you will know it even more.


 


The Appendices tell you what happened to so many of the people you encountered in Middle Earth. I say that like they are all real. They *do* become real the more you read it. You can see these Hobbits, Men, and Elves come alive in the work of Tolkien and it really is marvelous. There is no other fictional work I have ever read that has painted a picture so clear that you could walk into it and miss it when it was gone. I was sad today thinking of Arwen in the fading garden of Lothlorien after the passing of Aragorn--she gave up everything for her love of him. I was sad thinking of the death of Merry and Pippin, laying "...in Rath Dinen among the great of Gondor." 


 


How is it that a work of fiction can have such an impact on one's heart? I think the very essence of the fall of man is portrayed in these books--intentional or not. All of life is filled with great happiness as well as great grief. There was exceptional joy in these books and exceptional pain. Do we not live this very life? I think I so identify with the grief of Arwen or the sadness at the passing of the time of the Elves because life changes and moves on. But it was not meant to be this way. We are living in the world post-fall. What an aching reality! To know there was such a thing as a perfect world, God's most perfect place, set apart for us all, not marred by sin and death--and to have missed it all for the lust of the flesh, the pride of life. Ah, such grief! Such pain! So much we endure because of the choice of two people.


 


There is to be a better place, a future world not marred by sin and death--where there will be no tears, no more sorrow, no pain and suffering. It is truly hard to comprehend. I cannot fathom what that world looks like--but I know it will be! I have the promise of my King--my returning King! The battle though, is already fought, and the treasure of eternal life is already won. There will be no Black Gate to conquer and no great enemy to defeat. It is a joyous advent for those who know their King.


 


I think this is why The Lord of the Rings resonates so much with my heart. It is not that I think it is an allegory for it isn't, but because there is so much beauty and truth in it--and so much aching sadness that reminds me of this life. The aching sadness though, will pass away, and be a long lost memory in eternity with Christ.

Distractions Part Two

Thank you to all the commenting ladies in the previous post. You all gave me something to think about and it helped. I think it really is about self control--one  of the basic things I teach my own children! Thankfully I have finished all I need to do with review products for a while, sent out all contest copies to TOS winners, and have some real honest-to-goodness non-work days ahead of me. It is something to be caught up!


 


This week we are striving to get back on the school schedule. Why is it that fall is the time of year that school starts up again? There are pumpkin farms to visit, fallish crafts to do, five birthdays amongst our family, Thanksgiving and then Christmas to plan for! How come fall is when fall is? :+) I do love fall, and all its trappings, but it sure makes it hard to stay on the school schedule! Apple cider anyone? :+)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Distractions

I don't know about any of you, but I am so easily distractable. The internet is a difficult thing to grapple with for me. It is so much easier to read blogs, boards, the news, etc., than to really deal with the very real life in front of me. I think I am going to have to sincerely limit myself. I do it to my children so why not to myself? I really don't want my children's memories of me to be the back of my head as I read another news story.


 


The "Information Age" is really not all its cracked up to be in some ways. There is so much instant information, shopping, pictures, videos, help, chat, article after article of available knowledge and all for the taking! Now I know full well there are negatives to the net too, but it can really be an addiction. (And I am not talking about the gross stuff, but the truly helpful or enjoyable things here.) I am dealing with the symptoms now. Are you?


 


1. How often do I click "send and receive" per day? Does my work really take that much time?


2. Does it really matter if anyone has commented underneath my post on the board? Does it benefit anyone at all or is it only for my own benefit?


3. Did that person respond to my comment I left for them on their blog?


4. Will the news website *really* have an update on the story I just read after only two hours? Does it matter if they do?


5. Does blogging take a more important role in my life than learning [insert subject here] with my children?


6. When I have extra money am I imagining what I can buy with it on the net?


7. Does it really matter how many people come to my blog every day? (Yes, you do matter, but should I care so much if my counter is low?)


 


These are humbling things I am asking myself. Yes, I have to use the internet for my job. I know that, but I have been using it as an excuse in my head for spending more time than I need to. Why is it hard to do this? Do I feel like I will not be important somehow if I drop out of the great internet discussion? I am not being sarcastic here, I am really asking myself these things.


 


How do you limit yourself on the computer--especially if you work from your home as I do? I would love to hear how you have limited yourself--and I will only read your responses when I have done what is truly important here at home. :+)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Wolf Scout Mama

I am officially a Wolf Scout Mama. I took the place of my husband tonight at the den meeting of my Wolf Cub. It was nice to see the inner-sanctum of scouting for the first time. We will be attending his pack meeting next week as a family because he will be getting some awards. He has been working really hard with his sister and his daddy to get the requirements done. He really is a special boy and I adore him.


 


Tonight they had to write a guess for an experiment they were doing. I looked later at his paper and in addition to his guess he had written in little boy capital letters, "I love Cub Scouts." It made my heart melt. He almost missed it tonight because Daddy was just not feeling well. I said I would go and I am so glad I did. Time is marching on with my son. He is growing up. He is seeing things with new eyes and honorable men to guide him. It was really wonderful to be there with him. He is my little soldier and I love him.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

There's gold in them thar hills!

And we struck it! Well, some of us did, anyway! We spent most of the day at the Coloma Gold Rush Live on Saturday and it was truly a marvelous event. Here is some of our day...


 


Panning for gold, of course!


 



 


Look what John found! We're rich!


 



 


Well, OK, maybe not quite so rich...


 



 


That circled one there, that is our treasure. Yes, that bigger one is real gold, discovered in this valley by a real miner. He said it was worth upwards of $4,200.  Ours is, well, not so much. :+)


 


Guess who we ran into in full costume and cooking (below) over a hot fire?


One of my favorite Unit Studies gals, Jennifer Steward!


 



 


These are some of the things she was cookin' for the menfolk!


 



 


On the spit was beef covered in rosemary. It was very tempting to smell!


In the ovens below were chicken and dumplings, beans and a pie. They had already cooked one pie. There was really a science behind cooking in the ovens. I hope to do it with our own sometime.


 


We had an honest-to-goodness trapper tell us the life of a trapper in the "olden days." She was a character and she shared how they slept with buffalo pelts, what they ate, and how they started fires. She was really a character.


 



 


We could not resist buying our little goldrushers period hats:


 



 


Are they just too cute for words? I am, admitedly, rather partial. :+)


 


We got to listen to the doctor tell us all about how these tools were used:


 


 


 


This ought to make you pale. The big saw on the right was used for chopping limbs off when nothing else would work. The instrument above the box that looks like a wine bottle opener is the item that opened up the skull. Can you say it with me, "THANK GOD for modern medicine?!"


 


We met a wonderful woman who made spectacular baskets from pine needles and raffia. Here she is explaining it and some of her work is below.


 



 



 


(This one took 50 hours to make!!)


 



 


Sweet Carmon is a docent at Coloma's Sutter's Mill and she was there in full dress with her whole family. Below is the docent schoolmaster and sometimes pastor, Rex Ruth. (They are very serious, you know, because they are in period form for the camera!) :+)


 



 


This is Miss. Em that Carmon sometimes blogs about. She was so sweet and very talented. She made her dress herself and the following half-scale dress you see below in front of the sewing tent. It was beautiful!


 



 



 


We got to listen to a beautiful hurdy-gurdy played by a man I would swear was Donald Sutherland. :+)


 



 


And we were wondering about this Mountain Man. He was a HOOT!


 



 


John was ready for the hunt. :+) We had such a wonderful time. The docents worked so hard, but really looked like they were having a wonderful time. I have to say though that I am SO glad I don't live in the goldrush days! I love to visit, but coming home to my nice house, comfy mattress and electric lights, well, I am a spoiled gal. I sure did love the smell of campfire I left with though. It was a warm and cozy smell. Maybe that life wouldn't be so bad after all...


:+)


 



 


Such times as these, they are precious and appreciated.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Gold Rush Livin' in Sutter's Mill, Coloma!

We'll be there, will you?


 


Coloma Gold Rush Live - Sat, Oct 14, 2006 - Sun, Oct 15, 2006


For two days Coloma will be packed with images, sounds, and hands-on experiences dating back to the 1850s. Step back in time and experience the California Gold Rush. Live history tent encampments recreate Gold Rush history in this authentic setting. Attend talks about the gold discovery and Sutter's Mill. Visitors will enjoy live music, historic trade demonstrations and a merchants market. There will be gold panning contests for kids and adults as well as sawmill demonstrations and historic re-enactments so you can feel as if you are rubbing shoulders with the adventurers and historical figures that helped create the world-wide rush to California. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. For more information contact (530) 295-2170 or (530) 622-3470.


Random Round Up

I discovered this site through a link some time ago and just thought it was a great place to learn to save money. I love the name--and how can you not? Hillbilly Housewife is the site and I highly recommend it for those cutting the costs at home. Aren't we all? :+)







"Who has controlled the Middle East over the course of history? Pretty much everyone. Egyptians, Turks, Jews, Romans, Arabs, Greeks, Persians, Europeans...the list goes on. Who will control the Middle East today? That is a much bigger question." This interesting blurb came from a link that was shared with me. "See 5,000 years of history in 90 seconds." I cannot endorse the website as I don't know anything about the group, but the flash map that this link takes you to changes and covers the whole course of written history in the Middle East is really very interesting. (Especially for you history fans!)







For those of you studying the San Francisco earthquake, you will find this devastation picture engrosing. It is a huge picture and make take dial-up folks a while, but you can scroll and see the whole city from a camera that was raised by balloons after the fire had died down. It is a dramatic picture.






For those of you who like to understand some of the stories in the news from a creationist viewpoint, you might find Answers in Genesis' new News to Note helpful. I have found it to be a worthwhile resource for understanding some of the evolutionary stories we hear so much about as well as helping to grapple with the more horrific stories like the Amish shootings.







Hunting for Geography sites? This one is pretty substantial and full of great resources. Paula's Archives is also a huge wealth of information from book lists to Latin and Greek roots, to non-homeschooling topics. It is really something and I have only scratched the surface! Are you looking for educational games for your family? Well look no further. I was amazed at the selection here.







It is fall. Huzzah! To celebrate we have been lighting candles every day and enjoying the warm scents provided to me by Homestead Originals. I can now say with authority that her Gingerbread and Homestead Kitchen are absolutely the BEST! Especially Homestead Kitchen! If you like your home to have that wonderful cinnamony yummy warm smell then that is the one for you. For only $4.00 for a half pint soy candle that lasts for, no kidding, 45 hours--well, you just can't find that anywhere. I will be buying more before the end of winter at the rate we are using them! What fun!







And I leave something for us all to chew on. I really like this quote and may have put it here before, but it bears mentioning again. I hope you have a wonderful family-filled weekend!


 



"We think of God as a miser of happiness, keeping back from us all that would make us happy. We think that by running away from Him we will be happy, wild, and free. But it doesn't work that way. Instead of happiness we find misery. Instead of freedom we find the debilitating bondage of sin."
- James Boice

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Celebrating 36 years

Today is my birthday and I am celebrating! My dear and precious, sweet and wonderful friend Kolbi sent me these gorgeous beauties (and that is chocolate in the green package!)


 



 


I am SO grateful for all I have been given; flowers, friendships, family and my Savior.


 


I am going to celebrate it with my most precious gifts here for you:


 


My wonderful husband and I in our Sunday best:


 



 


My happy blue-eyed sweety:


 



 


My smiling fallish girl:


 



 


My one and only Wolf cub:


 



 


My brown-eyed pixie:


 



 


My smallest smallish bear girl:


 



 


Am I not blessed on this my 36th year? Thank you, Jesus, for the life I lead.