Thursday, April 30, 2009

Waiting for Fruit

I have been partial to the Wisdom books for about a quarter century-maybe 'cause I'm in such need of it! I was reading Eugene Peterson's excellent intro to Daniel this morning and came across this: " The stories tell of souls living faithfully in obedience to God in a time of adversity. The visions are wide screen renditions of God's sovereignty worked out among nations who couldn't care less about him.....The stories nourish a commitment to integrity and perseverance right now. Very few of us live in settings congenial to God-loyalty and among people who affirm a costly discipleship. Hardly a day goes by that we do not have to choose between compliance to what is expedient and loyalty to our Lord. The stories (the six 'soul stories' in Daniel) keep us alert to what is at stake day by day, hour by hour."

I've been letting go of something this week that I really wanted to happen. I didn't even realize how much I wanted it until the reality of it's not happening took hold. Often times it seems like we are truly the odd among odd and this thing not happening microscoped that, leaving me feeling like a "lone reed." A friend sent me her devotional from this morning; we've both been battling together this week voices of adversity and we've been taking turns lifting each other up. I'm holding fast to the following, despite circumstances: "And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper" (Psalm 1:3).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WW: Growing things

Inside: sugar snap peas, marigolds, cukes, zukes, radishes, tomatoes, peppers, beans, a bunch of herbs, pumpkins, watermelon. Outside blooms. Still waiting on the bearded purple iris to come up. It's been wet and rainy and, besides the day with 91 degree weather, still chilly.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Impotence and the Church

"To avoid situations in which you might make mistakes may be the biggest mistake of all." -- Peter McWilliams

Just finished "The Memory Keeper's Daughter," by Kim Edwards. It's all about secrets and protecting ourselves and our loved ones from pain and trying to make amends with the past. It's a good read and really gets to the heart of shame and what a lack of grace in one's life can bring. The resolution rings true but isn't truly satisfying. I kept hoping that the right thing would get done by someone. Instead the characters just continued living in shame, confusing, rebellion and defiance.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what "doing the right thing" is. I'm frustrated with several situations but the solutions seem impotent, the characters uninvolved, satisfied and legalistic. Several times over the past years I've disappointed people and they've let me know it. Frankly, they frequently don't show much tact in doing so and it all comes down to my not fitting their expectations. I'm doing what I'm called to do and I'm imperfect and frequently bungle. I've found, however, that most folks would rather things get done right, (which is usually subjective) and if that's not an option, they just don't get done at all. Bungling is the true sin, not the lack of obedience. And that frustrates me. The church, and from where I sit, most of the conservative right sit on their butts and crucify anyone not measuring up, safely ensconced in their pews or in front of their screen of choice.

And true, Viking Man and I chew off too much, too often. We don't have the hatches always battened down, we aren't financed sufficiently, we frequently take flying leaps and hope, rather than know, in a safety net. It's been a wild ride, and FULL of adventure, danger and honestly, loss. But I'd rather hit the finish line having finished rather than barely started, still fussing with all the whatifs, making sure we've cya'd down to the last nitty-gritty detail so that all of the spark has been snuffed out. No wonder the church is dying on the vine. I feel this desperate plead inside my soul wanting to shout to the church, like the little girl at the end of "Iron Will," GET UP. Just GET UP and STAND. You might not win, but at least you've started, at least you gave it a shot. GET UP! Obey, bungle. But put your faith in to action, put it to the test, be refined, take risks, make mistakes, get messy.

Instead I see questions asked rhetorically, without real sacrifice thrown into the response. . Impotence and ease, comfort and satisfaction. Lack of hunger and lack of thirst for the things, the important, the holy, the real things, that demand more. That will be bungled because we are still residents in a world that is full of sin. That are worth a shot regardless.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Education & the Creation of a Beautiful Family Culture

We do believe that education is the transmission of culture and we have a clear vision for the culture that we want to convey to our kids. We have developed our vision (who we are), our mission (what we do) and our goals clearly. We find that many families, churches and communities don't and it shows. I also believe that younger children need specific guidance, and older children/youth/young adults, need mentoring to do "hard things" even when their interests and passions veer them in a different direction. Academic discipline has, after all, many other applications. Having said that, finding opportunities that will jazz your kids and allow their passions to blossom is really cool (and in my case has stretched me a lot, too). I am an opportunity seeking Momma. I'm always on the lookout for people, tools, experiences that might fit one of my kids. It's a lot of work and we've invested in some things that have "bombed" but we've also invested in some things that have been super amazing. Our kids work hard but they also have a lot of free time to play, wander fields, imagine, and read. We've had unique opportunities given to us and sought out, but we have, to an extent, turned away from status quo. People in church and the community rave about our kids, their maturity, intelligence, passion, ability to speak publicly, etc. but still think we're a little "odd" because we've homeschooled for so long, have a large family, etc. I actually had a long-time friend say to me, "we all want the benefits of homeschooling, but we don't want to make the sacrifice." I say all of that because if you really develop a proactive, carpe diem paradigm by which to raise your children you will be radical indeed! I have found that as I've really sought out education for our kids I've had to sacrifice my own laziness, indifference, lack of education, pleasure seeking self and get educated. This has caused me to grow. For instance, in the past 2 years I have really learned grammar. I can write- have written a thesis, write for fun, etc, but I never really got grammar. And I've discovered that it's fun, it's empowering and I can DO IT. I can write better, speak better, understand people better, think better, teach my kids better. Next, I am going to get off my lazy rocker and move on in Latin with my kids. I am still a little intimidated, but not so much so that I'm not doing it. We ditched the T.V. years ago, for many reasons (I highly suggest "Amusing Ourselves to Death, by Neil Postman) but one of them is that is sucks the time out of our day and replaces it with the average and mundane. We limit computer usage and have no electronic toys. Our kids are very adept at electronics, love them, play them with friends, but I'd rather that we talk, read, go outdoors, or just have the space to think our own thoughts. I want my kids to be passionate about things of the heart and when they sit in front of a screen listlessly for lengths of time, they become apathetic about everything. We talk a lot to and with our kids. We take our kids to a lot of adult activities as well. We include our kids in our lives, thoughts, faith, hobbies and work. We invest our selves in our kids. Our lives are oriented around our vision for our family. It is a rich and satisfying way to live and our kids are creative, intelligent, passionate people. We have gone from homeschooling our kids to "creating a beautiful family culture." We have sought a vision that is big enough to contain our hopes and dreams for our "living legacy," (i.e. children) and it has been a wild ride for sure and for certain but one that we wouldn't do over!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The High Cost of Children

Some good food for thought. An excerpt:
The consumer ethos is above all one of individual self-fulfillment and autonomy, of keeping choices open.This makes it irrational to bear a child, since children represent the commitment of a lifetime. In the wonderfully apt phrase of novelist Michael Dorris, children "hold us hostage to the future." They limit a parent’s mobility, their needs dictate how much of their parents' money is spent, and they create "agendas" a parent otherwise would never have imagined-let alone have chosen. Attempting to stay true to consumption as a way of life, we soberly build daycare centers that label children Precious Commodities, fixate on the monetary costs of rearing a child from diapers through college, and seriously wonder whether or not we should "force" our faith and morality on our children.

Friday, April 24, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

The weather was beautiful this week- up to 91 yesterday- a far cry from the blizzard we had 2 weeks ago. We have seedlings coming up from the bunches that we planted: marigolds, sugar snap beans, watermelon, cucumber, cosmos, basil, Roma tomatoes. We put tomatoes and cabbage in the beds and covered them with milk jugs - the tomatoes still look pretty wind-burned, but the potatoes and onions are snug in the ground. It will be our first year for potatoes and I'm wondering if the bed space is worth it.

Had a blast Wednesday afternoon taking graduation pics for KB (see below). I shot 150, we narrowed it down to 11 that we really liked and then all agreed on "the winner." Still, there are so many cute, fun ones, I'm going to have to figure out something adorable to do with them all.
Living Memory Grammar Catechism to the rescue! (Thanks-again, Dr. Campbell!) Feche boy was really struggling with Latin grammar. KB showed him how to apply the grammar that we've been memorizing to the translations and he is good to go. We have Henle Latin for next year but I've discovered another program with songs, chants, on-line helps, tutorials, DVD's. Tempting to bail on Henle and go with more.

The great outdoors was so very tempting this week and I always feel, on these first weeks of real spring, that I'm coming up for air after three years underground. We traded floor heaters for fans yesterday! Iris, sedum, flax are all poking tentative tendrils above ground, along with lettuce and the trees and bushes are beginning to blush pink and green and yellow.

My big homestead success of food preservation for the year: pick tomatoes, put a bunch in a freezer safe baggie, press all of the air out. When needed, rinse tomatoes, the skin falls right off, pop in a pan for tomato sauce, etc. Summer perfection stored in the freezer.
Worked out several days this week for a few minutes at a time- the first regular anything since mangling my knee and cracking my tailbone about 15 months ago. It is slow going but I can walk afterwards and my knee is no longer swelling. Praise God!


We are winding down with our year's school work. I think that we'll do Famous Men of Modern Age for summer school, along with Sequential Spelling, an extensive reading list, some memory work and lots of gardening. The boys in particular don't love to help weed but I love being out in the garden together and the rambling, crazy conversations that take place. Last year I read The Epic of Gilgamesh to them while they weeded- howz that for multi-tasking?

Don't forget to hop on over to Conversion Diaries and check out more Quick Takes

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

WW: KB's graduation pictures

1 Proud Momma + 1 Humble Camera + 1 Gorgeous DD = Beautiful Pictures, wouldn't you agree?

More Change.

Perspective: Civility and tolerance in the age of Obama

Guess beauty is really only skin deep and Hilton doesn't realize that his strident definition of marriage is religious and his behavior is ugly, juvenile and vile. Lots of stories being related lately about left wing, liberal, Obamessiah protesters who are shutting out and shutting down anyone who doesn't agree with them. I heard today from someone who won't support the Parental Rights Amendment because we "can stand on our constitutional rights." Apparently, only if you politically liberal, foul mouthed and bigoted.

What is Education?

This was a recent question lately on TWTM boards and one that was addressed with skill and wisdom in The Classical Teacher. Author Peter Kreeft states that
"an education, e-ducare, is a leading -out and leading-up into the light. It is a change, like an operation or a birth, a change in the student. It is a change from darkness to light,from small mind to large mind, that is, from ignorance to knowledge, and (much more important) from folly to wisdom.

Education, as classically conceived, is not primarily for citizenship, or for making money, or for success in life, or for a veneer of "culture," or for escaping your lower-class origins and joining the middle class, or for professional or vocational training, whether the profession is honorable, like auto repair, or questionable, like law; and whether the profession is telling the truth, like and x-ray technician, or telling lies, like a advertising or communications or politics. The first and foundational purpose of education is not external but internal; it is to make the little human a little more human; bigger on the inside....

If in fact this life is a gymnasium to train for another, sterner combat-than the ultimate purpose of classical education is there. ...

,,,classical education lead to Christianity because classical education seeks all truth for it's own sake, it open to all truth, is a truth-seeking missile, and according to Christ, all who seek, find. Non-Christian are not seekers, or, if they are, they are not non-Christians for long."

Veritas semper una est. The truth is always one.

As always, you can sign up for your free subscrition to The Classical Teacher by going to

Monday, April 20, 2009

On Susan Boyle and Mediocrity in the West.

Oi Vey. A friend sent me an email about Susan Boyle last week- we promptly went to YouTube and took a listen. Just beautiful. As Viking Man and I are pretty steeped in sociological observation what captured us, me anyway, about the whole performance was the fickleness of the audience. Cynical, derisive and dismissive one minute and glowing the next. Maybe it's just that I've read too much about WWII this year because I keep thinking about how easily swayed we humans are- from friends and neighbors one minute to people standing by while others are degraded and violated. Just gave me pause. Frontis nulla fides, baby, but we as a culture seem to have forgotten that great truth.
Ryan Patric over at First Things has a few things to say about the Susan Boyle phenomenon, and being the educational junkie that I am, I resonate. "The popular audience in the West likes to validate its own mediocrity, and crowns stars-for-a-day" ...and more: Meanwhile, in China, 60 million children are learning Western classical music under the gimlet gaze of strict teachers. East Asian singers, particularly Koreans, are working their way up the ranks of provincial opera companies, and every one of them sings better than Boyle. Who do you think is going to run the world 20 years from now? You can find the article in its entirety here: Re: Beauty and Ms. Boyle

Which leads me back to 2 million minutes (Are You Smarter Than a Third World Tenth Grader?), a Roman named Status Quo and what in the world are we thinking? Wait, we forgot how to do that, we'd rather be entertained. If you haven't already, take some time to read Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman, or The End Education KB noticed a sign in town last week-end, designed to sell fish. She took it apart from a logical pov and concluded that it was an illogical ad. Love it.

My book list grows as I listen to interviews with people like Thomas Friedman our original interview and listen to our second interview (courtesy of Amazon) and this interview at the YaleGlobe: Right now I am looking forward to the release date of this: The New Global Student: Skip the SAT, Save Thousands on Tuition, and Get a Truly International Education by Maya Frost.
Meanwhile, I'm off to educate my own students, most of who've escaped to the kitchen to bake cookies or outside to play in the rock-n-roll wind. Divided by gender, naturellement; those who advocate that gender is taught, not inherent just make me laugh. Right.

Week-end Review

It was a busy, fulfilling and exhausting week-end. KB and I have been participating in a Bible Study called Cleansing Streams This past week-end was the 2 day retreat that is an integral part of the program. It consists of intense prayer and releasing God's people from the impediments of life that keep them far from Him. If you haven't attending a Cleansing Streams program I highly recommend it! It is hard to put into words all that occured and probably best left for you to go and participate in. Nothing scary, freaky or holy-rollery. Just honest to goodness prayer, love and the fellowship of God's people in a profound and significant way.

As if that didn't make the week-end good enough Bob Kilpatrick was at our church preaching Sunday morning. It wasn't your typical preach-thang; he's from California, after all. It was entertainment, worship, exhortation, preaching and ministry. We laughed, we cried, we went to church. Bob rocks. Go listen to some of his songs- you'll probably know them anyway- and you'll agree.

Last night we watched Saving Sarah Cain, a Micheal Landon Jr. film, based on a book by Jeanette Oake. This is a lovely little film about the hurts of the past, trying to find our own way, loyalty and getting whole- kinda like the Cleansing Streams Retreat. We were all choked up at the end of the film during a particularly poignant scene as Sarah is remembering good times, being exhorted by her sister to embrace coming challenges and to finding redemption through forgiveness.

So, there you go. A theme week-end. Lots of laughs, tears, fellowship, thoughts to ponder. A God who is bigger than it all, including us. I love how Bob exclaimed and explained that God doesn't just want us to be part of His deal, God wants us dead. That out of our complete surrender He can create what He intends for us and our lives. Powerful love. Powerful impact. Woohoo. Bring it on.

Friday, April 17, 2009

WR: No Witty Title (an IEW bad).

It was a week of fresh air.
Flower finished AlphaPhonics by reading words like syllable and gymnasium. Not bad for a little squirt who turned 6 at the end of January. She has also been adding and subtracting like mad, putting numbers in order and learning place value.
Cub has been working through the Figural/Visual Book #3 from Critical Thinking Press. We haven't used Critical Thinking workbooks for awhile- they are every bit as excellent as I remembered.
I've been reading Little House in the Big Woods to the notsolittles. I read the entire series out loud just a couple of years ago and lo and behold both Flower and Cub remembered sections from it. They are still enjoying every word. I'm a little sad in a way that Flower is not bringing Berenstain Bears and Curious George to me to read every night. We've turned a corner in her development and we are fresh out of pre-schoolers around here. Of course, it's easier in a way- though older kids demand just as much time and probably more effort (just different) on the part of parents.

FB and KB worked through Latin, Logic and Math, along with IEW. Fahrenheit 451 consumed a day of KB's world and we've spent lots of time discussing the significance and relevance of it.
We went to the local Tea Party on Wednesday and Bible Study on Tuesday.
The weather has been lovely- few bugs, high 50's or 60's. The kids are hungry for the outside world and have been spending every spare minute in it, reveling in frogs and bugs and birds found. Feche boy found a killdeer nest, wild turkeys and we are on the look-out for the old craggy snapping turtle that meanders through our yard each spring.
Have a great week-end! Hope your week was successful and all that you hoped!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tea Time.

500 were expected but the crowd swelled to 3500. Not bad for a mid-sized city during lunch break with winds that were gusty and cold enough to warrant jackets and hats.

Fun and entertaining speakers, famous speeches recited, free hotdogs and the usual suspects were all present.
Lots of sign carryers, including a pot-bellied pig wearing sandwhich boards.

This young patriot's sign sported the quote by Thomas Jefferson, "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."
The kids have had a full year of campaigning, political training, reading about government and memorizing famous dates in American history. Our big take away is the complete and total understanding of why Jesus did not come as a politician 2000 years ago and why He'll return to make war and bring justice. Once again, we thank God that the government rests on His shoulders and that HE has it all sorted.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

WW: The Hunt

My Friend Ray

I've loved Ray Bradbury ever since my 8th grade English teacher read "The Martian Chronicles" to us each day after lunch. Seems last Christmas we purchased a few Bradbury titles for Feche-boy, among them "Fahrenheit 451, which I read yesterday. Last year one of my fav books was "Amusing Ourselves to Death" which I think was another book that I loaned out so many times that I never did get it back. But, wow. F451 is just the fictionalized account of Neil Postman's excellent expose' on the direction our culture is not just going, but accelerating into at a speed comparable to lightening. Keep in mind that Bradbury wrote F451 in 1950 and like all really great sci-fi authors he ends up prophesying. The Coda is particularly telling as he speaks again in the 80's to all those voices who are sounding the death toll of logic, demanding political correctness and "fairness," that he re-write his great works to make them more PC. Again, like a true prophet he tells them all to take a flying leap after so rightly saying that "there is more than one way to burn a book." (pg 176)

As an aside I found it interesting that he echos Chaim Potok's apologetic regarding those missing in the world due to death, timely or otherwise, the euthanized, the aborted....
"I've never gotten over his death. Often I think what wonderful carvings never came to birth because he died. How many jokes are missing from the world, and how many homing pigeons untouched by his hands. He shaped the world. He did things to the world. The world was bankrupted of ten million fine actions the night he passed on." .... how much more so times the 40 million souls lost to America alone due to the abortionists knife?

And finally this fine quote, towards the end of the book. "I hate a Roman named Status Quo! he said to me. 'Stuff your eyes with wonder, "he said, "live as if you' drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping it's life away. 'To h*ll with that' he said, 'shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his a**." Preach it baby.

KB spent the morning drinking deeply of the wisdom of our friend Ray, finished the book and then went on to Traditional Logic II studies. In chapter 6, which talks about third order Enthymemes she discovered that our brilliant writer friend was forcing the reader to draw their own logical conclusions after he had set forth two premises. Traditional Logic states, "An enthymeme is the most common form of an argument. An enthymeme is an argument that does not contain one of its premises, or which is missing the conclusion. Premises (and conclusions) are sometimes dropped from arguments because it is assumed the hearers already know them and that it is therefore unnecessary to state them.

I love it when life is serendipitous, even if the conclusion is no longer rightly assumed.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Holy Days.

“At this also my heart trembles,
And leaps from its place.
“Listen closely to the thunder of His voice,
And the rumbling that goes out from His mouth.“
Under the whole heaven He lets it loose,
And His lightning to the ends of the earth.
“After it, a voice roars;
He thunders with His majestic voice,
And He does not restrain the lightnings when His voice is heard.“
God thunders with His voice wondrously,
Doing great things which we cannot comprehend.
~ Job 37: 1-5

Today we celebrated the resurrection of the man called Jesus who is the Christ. Coming again. Called King of Kings and Lord of Lords. May you know Him!

Friday, April 10, 2009

WR: Memory, Logic, Discussion.

Phonics/ Reading/ Read-Alouds- Flower is 2 lessons away from finishing AlphPhonics. I'm having her read through the older lessons and she is doing so with ease and skill. She read 2 paragraphs from Little House on the Prairie this week, too -woohoo! Cub read Mr. Revere and I and was disappointed when it was over. I've been reading Little House on the Prairie out loud - again. It's still wonderful.
Feche-boy finished the Omni II intro to Beowulf. Cub keeps insisting that this is THE story to do for drama camp.
KB read aloud the Shakespeare selection for the week, complete with voices.

Math- introduced subtraction on Monday. Flower freaked, cried and claimed that she couldn't do it. At bedtime we went over simple subtraction using my fingers and she's been whizzing through subtraction ever since. Math memory has included square, cubes, primes to 100, common measurements, months of the year. It's coming along. Cub is working on memorizing multiplication facts. He has skip counting down, but I want it memorized. It's getting easier for him. Viking Man worked with FB & KB this week on Saxon math. They are both feeling like they are mastering it, even if they don't like it. Of course, Viking Man takes every opportunity to show the kids the astronomy picture of the Day, relate that to math, which inevitably leads to a discussion on apologetics or what is happening on the front page of the Jerusalem Post or any manner of other things. The kids come down from our upstairs office full of happy-being-mentored-I-love-my-geek-Dad smiles. It's so good.
Grammar- Introduced Verbs from the Grammar Catechism, from Living Memory a couple of weeks ago. We've done nouns, adjectives, pronouns and now the verb sections- about 10 pages in all. It's so daunting to start a huge memory work like this- for me anyway, but we are getting through it. We are understanding grammar in a new and deeper way. We are owning it, and it's made all the difference in Latina Christiana II for Feche-boy. Cub continues to do Shurley grammar worksheets. FB & KB worked on their IEW theme book assignments, which are, of course, excellent.
Logic- Traditional Logic II. It was an easier week. The kids watch a lesson at the beginning of the week and then have 4-5 lessons to complete. Another lesson down. It's been going slower because the lessons are getting harder. Thank-you Memoria Press and Martin Cothran and Leigh Lowe for their vision and hard work. We are so blessed to have their materials available.
LCII- watch the video, get the work done, practice vocab, and grammar. KB and FB spent a lot of time during vocab memory work insulting each other in Latin. Viking Man was working at home and came down to tell me how impressed he was that they knew enough to throw around insults! Of course Latin sayings- this week- Fronits nulla fides: Place no trust in appearances. Amen to that.
Christian Studies II- read 3 lessons this week. The Bible reading is longer, we're slowing down.
History Sentences- we have all 24 CC sentences memorized. We take great joy in singing them LOUDLY and as goofily as possible. And believe me, we can do goofy.
Listened to Andrew Pudewa's CD this week on Redeeming our Educational Paradigm. Led to many interesting discussions about leadership and education. Also read a couple of profound articles on education in the latest Memoria Press Classical Educator.
Spent 2 afternoons with Anne's this week, booth of whom I cherish as friends, both who have as wacky a sense of humor as me, or at least laugh at my jokes. The kids had a blast playing and it was good to get out of the house. We love you guys!!
Went to Maundy Thursday service last night, which was very touching and enriching. There were different stations set up- communion, giving, to pray for family, to pray for one's own sins and lay them at the cross. The notsolittles were very invested in going to each station and participating. The music was powerful. It was good to be in the house of the Lord with fellow believers.
We also had a simple discussion and nice meal together over Peasch, watched Joseph, King of Dreams and everyone tried to one-up each other on memory work regarding the plagues, Moses, etc.
Cub and Flower are watching 300 Titans, which ties in to the Pudewa discussion on the training of Spartans - they truly believed in getting the kids young to be trained in a compound. This was the way to insure a powerful society. Conformity, commitment, etc. Great discussion on TWTM boards about a move the Secretary of Ed is proposing, which of course, brought more discussion into the home about education. I've decided that we are not non-traditionalists, but neo-traditionalist, any way I define it I think my kids are ruined on "normal."
Tomorrow school will consist of gardening, seeds, starts and dirt. My kinda day. Hope your week was productive and full of JOY.

Thursday, April 9, 2009



I have been mesmerized by the Biblical account of Veronica for many years. Remember her? The women with the issue of blood for 12 years? History says that she was probably a wealthy woman at the beginning of her illness but medical bills and her ritual uncleanliness left her monetarily and socially destitute. One touch of the Jesus' robe, however, even though it possibly meant death by stoning (she was unclean, touching the clothes of a Rabbi) cured her, brought her deliverance.

I realized tonight that I love this story because it is my story. I am unclean. I am broken. I am destitute. I am desperate for a miraculous touch. I know my own lack and want and waste and it is overwhelming at times.

But Jesus Christ knows. He is willing to let me come near. To burden Him. To give of Himself. To make me clean, whole, pure. To make all things, even me, even you, new.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Post Modernism & Iowa Redefine Marriage.

"the cheating ratio of married' gay males, given enough time, approaches 100%...Many gay lovers, bowing to the inevitable, agree to an 'open relationship,' for which there are as many sets of ground rules as there are couples" (p330 After the Ball, Kirk and Madsen).

According to a 1991 study of 900 homosexuals by Dr. Martin Dannecker, German "sexologist" who is a homosexual himself, 83% of the males living in "steady relationships" had numerous sexual encounters outside the partnership over a one-year period.

In his book, Virtually Normal (New York: Vintage Books, 1996), conservative gay writer Andrew Sullivan contrasts male-female marriages with same sex relationships and explains, "there is more likely to be a greater understanding of the need for extramarital outlets between two men than between a man and a woman"

Monday, April 6, 2009

Homeschool: Priorities 101

Received a curriculum catalog in the mail today- one of many, it's the season dontcha' know. Found this bit in the front cover, "Remember your goal- is your goal that your children all master Latin, calculus, and can diagram any sentence? Or, is it that they have a great character, good citizenship, and a love of learning?.....Are you willing to not sweat math today if an opportunity to grow family relationships arises?....

Excuse me? As if it's a choice between being educated and a love of learning? Irl the most educated people I know are also the ones who truly love learning. And apparently we've come so far that we no longer realize that character is built through discipline and hard work, much of which historically has been academic. Frankly, I hope my kids master Latin, can diagram any sentence and by some miracle make it through Calculus. I want them to leave our home and our homeschool with a tool box full. I expect my kids to have great character. I expect that they will have good citizenship (whatever that means), and I expect my kids to have a passion (if not love) for learning. I also expect that family relationships are a high priority. As I've said before, I have a great many hopes and dreams for my kids...

So, yeah, I agree- Remember your goal(s) as you curriculum shop this spring. Latin, diagramming and calculus. Passion, enthusiasm, citizenship, familial responsiblity. You don't have to sacrifice or juxtapose one set of priorites over another. You do have to be intentional or something is bound to get lost in the shuffle. Here's how I manage it. Make a sheet with the following:

Goals/Course/Curriculum used.
1. Set your goals first
2. Name the course
3. Determine the curriculum you'll use to accomplish your goals.

Homeschooling is best goal driven rather than curriculum driven.
Start with the end in mind.
Write the vision, make it plain, and feel free to make it outrageous and personal and epic and all yours.
And, of course, don't forget to Do It.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I read "Night" by Elie Wiesel a couple of weeks ago. It is a heart-wrenching book containing the horror of WWII; terror, and deprivation beyond endurance. What grieved me in the reading though, far beyond the "usual" horrors of WWII was this passage;

"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven time sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever.
Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never."

I have often, since becoming a believer, prayed for those persecuted for the faith, prayed that they would endure beyond what is possible, prayed that the Holy Spirit would comfort and defend and protect them from their own physical and mental limits in the face of torment.

Viking Man spent an hour at BooksMart and read excerpts from "Dawn" and "Day," subsequent novels written by Wiesel....we were burdened for this man who had endured beyond what is humanly possible. But, his back remained turned, his soul and his God remained murdered. I hurt for Elie Wiesel.

Today we sang Hosanna Hillsong United - Hosanna lyrics , friends and children waving palm branches throughout the church as they sang. We entered the Holy of Holies and were washed clean. We drank and were refreshed. Hope was restored to those of us who had sinned, fallen short, lacked faith.

I pray that you had a peaceful Sabbath, that you encounter the One True Living God, and that no horror, or greed or grief destroyed or will destroy your faith in Him Who Reigns. That if you or I should encounter grievous hurt and disillusionment that we, like Stephen, would be filled with the Holy Spirit, watch the heavens open up and see the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God and know His Justice, His mercy, His love. (Acts 7: 56).

Friday, April 3, 2009

I am continuing with my Chaim Potok fest-currently reading, "My Name is Asher Lev." Another gripping account of post WWII, with lots of references to pogroms, Stalin and Jew haters. The gist of the story, though, is about a Hassidic Jew who is a progeny in art. He chooses between the life of his parents, his traditions, his legacy and the gift that burns within him. How many of us walk in the paths of our parents dreams and how many of us break away to live what we discover on our own? Frankly, I have found the "launching" season of child-rearing to be the most "stretching." Full of my own ideas, thoughts, experience and wisdom; yet trying to give my kids the room and resources they need to venture out without fulfilling my agenda. I love that line on National Treasure, "Can't it just say, 'Find the treasure here. Spend wisely." Wouldn't it be easier to just tell the kids where to go, what to do? Guess we made some choices earlier on in our parenting career to be principal rather than rule based and that cancels out so many directives. KB has complained lately that there are almost too many choices.
Cub and Flower have a phrase, "Momma, did you know?"- said in a singsongy lilt, full of wonder and the joy of sharing. This week, "Didyaknows?" including information about SpiderMan, which they have never seen, Transformers & Cars, which they have, to Stalin, Tieneman Square, snakes that lubricate their eyes with their tongues and Stonewall Jackson. Cub could not believe that I was old enough to remember Tieneman Square and decided that I must be far older than even he realized.
"They kill people the way people kill mosquitoes. What kind of human being kills another human being that way? To kill a human being is to kill also the children and the children's children that might have come from him down through all the generations." (C. Potok). How short sighted as a nation we have become. Our current administration pushes the agenda of "choice," while literally killing our countries most precious natural resource: people. See, and here Heavenly ironies, indeed.
Read the notsolittles a lovely book last night, "Pennies for a Hundred," by Bethlehem Books. The book is about German POW's who are shipped to America to help back fill jobs that are understaffed due to the WWII. It is a lovely read, with beautiful pictures and I found myself getting choked up towards the end, as the POW's sang Stille Nacht as a Christmas present to an American family. The universal language of music, faith and family traditions were poignantly captured in the pages of this little children's book. If you are a bibliophile and haven't yet discovered this terrific company, hit the link now and enjoy

Found myself perusing Classical Ed links a lot this week and looking at job posts around the country (true confessions of a homeschooling mom with a raging head cold). We've moved around a lot in life and the thought of picking up and moving is not intimidating, au contrair; it is more the thought of an undiscovered adventure. Where is "home' these days? The Midwest is my standard answer but not having lived there for 25 years diminishes the reply. Besides, I've spent too many years under Big Skies, and that I know I like. Home is where the heart is, but frankly, I'm not sure that my heart is in the Dakota territories....blizzards, wind storms, and all. Frankly, we're not that far removed from when and where Laura Ingalls Wilder was writing; think "The Long Winter." Maybe that's what I'm rambling on about- it has been a long winter. More freezing rain and snow forcasted this week-end.
Have entered into discussions of late on stock-piling and preparedness- always a good idea, but just one more thing to organize. What are your thoughts?
Gearing up to order curriculum for the next school year. KB will be graduated and we'll be back down to 3 students. I have a goal sheet that I work from: goals, course, curriculum. The priority is on the goal, not the curriculum; though for high school it almost seems that they become one and the same. Sticking with Omnibus for sure, as well as others we've used this year. Scouts will probably re-emerge as an activity and I am really contemplating the NCFCA. I love Tantara but the NCFCA is more about scholarships and professional development. Again, though we are in a region that spans from almost the great lakes to the Pacific and I hate driving. If we can switch regions and I can pitch successfully to Viking Man we might go for it. Our friends, the Willoubhy's from WI participate and we saw Tricia and Laina give beautiful performances from the Sin Eater and Cheaper by the Dozen (the original by the Gilbreth's, not the newer Steve Martin version- get the original- both book and DVD for LOL fun!) last week-end. Our kids sat enraptured by the story and the story-telling and assured me that we too could do it. Which, of course, we could. Fitting it all in is the real challenge.

As always, don't forget to stop by Conversion Diaries for more Quick Takes:

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Weekly Report: Spring Fever continues.

We returned from the Leadership Institute Training late Sunday evening and I came home with a raging head cold. KB and Feche-boy were exhausted from the week-end too, no wonder after putting in such long days over the week-end (see my post about the Leadership Institute below) and Monday was more or less a mental health day.

The older kids focused this week on Saxon with Dad, Latina Christiana, Traditional Logic II and Omnibus II.

The notsolittles did math pages; Cub working on the times tables. He has skip counting down pat but is relying too much on that for multiplication so we are doing X's flash cards. Flower is getting lots of math worksheet downloads from the Internet and loving them. Cub is finishing a bio of Stonewall Jackson and both kids spent hours listening to The Story of the World's Modern Ages. Time to purchase more Math, and I think we're going to stick with Horizons. Cub is loving Memoria Press' Copybook III along with English for the Thoughtful Child, as well as Shurley worksheets. Shurley Grammar is on my list of things to buy, though my hope for finding it gently used is diminishing.

AlphaPhonics is near the end and HARD so we are going much more slowly and then reading a previous lesson. Explode the Code is on hold- syllabication is just not sticking. Flower's reading skills are improving and she is trying to read more and more irl, she is just stuck between all of the vowel rule exceptions and short vowel sounds.

Memory Work, of course. We are going back through the Veritas Press cards and memorizing dates. Because we are doing the Modern Age this year we are going back to the yellow cards first. CC history sentences, The presidents, the Grammar Catechism, Latin sayings: Verus amicus rara avis.

The weather was beautiful for a couple of days despite the threat of a blizzard and KB took some awesome pictures of the kids (see previous posts). The head cold was not conducive to my ability to focus and I spent lots of time playing Mancala with the notsolittles and slinging back Vitamin C. I think of our dear friends the Ponton's in TX, every time we play. Their kiddos taught us the game years ago in NM; sweet memories.

Miss R called from college with some disheartening personal news and we spent lots of phone time with her. Does listening to adult children still count on my homeschool calendar? Check out her latest ramblings at:

How was your week? Are you fighting spring fever where you are at?


Sober reading from George Grant.

Fiscal Change.

"The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." --Margaret Thatcher

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

& CowSis's

Miss. Flower & Butterfly.


WW: A Flock of Sillies

Yesterday we looked out our dining room window and were shocked to discover a whole flock of wild turkeys gobbling and preening and eating their way through our back yard.
Sadly, the pictures that KB took disappeared into never land, but these that I down-loaded from the internet are pretty darn close to what we were looking at, including the landscape. We were supposed to have a blizzard blow through over the past couple of days but it never materialized.
We did get lots of flurries and harsh winds, but I'll take that over a white out the last day of March! Think-spring!