Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Daniel Academy

Spent a ton of time on The Daniel Academy this week. We are putting together a classical University Model School or FPPS ( Family Partnership Private School) as the good folks in Kansas City are calling it,

It will have a strong art component- drama, art, music as well as daily doses of Praise, Worship, Adoration, Intercession, Meditative Prayer. Each week the kids will be treated to rock-solid preaching/teaching, leadership and protocol, Scripture Memory and Narrative. In addition they will have the opportunity to rub shoulders with other like minded youth and through that develop excellent friendships. I am so excited about it it's hard not to shout from the rooftops, hence I blog.

Seems like we've been peculating and mulling and refining our hopes for something like this for years. Back in Southern California when I was working on my thesis titled: Why Parents Homeschool, I remember reading outloud to Viking Man some of the research I was doing for the Literature Review. That research has defined much of our lives and the lives of our children for the past decade and a half. We've read tons of books since then and our thinking about education and child rearing and mentoring the spiritual lives of our kids has evolved and changed but one thing we've consistently agreed upon--- government school is not for our kids.

We've heard a lot of comments about that, too: We think we're "too good" for public school. Our kids won't be socialized. We are cheating our kids. Honestly, it's not that we think we're "too good" for public school- it's that we have a different vision for our kids than public school affords. Our kids aren't socialized in the way the average majority expects- they are more mature, more modest, more respectful, more thoughtful....and yes, we have cheated our kids...of some things. We've also enriched our kids lives in areas that are too numerous to even start to mention here.

Alternative educational opportunities, too, seem to be a Rorschach for people's own educational choices. I don't even have to say a word. If someone introduces me as a homeschooler of X years, I'll, more often than not get comments to the effect of : I could never do that. you must have great kids, I don't have the patience, My child doesn't listen to me about x anyway, how would I ever teach them get the idea.

The fact of the matter is that I'm am not a very patient person- even yet. I do have great kids- truly. Usually those same folks who are insinuating theirs aren't are also commenting on how polite and respectful mine are. I've spent years at this point training them so I appreciate the validation! And I am tempted, but very rarely comment on statements regrading kids who don't listen to their parents. "I'm not a therapist or anything..." (o.k., actually I am) and lack of listening to one's parents is an issue that gets to the heart of a families ultimate belief system.
As far as "never being able to do that" the Christian walk if full of calls first, equipping as you go.

The Daniel Academy is a hybrid program- taking the best of private and homeschool and providing the best of both- at a fraction of the cost. It will consist of a bunch of us who are in the process of being equipped, hungry for more and expecting our kids to listen, learn, and grow in ways that we can't even imagine right now. A group willing to learn patience and eager to see how God equips all of us. You should think about joining us for the ride- it's going to be a blast!!



by Corina Caba

Lift up your eyes to heaven
remember you are HUMAN:
Your source is not earthling
and your name is not on earth.
Your origin does not belong
to this perennial earth
The name you carry here is one destined
to be forgotten,
an eternal name awaits for you,
a name destined to never be forgotten.
Yes, your origin is from another world,
from God Himself your soul is sprang.
I live on earth, but I am a stranger here,
my longings can not be satisfied herein,
my home is from a world above,
my destination is not on this earth…

Corinacaba's Blog

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Orwell vs. Huxley

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman is one of my favorite books and shows the outcome of society taken captive by amusement. Check out this comic series that compares Orwellian vs. Huxlean futures. At the end is a link to listen to Neil Postman talk about technology and society.

Enjoy is not a proper reaction to Postman's work. How 'bout, "Be thoughtful!"

Monday, July 27, 2009

Homestead Work

Yesterday after church the boys, Miss R and I went to see the new Star Trek. It was fun, not too creepy and had some funny moments.
We got home in time to spot Viking Man as he felled another older ash. This one was huge, growing into a shed, 10 feet from the garden, and located between the power lines on one side and another shed. The goal was to keep everyone alive, avoid damage to the shed, miss the power line, keep the corn standing and bring the tree down.

Job well done. Viking Man had cinched it well, cut perfectly and it's down, cut and almost entirely cleared. The notsolittles were hoping to play on the felled log longer but there are 2 more trees in that area coming down soon so there'll be more opportunity.
Viking Man is working on getting wood for the winter, using a Stihl chainsaw. What a difference it makes to use equipment made for the job. They don't call dead ash ironwood for nuthin! Wood has been our primary heat source for a couple of years and, honestly, I think it's warmer than oil. It certainly doesn't have that oily smell!
Picked more beans-we've had massive bowls of green beans to eat each night for dinner- they are summer perfection. And the cukes. If you are what you eat, eat a cucumber. Light, clean, refreshing, healthy, and the smell- heaven. I'm down to the county extension today to pick up the latest times on pressure cooking, biting the bullet and canning green beans, I haven't pressure cooked on my own before and am slightly intimidated but the goal is to have enough beans put by to take us through the winter.
Drying parsley regularly. Last night added apple and chocolate mint to the oven. The apple mint leaves are beautiful- thick, lush and they dry as a leaf. Maybe we'll add dried apples to the tea and give it as gifts. The chocolate mint smells, truly, like chocolate and is very good steeping with a peppermint.
We transplanted over 20 small basil plants that were finally peeping up amongst the tomatoes. I love the Genovese Basil. Pesto made it to the table this week-end, to accompany spaghetti noodles and chicken, cooked with whatever herbs KB pulled out of the garden. I always add way more garlic than it calls for, so our pesto bites back.

Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

2 Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Makes 1 cup.
Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted bagettes.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Sound of Freedom

Had the privilege of seeing the Blue Angles yesterday. Of course, they were awesome. As they were screaming overhead, Viking Man turns to me and shouts, "That's the sound of freedom, baby!"

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Martyred for Christ

"I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." Revelation 17:6 One of my daughters friends was murdered this week. He was a 29 year old M.D., newly practicing in his home country after being abroad for medical school. He was a joyful man of God and gifted preacher. Bold in speaking the Good News of the Gospel, he led Bible Studies, prayed openly, loved the Lord and God's people, laughed heartily. Martyred by fundamentalists opposed to his faith in Jesus Christ.

Friday, July 24, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

Watched August Rush this week. A sweet, G rated movie about an orphan, musical genius and his parents, unmarried and longing for what could-have-been. Music is a major component of the flick and the boy is intent of listening for his parents and creating music by which they can find him. Kinda corny and a little cheesy but it was well done, the music beautiful and very much in keeping with the old Jars of Clay that talks about seeing the art in each other. Listening for the art, seeing the art, living the art.
The garden feed us this week- potatos, lots of green beans, lightly steamed with a bit of butter-ohlala, cauliflower, squash, a few cukes. The tomatoes are looking beautiful, the cukes ready to burst into full production and the basil finally looking like it's going to stay for the summer. Carrots, peppers, squashes, melons, thyme, parsley, apple and chocolate mint growing well.
Succumbed to purchasing Culture Making by Andy Rauch. Not what I expected but I'm going to dig in here-soon. Seriously.
Had another parent info night for The Daniel Academy. It is such a unique, cool, cutting edge, yougottadoit kinda program.

The flowers in the front beds are a riot of color- daisys, petunias, echinacea, mums, allysum, 4 kinds of sedum, lilies, babies breathe, aster, marigolds, mexican hat, morning glorys, zebra grass, snapdragons, bachelors buttons and a few more I don't know the names of. The sunflowers and cosmos are getting ready to bloom.
Smithsonian Magazine had an article this month on painter Alex Katz. Reminded me of Potok's Asher Lev and the way art is talked about since WWII. Being a closet artist myself and one who has a minor's worth of college credit I always find it fascinating the words used to describe an artists work- heck, half the time I'm not even sure what they mean- the what describes the what? Marc Chagall is, hands down, my all time fav artist. Not because I understand the style or the technique or the terms, but just because. The music in his art speaks to me and I love the sound.
Bible Study, Genesis 28- Jacob gets married. Twice. Dude. I never realized before that Jacob married Rachel the week after he married Leah. I always thougth it was 7 years later. And why the heck hadn't Laban married Leah off before? Oh yea. Jacob, if he could avoid being done in by his furious big bro, was going to inherit the wealth. Laban worked the deal. Jacob worked the deal. I've always read this narrative and felt a lot of pity for Leah. Her dad bailed on her. Her husband bailed on her. But now I'm not so sure that she was completely helpless. Group Bible Study- good perspective from what others are observing.
3 sons. 3 times hopeful that her husband would care for her. 4th son, Judah, Leah gives up on the love of man and praises God. Jesus comes out of the tribe of Judah, vindicating her despair and honoring her praise. I love that.
Jennifer at Conversion Diaries hosts Quick Takes. Again, I'm not able to paste- what's up with that? But her link is in my side-bar.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Who Am I
June 18, 2009 by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Who am I? They often tell me
I stepped from my cell’s confinement
Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
Like a squire from his country-house.

Who am I? They often tell me
I used to speak to my warders
Freely and friendly and clearly,
As though it were mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me
I bore the days of misfortune
Equally, smilingly, proudly,
Like one accustomed to win.
Am I then really all that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
Struggling for breath, as though hands were
compressing my throat,
Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,
Tossing in expectation of great events,
Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?

Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, 0 God, I am Thine!

Friday, July 17, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

We've had a couple of weeks where I wonder what we've done but it seems like a whirlwind of non-stop going and doing which has included mundane housekeeping jobs like deep cleaning, de-cluttering, major gardeing, sorting, washing, storing winter gear for 7 etc.etc. Necessary and boring.

I'm considering turning this into a movie blog-haha- watched Brick Lane a couple of days ago. Very interesting flick about the life of a Bangladesh woman who moves to London as part of an arranged marriage, the backlash Muslim's experienced after 911 and a family finding their way. Until the scene about 911 I thought the time frame was many years ago, but it is about what is happening now. The film is rated "R" for a reason, so keep the remote handy if "adult content" is not on your list of acceptable viewing, but from a peek into another world-view, both religious and social, it is an excellent film.

We've been harvesting green beans- Green Lake Bush- and they are so good and crunchy we are just washing them and munching. Cucumbers, sliced and eaten, zuchhini and yellow squash has made it to the kitchen and we've had squash fried and sauteed. I have a terrific rustic squash pie recipe and that is next up. For now we are creating filling breakfasts of sauteed squash, rice and scrambled eggs with fresh parsley and a bit of pepper. Spinach and kale are still producing but the lettuce has bolted. We'll probably throw some more seeds in the ground. All the leaves it the garden are big, bushy and green with all of the rain we've had.

The Daniel Academy pilot project is a go-for-launch for fall. We're hosting a parent info night this Tuesday and working out the many details. The program is unique in that it takes a cutting edge structure (University Model) and is chock full of rich content, such as dedicated praise, worship, intercession daily, leadership and discipleship training, academics from a classical pov (history base, solid memory work, Word rich). I'm jazzed. Cheryl gave a beautiful devotional on Wednesday on the 23rd Psalm, which I was privileged to be a part of. It was a reminder to trust in the little things. Again, we'll be trusting in God to create something bigger than what we have asked or imagined.

We watched "Flywheel" last week, which was the fist production of the Kendrick Brothers and Sherwood Baptist Church in GA. You probably seen "Facing the Giants" which was actually their 2nd film. The church and the Kendrick bros started a film making division at Sherwood in response to a Barna report on the effectiveness of the church in reaching out. In many ways, while I've enjoyed the end-products of their efforts, what speaks to me is their willingness to step waay out beyond anything they've done before, take a risk, dream big, do something radical and wow. They made "Flywheel" with $20,000- it is now selling in Sam's Club. The budget for Facing the Giants was $100,000 and ultimately grossed $10,000,000. Despite bad reviews and a rating controversy it's still selling, What a testimony to truly getting out of our "comfort zones"

Bible Study-Genesis 28, Jacob's Ladder. Jacob, supplanter, deceiver, hungry for more, wanting what he is, by birth, destined to not have. God, the great turn-reality-on-its-head feeds the hunger, waters the thirst, honors those who seek Him, even when it's not clear what all that entails. Abraham was hungry for God, as was Jacob. Isaac, rich young ruler, stayed home and enjoyed the comforts of living as the son of a wealthy sheik. God feeds the hungry, and let's the satisfied feed themselves. Vineyard has a beautiful song, "Hungry." It's worth googling and listening on YouTube (or even better, get the CD). I'd link it but for some reason, I can't this a.m.

I've been spending lots of time of late talking about education and classical pedagogy and getting asked questions that I don't always have the right answer to and being far too opinionated about conventional, accepted ways of being. We've had some major disappointments, and even betrayals, in the past couple of years and I find myself tentative, feeling exposed, knowing that my own expectations, idealism and opinionated self have played a part in those situations. The natural inclination is to protect and defend but I want to grow and press in. I watched a YouTube interview of Kathryn Scott (author of the above mentioned "Hungry" song) and she states she and her fiance had a "burning desire to church plant. It's what they knew they'd been made for." And then she goes on to describe the 2 years of struggle and disappointment that they experienced in a church that was hemorrhaging disappointed, disillusioned people. And that's the way it often is. Like Jacob and Kathryn, a knowing and a hunger for more, a burning desire for what's a head. But a time of struggle and sleeping on rocks before walking in to what you were made for. And I can't help hearing the Veggies Tales song in my head that goes, "Keep Walking or you won't break down the wall, keep walking, or it isn't gonna fall." And so, we are gonna keep walking. I just want to walk with some grace. Prayers appreciated.

Quick takes, as always, hosted by Jennifer at Conversion Diaries (can't cut and paste today-wierd, but her link is in my blog list).

To what's ahead, to walking.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

WW II. Rinse. Repeat.

Becasue I am usually the last person to watch any given movie we viewed Defiance last night while the notsolittles watched Narnia II (a movie that veers far enough off from the well-beloved book that I just barely like it). We had to pause the movie and quiz Viking Man on the history of the Jews and the dispersion. It seems like such a small thing and also enormous that the Jews wandered the earth for almost 1900 years before they had a place to call home. We have 3 friends that are Messianic Jews and we hold them in the highest regard. They think deeply and well. They love passionately. They laugh out loud. They enjoy good food and talking and story telling and are down to earth and earthy and wise and will whap you with one hand and pull you in for a hug and a kiss on the cheek with the other. Viking Man kids that I'm a Jewish mother because I am bossy and opinionated and whap with one hand and hug with the other. Hey, German or not, it's what I do.
It has struck me this year that true defiance to the brutality of the Nazi's occurred because individual people stood on principal: Irena Sandler, Schindler, TenBoom, Stauffenberg and so many more. They did not live passively, waiting for what was to come. They acted decisively even when it looked crazy and foolish to do so. I wonder what they would think of the plethora of "leadership" material that has flooded the passive pews of this generation?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Back from an unintentional board break.

Watched Valkyrie last night with the older girls. KB wanted to know if I got my WWII fix for the week - though it's not entirely of my own making. The flick was very good, sobering, well-done. Braveheart with out all of the gut-wrenching emotion and violence.

2 things struck me.

  1. Stauffenberg was loved well. The few scenes shot with his wife and family were just enough to convey that regardless of what he had or didn't, such as his eye or hand, his wife loved him, saw the art in him, cherished him. Of course, that's far easier to portray in film than do irl but they captured the relationship of marital in-love beautifully.

  2. Stuaffenberg was singularly focused. Clear vision. Willing to take the consequences and calculated risks. A true leader.
The closing scene is particularly poignant. A shot going back of his wife, saying "Good-bye." Stauffenberg's willingness to loose everything in light of something more important than himself. Clarity of vision and purpose. Obedience without assurance of success. Courage. Faith. Knowing that regardless of outcome he must walk it out.

Friday, July 3, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

It's been fun to have Miss. R back home, even if it's just for a number of weeks. She is full of stories about Romanians and Hungarians and Gypsies and denominations and expectations and prejudice and poverty and spiritual realities and darkness and Truth and conversion.

Had our second meeting about The Daniel Academy. We over viewed UMS's, classical ed and then talked about pragmatics such as space, extra-curriculars for our kids, who else might be interested in partnering with us, what the church has in mind, etc. All of us are tentatively hopeful. We've listened to most of the UMS training manuel and really resonate with what we hear. The kids are in class long enough to actually have training and develop relationships with Teacher and classmates but home enough to really make parents and home an truly integral part of their lives. Cutting edge.
Viking Man and Feche Boy fixed the tree house and the notsolittles, FB and ME! have been spending time up there. This is not just any treehouse. The first story is 17' off the ground, reached by either a boards nailed to the tree or a ladder that is straight up and down. There is a second story in progress which is 10' higher than the first. They are monkeys and LOVE the view, the space and the freedom it affords. Cub said he felt like a squirrel perched up their and he and Flower have a whole arsenal of rocks and sticks and leaves and flowers and have spent happy hours playing Redwall with the treehouse being the Abbey and the pasture Mossflower wood.

Watched part of Fiddler on the Roof this week. Miss R youtubed it for her host family, who are Hungarian peasants, in Romania. Magda (the mom) LOVED it and understood a lot about the culture and interactions even without translation. I've seen the movie dozens of times and my sisters and I had the record memorized way back when there were records. It is still as touching, beautiful and poignant as ever. We saw it as a field trip in 3rd grade and we all thought it odd that our teacher cried through it, but that is exactly what I found myself doing this week. Too bittersweet.

We gardened. The front flower bed is getting a face lift and shrinking. The front fence bed is getting taken out. Of course I am always dividing and moving and rearranging and checking out garden designs in town and playing with them out here. I have a yellow bed triangle by the back door- Mexican hat, 3 Sedums, sunflowers, marigolds. The hosta bed is thriving and I have cuttings of 2 other hostas I'm going to add. I'm hoping to have the front bed done before the lilies quite blooming since that is the main flower out there but I have to move large rocks and need some manly help.
Harvested broccoli heads this week. They were ready, and the next day, over ready so I'll be keeping a closer eye on them. Spinach, lettuce, rhubarb, swiss chard, strawberries, mulberries, potatoes- yum. The cukes, zukes (I just love how that sounds), melons, tomatoes, beans are thriving. We should have squash to eat this week and cauliflower.
Weed. Weed. Weed some more. And mow. The pastures are looking good this year. I have an awesome tan = )

Read "Blubber" by Judy Blume this week. It's supposed to be an inside view into the lives of pre-12 year olds kids, published in the 70's. wow. Nothing too awful, just swearing, vandalism in the name of fun, school hierarchy determined by the loudest, meanest member of the class. Socialization. That question came up this week, which I love. All kids are socialized unless they've grown up in a closet. Mrs. Suarez, editor of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine tackles in her essay, "I Was Raised By Wolves" the question of socialization and talks about her own experience being socialized. My kids are socialized. But not by primarily by same aged peers. And that, imho, makes them better people all 'round.

Mountains loom above us and at times they seem overwhelming. I am trying to rest on the fact that where the Lord is, there is freedom. Freedom from my fears, worries, lack of knowing, lack of creativity, lack of seeing a way out of it, my troubled spirit over what seems insurmountable. That God has been at the end of my troubles and my life and knows the way, my way, our way and he's has declared it good. Freedom for what's next, what's ahead. And trust. Miss. R has faced a similar situation this week with financial changes at school. More opportunity for us all to press in to Him.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


It's been busy.
Monday the kiddos and I ventured 3 hours south to retrieve Miss R from the airport. She'd survived floods, buses, trains and planes to arrive back in the states after a month long sojourn to Transylvania. You can read about it here:
Tuesday friends of ours from seminary arrived. Viking Man and MaryAnn did their doctoral programs together at FTS and she and Dr. Dan stopped by as they continue adventuring. This trip is by land yacht but a previous voyage was by ketch. You can read about it here: They've also authored a book that they left a signed copy of, which I'll be writing a review of soon, but until then you can read about it here:

We ate from the garden this week: new potatoes, strawberry salad, steamed broccoli, mulberry smoothies, spinach & Swiss chard sauteed in garlic. Feasts from the yard. The kitchen is trashed.

Rhonda Jean over at Down to Earth has a great post on taking a home audit: I woke quite early this morning feeling like I've been to task oriented and not taking time to play with Flower. To just sit with her, play with the kittens, engage on an emotional level. It's always what I feel most guilty about. Time, Tasks, Stewardship. We spent hours in the yard on Saturday but at the end of the day I found little Miss. Flower crying in the barn because she "hadn't seen me all day." And, truly, she hadn't. And I feel torn because the kitchen is trashed and people need fed again and people need nurtured and talked with and loved and yet the garden needs tended and the dishes washed and the meeting gone to.
And Dr. Dan and Mary Ann called back after they'd left just to say they thought our kids were beautiful and lovely and engaging and socialized par excellence. And that really blessed us. Cause our vision is to create a beautiful family culture and to some extent we are. But there is always more to do, but more importantly, more to engage with on a deeper level. And I am having a hard time fitting it all in and getting it all done. And the kids are growing and adult and launching and creating a new thing. All good. But the days are so fleeting. It's summer and a premium here because it's a short season and winter is the long one and feels to me that it's always lurking. I start to miss summer even while it's here and being melancholy in nature I have the same sense about the kids and our family. It's a good season and a growing season with all that entails, weeding, watering, nurturing, and soon it will be a new season.
As I audit and inventory I realize that I've got to manage tasks better so I can engage with people better. And with that, I'm going to wash dishes so that there is time later to befriend littles.