Saturday, January 31, 2009

Great Expectations

It's come up more than once this fall. What do I expect from my kids. Do I expect them to go to college, get married, make money? Our family certainly believes in higher ed and with 5 graduate degrees between us, Viking Man and I have certainly done our part to support it. We support marriage and after 23 1/2 years of it have the battle scars and love handles to prove it. We strongly believe in making money and having it, but somehow it keeps getting spent on the above mentioned degrees, the above mentioned kids and the demanding necessities of life.

I have long admired what Marmee says on Little Women when Jo is asking her if she expects them to "make a good marriage." She responds sagely, "I have a great many hopes for you my dear....." which is where I'm at. I have a great many hopes for my children, but they all seem a little topsy-turvy. It's the great paradox of Christianity at work again. Success is not defined by what it seems. I want my children to be successful, intelligent, smart, witty, at the top of their game. We have been blessed with intelligent and beautiful offspring and I want them to show the world what they can do. But also and more importantly I want them to be humble, just and true. I want them to stand fast when the situation warrants it. To laugh loudly when life is FULL, to weep when God's heart is breaking. Of course I want them to have a life of ease which a lot of money can provide. But frankly, I'd rather that they were just and lived moderately than corrupt and wealthy. Not that you can't be wealthy and honest...just from what we've seen the lines get fuzzier and justice blurrier when wealth hangs heavy in the air.

I want my children to be leaders, to lead others True North and not get lost upon the way. True leaders, those who sacrifice and serve, often get the worst of the deal from what I've observed. It's not the gilded cage so often held up as the ideal of wealthy America's success oriented Gospel. It's down in the trenches, where the mud and the grime are. It is more Frodo's journey than Joel Osten's. It the truism that Corin learns in The Horse and His Boy, that no good deed goes unpunished. Of course, I don't want life to punish them, but it will nonetheless. I hope for courage and wisdom for all of them when it does, as well as loving family and friends.

I've always considered child-bearing and rearing to be a gamble. Who knew if the child to be born would be healthy, intelligent or adorable? We've hit 5 for 5 on each account and I count it God's mercy. Who knows if they'll embrace the ideals, faith and values that we are raising them with. We get in the way all too often and it's only by God's grace that they can see past us to something bigger and more profound.

I hope that what we are preparing our kids for goes beyond monetary or vocational success. Not that I don't have high hopes for them in those departments. It's just that I want so much more for them. To take absolute delight in watching a night sky. To get jazzed hanging out with babies and the elderly. To be relationally oriented and aware of people, instead of into what is their thing to such a degree that people are an add-on or a distraction. To be friends for life, long beyond when Viking Man and I exit. To know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that a Living breathing, untamed Lion of a God created them out of His overflowing love. Money's good and all that, but real-life, live-out-loud, God inspired adventure is better.

In the end, I want them to have the courage to slide feet first into home base, tired, used up and all worn out hearing the words, "Well done, good and faithful one!'

Friday, January 30, 2009

World-wide infanticide. Paid for by your tax dollars.

WR: Spin Cycle

This week. We practiced the play. Rinse. Repeat.

We watched a little of the History of the World Mega Conference. The DVD on Babylon was excellent. A study of Daniel, the world of Nimrod and Nebuchadnezzar in an hour. Whew. Gotta watch it again with a notepad and pencil. I didn't care for the first 2 DVD's. This one made up for it. Cub listened with rapt attention; he loved that they talked about Nimrod's wife and had info to share about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. I did geography puzzles with Flower and listened in. We are going to finish How Shall We Then Live Today. It is above and beyond excellent.

KB came through and figured out the music for the play. Major kudos to my techno-geek dd. It took waaay more time than we had anticipated. Isn't that how it goes?

Miss. Flower turned 6. I no longer have a baby or even a pre-schooler in the house. I'm trying to get over myself. sniff.sniff. She did AlphaPhonics everyday. ETC 4 is on syllabication and it's a real stretch for her. We are slowing down with that and doing 2 AP lessons a day instead.

Feche-Boy is reading Ecclesiastical History of the English People for Omni II and his history geek self is loving it. He had lots to share after todays double reading.

Spent lots of time training the puppy this week. Doesn't that count for school?
Did I mention we practiced the play? Performance is Saturday at 1 p.m. Central Time. We have props, costumes, music, choreography and actors. I think we're ready. It's been a blast. Can't wait till it's over. I'll post pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

And Then They Were 6

Which Miss. Flower is today. We are fresh out of babies in our house, although we have some absolutely adorable kids. Cub and Flower are our bumper crop and they are such a humongous, gargantuan, fabulous blessings. I highly recommend everyone over 35 having more littles. One of the benefits of having kids as a mom of "advanced maternal age" (honestly, this was actually on my medical records when I was in the hospital giving birth!) is that you know things that you didn't before. You have wisdom to share and someone cares to hear it. You get to read all of your favorite childhood books again without waiting for grand kids. You get more hugs in life, more smiles, more joy. You are generally mellower and realize that thing that you thought were so precious before we really just things after all.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

WW: Puppy Love

Meet the newest member of the family. The blond has been around for awhile. The little black and tan cutie with white socks is "Zora"- an Australain Shepherd. She is snuggly and playful and has provided lots of entertainment around here.
Our big old Akita, Diamond, will have nothing to do with her, just walks off. She's been making out o.k. tho' cause the not-so-littles feel sorry for her so she has been getting extra love and treats.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Your Divine Assignment

A couple of years ago I read through and slowly digested a book called, "Discovering Your Divine Assignment: A Step-by-Step Plan for Living out your Purpose and Plan" by Robin Chaddock. It is a great little book because it helps clarify, focus and direct our time and energy. I also love "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," by Stephen Covey.

Another read, worthy of your time! I want to be a higly effective person. Time grows short and the older I get the faster it flees. I want to steward my time well and fill it up with things and people that matter.

I truly believe that God creates each person with a purpose. Nick Vujicic tells his story. Puts things in perspective for those of us who feel that we aren't talented or equipped enough.

What is your assignment? Are you effective? Are you living what you are called to do?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Deep Magic

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (I Thessalonians 4:16-18)

A blessed Sabbath to you!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Curriculum Review: Famous Men of Modern Times

Memoria Press was gracious enough to send me a complimentary set of the Famous Men of Modern Times to review and I am thrilled! I thought that I would incorporate it into our studies this spring but there is no way. This set is just to rich and full to rush through. It's on the docket for next fall and when we get there I want to savor and enjoy every minute of it.

The set comes with 3 books: the Famous Men of Modern Times Text, the Teacher's Guide and the Student Guide. All of these are soft bound.

The text is 165 pages long. Thirty-three famous men are written about in narrative form with portraits and famous scenes, some of which are in gorgeous, full color, 2-page layouts. All of the usual suspects are included, beginning with Lorenzo the Magnificent, followed by Columbus and ending with Count von Bismark. You'll be familiar with many of the men included and, unless you are a true history geek, you'll learn about less familiar world changers, such as Chevalier Bayard, Suleiman the Magnificent and Thaddeus Koschiusko. Every self-respecting library should include this on its shelves. It would be an excellent stand-alone text to read in correspondence with other studies, however, I'd suggest you indulge and get the Teacher's Guide to go with.

The Teacher's Guide is 192 humble pages, loaded with good stuff. There are 33 lessons, broken down into groups of 5 or 6 with a review lesson and maps at the end of each section. Appendix's include: Who Said That? Worksheet, Timeline, Copybook passages, Activities Section, Writing Prompts, Tests and a Final Exam.

Each lesson is comprised of the following 5 sections: Facts to Know, Vocabulary, Comprehension Questions, Activities, Appendix, and Tests.
Facts to Know highlights the most important aspect of the men's lives. For those of us who stress memory work, this section makes it easy.
The vocabulary section goes over the rich and advanced vocabulary included in the Famous Men of Modern Times text.
Comprehension Questions have been gleaned from the text in order "to direct students to identify the virtues and follies of the principal characters."
Activities include time lines, family trees, maps, discussion questions, research and writing prompts. Lots of thought provoking and fun ideas included here!
The Appendix contains a quotation worksheet, timeline and maps, including a modern geography reference. Poetry, speeches and documents needed to complete the activities are included (bonus!), and writing prompts are in here as well.

Tests for each unit as well as a comprehensive final exam is included, which consists of 100 drill questions. Drill questions can be used throughout the year as oral drill to encourage long-term retention for the major events, people and dates that are relevant.

The Student Guide follows the Teacher's Guide. There is a review lesson at the end of each five or six lessons, complete with detailed maps and a drawing page. Towards the end of the book there is a detailed timeline and copywork passages that include famous poetry and speeches such as the Gettysburg Address and the Prayer of Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson before the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Those of you who have used Memoria Press' Christian Studies will be familiar with the layout. The text would be an excellent read-aloud for children as young as Kindergarten or any lapsitters present. Recommended as a course for students for mid to upper elementary through high school. Another excellent product from Memoria Press.
Memoria Press also publishes The Classical Teacher. Great articles and information pertinent to every educator. Request Your Free Subscription

Thursday, January 22, 2009

WR: Winter Crunch Time

Weekly Report. It was going to be a weird week, I knew from the beginning, because the middle was book-ended by a long-day of play practice on Monday and co-op, ending with play practice on Friday.

I think that we will be ready for the One Act Play competition, which is on January 31, but meanwhile we have lots of details, like music and dance. I find myself waking up at night thinking of dance routines. Natural, since I'm a dancer- NOT!Between play practice, working out details for the Winter Warm-Up and nailing down housing, chaperon's etc for TeenPact (Thank-goodness for a great team this year- Joanne and Barb rock!) the not-so-littles and I eeked out the usual math and phonics as well as...

...reading Cub D'Aulaire's Greek Myths, a well-loved volume around here. A couple of night ago we read about Orion and how he was made into a constellation by the gods. I got up with Flower last night at 4 a.m. when she had to go potty. She looked out the bathroom window and practically shouted, "A constellation!!" She was so excited she went and got Daddy out of bed. Being the astronomy geek that he is, he spent the next 1/2 hour talking with her about stars, the winter and north sky and what they were looking at. Homeschooling takes place night and day around here!
Feche boy continues on with Omni II- finished "Creeds" and is on to the next section. One of the writing assignments was for him to write his own Creed. He loved it and it came out quite good. I wish Omnibus had more art, music and architectural history involved. I want to work more of that in to next year. Great ideas so far from the TWTM gals but if you have any more, send them my way!

We have started Christian Studies II. They pack a LOT into each lesson. Little wonder since volume II goes from the first book of history through the prophets. Each lessons reading is taking about an hour. I just hate to break it up into smaller chunks, though, so I just make myself a big mug of tea before I start reading and KB pitches in when my voice is done. Speaking of voices, the kids watched My Fair Lady on Monday night and have been singing and quoting it ever since. The boys especially love "Why Can't an Englishman Learn to Speak?" and have been singing it excessively. It is pretty darn funny, especially the rendition my 2 cute blondies give!
We are watching How Shall We Then Live by Francis Shaffer. Excellent overview of Christianity and World History. We are going through all 10 sessions quickly this week and then we are going to go through it again slowly and do the study guide. A friend also loaned us History of the World MegaConference. TeenPact alumni homework focuses this year on ancient civilizations and their legislation regarding families, so both of these are great fits with the research Feche-boy is doing to get ready for our week at the capital February 23-27. To find out more about hands-on government and leadership training through TeenPact go to
Did you have a full week? I hope that it was full of JOY and Wonder!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

WW: Sunset over the Pacific

Momma brag. KB painted this today- on her desk = ) I LOVE it. Is she not talented?!

The Acceptability of Rude

Rant for the week. I am shocked, shocked, at how acceptable it is for kids to be rude to their parents. It doesn't matter how young or old, whether they are male or female. I watched a mom at a park on Sunday cajole and actually drag her 5 year old by the arm to the car, the child fighting all the way, telling her mom to "get off." A friend calls and is in stunned to find soft porn featuring her daughter and boyfriend on her daughter's cell phone. I've heard countless stories (2 this week) of parents "too afraid" to check out their kids "MySpace" accounts. If they work up the nerve to do so, they are grieved and appalled at either their own kids are their kids "friends" pictures and attitudes publically displayed.

It's a given in most circles for kids to have a sense of entitlement about what is "theirs"- friends, phone, room, car, computer and accounts such as MySpace or Facebook, privacy, clothes, room and board. I am constantly hearing parents ask, "What can I do about it?" As if not funding a lifestyle of entitlement were not an option, pulling the plug on computer usage never occurred to them, not paying a cell phone account would somehow "harm" their child or requiring common decency, respect and accountability in exchange for parental authority and love were too much to ask. Seems to me that when we are expending effort to drag our 5 year olds to the car, we'll be expending that much more effort to drag our teens or young adults to wherever. Accountability seems to be a lost art among family, and from where I sit it's a sad, sad thing.

What I find missing the most in these interactions and in how many parents are raising their kids is a lack of GRATITUDE, joy and thanksgiving for what they have, for what's to come. Somehow the American dream has seemed to change from having freedom- the ability and option to make something of and for yourself, which requires vision and discipline, to a having ease and entitlement, an easy chair, fast food and uninterrupted computer time. Not a good trade-off, but one that it seems a lot of families have made.
PaxRoMomma signing off.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

5th Annual Winter Warm-Up

is the theme for this year's Winter Warm-Up Look what we are doing in February! Awesome door prizes, great fun, fabulous fellowship, terrific speakers- this year, former Mrs. South Dakota Carrie King and beauty consultant Melissa Molstad, and, of course, lots of laughs. If you need recharged on your homeschool journey, join us!


Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1
I have always understood the word "hope" to mean that we could long for something and it might, or might not, come to pass. It was shared with me last week that the word "hope" in Hebrew is a word that indicates completion. The thing is done. We can rest, in confident assurance that our hope will be fulfilled. I love that. It gives me pause when I consider what I do hope for. My hopes have changed as I've gotten older, wiser, moved around, launched children. I long now for confident assurance.

An intersting word study on the Hebrew word "hope."

I love how "hope" and "mikveh" are tied together. Longing and purity. Perhaps what we long for brings about our cleansing, or not.

January and February are busy seasons around here. It's generally bitterly cold, windy, or worse, both. We have high hopes around this time. That our tasks and work of ministry are completed well, that we continue educating our children with diligence, that spring will come. Green will break through the wind-blown plain and a new season will emerge. That this season will end with hopes fulfilled. That confident assurance will be ours. That hope will be the garmet that we wear.

I hope the same for you. A blessd Sabbath!

Again, I highly recommend the book, "Honor, Patronage, Kinship and Purity" by David DeSilva for an excellent study on purity in the Old Testament. Paradigm shifting book.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Poetry I love

Stuart Townend wrote many hymns, How Deep the Father’s Love and this one,
In Christ Alone
(co-written with Keith Getty.)
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light my strength my song
This Cornerstone this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love what depths of peace
When fears are stilled when strivings cease
My Comforter my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand
In Christ alone who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless Babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save'
Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live
There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ
No guilt in life no fear in death
This is the pow'r of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No pow'r of hell no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
'Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand
And from the hand of my daughter, KB.
Little boy, squirly, whirly and loudly
homschooled gently with patience by mother.
Thinking of monster trucks to crash and burn
Imagination on fire so proudly.
Pink little girl sitting so quietly
dolls, horses, tea and lace- unlike brother
Over trucks she certainly does prefer
Imaginations burn so differently.
Thinking of Prince Charming, she sings sweetly
strategically plotting to scare sister
Best friends- brother, sister -one family
Imaginations afire burn so differently

Friday, January 16, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

It has been a bitterly cold winter this year. Yesterday it was negative 10 during the day. Today we had a heat wave of 16 above, but the wind was blowing and it was cruelly cold.
Will spend time on homework tomorrow getting the boys up to speed with their homework for TeenPact. We have enough sign-ups for our 4-day class in South Dakota. Our 2nd state class. We have an awesome team of women working on it from all over the state. Mom power!
I think I've dropped my 52 books in 52 weeks goal for the year. Too many other details to keep track of and I just don't need the pressure. January & February seem so crowded. I am collecting door prizes for the Winter Warm-Up, drama practice twice a week and TeenPact details.
Read a blog this a.m. about someone setting goals of "50s" this year (their 50th year). They are reading 50 books, watching 50 videos, spending 50 hours with a friend. I like that. Mulling it over though I'm 46, so it's not that far removed from 52. I'm sure I'd have no trouble fitting in the hours of video time = ).
KB really wants a puppy and has been emailing a near-by breeder. She's now having 2nd thoughts, wants a smaller breed that doesn't cost all her money. Decisions, decisions.
Talked with a professional author this week. Both inspiring and intimidating.
Am reading D'Aulaires Greek Myths with Cub at night. We've owned this copy for years and years. The binding is taped and taped again. It is such a great read. Cub was saying how Hercules sounded a lot like Samson to him. Listened to SOTW in the car a lot this week, as well as Hebrew folk music. The kids have been quoting history stories and singing Hebrew swing. Well rounded,aren't they?

For more quick takes, hope on over to Conversion Diaries and join in the fun!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

WR: Schedule Disrupted.

This was an odd- week.
Monday: We were going to have play practice but had a blizzard instead so came home after driving 1/2 way to town. The roads were getting icier and I was afraid of white out conditions. Schedule disrupted. We watched Sound of Music and drank copious amounts of hot chocolate and tea. Viking Man's entire schedule was cancelled so we were all home with the wind howling. Better that than him on the road to his out of town office.
Tuesday: I had to run in to town (40 min away) with Viking Man to pick up the other van that was having the 2nd deer-hit-damage-of-the-season repaired. His schedule was changed last minute so I waited in town for him, went to thrift shops and picked up the rest of the kids cosutmes for the One Act. See left for 2 cutie-patooties modeling our "butterfly" masks. Dropped Viking Man off and got home around 1:30. Schedule disrupted.
Wednesday: left at O'dark:30 for Rapid. Made it to the Family Policy Council luncheon where my fellow TeenPact state coordinator, Mrs. W and I gave a 2min presentation on TP to 90+ people. Great reponse. The kids went on to Mrs. W's house to play the day away and Viking Man and I met with his friend, a professional author. A delightful afternoon! Back to the W's house for a wonderful dinner, and then the kids went to Awanas. Viking Man and I met with a group that are working on developing a classical college in the area- fun, fun, fun.
Back to the W's house to eat home-canned pickles, play games and laugh some more. Aren't like-minded friends just THE BEST?!
Ran into Kristy K- from my M.F.T. program at the church the Awanas program was held in- 6 hours from us. It really is a small world, isn't it?
Thursday: Got up at O'Dark:30 to get Viking Man back to his out-of-town office in time to see clients. The kids and I had left a car there, so we went home to clean out the car, do laundry and get ready for
Friday. Co-op, drama, grocery shopping. Which will be a regular Friday for us despite the rest of the week.
Home to negative 10 degree weather with the sun up. At least the wind wasn't blowing.
We did do the Grammar Catechism several times this week as well as the VP cards. KB and Feche Boy worked on Poetry, some math, and IEW. The rest of the week we caved in to fellowship and sundries. I like that word. 'Specially since it has the word "sun" in it = )
How did your week go? Did you get done what you had hoped to?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

WW: Winter Wonderland

Just a thought.

Charles Schultz Philosophy
The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz. You don’t have to actually answer the questions, just ponder them and read straight through the email. You will get that point of it as you go down the line.
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Nation the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Nation the last five winners of the Miss America and Miss World pageants.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade’s worth of Superbowl champions and World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. THEY ARE THE ONES THAT CARE!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Of Heros & Heroines

The Great Debaters (2007)
" In 1935-36, inspired by the Harlem Renaissance and his clandestine work as a union organizer, Professor Melvin Tolson coaches the debate team to a nearly-undefeated season that sees the first debate between U.S. students from white and Negro colleges and ends with an invitation to face Harvard University's national champions."
This movie would make an excellent addition to a unit study on the history of the U.S., slavery, the 20th century, the Civil Rights Movement. It does portray a lynching which should disturb most viewers.

Starring and directed by Denzel Washington, The Great Debaters is an stirring portrayal of what life was like for blacks post-slavery and pre-civil rights. It is also demonstrates the power of teaching. Marva Collins is another teaching great and Denzel portrays what I imagine Marva must be like in person- teaching like his hair's on fire, knowledgeable, passionate, with a sense of purpose and vision for the people whose lives he is influencing. The Power of 1.

The kids involved in the One Act Play festival and I are doing a mini-unit study of sorts on WWII. One of the parents sent me a video clip on Irena Sendler, another real-life heroine.

Another YouTube about Irena pointed out that she lost the nomination of the Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore and he found this ironic. A commenter left this message, "You clearly dont understand the world around you. So please don't preach. Let me say that I commend her brave notions and actions, but its in the past, and it did nothing to help the world AS A WHOLE. Just help the people she saved. That's it, and there were plenty of others like her too, she isn't unique." (I cut and pasted the comment without changes).

I'm stunned. A flood of comments positively regarding Al Gore rather than the life of a woman who lived sacrificially. Al Gore aside, the point of the video was Irena Sandler. But, if the past is inconsequential, and those few (2,500) people whose lives were saved from torment and terror mean so little, than maybe Al is the focus. Maybe we need to live by the wisdom of Max Detwieler (Sound of Music), "What's going to happen is going to happen. Just make sure that is doesn't happen to you." Maybe the focus should be on getting what's ours. Maybe, in our plastic comfort, we should be satisfied.

Call me an idealist, but I have a higher hope. I hope that actions have meaning beyond our own small puddle. I hope that the gifted teachers like Marva Collins and Melvin Tolson or the petite, simple, faithful greats like Irena Sendler and Corrie Ten Boom, change the world. That those actions and ideals bring us closer to Truth, beauty, love and the real things.

To what's ahead, knowing that what's past lays the foundation. With gratitude for those heros and heroines who built that foundation with love.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

On to Glory.

Fr. Neuhaus has gone on to glory. I was only vaguely aware of who he was before his death. I've spent some time since getting to know him through his writings, and as many have been, am blessed by them.

Posted by Joseph Bottum (current editor of First Things) on January 10, 2009, 1:42 PM
For those interested, here are my own reminiscences, online today in the Weekly Standard.

If you haven't yet met Fr. Neuhaus, you can get a glimpse of what he and his life were about here, in an essay written by him in February 2000, “Born Toward Dying.” It is worth taking the time to read. Whether you agree with his theology or not, his words are a feast.

I was going to make this a separate post but it seems fitting somehow to share it in the same post with Fr. Neuhaus' news. I'm a global thinker and make connections and parallels in odd places. Do you see the similarities here? Putting away the old, embracing the Living?

Son of Hamas Leader converts to Christianity @ Fox News ...
you can catch his follow up January 3rd interview here

L'Chaim. A blessed Sabbath to you!

Friday, January 9, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

Bible Study last night focused on Genesis 9. Read, observe, interpret, apply. Good, good stuff. So, chapter 9 is just after the world wide destruction of the masses and God says, "Go forth and multiply." A couple times. Gives me pause. Am I in touch enough with God to be walking in His dust? The dust that creates and generates and brings forth life?
Drama today. I love, love, love directing. The kids are a blast; smart, funny, witty, charming, clean-hearted young people who are full of life, and jokes and thoughtfulness. The play is a tragedy, and it truly is. Set in Teresinstadt, "that blackish town," a ghetto created for the Jewish intellectuals of the world. Tough stuff.
Startgate Atlantis has it wraiths, Dilbert has its Robie Remora and the popular media has it's Twilight. Life sucking forces that we are either repelled by, irritated by and sadly, mesmerized by. Gen 9:4- "You shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood." How many people who sing "Holiness is what I long for" have exposed themselves to this travesty masquerading as entertainment?
David DeSilva's excellent book, "Honor, Kinship, Patronage and Purity does a great job of clarifying the Old Testament's code of purity and defilement and gets to the heart of the matter regarding the importance of keeping our eyes and hands and hearts clean from that which isn't.
Had an epiphany yesterday morning in the kitchen -apropos as I spend so much time there = ), regarding what I am doing with my skills and talents. It's a new year and a great time to re-evaluate. Still so much to do. Does everyone who is middle age feel this time crunch?
"Name the Year" Ann Voskamp had a great post about naming the year My name for this year is "Favor." Looking, seeking, asking for, expecting, blessing others with God's favor.
The weather outside was frightful- snow, slush, and bad visibility. It was great to come home to our country house, still glowing with Christmas lights and Viking Man clearing the walk for us. Sweet comfort.

Stop on over at Conversion Diaries to see more Quick Takes.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

WR: Spring Semester Begins

I admit it was hard to come back after 3 weeks of fun and play, flicks and fru-fru reading. All of that being said, we had a good week back.

Memory Work - I received Living Memory over break-woohoo! and as a result tweaked our memory work just a bit. We added the Grammar Catechism-this alone is worth the price of the book! We are doing Logos' Geography sound-off. Flower is stuck thinking that each states capital is Augusta! We continue to review John 1 in Latin just to nail it and are learning many of the Latin vocab words. Science is coming from LM these days and we are learning Psalm 100. VP cards are on-track. The 3 older kids have them down solid, without the picture prompt. Flower attempts but needs lots of hints. Cool fun fact. Miss R emailed from college and is probably doing a report for Baptist History on Roger Williams- whom we know as the Founder of Rhode Island. Love the VP cards!

Christian Studies II begins. Cub has been asking to start for several days and was thrilled when we finally did. How is that for love of learning, not to mention great curriculum?! I'm going to photocopy the maps so that every one has their own this time around.

Omnibus II- we got really bogged down last semester due to the TM being on a disc which required me to go upstairs. We are back on track. Feche boy will finish The Incarnation this week.

AlphaPhonics- Flower is on board with me to be finished by TeenPact. She is trying to read Berenstain Bear books to herself!

Traditional Logic II- ordered and waiting for it to arrive.

Math- Cub continues to complete 2 pages a day. Flower has been playing Math Blaster daily and the older kids continue to get tutoring from Dad. I so don't like Saxon. I'm going to investigate Chalkdust for next year.

Classical Rhetoric- KB is on lesson 14 and is spending each day working ahead on a new lesson and typing up the old lessons. It's an IEW program so it's great stuff!

Drama - is coming along nicely. Costumes are done and music is selected. The dance portion needs more work as do the transitions-there are a lot- but we are on track time-wise. Because it's so intense I've asked the kids to bring a joke or riddle to share. The last 15 minutes when we are all laughing is the best = ). Last week, Cub brought Break the Ice and the kids had an on-going competition depending who was on stage at the time.

Co-op- starts back tomorrow. We have more awesome field trips and guest speakers planned. We'll get back to Poetry in the morning. The younger kids are going to alternate science and art each week to give themselves plenty of time to enjoy the lessons. We plan to start the Logos Shakespeare study in February with a Shakespeare play later on this spring.

Art- the boys have been drawing regularly and are looking forward to art lessons beginning again. KB and I are going to get through Artistic Pursuits for Sr. High this spring.

Latin- I need workbooks. Again, it's a simple pragmatic something that holds me back and hangs me up. To be ordered. We are getting through LC II this spring and Prima Latina! Yes we are!

Movie- We watched Masada this week. Wow. It was very interesting with terrific acting by screen great Peter O'Toole. Still and all, the story is disturbing. I'm grateful that our choices in life are more mundane than death or slavery.

TeenPact- downloaded homework for Feche-boy and Cub. Our state class is growing, we have an awesome team of Mom's on board and Tim Echols will be at our class in person this year. Check it out:

Seems like January and February are especially busy round here due to the Festival of One Act Plays, the Winter Warm-Up and TeenPact. Our Christmas decorations are still up, as usual, but the lights make the cold, sometimes dreary winter days more homey. It's nice to be settled in with a book, a good cuppa something hot and twinkle lights, eh?

How was your week? What did you tweak for the new semester?

Beware of the Doghouse

Viking Man, who does a fair amount of marital counseling, and I, who have done some, got a real kick out of this. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

WW: On 3!

Action photo of our birthday party last Friday. Cub (9), Flower (soon to be 6), and good friend, Miss. S (6 that day).

The Grammar of Poetry- Curriculum Review

The Grammar of Poetry by Matt Whitling is part of the Imitation in Writing series published by Logos School Academy.

The Grammar of Poetry is just that, the system of rules and principles used in poetry. There are 30 lessons in the book, which can be used as a quick intensive, semester-long or year-long study. It is recommended for use in 6th grade but it is certainly usable through high school. I would recommend it for students who can think abstractly.

The first lessons introduce and define poetry, simile and rhyme, types of poems and how to read a poem. Rhyming Dictionaries are also introduced. Metaphor is covered and then 2 lessons on meter. At lesson 9 the pace picks up with every other lesson focusing on a figure of speech or meter.

Figures of speech covered include metaphor, simile, pun, personification, synecdoceh, hyperbole, onomatopoeia, alliteration, theoretical question, refrain, oxymoron, and euphemism. Spacial poetry is also included. Meters covered are Iamb, Trochee, Anapest, Dactyl, Refrain.

Lessons include practice and review, student writing samples, stanzas for students to discover the meters, definitions, as well as lots of opportunity for the student to create their own poetry as well as memorize great poems. Riddles are included throughout.

I have found this to be an excellent addition to our writing program as it introduces advanced stylistic techniques and gives the student an excellent basis for understanding poetry. At $20 per copy The Grammar of Poetry is a lot of bang for your academic buck.

You can order The Grammar of Poetry through Logos Academy

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Another beautiful post by Ann Voskamp at Holy Experience about turning pages. And on TWTM boards there is a thread from those of us who are sending our post high school adult/children off to college and those wondering if the sense of loss will ease with each departure.

I'm jealous of the days and years and time spent with my children. They are fleeting. Already and too soon other voices demand their attention and focus, and my time with these precious people decreases.

I've heard the terms enmeshed, hover mother and a helicopter parent thrown around a lot, especially in response to homeschoolers. I'm a trained therapist so I know the jargon and my response is, whatever. What ever love is, I want to share it with my family. What ever time means I want to fill it with the joy of people I love. Life is a vapor and I want my time to intermingle and drift along with those whose eyes and arms and hearts sing to and with mine.

Viking Man and I have the hope of creating a beautiful family culture. Yet, the culture that we create expands and broadens and goes beyond ourselves as our kids take it with them to the ends of the earth; they are global citizens with a global vision. We will be the "home-folks" as Laura Ingalls calls them, but, like Ann, I have a lump in my throat and an ache in my heart thinking of seasons that are past and passing.

To what's ahead. Knowing that the swiftness of this life leads us to the next and the hope of eternity spent with the souls of this world that we love and say "Good-bye" to. Yet only for a time.

Call to Dunkirk

Christians called to mass exodus from public schools
Pete Chagnon - OneNewsNow - 1/2/2009 8:00:00 AM

Critics of America's public school system have launched a new effort highlighting the need for Christians to exit the system.

The initiative -- dubbed The Call to Dunkirk (video link) -- was launched by Dr. Bruce Shortt, author of The Harsh Truth About Public Schools; Rev. Voddie Baucham, author of Family Driven Faith: Doing What It Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk with God; and the founder and director of the Exodus Mandate Project, retired U.S. Army Chaplain Lt. Col. E. Ray Moore. Moore explains the proposal. "The Call to Dunkirk is a special emergency effort to try to get other ministries, churches, pastors, and the major Christian right and pro-family movement to join with us and the other K-12 home-school ministries in rescuing the children from the public schools during the year 2009," he says.

Although Christians have fought other aspects of the culture war such as homosexual "marriage," Moore contends they are losing the fight when it comes to the education of their children. "The real target of the liberals and the left has always been the children. And we can see in California where the conservatives won Proposition 8 -- the vote [was] 52 to 48 [percent] -- but...when Proposition 22 was voted on [in March 2000], they had a 61-percent margin of victory. So the culture is turning against Christianity and against the pro-family movement primarily because we've allowed our children to be educated in their schools," he adds. "They're converting our children; we're not converting them." The Call to Dunkirk gets its name from the historical WWII event when the Allied forces of England and France were run out of Europe, but ordinary citizens rallied to their aid and used their own boats to help more than 300,000 soldiers escape safely in order to return again on D-Day.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Glory to God in the Highest

A beautiful hymn of thanksgiving, the Akathist hymn “Glory to God for All Things.” Here’s a sample:

How glorious You are in the springtime, when every creature awakens to new life and joyfully sings Your praises with a thousand tongues!
You are the source of life, the destroyer of death.
By the light of the moon, nightingales sing, and the valleys and hills lie like wedding-garments, white as snow.
All the earth is Your promised bride awaiting her spotless Husband.
If the grass of the field is like this, how gloriously shall we be transfigured in the Second Coming, after the Resurrection!
How splendid our bodies, how spotless our souls!
Glory to You for the warmth and tenderness of the world of nature.
Glory to You for the numberless creatures around us.
Glory to you for the depths of Your wisdom–the whole world a living sign of it.
Glory to You: On my knees, I kiss the traces of Your unseen hand.
Glory to You, enlightening us with the clarity of eternal life.
Glory to You for the hope of the unutterable, imperishable beauty of immortality.

Glory to You, O God, from age to age.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

WR: Party Season Continues

Slave driver I'm not... this week anyway = )
Our weekly report consists of lots of books read, movies watched (Bourne Identity & Supremacy, Mona Lisa Smile & Masada), toys enjoyed, snowman built, food cooked and eaten and time spent enjoying Miss. R before she heads back to J-term intensives on Sunday.

We also fit in another play practice. One of our moms came up with brilliant, inexpensive and effective costumes! Woohoo! The kids are really "getting it" and coming up with awesome ideas and they all have lots to add for the study sections on WWII.

We had an quick and impromptu party for both not so littles last night at our church. 16 kiddos, easy food, and a gym -winning combo. Cub is 9 as of today and Flower will be 6 at the end of the month. Party season is officially over on Sunday after we drop College Woman at the airport.

09' Contract Renewal

After serious & cautious consideration . . .
Your contract of friendship has been renewed for the New Year 2009!

My Wish for You in 2009
May peace break into your house and may thieves come to steal your debts.
May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet of $100 bills. May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips!
May your clothes smell of success like smoking tires and may happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy.
May the problems you had forget your home address!
In simple words . . . May 2009 be the best year of your life!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ode to Winter in the Territories

It’s winter in South Dakota
And the gentle breezes blow
Seventy mile an hour
At twenty-five below
Oh, how I love South Dakota
When the snow’s up to your butt
You take a breath of winter
And your nose gets frozen shut
Yes, the weather here is wonderful
So I’ll guess I’ll hang around
I could never leave South Dakota
‘Cause I’m frozen to the ground!!!

Author: Unknown