Friday, March 23, 2007

Stay-at-Home Moms

Having always been a stay-at-home mom, even when I had part-time jobs here and there, I never experienced the difference it makes in a person's lifestyle, attitude, health, income, etc. My friend Elizabeth posted some really great stuff about her life in the corporate world and her decision to run away from it and find a life at home. It's encouraging to those of us who take our at-home lives for granted and wonder if maybe it wouldn't be so bad to go out there and play the career game. Things like what Elizabeth wrote bring some sound perspective to such silly notions.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Parents Who Drug Us

Seen at the Imperfect Homeschooler's blog:

The other day, someone at a store in our town read that a Methamphetamine lab had been found in an old farmhouse in the adjoining county, and he asked me a rhetorical question.

"Why didn't you and I have a drug problem when we were growing up?"

I replied that I had a drug problem when I was young:

I was drug to church on Sunday morning. I was drug to church for weddings and funerals. I was drug to family reunions and community socials, no matter the weather. I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults. I was also drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak with respect, spoke ill of the teacher or the preacher, or if I didn't put forth my best effort in everything that was asked of me.

I was drug to the kitchen sink to have my mouth washed out with soap if I uttered a profanity. I was drug out to pull weeds in Mom's garden and flower beds and cockleburs out of Dad's fields. I was drug to the homes of family, friends, and neighbors to help out some poor soul who had no one to mow the yard, repair the clothesline, or chop some firewood; and, if my mother had ever known that I took a single dime as a tip for this kindness, she would have drug me back to the woodshed.

Those drugs are still in my veins and they affect my behavior in everything I do, say, and think. They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin; and, if today's children had this kind of drug problem, America would be a better place.

~author unknown~

God bless the parents who drugged us.

Worthily Lamenting Our Sins

The catechism says: That person is truly worthy and well-prepared [to receive the Lord's Supper] who has faith in these words, "Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins." But anyone who does not believe these words or doubts them is unworthy and unprepared, for the words "for you" require all hearts to believe.

My ears keep tripping over the new LSB collect for the Lenten season. It says, "Create in us new and contrite hearts that lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness we may receive from You full pardon and forgiveness." TLH said, "Create in us new and contrite hearts that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of Thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness." The first time my ears were shocked by the change, I figured the change was for good reason. It is altogether too easy to assume that "worthily lamenting our sins" means that our contrition is the good work that makes us worthy.

However, this Sunday's collect clarifies. TLH's Laetare prayer goes, "Grant that we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished...." (The LSB collect is altogether different.) On the same Sunday, we pray that we "worthily deserve to be punished" AND that we "worthily lament our sins." When those two are prayed in conjunction with each other, it becomes obvious that "worthily lamenting our sins" means NOT that we have obtained worth in God's eyes because we lamented our sins. Rather it means that we are the type of people who have sins that ought be lamented.

At first I thought the LSB change was a good one, even if it did mess me up every single time I heard it. (Hey, I figured I'd get used to it eventually, given enough years.) But now I'm not so convinced that it was a beneficial change; the old words dove-tailed nicely with the catechism on worthiness.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Double Standard

As part of the anti-war protests on Monday, a group of youths vandalized an Army recruiting office in Milwaukee. (There's also information on the report on Charlie Sykes's blog, posted on Tues, 3-20, at 8:05 a.m.) Today Charlie is commenting both on his blog (article entitled "Frustration? Juvenile?" at 9:41 on 3-21) and on his talk-show about the media response. He bemoaned the fact that there's not more outrage being expressed over this vandalism and the hatred being shown toward the soldiers.

I thought about that. And I think the answer to the lack of outrage is because it's what we've come to expect from liberals. No, not all liberals engage in such ugly behavior. In fact, most don't. But we have come to expect lies and cover-ups. We have come to expect cheating from the left. (Just look at what's been going on with voter fraud in Milwaukee!) We have come to expect that the media will slant coverage of stories so that we hear about the heinousness of any conservative group that engages in violence, and yet we hear excuses for liberal groups that engage in violence. When a fringe conservative group commits an evil (such as bombing abortion clinics or Klan-ish activities), conservatives denounce such crimes. When a fringe liberal group commits this kind of evil, the liberal media excuses it as something kinda sorta bad but not with an all-out renunciation of such activity, and certainly not for a call for prosecution of the evil-doers. As a generalization, conservatives hold themselves to a higher standard than do liberals. (Just think of the gun-control liberals who have their own guns and shoot the intruders who break into their houses, and the legislators who enact laws about the cars we drive while they drive big gas-guzzling SUVs themselves.)

Likewise, in the church, my husband has noted that parishioners with a high respect for the Office of the Ministry will often honor a pastor, even if he comes in, ditching the liturgy and wanting to change from the pattern of sound words that have been handed down. Those who do not honor the Office will agitate to get what they want (such as contemporary worship), and will fight a new pastor who may want to restore the hymnal and liturgy to the congregation.

It usually comes down to a matter of fascism and expediency and getting my way, versus a matter of submitting oneself to the orderliness of the law and having respect for those in office. Which basically means that Charlie is right about how sad it is that there's no outrage over the vandalism of the Army recruiting center. But the sad situation is not that people don't care about the vandalism. Rather the sad situation is that we're not surprised by wretched behavior from certain segments of our society, as well that we no longer expect fair reporting from the media.


A friend mentioned Homeschool Math Blog which I checked out. It looks like it's got some good advice, some helpful teaching hints, and a lot of nice links. I'm going to set Maggie to some of the games whose links were posted on March 11.

And you might want to check out a few math funnies from students' tests.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Shopping Today

Looking for something as exciting as Benedryl and jogging shoes today, we were in Shopko, Walmart, and Kohls. Oh my goodness....

It seems to me that when a shirt or dress or undergarment has its own figure, all by itself on the hanger, it can't be very healthy for a woman's body to wear. But when I saw those undergarments with their own figures in the little girls' department, that was something that made my eyes pop. C'mon, does ANYBODY think that padded training-bras with underwires belong on the shelf right next to the little undies made of cotton prints with kittens and Dora the Explorer? Good grief. What is wrong with us?

Psalm Sequence

When the psalm chart came out in Lutheran Service Book (page 304), I tried using it for a few months. However, I found myself missing going through the psalms in consecutive order. When I was praying the psalms straight through, I began to realize that there's something important about the order they're in. Just like Matthew and Acts are inspired by God, and the order of the stories matters, I think it matters in Psalms too.

This is not to say that we can't skip around in the gospels or epistles or prophets ... or psalms. Of course we skip around and read parts here and there. But there's also something precious and edifying to be had by going in order. There are connections from one psalm to the next that we miss out on if we hop around in the psalter.

That said, though, I'm finding the Lenten psalm rotation to be the most satisfying of the appointed seasons.

Monday, March 19, 2007

VCFS and Rhyming

I am quite fully aware that my 12-yr-old with VCFS learns differently than most kids. Unlike my older children, this is not necessarily a good and beneficial sort of "different." But today I realized something that I hadn't noticed before.

We were driving to town, playing a rhyming game. We had come up with several rhymes for pole, and she was a little stymied coming up with another one. She thought bowl might work, but she said it wasn't right because it was spelled with o-w-l instead of o-l-e. So we talked about the sound being the important thing, not the spelling. A little later we ran across another word that she suggested as a rhyme. But it didn't rhyme; the ending was spelled the same. (I can't remember what that one was, but it would've been something like clown and thrown.) When she was smaller, she couldn't figure out rhyming for the life of her! She still struggles with it, not being able to distinguish between similar sounds (b/p or m/n or f/v or various short-vowel sounds). But it's improving. And what I learned today makes me realize that she learns better by what goes into her eyes than by what goes into her ears. Seeing the spelling sure sticks better than does the soundwaves.

This was reinforced a few hours later. She had picked up her "how to be good" books at the library. And they made a difference in how she spent her afternoon! There is a series of books by Joy Berry on how to deal with a wide variety of problems: bullying, stealing, messiness, dawdling, tattling, gossip, etc. These books are written at about a 2nd-grade reading level. My older kids disliked them: the books were too preachy. And boring. But Maggie loves them. She checks them out of the library again and again, working her way through all 40-50 books of the series each time she goes on a jag.

Today she was reading the book about laziness and recognized herself in the pages of the book -- especially the part about asking people to do for you what you are perfectly capable of doing for yourself. There were hints on setting the timer to race the clock on doing a particular chore, or setting the timer to pick up for just 5 minutes or whatever. Maggie read these ideas and set herself to do them. She picked up all sorts of stuff this afternoon that she usually just tosses anywhere. It's not like she hasn't been taught these things. (Been taught them over and over and over!!) But reading it in a book (seeing instead of hearing) and figuring it out for herself (rather than being told by a family member) seemed to make a significant difference in what she did.

Now I just hope it lasts longer than one day!
And I hope that I can figure out ways to use today's discovery when it comes to academics too, and not just life skills.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Because there's no church choir here, I have LOVED being in choir at the three Higher Things conferences I've attended as a chaperone. This year they were planning to have a mandatory choir workshop the day prior to conference. Because I couldn't bring the kids, chaperone them during choir practice, and pay for the extra length of stay, I had sadly resigned myself to the fact that I couldn't be in the choir. But I was just downloading housing registration forms for the conference, and they changed their mind! Yee haw!! I get to sing after all!!! The last time I was in a church choir was so long ago that I only had three children. So being in chapel choir for Higher Things really is a precious treat. Oh boy!

Crying over Onions

I had heard long ago that you were supposed to cut one end off the onion first, but I could never remember which end it was supposed to be. After loads of mistakes, after many a tear, I finally began to figure out that it makes it a lot better to cut off the root end first. (Funny. My "tip book" says to cut the root end off last.) I put a note in the spot where I store my onions, reminding me to slice the root end off before peeling the onion. After a few months of that, I had finally gotten it through my sieve-like skull. Every now and then, with a kid helping me, I end up with one onion where the stem-end was cut before the root-end. And, oooooh, wow, do we end up sobbing over that mistake!

TLH 446

But while watching, also pray
To the Lord unceasing.
He will free thee, be thy Stay,
Strength and faith increasing.
O Lord, bless in distress
And let nothing swerve me
From the will to serve Thee.

Free us? And be our Stay? At the same time?

A stay is a prop, a support. Maybe a fastener on a garment. Maybe the whalebone in a corset. Whatever particular use a "stay" might have, it always boils down to the "stay" being something that keeps something else in place, keeps the other thing sturdy and solid and where it belongs.

So what is this about a stay freeing? If you think about it in our terms, it doesn't make sense. A stay does just the opposite of freeing something, setting it loose. So there's that ol' paradoxical stuff again: there is no real freedom unless we are slaves to Him.