Saturday, October 11, 2008

Local Homeschool Group

I'm feeling poor and overly busy.

There's a nice group of moms who have started getting together on second Fridays at the library. They would like a homeschool group that is closer to home, so they don't have to drive across the county or to the neighboring big cities for activities.

What I don't understand is how many activities they are involved with, or want to initiate. When they talk about weekly or bi-weekly gym days, I'm wondering about how we're going to fit something else into the calendar. When they talk about having book discussions for the kids, I'm wondering how I would ever convince my kids to read something that isn't already on their top-choice list or on my assignment list for them. When they talk about fieldtrips, the places are invariably too costly for us to consider. When they talk about having the moms get together sometime in the dark days of late winter for "mom time" without the kids, I wonder if I'd even want to make that work, given how little I see Gary (and how little I see the dear friends I already have).

I just have this feeling that it's time to quit hanging out with homeschoolers. I want to use my limited amount of time and energy these days on relationships where there's more to it* than having homeschooling be the main unifying factor in the relationship.

It's weird. I really do believe that it's good for homeschoolers to stick together, and for the seasoned ones to be there helping the newbies, as well as the seasoned ones finding new ideas and enthusiasm from the newbies. And there are new people whom I'm sure I would thoroughly enjoy getting to know. But there is limited time, and as I get older the time and energy available seems to be plummeting. When you can't do the stuff you need to do, something has to go, even if you think its valuable.

* Footnote: This of course does not mean that I'm going to cross people off the list of my friends just because they homeschool! :-) I would hope that goes without saying, but just in case....


The word fair sometimes means beautiful and pleasant. And yet we more often use the word fair to mean impartial or just or free from bias. What if the second meaning developed from the first? Wouldn't it make sense that being impartial and free from bias is a pleasing and beautiful way for a judge or court to operate?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Who Got Us into This Mess?`

Many YouTube videos have been posted in recent weeks, showing quotes, showing clips of Senate hearings, showing testimony given before congress, etc. It seems that they keep getting pulled. Here's one that might stay posted for more than a day or two. It demonstrates who was predicting trouble from what was going on with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who was trying to protect the status quo of allowing (and even encouraging) bad-risk mortgages.

Less Ironing

The other day I didn't finish folding the load of whites. I went downstairs to start more laundry today and discovered the basket of clean clothes. Why is it that everything gets so much wrinklier if I pull it out of the dryer and put it in a basket? I "try" to get the clothes folded/hung when the dryer is done, but most of the time it doesn't happen the way it should -- although I do take more care with the perma-press loads of shirts. But what amazes me is how I can leave a finished load in the dryer for two days and find slightly wrinkled clothes, but transferring those clothes to a laundry-basket and leaving them for a day makes it all embarrassingly wrinkled.

I think the moral of the story is to never ever take anything out of the dryer until I'm ready to fold it right away ... even if "right away" is long after its dry. But what could be the scientific explanation for why that happens??

Robe of Righteousness

Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to Thy cross I cling;
naked, come to Thee for dress;
helpless, look to Thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly --
wash me, Savior, or I die.

The words in the song: "Thy cross" and "look to Thee." We look at the cross as we sing those lines. We see that He is naked. They stripped Him of His clothes, casting lots for them, and dividing His garments among them.

Helpless, poor, foul, and naked, we come to the crucified one who hangs there with nothing, having given all. And He continues to give His holiness, His robe of righteousness, His priestly garments, even though to all outward appearances He doesn't have any clothing to give! But because He gave up His, it becomes ours. And we are arrayed more richly than the flowers of the field which are arrayed more beautifully than even Solomon was in all his earthly splendor.

I stood, my shame bemoaning,
Thou com'st to honor me.
A glory dost Thou give me,
a treasure safe on high
that will not fail nor leave me
as earthly riches fly.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I'm Voting Democrat

This nearly-4-minute YouTube video has lots of reasons to vote Democratic this November. Even Republicans and Independents will want look into this.

Occupational Hazard

Still struggling with my voice. (Jenny, I have requested the book your speech-therapist friend recommended and am still waiting for it.) I've realized a huge part of my voice problems are because I have learned, over the last couple of decades, to speak from my throat instead of from my gut. I used to be in choirs all the time, and that gave me better training/habits in how to use my voice and have it come from my belly.

So what changed?

All I can figure is it's because of the lovely, wonderful, terrific, enjoyable pleasure of curling up on the couch with my kids and reading aloud to them. Snuggling on a bed for bedtime stories, or piled together on the couch to read chapter after chapter... the cuddling and the back-rubs and the blankets take priority over posture. And yet, the posture of reading aloud while curled up on the sofa meant that my lungs couldn't fill properly, my diaphragm couldn't do its job, and thus my voice was coming out of my upper chest and throat. And it wore out.

Now I have to straighten out those habits and set them right again. And it's hard. It means paying attention to my diaphragm when I'm singing instead of paying attention to the notes in choir, or the text of the hymn during prayers. It may even mean having to stand to read aloud to the kids. Bummers! But it's gotta be done if I want to keep my voice.

But yikesy, does the good new/old habit have to be practiced ALL the time? I am not yet ready to give up the joys of curling up on the couch with my kids to read.


People who have jaw-clicking in the family or other signs of TMJ trouble should NOT allow their children to chew gum. I didn't know this with Katie, and let her chew and chew and chew for years, thinking that it should be okay because at least she was chewing sugarless gum. I wish I had known then that the gum-chewing I didn't particularly like was something that was actually really bad for her and not just my hang-up.

Hey, you people with my genes! You know what this means when you bring my grandkids into the world!

Accepting However Many

I have often heard the line about "accepting as many children as the Lord gives." What I don't understand is why this would have to mean that the person was against the use of contraceptives. If God gives children (or not), then wouldn't "accepting as many as the Lord gives" mean that you don't kill the ones He gives? It seems to me that a couple that uses contraception still "accepts as many as the Lord gives" unless they get rid of the children who are conceived in spite of their attempts to the contrary.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Interesting Line

At choir tonight, we pulled out a book we hadn't used yet this year. I was flipping through it while the baritones were working on their part. It has Praetorius arrangements of chorales. The Easter piece is "The Clouds of Night Are Passed Away," and one of the lines is:

The Offspring of the virgin womb
is risen from the virgin tomb.

I just love that!!
I may be a poetry dunce, but THAT one even I appreciate!

Farewell, Clothesline

The days are getting shorter. They've often been gray and rainy. And they're definitely cool. It was just taking too long for the cl0thes to get dry. I'd leave them on the line all day, and as evening (and dew!) approached they weren't yet dry.

So I've been using the dryer in the basement. I'm not used to the smell of HOT to dry the clothes. I'm not going to like the gas/electric bill when it arrives. But, boy oh boy, you can sure get the laundry done quickly this way!! Only half a day to do four loads and have them all dry and folded. Wow.


Pastor has often talked about how "testing" in the Bible is to reveal faith. God doesn't "test" someone to trip him up. It's for the sake of showing him (and us) where his faith rests.

In the last couple of weeks, with the stories of the Israelites' wilderness wanderings, occasionally there were places where it says the Israelites tested God. At first glance, what would that mean? But as Pastor said, that too shows what someone believes. When the Israelites "test" God, it shows Him to be faithful to His promises. He does not punish them as they deserve (although He definitely chastises them) but rather holds faithfully to the promises He gave them. So even when someone tests God, it's about revealing that He sticks to what He said instead of treating us according to what we have merited.

He shows to man His treasure
of judgment, truth, and righteousness,
His love beyond all measure,
His yearning pity o'er distress,
nor treats us as we merit,
but lays His anger by. (part of TLH 34:2)

Monday, October 06, 2008

Only Two Adults into Canaan

Last week our Bible stories was about the spies coming back from scouting the Promised Land. Ten said the land was just as bountiful as God had told them, but they couldn't capture it. Caleb and Joshua said they would go into the land, and the Lord would give it to them, just as He'd said. The people agreed with the ten. God said, okie-dokie, fine, if you insist on it then you can all die out here just like you say I'm gonna kill you in the wilderness, except for Joshua and Caleb who will go into the Promised Land with your children.

At that point, we hadn't gotten to today's story where Moses profaned God's name by striking the Rock (instead of speaking to it). Earlier, when God said "only Joshua and Caleb; all the other adults will die in the wilderness" Moses had not sinned the sin for which he was banned from entering the Promised Land.

But God knew what was coming.

Happy Developments

Philip got a job. He starts tomorrow. It even has benefits.

We went to Erin's dentist today. Wow! We like him. And the hygienists. Andrew doesn't think he'll be nervous about his next appointment to the dentist. Furthermore, this dentist suggests repairing my broken tooth (which the old dentist said would not be done) so as to forestall the need for a crown.

The bummer from the dentist appointment was that Teeth-Rotting Girl had her first cavities in 2½ years.

"100" -- Jogging Path

It's been a while since I uploaded these pictures from the camera.

75. I've gotten so used to CAT TAILS that I can identify them in many different stages of growth. I was so proud of myself that I knew these were cat tails when they just looked like fat grass. With the weather changing, soon the "tails" will turn into ugly, falling-apart, beige, puffy messes. The cat tails are on the left. I never did haul out my field guides to decide what the yellow flowers on the right were. I was guessing it might be coreopsis or rudbeckia, but neither ID seemed right, and the longer it grew, the more sure I was that this was no version of either plant that I'd ever learned. So that one's still up for grabs.

76. GOLDENROD is pretty and does not deserve its reputation as a horrid and evil allergen. Actually, the goldenrod blooms about the same time as the ragweed goes nuts, and it's actually the ragweed that gets to us.

77. This is the one that confused me for the longest time. It's hard to see on the blog picture, but if you click on the photo you can see the tiny little flowers and the tinier little leaves in amongst the plantain and the pebbles.

I could've sworn it looked like chamomile. But it was growing right alongside the edge of the road, coming up in the gravel, just inches from the asphalt. When it first came up in June, it looked like chamomile. But then it started "blooming" (a word used very loosely in this context) and it didn't look anything like a tiny daisy. The "flowers" did look like the middle of a chamomile flower, but there were no white rays around the flowerhead. I puzzled over this plant and couldn't find anything in my nature guides. And then one day I was jogging, and I kept smelling Sleepytime tea. Huh? What's up with that? It HAD to be chamomile, but the flowers weren't right. So I put the power of the internet onto solving the puzzle ... as opposed to the power [boom! pow! zappo!] of my small stack of nature guides sitting on the science shelf. Turns out that this plant is PINEAPPLE WEED and it is a chamomile. It's just that this is a chamomile without white ray-petals attached to the yellow-green middle. Suddenly it all made sense. And the name is perfect, as the "flower" looks rather like a miniscule pineapple. For the next couple of weeks, I savored the Sleepytime aromas while jogging. But unfortunately, I dawdled on taking the camera jogging with me, so the plants got way pat their prime and the pictures didn't turn out too well. Suffice it to say that pineapple weed looks like any other chamomile that has been plucked-to-death by a love-sick girl who wants to know if "he loves me" or "he loves me not."

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Costs at Work

There are a lot of hidden costs of holding down a job. There's the obvious: commuting and daycare and taxes. But there are also work clothes, the cost of paying someone to do jobs at home that you can't do because of the job, and the little "extras" at work that add up. These are things that need to be considered when a woman thinks about how much spare cash she might garner by taking on employment.

But what about Dad's costs in some of those areas? Gary was worried about those situations where it would be $5 here and $5 there at work. He even asked before he was hired, and was told there aren't very many of those. He doesn't have to go out to eat for lunch, so that's helped. There are occasional contributions for a thank-you gift for somebody or a wedding gift for a different somebody. There are [relatively infrequent] gasoline costs for team-building outings to the ballpark or the zoo or a restaurant.

This week, between a new program to get fit (with good-natured "fines" for those who don't do well) and a gift for someone on the team and a bring-hors-d'ouvres day, we realized something. Gary is the ONLY person on his team that is supporting a family. Everyone else that he works with has disposable income. Either his co-workers live with somebody else who has a full-time income, or they are single. No one else is using that income as the sole income to take care of a spouse and children. That puts a totally new perspective on "$5 here" and "$5 there."

When some friends found out a year ago just how little Gary had been earning as a pastor, they wondered how we had managed to eat, much less live as well as we did. Well, there was a lot of doing-without and a lot of frugality, as well as some generosity from fellow-saints. But it's easier to make ends meet when it's just you and your family. How do you fit in with the folks at work who let go of $5 as easily as I let go of a dime, and who don't understand how anybody could be so poor as to need that $5? And if you don't fit in with them, how do you do it without offending?