Saturday, August 09, 2014

That Gnawing Fear

All through the Psalms we hear praise for God's having brought His people through the terrible events that befell them. 

So why don't I do that?

Let's be logical. 
Let's be reasonable.
Here's how it often works:
Bad stuff happens.
God rescues us.
We are taught afresh that He cares (!) and that He will help (!).

So why do we panic then at the thought of the next bad thing?

The novel I'm currently reading is set in central Asia in the 200s BC.  The king hated opposition; it made him angry; it made him frightened. 
He had struggled for power all his life, and every man he'd defeated and killed made him more afraid.  One day he would not discover a plot in time, and with every victory he grew less certain of his own power.  (Horses of Heaven by Gillian Bradshaw, p 119)
"With every victory he grew less certain of his own power."

That's it.
Upside-down though it be.
Plots and suffering and tragedy make us less certain of our own power.  It should not, however, make us any less certain of God's power.

Personally, I'd be more comfortable with a life where nothing went wrong, than with a life where God keeps rescuing me.  But that wouldn't be the Christian life, now, would it?

Friday, August 08, 2014

Facebook Friends

I now have nearly as many "friend requests" as I have friends. 

I struggle to cope with my computer addiction.  I don't want to miss what's being talked about.  I hate being geographically-distant from friends, and emails/FB/blogs help me stay a little bit in-the-loop.  Because of my lack of self-discipline, I use other self-controls.  One scheme is to limit myself to fewer-than-100 Facebook friends. 

My self-imposed rule is that FB friends are
~people I lived with (parents, siblings, children),
~people who live with people I lived with (in-laws, some of the nieces/nephews)
~a few close friends
~some of my kids' best-buddies
~a few folks from church

If I'm friends with the wife, I probably am not friends with the husband too.  I figure I'll hear news of their family from one of them.

Gary and I have a nice balance between our FB accounts.  I have few friends, but I can actually keep up with them.  That way, Gary hears about interesting things he might not otherwise notice.  Gary, on the other hand, has loads of friends.  This means he can contact people for me through his account, or let me see pictures, or hunt up information for people that are my in-real-life friends (or acquaintances) but aren't my FB friends. 

So if I haven't accepted your FB-friend request, don't be hurt.  It's nothing personal.  It's my feeble attempt to do some chores and interact with my family instead of spending my time glued to the computer. 

"It Hurts When You Brush My Hair"

I hereby publicly apologize to my daughters when I told them emphatically, "NO, it does NOT."

When your scalp is not used to being brushed,
when your hair is not very long,
those bristles may indeed hurt a person's head.

On the one hand, I'm glad to know this.  Hee hee hee -- it means I have hair long enough to need brushing --  y'know, just so that it doesn't stand up in spikes and make look all punk-rock.

On the other hand, as I hauled out the brush and began to smooth down the spikes, my first thought was, "Oh man!  The girls were right.  This does hurt." 

Oh, the heartlessness of mothers...

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Concord and Peace

"Give to all nations concord and peace" (from the Litany).

Christians over in Babylon (aka, Iraq) could obtain "peace" by submitting to the demands of ISIS.  They could have "peace" by renouncing Jesus and converting to the [ahem] peaceful religion of Islam ... whose adherents are currently robbing, torturing, and murdering those who won't convert or flee.  (This NBC story has no gory pictures obvious on the site, and doesn't contain all the stomach-turning details of many other news reports.  Fair warning: I didn't check the videos, to know what awful things might be contained there.)

Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you.  My peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled.  Neither let it be afraid." 

Nope.  His peace isn't the kind of peace we usually want.  Peace and calm.  No conflict.  No pain.  No suffering.  That's the peace we long for: "Can't we all just get along?"

Thank God when we are permitted that kind of peace.  But Jesus' peace can be way different: "not as the world gives."

And then we pray the Litany.  "Give to all nations concord and peace."  Lord, we'd sure like the happy and comfortable kind of peace where everybody is polite and helpful and non-confrontational.  But if that's not Your will in every time and every place, we beg You to give to all nations the peace that Jesus provides in the forgiveness of sins and oneness with Him.

Do the Mashed Potato!

Yukon Gold versus Russets.
Organic versus standard chemical-laden large-farming techniques.
Backyard versus trucked-from-Idaho.
Dug-this-morning versus sitting-in-a-plastic-bag-for-over-a-month.

They look different.
They taste different.

And yet,
I continue to buy food from the store.
The gardening is SO superior.
But it takes time and energy that I don't have (at least, not in the amount I desire).
Same for the farmer's market:  I should go there more frequently, but the time, energy, and money are too often more than I can come up with.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Nanna's Hat

Matthias is crazy about this hat.  Some friends at church saw his joyful face on Sunday: "Oh, look how happy he is to see his grandma."

No.  Not really.  He was just happy to see my hat. 

Yes, he likes me, and he will smile and laugh and be happy when he looks me in the eye.  But if he looks me straight in the hat-brim instead, then watch out world! because sparkles will be dancing from baby boy's eyes.

And for those who are wondering how the hair-growth is coming, this is the 3-month picture.  The last bare-headed picture I posted was at 7-weeks growth, so it's come a long ways.  I still don't like it, but I'm no longer mortified by my hair.

And yes, I'm vain.

It's Kind of Peaceful Being Grounded

This evening I get to drive to church, under Gary's supervision.  I have SO been looking forward to being able to drive again!  I will be able to take myself to work and to church and to the grocery store. 

And yet ...
yesterday and this morning ...
I keep thinking that it's kind of been nice not going anywhere.  I hate running errands.  Introverts love to hole-up at home.  For the last couple of months, when I get up in the morning, I've not had to decide which errands to run, which places to go.  I've been stuck at home, except for the times my family has graciously chauffeured me to church or to doctors or to those occasional errands which managed to pile up enormously. 

As of tomorrow, it's back to normal -- deciding which errands musts be crammed into the day along with all the other responsibilities.

As anxiously as I've been awaiting the return of my driver's license, I'm surprised by the sense that I'll also be losing quietness and calmness.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

It Still Itches

Still fighting the poison ivy.  The rash has improved, but I keep breaking out in new patches.

What can I wash next?!

I've scrubbed the couch with Fels-Naphtha soap, let it dry, and then shampooed it regular-like.  I washed the cushion on my wooden chair.  I have washed blankets and sheets and pajamas and jeans and slips repeatedly (in Fels-Naphtha).  This morning I've had the bed sheets soaking in a strong F-N solution; I'm going to wear these sheets out with all the washing.

I washed the handles of all the outdoor tools that have been used in the last couple of weeks.  I soaked the garden gloves in F-N solution and washed them repeatedly.  I used a F-N solution on the door knobs, light switches, refrigerator doors, faucets, remote controls, etc.

I even washed the cat.  Poor Athena.

I need to spend more time sitting on the couch, reading and watching TV and resting, applying the astringent that dries up the sores and relieves some of the itch.  But I also need to figure out how I keep being re-exposed to the poison-ivy oil ... because it seems like it should be Taken Care Of by now!


It's not "throw-back Thursday" so we'll call it "toss-back Tuesday." (Do ya buy it? Do you, huh?) For some reason, I've been having a grand time looking at old pictures recently.

Katie and Maggie

On the picnic table.  But why?

Wedding [cheese-]cake.

Happy day with happy friends.

All Fifteen of Us

Rachel and Matt; Gary; Maggie; Alia and Zoe; Andrew and Olivia; Susan; Mandy and Paul; Matthias, Katie, and Nathan; Philip

Monday, August 04, 2014

Teaching Cursive Without a Book

Lowercase cursive, in a logical order.

Before teaching each letter, show the child where the printed letter is "hiding" in the cursive letter.
Also have a strip or poster of nicely-written cursive letters on the table or on the wall, for the child to refer to.

These first seven letters can be taught individually and then easily connected to each other.

e, l

i, u, t

m, n

Write some combinations:
Men.  Let.  Net.  Eel. Mutt.  Mile.  Time.  Et cetera.

Now they get a little harder.
Also show how some letters connect to each other at a higher point instead of on the baseline:
o, b, v, w.

Teach the grouping:    c, a, d, o
All four begin the same way.

You know "u."
Build off it to form v and w.

You know "l."
Build off it to make h, k, b.

Use "a" and "i" and "u"
with the below-line loop
to make g, j, y.

Teach the backward, below-line loop
to turn "l" into f
and "a" into q.

weirder ones:
p -- starts sort of like the end of a skinny "g" but then circles
r  -- starts sort of like "i" but heads off to the side and then turns a corner down
s -- starts sort of like "i" but finishes with the southeast quarter of "8"
x -- half an "n" and then cross it
z -- starts like an "x," but add a corner and then end like "g"

Make sure lower-case is well-learned (with words too, not just individual letters) before adding capitals.

Capitals that are generally like lower-case cursive, but bigger:
a, c, k, m, n, o, p, u, v, w, x, y, z

Capitals that are very like the printed letter:
b, h, l, q, r

Other capitals that will need a bit of teaching:
d, e, g
i, j
f, t

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Empty Nesting

I miss Andrew.

No, I'm not sitting around pining for him, wishing he hadn't gotten married and moved out.  By "missing him" I mean that I keep forgetting that he doesn't live here.

We're ready to go to bed.  It's a night Andrew is scheduled to work.  Better unlock the porch door and turn on the light so that he can come through the door easily in half an hour, after we're asleep.  Whoops -- no! -- he's not coming home here.

Last Tuesday morning, only two leftover sandwiches remained from the wedding.  Maggie asks, "Mom, shall I leave one of these for your lunch?"  "No, I had one for breakfast already.  But you shouldn't eat them both.  Leave one for your brother."  "Uh, Mom ... he doesn't live here any more.  He's not going to be around to eat the sandwich."  Oh.  Yes.  That would be true.  Hmm.

I need an errand run (and I am still on the post-seizure driving-ban).  That's okay: I can ask Andrew to pick something up for me later in the day.  Oops.  Wait.  He's not here running his own errands and thus able to slip in an extra stop for me. 

I awake in the morning and see that Maggie's bedroom door is standing wide open.  Her bed is neatly made.  Andrew's bedroom door is closed; he must still be asleep.  I can't find Maggie anywhere in the house.  Eventually I realize that Andrew's bedroom is now Maggie's bedroom, and she is still in bed, behind that closed door.

How long until I stop being surprised that Andrew doesn't live here any more?

And by the way, do you realize how little food 
is required for only three people?  Freeeaky!! 
How little cooking; how few dishes; how little 
laundry?  It seems unreal.

A Few Wedding Pictures

"Jesus Christ is the Light of the world."

My mom with me & Gary, Andrew & Olivia.

The happy couple.

Maggie, Olivia, and Andrew.

The wedding party.  [sigh]  Boys will be boys.

First dance at the reception.