Sunday, November 26, 2006

I blame this little lady for my overpowering sugar tendencies.

Mmmmm.... they were all delicious. She's a wonderful baker (and mother)!

A Thanksgiving tradition:
Everyone was sore the next day, except for the spectator dog.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Halley's cometHalley's comet at dawn ,

The feud between Harold and William set it off. Right before their medieval battle, a fireful, fearful flash streaked in the sky. It was a bad omen for Harold as he fought for the English throne. He was killed in battle and William the Conqueror, from Normandy no less, became victorious and was crowned! Yeah for the Normans (so saith some of them)!

Halley's comet was therefore documented in a tapestry depicting the two foes. Scientists later were able to use this to help measure the frequency of the 76 year repetitive orbit.

From that point on, Cody had a million questions, and we researched. And, coincidentally, Astronomy day was orbiting unawares until I saw a notice regarding a lecture at an area high school's planetarium. It was on meteorite impacts in Missouri. And, we hustled and bustled over there late one evening to hear how we are not immune to devastating hits here in the middle of the U.S. A big geologist scientist huffed and puffed and told us so. We also saw the missives which had been dropped or drilled out. Then, the planetarium owner/teacher lit it up and we were staring at the seven sisters, and the evil eye of Medusa, and Pegasus.

Cody was happy to hear that Venus could be seen with the naked eye here in a couple of weeks. He loved the word naked. Yes, in your southwest sky, look for the bright star which is quite the lovely planet, Venus.

And now in the latest National Geographic, we see that the feature of the spread is on Saturn. There's even a pull out map!

Homeschooling has no rivals, me happily thinks. And, so, here on this Thanksgiving week, I am happy for all the syncronism that just happens when it comes to learning.

Yeah for William the Conqueror!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The sermon this weekend was outstanding; I take back what I said about my pastor's irrelevant sermons ~~ I could certainly relate to this one. We often lean on rickety stools for relief from our pressures / desires (and thus the pastor leaned upon one) instead of the firm seating upon which our Lord provides. This firm seat has no other problems surrounding it that could cause us to crash down. I need to go to the sturdy more often than the shaky.

He also commented that trying, trying, trying isn't enough to overcome our genetic spiritual weakness, our sin nature. Only trusting in grace, and not our own efforts, will work.

Ah, often I set myself on fire for not trying hard enough. I forget about grace which will help me, guide me, uphold me. Trying is important, yet perfectionism is impossible which is what I often seem to judge myself by.

Afterwards, an elder banjo picker from my bluegrass weekly class stopped me and asked if we could get together to play some time. Others will too. I think the music migration from the south to the north is occurring. Heehaw! Us'ns are pickin'&grinnin' in the city!

Friday, November 10, 2006

I wonder if this is the season's last floral bouquet? Anyway, I'm thankful for their tenacious blooms. God made mums for melancholy.

Cody strikes his muscular Viking pose with the yummy non-yeast Viking bread that he helped make. It was delicious dipped in herbal oil. I wonder if the Vikings did that too? They probably dipped it in the blood of the Franks ... aiii!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The foreign language public school teacher came out and shook my hand today when Cody hopped in the car after his class. She praised his efforts, and I could tell that she was proud of him as a student, despite some earlier difficulties. I'm proud too which is why I'm unabashedly sharing! He received a B+ for his class grade. Yeah!

My daughter's grandmother died earlier this morning of the cancer. It's all sad. I'm glad that I was able to say goodbye to her. My daughter is naturally extremely sad.

The elections ... wow! They're over. A calm is settling. The old pattern of change in the House and Senate happened during a president's second term. We'll see. Missouri here surprised me with its vote on several issues. Cody had thousands of political questions as we went to the polls, lit a candle yesterday for God's favor, and followed the coverage. All learning experiences.

I'm wresting with a huge country ham for a bookclub dinner tomorrow evening here at my home. I have a thousand things to do before approximately 16 women come over. Must stop blogging then!

Monday, November 06, 2006

The thought of "mailbox by mailbox" keeps me going in the morning when I want to extend my course a bit farther. It's easy for me to get near the end of my run and feel as if quitting is completely due me. My mind and body begin working together so that when my feet go past the designated mailbox, I'm slumping, holding my side, leaning over, and walking slowly the short distance home.

However, these days, the idea of persevering through the process of discipline is enough to motivate me to try another mailbox. Anne Lamott expresses the idea in her wonderful writing book called "Bird by Bird" which talks about setting short-focused goals to help move you on a longer path. Don't think of the whole novel, think about the next paragraph.

I can apply this idea in much in my life! Here are a few for fun:

church service by church service ==> at times, I just want to skip the whole irrelevant relevant sermon my pastor preaches, yet I know its helped me before, and I know the discipline of going to church is a small act of worship.

tea bag by tea bag ==> I have way too many boxes of tea on my stove. Some boxes I've dipped into for at least five years now!

chapter by chapter ==> when I'm stuck wallowing in the lovely abstraction of a Thomas Merton book (and put it down to never return because I want to be stuck there without closure in the loveliness), I know there are a few more chapters from which I can learn from if I keep going.

lesson by lesson ==> at times, it's delightful, other times excrutiating ... the homeschool life can be both, and I need to keep planning and believing in the choice for my son.

beef by beef ==> we have about one package of beef left from my parent's farm: it is neck bones. Do I really wish to see this project to its final end??

political ad by political ad ==> November 7th cometh! I'm grateful for the political process and its deadline!

toilet paper roll by toilet paper roll ==> is it possible to create a mammothly big roll which lasts at least a week?!

forgiveness by forgiveness ==> okay, I'll try better.

kiss by kiss ==> an essential gesture to the loved one, even when it doesn't cross your mind for days!

pie by pie ==> that thought makes me happy.

Do you have any by-ies to keep you going? Please share if so!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Two different recent conversations caused me to think of the following wonderful poem, which means that I must post, must post. Enjoy!

by: George Herbert (1593-1632)

WHEN God at first made Man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by--
Let us (said He) pour on him all we can;
Let the world's riches, which dispers├Ęd lie,
Contract into a span.

So strength first made a way,
Then beauty flow'd, then wisdom, honour, pleasure:
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that, alone of all His treasure,
Rest in the bottom lay.

For if I should (said He)
Bestow this jewel also on My creature,
He would adore My gifts instead of Me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature:
So both should losers be.

Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness;
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to My breast.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

She was frail, small, shrunken upon her wheelchair. But her intelligent large eyes lifted as she saw me enter through the front door. The hospice nurse was wheeling her into a much needed shower, after an hour of her stubborn (il)logic refusing to yield to the cleaning process, the lack of control over small things.

We grabbed hands, hugged, and I kissed her cheek. She then looked at me and said, "Thank you. Sometimes a person doesn't use the chance to say 'thank you' and then they feel guilty, and time passes." And, I told her it had been an honor to know her and that she had been a good mother, grandmother, mother-in-law. A good and faithful servant that God would reward soon. She smiled and cried and was wheeled away.

Her husband related the deterioration struggles to me, and he wept, tired, bone tired.

After her shower, she came back fatigued, barely able to speak, and I rolled her light brown, graying hair for her..

We've had ambivalent feelings about one another in the past. Sixteen years ago, she was my mother-in-law, a complicated relationship bound by the complexities of her son's deep issues combined with my upbringing, and the clash and pain and the ending, all exaggerated perhaps by her (yet, when does a mother stop caring?). However, she proved herself helpful and caring and faithful in regards to her granddaughter. These last years, we have dialogued and prayed more than ever to figure out what we can do to love and work together for her.

The cancer will take over before too long. She watched me with her big, sad eyes, curlers all on her head, as I left. One final look perhaps before she peers over the edge and goes.

I was glad to have been accepted by her at the end. She is a noble person who will be missed. May God grant her serenity and comfort as she departs.