Sunday, April 28, 2013


This morning I woke up thinking about the old proverb (English? Scottish?) "Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. No one was there."

Now, though, I am hearing it changed a bit to Love answered.  I suspect that is a change so people who make no claim to faith can still, um, borrow the idea. But even with the change, it works for me. Because what I know of love is because of Christ ~ I John 3:16 ~ By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us. If He laid down His life for me, I know He will answer the door for me. In fact, He is the door. No one is there to harm me.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Conquering X

Today on Scripture typer I finished off Romans 8 with verses 31-39. When I work on a passage I have a variety of thoughts go through my head, some of which certainly lack that certain spiritual je ne sais quoi.

Today I started thinking what the Homeschooling Mom's version of parts of this would look like, something like:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall standardized tests, or book fairs, or socialization, or clutter, or algebra, or writing, or noise?
Anyhow. They won't and that is good news.

But then following that encouraging part comes the part that does not seem to me to belong, according to my frail logic. Here we have this wonderful list of things that will NOT separate us from the love of Christ, and just when I would like to hear something warm and cuddly instead we get a nasty quote, something that might happen to hapless critters like hobbits:
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.
And yet we are reassured that we are still more than conquerors. I do not often picture sheep as the conquering type. It is great that even silly sheep have One who makes them more than conquerors.

Even when algebra is whipping your students. :-P

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Friends or Foes?

Good, Better, Best
Never let it rest
Till your Good is Better
And your Better is Best ~ rhyme Miss Duffer drilled into my brother in 6th grade.
~ ~ ~

And Oswald Chambers said, The good is always the enemy of the best. This fits in with the demonstration where you fill a jar with SO MUCH stuff by first putting in the big rocks, then the pebbles, the sand, and finally filling in the tiny gaps with water. Good point that you must choose those things which are best, or the merely good eat up your time and resources (ie, life). I try to apply this in school - make sure we are studying The Most Important things and not trivia, reading The Best Books, and thinking Biblically about the world we study.


I am starting to think there are also times when The best is the enemy of the good. Example: dinner. If I wanted the Best dinner every night, I would spend all my time shopping, preparing, cooking. It would be a never-ending task, and since I am no chef, I would not be able to do it. If I insisted on Either the best or nothing, my family would starve. They have to make do with something between good enough (occasionally) and pretty good (hopefully most days). Perhaps once or twice in my life they may hit the best. And good enough is still a lot better than nothing, at least in many many areas of life.  :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My First Computer

The Bananalets and I are on a technology unit in history. Yesterday's lesson talked about the development of computers, and, as I added asides, they got an idea of How Old I Really Am, since I remember things like the computer room in high school being huge and having the windows covered with foil so the computers did not overheat, and punch cards, and dot matrix printers. (Yes, I still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.) *


I started getting a fuzzy memory from some time in high school of having a penny that answered all yes/no questions in a logical way. And today its name came to mind: Miniac. After a bit of an online search, I found the rules for Miniac so you can build your own. (I originally read this in Vicious Circles and Infinity: An Anthology of Paradoxes by Patrick Hughes and George Brecht.)

Here ya go:

In this age of computers it seems a pity that sincere but impecunious scholars should be deprived of their benefits. Herewith are presented do-it-yourself plans for constructing a computer that will answer questions not resolvable by any other present machine. Among its advantages, MINIAC is (1) small enough to be carried in one's watch pocket; (2) inexpensive; (3) infallible; (4) easy to build; (5) child's play to operate.

To build MINIAC:

  1. Obtain a penny. (Substitution of a ha'penny will not materially affect MINIAC's operation.)
  2. Typewrite the words "YES" and "NO" on two pieces of paper and glue one to each side of the penny.

To operate MINIAC:

  1. Hold MINIAC on the thumb and forefinger (either hand, either side up) and ask it question A (e.g. `Will it rain tomorrow?').
  2. Flip MINIAC and allow it to come to rest.
  3. Note the answer, either YES or NO. Now MINIAC has given us either a true answer or a false answer. To determine which:
  4. Hold MINIAC as in operating instruction 1, ask question B: `Will your present answer have the same truth-value as your previous answer?' and flip.
  5. Note MINIAC's response to this question, either YES or NO.
Suppose MINIAC's answer to question B is YES. This is either a true answer or a false answer. If true, then it is true that the answer to question A has the same truth-value as the answer to question B, hence the answer to question A was a true answer; if false, then it is false that the answer to question A has the same truth-value as the answer to question B (which is false), hence the answer to question A was a true answer. In either case, if MINIAC answers YES to question B, then its answer to question A was a true answer. If MINIAC answers question B with NO, a similar line of reasoning shows that its answer to question A was a false answer.The electronic character of MINIAC is obvious from the fact that there are two free electrons in the outer shell of the copper atom.

I think at the end of the year, I will have the student body build their own and see how far they can get in figuring out Miniac's logic circuits.

 ~ ~ ~ 
* did anyone else have a clock radio where the numbers were printed on cards that made a loud click when they flipped into position? Amazing.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring Somethings

I think the coming of Christ's kingdom is a bit like things growing in spring, they come silently, just pushing right through the dead stuff. And somehow God even uses the dead stuff for life. 

~ ~ ~
and there is e e cummings: 

                        Spring is like a perhaps hand

Spring is like a perhaps hand

(which comes carefully 
out of Nowhere)arranging 
a window,into which people look(while 
people stare
arranging and changing placing 
carefully there a strange 
thing and a known thing here)and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps 
Hand in a window 
(carefully to 
and fro moving New and 
Old things,while 
people stare carefully 
moving a perhaps 
fraction of flower here placing 
an inch of air there)and

without breaking anything.

~ ~ ~ 

God is in the business of changing everything carefully, without breaking anything. Isaiah 42:3-4 ~ 

        a bruised reed He will not break,
            and a faintly burning wick He will not quench;
            He will faithfully bring forth justice.
        He will not grow faint or be discouraged
            till he has established justice in the earth;
            and the coastlands wait for His law.