Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thoughts on Prepping for a Test

Disclosure: probably more than my usual level of acceptable grossness, but I wanted to keep track of these thoughts for myself.

Today is the day for one of those once-a-decade rather-unpleasant tests we are encouraged to have to avoid colon cancer. And I am ready. Or at least I hope I am.

I feel fairly confident I am clean and ready for the doctor because I followed all the assigned protocol exactly. But I have no way to be sure. Last time I thought I had done well but a bit of vegetable skin lingered behind... less than pristine, despite my sincere efforts. So today when I realized I had no way to be sure, I wondered... is this how the Old Testament saints felt after all their sacrifices? Because even if they had done everything right, they had no way to be sure. Thank God for the coming of Christ, the perfect sacrifice. We can be sure we are clean with God through His Son's blood.

Such a humbling experience, almost like corporate confession of sin. We all know we have that kind of dirt in our lives. We all know each other does. And yet we spend a whole lot of time pretending we have never seen it and being appalled when we do.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Eve, Persephone, and Thanksgiving

Today my usual pomegranate-seeder is on her way to Valparaiso for Thanksgiving so I got this messy but beautiful task myself. (Valparaiso, that's fun to say!)  I have always loved seeing the beautiful arils when you open the plain fruit, they sparkle like cut jewels hidden away inside. 

I have a theory that the pomegranate is the fruit offered to Eve in the garden. I would have taken it, myself. That would also explain how the Persephone story got its start. 

Why do we have pomegranate at Thanksgiving? We cut a pineapple in quarters and then chunk each quarter and replace the pieces in the shell, and set three of them out on a platter. Then we sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. I did this one year because I thought it would be pretty, and my brother announced, "Look, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria... and some of the pilgrims have been swept overboard." And thus a tradition was born.

* * * * * 

I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. ~ Isaiah 45:3

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Please Do Not Mention My Housekeeping Skills

Look at this, would ya? I went to check through my random extra spices if I have bulk whole cloves or if they need to go on my shopping list for making orange pomanders. I didn't find any but instead found this bottle of yellow food color, with the lid so so corroded:

So. Not sure what you are thinking but my thoughts ran pretty much like this: Look at how corrosive yellow is. What does that mean about hope? I decided to scratch corrosive for something more positive. What do you think about transformative? I like that one. Hope is transformative. It cannot even be bottled up (think of Pandora, ye random thinkers) but escapes the bottle. I like that.


apologies for the excessively rambly nature of this entry. Mr Music is reading through Histories of Herodotus and believe me, I stuck to the point by comparison. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

One Moment, Please

Anyone else have a washing machine like this? My washing machine has a countdown timer. Only it is totally erratic... it will rest on 2 minutes for about half an hour... sometimes... and sometimes for only a few seconds from 2 minutes till zero... 
It just may be payback for all the times I tell my dear children, "Just a minute." :P 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


I want to post book reviews of things as I finish reading them. This one is out of order but it is short and the book is at hand. I picked up a copy of Whittington by Alan Armstrong at one of those "fill a bag for a dollar" sales at our library. Big risk there, huh? It made it into the bag because the cover picture looked, um, interesting.
My copy doesn't have the Newbery seal on it and at first I wasn't sure if it was for adults or children.

It is interesting, though not as I expected. It is a heavy-handed didactic barnyard Charlotte's Web with 16th century lore woven through (the more interesting part to me) and a strong moral lesson on the value of hard work and Learning to Read. 

My favorite parts were a quote near the end which I read aloud at lunch to Devastatingly Handsome and Mr Music, where, IMNEHO, an editor might have been useful: "He went to the side of the ship and untied the blue silk he wore around his neck. He wiped his face and tossed it overboard as a token for the cat." (Mr Music guffawed.) You will be stunned to learn, only a few pages later, that apparently his face was still intact, as we read that the beautiful Mary "touched his face gently, tracing his scar."

The other thing I liked was the listing of sources cited in the endnotes. I appreciate the author's thoroughness in listing everything from 1605 plays (the perfect date to encounter here on November 5th :) ) to The Blue Fairy Book to Robinson Crusoe and Herodotus.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Parents and Tomato Sandwiches

Looks like today will be the last day of summery weather for us. I celebrated by making a tomato sandwich for lunch the way my Dad liked them -- American cheese, thick slice of fresh tomato, mayonnaise, and some garlic salt -- and even having a buttermilk with it like he did, only I skipped adding pepper to the buttermilk. 
That has got to be one of the best sandwiches ever and quite possibly the only good use for American cheese. All the flavors get nice and gooey together without even heating it up. I remember a couple years when we had lots of tomatoes coming and my Dad would buy those huge blocks of sliced American and we would have cheese and tomato sandwiches many happy lunches in a row.

And my Mum and tomato sandwiches?

Well, she taught us to love silly little line drawings called Droodles. They always have an unexpected caption on them and it's great fun to make them up and try to guess the caption, or see if you can improve on the artist's label. My Mum taught me this one, which has been a favorite of mine since grade school:

Got it? "Tomato sandwich as made by an amateur tomato sandwich maker."

But my Dad was no amateur. :) 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Poor Hello Kitty

My lovely mouthless but still apple-pie-loving friend has hit the news. Devastatingly Handsome woke me up with the news that it has been reported that Hello Kitty is not a cat at all. 

Talk about shocking news. A real crisis to test your worldview. I turned to the computer to see if it could be true and found that like most news, there are several sides to the story. The latest information according to Sanrio says that she is actually "a personification of a cat." Not sure what that means, it sounds a bit like she is a dream, as if she appears in the thought bubble above a cat's head. Or maybe a little girl's. I think I can live with that. 

~ ~ ~

By the way, the smartest Hello Kitty in the world lives in our schoolroom: 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fungi Day

Today Devastatingly Handsome, Miss Dog Lover, Miss Dog, and I took a walk through our woods and carried along a picnic for our lunch. It was a beautiful day, cool for July but pleasant. It rained for maybe three minutes, tops, perfectly timed, while we were eating lunch in the shelter. 

It turned out to be what I declared fungi day. 

Here is a picture of my "fun guy" along with the girls: 
And here are some of the other fungi we saw... a pretty red toadstool of some sort... I am pretty sure there were fairies nearby...
there were lots and lots of Indian pipes... is it still pc to call them that? I may have to go back and see if I can get a decent photo... 
pretty sure some sort of (very small) alien came out of this ship cleverly disguised as a puffball...
and these fellows really were purple... if I can find them again I will turn off the flash and see if it shows that way...
"And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day." ~ Genesis 1:11-13

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Friend of Mine

I have been remembering a song I heard a few times my sophomore year in college when my roommate would play it (hi Catherwood!). I don't really know why this song has returned to me after many years but I share it here: 
Here are the lyrics if you'd rather read than listen, though the music is gentle and loving:
A friend of mine is going blind
But through the dimness
He sees so much better than me
And how he cherishes each new thing that he sees
They are locked in his head he will save them for when
He's in darkness again

He can't read books
And he can't paint pretty pictures
But he understands so much clearer than I
For he knows that all he's missing with his eyes
Is more vivid in the mind of the man who's going blind
And that's why he doesn't mind.

Won't you sing Tommy Davidson of
Things that you have seen
Sing of winter's bite and summer nights
And places you have been
Of dew drops and forget-me-nots and
Silver silky sheen
Lain across the morning meadow on the hillside

And this friend of mine, he plays guitar
And he sings so much better than I
He can sing you any pictures in your mind
He will sketch them out in rhyme draw the details in the lines
And he'll color it in time

And oh how he loves his guitar
And it loves him
And they play much sweeter than I
As if to say that come the day that he can't see
He will have at his command so much beauty in his hands
That the loss won't come so hard

Won't you sing Tommy Davidson of
Things that you have done
Sing of silver seagulls sailing into evening's golden sun
Sing of city streets and villages and people on the run
Tell the people how you know it
Tommy Davidson
In any case, I've been thinking about this song and Job and wondering why Job didn't have friends who loved him like this and were able to see at least a glimpse of what God was doing in his life. I have been blessed the last few years to watch several friends walk faithfully through cancer and all the Valley of the Shadow and suffering that entails, and come out with their faith intact, a beautiful walk. 

I once heard a sermon about Job and the pastor talked about the way Satan came to God and God said, "Have you considered my servant Job?," then went on to talk about perhaps sometimes God asks if Satan has considered others of His servants. If that still goes on, I may know some who Satan has been asked to consider -- and by God's grace, they have stood the test.  

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Random Thoughts on Death

I nearly chose red as the font color for this post due to being about death but decided death is more about life than about actually dying, so I am going with a nice vibrant green. 

So I have this bubble page going in my daily notebook with thoughts about death. They are all linked around a central bubble labelled "learning how to die." I hate to admit it but I pretty much think that learning to die is the main lesson of life. The problem for me, at least, is that I am generally disinclined to die, to put my old man to death. 

So many of my thoughts for this page are based around song or hymn lyrics. I wonder if the emotional weight of the subject is more easily carried on music. 

Lyric from Jon Forman song of the same title: 

She said, "Friend,
All along I thought I was learning how to take
How to bend not how to break
How to live not how to cry
But really I've been learning how to die
I've been learning how to die"

Paul says (Philippians 1:21) ~  For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 

Andrew Peterson in The Havens Grey: 

When you sail from havens grey
Caught up on the wind and blown away
Close your eyes on the Shadowlands
And bid goodbye to all your friends 
And sail from havens grey
Caught up on the wind and blown away
You'll bid goodbye to all your friends
And close your eyes on the shadowlands
I know you will open them again in the endless day
Of a love that dawns beyond the havens grey.

I was taught once that death is a lot like birth. We were happy and safe in the womb and no words could have explained life outside the womb. We likely would never have chosen to leave and would have been scared if we knew we had to. 

I love the confidence we have both in life and in death, as expressed in In Christ Alone: 

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

And not in any hymnal, but a favorite for me, Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill:
I'll tell them what the smile on my face meant
My heart going boom boom boom
"Hey" I said "You can keep my things,
they've come to take me home."

Galatians 2:20 ~ I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,who loved me and gave himself for me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"Long Love Stories"

I read emails from Gretchen Rubin writing on happiness. This week she sent out one with this quote: 

“Collectors are basically of two kinds; those who aim at completing a series, and those who long to possess things that have bewitched them. The former, of whom stamp and coin collectors are the obvious examples, enjoy the pleasures of a limited aim, and its comforting certainties. The latter may suffer ups and downs, changes of heart and deceptions, but they have several great advantages. They never know when some new love will inflame them; they learn a great deal more about themselves from their possessions; and in the end they are surrounded by old friends, with long love stories which they must try hard not to tell their friends.”Kenneth Clark, Another Part of the Wood: A Self-Portrait
The last part of that quote resounds with me. I find myself telling stories of something I care deeply about and not too sure if my friends want to hear it or not. I guess that is one reason I like writing. You all can choose to come to my blog or not, I will never know the difference, read it or not, comment or not, roll your eyes or not. And I can share my long love stories regardless. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Bean Report, Finally

I am a slow reader these days, not sure why. I finally finished reading Orson Scott Card's Ender's Shadow. Miss Language has been a fan of this series and shared it with Mr Music. Mr Music saw I was ready to read Ender's Game and was quite vocal that I must read Ender''s Shadow first, so that I would not "judge Bean ahead of time." Whatever that means. 

So, I finally did. 

Mr Music keeps asking what I think. 

Well, what do I think? I think I am not crazy about books where babies hide in toilets and children kill other children. And I never have understood why children have to command in this army, anyhow.

But. There were some interesting ideas and some good quotes. Those I marked were: 

"Do you know why Satan is so angry all the time? Because when he works a particularly clever bit of mischief, God uses it to serve his own righteous purposes."

"So God uses wicked peoples as his tools."

"God gives us the freedom to do great evil, if we choose. Then he uses his own freedom to create goodness out of that evil, for that is what he chooses."

So in the long run, God always wins."


"And in the short run, though, it can be uncomfortable."

"And when, in the past, would you have preferred to die, instead of being alive here today?"

"There it is. We get used to everything. We find hope in anything."  (from chapter 16)

~ ~ ~

"... the thing with brothers is, you're supposed to take turns  being his keeper. Sometimes you get to sit down and be the brother who is kept." (in chapter 18)

Seems like I have read these ideas somewhere before. :)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Latest Theory

Most colds I kill off with a large dose of vitamin C. But not this one. It is atypical. Good thing.

Today I have hatched a theory. It is not a cold at all. Some sort of alien cousin of this thing

has invaded the nooks and crannies of my body and occasionally attaches himself to my "cough center," whatever that is. 

Maybe a phaser would be effective. Or maybe Dr Who.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Any Way You Slice It

I am exposed to rather less advertising than most people but still sometimes something comes along that grabs my attention. 

On my email page the other day this photo popped up:

with the caption: Why women in their fifties look 35. 

Now, really. I don't recall ever seeing a woman of 35 with strawberries plastered to her face. And I am surely disinclined to try it. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

End of Winter Musings

Winter. This year it goes on and on. I keep bumping into one big question: What amazing thing is God doing with all this snow and cold?

Thinking about winter this way gives me hope. I am all about hope and watching for the first signs of life being brought forth from winter. I wish I were biologist enough to know how 
so much winter affects life. What is going on down under all this snow? Will the flowers and crops be especially abundant and beautiful? And the animals, how will it affect them? 

I think one way God uses nature is to teach us hope. He has made the ebbing and flowing of seasons a part of human nature; it resonates with us and makes sense. God says in Ecclesiastes 3 that He has "made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man's heart." What I learn from watching seasons change ~ maybe especially seemingly endless seasons ~ helps build hope into my heart. 

Romans 8:22-25 has been one of my memory passages:
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience
It almost feels as if nature is groaning under the pain of winter and waiting for spring, as Lewis showed when Narnia was under the White Witch's rule. What will all that snow give birth to?

But spring is coming. And what application does this have for different types of "winter" ~ what beautiful glory is God working under all the stuff I'd rather not experience? I am waiting with hope to see.