Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Mr. Tom Turkey

Every year I quote a poem written by a college friend, Steve Kopelic, some years back. Steve? You out there? Do you remember this epic? I found out this year that my oldest thought it was an American classic and was surprised that it did not come up on google. I am pretty sure it first appeared in print on the noteboard on my dormroom door, and maybe never since, until now.  :)  Without further ado:

Mr. Tom Turkey, your white meat's a winner.
What say you come to our house for dinner?

There's 'taters, and stuffing, and cranberries too.
But most of all, Turkey, the main course is YOU.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Long Storms

Recently we watched The Shawshank Redemption, a favorite of mine.

The line that really stood out to me this watching was Andy Dufresne: "I was in the path of the tornado... I just didn't expect the storm would last as long as it has." 

Most storms I feel fine, think I can brave them out, even enjoy some of the power and rawness. But sometimes life makes me feel like Piglet, a Very Small Animal on a Blustery Day, and the Blustery Storm just keeps coming and coming and I realize how much I lack Bravery. Then God slowly, quietly teaches my heart to hold hope, which is what both Andy and Red learn in the film.

And I started wondering, what are some things Scripture says about storms coming upon God's people. So...

I know that Christ calmed the storm in Luke 23-24: and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He certainly does not always calm the storm, at least when I would like, but I believe He will always give a calm to those who are His. Thinking of the children's song: With Jesus in the boat we can smile through the storm. :)

He sends and controls the storms -- Psalm 107:25 and 29: For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.  He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Psalm 148:8:  fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word!

Job 30:22 tells that God sends us to ride the storm: You lift me up on the wind; you make me ride on it, and you toss me about in the roar of the storm. Not sure what it means to ride the storm... makes me think of Muad'Dib

Psalm 57:1 tells He gives us refuge during the storm... note to self, NOT that He always takes the storm away: Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.

Isaiah 54:11 tells of God's care for those who are storm-tossed: O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires.

No tidy wrap-up, but some things to think about when the wind howls.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Today's three mile solitary walk at the park today gave my mind time to ramble and try to get hold of several different threads which are twisting together into a sort of rope in my head.

The first dry leaves have fallen (why is that the only place we use the word /sere/?  Does /serious/ come from the same root of dried-outness? If so, no wonder people try not to be too serious. Who wants to have all the life dried out of them? ah well, the dictionary says no, different roots.)

So. It has been raining but stopped this morning and the top layer of leaves was dry enough to rustle when you kick through them. I got to thinking about my favorite sounds of fall. I often think of my favorite summer sounds but realized I don't have a mental list for fall. The sound of rustling leaves is surely on it, and the sound of acorns falling on a sunlight, and not sure what else. I will work on it.

As I kicked through the leaves I started thinking about two women who have died in the past week, two women who were important to me in my teen years. How can they be dead? It almost seems that if they were dead, the gift they were to me would be gone ~ and yet ~ I hold those gifts in my heart. 

First, Mrs Smith (now Mrs Dombart, but I think Mrs Smith because that was her name when she taught my high school English) died. I have not seen her since a year or two after high school but just loved her class and even  more than that, loved her. She had beautiful kind eyes and was patient with the slowest students in class, the ones who never knew a figure of speech and didn't get the allusions the rest of us were talking about. She helped me learn to love words and to know that it is a good thing to love words. She taught us that it was good to look at the beauty of a phrase and take joy in it. She helped me figure out how to quote a French passage in a paper written in English and gave me an undated hallpass to go "wherever (my) little heart desires." That image has served me well in life.

Then just a couple days later Marsha, who ~ along with her friend Shirley ~ led my youth group, died. I have only seen her now and then since high school, but what an encouragement she has been, even across generations. She encouraged my faith as I grew up. She went on all the retreats and talked us through things and played dumb games with us and listened to our teen problems. She made sure I had money in college for a typewriter. She encouraged me as we raised two kids with significant special needs, looked at my kids' photos when my Mum showed them off, and loved on them. She supported Hannah in her venture in China and let me know how proud she was of my family. My Mum taught a water aerobics class at the Y straight through her 70s and Marsh was one of her cheerleaders. And now Marsha rests with Christ.

As I was thinking, I saw a little snake on the path who did not move as I came near, kicking the leaves.  I realized it must be dead and used a stick to move it off the path because, well, it just seemed respectful. 

I suppose some runner must have crushed its head underfoot. I thought of One Who has "bruised the head" of the serpent, sharing in flesh that "through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery." I am so glad the power of death is gone.

Friday, July 3, 2015

All I Want

This week we took Miss Dog Lover to see the Cinderella movie. There was a Frozen short feature shown first, where Elsa is preparing for Anna's birthday. Elsa obviously loves Pinterest - she had all the amazing things - ice sculptures, fruit, flowers, matching tableware and furnishings, a beautiful cake. And she says, as if it is a reasonable desire, "I just want everything to be perfect."

As if that is a Just. Which it is not, in a fallen world.

It made me think of this New Yorker cartoon, which we had hanging on our fridge for several years: 
And me? I'm trying to learn the secret of being content.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Knock Me Over with a Feather

Longtime readers of my blogs probably know that as a part of Miss Dog Lover's (dis)ability she does not like idioms. As in Does Not Like them.

Years ago I posted on a blog (now seemingly lost in cyberspace) about her hatred of standard idioms but the irony of her creating a few of her own... she used to announce some people were "dumb as a bug" or "stubborn as a pickle on a leaf." There was also one about turkeys in soup, though I am hardpressed to remember what that related to. (Miss Language? Do you recall?)

A favorite story is Miss Dog Lover having a developmental evaluation done with a new doc. He started asking her, "If I were to say to you, what does it mean to be tickled pink..." and she stopped him, saying, "No. This is about idioms, right? I don't do idioms." The doc looked surprised but checked a box on his form and moved on to the next item.


We have a new development in idiomland. We added a small kitty to our household and Miss Dog Lover has an allergy history with them. Well, although kitty is outside, Miss Dog Lover has been loving on her just as if she were a dog and the result is that Miss DL is now on a hefty course of steroids and we are seeing if she can control her loving on or if kitty will have to go. But the steroids seem to have an activating effect on some language center. The first night sleep was elusive so we added benedryl. The next morning Miss DL reported she had "slept like a baby." I was flabbergasted that she used an idiom and she laughed and told me that she was just "on cloud nine" because of a good night's rest. 


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Qs and Os

Ahh, summer. Today we had company and I wanted simple and summer. We included my Mum's famous Q and O salad which I have always loved: cucumbers, onions, white vinegar and water, a little bit of sugar and some dill weed and then let it all marinate. Yum. 

The fun story on this is that when my brother was very young, he told Mum not to worry, he had already planted the garden. She asked what he planted. He couldn't remember the name, but it started with a Q. Naturally Mum went through all the Q things she could think of before asking him where he had gotten the seeds, anyhow, and when he said, "from our salad," she realized he had planted cucumber seeds. Pretty sure they didn't grow. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Some School Years are Like That

By my count I am finishing twenty years of homeschooling. This gives me some sort of perspective point (though I am not sure how meaningful it is). 

At the beginning of the year I bought a pack of sticky stars to mark our schooldays on the calendar. Sticky stars have motivated me ever since I was in first grade so I thought how cheerful a calendar full of stars would look. 

This is how school looks at the beginning of the year, all shiny and perfect, with everything in a row.

And now last week I looked at the sheet of stars being used. It turned out the pack that was so shiny and perfect was NOT. The machine had only cut around 3 points of them and so points tear off when you try to get them off the sheet. I am too cheap to buy a new pack when I have several hundred still unused and too obsessive to put torn stars on my calendar, so using them proved to be something of challenge. Which is so often just how the whole of life goes.

This is how school looks at the end of a year. 

And after twenty years, what I know is, that's OK.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Firsts and Lasts

Tonight while I was doing the dishes a moth was beating against the window, trying to get into the kitchen. I realized it is the first moth I've seen this season and started to wonder when I saw the last one in the fall.

But that is a crazy thing. Almost always, you only know something is the last in hindsight. That last moth of fall did not flash its wings to show me their delicacy in any special way that caught my attention so that I noticed they really are rather pretty despite not being as splashy as butterflies. I did not even look twice and have no memory of the last one I saw. Today I realize that was a loss.

I suppose if you KNOW something is the last it is a sad or bittersweet feeling. But there is one last I think I wish I knew when it would come.... I always think it would be a happy thing to know that a visit to the dentist was the last one I would have to make. Perhaps I would be sad about even that, though. It is a wonderful world God has given us.

Friday, March 20, 2015


In the dark and in the quiet when I am not asleep but wish I were, thoughts flutter and pile up like leaves around an autumn tree. This week I had such a night. A friend, well, someone we barely knew but a brother in Christ, so I shall call him an unknown brother, died.  And the unknown brothers around the world are dying for the sake of Christ and His bride, and my dear friend’s battle with leukemia is long and heavy. So sometimes I wake with heart pounding and muscles tight but nowhere to flee except to Jesus, the lover of my soul. And where else would I want to go, anyhow? Because with Peter, I know that no one else has the words of life.

That night I actually woke up with Blue October’s Calling You playing in my head, and a kind of application to my relationship with Christ running in a parallel track, for those of you who remember 8-Track players. :)

There’s something that I can’t quite explain
I’m so in love with you {He first loved us}
You’ll never take that away
And if I’ve said it a hundred times before
Expect a thousand more
You’ll never take that away {no one will snatch (me) out of (His) hand. ~ John 10}

Well expect me to be
Calling you to see {well of course God is always around but sometimes at night it seems like He  calls to check on me and to help me remember that I love Him}
If you’re OK when I’m not around                        
Asking “if you love me” {remind you of Christ to Peter much?}
I love the way you make it sound
Calling you to see
Do I try too hard to make you smile?
To make us smile {my favorite benediction, God smiles on His children: The LORD bless you   and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you: the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace ~ Numbers 6}                                                                                          
I will keep calling you to see {The Spirit is with us at all times and intercedes before God’s throne}
If you’re sleeping, are you dreaming                          
If you’re dreaming, are you dreaming of me
I can’t believe you actually picked me {‘nuff said!}

I thought that the world had lost its sway
It’s so hard sometimes {The world without hope in Christ is empty and without value}
Then I fell in love with you
Then came you
And you took that away {!}
It’s not so difficult
The world is not so difficult
You take away the old
Show me the new { put off your old self... and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness ~ Eph 4}
And I feel like I can fly when I stand next to you
So while I’m on this phone
A hundred miles from home
I’ll take the words you gave and send them back to you. {praying Scripture}


And after phrases from this song fluttering through my head on one side of the leaves falling and on the other my thoughts of God, and remembrances of His toward me, I found myself instead thinking through the hymn, Jesus Lover of My Soul:

Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none, hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone, still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed, all my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head with the shadow of Thy wing.

Wilt Thou not regard my call? Wilt Thou not accept my prayer?
Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall—Lo! on Thee I cast my care;
Reach me out Thy gracious hand! While I of Thy strength receive,
Hoping against hope I stand, dying, and behold, I live.

Thou, O Christ, art all I want, more than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name, I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found, grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art, freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart; rise to all eternity.


When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul. ~ Psalm 94. Even during dark and quiet nights.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

End of February Quotes

Well, this has been a chilly February and I am glad to see March coming in. I am going to make a simple farewell to February with some quotes about the month itself. :)

"Why, what's the matter,
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?" ~Shakespeare in Much Ado About Nothing

FAREWELL to February faces!

~ ~ ~ 

For some ridiculous reason, to which, however, I've no desire to be disloyal,
Some person in authority, I don't know who, very likely the Astronomer Royal,
Has decided that, although for such a beastly month as February, twenty-eight days as a rule are plenty,
One year in every four his days shall be reck0ned as nine and twenty. ~ Gilbert, The Pirates of Penzance

FAREWELL to the beastly month! 

~ ~ ~ 

Every mile is two in winter. ~ George Herbert

FAREWELL to double miles!


February, when the days of winter seem endless and no amount of wistful recollecting can bring back any air of summer. ~ Shirley Jackson

FAREWELL to endless (cold) and here's looking to the "air of summer."

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Thanks to Pete Townshend

One of my very favorite hymns that isn't a hymn is The Who's "Bargain." I think this song expresses much of what it is like to follow Christ, because being in love with Him is such a part of that... the words of the song remind me of many bits of Scripture and so I often find myself humming it... 

I'd gladly lose me to find you 
(Jeremiah 29:13 - you will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart)       
I'd gladly give up all I had
To find you I'd suffer anything and be glad

I'd pay any price just to get you
(Matthew 13:45-46 - the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value went and sold all that he had and bought it.

I'd work all my life and I will

To win you I'd stand naked, stoned and stabbed

(Hebrews 11:37-38 - they were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword -- of whom the world was not worthy) 

I'd call that a bargain

The best I ever had

The best I ever had

I'd gladly lose me to find you

I'd gladly give up all I got

(Luke 5:11 - they left everything and followed Him)

To catch you I'm gonna run and never stop

I'd pay any price just to win you

Surrender my good life for bad

(Romans 8:5 - those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit)

To find you I'm gonna drown an unsung man

I'd call that a bargain

(Song of Solomon 8:7 - if a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised)

The best I ever had

The best I ever had

I sit looking 'round

I look at my face in the mirror

I know I'm worth nothing without you

(I Corinthians 13:12 - now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known) 
And like one and one don't make two
One and one make one
(John 17:23 - I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one)
And I'm looking for that free ride to me
(Romans 6:22 - now that you have been set free from sin)
I'm looking for you

I'd gladly lose me to find you

I'd gladly give up all I got

To catch you I'm gonna run and never stop

I'd pay any price just to win you

Surrender my good life for bad

To find you I'm gonna drown an unsung man

I'd call that a bargain
The best I ever had
(II Corinthians 4:17 - this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond ALL comparison)
The best I ever had


apologies for wonky formatting

Friday, January 30, 2015

My Front Porch

I have decided Facebook is the social equivalent to my parents' front porch when I was little. My reasons:

  • both are used at your convenience to pass leisure time pleasantly
  • a front porch is public to your neighbors, FB is public to friends.
  • when you are on the front porch, you can go back in when you get uncomfortable. On FB you can choose exactly how you present yourself, who sees the information, and even block people from whom you want privacy.
  • in both settings you get a general idea of what is going on with acquaintances but it is in rather a hit-or-miss fashion and requires no planning or special effort on your part.
  • you can wave or smile from your porch, or hit the like button on FB
  • you can talk if it suits you by waving someone up to your porch or patting the swing, or by leaving comments.
  • gossip is easy in either setting.
  • it is important to remember that although FB asks us to call many people we would just smile to if on our porch "friend" they are more of casual acquaintances.
most porches are friendly and relatively quiet places; but every neighborhood has someone who has ball games going too loud on his radio for children across the street to sleep, and occasionally loud fights start on the porch. At least there they tend to move inside, while on FB they tend to go on and on in comments. I prefer to save strong opinions for my blog, which to me, is more like my living room. When you enter my living room, I think you expect to be on my turf. Don't be surprised if I am opinionated here. :)      

Saturday, January 24, 2015

March for Life 2015

This week we went to DC for the March for Life. It is my first time going and I'm glad to have been there.

There was a huge crowd, maybe half a million. How amazing would it be if the crowd matched the number of babies aborted in America since the decision, currently around 57 million? Inconceivable.
I remember when the Supreme Court passed down the decision. I never thought it could stand, not in America. Boy, was I wrong. I would never have believed this march would still be going on so many years later. I think most people would never have believed abortion would be so common.

But my main reaction was to the women carrying the "I Regret My Abortion" posters. Four of our children came to us by adoption. I saw those signs and was just so glad that my children's birth moms were not carrying one, at least not for my child. And I thought of all the families that did not get to know and love someone as wonderful as my children, whether as their birth family, foster, or adoptive family. So incredibly much loss, and we have done it to ourselves.