The Scoop on Granny


Dreaming of the mountains...

Who is Granny?

I'm the incredibly blessed mother of 9, "Granny" to 16, and wife of "The Papa," the knight-in-shining-armor whose loving support has made it possible for me to stay home and give my life to mothering, homemaking, and 26 years of homeschooling. Life at Granny's House is full of laughter, friendship, books, music, lively debate, writing, and good things to eat. My days are made even more meaningful by coming alongside other moms, giving them the support and encouragement that I lacked as a young mother and helping them to network with each other in ways that strengthen homes and families. A few times a year I board a plane to visit my "away" kids, to attend the birth of a grandchild, or to enjoy some lazy days with my best friend, but I always love coming back to...Granny's House.

My Complete Profile

On Granny's Calendar
  • August 15 - SAC Day begins
  • August 16 - Sam is 7!
  • August 20 - Kristen's birthday
  • August 30 - THE WELTYS ARRIVE!
  • Sept 3 - Chris' birthday
  • Sept 5 - Henry is 9!
  • Sept 7 - Isaac is 10!
  • Sept 17 - The Papa's birthday
  • Sept 23-30 - Granny and Papa go to Hawaii
  • Sept 26 - PawPop is 88!
  • Sept 29 - Tim is 15!
  • Oct 2 - Cheyenne's birthday
  • Oct 4 - Liam is 5!
  • Oct 7 - John Caleb is 17!
  • Oct 18 - Tony's birthday

  • Email Granny!

    Get your own calendar

    Granny Cares
  • Care Calendar
  • Agape Pregnancy Help Center San Antonio
  • World Vision

  • Granny Cooks (and Eats)!

  • The Pioneer Woman Cooks
  • Once a Month Mom
  • $5 Dinners
  • Full Bellies, Happy Kids
  • A Year of Crockpotting

  • Granny's House (and yours!)

  • Simple Mom
  • The Nesting Place
  • Between Naps on the Porch
  • The Inspired Room

  • Granny gets around...
  • A Holy Experience
  • MommyLife
  • Confessions of a Pioneer Woman
  • Preschoolers and Peace
  • Breathing Grace
  • theMangoTimes

  • Granny stays informed...
  • Real Clear Politics
  • Fox News
  • Drudge Report

  • Granny Thinks...
  • Al Mohler
  • Between Two Worlds
  • Blog and Mablog
  • First Importance
  • Equipping the Saints
  • Desiring God

  • Granny says you may go to...
  • PowerLine Blog
  • Michelle Malkin
  • SteynOnline
  • WSJ Opinion Journal Best of the Web
  • GetHuman
  • Home School Legal Defense Association

  • Granny goes to the movies...
  • Netflix
  • Rotten Tomatoes

  • Granny is watching!
  • Blue Pencil Editing
  • Mighty Red Pen
  • Conjugate Visits

  • Granny smiles at...
  • Purgatorio
  • ScrappleFace
  • LarkNews
  • Sacred Sandwich

  • Wednesday, January 31, 2007
    Once again, thank You Lord...
    Well, I'm going to try not to attach any cosmological significance to how our week is going, but today NATHAN FELL THROUGH A CEILING at work and landed in the emergency room at Wilford Hall. I got a call late this morning that the EMS were on site and taking him by ambulance to the hospital. When I arrived at his bedside he was strapped down, taped up, braced, and every other kind of immobilized they could manage to keep his head still until he was xrayed.

    He is "okay" tonight--no broken bones, much to the doctors' amazement. He probably has a mild concussion and lots of bruises and pulled muscles, but God spared him from any serious injuries.

    Why is it that I feel *I* need muscle relaxers tonight?

    And why, by the way, is The Papa looking out his hotel window onto Waikiki beach?


    has spoken at 10:38 PM
    4 Backtalks to Granny

    Tuesday, January 30, 2007
    The poetry of Ruth Bell Graham has always spoken to me like few others...and save for the number of her children, this could be from my heart as well...

    Five I have:
    each separate,
    a soul
    bound for eternity:
    and I
    leader of the blind--
    groping and fumbling,
    casual and concerned,
    by turns...
    undisciplined, I seek
    by order and command
    to discipline and shape;
    (I who need
    Thy discipline
    to shape
    my own disordered soul).
    O Thou
    Who seest the heart's
    true, deep desire,
    each shortcoming and
    each sad mistake,
    nor let our children be
    the victims of our own
    unlikeness unto Thee.

    Labels: ,

    has spoken at 9:54 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    This morning I spent over four hours at the hospital getting yet another set of hip x-rays and huddling with several doctors over what to do about my continuing pain and the increasing incidence of partial dislocation in my left hip.

    Today, orders for a pelvic CT scan, another bone scan, and more pain meds. After the next batch of tests we'll decide something, but the doctors' prediction this morning is that I need a "revision" of one of my hip replacements, a nice way of saying that they need to tear the implant out of the bone and start over. *Sigh.*

    Those of you who have been on this journey with me know that this means several months out of my life for surgery, recovery, inpatient rehab, and outpatient physical therapy. It's not something I want to do.

    But neither do I want to wait until I have a complete dislocation and have to be rushed by ambulance to the ER. So I think I will opt for the gentler route, one that at least I can schedule around a couple of upcoming events in my life.

    This is not how I planned my 2007. Not that I've planned the whole year, but another major surgery was NOT planned into my calendar. And when I'm about to scream those words, I hear a whisper...

    "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

    Lord, I know You know. Please make me ready to bow to Your plans.


    has spoken at 4:00 PM
    11 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, January 28, 2007
    For Stacey...

    ...and anyone else who wants an easy, wonderful recipe for a great Sunday meal. Or Monday. Or Tuesday :-) I'm not going to write this in formal recipe form since there's not that much to it...I'll just tell you what I do.

    Take a 5-6 pound brisket, trimmed of MOST fat, not all, and put it in your large crock pot. Mine is a 6 quart. Cover with a whole 16oz bottle of BBQ sauce, whichever brand and flavor you prefer. We like KC Masterpiece. Cover and cook on low for 12-15 hours (yes, you want it falling-apart-tender!).

    After the smell has driven you crazy all night long, get up on Sunday morning, take the brisket out of the crockpot and put on a cutting board. Pour the liquid in the pot into a container and freeze for the next time you make this--it's a great way to reuse the stock/sauce combination. Or you can just discard it. Cut or shred the entire brisket into small pieces and return to the crockpot.

    Add a fresh bottle of BBQ sauce (for this step I use about 20 oz.--makes the whole thing stretch a bit for lots of grandkids!) and enough water to thin just a bit. Stir well, put back on low and go to church. When you get home, serve the mixture on hamburger buns or sub rolls with chips and baked beans or ranch-style beans. Goes great with cole slaw, too!

    A 5.5 pound brisket was plenty for the 14 of us today with enough for maybe four sandwiches left over. I predict an early rush to lunch tomorrow :-)


    has spoken at 5:03 PM
    8 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday snippets...
    I have to say, for all my complaining about the weather here, that we are really having a lovely winter. Winter in our parts usually lasts three days or so, and if you get stuck indoors with a virus or a long project, you just might miss it. But this year we've had such a nice respite from the familiar heat--it usually wears out its welcome long before August is gone and is still tormenting us at Thanksgiving. I wish winter would last, well, all through winter :-)

    Church was great this morning. The Papa preached from 2 Timothy and reminded us where we've come from as a church and how important it is for us to look back as well as forward. Fittingly, we met today in the hotel where we first began 2 1/2 years ago, since our normal venue was being used for another purpose. Most in the room today weren't with us when we began and so didn't remember those early days, so it was wonderful to have them share that slice of our church life through our memories.

    Dirk, Aubrey, Abigail and the Boybarians were here for dinner after church. One of our favorite Sunday meals is BBQ beef sandwiches made from brisket that cooks all night Saturday's one of those meals that all fourteen of us love and there are very few leftovers!

    The Papa is telling me he has to go back to Hawaii tomorrow. Would you believe him? I tried to get a ticket to go with him, just to sort of make sure that this is all on the level, you know? But alas, this trip arose so quickly that the fares were a bit too expensive for me to go this time, but one of these days...

    I'm embarking on some reorganization projects, spurred by my current reading of Getting Things Done. The book is written mainly for business people, but I'm finding that much of the wisdom in the book can be adapted to MY career, which is being a home manager and home schooler. I have, for most of my adult life, been the queen of "systems" for managing every facet of life. But the upheavals and challenges of the past five years have disrupted most of them, and now I find that technology and changing circumstances have rendered many of them obsolete or unnecessary and in dire need of rethinking and retooling. January is, of course, a great month for things like this, but I'll be working way into March, I'm sure.

    This week our family has spent some time thinking about and planning for a vacation to Red River, New Mexico, in July. It's something that The Papa's extended family does every year, and nearly every year we SAY we're going to go and then something comes along to sidetrack our plans. We haven't been since '98 or so! Well THIS year we're GOING, and we're making some early moves to help ensure that it becomes a reality. We're not big skiiers, so we take advantage of the ski location in the mountains in the off season, enjoying the cool fresh mountain air and the isolation from our normal world, as well as time with loved ones with whom we so seldom spend more than a couple hours at a time. So...Red River, here we come! (Check the very bottom of the blog for our vacation ticker and a photo of Red River!)

    And now...I'm taking a nice nap before finishing up prep for school this week!

    has spoken at 1:49 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, January 27, 2007

    If you are a student
    of or are fascinated by the wonders of the human brain, or if you want to learn more about the mind's decision making apparatus and processes, READ Blink !

    has spoken at 8:58 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Can somebody help me out here?
    Anybody else having trouble with your blog suddenly appearing all in italics? I didn't do anything to cause this (that I know of) and nothing in my template seems to explain it. I noticed it happening with Lyric's blog the other day, and then poof, the next day it was back to normal. Is this the way Blogger is trying to annoy us into switching to the NEW blog? If so, it just may work!

    has spoken at 6:39 PM
    8 Backtalks to Granny

    The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land...
    Many of you who now visit my blog weren't around when I started my old once in a while I'm going to bring back something I wrote a year or two ago that might just find resonance with someone. This post is from September '05 but the issues are still current, in my life and just maybe in yours...

    I remember reading years ago that 40 was an awful age because it was somewhere during that year that you woke up one morning and realized that your body was turning against you. I must not have been 40 yet, because I remember laughing. I mean, really laughing! Turning against you? As if it had a mind of its own? (Think about that one for a while and it will tie you in knots!) Well, whoever said that was surely neurotic or melodramatic or fighting a very bad migraine or all of the above. Because mine was going to be just fine, thank you. Mind over matter. Age is just a state of mind. Life begins at 40. All that stuff. There. See? It's fine.

    And then. . .I opened my eyes one morning and then closed them really fast because I realized: my body had turned against me. Okay, so I was closer to 46 and it wasn't all in one morning, but the suddenness was startling. What happened and in what order isn't important to recount here; what's important is admitting that it really does feel like the betrayal of an old and trusted friend when it happens. And whether it happens in a morning or over five years, it's no less traumatic. That loyal friend, that companion on life's journey suddenly becomes the adversary, the obstacle to all that still lies out there to accomplish. You can't go on without it; you can't trade it in on a newer model; you can't call in the warranty; and so you slowly come to the conclusion that you must drag it 'round as best you can and adjust life around it in a myriad of ways until you call a truce. Trouble is, once you've called the truce the terms are liable to change without notice. And the negotiating starts all over.

    To those of you who haven't yet awakened to that forty-year-old morning, this may all sound humorous. . .and many days, it is. But for me, there is a weariness in it, a longing for rest. I don't mean that to sound morbid. I believe that there's purpose in the weariness. In it I'm reminded that there is a reality that overshadows this life. . . .that I mustn't become too comfortable in a land where I travel with alien status. God knows that, at least for some of us, too much comfort means, well, too much comfort. When I'm too much "at home" in this earthly shell, it's time to be reminded that I'm waiting for a new body, one that will never have to have diseased parts removed and replaced with titanium and plastic ones. Someday I won't swallow a mouthful of pills to keep hot flashes or depression at bay or keep blood sugar down and iron levels up. But in the meantime, I have the unspeakable privilege of calling for help from the Great Physician and leaning on Him for the grace to get through each day. Even when it starts with a morning where I'm scared to open my eyes. . . .

    (If you'd like to read the comments of my best friend, my daughter, and my dear husband, they're here.)

    has spoken at 6:26 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Friday, January 26, 2007
    Granddaughter Erin (21 months old) is getting pretty tired of having to resort to speed dial and "last number dialed" to reach me and is campaigning for her own phone. She called yesterday and just wanted to shoot the breeze but her mean mommy took the phone away and when I called back I could hear her crying her little heart out because all she wanted was to talk to Granny. She did calm down and finally sang "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" for me; she then handed the phone to cousin Carrie (30 months) who was over there playing, and Carrie sang "You Are My Sunshine."

    I'm going to start a campaign to get these girls their own Firefly cell phones. I mean, how can you expect them to live 1500 miles away and not be able to call their Granny when they need to talk? Not being wireless is SO last millennium.

    has spoken at 8:56 AM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Wednesday, January 24, 2007
    O Thou,
    Whose stillness drowns
    earth's total noise--
    its grating sounds,
    of my frustration,
    the screaming silences
    the din
    of questions clamoring
    for their "why?"
    and "how?"
    the rumblings
    of man's discontent,
    erupting hate,
    war's distant thunder
    rolling near,
    and everywhere
    the cries
    of fear
    that paralyzes
    as it grips
    and near at hand
    a faucet drips.

    O Thou,
    Whose stillness drowns
    earth's total noise,
    only in Thee
    is stillness found...
    And I

    ~~Ruth Bell Graham

    has spoken at 11:59 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Here's an interesting article on teaching kids to become philanthropists by starting while they're very young. Few of us here have the personal wealth to be starting foundations, but the principles are sound and provide a reminder that the desire to give, to make a difference, can be taught as well as "caught."

    Philanthropy: Get 'Em Started Early

    How are you teaching your children to give, other than through the offering plate at church? Have any tips to share?

    has spoken at 12:43 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    He's out....
    Not sure how I feel about this announcement.

    On the one hand, it's a relief to know that John Kerry will not be our next president.

    On the other hand, Kerry's gaffes and missteps were perhaps the most entertaining feature of the last presidential election and provided, if nothing more substantial, some comic relief. I mean, is there any substitute for voting for the $87 billion dollars before he voted against it? I guess we'll find out, though I doubt there's much potential for humor in Hillary's ambition.

    One last hope...Al Gore, are YOU in?

    has spoken at 12:28 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Tuesday, January 23, 2007
    Praise God.
    Nathan had a serious car accident last night. A woman turned left in front of him when he had a green light, and the result is that Nathan's truck is totaled. Miraculously he escaped injury--the accident was so bad that he said he thought he was going to die or at least be paralyzed. I have spent much of today giving thanks for God's hand of protection on him. We're down one vehicle but that is truly nothing compared to the heartache that would be ours tonight if we were down a son.

    Thank you, Father...

    has spoken at 10:11 PM
    5 Backtalks to Granny


    So...Tom Cruise is the new Christ?

    has spoken at 7:55 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, January 22, 2007

    ...The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. In my case, read by Hosseini:I listened to this one on my iPod while cooking and cleaning.

    To be honest, I never thought I'd be so drawn in to a story set in Afghanistan and Pakistan about Muslim young men. I was mistaken. This novel reads like a poignant memoir, especially when heard as read by the author. I'm left wondering how much of it is autobiographical, or at least a compilation of characters that Hosseini has known; it seems impossible to me that some of the characters in the book aren't real people. The sensation is so vivid that I'm tempted to Google the names and see where they are now!

    The Kite Runner is not a pleasant book to read. In fact, there is some graphic violence including a rape "scene," and while presented as tastefully as I can imagine it could have been, it's deeply disturbing. But it does give me, as a rather sheltered Westerner, a small window into a life so removed from mine it's hardly fathomable. If you want to be challenged in your notions of Muslim culture and the chasm that exists in our understanding of a people so different and yet so like us, this would be a great start...

    has spoken at 10:16 AM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, January 20, 2007
    She's in... if any of us can pretend to be surprised.

    (I couldn't bear to put her whole face on my blog, so half will have to do.)

    So now we enter the two-year period which may henceforth be known as HillaryFest. Let's hope it doesn't end happily for her camp.

    On her website today, she says,

    The stakes will be high when America chooses a new president in 2008.

    Never was a truer word spoken.

    has spoken at 11:11 AM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Friday, January 19, 2007
    My nearly wasted week only got worse.

    I got up at 4 this morning to head for the hospital, looking forward to taking part in my much-loved avocation of being a doula. Steph called and said she was loading the car to go in, and so I pulled on my clothes, a bit of makeup, and headed across town.

    To make a long, agonizing story short, I made it only as far as the emergency room entrance, where I was overtaken by either a violent case of a GI virus, or perhaps a case of food poisoning, though no one else in my house was sick today. I came very close to passing out in the restroom and had to be carried out by nurses and then rescued by two of my kids. They brought me home to bed and I missed the entire labor and delivery, never even getting as far as Steph's room.

    As God would have it, Steph did fine without me and delivered little Elizabeth Noelle before noon. :-)

    God graciously allowed The Papa to come home today so he's making me tea and comforting my weak body and bruised spirit. It's good to have him home. Many years ago when he was away on a quite lengthy trip, I cross-stitched a picture of a home at dusk, with these words running around the edges:

    I hear your footsteps in the are home again and safe...

    All the burdens of the day are lightened...and all the night noises are music to my ears...

    Tonight, burdens are lightened.

    has spoken at 8:39 PM
    4 Backtalks to Granny

    Thursday, January 18, 2007
    This was the week that was....
    I'm tempted to say this week has been a total waste.

    But I won't.

    A nasty cold that several of us have shared and the delightful but disruptive aberrant weather have combine to scuttle my best laid plans for the school week.

    Well, okay, scuttle is too strong a word here (how strong IS a scuttle, anyway?) but at the very least our week was "decimated."

    From a pure planning and executing standpoint, we didn't do very well. We tried, we really did, and we got a few things done. But how could I scream too loudly as the kids tried to fill the freezer with the icicles "so Dad can see them when he gets home!"? How could I deny these poor southerners a few of the delights that I experienced growing up in less temperate climes? The truth is, I couldn't say much since I didn't even have enough voice to answer the phone. So I've tried to walk the fine line between staying "on track" and allowing the kids to enjoy the rare weather.

    Of course, we do still have tomorrow. But Fridays here are generally devoted to wrapping up the week's work: testing, final copies of writing assignments, etc. And we haven't done enough to "wrap up"!

    So...because I believe in a God who makes no mistakes, and because I know I gave it my best (at least for a week when I wasn't AT my best) I will move on and get ready for next week, trusting God's hand to cover over the rough places and fill in the gaps left by the colds and the weather and the Papa's trip.

    At least there's this: in 22 years of homeschooling, I've learned that these weeks, and even sometimes a month here and there, are much less important in the scheme of things than they seem to be at the time. In hindsight the grand sweep of life tends to obscure the road bumps, and many times the memories made in times like these turn out to be more valuable than the equivalent number of algebra lessons would be.

    (Now....where is that Scientific American article on the formation of icicles? We could at least read that together, huh?)

    has spoken at 11:55 AM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Tuesday, January 16, 2007
    TOLD YA!
    UPDATE: ooh, ooh, the forecast is saying 1-3 inches of snow tonight, WITH accumulation! Kids are going crazy!

    I know, I know...
    some of you are going to be snickering at me, but remember, WE'RE IN SOUTH TEXAS!! This is just the biggest news since...well, since....the Helotes mulch fire!

    The Papa called from Las Vegas to warn the kids not to jump on the trampoline today--it just might break!!

    Good thing everything here is shut down--no college classes, no work, no orthodontic appointments, no ice skating party (no, that's not a joke! Steph really did have to cancel Zach's ice skating birthday party because of the ice storm!) no one has to brave the roads at least until tomorrow afternoon...

    has spoken at 11:48 AM
    8 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, January 15, 2007
    iPod update....

    So I finally put more on my iTunes than my iPod Nano will hold (with the latest addition of the whole Psalty library!) and had to spend another hour or so plowing through my Dummies book to figure out how to keep from loading everything all at once. I started to write a post asking for some help (knowing that SOMEone, maybe Lindsey [vbg] would raise her hand to help me) but about the time I was about to write, I found the right chapter and now I just feel so successful!

    And yes, folks, we're in an ice storm here in the southern reaches of the U.S.! All schools closed down tomorrow, sand and gravel trucks out all over the city, 30 cars stranded on the I-10/410 rollercoaster interchange, and we are all snug in our beds and thankful that everyone is enclosed in feathers and down! I will try to remember in August how good this felt!

    has spoken at 11:03 PM
    4 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, January 14, 2007
    Sunday Snippets...
    Shelley played some of the hymns in church today and did so well! It's hard to get started accompanying, but she's been extremely diligent in practice the last few weeks and she's made wonderful strides. I'm so proud of her!

    We have SNOW in our forecast! I know for many of you that wouldn't be news, and for some of you it certainly wouldn't be GOOD news, but this IS San Antonio! We'll have freezing temps the next few nights and maybe two or three different forms of freezing precipitation. I wouldn't want it to last too long...but there's something very comforting about checking the stores of milk and bread, surveying the firewood, and thinking what we'll do with our time if we're snowed in. Okay, iced in. Can't imagine that any accumulation of snow around here would be enough to keep us from getting out of the driveway.

    Meanwhile, The Papa is away on business in Las Vegas, where it's also snowing. One of these days I'm going to make a surprise trip to meet him on one of these trips. There's just something slightly fishy about all the business in Las Vegas and Hawaii, doncha think? Anyway, thankful for other burly males (my sons, silly!) to help keep us safe in his absence.

    Grandson Sam spent a night in the hospital with serious asthma complications. We're rejoicing that he's now home and doing better.

    My goodness, can it really be time to schedule senior pictures for Beth? She and her father and I had a little "meeting" this week to discuss graduation plans and such...this can't be possible!

    And yes, it's also time for American Idol again. Yeah, we're some of the addicted. This year we'll be taping the episodes and watching on weekends since we've made a commitment to no TV during the school week. I'm slightly ashamed to say that AI was one of the considerations when we made this decision. If anything could have thrown us back the other way, this would have been it. But really, our results with no TV from Monday until Friday night have been even better and less traumatic than I ever expected, so no regrets here.

    I got all the Kids Praise CDs uploaded to iTunes this week. Now waiting on "Music Machine" and "Bullfrogs and Butterflies" to arrive and then my nostalgic kids library will be almost complete. What fun!

    Tomorrow--Navy Bean and Ham Soup. A staple of ours on election days, and welcome any time the weather is frosty. Dirk had Aubrey call to make sure we had everything we needed in case we can't leave for a day or two...happily I had just made a major shop at the commissary and we're good!

    SOMEtime in the next few hours, hopefully, I'm going to go be with Steph G. as she delivers baby #3. This will be my second time with this sweet family, and I can hardly wait! (Evidently Steph CAN wait, since she was due Wednesday LOL) She's planning to liveblog the early labor, so go check it out at The Greenhouse.

    Okay...back to three-hole-punching the week's worksheets...

    has spoken at 6:45 PM
    4 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, January 13, 2007
    We are about to claim a distinction that I don't believe too many families would qualify for: we will have four kids in braces all at once.

    I'm getting a much bigger kick out of this than the eventual participants are. I want to make an appointment for group pictures or something, but alas, they are not as enthusiastic as I am. So I suppose I will have to settle for a coerced snapshot at some point. But it will surely be one for the memory books!

    Yes, and one for the checkbook as well. Did I tell you we'll be foregoing groceries for a couple of years? Maybe on the enforced diet I can finally be a size 6 again! And after the first year, it might be possible for all of us fit in one snapshot together!

    has spoken at 11:07 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Thursday, January 11, 2007
    Do you remember these...?

    My children, at least the A team and the older of the B team, were raised on Psalty and his kids, beginning with the REAL LP's! We thought we were so progressive when we got them all on cassette tape (I think we skipped the 8-Track stage!), and for years I guarded the originals and made copies for us to listen to in the car.

    Somewhere around '95, when it was clear to me that A) CD's were here to stay, and B) cassettes were not going to be around for long, and C) my "store" of originals was now deteriorating quickly due to loss, age, and little fingers, I started looking for the series on CD. But these albums seemed to have vanished from the planet. Never mind that I had, during those years, three daughters who worked in Christian book stores and who, at irregular intervals did searches of all the known distributors--they were nowhere to be found!

    My friends, insomnia DOES have a couple of silver linings. And one of them is that when faced with an interminable night and nothing better to do, I sometimes embark on nostalgic treasure hunts and come up with something wonderful. Pieces of my wedding china, dear books I grew up with, an ancient (1963) copy of my old Junior Girl Scout Manual...almost anything I can think of is waiting for me to find on some sleepless night.

    So last week, on one of these dark nights of the soul cyberspace, I decided to see if I could track down our friends Psalty, Melody, Harmony, Rhythm, Risky Rat, Charity Churchmouse and the Churchmouse Choir, alias "The Cheeses for Jesus." Yes, pretty cheesey, but these albums were so well-produced and contain such memorable music that they are part of us, and I'd love to be able to share them with my grandchildren.

    Somewhere along 1:30am, I FOUND THEM! As far as I know, they're not available anywhere else (or I'd have found them way before this LOL), but this whole website is devoted to the Maranatha Kids Praise series and all the spinoffs. Quickly, before they disappeared into the internet ether or before I woke up from one of Charity's dreams, I hit "submit order" and was instantly grateful that I hadn't been able to sleep!

    Yesterday, twelve of Psalty's best arrived at my doorstep, and today, faced with a couple of hours of downtime during the kids' co-op, I started uploading them into iTunes as fast as I could go. Now, barring some cyber-catastrophe like, say, digital music going the way of the 8-Track, I will have them forever and be able to share them with a generation yet unborn.

    And while uploading, I wondered...does Charity Churchmouse know she's on iTunes??

    Psalty CDs

    has spoken at 9:37 PM
    7 Backtalks to Granny

    Tuesday, January 09, 2007
    I've mentioned a few of the things I received as Christmas gifts this year, and tonight it's time for another.

    My best friend certainly knows what kind of reading material lights my fire, and did she ever score with this one! I finished one book today, and even though I don't have lots of time to read tonight, I rewarded myself by thumbing through this book for a taste of what I'm in for.

    This is one hefty tome, and I won't be finishing it in January. It is 700 pages of, as the subtitle says, things I probably should have learned but (mostly) didn't. And it's not a book of trivia...this is real stuff, about art history, religion, psychology, mathematics (YES!), political science. And it's presented in creative, witty, winsome ways and organized into manageable chunks. OH I AM GOING TO LOVE THIS!

    Here is a sampling. In the Music section, under "Eleven Arias to Sing in the Shower":

    La Boheme (Puccini), act 1, "Che gelida manina": Four carefree young artistes share substandard garret. The sensitive poetic one meets consumptive little embroideress from garret next door. Notices, as they proceed to fall in love, that she seems a bit under the weather: "Che gelida manina / Se la lasci riscaldar." ("Your tiny hand is frozen. Let me warm it into life.")

    Now there's a never-fail pick-up line, huh?

    Or under Psychology:


    In the beginning there was Freud--or as he is universally labeled, Freud himself, with the pronoun wired inextricably to the noun. Not to refer to him this way immediately reveals you to be a parvenu on the psychoanalytic scene. To establish your credentials among the cognoscenti, you must, whenever some arcane metapsychological point is discussed, ask whether the speaker is referring to the early writings (1895-1900) or to the middle phase (roughly 1900-1910); that is, to theories which Freud himself (see how it's done?) revised in his later papers. It also adds a bit of heft to throw in such remarks as "Yes, but in 'On Narcissism' or in 'Analysis Terminable and Interminable,' Freud himself said..."

    (Never one to risk exposure as a parvenu, I am definitely working on my credentials for display at the next fashionably late dinner with the cognoscenti.)

    I won't bore you further, except to say that my mouth waters as I approach the math and science sections and look forward to Brownian motion, always a fascination of mine (and no, I'm NOT kidding), the marvels of the Fibonacci series, Superstring Theory, the Mobius strip, and Godel's Incompleteness Theorem.

    My dilemma will be that while I want to hurry up and know everything in the book, I'm not going to want it to end. Anyone care to place a wager on how long this will be on my nightstand?

    Anyway, see how well she knows me? THANK YOU, LYRIC! YOU ROCK!

    has spoken at 11:15 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Reading has been slow the past few months. But if it weren't for the fact that I finished this book this afternoon I'd have considered the second half of my day pretty much a total loss.

    I had a 1:25 appointment with my orthopedic surgeon, and I was very glad to have a book with me when I walked in and saw the sign, "Dr. P. is running 1 to 1 1/2 hours behind. Sorry for the inconvenience." Good, I thought, just enough time to finish my 80 or 90 pages.

    Alas, at 3:05 I had finished the book and checked in at the desk to find out how much longer it would be, and I was told that they still didn't know when (read: IF) I would be seen. So I rescheduled and left. The wait, added to the drive time, ate up nearly four hours and I was left with nothing other than the satisfaction that I could cross another book off my list.

    The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a sad but sweet story about the walls that are built in lives and marriages when they are built around lies and mistrust. It's also a story that sensitively champions those who faithfully love and care for the mentally disabled. Edwards can be slightly heavy on the descriptive passages, which tend to make me a bit impatient, but I still recommend the book for the heartwarming and sobering story line.

    has spoken at 8:09 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, January 08, 2007
    It's Buckle-Down Day.

    After several weeks off for Christmas, New Years, and various other tasks and missions, all of them good but none of them in the least academic, I have had to buckle down and get my act in gear to resume the books tomorrow.

    I have mixed emotions. I like the feeling of waking up in the morning and choosing what to do next, having plenty to do but nothing time-critical or urgent.

    But I also know from a few years' experience that our family functions much better with structure. And so I look forward to resuming the routine, even though my darker side will fight it.

    And...I think part of me has resisted this semester because it will be Bethany's last, and that's scary as well as happy. This is it--my academic input into her life will be finished and handed over to a gaggle of professors I may never meet (do they have PTA at college?). So the import of the next 18 weeks is huge to me, as will be the satisfaction when it comes to a close. Bethany will be number 6 of our 9 to graduate from our homeschool!

    Anyway, my juices are flowing for the resumption of the school year.

    But just wait. February is coming.

    has spoken at 5:10 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, January 07, 2007
    you fill up my senses, like a night in a forest...
    Today is Annie's 27th birthday.

    I have spent a good deal of the day missing her and remembering all the things about her that have "filled up my senses" since 1980...

    Easily the most exuberant of all my children
    Hands-down the pickiest eater
    Our only "kamaaina" baby, born in Honolulu
    The only one of our children who NEVER put her shoes on backwards
    And the one who SCREAMED if her socks were wrinkled
    The last one I really had the time to sew for
    The only one to potty-train herself
    The only one so far to leave our mathematically-challenged family as an algebra tutor
    The one who from the age of 6 kept our directionally-challenged family from getting lost
    And so the most natural driver
    The first of our children to be totally homeschooled
    The first one to marry into a homeschooling family
    The only one of the girls who liked to pick and bring me spring flowers
    And the child who, on her first day of homeschool, wore a name tag "in case you forget who I am!"

    Annie is now much more than my daughter...she's a lovely wife and mother and daughter-in-law and teacher and friend, an amazing woman indeed.

    Happy Birthday, dear. I miss you.

    has spoken at 11:13 PM
    9 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, January 06, 2007
    "To remind ourselves who we are..."

    I have often been fascinated by the role of ceremony in public life. I believe that God hard-wired us to need and crave ritual, to be nourished inwardly by the observances that mark our journeys in faith and accomplishment. This is evident in the fact that even non-religious peoples find ways and reasons to create rituals. And empty as those faithless ceremonies may seem to us, they indicate a need in all of us to memorialize and reverence a part of the human experience.

    I'm one of the ones who watched President Ford's funeral with an interest that stretched beyond his life. Events like these, infrequent as they are, are part of our national language, an illustration of our national character and how we as a people "do things." In her Friday piece, Peggy Noonan reminds us of why this is important:

    We do all this to remind ourselves who we are. We do it to remind ourselves what we honor, and what we believe, as a nation and a people. We do it to remind ourselves that America yields greatness, that here a seemingly average man raised in decidedly average circumstances can become someone whose passing deserves four days of a great nation's praise.

    Praising these things reminds the old of what it is we should be aiming for each day, and instructs the young on the elements of a life well lived.

    We do it to make the picture broader for a moment, and free ourselves of our cynicism. And we do it finally to enact what so many feel and rarely say, not only because it's corny but because if you mean it, it's beyond words.

    One of the most beautiful aspects of the service and the surrounding flurry of activities was that they were a beautiful blend of what we as a nation wanted and needed to say about Gerald Ford, the man and the president, and an intimate portrait of what his family wanted and needed to say about him.

    The other lovely thing that struck me about the service is how unabashedly Episcopalian it was. I say this not because I agree with everything Episcopalians believe or even with everything that was said during the service, but it is refreshing to see an unashamed presentation of treasured denominational rituals and beliefs, smack in the middle of the public square. No nods to a hundred different beliefs, no lopping off of the name of Jesus Christ so as not to offend the squeamish or the Muslim. The hymns of the faith were proudly, sensitively, and unapologetically presented as the postlude to the life of an ordinary man in an extraordinary capacity...a man who, through it all, lived and died an Episcopalian.

    A nice reminder that in the politically correct melting pot there are still those who don't flinch at proclaiming absolute truth.

    Thursday, January 04, 2007
    I'm blogging today from Fort Worth. My mother had surgery this morning to amputate a toe that has been giving her trouble for a couple of years and has been aggravated by her advancing Parkinson's Disease. The operation itself was not a huge deal, but she is quite fragile and anything that requires general anesthesia is stressful and risky. (Not to mention the stress of saying goodbye to any part of your body, no matter how small!) But she is home again and resting, doing very well just a few hours after coming out from under the anesthesia. My lovely sister-in-law Rachel, who works for Mom and her husband full-time, is taking good care of her and running the house, so I'm here purely for moral support and just wanting to be with her.

    If everything progresses as we expect, I will head back down I-35 tomorrow and resume work on the school plans for the semester. Seems like it's been a long time since we've been at the books, and I'm looking forward to a schedule and routine again. But I'm also thankful for the kind of life that allows me to take "off" and be with my mother or my in-laws when there's a need. And that would be thanks to The Papa and to kids who are independent, capable, and who (mostly) cooperate with one another in keeping things together while I'm away. Cheers to all of them!

    Tuesday, January 02, 2007

    Lindsey over at Enjoy the Journey has brought my attention to a piece on the Opinion page of the New York Times (!) that I think all parents, Christian or not, should read. I'm always startled when I read such observations from one who makes no claim (at least explicitly) to being a Believer, as though some of us have become so calloused and blind, or worse yet, cowardly, as to need to be shaken back to the truth by one outside our own circles. The message is uncomfortable, and those of us who don't have girls in organized schooling are by no means immune or protected from the tendency of our culture toward the base and the sexualized. I don't pretend to have the answers, but I do know that it's something we must not ignore, and each of us needs to think carefully, prayerfully, about the standards that honor God...standards for dress, for behavior, for companions. Does He make a difference in how we absorb the culture? The world is watching...

    Thanks for highlighting this, Lindsey.

    Monday, January 01, 2007

    My sweet Knight-in-Shining-Armor gave me an iPod for Christmas! I had put it on my Amazon wish list, not really dreaming I'd get one, but not only did The Papa get it for me, he got me a pink one! I love it!

    But now the hard part. I stared at it for nearly a week, fiddling with it, reading about it online, ordering an iPod for Dummies book, looking through my CDs to decide what I wanted on it, ordering a couple of audio books to put on it....but actually DOING something about it was totally intimidating! Now, I've not been known to eschew or be afraid of technology (I AM blogging, after all!) but for some reason this little ounce of metal and magic had me paralyzed!

    Well, I decided that I would not close out 2006 until I had this thing licked. Not mastered, mind you, just sort of...begun. So while the firecrackers were blazing in our neighborhood last night and my kids were out with The Papa lighting our annual bonfire, I was sitting on my bed downloading and importing as fast as I could go. I now have 215 songs, the book Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier, and part of the NIV Listener's Bible actually ON the iPod and ready to enjoy. Yesterday I went and bought better earphones than came with the unit, an iTrip that will let me play all my stuff through the car stereo, and a case to hold all the paraphernalia. This Granny is NOT going to be left behind!

    CDs? Oh, they are SO last millennium :-)

    Granny's Mission Statement
    "...Tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done....that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children."
    ~Psalm 78:4-6

    My Focal Passage for 2011...
    Philippians 2:5-11

    5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

    6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

    7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

    8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

    9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,

    10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

    11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    ~Philippians 2:5-11 (ESV)


    "The vanity of being known to be trusted with a secret is generally one of the chief motives to disclose it."

    ~Samuel Johnson

    [Oxymoronica, n., A compilation of self-contradictory terms, phrases, or quotations; examples of oxymoronica appear illogical or nonsensical at first, but upon reflection, make a good deal of sense and are often profoundly true.]

    Books on the iPhone, the Kindle, or on the nightstand...

    Books finished in 2011...

    Oh, the thinks you
    can think...

    Oh, the places we'll go...

    Granny always says...

    Granny used to say...

    Grace Notes

    "Were the whole realm of nature mine
    That were a present far too small...
    Love so amazing, so divine
    Demands my soul, my life,
    my all!"