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, February 28, 2007
    Toto, we're not in America any more.

    I don't know, maybe I'm heading for living in a state of perpetual outrage. What I do know is that the things that have made us distinctly American are seeping away, being replaced by a desire to reduce us all to our lowest common denominators. The fact that the elementary school is now the university of change should disturb us all. What will they attack next? McDonald's?

    Oh, wait....

    L'eggo My Lego


    has spoken at 4:16 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, February 26, 2007
    We're baaaaack....
    ...and we've had an absolutely wonderful time together at the WholeHearted Mother Conference. Other than a brief separation where some of us went to the hotel via Dallas and some went via Fort Worth, and a windstorm which shut down the nearby DFW airport and forced us to change our Saturday dinner plans, we had no problems. All those I've asked have agreed that this might have been the best year ever! The accommodations were lovely, the speakers were magnificent, the food was scrumptious. And the fun we all had together...well, I'll let some of you chime in here and give your thoughts on that.

    I took a camera with me and left it in the van the whole weekend, so I have no pictures of the conference to share :-( If someone feels sorry for me and sends me some, I'll gladly post them.

    We're home again, tired and happy and grateful to be WholeHearted Moms!


    has spoken at 10:30 PM
    6 Backtalks to Granny

    Thursday, February 22, 2007
    Okay. I gave in. So sue me.

    I changed my membership to Platinum.

    I've gotten hooked on audio books since they hugely multiply what I can "read" in a month. My Gold membership was just giving me one book a month, and I was longingly looking at my Wish List for the last two or three weeks of the month. Last night I broke down and paid for two more, and with what I paid for those I could have paid the extra for Platinum for four months, which would have given me FOUR more books instead of the two I bought. See how good I am at math?

    So now I'm smiling.

    This really has been a lovely addition to my life. In the car, or late at night when I can't sleep, or while cleaning and cooking, I can multi-task and enjoy all kinds of literature. I like to have one fiction and one non-fiction book going at once, in addition to the narrated Bible. That way I can pick a book depending on my mood or my ability to concentrate.

    (I don't usually listen to my books when the kids are in the car, as they'd rather listen to music and it's awkward for them to jump in in the middle of a story. But one day on the way to somewhere, Shelley listened to Blink with me and decided she wanted to read the whole book! So once in a while, especially with non-fiction, the benefit might rub off...)

    And an update: the only book I've chosen so far that I didn't really love was The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue. In the past few years I've finally started reading and enjoying some fiction, but this book is a poster child for why I *didn't* read fiction for so long. Just too weird, too over-the-top, too worthless.


    has spoken at 9:39 AM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Liam is coming!

    And he is bringing his mommy with him, which we're ALMOST as excited about! They will accompany our San Antonio group to the WholeHearted Baby Mother Conference tomorrow and we get to spend all weekend with them both :-)

    We'll also be visiting with my mother, Grandma June, while we're there. She is in the hospital right now, having been taken by ambulance yesterday for some irregularities on her left side. Scans haven't shown anything stroke-related, and they're thinking that she may have some undiagnosed fractures in her hip and leg that are causing her a lot of pain and the inability to walk or move her leg. More tests today should narrow that down.

    Well, I'm off to cook a Welcome dinner for Liam's mommy (since Liam's diet is still rather one-dimensional and he won't care a bit about feijoada)...

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    has spoken at 8:28 AM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Tuesday, February 20, 2007
    Not that I have any illusions about the motivations of Merck here--clearly they're worried about the bottom line and not the ethics, but nevertheless, this is good news:

    Merck Ends Push for Mandatory Shots for Girls
    Reacting to a furor from some parents, advocacy groups and public health experts, Merck said yesterday that it would stop lobbying state legislatures to require the use of its new cervical cancer vaccine.

    The company said it made the decision after realizing that its lobbying campaign had fueled objections across the country that could undermine adoption of the vaccine.

    At least 20 states are considering making its use mandatory for schoolgirls, and the governor of Texas, Rick Perry, has already done so by executive order. Part of the states’ rush to embrace the vaccine has been instigated by Merck efforts that began before federal regulators approved the product last year.
    Now if only Governor Perry will be so responsive.

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    has spoken at 11:36 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    WholeHearted Mother Conference
    This is the week!

    It's the event of the year for a huge bunch of us homeschooling moms. On Friday, close to a thousand women will overwhelm gather at the Marriott Las Colinas at DFW Airport for what is perpetually one of the most inspiring weekends imaginable for a homeschooling mother. Not because it's full of workbooks, CD ROMs, lab supplies, and workshops on the latest record-keeping software, but precisely because it isn't.

    Over the past decade, Sally and Clay Clarkson have developed a conference that meets a real need for those of us who spend the bulk of our lives in our homes with our precious kids and sometimes lose focus and energy in all the "dailiness." It's a time to pull away, stay in a nice hotel, eat wonderful food, have some time to meet and visit with other women who are also on this journey, and listen to speakers chosen especially for their ability to help us regain perspective and enthusiasm for what God has called us to do. Each year, we come away refreshed and energized for the matchless privilege of being wives and mothers.

    Last year the Clarksons took a break, trying to discern whether continuing the annual hotel conferences was really what God wanted them to do. We missed it so much! So it's a special joy this year to caravan up to Irving for our beloved WholeHearted Mother Conference.

    And a extra-special joy for Granny is that four of my daughters will be with our San Antonio group. Aubrey, who has been my longest companion at these conferences, will be going up with us; CJ, who goes each year to help give the nursing mothers the opportunity to go by watching babies will again accompany us; and Kristen and Annie will be flying in from the east coast. Kristen has been many times; this will be Annie's first and I'm beyond joyful that she's joining us! (For those of you still awaiting this stage in life, it is SUCH a blessing to be the mom of moms! And it's also a privilege for me to have dozens of adopted "daughters" who are also devoted to the task of WholeHearted Mothering!)

    So...are any of you out there in Bloggityville meeting up with us this weekend? If so, we need to figure out a way to connect!


    has spoken at 8:33 PM
    8 Backtalks to Granny

    This just in...
    ...and just in time to make my blood boil:

    Homeschool families nationwide may face more questioning from their pediatricians because of recommendations in a recent article in Contemporary Pediatrics, a national publication for doctors who treat children.

    The November, 2006, article was entitled “What you need to learn about homeschooling.” After a skeptical but not wholly unfavorable discussion of homeschooling, the concluding paragraph urged doctors to be “vigilant” in “monitoring” the socialization of their homeschooled patients. But it did not recommend they monitor the socialization of public school children.

    When I first saw the article, I thought I'd be reading that the doctors had been urged to look for signs of physical abuse, which though offensive to me if limited to homeschooled patients, would have been slightly more understandable, given a few highly publicized stories from the past few years.

    But now we're warning medical doctors to monitor socialization? Oh brother, what is this, the early '80's? I've BEEN in this movie!

    And just what kinds of criteria would a physician, seeing a 7 year old for five minutes, use to determine if a child was appropriately socialized, whatever that means? And who is going to provide the matrix by which these doctors would judge the relative social skills of his little patients? And if my pediatrician is spending three of our five minutes trying to get my shy little guy engaged in conversation so as to figure out whether or not he's socially stunted, is he going to miss a heart murmur or some sign of infection or another symptom that might be crucial to his diagnosis?

    May those of us who have chosen to take on the education of our own children be vigilant to monitor our doctors, choosing providers who start from a place of support rather than suspicion by default!

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    has spoken at 8:30 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    8 year old discovers a math flaw in a national traveling exhibit
    By Peter Smolowitz

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Part of the new exhibit on candy has been removed from Discovery Place. And you can thank Parker Garrison.

    When the 8-year-old math whiz at Charlotte Christian school visited the "Jelly Belly Presents Candy Unwrapped" display, he accepted the challenge: Use equations to calculate how many jelly beans were in a pyramid and other containers.

    His mother, Donna, didn't want to wait while he tried all the formulas. So she copied the numbers he needed, and he took the problems home.

    That's when he realized something was wrong.

    I LOVE this story!

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    has spoken at 11:14 AM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, February 19, 2007
    A story that gives a whole new angle to the question "Where were you born?" And...yet another reason not to wear tight jeans.


    has spoken at 10:47 AM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, February 18, 2007
    Sunday snippets...
    It's been a lovely Sunday. Worship service this morning, then out to eat with the grandkids (and their parents) for a Chinese buffet. Not the favorite choice of the younger ones (or the senior in high school) but we'll just think of it as character building. The fact that this particular Chinese buffet has genuine Blue Bell ice cream doesn't hurt.

    Then I had a nice nap. That hasn't happened much for the last few months, because as much as I might SAY I want to take a nap, well, football calls and I can never drift off. Just about the time I do, there's a big interception and there goes the nap. So now, in the touchdown-less spring and summer months I should be sleeping better :-)

    Tonight we had a family movie night. Seven of us went to the theater and saw three different movies! The Papa and the boys saw Bridge to Terabithia. Reviews were mixed...Papa and John Caleb loved it; Tim thought there wasn't nearly enough action (read: sword fighting.) The three girls saw Music and Lyrics and all of them seemed to enjoy it. Granny sat alone and saw Breach, based on the true story of the spy Robert Hanssen. Excellent. Especially with popcorn.

    My mother has not been doing well. Her Parkinsons has advanced faster than any of us, including her doctors, expected. This has brought on some serious depression as well as difficult physical symptoms. Tomorrow she will meet with a new neurologist and I believe they will make the decision to start her on one of the big-gun drugs, one that is only effective for about a decade but may bring distinct improvement for a while. She's 72 and has been putting this decision off, knowing that the effects of the drug are limited and not wanting to start it too early. Not an easy calculation. I look forward to getting to see her next weekend.

    I spent some time this weekend leafing through lots of cookbooks, getting some inspiration for culinary adventures. We've definitely fallen into some pretty narrow ruts and it's time for some palate expansion! So stay tuned to see what I surprise the family with in the next few weeks...

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    has spoken at 10:20 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, February 17, 2007

    Last night I met a friend for coffee. By the time I arrived home it was below freezing outside, and I don't own a coat.

    Now normally this is not much of a problem. After four years in San Antonio, then three years in Hawaii, and now another almost six years back in San Antonio, coats haven't been a priority, you know?

    But this year has been an aberration here. There've been more than a few days when something more than a sweatshirt or a heavy sweater would have felt good and been a pleasure to wear. But is it really worth going coat shopping?

    I mean, if I'm going to buy just one coat, do I make it a long dressy coat that I can wear with church clothes? How many Sundays am I going to need a coat here? Two a year? Or do I go with a sporty three-quarter length jacket that I can wear with most anything else but that I wouldn't be caught dead wearing over a dress? And how much am I willing to pay for something that in a normal year will be worn maybe three times? Would it be smarter to pick up something at the thrift store or on eBay? And then there's color, weight, and style to consider...oh my, just way too many variables for something that will gather dust in my closet next winter.

    And then there's this: do I really want to be personally responsible for causing a world-wide disaster? I've thought about this carefully, and I have finally come to the conclusion that there is no better way for me to prove the truth of and guarantee the downward spiral of global warming than to buy a winter coat in south Texas. Is my own personal warmth for one uncharacteristically chilly winter worth my tempting fate to bake the whole world in greenhouse gases for the next million and a half years? I don't think so.

    So...I'll wait until next winter and see if this year was truly an anomaly or if we are perhaps descending into a new ice age, in which case I'll think about buying a coat in every color. In the meantime, I will try to park very close to the bookstore the next time I meet Tami for coffee.


    has spoken at 12:23 PM
    5 Backtalks to Granny

    Friday, February 16, 2007
    Prayer request....
    My cousin Johanna has just come through an extensive and very painful reconstruction of her nose, using cartilage from both of her ears. The surgery is supposed to make breathing easier and also firm up the infrastructure that has suffered way too many fractures. But right now she is swollen and bruised and in a lot of pain, and to top it all off she's developed a serious throat infection. Please pray for her steady and successful recovery and for comfort during these long, sometimes nearly sleepless a matter of fact, click here and you will immediately be moved to pray for her!

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    has spoken at 4:20 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    It occurred to me today that it's a good thing we're not in the middle of a national election or a Katrina-sized national disaster, because we'd never hear about it! With ALLANNANICOLEALLTHETIME, there's no room for any real news and it has really gotten on my nerves. Sure, it's got all the elements of a very compelling story, and I won't pretend I'm not interested, but could we just get a news bulletin every morning with all the real developments of the day and not have to hear it EVERYSINGLEHOUROFEVERYDAY???

    Okay, I feel better now.


    has spoken at 4:12 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Thursday, February 15, 2007
    UPDATE on Gov. Perry's plan to violate parental rights...
    From yesterday's Houston Chronicle article:

    AUSTIN — The Texas House will take its first step Monday to overturn Gov. Rick Perry's mandate that schoolgirls be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted virus linked to cervical cancer.

    The House Public Health Committee posted notice Tuesday that it will hold a public hearing on a bill that would pre-empt Perry's order and prevent the human papillomavirus vaccine from being required for admission to any elementary or secondary school.

    "The governor has accomplished his goal of bringing attention to this issue," said Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, author of the bill. "All citizens of Texas will have an opportunity to come to Austin to give an opinion."

    The text of the relevant portion of the bill reads:

    Immunization against the human papillomavirus may not be required for a persons' admission to any elementary or secondary school. This subsection preempts all contrary orders of the governor.

    Rep. Bonnen has already signed 60 co-authors onto his bill. And he will need them: it will take a 2/3 majority in both houses to override a self-evident gubernatorial veto.

    The bill will be heard in committee on Monday. If you live in Texas, please call your representative and urge support of H. B. 1098. You can also call Gov. Perry's office (1-800-843-5789) and urge that he rescind the executive order mandating the vaccine before 6th grade girls can be registered for school.

    Just to reiterate: I am not speaking to the efficacy, the safety, or the advisability of the HPV vaccine. I heard from many of you by email on the relative merits and concerns about the vaccine and you had wonderful points. My purpose in this venue is to strenuously object to the governor's order circumventing the right of parents to make medical decisions for their daughters in the absence of any true public health crisis on the order of polio, measles or tuberculosis.

    (And speaking of circumventing, I was not aware until today that this was not a bill that passed the legislature and went to the governor for signature. This was done by executive order, bypassing any consultation with the legislative side. We are now waiting on a clarification from the state attorney general on whether the governor even has the authority to issue such an order.)

    Alternate numbers for Gov. Perry:

    1. (512) 463-2000--office

    2. (512) 463-782--Governor's Comment line

    3. (800) 252-9600--citizens hot line

    4. (800) 843-5789

    5. (512) 463-1849--fax

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    has spoken at 12:52 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007
    After several days of Granny's House looking like a graveyard due to at least three distinct viruses that settled over us, it appears that everyone has finally turned the corner. You might not know it to see all the half-empty bottles of NyQuil and cough medicine, boxes of tissues, pallets on the floors and on the sofas, cups of flat soda, etc....but really, no one is worse today and several of us have decided that doing a few math problems is not REALLY the equivalent of scaling Mt. Everest!

    So I guess I'd have to say the winter has been a mixed bag for us. I mentioned before that we've had some great winter weather for this part of the country. That respite makes it a little easier to tolerate the thought of the coming summer heat. But we haven't escaped the nasty bugs that tend to go along with this time of year, and we've long observed that the more people who live in our house the longer these bouts last, because our family loves to share! Seems like no matter how many times we wash our hands, how much we air out the house, how carefully we control the disposal of used tissues, we end up with a few weeks each winter when all we can do is nurse each other. Maybe that's what it takes to make us actually look forward to the heat!

    During some of the down time I've been doing a lot of bloghopping, getting to know some of the fabulous gals out there who contribute some real writing gems to Bloggityville. If you'd like some recommendations for places to start, click on the Family-Friendly Blogroll on my right-hand sidebar...get yourself a cup of tea and go strolling!

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    has spoken at 9:43 AM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, February 12, 2007
    There's an interesting discussion about this book going on over at Enjoy the Journey. Hop over there and read Lindsey's post, and don't miss the comments, especially the one by the author of the book, Mark Fox. I haven't read his book but I'll be looking at it soon!

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    has spoken at 3:59 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, February 11, 2007
    Sunday snippets...
    Once again, I stayed home from church this morning. Seems like it's been this way all winter...either me or one of the younger kids sick. So this week most of us have been ducking in and out of sickness, and I believe now that some of us have actually contracted a second virus on top of the first. Several of us only *thought* we were getting better when we were slammed back down with either another bug or a renewed onslaught of the first. In either case, it's certainly slathered another layer on the normal February blahs (see below).

    So this has been the week of AllAnnaNicoleAllTheTime. It's been very interesting for me to watch and compare coverage of the saga among the various networks. So many of the news and entertainment outlets are falling all over themselves and each other to be the definitive high-minded vantage...while the sad truth is that it's a tragic, low-brow story that can't be wrapped up in a nice, neat media package. Not now, perhaps not ever. This one makes Marilyn Monroe look like Mitford.

    And for another incredible story, how about the NASA love triangle mess? I keep wondering how the three kids of the protaganist are faring, not only from the trauma of having an unhinged, fallen-from-glory mother who now wears a GPS ankle-bracelet instead of a pressurized space suit, but also from the specter of living in a fish-bowl with cameras camped outside their house 24/7. God, help them.

    Happily, I'm looking at a calendar of March that has NO trips away from home by The Papa. He'll get to absorb his share of the family trauma around here for a while. But then who am I kidding? With all the cars, appliances, and kids programmed to his airline schedule, why could I expect that anything unpleasant would happen while he's home? Oh well, at least I can rest in the thought that he'll enjoy some peace and quiet for a bit :-)

    WARNING: You are hereby instructed to cease and desist with all the phone calls, emails, and especially real-time IMs to tell me that you have three (or six, or twelve) inches of snow in your yard. I've tried to be nice until now, I really have, but I've reached critical mass and can no longer be happy for you. The icicles here last month were nice, but they were not snow, and they dripped away much too fast, and they did not leave me with any fantasy that I live in a winter wonderland.

    This reminds me, in a way, of our first tour of duty in Hawaii. The state was in the middle of a long drought, and after a year of heat and no rain, I was suffering a weather-related depression. I longed for a good storm, for a juicy break in the Paradise that tourists spend big bucks for.

    One afternoon when I thought I could bear no more, The Papa went outside and rigged our large lawn sprinkler to spray up to the lanai roof, where it made loud, pelting sounds and then ran off the roof in a perfect imitation of a summer storm. It was delicious. For two hours I was able to suspend reality and believe that it was pouring outside, and believe it or not, it did wonders for my outlook!

    I'm sure that my dear husband would have been instantly and brutally incarcerated if the Water Police had found out, but to this day I remember that event as one of the sweetest things he ever did for his rain-starved wife.

    Honey, can you figure out how to simulate a blizzard?

    No, on second thought...

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    has spoken at 2:47 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, February 10, 2007
    Digging for treasure...
    This is without a doubt the sweetest, most charming story I have read in a very long time (okay, excepting the Mitford series). It's actually one I've listened to on the iPod, and if you have the chance to do the same I would highly recommend it. Since about half the book is spoken by Iranian immigrants, there is a richness to hearing the accent that doesn't come from the text I am grateful that I chose to listen to rather than read this one. And it's definitely made me decide to seek out other work by Anne Tyler and other audio books read by the extraordinary Blair Brown.

    (And for those of you who might choose to listen in the car, you wouldn't have to worry a bit about having it on when the kids are with you. It might even spur some good discussion on cultural differences, friendships, and family unity.)

    Please, get Digging to America on your list.


    has spoken at 5:37 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Arkansas Razorbacks

    Okay, I tried. I really did. But I just cannot resist the temptation to post this.

    Last Tuesday, as President Bush got off the helicopter in front of the White House, he was carrying a baby piglet under each arm.

    The squared away Marine guard snaps to attention, salutes, and says, "Nice pigs, Sir."

    The President replies, "These are not pigs. These are authentic Arkansas Razorback hogs. I got one for Senator Hillary Clinton and I got one for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi."

    The Marine again snaps to attention, salutes, and says, "Excellent trade, Sir."

    hat tip: (read: BLAME:) Mimi :-)


    has spoken at 2:06 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Friday, February 09, 2007
    Isn't she lovely...isn't she wonderful
    This photo is a bit dated now, but then...CJ is timeless.

    None of us can believe that she is 20 today. Is that because the time has flown by, or is it because she seemed to be nearly 20 when she was born? It seems she has been taking care of all of us since before she could talk. She's been a light in her Daddy's eyes, a right-hand to me through all kinds of circumstances, a best-friend to her older sisters, a near-twin to her first brother, and a playmate/confidante/second-mom to the rest of the B-team.

    Most of you readers will know that CJ's life for the past 18 months is not what we'd have chosen for her. It's involved pain, sadness, uncertainty, and unfulfilled dreams. But it's also brought us all closer together and allowed us to get glimpses of just how blessed we all are to have each other. CJ's spirit, her unselfishness, and her trust in our Father's faithfulness have ministered to each of us during these months. Despite the circumstances, it's been our delight to have her here with us, during the dark days and the bright ones, squeezing all the sweet moments we can out of however long she can stand to stay in that bedroom upstairs...and we hope that will be a long time.

    Happy birthday, dear. You are truly lovely...

    has spoken at 9:11 PM
    6 Backtalks to Granny

    I'm bringing back one of my favorite posts from last year for the few of you who might have missed it...because, it's February. Again.


    I freely admit that February has always been my hardest homeschooling month. Never fails--every year my motivation grinds to an ugly halt around the second week in February.

    In August I can hardly wait to get started...fresh lesson plans in hand, stacks of new books and supplies at the ready, idealistic goals for the creating of multiple geniuses....ah, I can almost feel that rush now.

    September and October usually clip along with me checking off every subject on every student's assignment sheet every day, re-evaluating and fine-tuning the plans each Friday afternoon. November is usually more of a challenge as we lean into the holidays, but my resolve is still strong into the first week in December. Okay, so maybe we usually do stop for Christmas a week earlier than what is entered on my Edu-Track, but hey, the holidays bring all sorts of opportunities for learning, don't they?

    So after a three or four week break, I'm ready to go again in January. I've usually spent a few days updating the plans and adjusting what I think we'll manage to cover, and there is a sort of secondary "rush" that I feel when getting started on the second semester of the year.

    It's short-lived.

    I get to about the 5th of February and it's like something alien has taken over my brain and my willpower! IS IT MAY YET??? Okay, well, isn't it even spring break yet? PRESIDENTS' DAY? GROUND HOG DAY? PLEASE! Some one give me a reason to take another month off! The plans start sounding like Simon & know,

    slip slidin' away
    slip slidin' away...
    you know the nearer your destination
    the more you're slip slidin' away.
    Okay, so I just gave away my age. But in February I feel twice my age anyway, and that's downright scary.

    So around here we're in the region of schooling by the seat of our collective pants, looking at the calendar and counting the days until Memorial Day. Well, maybe May Day. Or Easter. When is Easter this year? Oh, well that's way too late. Which President had a birthday in March? Yeah, him! I've always admired Martin Van Buren and I think it's high time we gave him the honor he's due, maybe with an entire month of celebration and meditation and REST! YES! That's it!

    Okay, so it's now less than a month until Van Buren Day....I think I can make it!


    has spoken at 4:03 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Susie at Bluebird Blogs discovered what the problem was with my font and now I'm back to normal! YEA!!!

    (And so it's time to put in another plug for Susie: if you're in the mood for mid-winter re-decorating at YOUR blog, do give her a holler and get on her list for a GREAT blog design!)

    Thank you, Susie (in italics on purpose!)


    has spoken at 2:05 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Thursday, February 08, 2007

    Okay, the Anna Nicole Smith story gets weirder and weirder. In the past hour, there's a breaking story that now Frédéric von Anhalt, husband of the much-married Hungarian-born actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, now claims that HE may be the father of Anna Nicole's baby.

    Does anyone smell a made-for-TV movie coming?

    No? Sitcom maybe?


    has spoken at 4:17 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Do you know about BookMooch?

    I have a love affair with books.

    Even lately as I've been listening to as many books from as I've been literally reading, I'm conflicted by the fact that when I'm through listening I don't have anything to put on my shelf to remind me (okay, and others) that I've read it.

    But I'm out of bookshelf space. Truth is, I've lived my whole life out of bookshelf space. Every time we've bought or built shelves, it's only to take care of the overflow, not to make room for new ones.

    So I'm not sure how much use I can bear to make of BookMooch, a sort of fancy bartering system for used books, but I love the idea. I have to find a way to force myself to get rid of some books, and maybe having a way to find a "good home" for them will encourage me. And of course the *getting books* side of BookMooch isn't a problem at all--I'm sure I'll find all kinds of things I'd like to get for free!

    Anyway, check it out and tell me what you think...will it work for your bookshelves?


    has spoken at 3:12 PM
    7 Backtalks to Granny

    Several of you have asked for updates on those of us with health issues...

    Nathan is still experiencing the aches and pains and bruises from his fall. He thinks there might be some lingering injuries in his shoulder and his lower back, so we have an appointment for later in the month to get those checked out. (Military medicine is very slow.) In the meantime, he's been back at work a few hours each day and back in school as well.

    CJ is better from the scary episode Wednesday morning and has been in communication with her military and civilian doctors about next steps. She has an appointment on the 26th in the neurology clinic. (Military medicine is slow.)

    I am still waiting on contact with radiology to get my CT scan and MRI prior to deciding about surgery. (Military medicine is very slow.)

    Meanwhile, a winter bug has settled over us and has me in bed today timing the NyQuil and other meds to stay comfy and keep the hacking cough at bay. Oh well, more time to read the blogs and listen to my audio book...

    Labels: ,

    has spoken at 2:21 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Wednesday, February 07, 2007
    What's with Texas??

    So while we're talking about Texas schools, how about this gem coming from the Republican side of the legislature:

    AUSTIN, Texas - Parents beware: Miss a meeting with your child's teacher and it could cost you a $500 fine and a criminal record.

    A Republican state lawmaker from Baytown has filed a bill that would charge parents of public school students with a misdemeanor and fine them for playing hooky from a scheduled parent-teacher conference.

    Red flags here! One of the dangers of compulsory public education is that soon too many things associated with it also become compulsory. And won't this do wonders for how parents feel about their children's teachers and schools?

    Smith explains his motives:

    Rep. Wayne Smith said Wednesday he wants to get parents involved in their child's education.

    "I think it helps the kids for the parents and teachers to communicate. That's all the intent was," Smith said.

    Now I'm all for parents being involved in their children's education, obviously. I hope that all parents will care enough to arrange a way to meet with a child's teacher. But this is crazy! Do we really think that a parent who is so detached as to need the threat of a criminal record is one that's going to get a lot out of a parent-teacher conference?

    Let's hope the voices of sanity will prevail:

    Austin parent Mary Christine Reed has children in third and seventh grades and is involved in her parent-teacher association. She said she knows of some problems teachers have had, but as a parent, wonders if a steep fine or criminal charge would make them worse.

    "If the idea is to create communication, to send them into the criminal justice system ... is going to do nothing but have a negative impact," Reed said. "It would make parents more scared of the school."

    Yeah, really!

    Feel free to sound off on this one :-)

    has spoken at 7:46 AM
    9 Backtalks to Granny

    Tuesday, February 06, 2007
    Prayer request....
    It's been a long time since I've posted asking prayer for CJ, but I'm going to do it again now. She's had a relapse of her illness and is in pretty bad shape right now. We are waiting from a call from the neurology clinic to get her back in, and just trying to make her comfortable until then. Please pray for her comfort, for a sense of peace for her and all of us around her, and for some answers about why she isn't getting well after a year and a half...

    has spoken at 3:49 PM
    5 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, February 05, 2007
    If this girl lives in Texas...
    ...she won't be able to register for school in the fall of '08 unless she is vaccinated against the human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted disease.

    I can't even begin to tell you how disgusted I am that Gov. Perry signed this legislation, abandoning his conservative base and throwing parents' rights in the garbage. No, my daughters won't be directly affected since they won't be registering for school, but this issue is much bigger than your educational choices. And now it appears that one of the factors is Perry's close links to Merck, the maker of the vaccine. Maybe it speaks to my naivete that this still shocks me.

    News reports here are full of medical personnel, educators, and social workers crooning about how wonderful it is that Texas is "out front" on this, and that soon all 50 states will follow our admirable lead. (Never mind that the flu vaccine, which is NOT mandatory for school children or anyone else saves many more lives than the HPV vaccine--there are clearly social and economic motives at work here which do not apply to the very dangerous influenza epidemics.)

    Instead of my detailing the problems with this fiasco, I direct you to this discussion of the purely scientific and secular-based reasons why it's such a bad idea, and this statement from a Christian organization expressing its dismay that our state will now circumvent parents' prerogatives in health decisions for their children.

    Oh, and don't be fooled by the attempts to mollify concerned parents with the late-added "opt-out" provision: those of us who have had experience trying to opt out of public school programs for sex education and other objectionable parts of the curricula know that the accompanying stalling, red tape, and ostracization hardly make these options acceptable.

    has spoken at 4:45 PM
    14 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, February 04, 2007
    Sunday snippets...
    Can it be February already? This morning I realized that all my calendars (I'm a calendar freak--I have one or even two in every roomthe in the house, I think) still said "JANUARY." Not wanting to miss a single day of enjoying the new February pages, especially since February is short enough anyway, I scurried around lifting the old and revealing the new, amazed that a whole month has passed since I put the new ones up! Okay, a month and four days!

    One of the children was sick this morning, and so after getting all ready for church and cooking a dish to take to our fellowship meal, I put two separate portions of dinner aside for John Caleb and me and watched the rest of the food and family go out the door without me. It turned out to be a lovely morning, though he might disagree. I listened to my audio book and worked all morning in the kitchen, getting all the gourmet junk food ready for the Superbowl. I had planned to do that yesterday afternoon and evening, but God intervened with something much more important for me to do, and even though it was unexpected it was one of those times when I sense God's fingerprints and bow to His timing. Anyway, the tasks were all done by the time the family returned home and now I'll rest a bit before the rest of the San Antonio family and Christine and kids arrive.

    I've made: Texas Caviar (a southwest-y flavored concoction of black beans, black-eyed peas, hominy (YES, HOMINY!), onions, tomatoes, jalapeno and garlic, eaten with Fritos or scoop-shaped Tostitos), Tortilla Pinwheels, Baked Potato Skins, Buttery Dijon Deviled Eggs, Mahogany Chicken Wings, and as a concession to all those under-12 boys, frozen Taquitos with Cheese Sauce and Cheesy Pigs in a Blanket. And that's just the part of the feast that *I'm* making!

    The girls beat me to the theater to see Dream Girls last night and they loved it. I had to laugh though...when someone mentioned that Diana Ross isn't too happy about the movie, one of the girls said, "Who's Diana Ross?" Oh my goodness. I'm too old.

    The Papa leaves again Tuesday, having just returned Friday from Hawaii. But this time he heads in the opposite direction and will get to visit all the Virginia grandchildren (and their parents LOL) while pretending to work in Maryland. I'm praying for no car wrecks, no broken appliances, no 6ft 2in sons falling through ceilings, no strep throat or stomach viruses. We'll save all those for when he's home.

    Hoping your Sunday has been worshipful, restful, and maybe sprinkled with a touchdown or two...

    has spoken at 4:45 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, February 03, 2007
    Superbowl XLI !
    In an hour or so I'll be off to the grocery store to gather all the items for our Superbowl party dishes. Making the menu is a challenge when 7 of the 12 of us are males age twelve and under who would just as soon have frozen pizza pockets than something sophisticated like artichoke dip with bagel crisps. These boys think that guacamole is just green oatmeal. So...finding snacks that will please all of us takes some thought but is fun nonetheless. I can't claim that it will be the healthiest of "meals," but then the Superbowl only comes around once a year.

    We are petitioning the NFL, however, to hold the Superbowl at least quarterly. The only problem I can see is that most of the American public cannot read Roman numerals past 50 or so, and at the rate of four a year we'd soon be thrown into mass confusion, until the Department of Education raised our taxes to institute mandatory remedial courses in 5th grade arithmetic.

    On second thought, I think once a year is plenty.

    Oh yeah, and GO COLTS!

    has spoken at 12:00 PM
    7 Backtalks to Granny

    Friday, February 02, 2007
    When character was king...
    Peggy Noonan is always at her best when writing about Ronald Reagan, and today is no exception. You'll enjoy this tribute on what would have been his 96th birthday.

    has spoken at 8:49 AM
    7 Backtalks to Granny

    Really, it's okay....
    ...really, it's perfectly fine that The Papa has been staying in the Hilton tower this week. Really, it's okay that I tried to get a last minute ticket but would've had to pay with my firstborn child and one kidney to get there to share his room at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. It's no problem that I stayed here and did the emergency room thing and graded essays and sorted papers for our taxes.

    Really, it's okay.

    (It's only okay because he's on his way home and whatever the next crisis is, I'm gonna let HIM handle it LOL)


    has spoken at 12:30 AM
    6 Backtalks to Granny

    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...

  • The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, Alexander Mccall Smith
  • The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, Arthur G. Bennett, editor

  • Books finished in 2011...

  • Oxymoronica, Mardy Grothe
  • Some Sing, Some Cry, Ntozake Shange, Ifa Bayeza
  • English Society in the Eighteenth Century, Roy Porter
  • One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, Ann Voskamp
  • His Word in My Heart, Janet Pope
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
  • Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi
  • Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God, John Piper
  • Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, Joshua Foer
  • Blue Shoes and Happiness, Alexander McCall Smith
  • The Red Queen, Philippa Gregory
  • Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Eric Metaxas
  • The Confessions of Saint Augustine, St. Augustine
  • Complete Poems and Selected Letters of John Keats, John Keats
  • Unfamiliar Fishes, Sarah Vowell
  • Words That Work, Frank Luntz
  • NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
  • Poke the Box, Seth Godin
  • Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It, Gary Taubes
  • A Patriot's History of the United States, Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen
  • Song of Saigon: One Woman's Journey to Freedom, Anh Vu Sawyer
  • The Artistic Mother: A Practical Guide for Fitting Creativity into Your Life, Shona Cole
  • The Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature, Elizabeth Kantor
  • The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, David McCullough

  • Oh, the thinks you
    can think...
  • Tapestry of Grace
  • Anatomical Charts
  • America's Library
  • George Washington's Mount Vernon - Virtual Mansion Tour
  • Thomas Jefferson's Monticello - Virtual Mansion Tour
  • Hurricane Demo

  • Oh, the places we'll go...
  • The Alamo
  • Majestic Theater
  • The MAiZE
  • Magik Theatre
  • Sheldon Vexler Children's Theatre

  • Granny always says...
    Saying goodbye...
    Sunday snippets...
    Sunday snippets...
    Coming soon to a country near you...
    Making (a) room...
    Just in case this might make an impact on your spe...
    Midweek snippets...
    What's up?
    She said YES!

    Granny used to say...
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    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!"