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

  • Thursday, May 31, 2007
    WHAT??? NPR, the Fair and Balanced Version?

    NASA's Top Official Questions Global Warming

    has spoken at 8:45 AM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Tuesday, May 29, 2007
    So...tomorrow our Bethany graduates. I've known it was coming, but it didn't hit me as reality until tonight at the rehearsal. Seeing her take her place with the other graduates, doing their funny routines and their serious reflections, seeing the video montages of their lives, and then doing the mock presentation of her diploma....well, it came crashing in that my job in educating her is complete. I haven't always done it the way I wanted to or should have; her high school years more than any of the other children were affected by our life transitions and my physical and emotional challenges....

    "but God..." My favorite two words in Scripture...the words that assure me that I am not the one in control, and no matter how selfish, ineffective, faithless, or tired I become, He will not allow His purposes to be thwarted. His purposes in Bethany are being realized and becoming more visible each day; as I watched her from the back of the auditorium tonight I saw new glimpses of the woman she is becoming. So young--not quite 17--and yet already displaying the new grace and poise of womanhood. And as we end this part of our journey together, she begins to take a new place, that of adult daughter and friend. It tastes bittersweet, but these days the sweet is taking center stage...

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    has spoken at 10:46 PM
    4 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, May 28, 2007

    Today I finally finished The Historian. At 676 pages, it's a formidable accomplishment for me, one I wasn't sure I'd really stick with to the end, but I'm glad I did.

    This is one rich in descriptive detail, rich in history, rich in character development. Told from the point of view of a sixteen-year old girl who has led a privileged and sheltered life, it explores the ancient legend of Dracula and the attempts of modern researchers to uncover the truth about his life and (un)death. Yes, rather bizarre subject material for me, but nevertheless an uncommon pleasure.

    The Historian will appeal to you if you are 1) interested in the legend of Dracula; 2) have a special interest in international diplomacy; 3) love history and the history of Eastern Europe in particular; or 4) just love a good suspense story that's beautifully written.

    Just don't plan to read it all in one or two sittings!


    has spoken at 2:13 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Awww...say it ain't so!

    We Won't Have Mama Moonbat to Kick Around

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    has spoken at 2:12 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, May 27, 2007
    Sunday snippets...
    I started out the week in Virginia, enjoying the hugs of six precious grandchildren and the company of Annie and Kristen and their hubbies. On Tuesday I flew home, still reeling from the change in plans regarding my surgery but doing the best I could to revamp my next few weeks. I'm doing okay now and have plenty to keep me busy that couldn't have been done from my chair!

    The day after getting to Virginia I had lunch with long-time (I didn't say OLD) friend Marsha. I hadn't seen her in three years or so, and it was fun to catch up on our lives in between. We compared Grandma notes, talked a little about our respective businesses, and had a lovely buffet in a beautiful setting. One of the nice interludes of life...

    We've been on
    the edge of the severe weather here in Texas. Just north of us it's been downright deadly; what we've gotten are some pretty energetic storms and a lot of water in the road and a lush green landscape that we are just not used to in San Antonio! I'm trying to figure out how we can bottle and save some of this for next spring and summer when we'll probably revert to our crunchy taupe lawns and fields.

    Bethany graduates this week! Wednesday night she will join five other homeschooled seniors for the ceremony and reception that caps off her high school education. We're proud of her and are SO glad that she'll be sticking around a while so we can continue to enjoy the wonderful young woman she's becoming...

    And for the reception I'll be providing a big chunk of the cookie spread--fifteen dozen! So don't come here looking for any posts! Drop by if you want to help :-)

    My de-cluttering efforts continue. I'm hoping to accomplish a lot more before Dirk starts painting later this week. I really want a whole new fresh feel in this house! The Papa is out buying the paint as I write and so I guess that means I'm committed to the colors I chose? I'm a little shaky, but forging ahead!

    Tomorrow our family will gather at Granny's for our Memorial Day cookout. Rain is threatening, but we'll make adjustments as necessary. Hopefully we'll get some good pictures of the little ones. Watermelon! I'll get watermelon! That always makes for great pictures!

    Well...the skies outside are blackening again and I need to get out and protect some of the porch plants. Hope all of you are enjoying your Sunday and the long weekend!

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    has spoken at 5:19 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Friday, May 25, 2007
    This afternoon a friend emailed to say that I came to her mind while she was reading Psalm 91 and she was checking to see how I was doing. I appreciated her care so much, and went right to the Psalm to refresh my memory. It was immediately clear to me why God had led her to mention this to me...

    9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
    even the LORD, who is my refuge-

    10 then no harm will befall you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.

    11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;

    12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.


    15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.

    16 With long life will I satisfy him
    and show him my salvation."

    Wow. No harm will befall disaster will come near my "tent." That must mean that any disappointments, pain, stresses in my life are not really "harm," and certainly not "disaster." Whatever He allows in my life can't be classified as harm because, no matter how unpleasant it may seem in the short run, He has promised to use it for my ultimate good.

    But the promise, signified by the "if," is conditional. What is the condition? That I make the Most High my dwelling. Not that I be perfect, not that I do everything right, but that I dwell in Him. Tonight I am pondering once again what it means for me to dwell in Him...

    And on a lighter note, I've smiled at the phrase, " that you will not strike your foot against a stone." I'm in the process, as you know, of getting used to this shoe insert that is equalizing my leg length. I'm unsteady enough already, and this has made me a little more tentative as I adjust to the slightly different gait. Well, at the foot of my bed lie two deep, thick sheepskins. I LOVE walking across them, especially in cool weather, and wiggling my toes all the way to the bottom of the wool. But...they're three inches thick and when I'm not paying close attention, I have been known to trip over them. So this afternoon The Papa rolled them up tightly and put them high up in the closet until I'm a bit steadier. I was sad to see them go, but I did laugh inside thinking that it doesn't even take a stone for me to "strike my foot" and come crashing down! I really need those angels guarding me!

    Finally, I am blessed to have God's promise that He will be with me in trouble...and that He will satisfy me with a long life. You know, there have been times in history when living to the ripe old age of 52 would have been amazing. I've already had a long, satisfying life. Every year I live from here simply heaps blessing on blessing. He has shown me His salvation, and one day I will see its culmination, see Him in all His glory and live the true long and satisfying life for which He prepares me in this one.

    Oh LORD, you are my refuge!

    (Oh, and to my friend who thought to share her devotions with me, thank you ever so much.)

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    has spoken at 10:54 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    You might have noticed in my left sidebar that I'm listening to A Tale of Two Cities on my iPod. I made this selection because I can't remember reading it all the way through and I was sure that it was "good for me."

    Good, indeed! I can't remember when I've been so enthralled! I'm sure this is partly because I'm also enthralled by the time period (circa 1775), but the story line and the extraordinary narrator have me hooked.

    Most of my iPod listening is done while driving somewhere, alone, so my progress usually comes in spurts. Despite $3 gas I'm now finding reasons to take the long way home :-)


    has spoken at 5:17 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Thursday, May 24, 2007
    Sometimes, I need to listen to my own sermons.

    I may have lots of issues right now, but one of them is staring me in the face: clutter.

    Just the other night, speaking to the group in Maryland, I was reminding them how hard it is to be productive when you're having to work around junk. And junk doesn't necessarily mean might mean just the remains of undone or finished projects...things that need to be, ahem, filed...stacks of pictures waiting for know the kind of thing.

    Well just about every category of junk you can think of is represented in my bedroom right now.

    Now, my bedroom is not the same kind of bedroom most of you have. The challenges I've faced in the past five years have made it necessary to turn our room into a combination sleeping /library /lounging /office /craft /school /music /sewing space. This allows me to be productive in a small space and minimize the number of steps it takes to get from one task to another. But it also allows the space to accumulate LOTS of clutter. And though I have more of a tolerance for clutter than I did in the years before homeschooling (when was that again?), I still reach a tipping point at times when I absolutely cannot function until I get in the piles with a backhoe and clear away and start over.

    So that's what's hit me today. Again, it's not my only hurdle right now, but I won't be able to see the other ones until I get rid of this one. I've now spent a good part of the day hacking away at all the surfaces and I'm far from finished, but it's a good feeling. And it's making me think that maybe, just maybe when I get the leftover manuals, tests, schedules, syllabi, and binders OUT of my room for a while, I'll be able to get in the mood to bring a few of them back in and think about '07-'08! (Either way, you'll be hearing about it again :-) )

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    has spoken at 9:18 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Portrait of a good Daddy...

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    has spoken at 7:16 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    I just don't even know where to begin to comment.

    60-year-old mother gives birth to twins

    The psychologist who gave birth to twin boys at age 60 said today she was on a mission to let women know they have choices.

    "It's really basically about women and empowerment," Frieda Birnbaum told NBC's "Today" show.

    Birnbaum, who underwent in-vitro fertilization last year at a South African clinic that specializes in older women, gave birth by Caesarean section on Tuesday at Hackensack University Medical Center.

    Is it just me? Are we going to applaud this woman's decision to use the lives of two babies as a tool to "let women know they have choices"? Although I would never endorse the choice of a 60-year-old (or someone half her age, by the way) to use this method to "get" a baby, I would certainly understand it better if the motivation was the longing for a child of her own to raise and love. But this psychologist is "on a mission," and it doesn't appear that the mission has much to do with maternal instinct.

    If you can take more, the whole story is here.


    has spoken at 11:44 AM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    I don't know what has gotten into me this year.

    Maybe it's still the whiplash I described yesterday.

    But I have no motivation to get school planning done for next year.

    Now those of you who know me or have read my blog for a while should remember that planning the school year is actually my favorite part of homeschooling and always has been. Nothing gets my juices flowing like curriculum catalogs, great homeschool supply websites, or my fourteenth reading of the dog-eared and marked up copy of The Well-Trained Mind. I'm one of those rare souls that would rather order science supplies than new shoes and would rather stay up all night putting schedules to paper (okay, to Excel) than reading that new novel.

    But this year, it's just not there. As I approach doing this for the 23rd time, the fire is, well, not exactly white-hot.

    Oh, I've felt guilty about it. So guilty that those of you who innocently called or emailed me IN MARCH to ask my advice about fitting the last pieces of your plans in place for next year just barely escaped my screams and blows...betcha didn't suspect that you almost caused me to crack, huh? I'm only barely kidding gals (and you know who you are) definitely inspire me in a "normal" year, but this spring I've had hallucinations that you were all conspiring to have me committed ;-)

    Remember, I had mentally set aside the next two weeks as the time when I would sit bandaged in my recliner, unable to do much else, and pull out the books and the schedules and the order forms. It was going to be a self-imposed exile, perfect for making myself finalize start the planning. And so now that I've had ripped out from under me the pleasure of having my leg sliced open hip to knee (believe me, I say that tongue-in-cheek), I'm left without the privilege and the benefits of exile.

    Okay, maybe the problem is that I thrive on challenge. At one time I had six students a year to plan for, and now that load is cut in half. With six of nine students now in place as alumni of our home school, the work load and the planning time are lighter and will never move back in the other direction. Some days I'm grateful for that; other days I'm nostalgic and blue. Hey, maybe I need to beg, borrow, or steal half a dozen orphan students and beef up my class rosters? Nah...better to do what I can to contribute to the education of my grandchildren as my terrific daughters continue the journey with the next generation.

    Don't worry about me...I know this funk is very temporary. I do know myself well enough to know that the flame will be back, maybe even by next week. And in a month I'll be looking back at this post shaking my head and wondering what in the world was wrong with me.

    Okay, now where are those catalogs? Ummm....they were right here last month...uh...right here under the paint chips...

    PAINTING! I knew there was a reason I couldn't be bothered with the catalogs yet!


    has spoken at 10:33 AM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Wednesday, May 23, 2007
    UPDATE: Talk about emotional and scheduling whiplash...I expected to return home yesterday and be getting ready for surgery on Friday. Most of my pre-ops were done and I had an appointment left today and one tomorrow. close to the last minute, my surgeon has decided he doesn't want to go through with it. He's been conferring with colleagues at Mayo, and they tell him that this procedure is risky and unpredictable and they're not convinced it will help me. He hasn't said a firm "No" but just a "Not now." He wants me to try a few months of a shoe lift to equalize the difference in leg length I experienced as a result of the two hip replacements. He thinks there's a chance that this is the cause of my pain and that it's worth this try before proceeding with surgical measures.

    While I fully understand his caution and his point of view, I'm frustrated. First, I don't believe for a minute that a 1 cm shoe lift is going to alleviate the kind of pain that made it necessary for me to be in a wheelchair as I traveled yesterday. I won't go into the details of why I think this is barking up the wrong tree, but I really think this will be wasted time. And second, I had some hope that within just a few weeks I was going to be pain-free as this operation stabilized my bone and the implant. Instead, today I'm on my way to the hospital to pick up a shoe lift and more pain medicine.

    This news did not come at a good time. The pain I live with is rather cyclical and so I have some good weeks...never pain-free but somewhat less disruptive to my life. But the past two weeks have been especially bad, and the past week has been one of the worst in the nearly four years since my first hip operation. I had gotten myself through a few really bad days by hanging on to the coming surgery and hoping that I'd soon have relief. Now, that hope is postponed.

    And I am struggling.


    has spoken at 10:57 AM
    11 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, May 20, 2007
    Sunday snippets...
    Visiting my grown daughters is such a terrific way for me to be inspired. Yes, they inspire me...with their devotion to their husbands, their tender care for their children, their self-discipline, their attention to frugality and stewardship, their homemaking skills. These are all things that I had hoped to teach them while they were still in my home, and now I come to their homes to be taught. It doesn't get any better than that.

    Tomorrow night I will have the privilege of meeting with a group of women who are beginning a homeschooling support group rather on the order of my beloved HOPE group in San Antonio. Yes, folks, we're franchising a good thing! Kristen had a dream to develop something here in the Virginia/Maryland area to meet the kind of needs that we address in Texas, and I'm here to support that dream. Annie is on board, too, despite her pregnancy nausea and the fact that little Erin isn't quite ready for "schooling" per se. We all know that true homeschooling starts long before phonics, right?

    Oh, and Virginia is beautiful. I have to pray down the envy every time I come.

    Tonight I will have a slumber party with Molly (age 8). She and I will sleep together on the foldout couch at her house, eat popcorn and watch a movie together. Memory maker for both of us.

    Last night was Shelley's Grand Recital. I couldn't be there, but all reports are that she looked gorgeous and sounded even better. She received a medal for the most improved piano student of the year...something I have attested to many times but it's different coming from the mother. Congratulations, Shelley, on your hard work and this year's musical accomplishments. I'm SO proud of you.

    Phase One of our home projects is complete. Since I've been gone, our trusty air conditioner expert (call me if you need a recommendation for this GREAT guy; he's been helping us out for years now), assisted by The Papa, have installed two new air conditioning systems in our house. I think I've mentioned before how bad our old ones were (call me if you want to know which builder to stay away from LOL) and how they were bleeding us dry on repairs every summer. Well hopefully that is all over now! I will return home to a house with the new systems, and with much of the ductwork and vent placement redone for maximum efficiency. YEA!

    Next up in Phase Two: rebuilding two exterior doors to repair yet more poor building techniques and materials. (Call me.) Phase Three will be the painting of the first floor, which will start the same week as my surgery. Not sure how that's going to work out, but I'll keep you posted!

    Every couple of weeks I hear from an old friend or acquaintance who has found this blog through either a purposeful search or a complete accident and then emails me to say hello. Such a treasure, this medium! I love it! If you have found me after a long while and are reading this, please email me using the link on my right sidebar so we can be in touch. If you're new around here or you've been lurking a while and haven't said hello in the comments, please leave me a note or email me so I'll know you've been here!

    I'll be back home on Tuesday, finishing up the last of the medical appointments and other tasks before my hospitalization on Friday. I'd appreciate your prayers for a successful procedure and a smooth recovery!

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    has spoken at 5:08 PM
    6 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, May 19, 2007
    Whether you are a parent of public-schooled, private-schooled, or homeschooled children, you should care about the kind of teaching your tax dollars are funding in the public schools. Programs that teach abstinence as a lifestyle are not perfect, but they are certainly better than the alternatives, and they make a real difference in kids' lives! Not surprisingly, these programs have their enemies, and those enemies are attempting to give federally-funded abstinence education a quiet death:

    Abstinence education programs have been shown to effectively reduce the risks of out-of-wedlock pregnancy and the incidence of s*xually transmitted diseases. Teaching teenagers that saving s*x until marriage and remaining faithful afterwards is the best choice for health and happiness.

    Title V is the $50 million mandatory appropriation created in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) bill. These funds are distributed on a formula basis to states, and this language is particularly important because it established the "A-H" criteria for abstinence education that governs all federal abstinence dollars.

    Title V is scheduled to expire on June 30, 2007.

    The wishes or convictions of parents seem to carry little weight in Congress:
    Although a new Zogby poll shows that parents overwhelmingly support abstinence education, the House is mounting a forceful campaign to kill millions of dollars in Title V abstinence funding. Without a powerful grassroots campaign from people like you who support self-control over birth control for teens, Title V will expire for good. If this happens, states will not only lose their abstinence funding, they'll also lose the guidelines that govern all of the federal abstinence dollars.

    Read more about it here and here, and call your Congressman.

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    has spoken at 9:43 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Erin Grace loves Mommy

    ...and she loves for Granny to take her picture...

    ...and we think she looks a lot like Dora...

    ...and she looks more like Daddy than Mommy....

    ...and Mommy and Daddy love each other too!

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    has spoken at 9:05 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Last night, Kristen and I watched 'The Queen', a film which will be best remembered for garnering Helen Mirren the 2007 Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.

    Quite an interesting film. It's always interesting for me to see a movie based on events that I actually remember, because the images in the film are laid over my own recollections and reactions, and this makes a film deeply personal.

    Helen Mirren was good. Was she "great," a word that is much over-used? In my opinion, no. But in this case, "good" is good enough. To qualify for "great" status, I think one of two things would have to have occurred: the role and script would have had to call for something other than a pretty flat delivery, which they did not; or we would have had to know the real queen a bit better, so that we could have formed an educated judgment of just how well she was captured on screen. We know so little about the private life of Queen Elizabeth II that I don't think we can ever know how accurately she was played by Mirren. Mirren was convincing, however, and so her sturdy performance was definitely worthy of recognition. Was it the best of the year? Of that I'm unconvinced.

    As for the casting, I think the roles of Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) and Prince Philip (James Cromwell) were both portrayed as well as that of the Queen. The portrayal of Prince Charles (Alex Jennings) left something to be desired, but then in my humble opinion, Charles is a man with a lot left to be desired.

    What I can say with some certainty is that it's unfair to judge the life of the Queen on the sliver of her reign that covered the death of Lady Diana. The movie is excellent; but to call it 'The Queen' as if it is comprehensive or even representative of the character and disposition of the woman who has occupied the English throne for half a century is unfortunate. Sudden deaths, especially when complicated by the layers of intrigue, deceit, betrayal and hysteria that surrounded Diana's life and death, can never be expected to bring out the best in those still breathing. I hope to someday see a more sweeping film based on this queen's life, something akin to what we have seen on the lives of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth I.


    has spoken at 5:54 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Friday, May 18, 2007
    Dave's Tortilleria
    Dinner tonight was burritos. And not just ANY burritos, but fabulous creations held together by Dave's Homemade Tortillas! Yes, my terrific son-in-law, who can cook circles around most of us women in the family, makes the best tortillas I've ever tasted! Here he is at work:

    And here is the family, thoroughly enjoying his handiwork. [Notice that the dining room is decorated with trappings that are dead give-aways for home schooling :-) ]

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    has spoken at 7:20 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Elf pics
    Oh, it's ever-so-much fun to visit with the Virginia crew! Here are some pics of Kristen and family...tomorrow I'll post some of Annie's household :-)

    Mommy and Liam, 7 months

    2 1/2 year old Carrie, smiling her biggest smile

    Henry, Liam, and Warren

    Biggest sister Molly


    has spoken at 7:07 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Thursday, May 17, 2007
    If you've come looking for new posts lately, you have probably concluded that blogging hasn't been at the top of my list in the past couple of weeks. My energies, both physical and emotional, have been spent in other places...all important and worthwhile but draining nonetheless. I've just finished packing for my trip to Virginia tomorrow, leaving the house at 6:30am and looking forward to a lovely if quick visit with Kristen and Annie and their families, as well as a welcome lunch with dear friend Marsha. When I return, I will have just 48 hours until I enter the hospital for surgery and a stay of undetermined length (they've told me to expect between one and five nights!). If nothing else, I will then have some enforced rest and time to plan for the coming school year.

    I'll try to be in touch while I'm gone, maybe even post a couple of pictures of Granny and the elves...

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    has spoken at 12:39 AM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Tuesday, May 15, 2007
    Michelle Malkin notes two stories you might already have been following.

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    has spoken at 7:43 AM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, May 13, 2007
    Sunday snippets...
    Plan A was for all of us to go out to eat together at Olive Garden after church. But all of us is a LOT of us, and today we got to have Lyric and Johanna and Josiah and Steph and Jacob and Zachary with us, in addition to the crew from Granny's House and the Russells. I didn't count, but that's a lot of people! And even getting Nathan to slip out of church before everyone else and sprint over to Olive Garden to get our name on the list, it was still a TWO HOUR WAIT! No way!

    So we went with Plan B, which was a fun family-style BBQ place that is sometimes way more crowded after church than it was today, but of course today being Mother's Day, everyone was down in the two hour line at Olive Garden! So we were able to get everyone fed with practically no wait at all, which Granny thinks is much nicer. We make quite a spectacle at one LOOOOONG table and it's always so much fun to watch other people looking at us out of the corners of their eyes and whispering to each other...I know they're speculating on the relationships in our group and trying to figure out why the ratio of little ones to adults is so high. Let 'em stare...we're having a wonderful life :-)

    My fabulous kids, ALL of them, gave me trees for Mother's Day! Two lovely magnolia trees for our yard! I just LOVE magnolias, with their fragrant white blossoms and glossy, deep green leaves. I'll spend some time in the next few days moving the pots around (okay, having my sons move the pots around) while I decide on the perfect placement. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, KIDS!

    Tomorrow I get the pleasure of spending most of the day at the hospital for my pre-op appointments. My surgery isn't until the 25th, but since I'm taking a short jaunt to Virginia this week I had to get it all done beforehand. I'll be taking a couple of books and my iPod and anything else I can think of to do while I spend most of the day sitting. It's one of those days when they tell you to plan for all day and you just cross your fingers that you can be out by 1. Hey, it could happen...

    Thursday morning I will fly out to visit my two renegade far-flung daughters and their husbands and all their little ones. Annie has been feeling a bit better, holding occasional food down with the help of some meds and watching the calendar to see how many more weeks she will have to endure the unpleasantness. Dealing with pregnancy sickness is never fun, but it's a whole new deal when you have a toddler to care for while throwing up. She is blessed to have Kristen just yards away from her door to help when it's just too much. I won't be there long enough to be of much help, but it sure will be nice to see all their faces and love on the elves.

    This week I will make the final color decisions for our paint job. Oh dear, I can feel myself freezing up already. Aubrey feels especially emboldened to hold me to some pretty daring choices since Lyric is here for moral support. That's support for Aubrey, not for me. I only get support when I nod my head and assent to the crimson red wall. Breathe, Granny,'re going to love it.

    Well, that's about it for today. Happy, happy Mother's Day to all of you terrific moms out there in Blogland. You all are inspiration to me every day; you give me constant reminders that being a mother and a grandmother are the world's best jobs!

    And a special, gentle hug for you if Mother's Day is a difficult day...there are lots of circumstances that can make today bittersweet, and I'm praying for you.

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    has spoken at 6:13 PM
    7 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, May 12, 2007
    It's been a very busy week. I continued to be the chauffeur for everything the kids did, very much missing Nathan's capable help in that area. He's home now, and I was able to experience some relief today!

    Our family and friends have just delighted in preparing for Johanna and Josiah's arrival and in helping them settle in their new place. Not too many things will make me climb stairs, but I did it several times this week...slowly, but joyfully :-) Josiah said today that he likes playing with all his cousins, but was very happy that his Nana is coming to see him (tomorrow). He may have his doggie with him and lots of kiddos around, but there's no substitute for Nana! (Granny kind of thinks the same thing.)

    Today it was also my privilege to share a meal with our friends who've recently had a new baby. I tell you this only as an excuse to tell you about something that has added a new dimension to our ministering to one another. Our HOPE group and our church have begun using a wonderful new resource called the Care Calendar. The person or group who needs help (meals, child care, transportation, prayer, whatever...) is set up with a calendar, on which her friends sign up to provide a portion of that need. The calendar then posts everyone's commitment to help, sends out reminders ahead of time, provides info on schedules, likes, dislikes, allergies, etc., accesses maps to the person's house, and lots of other features. I was able to see what meals they would be having this week from other friends so that I wouldn't duplicate or overload them with one kind of food. I was able to see how many, including visiting family members, would be eating with them today. And if I had needed to change the day I was scheduled to help, I could have done that. All of the info is password protected so that names and addresses are not available to anyone other than those authorized to view the calendar. The Care Calendar is just one of the many ways that technology really does improve our lives and enhance our opportunities to show practical love to one another. So if you haven't used something like this before, check it out!

    And a big GrannyGrin to Christine for getting this all set up for us!

    I'm running short on blogtime...but if you ever have the chance to hear Alan Keyes speak, don't even think twice. Just go.

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    has spoken at 12:11 AM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Wednesday, May 09, 2007
    Declaration of termination.

    Okay, I'll admit it.

    Sometimes my tolerance for the school year extends farther than in other years. This happens to be a short year.

    I'm about 4.1 cm away from all the lessons I can manage for this year. I think it's time to sunbathe and sleep really late and jump on the trampoline and take on some projects we don't have time for during the year...whaddaya say, kids?

    Except for online classes, WE'RE DONE!!

    (Good work, by the way, ALL of you!)

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    has spoken at 7:57 PM
    5 Backtalks to Granny

    Tuesday, May 08, 2007
    American Idol

    I don't usually live-blog the Idols, but I'm making an exception tonight. I mean, come on, it's Bee Gees night! And I'm Granny!

    Okay, first round...

    Melinda--the judges were right. Spot-on vocals, as ALWAYS...but the rendition was just okay. She'd better be more impressive on the second one.

    Blake--It was silly! Come on! Is that the best he could do with THE BEE GEES???

    Lakisha--I missed most of it, but what I heard didn't impress me.

    Jordin--Judges right again--the best of the evening, by a mile! Such an incredible voice...

    I'll admit, I thought the music of the Brothers Gibb would translate better than it has, because I'm rabidly crazy about them. But maybe their stuff still just works best for THEM, huh?

    Second round...

    Melinda--Simon nailed it. The second half of the song puts her in the top two. WOW.

    Blake--Remind me again how he got here? Not with THESE performances! Oh, that was too sad.

    Lakisha--I don't think this was good enough to keep her in the competition. No question that she has a great voice...these songs just didn't prove it.

    Jordin--Another good performance...I hope I'm not the only one, though, that heard several flat notes. And no, as it turns out, the judges heard it too. It wasn't great, but she'll be in the final.

    I must say that seeing Barry Gibb looking like he does makes me feel very old indeed LOL

    Prediction: Blake goes home. Lakisha would be going home except for the efforts of (to which I will not link due to some vulgarity on the site) who will keep her in the game one more week.

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    has spoken at 9:07 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, May 07, 2007
    So, my fellow greenies....
    What is YOUR greatest "eco-crime"?

    Failing to reuse the plastic grocery bags?

    Using more than one, ahem, "square"?

    Putting those diapers in the electric dryer instead of hanging them on the porch railing to dry?

    Think again, my fertile friends. You might be much too smug. Don't even THINK about having #3.

    Having large families is an "eco-misdemeanor."

    And don't think for a minute that it won't eventually be labeled a felony. Some countries have already used that one.

    Labels: , ,

    has spoken at 9:07 PM
    8 Backtalks to Granny

    I know you'll all be shocked...
    ...but I'm an OMNIVORE!


    Come back and 'fess up...what are YOU??


    has spoken at 8:35 PM
    17 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, May 06, 2007
    Random 7
    Sandy at Because Nice Matters has tagged me for the Random 7 Meme, which should be a pretty easy one to do, don't you think? (Thanks, Sandy!)

    So, 7 random things about me....

    1. I start eating my cheesecake (and any other custard-based pie, quiche, flan, etc.) from the outside (crust edge) in. This is because in a baked custard the finest-textured portion is the center, which I enjoy so much I like to save it for last :-)

    2. Don't believe anyone who tells you you can't change from a morning person into a night person. I've done it. And not by trying LOL

    3. I shook hands with John F. Kennedy 20 hours before his assassination. I was 9. I spent the rest of my childhood wondering if the second or two it took him to shake my hand would have put him a second or two ahead of the bullet. Really.

    4. I had babies in the 70's, 80's, and 90's. I lost the baby that would have been born in 2000 but kept the little shirt I had bought that says "I was born in Y2K". (Another angle is that I had babies in my teens, 20's, 30's and 40's. And yes, that's all ;-) )

    5. I've lived in my present house for five and a half years. That's about two years longer than I ever lived anywhere else in my whole life.

    6. When I'm stressed and uptight and need to unwind, I proofread. No, really. It restores a sense of control.

    7. I love speed. I also respect speed limits. When we moved to Germany my children were astonished to see me drive at 200km/hr on the autobahn. They'd always thought that I just didn't like to drive fast. Take away the speed limit and my speed demon is unleashed.

    8. Shhhhh....I have never, ever participated in a meme before. (Which I'm sure excuses me from having to stick with the prescribed number, wouldn't you think?)

    Now...I'm tagging some of my 20- and 30-something friends and family: Tami, Aubrey, Tiffany, Stephanie, Johanna, Candace, Kristen. (Annie gets excused, along with anyone else who's currently throwing up or packing boxes, unless you need it for the distraction.) YOU'RE IT!

    Labels: ,

    has spoken at 9:11 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday snippets...
    Today is a rather out-of-the-ordinary Lord's Day for us. The boys and men of our church have been on a campout at a nearby lake, and this morning we females are driving up to crash the party join them for Sunday worship and dinner. Naturally it will be a much more casual and informal feel than our regular Sunday services, but we're looking forward to the outdoor surroundings and the fresh air. I've got baked beans in the oven ready to add to what will surely be a terrific picnic lunch...

    I'm one of those people, rather annoying to true enthusiasts, who tends to be a rabid fan of horse racing...three times a year. Until the first Saturday in May I probably couldn't tell you who's running in the Derby, but hey, I actually know the NAMES of the next two races, and that's more than...well, more than...well, more than a few a people who don't, right? Anyway, I was sad to have to miss the race yesterday but I have enjoyed reading the widespread interest in Bloggityville and following the faves through the posts around "town." Hurray for Street Sense, and maybe we'll have a Triple Crown this year!

    The girls took their SAT's yesterday, Bethany for the fourth time and Shelley for the first. Bethany was rather nonchalant about it, even though it's her last time...Shelley, on the other hand, came out saying, "It wasn't as fun as our regular standardized testing." "Fun?" I said. "Well, you know, when we take the regular ones down at FEAST we know people and we have time to talk in between, and..." It's SO Shelley, to turn the Stanford Achievement into a social event :-)

    The Papa brought us great shirts from Australia, as well as a few other souvenirs. He had a good trip business-wise, but struggled with feeling bad pretty much the whole time. I told him this means he has to go back so he can experience it all at a time that he's feeling better...he disagrees. The lack of phone contact pretty much does him in. I should be thankful for that, right?

    I didn't get all the stuff done I'd planned for while he was gone. I totally underestimated the amount of time I'd spend picking up all the driving he normally does! I felt like I should just hang curtains in the van and stock it with Diet Coke and Cheez-its!

    This summer we'll experience something new: our first boy to take piano lessons. This is rather an "experiment" for him...a short session to get his feet wet and see if it's something he'll get "into." Truth be told, he feels slightly coerced, as do all my kids, because the rule around the House is that you don't take lessons on any other instrument until you take a year of piano. My hang-up, I know, but after all these years I don't dare give in. I get enough of the "Boy, Mom, you never would have let us get away with that when WE were growing up..."

    Aubrey just called to say that as they were packing for the church trip to the lake, they decided they looked thoroughly "Purpose-Driven" today: the pastor is in plaid shorts and a linen shirt. Told him we'd try to avoid calling him Rick :-)

    Blessings to all of you this morning and a wonderful Lord's Day ahead!

    Labels: , ,

    has spoken at 8:01 AM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, May 05, 2007
    Hear ye, hear ye!
    By virtue of the power vested in me

    as matriarch of the House

    and in recognition of the following piece

    Dude, where's my voters?

    Let it be known that

    Brandon Dutcher


    Dutch, Reformed

    is hereby declared

    an honorary member


    Granny's House

    this 5th day of May

    two thousand seven

    Labels: ,

    has spoken at 4:48 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Friday, May 04, 2007
    I'm so enjoying this little series on the genesis of the Smith Acadamy for Girls, written by my good friend Tami. Scroll down to Part 1 and read up :-)


    has spoken at 12:22 AM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    The slippery slope just gets slippery-er...
    I don't want to do too much elaboration of this on a family-friendly blog, but you need to be aware of this.

    Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus...

    hat tip: Trish

    Labels: ,

    has spoken at 12:17 AM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Thursday, May 03, 2007
    I'll be too busy to watch, but would someone let me know what they finally decide? I'll need to know how to plan things from here on out LOL

    ABC to air debate on existence of God

    Labels: ,

    has spoken at 3:21 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Wednesday, May 02, 2007
    I do NOT have time to sit and blog this morning, nosiree....but there are some things that just absolutely scream for comment, you know?

    Ban on 'mom' and 'dad' considered – again
    California agenda would require K-12 'gay' indoctrination

    By Bob Unruh
    © 2007

    A plan that has been launched in the California state Assembly – again – could be used to ban references to "mom" and "dad" in public schools statewide by prohibiting anything that would "reflect adversely" on the homosexual lifestyle choice.

    It's similar to a plan WND reported was approved by lawmakers last year, but fell by the wayside when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it.

    "SB 777 forcibly thrusts young school children into dealing with sexual issues, requiring that homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality be taught in a favorable light," according to an alert issued by the Capitol Resource Institute.

    "Not only does SB 777 require that classroom instruction and materials promote and embrace controversial sexual practices, it also bans school-sponsored activities from 'reflecting adversely' on homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals," the group said.

    So exactly what would this mean in practical terms? Read on:

    "Pushing this radical homosexual agenda in California schools will stifle the truth in favor of political correctness and will inevitably conflict with the religious and moral convictions of both students and parents," said CRI Executive Director Karen England. "The full ramifications of this sweeping legislation could affect the entire nation as most textbook companies tailor their material to their number one purchaser: California."

    She noted that Los Angeles schools already have implemented most of the proposals now pending for districts across the state, and among the changes are:

    • "Mom" and "dad" and "husband" and "wife" would have to be edited from all texts.
    • Cheerleading and sports teams would have to be gender-neutral.
    • Prom kings and queens would be banned, or if featured, would have to be gender neutral so that the king could be female and the queen male.
    • Gender-neutral bathrooms could be required for those confused about their gender identity.
    • A male who believes he really is female would be allowed into the women's restroom, and a woman believing herself a male would be allowed into a men's room.
    • Even scientific information, such has statistics showing AIDS rates in the homosexual community, could be banned.

    More here.

    Labels: ,

    has spoken at 9:30 AM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Have I really not posted in 48 hours? That might tell you something about the pace around here. I am now the only remaining driver in the house, what with business trips, vacations, and driving limitations of the other adults, so I've been in the van a lot! Also I've been taking care of a myriad of family tasks, responsibilities, and joys as well as tending to my own health issues. And what little time I've had to sit at the computer seems to have been taken up with financial, educational, and home-improvement details. One of these days, I will try to get back to bloviating :-)

    It's been my joy for the past 36 hours to accompany my cousin Johanna as she looked for an apartment and made plans for their upcoming move to San Antonio. God has answered prayers in ways that truly surprised us and worked out details that at one time seemed nearly insurmountable. Now we ask Him to bring to completion what He has begun in Johanna's life and future and allow her and son Josiah a smooth transition into their new home. She will be working at PhotographybyJena in Boerne, a business many of you know and love. Next time you get portraits done, Johanna may very well be the one to assist you with the arrangements!

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, The Papa is not a happy camper. Oh, work is going well, but he keeps telling me, "I'm not made for this..." meaning he can't stand to be somewhere where we can't talk ten times a day and we have a hard time even coordinating a time to IM because of the nine hours difference. He doesn't think he'll be doing this again soon. Which would be fine with Granny.

    Congratulations to Cody and Tiffany on the birth of little (?!) Rowan early yesterday morning. After a bit of a scare, baby and mommy doing well. Welcome to our world, Rowan!

    Labels: , ,

    has spoken at 12:08 AM
    1 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...
    October 2005
    November 2005
    December 2005
    January 2006
    February 2006
    March 2006
    April 2006
    May 2006
    June 2006
    July 2006
    August 2006
    September 2006
    October 2006
    November 2006
    December 2006
    January 2007
    February 2007
    March 2007
    April 2007
    May 2007
    June 2007
    July 2007
    August 2007
    September 2007
    October 2007
    November 2007
    December 2007
    January 2008
    February 2008
    March 2008
    April 2008
    May 2008
    June 2008
    July 2008
    August 2008
    September 2008
    October 2008
    November 2008
    December 2008
    January 2009
    February 2009
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    September 2010
    October 2010
    November 2010
    December 2010
    January 2011
    February 2011
    March 2011
    April 2011
    May 2011
    June 2011
    July 2011
    August 2011

    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!"