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

  • Sunday, March 30, 2008
    Ever wonder how strong (secure) your passwords are? Here's a scientific way to tell. Prepare to be surprised:

    Password Meter

    hat tip: Lifehacker


    has spoken at 10:46 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday snippets...

    It's been a rough week. I was sure this was the week I'd "turn the corner" but it looks like that's still out in the future. So I've fought (and sometimes lost) the battle with discouragement, feeling at times that I'm at the back of the line in the clinic of the Great Physician. Dumb, huh? I'm old enough to know better, but what I know doesn't always line up with how I feel, and I'm just being honest...

    I did get my staples out this week, and although the experience was the worst I've ever had in that department (and this is the fourth), having them out has made the nights a bit more comfortable. So I'll take any improvement I can get!

    At least I've had the video of the now infamous Hillary Bosnia landing to keep me entertained. And all the predictions of what's going to happen between now and the August Democratic convention. One thing's for sure: it's going to be a journalist's, not to mention a political junkie's, dream of a summer.

    I totally ruined the experience of the book A Suitable Boy by listening to it in dramatized form. If you want to read it, and I think you should, either read it in hard copy or get it in unabridged, simply narrated form.

    My kids are taking SUCH good care of me while The Papa is away. They've made some beautiful meals, kept me in Cokes and coffee and snacks, and as far as I know have not let the house fall down around them. They're such a blessing...every one of them.

    My life hasn't been broad enough to have much more to I'll just say I hope you have a wonderful week and a nice introduction to April!

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    has spoken at 6:40 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, March 29, 2008
    Oh, and for another great read, go find out what The Papa and I are paying the state to teach our kids in college!

    (And of course take note of CJ kissing her way abusive Dad)


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    has spoken at 9:30 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Do go read my friend Dee Dee's sweet post about her little Luke, who would've turned 9 this week...

    God is Good, All the Time

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    has spoken at 4:52 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    This is huge.
    I haven't posted anything on the upcoming Olympics yet, nor on the escalating situation between Tibet and China. But I'm watching closely to see what effect the world's perception of China's intransigence will have on the Olympics. Today, the first major world leader has announced how her country will respond:

    Merkel says she will not attend opening of Beijing Olympics

    For the record: I think it's sad when politics and international conflict color the Games, but you know, sometimes it's necessary. China's international standing, not to mention their astronomical financial investment in the Olympics, makes them vulnerable to pressure right now, and perhaps this is the time and place to exert that pressure...


    has spoken at 4:32 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Friday, March 28, 2008
    Peggy Noonan distills what we know about Hillary:

    I think we've reached a signal point in the campaign. This is the point where, with Hillary Clinton, either you get it or you don't. There's no dodging now. You either understand the problem with her candidacy, or you don't. You either understand who she is, or not. And if you don't, after 16 years of watching Clintonian dramas, you probably never will.

    Her insights are very the entire WSJ piece.

    Getting Mrs. Clinton


    has spoken at 8:05 AM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Thursday, March 27, 2008
    Ever wonder why some political gaffes have legs of about 3.5 inches, and others seem to walk on stilts? Here is one of the simplest and most insightful explanations I've ever read:

    Here’s a political postulate for you: whether or not a bad moment sticks to the candidate depends on how closely related it is to the core rationale of that candidate or his opponent. In other words, if your gaffe goes directly to the main argument you are trying to make about yourself with the electorate, or if it substantiates the most relevant thing that your rival would have us believe about you, then it has the potential to become a serious problem. If, on the other hand, you do something completely idiotic that is tangential to what voters most hope or fear about you, then you tend to get a pass.

    Read about the postulate's current implications here...

    Krazy Glue Moments


    has spoken at 7:00 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny


    I get a kick out of Ben Stein...he is such a hoot. But behind his dry humor and deadpan expression is a mind, a very good mind. His latest project, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed", is a movie about the dangers of confronting the Temple of Science with even the possibility of Intelligent Design. I won't elaborate more than that...please click on the link below and then click on the super-trailer and discover for yourself. Then find out where and when the movie will be in your area and sign up for updates. I'm hoping that families, churches, Christian schools, homeschool groups, even whole communities will invade the theaters en masse and support this courageous work...

    While you're over there, look around the web site and put the Expelled blog on your Bloglines!

    EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed

    hat tip: Mimi P.

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    has spoken at 2:24 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Okay, some social observation this morning. I'm not so much interested in this article's political implications (who, me?), but more in the societal conditions that are causing the noticed effects. Read the article, and then tell me why you think girls are outperforming boys when for so many years the stats showed just the opposite.

    Boys are at risk in school

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    has spoken at 11:03 AM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Wednesday, March 26, 2008
    HSLDA E-lert
    Not a victory yet, by any means, but very encouraging:

    Court of Appeal Grants Petition for Re-hearing

    On March 25, the California Court of Appeal granted a motion for rehearing in the 'In re Rachel L.' case--the controversial decision which purported to ban all homeschooling in that state unless the parents held a teaching license qualifying them to teach in public schools.

    The automatic effect of granting this motion is that the prior opinion is vacated and is no longer binding on any one, including the parties in the case.

    The Court of Appeal has solicited a number of public school establishment organizations to submit amicus briefs including the California Superintendent of Public Instruction, California Department of Education, the Los Angeles Unified School District, and three California teacher unions. The court also granted permission to Sunland Christian School to file an amicus brief. The order also indicates that it will consider amicus applications from other groups.

    Home School Legal Defense Association will seek permission to file such an amicus brief and will coordinate efforts with a number of organizations interesting in filing briefs to support the right of parents to homeschool their children in California.

    "This is a great first step," said Michael Farris, chairman of HSLDA. "We are very glad that this case will be reheard and that this opinion has been vacated, but there is no guarantee as to what the ultimate outcome will be. This case remains our top priority," he added.

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    has spoken at 9:30 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Just thought I'd cut through a dull Wednesday afternoon by injecting some controversy. I'm not espousing ANY particular theory, just observing what's "out there."

    Your mileage may vary.

    Women with high testosterone may be more likely to have boys

    hat tip (and taking any incoming blows): Trish

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    has spoken at 2:46 PM
    5 Backtalks to Granny

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008

    I'm torn about posting this story.

    On the one hand, I think it's something worth being aware of and warning against.

    On the other hand, knowing the propensities of some of my own sons and grandsons, I also realize that that just giving the warning might make it even more likely to become a danger, if you know what I mean.

    I will leave it to my readers to decide about passing it on :-)

    Please don't bake the non-stick spray.


    has spoken at 11:43 AM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, March 24, 2008
    Oh, the perils of misremembering.

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    has spoken at 10:13 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Bookmark this and stay tuned!



    hat tip: Dina

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    has spoken at 5:12 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Weep, ye Angliophiles...
    This gives me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach...

    You might want to take that vacation in England just as soon as you can – before its 1,000-year run as a sovereign nation comes to an end.


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    has spoken at 4:13 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Maybe the aforementioned "tipping point" won't be as far away as I feared:

    When they were first deployed in 2003, the Argos were hailed for their ability to collect information on ocean conditions more precisely, at more places and greater depths and in more conditions than ever before. No longer would scientists have to rely on measurements mostly at the surface from older scientific buoys or inconsistent shipboard monitors.

    So why are some scientists now beginning to question the buoys' findings? Because in five years, the little blighters have failed to detect any global warming. They are not reinforcing the scientific orthodoxy of the day, namely that man is causing the planet to warm dangerously. They are not proving the predetermined conclusions of their human masters. Therefore they, and not their masters' hypotheses, must be wrong.

    In fact, "there has been a very slight cooling," according to a U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) interview with Josh Willis at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a scientist who keeps close watch on the Argo findings.

    Perhaps The Climate Change Models Are Wrong


    has spoken at 3:58 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Just don't tell 'em about the Resurrection.

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    has spoken at 3:54 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Can I be forgiven if I'm on the side of the pusher?

    Students turn a profit

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    has spoken at 9:37 AM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, March 23, 2008
    I can't remember if I've ever plugged one of my favorite foodie blogs in this space...but if I've already pointed you to this one I have no qualms about doing it again.

    I don't cook a lot. This is a result of the fact that I don't stand a lot. But I still enjoy eating, and I look forward to the day when I can resume my position as Chief Cook. Until then, I've indulged my love of both eating and cooking by working on my recipe database, combing through old cookbooks, and in the past couple of years, by reading and enjoying food blogs.

    What makes a great food blog? Well, great recipes, for one thing. Recipes you know you can do at home and you can taste them as you read. Lots of pictures. And a certain je ne sais quoi that you can't name but you know it when you see it.

    Well, I saw The Pioneer Woman Cooks and I KNEW it.

    This blog has it all: great food, impeccable instructions, superb photos (LOTS of them), a love for eating and sharing food, rip-roarin', thigh-slappin' copy, and just an overall joy for living. It's irresistible. Do go over and see what I mean. And then go cook something good (and bring me some).

    If you get hooked on the Pioneer Woman, you'll want to check out her main site, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman.

    There. Plug of the Week, and it's only Sunday :-)

    hat tip: it's been a long time, but i THINK it was Lyric :-)

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    has spoken at 8:23 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Easter Sunday snippets...
    He is Risen! I wasn't able to be with my church family this morning to celebrate the Resurrection, but I spent quite a bit of time last night reflecting on the joy and the miracle...and how the Resurrection makes possible all manner of other resurrections in our lives, awakening parts of us that the Fall obscured and marred and perverted. I hope that you've experienced both kinds of miracles in your life...

    But in case you have a four- or five-year old and you've somehow missed this, be aware that you shouldn't be telling him or her about this marvelous Resurrection. Because that, of course, would necessarily mean explaining Jesus' death to a child first, and that could scar her little psyche for life. Hey, I don't make the rules, I just report 'em...and that is what we're being told by a major evangelical publisher of children's curriculum for Sunday school. A publisher being used by a lot of mega-churches whose names you'd recognize. More here.

    Tiffany, the carrot cake was WONDERFUL :-)

    Yesterday I finished listening to the VERY long The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. I'm glad I stuck it out just so I can say I did, LOL...but it wasn't the most pleasant of things I've read in the past couple of years. In some ways it was very similar to the much superior Atlas Shrugged, but it had fewer of the elements I loved and more of the ones that made me uncomfortable, so it's not one I'd recommend. Oh, if you're a big Rand fan I might, but then if you're one of her fans you've already read it anyway. And if you're a student of 20th century history it would hold a lot of interest just because of Rand's development of how people were thinking about and reacting to the theories of dialectical materialism and collectivism. If not, go find a good Anne Tyler book ;-)

    Okay, and the other big deal of my week was getting my iPhone. Yes, folks, I finally did it. My "excuse" (in case you think I need one) is that my phone was eligible for upgrade and no one else's in our family was, and Nathan's phone had quit working. So I upgraded mine and let him have my old one. Now you have to hear how grateful he was: he picks up my fancy new iPhone and says, "Mom. This is SO not fair. You have nine kids and thirteen grandkids and you don't have to impress anyone. *I*, on the other hand, have an image to keep up here. And you just give me your OLD phone? What's wrong with this picture?" "Nothing, Nathan," was my reply. It must be tough to be Big Man on Campus with your mom's old phone. Hey, he should be happy that I didn't offer him my now superfluous hot pink Nano iPod!

    Anyway, you need a college course to be able to learn everything about this phone! I keep looking at it and thinking, "THAT'S my PHONE?" I think it also does your taxes but it'll take me a couple of years to figure that the meantime I'm learning all about the Google Maps feature and how to check my stocks and how fun it is to text on a QWERTY virtual keyboard. Not to mention how fun it is to see seven of my kids drooling over it.

    The first signs of spring are appearing on the trees outside and there's new growth on the crape myrtles. Which are always my signals to soak up the very last of the cool weather and steel myself for summer. It's either that or move north, and I don't see that happening any time soon!

    I'll sign off today by sharing some Easter pics of my sweet kiddos and a few of my pastor's family grandkids...

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    has spoken at 4:44 PM
    5 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, March 22, 2008
    For the few of you who share my fascination with the climate change debate, I offer this glimmer of hope:

    Climate facts to warm to

    Christopher Pearson | March 22, 2008

    CATASTROPHIC predictions of global warming usually conjure with the notion of a tipping point, a point of no return.

    Last Monday - on ABC Radio National, of all places - there was a tipping point of a different kind in the debate on climate change. It was a remarkable interview involving the co-host of Counterpoint, Michael Duffy and Jennifer Marohasy, a biologist and senior fellow of Melbourne-based think tank the Institute of Public Affairs. Anyone in public life who takes a position on the greenhouse gas hypothesis will ignore it at their peril.

    Duffy asked Marohasy: "Is the Earth still warming?"

    She replied: "No, actually, there has been cooling, if you take 1998 as your point of reference. If you take 2002 as your point of reference, then temperatures have plateaued. This is certainly not what you'd expect if carbon dioxide is driving temperature because carbon dioxide levels have been increasing but temperatures have actually been coming down over the last 10 years."

    Duffy: "Is this a matter of any controversy?"

    Marohasy: "Actually, no. The head of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has actually acknowledged it. He talks about the apparent plateau in temperatures so far this century. So he recognises that in this century, over the past eight years, temperatures have plateaued ... This is not what you'd expect, as I said, because if carbon dioxide is driving temperature then you'd expect that, given carbon dioxide levels have been continuing to increase, temperatures should be going up ... So (it's) very unexpected, not something that's being discussed. It should be being discussed, though, because it's very significant."

    Duffy: "It's not only that it's not discussed. We never hear it, do we? Whenever there's any sort of weather event that can be linked into the global warming orthodoxy, it's put on the front page. But a fact like that, which is that global warming stopped a decade ago, is virtually never reported, which is extraordinary."

    Sooner or later, speaking of tipping points, there has to be one where reason and truth prevail and the priests of the Global Warming Cult are defrocked.

    Read more here.

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    has spoken at 2:45 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Ten days out from surgery I am rather discouraged. I don't have a feel yet for whether the procedure was successful, but I do know that my post-surgical pain, while initially better than the same time in November, is worse now--more limiting, with a sort of "sick" feeling that's hard to explain. And getting comfortable for a night's sleep has been one of the biggest challenges ever, just as great as following my initial hip replacements.

    I was hoping that by tomorrow I'd be ready to get out and go to Easter services, but I'm still having trouble making it to the bathroom even with my walker. Oh well. God will always be God...Christ is risen whether I can join my church family to celebrate or not...

    That's all the wallowing I will allow myself, at least for today. I'm grateful to have lots to keep my mind active when my legs still won't move. Lots of books, audiobooks, school planning, computer tutorials, learning how to use my iPhone, keeping touch with friends and family by email...what did invalids do before all this technology?


    has spoken at 10:42 AM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Thursday, March 20, 2008
    I've stayed away from commenting too much on politics through most of the scandals and controversies of the past few weeks. But I'm going to share this article because I think the parallels the writer presents are particularly enlightening. There is a way to confront wrong beliefs in your church which leads either to resolution or a decision to walk away, something Barack Obama has not done.

    Note especially the final paragraph.

    The Wright Stand


    has spoken at 11:47 AM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Wednesday, March 19, 2008

    Okay, it gets more and more fun to watch, doesn't it?

    Some 3,000 scientific robots that are plying the ocean have sent home a puzzling message. These diving instruments suggest that the oceans have not warmed up at all over the past four or five years. That could mean global warming has taken a breather. Or it could mean scientists aren't quite understanding what their robots are telling them.

    Oh come on. You mean to tell me that all this work on reducing my carbon footprint (which, at a size 10, is substantial) has succeeded so well that I might've actually stopped global warming?

    This article, and several others I've come across recently, are trying to figure out what to do with the evidence coming in from several corners that just flat contradicts the GWG (Global Warming Gospel). And it's especially amusing coming from NPR, huh? You know THEY'RE not going to be trying to cool the warming fever until they've exhausted all the stalls they can think of!

    "I suspect that we'll able to put this together with a little bit more perspective and further analysis," Trenberth says. "But what this does is highlight some of the issues and send people back to the drawing board."

    Trenberth and Willis agree that a few mild years have no effect on the long-term trend of global warming. But they say there are still things to learn about how our planet copes with the heat.

    Maybe 97.87% of it has been expended through the lungs of the Al Gore and his pseudo-scientists?

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    has spoken at 2:24 PM
    6 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, March 16, 2008
    Monday edition of the Sunday snippets...

    This is one of the weirdest surgical recoveries I've ever experienced. I've been home just over 48 hours and I keep thinking it's been a week. And I've slept for nearly two days straight (although mostly during hours when I shouldn't BE sleeping). And I have almost no appetite, even though we have wonderful food being provided by our church family. But my own family is glad I'm down, if for no other reason than the variety in meals!

    While in the hospital I watched the movie Into the Wild. Very sad, as was the true story on which it was based. Well told, as are all of Jon Krakauer's works. Fairly flatly acted, with the exception of the always exceptional Hal Holbrook. And slightly preachy, as if all of us should spend more time reading Walden's Pond and heading north to live on (hopefully non-poisonous) berries. I think I'd have preferred a different lead than Emile Hirsch, one who wasn't trying so hard to be Leo DiCaprio. But overall I'd say it's worth watching, if for nothing more than to be aware of the dangers of a college education :-)

    And while all of Krakauer's books are worth reading, my favorite is Under the Banner of Heaven. I plan to see Banking on Heaven, a tangentially related DVD soon. I've already seen parts of it on TV. Many of the books and DVDs shining light on the Mormon fundamentalist sects have riveted me...

    It is so nice to have Nathan home for a week!

    The past week has been no less interesting politically than the preceding ones. It seems that on the Dem side there's a train wreck coming somewhere, and it's impossible (for me, anyway) not to look. I may be wrong...there may be a soft landing on the way, but it's hard to see a scenario without blood.

    Three hospitalizations in four months have me formulating this working theory: Every day eating hospital food (or being forced to reject it for some tastier but possibly less "wholesome" alternative) shortens one's life by one year. If my theory is correct, there is an entire series of rather complicated calculations in which one must engage in order to determine whether the proposed benefit of the hospitalization outweighs the potential drain on the back end of one's life (not to mention one's back end). In my case, I fear that the outcome of said calculations was not on the favorable side. My funeral, therefore, has been moved up by eight years, nine months.

    Thanks, Val, for the book gift while I was in the hospital. It's obviously one in which I (and the A team) have a personal interest!

    Okay, now for another nap....

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    has spoken at 9:09 PM
    4 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, March 15, 2008
    I'm home again. The drugs still aren't allowing me to focus or type too well, but just wanted you all to know that the doctors were pleased with the procedure they did and have high hopes that it will remedy my pain. I'm not going to hold my breath but I'm encouraged and looking forward to seeing if they're right.

    One little surprise is that the surgeon decided he wants me to be totally non-weight-bearing on my left side for six weeks. I did this after each of my hip replacements but not after the last bone graft. This time, though, he wants the very best possible chance for the proper grafting to occur and so he wants to avoid all stress to the bone. Good thing I have a comfy recliner!

    Okay, well it's taken quite a while for me to type even this much so I'm going to lie down. Thank you, so much, for all your prayers and encouragement...


    has spoken at 7:35 PM
    6 Backtalks to Granny

    Tuesday, March 11, 2008
    I know I haven't been "around" yet today...too busy getting family details squared away, finishing up work projects, and visiting with the in-laws. Tomorrow the surgeon will cut me open and make sure "the hip-bone's connected to the thigh-bone..." so I'll be out of commission the rest of the week. I'll try to be back with a short update on the weekend. Thanks for all your prayers :-)


    has spoken at 11:08 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, March 10, 2008

    If you have
    an iPhone (or there's one in your immediate family) and I haven't already spoken to you about iPhones, would you please email me (link in right sidebar) with your thoughts, pros and cons, about both the instrument and the service? I'm interested, too, in experiences of anyone who is using an iPhone and is NOT a Mac user.

    Thanks in advance!


    has spoken at 9:48 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    This evening I received an email from Dee, one of the contributors to the blog Mom to Grandma. She invited me to have a look around and to read their series on "15 Tips for New Grandmas". I've enjoyed the visit and I think you might too, especially if you are at or nearing the Grandma season yourself. (And if you're not, you might find some neat suggestions for things your kids can do with your mother or mother-in-law!)

    I can't vouch for everything on the site. I saw a few things I'd take issue with, and a couple that really bothered me, but overall it's a lovely site and definitely worth a stroll over there...the picture of the granddaughter at the sewing machine turned me to putty--I love it!

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    has spoken at 9:40 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    I call your attention to a book I haven't read yet but soon shall, a book that may very well help turn the tide of public opinion in the abortion/embryonic research/stem cell debates. The book is Embryo: A Defense of Human Life, by Robert P. George and Christopher Tollefsen. In a review of the book in today's online edition of the New York Sun, Christopher Willcox predicts:

    This book is likely to make a lot of people crazy: It is a radical, even audacious, assault on the emerging technologies that would harvest living human embryos for medical research purposes. It is absolutist in its claim that human life begins at fertilization, when the male and female gamete, each bearing 23 complementary chromosomes, combine to create the single-cell zygote that will implant itself in the uterus and, in due course, become a man or woman. The argument's implications, not only for embryonic research but for abortion and some forms of contraception, are obvious: If it's human, you shouldn't kill it. That the argument relies on no sectarian religious tenet will only further aggravate those who disagree — it is much easier, these days, to dismiss religious scruple than scientific fact and logic.

    In exploring the relevance and the logical destination of the "sentience" argument for disregarding the humanity of the embryo,

    Messrs. George and Tollefsen then review the philosophical underpinnings of pro-research arguments, ranging from René Descartes's theory of sentience ("I think, therefore I am") to the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham and the "greater good" theories of John Stuart Mill. It appears that the most salient arguments for withholding moral respect and, thus, protection from embryonic life are the absence of a developed brain and the promise of treating terrible diseases with the stem cells harvested from embryos.

    But once the embryo is defined as human — as the science of embryology clearly defines it — the sentience argument falls short. Why not also harvest organs from the severely retarded or the comatose? The history of assigning value to individual human lives based on perceptions of inferiority or inconvenience has not been a pretty one, and the "greater good" argument is undeniably stronger, provided that the extravagant claims made for embryonic stem cells are not exaggerated. (The authors and many others believe the claims are, in fact, exaggerated.) But it, too, falters when one considers the history of reckless medical experimentation — the notorious Tuskegee syphilis trials, for instance, or the radiation tests performed on the unsuspecting by the military.

    In the end, however, the argument really boils down to the intrinsic value of human life. According to the "settled" law, a fetus has a value if it is wanted by its mother or, in some cases, if it can survive apart from her. A fetus lost in a car wreck represents a tort claim on an insurance company. But a fetus lost to an abortion has no more legal standing than a baked potato.

    Let's hope this work gets a wide and open-minded reading, leading to an increased understanding of "what God hath wrought" at the moment of conception.

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    has spoken at 5:50 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    I saw this on Jackie's blog and just had to post it here too. It deserves all the attention it can get. I think it's on its way to becoming the Bulgarian national anthem, what do you think?


    has spoken at 6:50 AM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, March 09, 2008
    Sunday snippets...

    Anyone else looked up from their New Year's Resolutions to discover it's nearly Easter? Feels like I'm in a time warp! You'd think the last few weeks being parked in a bed and chair with a broken leg would have made the time go slowly...but I guess that is trumped by the feature of AGE that makes time fly no matter what's going on!

    What about the woman who disciplined her toddler this week with a high pressure water hose at the car wash (for not showing enough respect)? Have you ever stepped into a shower in a strange place where the water pressure was higher than you're used to and it really stung your skin? Can you imagine a two-year-old being power-washed? And how frightening it must have been for it to come from her own mommy?

    A few of you have written to tell me about muffin tins I might like, and no, I still haven't decided on any. Meanwhile, the ones I thought I'd really like have gone up from $39.99 to $49.99...not gonna do it.

    So...Mike Huckabee. VP? Chairman of the RNC? Senate? Cabinet member? The truly nice thing about this experience is that here is a man who has run for president, dropped out, and the American people still like him! It doesn't happen often. As a matter of fact, I can't count how many contenders I've really loved UNTIL they ran for president, and then something really abrasive and unlikeable seems to take over and I can't wait until they drop out. Not so Huckabee. I think he's good to the core.

    Ummm....Nathan, is it spring break yet?

    During the past few years when I've spent as much time as not being a semi-invalid (and mainly inhabiting my bedroom where access to everything I need is close at hand and doesn't require many steps), it's been my great blessing that the piano is just a few feet from my bedroom door. Four of my kids have taken piano lessons during this time and I've listened to a lot of scales and finger exercises and primer pieces. These days, though, the piano makes real music, the kind that makes my heart soar and soothes me on days when pain threatens my emotional well-being. This week, CJ and Shelley have decided to have a go at piano duets and my pleasure is multiplied. Naturally I was delighted when they asked me to shop online for some "One piano/four hands" hymn arrangements and other pieces. Oh yes. I'll definitely humor them :-)

    And speaking of music, I am devouring Musicophilia. I really had no idea how intricately music and the brain are connected, so the discoveries in each chapter have me salivating and turning pages as fast as I can. Read it.

    Wednesday morning I will enter the hospital to have my bone graft rebuilt. I will probably be there until Saturday, though if things go well and I can do without IV pain control, I could be released on Friday. I'd love it if I could be back on my feet within a week or so, but I'll be patient and give this one plenty of time to "take." In the meantime, I should get a lot of reading done!

    We haven't had as "hard" a winter here as we did last year, but we have had some nice cool weather. For those of you in parts of the country where winter lasts longer than you'd like and you're wondering if there's spring at the other end, I offer you this bit of hope. The photo was taken Friday by my cousin Pam outside her Arkansas home...isn't it lovely?

    A blessed Sunday to you, wherever you are...

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    has spoken at 1:10 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, March 08, 2008
    For a long time I've enjoyed Meredith's blog at Like Merchant Ships. Today she pointed us to a new group blog to which she's going to be a contributor: Blissfully Domestic. Not only does it look delightful, her post today hits one of my pet peeves...birthday party favors.

    I know I'm old. But I came from a day when the gifts were for the one having the birthday, and no one felt like they had to send all the attendees home with gifts as well. Somehow our hyper-egalitarian culture began to feel that inviting you to a party, complete with games and snacks and dessert and perhaps a whole meal wasn't enough, and you needed to receive, in exchange for your time and the expense of a gift, a plastic bag of baubles to feel complete. I never fell for this, even when I was still giving kids' parties. But the pressure has increased and woe is the mom who doesn't fall in line with the expectations of her child's second-grade friends' moms. Enough! Moms of 21st century America, stand up and be real women!

    Anyway, go take a look at the new blog. As with any blog, and especially group ones, I don't concur with 100% of the opinions or advice. But this one promises to have lots of great ideas and perspectives from women who appreciate the domestic arts...

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    has spoken at 11:03 AM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Friday, March 07, 2008
    It's a Monty Python skit, right?

    People who have been injured while walking and texting on their cell phones may be in luck.

    A London street is experimenting with padded lampposts to protect those not paying attention from banging into them, ITN reports.

    A study conducted by 118 118, a phone directory service, found that one in 10 people has been hurt while focusing on their cell phone instead of where they were walking, ITN reports.

    The test lampposts will be given a trial run in London’s East End on Brick Lane. If the trial is successful it will be rolled out in Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

    (Picture what the padding is going to look like after one rainy season. Blech!)

    Padded Lampposts Tested in London

    hat tip: trish

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    has spoken at 5:04 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Thursday, March 06, 2008
    For those of us who appreciate and enjoy watching our unique American political process, it's a banner year. Unless, of course, you consider the actual level of discourse. Political slogans tend to be, across the board and across the years, on the shallow end of the depth scale; but this year, well....let's hear from Christopher Hitchens, a man whose intelligence hasn't always exempted him from his own brand of shallowness. Here, however, he's spot on:

    It is cliché, not plagiarism, that is the problem with our stilted, room-temperature political discourse. It used to be that thinking people would say, with at least a shred of pride, that their own convictions would not shrink to fit on a label or on a bumper sticker. But now it seems that the more vapid and vacuous the logo, the more charm (or should that be "charisma"?) it exerts. Take "Yes We Can," for example. It's the sort of thing parents might chant encouragingly to a child slow on the potty-training uptake. As for "We Are the People We Have Been Waiting For" (in which case, one can only suppose that now that we have arrived, we can all go home), I didn't think much of it when Rep. Dennis Kucinich used it at an anti-war rally in 2004 ("We Are the People We Are Waiting For" being his version) or when Thomas Friedman came across it at an MIT student event last December. He wrote, by the way, that just hearing it gave him—well, you guess what it gave him. Hope? That's exactly right.

    Pretty soon, we should be able to get electoral politics down to a basic newspeak that contains perhaps 10 keywords: Dream, Fear, Hope, New, People, We, Change, America, Future, Together. Fishing exclusively from this tiny and stagnant pool of stock expressions, it ought to be possible to drive all thinking people away from the arena and leave matters in the gnarled but capable hands of the professional wordsmiths and manipulators. In the new jargon, certain intelligible ideas would become inexpressible. (How could one state, for example, the famous Burkean principle that many sorts of change ought to be regarded with skepticism?) In a rather poor trade-off for this veto on complexity, many views that are expressible (and "We the People Together Dream of and Hope for New Change in America" would be really quite a long sentence in the latest junk language) will, in turn, be entirely and indeed almost beautifully unintelligible.

    I'm hoping that our collective "veto on complexity" will soon be overturned. Until then, I intend to do my part in my little corner of the world to expose all the near-naked emperors clad immodestly in nothing but "Hope."

    Words Matter


    has spoken at 2:16 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Wednesday, March 05, 2008
    This message comes today from the American Family Association:

    If your child's school observes the homosexual sponsored "Day of Silence," keep your child at home April 25.

    Friday, April 25, several thousand schools across the nation will be observing "Day of Silence (DOS)." DOS is a nationwide push to promote the homosexual lifestyle in public schools.

    AFA is joining other family-oriented groups in urging parents to keep their children at home that day if their local school is participating in the DOS project. By remaining silent, the intent of the pro-homosexual students is to disrupt the classes while promoting the homosexual lifestyle.

    DOS is sponsored by an activist homosexual group, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). DOS leads the students to believe that every person who identifies as a homosexual, bisexual or cross-dresser is a victim of ongoing, unrelenting harassment and hate. Students are taught that homosexuality is a worthy lifestyle, homosexuality has few or no risks, and individuals are born homosexual and cannot change. Those who oppose such teaching are characterized as ignorant and hateful bigots.

    More info here.

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    has spoken at 3:36 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    I'm borrowing a picture from Kristen's blog...Nine-year-old granddaughter Molly has put her whole self into learning to draw horses (among other things), and recently she decided to try to use her skill to make some money for our family vacation in the Great Smokies this summer. She wondered aloud if anyone might be willing to pay $.10 for this picture.

    Well, The Papa decided it was worth a lot more than that and put in a bid of $10, no decimal, for Molly's masterpiece. After waiting a suitable amount of time and not being outbid, he paid her yesterday for the picture and asked me to get it framed. Upon hearing of the final price, Molly gasped, "What? He thought it was worth THAT much?"

    Yep, Molly, Papa believes in you!


    has spoken at 10:52 AM
    5 Backtalks to Granny

    Residents in a Polk County community are demanding help in getting rid of vultures that are ripping shingles off rooftops and chewing rubber linings of car doors and windows.

    City officials said little can be done about the hundreds of black and turkey vultures because they are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

    City Attorney Sean Parker said vultures have additional protection under a bird-sanctuary ordinance adopted by Bartow in the 1950s.

    Officials said scaring off the vultures could be considered a violation and could result in fees of up to $500 a day.

    Too bad Hitchcock isn't around to make a movie about vultures. Better yet, a horror movie about eco-do-gooders trying to get rid of the real menace: people.

    Oh wait...the movie came true.

    Vultures Ripping Apart Roofs, Chewing Cars

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    has spoken at 10:12 AM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Tuesday, March 04, 2008
    May God bless Mike Huckabee. He is a class act and has conducted himself as a gentleman and a follower of Christ, and he makes me proud to be a Republican. Tonight he leaves the presidential race with a gracious speech and genuine gratitude for having had this chance to participate in the process. May every "loser" be such a winner.

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    has spoken at 8:20 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Tonight will be a real test of my political real ones are hurting a lot from a day of walking the hospital for all my pre-op procedures, so I came home and took pain meds and crawled in bed and will try to stay awake on pure adrenaline for the late results from Ohio and Texas. Obama and McCain have been declared the winners in Vermont, and McCain has taken Ohio. The other Democratic races may take a few hours to sort out, but it's gotten even more interesting in the past few days as Clinton seems to have some renewed energy and momentum. We'll see...

    Labels: ,

    has spoken at 6:39 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Who knew?

    And all this time, I thought it was God:

    High on Mount Sinai, Moses was on psychedelic drugs when he heard God deliver the Ten Commandments, an Israeli researcher claimed in a study published this week.

    Such mind-altering substances formed an integral part of the religious rites of Israelites in biblical times, Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem wrote in the Time and Mind journal of philosophy.

    "As far Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural cosmic event, which I don't believe, or a legend, which I don't believe either, or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under the effect of narcotics," Shanon told Israeli public radio on Tuesday.

    Moses was probably also on drugs when he saw the "burning bush," suggested Shanon, who said he himself has dabbled with such substances.

    I'm thinkin' that Shanon shouldn't be speaking of his own drug use in the past tense.

    Moses was high on drugs: Israeli researcher


    has spoken at 6:03 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, March 03, 2008
    I am rather weary of hearing the "If-Women-Ruled-the-World-Things-Would-Be-Different" mantra that is especially audible during this election cycle. There is nothing about gender that negates depravity, as Alan Dershowitz's observations in the Wall Street Journal remind us today.

    Zahra Maladan is an educated woman who edits a women's magazine in Lebanon. She is also a mother, who undoubtedly loves her son. She has ambitions for him, but they are different from those of most mothers in the West. She wants her son to become a suicide bomber.

    At the recent funeral for the assassinated Hezbollah terrorist Imad Moughnaya -- the mass murderer responsible for killing 241 marines in 1983 and more than 100 women, children and men in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994 -- Ms. Maladan was quoted in the New York Times giving the following warning to her son: "if you're not going to follow the steps of the Islamic resistance martyrs, then I don't want you."

    Zahra Maladan represents a dramatic shift in the way we must fight to protect our citizens against enemies who are sworn to kill them by killing themselves. The traditional paradigm was that mothers who love their children want them to live in peace, marry and produce grandchildren. Women in general, and mothers in particular, were seen as a counterweight to male belligerence. The picture of the mother weeping as her son is led off to battle -- even a just battle -- has been a constant and powerful image.

    Now there is a new image of mothers urging their children to die, and then celebrating the martyrdom of their suicidal sons and daughters by distributing sweets and singing wedding songs. More and more young women -- some married with infant children -- are strapping bombs to their (sometimes pregnant) bellies, because they have been taught to love death rather than life.

    And could the differences be more stark?

    Shortly after 9/11, Osama bin Laden told a reporter: "We love death. The U.S. loves life. That is the big difference between us."

    "The Americans love Pepsi-Cola, we love death," explained Afghani al Qaeda operative Maulana Inyadullah. Sheik Feiz Mohammed, leader of the Global Islamic Youth Center in Sydney, Australia, preached: "We want to have children and offer them as soldiers defending Islam. Teach them this: There is nothing more beloved to me than wanting to die as a mujahid."
    I can't even begin to wrap my brain around a woman who would raise her sons to commit suicide, or who would commit suicide herself on the cusp of giving life to a child.

    But after reading the piece this morning, The Papa reminded me that hate is a powerful force. He writes:

    Golda Meir also said something to the effect, "Peace will come to the Middle East when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us. "

    History tells me we shouldn't be holding our collective breath.

    Worshippers of Death

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    has spoken at 4:53 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Running short on science ideas for the week? Here's a great one, although I'd recommend NOT letting your boys see this unless you're sure you can pull it off safely :-)

    For some more fun chemistry and biology vids, go here.

    hat tip: trish

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    has spoken at 4:08 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, March 02, 2008
    Sunday snippets...

    It was bound to happen. I was just sort of playing the odds, and I finally lost. Spam has found me, and today, even spam from Asia. So as much as I hate word verification, I'm instituting it as of today, so that if you leave me a comment you'll have to type in the random gobbledy-gook that Blogger concocts. Sorry...but last week, one spammer hit me 30 times in two hours. Interestingly, every post that has received spam is one that mentioned "Obama". Hmmm....the spammers are trolling for political topics I guess.

    The Papa is very, very sick with the flu. He's so sick and out of it that he doesn't even remember that last night he told me to go ahead and buy a Suburban. I'm signing the papers this afternoon...sure hope he was serious!

    Now that I'm past the scare with my heart, my leg surgery is set for Wednesday of next week. I've just finished putting three weeks worth of lesson plans together so that the kids can keep going as if I were here. We've already had our spring break, remember?

    Have I told you how much I love my church family? The (mostly young) families that make up our church are just the best ever. They bless my life every day, both individually and as a body. I am more thankful than I can even express. During these weeks when for a couple of reasons I've been unable to worship with them, I miss them so much!

    So this is the week that the Democratic race might be over. The anticipation has me salivating, and it's sure given me something to occupy my mind during these days of sitting still. I'm wondering how we "did" campaign season back before cable TV and the Internet...there was a day, for those of you who don't remember, that all the news we got was packed into a half hour at dinnertime each evening and in the unwieldy, ink-smeared thing they called a "news paper". Really, honest, that's what we got. A few of you will remember when there was less than that, and during my early years in Europe, we huddled around a radio for what little we could get. Yes, now we're news-overloaded, but I'd much prefer it this way, especially in election season!

    Is there currently a funnier commercial than this? Every time it's on I have to stop what I'm doing:

    I sure hope that we as women aren't this dumb, but I fear we are. You may take exception to some of Charlotte Allen's slams...after all we've all got our "pets" and I think she's being unfair to Celine Dion and you may think she's crazy for picking on Oprah or Elizabeth Gilbert or botox (you know who you are). But the shrieking and swooning over the Beatles Barak does make one wonder...

    Have you seen any of the new show, "Moment of Truth"? Will people do anything, even ruin their marriages, for money? Oh.My.Goodness.

    During these days when I can't stand and cook, I've indulged my love of the kitchen by reorganizing my recipe collection, finding new recipes, and making plans for some more bulk cooking days. I wish I could manage to do a couple before surgery, but standing on this broken leg is neither comfortable nor smart. So I will continue my cyber-cooking and dream...

    Off to start the new week...enjoy your Sunday!

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    has spoken at 4:44 PM
    5 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, March 01, 2008

    IT'S MARCH! I love March! Why? Well if you don't remember how I feel about February, stop and go read this post:

    Van Buren Day

    It's simply amazing to me how my frame of mind changes when I flip that calendar page from February to March as I did this morning. Of course, here in south Texas it has little to do with the weather and spring coming (it was 92 here last week) and more to do with going from the grinding bowels of the school year where we're all dragging to the hopeful light at the end of the tunnel, where May is clearly in sight! This happens every year and doesn't mean that we dislike the whole's just part of the cycle and represents the anticipation of another year about to be completed.

    This year, with irritating health challenges, I'm extra-ready to close the books, but I realize we have a good bit to go. Never mind, though, the page says "MARCH" and that means that "MAY" is just month-after-next!

    For those of you who, like me, are just stumbling out of the February blues, take a deep breath, buckle down for a few more weeks, and soon we'll all be breathing the intoxicating air of a few months of complete change of pace.

    (And for those of you who school year-round, sorry, I can't help you there...I'd be in the insane asylum by now!)


    has spoken at 2:15 PM
    3 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!"