At Granny's House we're getting ready to welcome Kristen, Molly, Wes, Henry, Carrie, and Liam (and Dave on the weekends!) to our home for the next couple of months. Dave is in training for a new job in the DFW area, and the family is preparing for a move soon. But in the meantime they will share the summer with us and give us a little more closeup time with the kids before they leave San Antonio. We're looking forward to the controlled chaos once more :-)
There was sad news from the northwest corner of the homeschooling world this week...Sono Harris, wife of Greg Harris and mother of Josh Harris and Alex and Brett Harris, is nearing the end of her life on this earth. Sad for us, but a time of rejoicing for her as she is anxious to meet her Savior.
I've made a tremendous amount of progress on school planning in the past week. All books and software are either here or ordered; most lessons are entered into Edu-track; my list of biology supplies is about complete and I'm getting ready to order those; I've read through my teacher materials in most subjects to get familiar with them; and I've completed a tentative weekly schedule. Yep, we could start next week if we wanted to. (I use the word "we" only in the royal sense.) I'm way ahead of where I usually am at the end of June...of course, I will admit that our school here has a rather low enrollment this year.
On my wish list for next year is this contraption that might make it possible for me to garden! I can't be on the ground, of course, and I can't even lean over too far, but with something like this I could grow a few herbs and vegetables and get the satisfaction of a garden without endangering my fragile joints. Of course, we'd have to place it so that it doesn't get fried by the south Texas sun since we have very little shade on our lot. But I think I'd just stick with the hardiest plants and hope for the best.
On Friday I finished Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher's Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling. If you can overlook atrocious writing and editing and Gatto's occasionally irritating cantankerousness, this former New York Teacher of the Year has some sobering and disturbing thoughts about compulsory (and not just public) education.
All around me are unfinished projects, so I'm going to snip this off right here and get busy. I hope you have an exhilarating week!
Rules of an unengaged president by Mark Steyn
A New England school district has approved a measure that will provide free condoms to elementary school students and direct teachers not to comply with parental wishes to the contrary.
The policy, unanimously approved by the Provincetown School Committee does not include an age limit — meaning children of any age ask for — and receive — free condoms.
The committee also directed school leaders not to honor requests from any parent who might object to their child receiving condoms. In other words mommy and daddy — you don’t have a right to prevent your 7-year-old from getting a contraceptive device. [emphasis mine]
This would be outrageous enough if it stopped after the free distribution of condoms. But the idea that the school is to ignore requests from parents is even more disturbing. When parents can't opt out of an immoral, destructive, and objectionable policy, it's clear we've gone all the way down the road to the state owning the child.
Finish reading the rationale here (including the fact that some on the committee objected even to having the child talk to a school nurse before receiving condoms!):
hat tip: The Papa
So...do the taxpayers get their money back?
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration's flagship effort to help people in danger of losing their homes is falling flat.
More than a third of the 1.24 million borrowers who have enrolled in the $75 billion mortgage modification program have dropped out. That's more than the 27 percent who have managed to have their loan payments reduced to help them keep their homes.
Last month alone, 150,000 borrowers left the program -- bringing the total to 436,000 who have exited since it began in March 2009.
Administration officials say borrowers will get help in other ways. But analysts fear the majority will still wind up in foreclosure.
Borrowers exit troubled Obama mortgage program
The Bible contains many metaphors, literary devices that work as word pictures and increase our understanding of the Creator and His creation. Many of them are meant only as metaphors...no one really believes that a man can have a heart of stone, for instance. Stone is the word picture that helps us understand just how hard, cold and dead the human heart is without the life-giving touch of grace.
But when we look at every word picture in Scripture as no more than a metaphor, we may be missing truths that God has meant us to experience in the natural world.
Yesterday I ran across this story:
Astronomers at the University of Sheffield have managed to record for the first time the eerie musical harmonies produced by the magnetic field in the outer atmosphere of the sun.
They found that huge magnetic loops that have been observed coiling away from the outer layer of the sun's atmosphere, known as coronal loops, vibrate like strings on a musical instrument.
In other cases they behave more like soundwaves as they travel through a wind instrument.
Using satellite images of these loops, which can be over 60,000 miles long, the scientists were able to recreate the sound by turning the visible vibrations into noises and speeding up the frequency so it is audible to the human ear.
Professor Robertus von Fáy-Siebenbürgen, head of the solar physics research group at Sheffield University, said: "It was strangely beautiful and exciting to hear these noises for the first time from such a large and powerful source.
While this may be a surprising finding, it should be totally believable to those familiar with the Psalmist's words:
3 Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars.
4 Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
(Psalm 148:2-4, NIV)
Why shouldn't this praise be literal music? We praise God with music, so why shouldn't we assume that the heavens could have been created to praise Him with music as well? And yet, for thousands of years, it's been heard by no one but the Creator and maybe His angels, just as all the brilliant colors in the deepest, darkest part of the sea have been visible only to His eyes until recently. He's now allowing us to hear the music of the heavens, but He created it for His own pleasure and is just now inviting us to share in His enjoyment!
It makes me wonder how many of the metaphors of the Bible (trees of the fields clapping their hands, heavens being glad, etc.) are also part of the natural order that we're just not aware of yet. What an opportunity it is for Christian astronomers, biologists, chemists, geologists to look for manifestations of God's voice and character in the arenas they study and to make them known to the world!
Recovery is coming along very nicely. The Papa commented a few minutes ago that he's still amazed at how different this one's been compared to all the other surgeries when it took so much longer to bounce back. I appreciate the thousands of prayers that have been prayed for me in the past six months and I believe that THIS is the reason behind the positive outcome. Because there's no other explanation for it. (And even if there were, I'd still believe that God was listening to the prayers of his people!)
Despite the smooth sailing the past couple of weeks, I became aware during the first few days of walking that the difference in the length of my legs is significant enough that I will not be able to walk without shoe lifts. And I don't mean inserts...it's more of a difference than I can compensate for with anything inside the shoe. While I'm not happy about this, I will certainly accept the inconvenience in trade for the pain I've been in for so many years. It won't be easy to give up flip-flops and bare feet, though...
Years ago I played the cello. And I would still rather hear it played than any other instrument except the piano.
I'm deep in books at the moment, getting school all planned for the fall and ordering supplies. I've said before how much I LOVE this part of homeschooling and will have to find a way to get this "fix" even after my kids have all graduated. Maybe I'll hire myself out for school planning, or maybe I'll just force my way into my grandkids' education. The job already takes me a lot less time than it used to: our last remaining students are 9th and 11th grade boys this year. Honey, we shrunk the school!
So as if we didn't already KNOW Tiger was a mere mortal....
While it's been a given for several months that the Democrats will lose a lot of seats in Congress in November, this week it seemed there was a tipping point where an avalanche of observers believe they could lose both houses. I believe this is so important that every voter should be planning now to make sure his/her voice is heard, not only by voting but by writing letters, volunteering, and praying. I'll be using my voice in a variety of ways to install a Senate and House that has the muscle and the guts to repeal every tenet of Obamacism passed in 2009-10.
I'm enjoying the new Next Food Network Star and HGTV's Design Star seasons.
Wedding plans here continue. This week we ordered bridesmaids' dresses and made some other decisions. What a joyful time!
Last night we shared a neat experience with all of our kids and grandkids who are 10 years old and up. We went to a Brasilian "churrascaria," Chama Gaucha, and had one of the most wonderful dinners I've ever eaten. We used this opportunity for an early celebration of Father's Day and my birthday, both falling on the same day this year. This night out was a gift from our dear friend Steph K., via gift cards that we received for Christmas but because of certain unfortunate circumstances was delayed for six months. The waiting only made it sweeter and it was better than we could have imagined. Thank you, Steph!
It's the longest day of the year...Carpe diem!
What do you wanna bet this has less to do with school safety than with liberal dogma and attempted social engineering?
Oh God, please save us from the saviors.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Christan Morales said her son just wanted to honor American troops when he wore a hat to school decorated with an American flag and small plastic Army figures.
But the school banned the hat because it ran afoul of the district's zero-tolerance weapons policy. Why? The toy soldiers were carrying tiny guns.
Toy soldiers run afoul of school's weapons ban
Labels: Theater of the Absurd
Even though Ann Reynar will continue to wait for chemotherapy at the Cross Cancer Institute to treat her stage four colon cancer; she says she feels a little better now that Alberta Health Services finally apologized for the situation.
Ann's husband Wave Reynar says Alberta Health Services called the couple this weekend apologizing for the fact that she likely won't receive chemotherapy. A staff shortage at the Cross Cancer Institute has left doctors only giving treatment to priority patients and Ann's three month prognosis puts her low on the priority list.
Apologies are not known to be as effective as chemotherapy, however, and some are demanding change:
Alberta MLA Hugh MacDonald says the situation should not be tolerated.
"We are now forcing doctors to pick and choose who received cancer treatment and that's totally wrong," said MacDonald.
Why is the situation so critical that Alberta is rationing care?
Officials with Alberta Health Services say the situation could get worse. Five out of 20 oncologists in Alberta are expected to retire shortly and only 15 oncologists are trained in Canada every year.
Dr. Tony Field with Alberta Health Serices says this pinch will be felt across North America, not just in Alberta. He says staff will work to connect with patients on the waiting list this week.
Hmmm...North America. Especially when Canada's neighbor to the south is ready to accept a system leading straight to the catastrophe of the north.hat tip: The Papa
Sometimes a light surprises
The Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord who rises
With healing in His wings;
When comforts are declining
He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining
To cheer it after rain.
Though vine nor fig-tree neither
Their wonted fruit should bear,
Though all the field should wither,
Nor flocks nor herds be there,
Yet, God the same abiding,
His praise shall tune my voice,
For, while in Him confiding,
I cannot but rejoice.
~William Cowper (1731-1800)
My partial summer list: Get started on my Rosetta Stone course. Be available to work on wedding plans with CJ. Fine tune school plans for the fall. Finish reading How Long, O Lord? Reflections on Suffering and Evil (it's slow reading, but oh-so-worth it). Declutter our room (it's become the victim of my inability to walk and use my hands at the same time!).
Our attempt to get AT&T U-verse installed this week fell through when the installer was unable to get the expected signal at our house. So we settled for upgrading our cable package to one where we can DVR and order movies from more than one TV, and get more channels (including FOX Business!) than we've had before. We're still anxious to get U-verse, but it could be another year according to them.
I know I keep saying this, but I need a new computer. And a new phone. But I'm going to try and make the ones I have limp along until the end of the year. I finally got everything from my laptop backed up on a hard drive, something I should have done long ago, so at least I'm not living in fear of an unrecoverable crash. And I've freed up some space on this old not-so-faithful.
Last weekend we celebrated Shelley's graduation from high school and her senior piano recital. About 200 friends and family joined us for the big occasion and were treated to a 90 minute concert of Shelley's best. Later we presented her with her high school diploma and lots of roses and finished the evening with a nice reception. Shelley will now take a European-style "gap year" to work on material for college auditions and to breathe a little while she decides exactly what to do about college choices. Here are a few photos from her recital...
Thursday was a big day for me! I went for my routine appointment with my surgeon, expecting him to clear me to move from 25 to 50% weight on my right leg. After seeing the xrays, he was confident enough to tell me that I could put 100% weight on the leg "as tolerated", making sure that I didn't do too much too soon. My "surprises" at doctor's appointments of late have not been good ones, so I left walking on clouds instead of tile! At that point my plans for the summer changed a little, as I was expecting a very slow summer adding weight very gradually and needing a walker for a few more months. But it appears I may be free of that unwelcome companion sooner than I thought!
Just five months until the election when we may begin to retake our stolen government and return it to a group of men (and increasingly, women!) who respect the Constitution and will stop the madness that could soon have us modeling Greece.
All year long, while sitting here in my chair or lying in the bed, I have been craving some giant sea scallops, perfectly seared and sitting on a bed of couscous. Random, I know, but I'm going to find them.
Our freshly remodeled deck was the site of a Hawaiian luau last night, meticulously planned and executed by our church deacons and their wives. Yes, it was complete with a kalua pig, roasted in a pit in the ground in our back yard, which is being filled in by The Papa and Sons as I write this. It was a delightful evening, blessed by unseasonably mild and breezy weather. Here's a taste of our luau:
For the next couple of weeks, we'll be getting ready for Kristen and the elves to move in with us for a month or two. Dave is still in training for his new insurance job, and soon they'll need to relocate to the DFW area. In the meantime they'll keep us company as they wait for the big move. We're delighted...Kristen is a big help to me and a wonderful companion, and it's a joy to have the children here. Last time they lived with us there were four of them, and now there are five!
I hope you enjoy your last week of spring, 2010. I, for one, am more than ready for a new season!
“When we go to the cross, we see our God dying for us. If you let any other god down, it will beat you up. If you live for people’s approval or your career or possessions or control or anything else and you don’t make it or you mess up, then you’ll be left feeling afraid, downcast, or bitter. But when you let Christ down, he still loves you. He doesn’t beat you up; he died for you.
Let his love win your love, and let that love replace all other affections. The secret of change is to renew your love for Christ as you see him crucified in your place.”
- Tim Chester, You Can Change (Wheaton, Ill.; Crossway, 2010), 128.
The Revolt Against Liberal Orthodoxy by David Harsanyi
Labels: Political Observation
China has cancelled a controversial visa restriction on bald Taiwanese visitors amid discrimination concerns, travel agents and local media said Thursday.
The rule imposed by the southern Chinese city of Xiamen barred bald people from applying for one-year multiple-entry permits before it was cancelled earlier this year, according to Taiwan's Travel Agent Association.
"It would probably have raised the question of discrimination if Chinese customs officials were to ask visitors to remove their wigs," said Roger Hsu, a spokesman for the association.
Hsu said the rule had mainly applied to frequent business travellers but he said he did not know how many people had their visas rejected for being bald.
The Taipei-based Liberty Times quoted unnamed travel agents as saying that Chinese authorities were concerned that "it was easier for bald people to disguise themselves".
China cancels visa restriction on bald Taiwanese
Perhaps someday I'll stop being astonished at the depth of the depravity of man, especially when he's enmeshed in a religion of bondage. But as for today, I'm still picking my jaw up off the floor.
I won't even give you an excerpt here, because the nature of this story might draw to my blog unsavory types searching for who-knows-what. So you'll have to go read it for yourself. Please read the whole thing. Most Americans still don't have a clue what kind of perversions could be headed here by way of Islamic fatwa...
Saudi cleric fatwa
hat tip: Dr. P
Can't win for losing.
In yet another nod to the protection of fledgling self-esteem, an Ottawa children’s soccer league has introduced a rule that says any team that wins a game by more than five points will lose by default.
The Gloucester Dragons Recreational Soccer league’s newly implemented edict is intended to dissuade a runaway game in favour of sportsmanship. The rule replaces its five-point mercy regulation, whereby any points scored beyond a five-point differential would not be registered.
Kevin Cappon said he first heard about the rule on May 20 — right after he had scored his team’s last allowable goal. His team then tossed the ball around for fear of losing the game.
He said if anything, the league’s new rule will coddle sore losers.
“They should be saying anything is possible. If we can get five goals really fast, well, so can the other team,” said Kevin, 17, who has played in the league for five years. “People grow in adversity, they don’t really get worse…. I think you’ll see more leadership skills being used if a losing team tries to recuperate than if they never got into that situation at all.”
Kevin’s father, Bruce Cappon, called the rule ludicrous.
“I couldn’t find anywhere in the world, even in a communist country, where that rule is enforced,” he said.
This is the logical follow-on to what we already have all over this country where every kid on the team gets a trophy. Not just a ribbon for participating, mind you, but a trophy. Cuz every kid's a winner! Well guess what, folks, not every kid is a winner and not every team is a winner. That doesn't mean every child isn't valuable, but we're mixing up the two. Why have competitions if the outcomes have to be more or less even?
Since when is winning, by one goal or ten, not fair? And if we decide that sportsmanship means you shouldn't run up the score, how is MANDATING that going to teach sportsmanship?
Come on, kids, let's go play Scrabble. And this time, if you end up with four or more E's, you can trade them for any four of your neighbor's tiles. And if at any point you have more than a 50 point lead, you have to refrain from using anything but 3-letter words.
Just to keep it fair, you understand. Cuz you're ALL winners!
hat tip: Anne W.
Our city has something for everyone...enjoy!
Cultural Centers - Museums, Entertainment - Events, Cultural Centers - Art/Visual
05/01/2010 - 09/30/2010 at RIVERCENTER MALL
Venue Name: RIVERCENTER MALL
DINOSAUR-QUEST is an exhibition of Dinosaurs, displayed in brilliant lighting and sound, all complemented with high-end video animation.
Cultural Centers - Museums, Cultural Centers - Art/Visual, Visual Arts - Photography
06/08/2010 - 06/10/2010 at McNay Art Museum
Venue Name: McNay Art Museum
Play with light, learn about landscapes, reflect on water, picnic on the grounds, and paint outdoors
Entertainment - Activities, Entertainment - Events, Cultural Centers - Museums
06/11/2010 - 06/25/2010 at Witte Museum
Venue Name: Witte Museum
Grab a sleeping bag and get ready for a night of exploration!
Oh, I do LOVE Lizz Wright!
Music - Jazz, Music - Blues, Entertainment - Events
06/12/2010 - 06/12/2010 at Carver Community Cultural Center
Venue Name: Carver Community Cultural Center
Lizz Wright’s smoky, full-bodied voice stirs jazz, gospel, and rhythm and blues into prayerful meditations on her Southern roots.
Entertainment - Activities, Performing Arts - Dance, Cultural Centers - Historical Sites
06/23/2010 - 07/22/2010 at Arneson Riverwalk Theatre
Venue Name: Arneson Riverwalk Theatre
BRAVO!, an evening of song and dance Variety show featuring Fandango, Alamotion and Mariachi Campanas De America
How fun is this???
Visual Arts - Installation
06/26/2010 - 10/24/2010 at San Antonio Botanical Garden
Venue Name: San Antonio Botanical Garden
An original Playhouses and Forts exhibit opens at the San Antonio Botanical Garden on June 26. 2010
Music - Other, Music - Rock/Pop, Entertainment - Events
06/27/2010 - 06/27/2010 at Majestic Theatre
Venue Name: Majestic Theatre
Experience Motown’s best! Join The Temptations as they celebrate the 45th Anniversary of their first Number-One hit, “My Girl.”
Entertainment - Activities
03/10/2010 - 12/31/2010 at San Antonio Children’s Museum
Venue Name: San Antonio Children’s Museum
NOW OPEN! A New & Improved Tot Spot dedicated to guests up to 36 months!
Is it just me, or is anyone else wondering why a woman who has to be held upright by two arms from behind was coming to work everyday in the first place? Was she too proud for a wheelchair (hey, not saying I haven't been there), or is she in denial that she's nearly 90 and can't handle simple physical tasks? We all know she's not been handling things well on the mental side for many years now, but....
Labels: Theater of the Absurd
It's a story of an industry that may sound familiar.
The buyers think what they're buying will appreciate in value, making them rich in the future. The product grows more and more elaborate, and more and more expensive, but the expense is offset by cheap credit provided by sellers eager to encourage buyers to buy.
Buyers see that everyone else is taking on mounds of debt, and so are more comfortable when they do so themselves; besides, for a generation, the value of what they're buying has gone up steadily. What could go wrong? Everything continues smoothly until, at some point, it doesn't.
Yes, this sounds like the housing bubble, but...
Find out what it is at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Sunday_Reflections
Aren't you shocked?
Scientists who advised the World Health Organization on its influenza policies and recommendations—including the decision to proclaim the so-called swine flu "pandemic" had close ties to companies that manufacture vaccines and antiviral medicines like Tamiflu, a fact that WHO did not publicly disclose.
The links between the advisors and the companies that make money from vaccines and flu treatments were detailed in a report published online by the British medical journal BMJ, which investigated the advisors' role in WHO's policy.
The report by Deborah Cohen, features editor of BMJ, and Philip Carter, a journalist with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London, acknowledged that flu experts do "need to work with industry to develop the best possible drugs for illnesses," but said that allowing industry experts to have a role in the formulation of public health policy was a slippery slope.
And worse, Cohen and Carter said, was the failure of WHO officials to disclose the conflicts of interest or even identify the members of its advisory committee.
Those of us who suspected all along that this very real virus was being hyped into a very real and very expensive non-event are being vindicated. Of course, this isn't the only arena in which those with a financial interest are allowed to shape public policy, but right now it's the one most visible.
The International Social Survey Programme asked Americans and Europeans whether they believe "It is the responsibility of the government to reduce the differences in income between people with high incomes and those with low incomes." In virtually all of Western Europe more than 50% agree, and in many countries it is much higher—77% in Spain, whose redistributive economy is in shambles.
And while only 33% of Americans agreed, 100% of those in the current administration are part of that 33% and currently have the means to work their will no matter what you or I think. As soon as enough people are on the dole or are in government jobs, there will not be enough opposition to defeat massive redistribution and we will have become Greece.
Slouching Toward Athens: The Obama agenda and the Europeanization of America
View it full sized here.