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!

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  • Saturday, July 31, 2010
    Two items of interest on the education front today:

    Education secretary calls for 12-hour school days, longer school year

    Fine with me, actually, until they tell me that I have to prove that I'm "schooling" my homeschooled students 12 hours a day and that WE can't take the summer off either...otherwise, I'm happy to let the government schools do what they want.

    And this, via Aubrey, by the very wise Susan Wise Bauer:

    What NOT to look for in an academic department

    via The Well-Trained Mind by susan on 7/31/10

    Here’s a composite email, representing a kind of question that the office gets frequently–and which generally gets passed on to me.

    Dear Dr. Bauer,

    My high school junior is applying to colleges. He’s a strong reader and an excellent writer, and he’d like to study literature or possibly philosophy at a good school.

    Could you help me identify some universities that aren’t completely dominated by liberal faculty and their agendas? We would like him to be in a department that emphasizes reading and writing and discussion but that doesn’t take a politically correct/feminist/postmodernist approach.

    We are heartened to see that you are teaching at William & Mary. Would that be a good place for him to apply? Thank you for any help you can offer.


    Worried Parent

    I dread these emails, because I can’t really answer the question that’s being asked.

    I should say right off that I’m sympathetic to the underlying concern, which is: I don’t want to send my child off to a place where he will be mocked and made fun of for beliefs which may be out of step with those of the majority of his classmates. I’m getting ready to pack my oldest off to college this fall. I too have parental worries.

    But this particular way of expressing that concern has three major problems with it that I’d like to point out.

    1. Failure to understand the nature of academic departments.

    Academic departments, particularly in the humanities, are hardly ever homogeneous. (I’m talking here about medium to large departments at secular, or for-all-practical-purposes secular, schools; the most homogeneous departments around are those at smaller religious schools that require adherence to a confession or creed, but those aren’t generally the schools I’m being asked about.)

    Your typical good-sized department will probably contain one or two observant Catholics, two or three observant Episcopalians, a handful of nominal Presbyterians and Baptists who are for all practical purposes secularists, a couple of militant left-wingers out to make converts, one or two ex-hippies, the odd evangelical, and an array of folks who have never had a religious thought in their lives. In any university, you’re likely to find sympathetic faculty and hostile faculty, Democrats and Republicans and Libertarians, gay faculty and straight faculty, faculty with kids and faculty without kids. Universities are kind of like real life in that way (if in very few others). There will be many different voices and many chances to hear them.

    2. Failure to understand the terms.

    What does “liberal” mean? Votes Democrat? Has different views on sexual morality? Doesn’t go to church? Will advise your child to ignore his parents from here on out?

    These terms (liberal/ politically correct/ feminist/ postmodernist) tend to be used as general scare-words, not as representations of particular points of view. “Liberal” and “conservative” are almost empty terms at this point; they’ve got to be defined. Particularly in certain homeschooling circles, “feminist” FAR too often means “Everything that’s wrong with the twenty-first century in my opinion.”

    (Hint, people: that’s not what the word means.)

    Perhaps you have a particular definition in mind. You may indeed find it worrisome that your child will be taught by Democrats. (See Point #3.) Fine; you’re entitled to your worries. Just be sure that you define those terms clearly for yourself if you’re going to throw them around.

    3. Failure to understand the purpose of higher education.

    Eighteen and nineteen-year-olds should be mature enough to take classes from faculty they disagree with–or else they’re not mature enough to be at university.

    Higher education isn’t just about absorbing information; it’s also about learning how to listen to someone with whom you largely disagree, pick out what’s valuable, and figure out how to respond to the rest. It is also –and this is even more important–about allowing yourself to be challenged. If you go into university unwilling to even listen to opposing perspectives, you’re not likely to benefit a great deal. You’ll be so busy defending yourself that you won’t be able to entertain the possibility that, in some areas, you might be wrong.

    I myself have had a very frustrating time teaching students who come into William & Mary primed to resist the lies of “liberal faculty.” (That includes a lot of home educated students, who register for for my classes because they think I’m safe.) Every time I say something that strikes them as possibly “liberal,” all of their defenses go up and they tune me out. I can’t play devil’s advocate or dialogue with them–they immediately put me on the list of untrustworthy professors and stop listening.

    And at that point they become unteachable.

    I’m often asked how home educated students stack up against others in my classes. My overwhelming impression is that they’re more fragile. They’ve got little resilience; I can’t push at their presuppositions even a little bit. Maybe they’re afraid those presuppositions will shatter.

    See why I can’t answer the questions in those emails?

    What should these parents be asking instead? How about: How can my student find a group of likeminded peers, a religious community, a church, to support them as they study? In my opinion, that’s far more important than finding faculty that agree with you. How can I find a Dean of Students office that thinks parents should be partners in education, rather than telling them to bug off and leave eighteen-year-olds to their own devices? I think the most destructive attitude to encounter in university staff and faculty is the one that says: They’re grown-ups. Pay your tuition and get out of their lives. Do you know of a faculty member in literature/philosophy/biology/history who is thoughtful and trustworthy and willing to mentor? One or two close relationships are important; a whole faculty that agrees with your entire belief system is not.

    [Aubrey's note: Notice, near the end: "(homeschooled students) are more fragile". Just what I dont want my boys to be!]

    [And Kristen's note, on reading this: Great insight! I want both my daughters and sons to be strong enough to hold their own, not be hand-held through college.]

    What are your thoughts?

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    has spoken at 12:15 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010
    For those of you studying or interested in the search for the Northwest Passage in the 1800's, there's been an exciting find of a ship wrecked and abandoned in the quest...

    Ship lost for more than 150 years is recovered

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    has spoken at 5:22 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, July 25, 2010
    Sunday snippets...

    Today I'm giving top billing to my little snippet of a granddaughter, just two days old! Savannah Joy Welty was born on Friday night in Virginia, the third baby for my third baby :-) Siblings Erin and Judah and Aunt Beth welcomed her home yesterday. Congrats to Caleb and Annie, proud Dad and Mom...Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

    Now of course it wouldn't do to have a grandbaby that I haven't seen! Not for more than a few days! So I am going to take a break from school and wedding planning and make a trek east. I haven't traveled at all since the latest chapter in my orthopedic saga, so it's definitely going to be a challenge and I wouldn't mind your prayers. I will leave here Thursday morning and stay with the Weltys for six days. I'm just about as excited about seeing Erin and Jude as the new little one. Miss them all terribly!

    And speaking of wedding planning, we are moving right along. Sometimes I want it to S-L-O-W down...not because I'm afraid we won't get it all done, but just because I'm in no hurry to see my sweet CJ move away. Since I know that in some ways she IS in a hurry, I'll refrain from attempting to bend time...

    Häagen Dazs Caramel Cone. Thank you.

    Someday I'm going to Machu Picchu. If they have to take me in a wheelchair. But first, cruise to Alaska. Not in the same week.

    So this week I got my shoes back from the orthotic shop after a very long wait. And wouldn't you know, they don't work. Evidently the measurements were off, and the darn things are too tall. Now I limp in reverse. So back to the drawing board. And I won't have them for my trip.

    Friday night, while our granddaughter was being born, we were attending a benefit concert for Voice of the Martyrs. Shelley and friends sang in the choir, performing some beautiful "early" music. She also sang in a quintet, pictured below (Shelley is second from right). The evening was beautifully put together...entertaining, inspiring and convicting all in one lovely presentation. And of course, Shelley did beautifully :-)

    (photo shamelessly lifted from Robin M.)

    Congrats to our dear friends Greg and Candace, expecting baby #9 in March. They've caught up with us!

    Next Sunday I'll be in Virginia cuddling a little one, so the Snippets will be on vacation...have a great week!

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    has spoken at 8:50 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Thursday, July 22, 2010

    I have long been intrigued by Stonehenge and other "prehistoric" structures that were obviously the products of some pretty advanced minds...not only because of the logistics of building them but also because of the astronomic calculations that went into their placement and use. So I love reading about new discoveries associated with these messages from the past. Today, this news:

    Sister monument to Stonehenge may have been found

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    has spoken at 4:06 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Eat your heart out, JournoListers. Rejoice, all ye who value your last slivers of freedom.

    Senate Dems abandon Tax and Trade


    has spoken at 2:37 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010
    Readers here know that I've used whatever influence I may have to encourage the reading of Atlas Shrugged during this pivotal time in our nation's history. Some are put off by its age, its length, its occasional irreverence, or the questionable character of its author. I don't think these are good enough excuses: there are ways the novel can open eyes that the newspaper can't. If you're still resisting, read the following piece from Investor's Business Daily.

    Atlas Shrugged's Timeless Moral: Profit-making is Virtue, Not Vice

    Then go buy or download your copy of this important and timeless work...

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    has spoken at 4:40 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010
    37 years ago today, my personal fairy tale began.

    Actually, it began a few months earlier when a tall, dark, picture-book-handsome young man with shoulder-length sleek black hair had a fit of temporary insanity and decided he wanted to marry me. Before he could come to his senses and plead irrational exuberance, I had blurted out "Yes!" and begun measuring for the drapes in my dream castle.

    I would find out later that the 500 square foot apartment-castle already had drapes, and my previously 20/20 vision inexplicably saw that little corner of the world as a mansion fit for my new status as queen of our own Happily Ever After.

    My eyesight never recovered. More than three and a half decades later, I'm still married to that Knight-in-Shining-Armor with the jet black hair, even though our children tell me that it's his hair and not his horse that's white. My bifocals must need a good cleaning.

    They also tell me I've reigned as Queen in a couple of dozen castles over these years, but it's a blur to me...I feel quite sure that my throne hasn't moved from beside his even once. The courtiers come, grow, and leave (and multiply), but things in the castle are still as shiny as the starry-eyed princess dreamed they'd be. The Nay-Sayers who claimed that Once Upon a Time never really becomes Happily Ever After have been banished from the kingdom and must bear their ignominy from across the moat. They will all be issued Royal Pardons on our Golden Anniversary...

    Happy 37th, my love. And can you help me find my glasses?


    has spoken at 9:18 AM
    6 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, July 19, 2010
    STOP and read before you sign that card!

    Five or six years ago, we began to be inundated with "special offers" and "urgent information enclosed" mail entreating us to join AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) and to let them speak for us in policy matters, discount negotiations, etc.

    We never joined, partly because my face kinda crinkles up every time I see the word "retired" while we're still raising children. But I didn't have any concrete reasons not to join. Until last year.

    When AARP bought into Obamacare Health Care Destruction and other Democrat Policy Disasters, I began researching some of the stands, past and present, of the organization. It took me about ten minutes to decide that I would NEVER join AARP...not now, not when we "retire", not any time before the Second Coming. AARP increasingly speaks for itself, not for, *ahem*, older Americans. And I want nothing to do with its positions.

    Are you approaching or over 50? Expect to be 50 someday? Want representation for your interests as a conservative senior citizen? You do have alternatives, and there will probably be several more alternatives during the years that we Boomers cross the line from middle-aged to elderly. Don't reflexively join an organization that works to defeat your values. Look into these and any others you can find!

    American Seniors Association


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    has spoken at 1:33 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    My recent commitment to read (and in some cases, re-read) about 125 works of classic literature has made me alert for blogs and articles ABOUT the Classics. So I perked up when I saw Justin Taylor's post yesterday on how NOT to read the Classics...


    has spoken at 8:12 AM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    The Never Enough crowd...
    Monday morning required reading for voters:

    William Voegeli has bad tidings for advocates of limited government and low taxes: There is no endgame when it comes to the liberal agenda.

    If tomorrow, liberals in Congress, state legislatures, and town councils all across the nation raised taxes and increased spending in order to fund every single item on every special-interest wish list, would social-justice nirvana have arrived? No.

    Within hours, some liberal would find an unmet need - perhaps a champagne shortage due to the previous day's celebrations - that only a new government program could address.

    Read the entire (short) piece.

    Back Channels: The liberal roadblocks to shrinking government

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    has spoken at 5:25 AM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, July 18, 2010
    Sunday snippets...
    Entering this 26th year of homeschooling, I'm having some of the most fun ever getting ready for the new semester. Events in my life made planning for last year totally impossible, and we relied on the help of others and the seat of our pants to get through the year. While I'm grateful for all the ways God provided through my crisis, I'm so ready to get back into the role of planning and teaching. With only four years left in this journey, I am going to savor each moment...

    As far as reading, I'm deep into The Histories of Herodotus, marveling at how human nature never changes, and how human idiosyncrasies get passed down through the millennia so that traits of certain peoples are recognizable even now. I'm also reading an interesting little volume that we'll be studying in history this fall, Faith in the Age of Reason: The Enlightenment from Galileo to Kant, by Jonathan Hill. And I'm listening to the audio version of Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby, mostly while I ride the bike at physical therapy.

    All right, I try not to complain about the weather here. When I hear people fussing about the heat I always think, "Okay, what did you think you were going to get in south Texas?" But today the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak and can I just say, I HATE THIS!

    But I might be willing to forget it for a few hours if I had some Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies. And milk.

    If you see me on Facebook you might already know about my big accomplishment of the year: climbing an entire flight of stairs and coming back down again, ALONE! This is something I've rarely done in the past decade, and only when absolutely necessary. Today, though, I did it so that I could pay a surprise visit to Aubrey, who is still upstairs-bound in her house following her recent surgery. (My kids are going to be shaking in their boots flip-flops when they realize I might actually see the state of things on our second floor in the next few days...)

    And speaking of flip-flops (slippers, for our Hawaii family), can you wear them to church and still go to heaven? Is that in one of the creeds? Just askin'.

    Be watching and listening in the next few months as the Obamadministration starts replacing "Freedom of Religion" with the substantively different "Freedom of Worship." It might sound like an innocuous change, but words matter. And this change will definitely matter.

    And just in case the whole idea of religion offends you and you're ready to take action to get rid of the nasty feel of the baptismal waters on your head (or your whole body, if you're Baptist), a spokesman for the American Atheists is available to perform the sacrament (or sacrilege, depending on your own personal convictions, because it might be right for you and wrong for me) of de-baptism. With a hairdryer. Bring your own conditioner and mousse.

    Wedding plans are proceeding with vigor at Granny's House. CJ and Tony have finished registering for home furnishings, doing it pretty much all online, as 21st century couples are tending to do more and more. At least if they disagree about colors they don't have to do it with an audience :-)

    And tomorrow, we'll meet with our friend Garfield to talk about landscaping our front yard and deck area for the wedding. We won't get started on the actual work until September, but we want to have a great plan in place way before then!

    From this morning's worship at Covenant of Grace...

    May His beauty rest upon me
    as I seek the lost to win,

    and may they forget the channel,

    seeing only Him.

    (from "May the Mind of Christ My Savior", Kate B. Wilkinson, 1925)

    Snip, snip, that's all for this week!

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    has spoken at 5:00 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, July 12, 2010

    For those of you studying Tapestry of Grace Year 2 or another curriculum where you're focusing on the early Middle Ages, here's an interesting discovery that will add to your kids' understanding of the origins of the King Arthur legends:

    Historians locate King Arthur's Round Table


    has spoken at 11:41 AM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, July 11, 2010
    Sunday snippets...
    It was a good, if out-of-the-ordinary week at Granny's House. We've loved having the Slaughters with us, even though Dave was gone most of the week and Kristen spent much of the week getting their house ready to vacate. (Hey, does that mean it's a "vacation"?) Now things should settle down a little for the rest of the summer...

    Even though we don't remember giving our permission, some stray cat had four kittens under our deck a few weeks ago, and we've had to figure out what to do with them. We've cleaned them up, fed them, medicated them, and are hoping to have them ready for adoption soon through the Human Society. Of course my kids are begging to keep one, or two, or three, or...

    Is it November yet? No, not for the cool weather, not for Thanksgiving....for the ELECTION. PLEASE, look ahead now, and if you're not going to be in your regular voting location on November 2, make a note to request an absentee ballot or to take part in your state's early voting days. Some of the damage done in the past year and a half may be irreversible (Read: Elena Kagan), but some of it can be undone now if we act quickly. Remember November!

    Aubrey is home from the hospital after her surgery. Thank you to those of you who are praying for her and ministering to her in other ways. She is still in some pain and having trouble sleeping, but so far no complications. I'm hoping she recovers quickly so I can see her...she can't come down stairs and I can't go up!

    Five-year-old Sam doesn't want to drink after his mom, because he doesn't want to "catch your surgery".

    We had a great wedding planning meeting this week, and thanks to our friend Cori we think we might actually be able to pull this off. She has that rare ability to hear a few sentences of what you want and be able to visualize the whole scene and be off and running. CJ is very relieved to have someone telling us what to do :-)

    Last night we celebrated the birthdays of Molly (12) and Carrie (6). Since our youngest daughter just turned 18, it's fun to have some younger girls to share parties with. But I think we all agree that the best part of the party was Kristen's renditions of Pioneer Woman's Strawberry Shortcake Cake. Oh man, you have got to try this. And make sure it doesn't all get eaten the first day, because it really is better the second day. It might be better yet on the third day, but alas, we'll never know.

    Trusting that soon I'm going to be able to travel without being in a wheelchair or stretcher, I've made some plans and some plane reservations. I'm going to Virginia at the end of this month to meet little Savannah Welty for the first time. She will, of course, be waiting with baited breath to see me so I'm doing my best. Then in August I'm going to fly to southern California for a week of relaxing with Lyric, and then up to northern California where I'll meet John (not for the first time, of course). We're going to speak to a group of homeschooling couples outside Modesto and then have a couple of days to just enjoy friends and enjoy being away together!

    With the help of two excellent books that I've had for a long time, I made myself a list (on a Google Spreadsheet, of course!) of all the classics that I want to read before I die. No, I'm not in some morbid phase...quite the opposite. But I am taking seriously the Psalmist's plea, "So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom." (Ps. 90:12) Proverbs tells us that "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 9:10), and so I've made a renewed commitment to be in the Word to a greater extent. But I also believe that God has buried treasures of wisdom for us in many places and would rather have me reading great literature than playing a game on Facebook (which I haven't done, by the way, but in a vacuum I'm liable to succumb to things that are complete wastes of time). And I know myself well enough to know that without a plan, a lot of what I want to read will go unopened. So...armed with my literary "bucket list", here I go!

    Al Mohler has a valuable blog post this week on why today's men and women are finding so little happiness in being parents. Here's a taste, but you should definitely read the whole thing:

    Christians must see children as gifts from God, not as projects. We should see marriage and parenthood as a stewardship and privilege, not as a mere lifestyle choice. We must resist the cultural seductions and raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and understand family life as a crucible for holiness, not an experiment in happiness. [Emphasis mine]

    I continue to make good progress in my tenth week of physical therapy and look forward to the day when I don't need it any more. I can still say this has been my quickest recovery ever from a major leg or hip surgery and for that I am grateful. I'm enjoying cooking, light housework, and even driving myself to the grocery store, and now looking forward to travel!

    Bethany has now been in Virginia with Annie for ten days and I am SO missing her! John Caleb will get his turn tomorrow as he will fly out with The Papa, who is going out for business as well as to see the kids.

    And that's all, folks...may God give you a wonderful week!

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    has spoken at 6:27 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, July 10, 2010
    Honey, I shrunk the space.

    I probably expend too much mental energy bemoaning the illiteracy (as well as innumeracy, but that's another post) of "the young," as well as the now middle-aging forty-somethings who haven't been forced by a scary job market into learning to write well.

    But there's at least one place that I can echo the Bible verse (taking it completely out of context of course), "...and a little child shall lead them." That place is the space, not spaceS, between sentences.

    Old habits die hard. But some of those habits need to die, and one of those is the tendency that we Boomers have of placing two spaces rather than one after a period or a colon. Never mind that most people can't use colons (not to mention their offspring semicolons) least if you're over forty you've always remembered that they require a separation of two spaces.

    Give it up, friends! Our kids have something to teach us won't catch THEM wasting extra spaces after periods. Of course, you won't catch them wasting vowels when they write "ppl" but I'm not advising you mimic them in text-speak. Again, that's another post.

    In looking for a succinct explanation of the rationale for the one-space standard, I came across this:

    Much has changed along the journey from typewriters to setting type on computers. Still, there are a number of typewriting conventions that are no longer relevant but which stubbornly refuse to go away. At the top of this list is the practice of putting two spaces between sentences. Forget about tolerating differences of opinion: typographically speaking, typing two spaces before the start of a new sentence is absolutely, unequivocally wrong.

    Why We Do It
    Why is typing a double space after the end of a sentence such a common practice? And why do so many writers still deliver copy this way? The answer: typing class! This is how most of us were taught to type (and still are, in many cases). The two-space habit is based on the limitations of typewriters; specifically, of typewriter fonts.

    Finish reading here: Double Spaces Between Sentences...NOT!

    [Just in case some of you die-hard typing class aficionados think I'm cherry-picking my sources, just try Googling "spaces between sentences" and see how many sources you can find who still want you to adhere to 1950's standards in spacing.]

    I spend the first few minutes of every proofreading job just checking for illegitimate spaces between sentences, and sometimes in the second round of proofing a document, these bad boys have miraculously regenerated themselves! Come on, folks, help me out here by extinguishing this outdated really only takes a few days to overcome if you type a lot. Follow your kids' examples in this, and you'll save your proofreader time and heartache. (What? You don't have a proofreader? Click on my email on the right sidebar ;-) )

    There. I feel much better.


    has spoken at 9:59 AM
    7 Backtalks to Granny

    Wednesday, July 07, 2010
    If God chuckles, He must have a really good time with the current-day wise men as they try to figure Him out...

    ScienceDaily (June 14, 2010) — New research by astronomers in the Physics Department at Durham University suggests that the conventional wisdom about the content of the Universe may be wrong.

    Graduate student Utane Sawangwit and Professor Tom Shanks looked at observations from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) satellite to study the remnant heat from the Big Bang. The two scientists find evidence that the errors in its data may be much larger than previously thought, which in turn makes the standard model of the Universe open to question. The team publish their results in a letter to the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

    Launched in 2001, WMAP measures differences in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation, the residual heat of the Big Bang that fills the Universe and appears over the whole of the sky. The angular size of the ripples in the CMB is thought to be connected to the composition of the Universe. The observations of WMAP showed that the ripples were about twice the size of the full Moon, or around a degree across.

    With these results, scientists concluded that the cosmos is made up of 4% 'normal' matter, 22% 'dark' or invisible matter and 74% 'dark energy'. Debate about the exact nature of the 'dark side' of the Universe -- the dark matter and dark energy -- continues to this day.

    Sawangwit and Shanks used astronomical objects that appear as unresolved points in radio telescopes to test the way the WMAP telescope smoothes out its maps. They find that the smoothing is much larger than previously believed, suggesting that its measurement of the size of the CMBR ripples is not as accurate as was thought. If true this could mean that the ripples are significantly smaller, which could imply that dark matter and dark energy are not present after all.

    Errors in Big Bang Data Larger Than Thought?


    has spoken at 8:53 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, July 05, 2010

    Outrage of the week:

    NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a recent interview that his "foremost" mission as the head of America's space exploration agency is to improve relations with the Muslim world.

    Though international diplomacy would seem well outside NASA's orbit, Bolden said in an interview with Al Jazeera that strengthening those ties was among the top tasks President Obama assigned him. He said better interaction with the Muslim world would ultimately advance space travel.

    "When I became the NASA administrator -- or before I became the NASA administrator -- he charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science ... and math and engineering," Bolden said in the interview.

    Leaving aside the absurdity of American officials giving interviews to Al Jazeera, Bolden's admission that his "perhaps foremost" charge as head of NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, folks, is a window right into the soul of the Obama administration. For the head of NASA to be charged with improving Muslim relations as his top priority would have been too ludicrous to imagine even two years ago. But for the Theater of the Absurd in which we now find ourselves, it's just another day in La-La Land...

    NASA Chief: Next Frontier Better Relations With Muslim World

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    has spoken at 7:38 PM
    4 Backtalks to Granny

    Sono Harris is now with her Savior.

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    has spoken at 10:47 AM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, July 04, 2010
    Sunday snippets...

    I love long weekends! Around here, a long holiday weekend almost always means a cookout with family and friends, and this holiday is no different. Tomorrow we'll grill chicken and brats and enjoy the day with about 40 here. We've made lots of preparations today so Granny's House is already smelling good...

    Yesterday was Onslaught(er) Day at the House. Our sweet kids and grandkids have moved in for a couple of months, giving us lots of smiles and hugs and the sound of little feet once again. Pure joy!

    Weather in the past few days has been very muggy, but on the good side we've had a lot of rain for June/July and more is forecast for this week. Good for the lawn and trees!

    All week long, books trickled in from my orders and we saw Mike, our UPS man, nearly every day. Most of the books have to do with 18th century history, one of my favorite periods to study. As a matter of fact, I'm drooling over some Teaching Company courses for my own study as we move into the fall's Tapestry of Grace unit.

    Tony is here! This weekend he and CJ made a construction paper chain that now hangs in the kitchen, with 97 links, one for each day until their wedding :-) Tony will be here for the big cookout tomorrow and will have to return to Oklahoma Tuesday. Not long enough for us (or for CJ, of course!) but we're thankful for every day we can get.

    And for another addition to the family this year, we are eagerly awaiting news of the arrival of little Savannah Welty, due within the next couple of weeks. I'll be planning a trip to Virginia soon!

    This week I'll be finishing up the last few pages of How Long, O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil. This book isn't an easy read, but if you want to dig deep into the issues of pain and suffering and the whole "when bad things happen to good people" questions, it's a must-read.

    Because of the prevalence in the past 15 years of in vitro fertilization and implantation of multiple embryos (read: lots of babies), we've forgotten just how rare occurrences like this are in the natural world: Having Babies 1-2-3

    And, for your July 4th weekend required reading, we have It's All in the History Books and A Cold Man's Warm Words. There may be a pop quiz.

    Please pray for Aubrey, our oldest daughter, as she goes in the hospital for major surgery on Wednesday of this week. And pray for her husband and sweet kiddos as they minister to her and keep the house running while she recuperates.

    From this morning's glorious worship service:

    I need no other argument,
    I need no other plea,
    It is enough that Jesus died,
    And that He died for me.

    Enjoy your celebration of Independence Day. Happy 234th birthday to the land of my birth!

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    has spoken at 10:30 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Thursday, July 01, 2010
    Report from the future...
    When did it happen?

    I still think of myself as the mother of little ones, short people as we have often referred to our "B Team". And no, that's not a disparaging term around's just always been a way to distinguish our older three, the "A Team" from the younger 6 who were born after seven years of what The Papa claims as "bad luck."

    But I digress.

    I'm wondering when I went from mother of little ones to keeper of a house full of young adults. No, not all of Baby Prince is turning 14 this fall and the other "short boy", now over six feet tall, will turn 16 a few days later. But the dynamic of the house has unmistakably changed in the years we've lived here and sometimes it seems that it must have happened one night while I was asleep. I woke up and we had more drivers than cars to drive!

    For years, one of my biggest dilemmas was, "How do I keep school going for the big kids while trying to entertain a preschooler, clean up after a toddler, and keep the baby asleep?" So what month did that become, "How do I keep school going for the younger ones while trying to keep track of work, music, church, babysitting, and entertainment schedules for all the post-high school kids and make sure they all have a car at the hour they need one?"

    I know. It happened slowly. But since it's documented scientific fact that time compresses after you reach 40 and life really does speed up, I'm sure I'm on solid ground when I shout, "SLOOOOW DOOOOOWN!"

    So how do I really feel about all this?

    I love it. Maybe I love it because we really did enjoy every day with the little ones and squeezed all the life out of those years that we could. Maybe I love it because the now grown- and almost-grownups can do more for themselves and can help me take care of things around here. But maybe I love it just because I enjoy the companionship of my young adult household much more than I ever expected to. I guess I heard too many horror stories about the teen years and beyond, and although I never quite believed them all, I don't think I looked forward to these years as much as I might have if I'd heard a few glowing reports from the road ahead.

    Which brings me to my reason for putting this on cyber-paper tonight. Yes, enjoy every moment of your children's early years. Yes, they go all too fast. Yes, you'll look back with a longing for those little feet and big belly laughs. But you're also headed TOWARD a lot of joy. Don't let what you see and hear in the world around you cause you to dread the years that you've worked so hard for. If you're raising your kids to honor and serve the Father, to respect you and to love and enjoy their siblings, you have the best years ahead of you. One day, you'll wake up and all your kids will be taller than you are and you're trying to find their Social Security cards and there won't be any sets of car keys left and you're gonna wonder when it happened.

    And you're gonna love it.


    has spoken at 9:25 PM
    4 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
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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!"