I'm the incredibly blessed mother of 9, "Granny" to , 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.
If you haven't already selected an Advent devotion to do by yourself or as a family this year, take a look at this fantastic resource. It's free, AND it's Ann Voskamp. It's bound to be a tremendous blessing!
These intellectual sell-outs, having nowhere better to go from here, have become caricatures of themselves...
In a series of papers published by the Royal Society, physicists and chemists from some of world’s most respected scientific institutions, including Oxford University and the Met Office, agreed that current plans to tackle global warming are not enough.
Unless emissions are reduced dramatically in the next ten years the world is set to see temperatures rise by more than 4C (7.2F) by as early as the 2060s, causing floods, droughts and mass migration.
As the world meets in Cancun, Mexico for the latest round of United Nations talks on climate change, the influential academics called for much tougher measures to cut carbon emissions.
In one paper Professor Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said the only way to reduce global emissions enough, while allowing the poor nations to continue to grow, is to halt economic growth in the rich world over the next twenty years.
This would mean a drastic change in lifestyles for many people in countries like Britain as everyone will have to buy less ‘carbon intensive’ goods and services such as long haul flights and fuel hungry cars.
Prof Anderson admitted it “would not be easy” to persuade people to reduce their consumption of goods
He said politicians should consider a rationing system similar to the one introduced during the last “time of crisis” in the 1930s and 40s.
This could mean a limit on electricity so people are forced to turn the heating down, turn off the lights and replace old electrical goods like huge fridges with more efficient models. Food that has travelled from abroad may be limited and goods that require a lot of energy to manufacture.
“The Second World War and the concept of rationing is something we need to seriously consider if we are to address the scale of the problem we face,” he said. [emphasis mine]
'Round these parts, we spend so much time pining for fall we don't know what to do when it gets here...we know the minute we blink it'll be gone anyway. By the time we get cold weather we're putting up Christmas lights, so the fall that is fall just for its own sake, with no holidays, is pretty much non-existent. Guess I won't ever get used to that part.
Nevertheless, we had a splendid Thanksgiving. We spent 48 hours in north Texas, one whole day of which was just down time, visiting and enjoying the family. That needs to happen way more often.
Granddaughter Molly, 12, came home with us and will spend a week or so hanging out here and visiting with friends. So nice that she's old enough to do this, and that she wants to! I remember going to spend a week with my grandma when I was this age, and I always wanted her to teach me to make something on the sewing machine, or teach me to knit or to decoupage. Molly got here and said, "Granny, will you help me set up a Gmail account?" Ah, yes, a new millennium.
The shopping is going great, and it looks like I might get to the end of the list before I get to the end of the money. Always a good thing. Seldom realized ;-)
And the Papa is off again to You-Know-Which-Paradise, pretending he doesn't want to go.
We'll do School Lite for the two weeks before Christmas break--mainly math, as it's what suffers the most from several weeks of vacation. There's always more to do during December than I can do alone, so I appreciate the kids' help and can't have them buried in books the whole time!
San Antonio needs an IKEA. Georgetown is too far away. And besides, Austin is in between and that is just totally inconvenient.
Microfiber cleaning cloths. That's what I need more of. Just ordered 3 dozen. Oh, Amazon, whatever did I do without you?
I was sick this morning and didn't get to be at church for the first Sunday of Advent, but I have marked it in my heart nevertheless. We are, after all, created to be a ceremonial people...it's hardwired into us by the Creator that knew we would need ways to mark the years and reminders to stop and honor Him in extra-ordinary ways. I'm tickled to death that I've gotten so many inquiries this month about the Jotham's Journey trilogy, because it's been one of our family's favorite ways of observing and celebrating Advent through these last years.
I love myOtter Box. If you get an iPhone for Christmas, don't leave home without one. (Especially if, like me, you sometimes drive with your phone in your lap, and then, forgetting it's there, get out of the car.)
Still pluggin' away at Nicholas Nickleby. Man, that book is long.
The kids have dutifully gotten all the dusting and vacuuming done so we're ready to set out Christmas decorations. I'd gladly wait another week or so, but they're always chomping at the bit to have the trees and lights and sparkles and music...so I told them I'd oblige them as soon as the common areas in this house are spotless. It was great motivation.
So I'd already heard about it on the news. And then, in accordance with the prophecy, I received my email informing me: my Netflix subscription was going up. Yes, just by a dollar, but up nevertheless.
I have a love-hate relationship with Netflix. I think they have a great business model, and I love the fact that, for the most part, our membership kept us out of the video rental store. Well, not our grown kids, but that's another story.
I also love the fairly new ability to stream video to my computer or my iPhone so that I can watch a movie in bed, in the car, etc. without bothering anyone else. This is especially nice when riding between here and our families in north Texas after dark, when it's very hard to read.
But up until now, my membership has included DVD's...at times I've paid for the level where you can have up to 3 DVDs out at a time; more recently I've reduced that to just one, plus the unlimited streaming hours. During the hustle and bustle that was the wedding, I lost one of the DVDs and had to pay full price for it (even though the lady on the phone asked me, "Don't you just want to say it was lost in the mail?"). That cost me the equivalent of nearly two months of membership. Ouch. And I never even watched it!
So...when Netflix announced yesterday that 1) my plan was going up in price, and 2) they would now offer a plan with NO DVDs and just the unlimited streaming video, I decided to make the switch. No more waiting to get the DVDs in my queue, no more looking for those red envelopes, no more losing movies. And my membership now goes DOWN by a dollar.
The down side is that there is still a limited number of movies (and documentaries, my favorite) available to stream. This is bound to increase rapidly with Netflix's new focus on this model, but for now I won't have the selection I used to. Not that I'm a huge movie watcher...often I like the IDEA of watching a movie more than I actually like doing it...but it was nice to have the option of practically anything I could think of. Now, if we have our heart set on a particular movie, we'll have to hope we can order it on-demand from cable. We're so spoiled.
Anyway, it got me thinking about how much the world has changed during the second half of my adult life (the second half of what I've lived so far!) and how sometimes just the choices are overwhelming. Remember the days when you could either watch TV or read? No, I guess most of you don't ;-)
What a nice time of year for those of us who love cranberries. And pumpkin. And sweet potatoes. You can try and eat them during other seasons, but they just never taste the same. The calendar pretty much has to say "November"...
I complain about the weather all too often. I know that. But seriously, having to have the A/C on in the week of Thanksgiving? It oughta be a crime to get as little use as we do from our winter wardrobes...
Fascinating how fast the TSA story has mushroomed. Having been on the receiving end of the much-discussed "enhanced" pat-down earlier this month, I can assure you that it's humiliating and every bit as invasive as you've heard. And the nice thing is that I get to undergo this EVERY time I fly and not just randomly, as my metal hips set off the detector 100% of the time. I've become quite familiar with the exclamation, "FEMALE ASSIST!" I don't pretend to know the answer; I just know that this ain't it.
Today I'm suffering from a painful and maddening case of contact dermatitis on and around my eyes. Not sure exactly what caused it, but you can be sure I'll be doing some elimination testing to find out. I don't ever want to go through this again.
I'm whittling away at the Christmas list, ordering a few more things each day and watching the boxes stack to the ceiling in my bathtub. This week I need to finish all the gifts that will have to mailed away from here and the others can wait. I'm fine until I look at the stack and think, "Oh my. All those things have to be wrapped!"
It's sure not as much fun doing meal planning with Kristen and CJ gone. And cooking for just 4-6 people each night, depending on work and other schedules, is...well, different. And it only goes downhill from here ;-)
I hardly know how to act in Thanksgiving week now that we're ditching our normal traditions to head north this year. I usually start cooking on Monday, and this year I'll have Monday-Wednesday to do some crafty things, address cards, and do some light housework. The boys have the week off school, which means I do too, and we'll be sleeping in! And then on Wednesday I'll cook the few things I'm taking upstate and from there just enjoy the ride!
I am so thankful for freelance work! Especially as our Christmas list keeps growing longer every year!
Friday night I put together a big order of wedding pictures and the family pictures we had made the day before the wedding. I just now realized that I never did put up any of the pictures here after those initial snapshots. Maybe I'll find time to do it this week. I'm especially grateful for the one we got of our entire tribe--all 29 of us plus the one hidden in utero. Of course within a month there was another one knocking at the door...every time we take one of those big photos, it seems it's outdated within a few weeks!
It's a good thing that Starbucks only has Eggnog Lattes for a few weeks. Really good thing.
Finding time to listen to my audio books has been hard in the past few months. I have several of them "stacked" in my Audible.com library pining to be listened to, but I can't seem to finish the one I started months ago. In my defense, Charles Dickens did get paid by the word, and evidently he made a heck of a lot money.
Have you figured out yet that the 2012 campaign has already begun? On the Republican side, it's going to be very interesting since there's a whole pack of possibilities and no clear front runner. But on the Dem side it's going to be even better viewing...will they or won't they put someone up against Obama? Hillary says it won't be her (and for some odd reason I believe her this time), leaving the field open to a Dennis Kucinich or other wacko who will tend to make Obama look almost presidential.
I wantthis for Christmas. Should work well for our small family!
I have such mixed feelings about our new writing program. It's been wildly successful this semester, both with teacher and student. But I'm sad that we didn't find it much sooner so that more of my kids could have taken advantage of it. Writing is not easy to teach, even for a writer. And I still believe that the best ways to grow writers are to grow readers of good literature and to encourage your kids to express themselves in healthy, vigorous debate in the context of the family and with trusted friends. But teaching the mechanics of good writing is difficult, and I've never found anything else that does it as thoroughly and winsomely as Classical Writing. If you're willing and able to invest a lot of one-on-one time with your student(s), give it a look.
In this week of Thanksgiving, I'm thankful to be living inside my dream. Or rather, inside a dream I never thought to dream. I can't imagine any life I'd rather live than the one my Father blessed me with. Never mind the pesky health issues and the disappointing climate in our part of the world...I have all I really want and more. And that's a very, very nice place to live.
I love it when news stories are so preposterous you have to check to see if you're on a satirical site. Oh my goodness.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said using a cell phone while driving is so dangerous that devices may soon be installed in cars to forcibly stop drivers — and potentially anyone else in the vehicle — from using them.
“There’s a lot of technology out there now that can disable phones and we’re looking at that,” said LaHood on MSNBC. LaHood said the cellphone scramblers were one way, and also stressed the importance of “personal responsibility.” …
“I think it will be done,” said LaHood. “I think the technology is there and I think you’re going to see the technology become adaptable in automobiles to disable these cell phones. We need to do a lot more if were going to save lives.”
Yes, folks, along with all the other things that this administration has their dirty hands in, we need them to disable our cell phones for our own good. Read on for some of the unintended consequences.
It was a lovely weekend...we were able to drive north to Fort Worth to attend a family wedding, and this time we didn't have to do a thing but go and enjoy it. Fall has advanced a bit farther up there than here, and we loved the nip in the air and the changing leaves as we watched Jarrett and Crystal start their life together! It was also the always welcome opportunity to visit with dozens of family members who live in the (almost)-frozen north...
Hotel beds are better than they used to be. Not just the bedding...the beds.
Finished readingAtlas Shrugged yet? Just checkin'...
This week we got all the professional pictures back from CJ's wedding. If you haven't already seen them on Facebook, check back here in the next few days and I'll give you a look!
Hotel "free breakfasts" have NOT gotten any better. In fact....
What fun it was to see the newlyweds this weekend, attending their first wedding as a married couple. I look at them and I see us, though they have a lot more going for them than we did after a month of marriage :-)
24 HOURS AFTER I WROTE THIS, WE GOT THE NEWS THAT THEY ARE EXPECTING!
So tomorrow is the 15th. Do I now have to admit that it's officially mid-November? My Christmas cards are calling my name...Christmas shopping is about half done, which is more than I thought I'd have completed by now, given the nature of our fall so far.
The visit with my mom was discouraging. Her Parkinsons is advancing faster than any of us anticipated and it's so hard to see her this way. It's hard to know how much she understands of the recent changes. I almost hope she doesn't see how much she's declined in the past months. Of course, it made this girl smile to hear her talk about how much reading she's still doing, because I think all the time how I'd rather lose control of my body than my mind.
Note to self: keep the reading list up to date. Someday someone else will have to bring me the books or load the Kindle, and I want to have the list accessible.
And yes, we had to buy yet another computer this week. The one the boys use for schoolwork was destroyed by a virus or a collection of viruses and gave up the ghost. Happily, we found a nice deal on a small desktop for the kitchen desk and it will be here Monday. But I'm thinking we need an IT department on retainer.
At Granny's House we get a lot of laughs every week from things the grands are saying. This week was no exception and this one takes the (wedding) cake...6-year-old Sam was explaining to a neighbor boy why he doesn't like barbecued chicken. I'm going to paste here his mother's (Aubrey's) frantic typing out of what he said, afraid if she didn't get it down in a hurry she'd lose it. A couple notes in background: "Dok" is the kids' pet name for CJ, our October bride. The wedding, of course, was at our home...around 200 people and we had the reception dinner catered and served on our driveway. This is how it must have looked through the eyes of a little guy...
"At my Dok's wedding, people were getting hungry and Granny did NOT have enough food in her pantry for everyone because SOOO many people showed up. TONS of people came. We DID NOT know all of them. They just showed up. So, Papa called a RESTAURANT to come and bring us food! LOTS OF FOOD! They brought it in a restaurant truck with lots of people and food in it and bad iced tea. I think Papa had to pay them a MILLION dollars for all that food! But they let Granny keep the food that we didn't eat and then we ate it for Family Dinner Night. And now I don't like barbeque chicken because I ate too much."
Smiling at the thought of grand #15 #16 on the way...life through a child's eyes is a wonderful thing.
I love fall vacations in Hawaii. The weather has cooled down a bit, there's usually at least a little rain, and much of the crowd on the beach and in the restaurants is gone. Waves are bigger, sunsets seem more beautiful, and the breezes are refreshing. Since the sunbathing part is very unimportant to me, it's the ideal mix. This trip was eight nights, one of which was punctuated with a spectacular fireworks display right outside our 29th floor balcony over the water! It was the perfect honeymoon for the father and mother of the bride...
The initial dust has settled from Tuesday's election but the spin never stops, from either camp. Show us the money, folks...rather, show us that you're cutting up the credit cards and closing down the do-gooder programs that have bled us dry. Dry is not a strong enough word. Dessicated.
Did quite a bit of cooking yesterday. I can't tell you how good it feels to do that...sometimes I can't stand long enough to finish even one dish, but yesterday I got quite a lot accomplished before I had to have someone pull food out of the oven and get it served. Hopefully, someday I'll be able to see it all the way through :-)
Finally--I started my Christmas shopping. I never wait this late and I'm usually nearly finished by now. But this year there were other things that filled October, and while I don't regret a bit of the time it all took, I am relieved to be back on a Christmas to-do list!
Another Warren computer bit the dust this week. Ugh. So that and a replacement for our second refrigerator are on my list for the next week or so.
It's 50 degrees in my bedroom right now, and I'm sitting up in bed with a cold Diet Coke. I know, sick.
This year, we will break with our much-loved Thanksgiving traditions for a much-needed breather. Most of us will be going to Fort Worth to celebrate the holiday with our extended families there, including my mother who is getting more fragile with each year. I will cherish the chance to be with her.
This morning's sermon, from John 7:37-39, focused on what it means to come to Christ and drink from His living water. It was very moving to me, one of the best sermons I've ever heard. Made me genuinely sad to hear our pastor say, "In closing...."
And from one of the morning's hymns:
Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.
("Our God, Our Help in Ages Past", lyrics by Isaac Watts)
No. I haven't abandoned my blog altogether. Someone actually emailed me yesterday to see if I was okay, saying it just wasn't like me to stay so quiet during the election! Yes, Miranda, and all of you who've wondered the same thing but didn't ask, Granny is very well, thank you. I've just returned from my Hawaiian honeymoon, celebrating CJ's wedding and the finishing up of all the post-wedding tasks. And you KNOW I've followed the campaigns and the election closely...but I just didn't put a priority on blogging about it this time around, other than to encourage you to vote, which evidently raised hackles in some quarters. Regardless--if you voted and voted intelligently I applaud you. Yes, it's a civic duty and it should be a given, but in our culture it's NOT and that's all there is to it. I'm here as a small voice to help re-educate a couple of generations, including my own, who grew up without a good understanding of the responsibility and importance of the vote.
No one will be shocked that I was, overall, pleased if not surprised by the outcome of the election. But now comes the hard part: are the 62 or so new House members, 6 new senators, a new majority of governors, and a host of down-ticket legislators ready to make the hard, unpopular choices that it will take to do what LOOKS popular today? We'll see. I'm not holding my breath, to tell you the truth. I've seen too many cycles come and go. But given the alternative, which is more of the unfettered spending (read: robbery of your resources to fund forced "compassion") that we've seen spiral out of control, and a leader at the top who wanted to "fundamentally transform" us into Greece, I'll take what we got Tuesday.
Something to be watching for: will the newly reconfigured House BAN earmarks, or will they just promise to "police" them? Earmarks are almost always a way for a House member, up for re-election shortly (or a senator, building his street cred), to get goodies for his district that the homies want but don't want to shell out the money for. He or she would rather spread the cost of that new park around to the rest of the states instead of being the bad guy who made it necessary to raise taxes on those poor folks who will actually use the park. Precious few earmarks are for anything that the federal government has any business paying for. And if they are, well then they're important enough to craft an actual BILL for and get a vote on it. Hey, novel thought...
Whatever happens, this is bound to be the most interesting two years on the national scene in my lifetime. Will we be so fickle as to wipe away our gains the minute someone dares whisper the words, "Raise the retirement age," or "Means-test Social Security for those now under 40," or "Get rid of the federal Department of Education" ?Yep, folks, if we cut up the credit cards we'll have to admit that we can't afford the way we've been doing it since the 40's. It was all an illusion anyway--sooner or later you run out of other people's money, especially when you're not making that many people any more. But woe to the first courageous lawmaker who utters these words the first time. Take away the stuff that helps the other guys, but mine is different. Cut Head Start, just don't cut the government grants my kids get for college. Cut Medicaid, but don't touch my deduction for my medical expenses. And on and on, ad nauseam.
Okay, so there are some of my post-election ramblings. No starry-eyed euphoria here, only the echoes of a song: America, may God shed His grace on thee...
"...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...
"The vanity of being known to be trusted with a secret is generally one of the chief motives to disclose it."
[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...