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.
But I felt cheated when I got here and it was 75 degrees. When I drive this far north I wanna get some benefit besides seeing my kids! Well, today I'm fine. It was in the 30s when we went to church, and the day has stayed nice and cool. Tomorrow the high will be 46 and that's kind of on the verge of cold. The best thing is that I'll be getting back to San Antonio in time for another big freeze there! I'm a happy mama this winter!
CJ and Tony have such a darling house and are fixing it up so cute. I have no married sons yet, but one of the greatest joys of my life has been to be in the homes of my married daughters and watch them building lives with their husbands. Nothing like it.
Boehner has obviously been a busy man this week. No time for the tanning bed. But I did love his answer to Chris Wallace about smoking.
It's sad watching Egypt go down in flames. But I've wondered many times in the past few years what in the world was holding it together.
Bravo to the cast of "The King's Speech" for taking the equivalent of Best Picture at the Screen Actor's Guild Awards tonight.
I love my son-in-law. On the way home from church we stopped at Lowe's and he bought a fireplace screen and tools so he could build fires during the coming ice storm. We pulled up in front of the house and saw that while we were gone a tree had fallen down in the yard. So Tony turned around, drove back to Lowe's and bought a chain saw! Two hours later we had a gorgeous, roaring fire!
Tomorrow I head home, trying to outrun out-drive what may be the biggest ice storm of the year here in Oklahoma and north Texas. Normally I'd just extend my stay by a day or two and wait it out, but I cannot run the risk of getting stuck somewhere and missing Nathan's graduation from Basic Training on Friday! There are family activities at the base on Thursday, too, and even though it's going to be freezing cold, I WILL be there for them!
If you hear a rumor that I have succumbed to Words With Friends, it's false. Completely, totally, utterly, almost false. Nope. I don't have time for that.
However. I won't be driving fast enough to miss something else: tomorrow night my brother is making me fried chicken livers and cream gravy! That man knows how to please his sister!
On the drive home I'll be finishing up Some Sing, Some Cry and starting a couple more audio books. These companions make the long drives very pleasant!
But though I've enjoyed the audio books, I can't wait to get back into my hard copy of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I can't tell you the treasure this book is. I'm sorry to see that the price has gone up at Amazon, but get it anyway.
From my Scripture memory work this week, a verse which has been precious to me for most of my adult life:
"...as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not all be ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death." (Phil. 1:20)
It's going to be a wild week at Granny's House, what with Nathan spending most of the weekend at home and lots of company coming in during the week for the festivities (not to mention the spectacular Green Bay win I'm expecting on Sunday!). I should have lots to report on the next edition of the Snippets! In the meantime, stay warm and off the roads and check back in during the week...
I'm sitting here on a Sunday morning with my feet up, snug in my warm house in this, for south Texas, very cold winter. Difficulty with my leg has kept me in and away from church this morning and I'm missing it, but thankful for a comfy place to sit and for shelter from the cold wind. I've used the time to get started on the week's memory work (see left sidebar) since this is an 8-verse week. I love being in the house of God to worship with His people, but His word speaks to me whenever and wherever I'm listening. That's a good thing.
It's my first son-in-law's birthday today, and we're celebrating with a steak and baked potato dinner this evening, just before his beloved Steelers meet the Jets for the AFC championship. Sure hope his birthday ends well for him...Happy birthday, Dirk! May it be a fabulous decade ;-)
In less than two weeks, Nathan will graduate from Air Force basic training. We're all looking forward to celebrating with him the weekend of Feb. 4-6 before he flies off to the next phase of his training at Keesler AFB, Mississippi. He's had a lot of ups and downs and is very anxious to have this part behind him.
Isn't it interesting that most of the buzz about Tuesday night's State of the Union speech has more to do with who will be sitting next to whom than about the real state of the union. I'm wondering if they'll figure out some way to clap using one hand from a Dem and one from a GOP'er. Now THAT would be union. Or not.
I'm taking a trip this week! I'm going to head up to Fort Worth on Thursday, spend a night with the Slaughter elves and see my brothers, and then on up to visit sweet CJ at her new Oklahoma home that I haven't ever seen yet! Capping that off, she and I will have lunch with a blog friend in OKC before I head home on Monday. I can hardly wait. I'm not usually an early packer, but I think I'll start right now!
Firewood is my friend. A very good friend.
I complained so much about my Dell printer for so long that I thought I should tell you that after more than a year with my Canon, I still LOVE it. Get one. However, always looking to the horizon, I'm eagerly awaiting the availability of this. You can see it in action here. Incredible.
My cello playing is coming along nicely. I think I'm going to look for a teacher :-)
Throwback to the past: this week I ordered some Avon Skin-So-Soft. My grandmother would be proud. Her Avon lady was her BFF.
Hope it's a great week for you. I'll see you when I get back from Oklahoma!
“When you’re tempted to doubt God’s love for you, stand before the cross and look at the wounded, dying, disfigured Savior, and realize why He is there. I believe His Father would whisper to us, ‘Isn’t this sufficient? I haven’t spared My own Son; I deformed and disfigured and crushed Him — for you. What more could I do to persuade you that I love you?’”
So I don't know how I've missed it this long, but maybe age makes you kinda slow. Ever since buying my first iPhone three years ago, I've been enjoying audio books from Audible.com via the iPod function of the phone. But the clunky iPod application has been downright infuriating at times, and just annoying at other times. And of course it forces you to interact with iTunes, which I've always considered a pretty despicable entity, one I'd jump at any opportunity to completely bypass.
I didn't know until last week how much better it is to listen via Audible's own app! What a huge difference! I'm DONE with putting books on my computer via iTunes and then transferring to the phone. Now I download them directly to my phone, leaving iTunes behind and allowing me to download a new book from my Audible library anywhere I have a wireless connection on the phone. (Note: you can't do it over 3G.)
Not only do I not have to use the iTunes middleman, the app has some great features that you don't get when you listen through the iPod function. Although I think there are still enhancements they can make that will add even more value, I'm already a fan and can see myself getting way more use and satisfaction from my audio collection than I've ever had before! Check it out!
Every once in a while, an article comes along that so accurately captures the landscape of history and the downward slide of the West that I'm compelled to pass it along and urge you to read it. Increasingly, I'm finding these articles are written by Mark Steyn.
It's clear that my precious grandchildren are not going to grow up in the same country I did. It's certainly not the country I wanted to be a part of passing on to them. But I believe that, barring a sovereign intervention we don't deserve, the tipping point has already been reached. This isn't morbidity on my part, it's alertness. And for this alertness, I am often indebted to Steyn.
If you are a thinking American, or an American who has resolved to start thinking deeply about this country's future, you need to set aside twenty minutes and carefully read this. If you're an Angliophile, you have a special reason to read it. And if you're a recovering multi-culturalist or just a typical Westerner who's been deprived of an accurate look at history by a system rigged in favor of the multi-culturalists, you need to read it. And if you just enjoy lively writing, don't miss it either.
Yes, I know it's long. But your country deserves a few minutes of your time.
And though my lack of education hasn't hurt me none...
It's generally accepted (but increasingly questioned) that a college diploma increases a young person's lifetime earning power. Whether this will remain true or not, what I find a more interesting and disturbing question is whether or not they're really learning much of anything in submitting to this expensive and lengthy drill:
A study of more than 2,300 undergraduates found 45 percent of students show no significant improvement in the key measures of critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing by the end of their sophomore years.
Not much is asked of students, either. Half did not take a single course requiring 20 pages of writing during their prior semester, and one-third did not take a single course requiring even 40 pages of reading per week.
The findings are in a new book, "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses," by sociologists Richard Arum of New York University and Josipa Roksa of the University of Virginia. An accompanying report argues against federal mandates holding schools accountable, a prospect long feared in American higher education.
"The great thing — if you can call it that — is that it's going to spark a dialogue and focus on the actual learning issue," said David Paris, president of the New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability, which is pressing the cause in higher education. "What kind of intellectual growth are we seeing in college?"
The study, an unusually large-scale effort to track student learning over time, comes as the federal government, reformers and others argue that the U.S. must produce more college graduates to remain competitive globally. But if students aren't learning much, that calls into question whether boosting graduation rates will provide that edge.
Incredible as it sounds, I think most of us realize that it's true...I'm appalled at the level of literacy, written and spoken communication skills (though 100% of resumes now say "excellent verbal and written communication skills"), and ability to think among the recent college graduates with whom I interact. But hey, it's getting them a good paycheck. Why would you need to speak, write, or think critically?
[An aside: a young man sharing a meal with us tonight said his first class today in a new course surprised him. The instructor actually talked to them, taught them, rather than reading from PowerPoint slides for the whole class period. Technology has taken a lot of the guesswork out of teaching a college class...and a lot of the human value.]
Okay, so think about it. Your cousin, your bff, your old college roommate, or your co-worker is pregnant. She has the BIG appointment...you know, the one God never intended for us to have? The one that shatters the divine mystery of whether you're having a man-child or a princess? Okay, so that's my opinion and isn't really the pet peeve. That's obviously another post.
All right, the pregnant couple goes to the BIG appointment and they see the, well, the *junk* (to quote a now famous would-be traveler) on the sonogram. And the first thing they do when they get home is to get on Facebook and announce what they're having. (Dumb me, I thought they were having a baby.) Okay, so far so good questionable. But now...what do you say? Oh, come on, what does EVERYONE say?
CONGRATULATIONS! WOW! SO HAPPY FOR YOU!
Yes, I'm going to sound like a crab, but seriously, do people not think about the implications of what they're saying? What does the "congrats" really mean? Congratulations that you're having a boy instead of a girl? A girl instead of a boy? I mean, honestly, we knew it was one (or two) or the other, right? It's not like Mommy was accepted to med school. She didn't DO anything other than what had already been done months before. So again, remind me just what it is we're congratulating? Are you really congratulating the couple that they're having one of the only two genders available? Or are you congratulating them that they chose to find out, or did find out prematurely? Or maybe you're high-fiving the little guy for spreading his legs in the exact four minutes you needed him to? Are you followin' me here?
The dilemma, then, is: what does a reasonable, thoughtful person who refuses to use the word "amazing" in every sentence, say in response to the BIG revelation? Really, guys, climb down off the CONGRATS and think seriously about what a logical response would be. "Awww...Mikey is going to have a little brother! He'll love that!" or "God knows after eight girls you'd be so excited to have a little boy--how nice!" or "You guys are so good with girls He just keeps 'em comin', doesn't He?" or "How fun! I'm getting ready to knit a little cap and now I know what color I'll use!" or "I always wanted my first to be a boy and I wasn't disappointed. You won't be either!"
But no. Tomorrow some 18-weeker is going to post that the ultrasound was successful in exposing the parts in question and "Isn't it aMAZing--we're having a girl!!!" You just wait. She's gonna get CONGRATULATIONS All.Day.Long. And one of 'em is gonna be you.
If you get a promotion, or get into law school or pass the bar or lose 50 pounds and you're congratulated, the implication is that the current outcome is way better than the alternative (getting demoted, getting a rejection letter, gaining 50 pounds). But if you're having a boy, the alternative was having a girl, right? And why do we congratulate either one?
It's because, of course, we feel obligated to say something, and we haven't taken the time to think about what response would really be appropriate. So we default to saying things that make no sense at all.
Your eyes are glazing over, I can tell. I'm locked in a prison of rationality in a world of hyperbole and superlative and double exclamation points and "AMAZING" descriptors. And people who want to write but don't want to think.
[Next time, I'll make fun of all of the people who look at the ultrasound photo and say, "Oh, look how cute he is!"]
I now return you to your regularly scheduled Facebook comments.
In order to continue the march forward, African-Americans must now be granted one more important right:
Today, as we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., signs of King’s legacy are everywhere - in government, business, sports, the arts. The president and his attorney general are black. We have had two highly respected African-American secretaries of State.
In Massachusetts, our governor and chief justice are black. Blacks lead some of this country’s most powerful business institutions, including American Express, Merrill Lynch, Xerox and Aetna. And in the fields of sports and entertainment, many of our nation’s most identifiable cultural icons are black.
Gone are the days when successful black politicians, business leaders and celebrities were considered novelties or tokens. That black Americans have achieved so much since the 1963 March on Washington is cause for celebration indeed.
Yet in 2011, many liberals regard black conservatives - indeed any African-American who questions the liberal establishment - not only as novelties, but as ignorant or traitors to their race.
Today, we celebrate the accomplishments of African-Americans in all areas. But let us also look forward to a time when blacks (and all minorities) are free to deviate from the liberal script without being dismissed as ignorant, traitors or crazy.
It's been the week of winter here. Five days out of the last seven we've had day-long fires in the fireplace, and that's never happened in the nearly ten years we've lived here. Wish I knew what I could do to make it stay...
If I were a victim or the relative of a victim of last weekend's shooting in Tucson, I would feel victimized all over again by the way the debate morphed into something it was never about.
I've plugged it on Facebook but I must do it here, too. Please, go see The King's Speech. It's easily the best film I've seen in a decade, and I'll be seeing it again. I'll probably even buy it. Please don't be deterred by the inexplicable R rating...I can't get my head around why PG-13 movies can be so raunchy and yet this beautiful, wholesome movie where everyone keeps their clothes on and which explores so many lovely themes should be scarred with an R rating for the utterance of some curse words that are important to the story. Take your kids 12 and up, or at least wait for the DVD and watch it as a family.
How about them Spurs? San Antonio NBA fans are in heaven about now, so proud of our guys!
I'll be rooting for the Steelers and the Packers next week...and after that my son-in-law will have to put up with family rivalry: If it's the Packers and the Steelers in the Super Bowl, I'll be wearing a cheesehead :-)
Got plane tickets for my trip to see the Weltys at the end of February. Can I put in an order for a long winter there??
In books: Enjoying the very moving, heartrending Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, and still working my way through the quite lengthy but delicious Some Sing, Some Cry (Ntozake Shange, Ifa Bayeza) in the audio version. Hoping to get through both of them this week because I have books piling up like crazy!
I just love fried chicken livers and cream gravy. It's a throwback to my childhood, one I've never gotten over. There aren't many places you can still get them, and making them at home is messy and unpleasant. This is just one of the reasons I still love Cracker Barrel. If there were one next door I'd be eating there three times a week. When I have done long stints in the hospital, John has kept me sane and nourished by bringing me a take-out meal of chicken livers from CB now and then. Anyone in the San Antonio area know of other places that are still serving them?
It's just my luck, of course, to buy a dishwasher and pay for a four year extended warranty and then really hate the thing. As bad as my luck is with appliances, I'm sure this one will NEVER break. Why, then, do I hate it? Because the inside is so small and the loading configuration so bad that we need to run it four times a day instead of two. Thinking about trying to sell it on Craigslist. To a small family.
My Scripture memory project is going well and has been a blessing I couldn't have anticipated. As I mentioned before, it's been a very long time since I committed a large chunk to memory and I've been nervous about how much I could really do. But even if I don't get much farther than this it's already contributed a treasure to my life that can't be taken away...
Less than two weeks into her new gig, Schools Chancellor Cathie Black has riled parents and public officials by jokingly suggesting that "birth control" was the solution to school overcrowding.
The off-color quip came in response to concerns by public-school dad Eric Greenleaf, who said at a meeting of parents and officials at state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's downtown office that there will be "huge shortages" of classroom space in lower Manhattan in coming years.
"Could we just have some birth control for a while?" Black cracked. "It could really help us all out a lot."
Actually I think home schooling is helping out a lot already.
Bobby and Amanda Herring spent more than a year providing food to homeless people in downtown Houston every day. They fed them, left behind no trash and doled out warm meals peacefully without a single crime being committed, Bobby Herring said.
That ended two weeks ago when the city shut down their "Feed a Friend" effort for lack of a permit. And city officials say the couple most likely will not be able to obtain one.
"We don't really know what they want, we just think that they don't want us down there feeding people," said Bobby Herring, a Christian rapper who goes by the stage name Tre9.
Anyone serving food for public consumption, whether for the homeless or for sale, must have a permit, said Kathy Barton, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Department. To get that permit, the food must be prepared in a certified kitchen with a certified food manager.
The regulations are all the more essential in the case of the homeless, Barton said, because "poor people are the most vulnerable to foodborne illness and also are the least likely to have access to health care."
Bobby Herring said those rules would preclude them from continuing to feed the 60 to 120 people they assisted nightly for more than a year. The food had been donated from area businesses and prepared in various kitchens by volunteers or by his wife.
It's no wonder private citizens don't do more to help the truly needy. Let the homeless keep their empty stomachs, because if you fill them they might get a tummy ache.
As I sit by the fire tonight with my glass of Pinot Grigio, I have little energy for writing. It's been a very full week, and the next one promises to be no different...and so I think I'll save some Snippets of time and energy for the week ahead, which starts early tomorrow with me monitoring study hall at our co-op. I'll use the time for some freelance work, getting ready to bring the lesson at HOPE tomorrow night, and a bit more reconstruction of my life on my "new" old computer. Hard drive crashes are never fun...and though Kelly S., one of my heroes, gave me all my data back, I still have a lot of software to reinstall and get running again.
I hope the first full week of 2011 has been peaceful even if busy for you, and that you have a heart full of worship for Almighty God today. He is truly God With Us.
I mentioned on Sunday that I have committed to memorize the book of Philippians by Easter. Today, I see that one of my favorite authors/bloggers, Ann Voskamp, has joined in a project to memorize the book of Colossians in a year, using much the same approach that the P2R project is using for Philippians. The materials for the Colossians work are just beautiful and make me wish I'd seen them first! Not really--I believe God led me to Philippians for a reason...but I want to pass this on for those of you who still haven't made a decision about memorizing Scripture in this new year. The Colossians materials have you memorizing at the rate of two verses per week, gentle enough that you could even do these with your children. Even if they don't end up memorizing the whole book, just think what precious treasures could be implanted in their hearts as they watch and hear you doing this!
If you've embarked on Scripture memory as part of your New Year's Goals, please let me know what you're doing and how you're doing it!
It was wonderful to sing all the verses of "How Firm a Foundation" in worship this morning...what a great beginning to a new year, singing about the foundation laid for us by God in His word. And then The Papa preached a fine sermon on "holding fast the word of life" from Philippians 2. It's a Happy DayAfterNewYear's!
And how good it was to have CJ (Tony had to drive back this morning) and Kristen and Dave and family with us in church. If Aubrey hadn't broken her foot this week she'd have been with us this morning, too, but she's being carefully tended at home to make sure that the multiple fractures heal properly...
I'm wondering...can we have a Christmas do-over now that the weather has turned [somewhat] cold?
The Fighting Irish might have just barely managed a winning season, but they didn't have too much trouble showing the Miami Hurricanes who was boss in the Sun Bowl on Friday. Way ta go, ND!
And what about them Horned Frogs, huh? I know, I'm almost embarrassed writing their name...I'm thinkin' that now they've hit the big time they might need to reconsider that.
Notice how the traffic has already thinned out?
Crying and singing my way through Some Sing, Some Cry. Do get the audio version...this book is full of several dialects, songs, and ethnic characters and it's very much enriched by the fabulous narrator, helping me to process things I know I'd miss if just reading it.
Nathan is beginning his fourth week in Basic Training. He sounded tired when he called Friday, but things are going well and he's being challenged to the max!
Waiting to see how the effort for the repeal of Health Care Reform Destruction fares. I don't think it has much of a chance but it will certainly require that each congressman clearly flies a flag and goes on record, and that may be almost as important right now as repeal. Later, they can worry about starving it bit by bit. Either way, I think the cat will be skinned.
By tomorrow all the holiday visitors to Granny's House will be gone, as well as some of the normal occupants who are heading north today to visit CJ and Tony's new home in Oklahoma. It's going to be awfully quiet here!
I don't make a list of New Year's resolutions each year, but some years I do, and this is one of those years. I'll spare you my entire list, but two of the most formidable:
First, I've committed to memorizing the entire book of Philippians with the goal of completing it by Easter. It's been a very long time since I've done any lengthy memory work, so this will be a serious challenge to my aging mind. But I don't think there's any age limit to the command to hide God's Word in my heart. I'm attempting this with the support and company of many others...you can find out about the Partnering to Remember (P2R) project (and get started yourself) at Tim Brister's site. You can also follow the P2R project on Facebook and Twitter.
Second, I've resolved to give my best shot to re-learning to play the cello. I mentioned that I have a friend who has graciously loaned me her beautiful instrument to use while she travels (cellos are notoriously hard to travel with) and I am taking this opportunity seriously. I've purchased some materials to help me and I'm hoping that before time to return this beauty, I'll know whether it will be worth it for me to make the investment in buying my own cello. At my age I know that it will be hard work and will require a disciplined schedule, but something in me says it's time. Or rather, that it's now or never :-)
I loveYNAB. You will too. And this is a great month to try it.
No, my decorations are not put away. But other New Year's Eve rituals were accomplished: putting up six new calendars (I'm a calendar freak, and if it weren't for what other people think I'd probably have twice as many); donating half a closet of clothes to charity; throwing away two large bags of stuff from our room that we don't want or need; changing the checkbook to a fresh book of checks to start the new year (though nowadays it takes half a year to go through one pad!); sharpening several new pencils and taking stock of other office supplies; setting up new schedules for work, school, household responsibilities, etc. I'm ready for 2011!
May you have a beautiful and blessed New Year, building on the foundation laid for you in God's excellent Word:
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said
Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?
In every condition, -- in sickness, in health,
In poverty's vale, or abounding in wealth,
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea, --
The Lord, the Almighty, they strength e'er shall be.
"Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
"When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee thy troubles to bless
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
"When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flames shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
"E'en down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.
"The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never, forsake!"
"How Firm a Foundation," lyrics by John Rippon, 1787
"...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...