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.
Having just experienced my third computer crash in six months, I have finally taken the plunge into the Mac world...there's going to be a big learning curve and I may have to put off blogging for a while. I'll be back!
Here's a reasoned reminder that we can pray for God to protect our children, but our prayers do not obligate or constrain Him. Many of us want to trust God, but we want some sort of guarantee in exchange for the trust.
Our soldier airman son is home! He will now settle into a routine of his one weekend a month, two weeks active duty a year, and look for a full-time job. He also wants to get back in school immediately and get his degree finished, so he's going to be one busy young man!
We're just back from our very pleasant, uneventful spring break in north Texas. I will sum up its loveliness with a comment from Shelley, our 18-year old: "You know why I love spring break? No one judges you for taking multiple naps in one day." Yep.
And while much of the country has succumbed to March Madness, we in San Antonio are still consumed with our NBA favorite sons. The Spurs have the best record in the NBA, far ahead of our nearest rivals, and they are one of only three teams in the country to have already clinched a spot in the playoffs. Of course, what happens in the playoffs is often very different than the season at large, but we're hopeful for a great end to the season. Yeah, we're kind of nutty around here, already counting down the weeks until the first pre-season NFL games, and, naturally, the Fighting Irish season!
Spring, of course, wouldn't be complete in this part of the country without bluebonnets, and as we drove south yesterday we were welcomed home by just a few whispers of our favorite flower, as well as by the many precociously cheerful Texas Redbuds, two of which were planted in our yard last fall and were definitely showing off when we arrived.
Before we left, we made the purchase that wouldn't wait: a new lawn tractor. Ten years had made ours a shadow of its former self, so the Papa used this as his permission to buy himself a bigger, badder John Deere. It will be delivered tomorrow, and I think he's outside right now watching for the Lowe's truck.
Well, that's a lot said about spring, seeing as how it's my second least favorite season, stealing my favorite winter away each year. Maybe it's easier to welcome spring this year since we had such a lovely, unseasonably cool and long winter! Can I hope for the same next year?
Nathan comes home this week! He'll arrive from Biloxi on Wednesday, having completed both AF basic training and tech school this year. We will be glad to have him back in the fold, even if he'll soon be looking for his own place :-)
You know you have a house full of young adults when the decibel level and the calorie consumption go up AFTER 11pm. I've learned to enjoy it rather than fighting it...just like every other season of life, it doesn't last long enough.
Halfway around the world, this season will always be remembered for the historic earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear "event." Hundreds of thousands are still homeless in bitter cold, and tens of thousands, maybe more, injured and bereaved. May God show mercy to the hurting and show us all ways to help...
I have no idea what to think about Libya and our involvement in yet another conflict. Seldom is something like this attempted without it escalating, and I ache for the men and women we may lose along with all we've lost in two other ongoing wars. I fear that, in the long run, there is nothing we can do to make a difference in Qaddafi's territory...and yet the people there are hurting and I long for something to make a difference. Earthquakes aren't the only things that ruin lives.
Plans are piling up for our next school year: co-ops, dual credit college classes, driver training. It will be John Caleb's senior year, and most of what he's taking will be done away from home...in this case, homeschooling means "home-directed" education and not necessarily the kind that's done at the kitchen table. Tim will be a sophomore next year, which means that we have only three years remaining in this homeschool journey. My eyes and ears are already open for ways I can participate more actively in the education of the grandkids!
Speaking of homeschooling, if you haven't already read this excellent post by Susan Wise Bauer, please click over and read it when you're through here. She's been one of the steadiest, most seasoned voices in the home education arena for years now, and she's worth hearing out.
In the next few weeks we will undertake the huge job of recarpeting and reflooring the entire second floor of the house. We had the downstairs done about four years ago and the upstairs has been begging for it ever since. I dread the whole process of moving everything, but it will certainly be an impetus to clean everything out!
And I've taken up a new book, Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer. My interest in the power and the workings of the brain seems to know no end, and this is my latest fuel for that interest. When I took up the challenge to memorize the book of Philippians in 16 weeks, I had my doubts that a brain like mine, unaccustomed to memorization, could even do such a thing. I didn't embark on it as a mental challenge...I really wanted to plant the Word in my mind and heart to a greater extent than I had in years. But now that I've gotten halfway through the third chapter of the book and think that my goal might just be accomplished by Easter, I am even more interested in the theories involved in memory storage and active memorization.
Hope you're having a wonderful Lord's Day and a wonderful first day of spring!
A trillion-dollar deficit. A million square miles. A billion light-years. One-millionth of an inch.
Numbers, when they get big enough, or even small enough, boggle the mind.
In the past few days we've all been bombarded with numbers that seek to quantify a catastrophe: Richter 9.0, 500 aftershocks, 10,000+ dead, half a million in shelters, 30-foot wall of water, 6 on the Nuclear Event Scale. The sheer number of numbers is numbing.
In an effort to try to understand the disaster just in a spatial sense, I went looking for some figures so I could put it in a context I could visualize. In my case, I've put the Japan earthquake in terms of my own state...
Japan has an area of 145,925 square miles. This is roughly half the area of the state of Texas. But it has a population of 126,804,433, five times that of Texas. So I'm trying to imagine quintupling the population of Texas and then pushing them all north of a line running from, say, El Paso through San Angelo to Lufkin. Yes, Japan is a country, but it's contained in a space half the size of Texas, and all that devastation we're seeing is enclosed in a much tinier space than you normally envision when thinking of a powerful country with the world's third largest economy. Or at least, what used to be.
So...when I think of Tokyo and the fact that it was not nearly as hard-hit as other places, it helps to remember that it's still in the middle of the devastation. There just isn't anywhere to go in Japan that hasn't been touched in some way, and it seems like that will be more true as the days wear on. Imagine 126 million people crowded into north Texas and millions of them homeless and/or economically ruined. It wouldn't matter that we're a rich, developed country. No amount of development matters much when the catastrophe is so all-encompassing.
Tonight, I was struck by a remark made by a reporter visiting what is now hundreds of acres of rubble:
It's been a pretty sobering weekend, viewing the images of the devastation following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. There just doesn't seem to be anything appropriate to say for those of us on this side of the world, sitting in our warm homes and not having to worry about drinking water and radiation. Oh God, may many hands show Your love at this time...
Well, okay, so I really do like Daylight Savings Time. I just want to do it without "springing forward," you know? I might be one of those who'd be in favor of just staying on DST. It's not like you're messing with anything God created...the assignation of certain numbers to certain times of the day is arbitrary anyway and therefore changeable to whatever works. For me, more daylight at the end of the day works.
Any of you out there users of Amazon's Subscribe and Save program? If so, how do you like it and what do you use it for?
Had to smile this past week to hear a liberal refer to the "Where's Waldo?" presidency. Actually, I think we're safer when he's in hiding so I won't complain.
Yesterday I finished a book and started two more. Half the Sky was horrifying in many ways, but it was meant to be that way. The shame of human slavery, maternal mortality, child prostitution, and FGM is nothing pleasant to read about but something necessary for the world's Christians (and others) to face squarely. I'm almost finished with Reading Lolita in Tehran, another book highlighting the mistreatment of women in the Muslim world, and it, too, breaks my heart.
Our new Texas Redbuds, planted last fall right before the wedding, are coming alive with beautiful blossoms. Much of the landscaping that we did is making the arrival of spring more palatable to this winter-loving gal. And of course, grilling steak on the deck today helps as well...
And after ten years here, we're finally having to replace our lawn tractor. It gets a pretty good workout on this plat of land, especially because of all the rocks it tolerates. It's finally become too expensive to keep repairing, so it looks like Lowe's is about to get some more of our money.
Do you have a recommendation on a really great toaster oven, with or without the convection feature?
And one more question: what was your favorite movie of the year? (And no, people, The King's Speech doesn't count. Give me one more.) Trying to put together a movie list for vacation :-)
We're taking a short spring break trip to north Texas this week, giving the kids some time off from school and a chance to visit with the Fort Worth relatives. I'm thankful that it's an easy 275 miles.
Planning for the late spring and summer's activities is underway as well. I'll be taking a vacation with my cousin in May, and then the family will be heading for Red River, NM in July for the almost-annual extended Warren tribe vacation. Two grandbabies will arrive during the spring/summer, so there will be lots of little trips as well.
First we lose an hour of sleep, and then this. Man, and I couldn't get everything done as it was.
Spring break vacationers, DST oversleepers, and illness really hollowed out our church attendance this morning, but those of us who were left rejoiced to sing these words together:
Yes, on through life's long path, still chanting as ye go,
from youth to age, by night and day, in gladness and in woe,
Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice give thanks and sing!
~"Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart," words by Edward H. Plumptre, 1865
It's hard to conceive of a geological/weather event so powerful that it will redraw the borders of a country. But that's what scientists say may be happening in Japan right now. The water in many places is not receding and is not expected to...some of the land mass is being reclaimed by the sea and may never be dry land again.
Of course, this pales in importance to the loss of life, but in many cases, one has caused the other...
I don't always like what's happening to our language. (It's, like, totally bad?) Some change in our language is to be expected, as with any living language. But much of the change in the English language has taken place either by A) default, as in sinking to the level of the least educated folks among us, which are becoming a majority; or B) language inflation, as in the overuse, and thus devaluation, of words like "awesome."
My special pet peeve: "Amazing." My daughter is amazing. You're doing an amazing job on that picture. Did you see that amazing sunset?
Whatever happened to, "My daughter has a pretty impressive vocabulary." "I love the way you're using colors in that picture!" "That was a particularly beautiful sunset tonight." ???
I love sunsets. But they happen Every.Single.Day. Some are very beautiful, depending on how the clouds are arranged that evening. But I haven't seen too many that truly astonish me. If every sunset is amazing, then you aren't seeing one very often. The fact that they're a daily occurrence everywhere in the world sort of takes them out of the realm of amazing, even when they're spectacularly beautiful. I don't want to lose my capacity to be amazed by God's creation, but neither do I want to lose what it means to once in a while be genuinely amazed at something out of the ordinary. [Caution, Anne, that sentence contained a split infinitive.] Losing sight of a word's definition and overusing it robs us of its richness:
a*maze', verb 1. tooverwhelmwithsurpriseorsuddenwonder;astonishgreatly. 2. Obsolete. to bewilder, perplex
Try this experiment: for one day, take note of all the times you hear someone use the word "amazing." Then each time, stop and think, "Is that person really astonished, or overwhelmed with sudden wonder?"
There are times when I think the word "amazing" would be warranted in my speech or writing, but I check myself and try to find another way to say it so as not to add to the language inflation, wherein "amazing" now means pretty much nothing. If I use the word, no one's actually going to think I'm astonished or overwhelmed with wonder, even if I am...so I try to find something that really conveys the exceptional nature of what I've witnessed or what I'm describing. It's my silent protest at the trashing of perfectly lovely words.
Don't get me wrong...you can express yourself with whatever word you choose. But be assured that if you say you're "amazed" at that "awesome" chocolate milkshake, you will be adding your assent to language inflation. And you'll leave yourself fewer ways to express yourself when God hands you something that is actually astounding...
There's like no way this will do any good, you know?
This one's been around for a while but my daughter FB'd (new verb) it recently and I think it's time to highlight it again. I wish all the otherwise intelligent people I know would recognize themselves here and realize that their friends, children, business associates, etc. do not take them seriously when their speech is full of this. Even the president is annoyingly guilty, though his "you know" is abbreviated to "y'ow". I don't know, maybe he's short of time.
The week sped by...last week started with me in Virginia drinking in the time with the Welty's and the new week begins with a glorious day at Covenant of Grace, fellowshiping with friends old and new and hearing the Word preached powerfully. In between, many reasons for giving thanks and praising God, living a life of moment-by-moment gratitude...
My husband surprised me with tulips this weekend--my favorite flower! (And Ava, they're purple!)
Got to hear a fun concert this afternoon with dozens of Broadway tunes. Why don't the shows from post-1970 hold a candle to the ones before that, huh? Seriously, RENT? (And I'd make a snide comment about Cats, which is my least favorite of all time, but some of my kids would make a snide comment about my taste. Happily, the concert bypassed Cats.)
I'm hungry for fish. Just thought you should know.
The Westboro decision this week by SCOTUS was one of those where you don't want to see either side win. Given the importance of freedom of speech I come down on the same side as the eight in the majority, but I so understand the the minority opinion. May God protect the families of fallen servicemen from the likes of the pseudo-Christians who would torment them. And may God bless the selfless veterans/bikers/other heroes who act as shields at the funerals.
This trip: one body scan, one patdown that bordered on sexual assault. Guess which one I would do again?
A University of Arizona researcher says you may want to grab one of those disinfectant wipes right before you grab a grocery cart.
Professor Charles Gerba, the lead researcher, swabbed the handles of 85 carts in four states for bacterial contamination.
Gerba says 72% of the carts had a positive marker for fecal bacteria. When they examined some of the samples, they found Escherichia coli, also known as E. coli, on half of them.
Researchers say they actually found more fecal bacteria on grocery cart handles than you would typically find in a bathroom, mainly because bathrooms are disinfected more often than shopping carts.
Since most stores do not routinely wash and disinfect their carts, it's up to you to do it.
Scientists say this study helps explain why earlier investigations found kids who touch the handles, are more likely than others, to get infected with bacteria like salmonella.
Gerba also says you should pay attention to what you put in reusable shopping bags. Make sure your meats and veggies are wrapped because bags that are not washed on a regular basis can become a what he called a "bacterial swamp."
And just think...this was just a test of the handles, not of the seat where diapered babies and toddlers sit and women lay their purses that have been on floors everywhere.
"...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...