MamaT: June 2005 Archives

Is the one currently playing EVERY SINGLE DAY at my house. From what is called the "Dorofy movie":

Ding Dong! The Witch is dead! Which old Witch?
The Wicked Witch! Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead.

Wake up - sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
Wake up, the Wicked Witch is dead.
She's gone where the goblins go,
Below - below - below. Yo-ho, let's open up and sing and ring the bells out.
Ding Dong the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.
Let them know the Wicked Witch is dead!

There, I hope I've transmitted it on to you, leaving room in my head for the 2nd most persistent earworm:

Oompa, Loompa, doom-pa-dee-do
I have another puzzle for you
Oompa, Loompa, doom-pa-da-dee
If you are wise, you'll listen to me

Help me, help me!!!!!

Book #23: To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. Funny, funny, funny! Sci fi, sort of, with time travel back to the Victorian era. Lady Schrapnell is rebuilding Coventry Cathedral--125 years after its destruction in WW2. Ned Henry is in a search for an awful vase--the Bishop's Bird Stump. Verity Kindle is trying to make right an error--bringing a cat through the time portal. They both wind up in Victorian England, fall in love, find the vase, play croquet, and take part in seances--all to make history happen the way it did before the mistakes. References abound to Three Men in a Boat, The Moonstone, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, etc. Thoroughly enjoyable. But read Jerome's Three Men in a Boat first.

Book #24: The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder. A bridge collapses in Peru in 1714, hurling 5 people to their deaths. This very short novel examines the 5 lives and tries to answer "Why them?" God's punishment, God's reward, or what? Love is the answer and the problem.

But soon we shall die and all memory of those five will have left the earth and we ourselves shall be loved for awhile and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.

Book #25: Lancelot by Walker Percy. Whew. I love Walker Percy, but he is not easy to read. Told in his own words, Lancelot Lamar tells his friend, an unnamed priest (called Percival by Lancelot in reference to the Knights who saw the Holy Grail), what happened at his plantation, Belle Isle, on the night of the hurricane. An apocalyptic, deadly fire--with suspicious origins, causing the deaths of his wife and others on a movie crew filiming at the plantation. Lancelot found his wife had been untrue to him with several other men, documented the affairs and planned revenge. He sees the whole world crashing down around him, and I nodded right along with his assessment of much of the modern world.

But he is locked up in an institution--is this a story of reality--or madness?

Agree or disagree, this is some powerful stuff:

In times like these when everyone is wonderful, what is needed is a quest for evil.

You should be interested! Such a quest serves God's cause! How? Because the Good proves nothing. When everyone is wonderful, nobody bothers with God. If you had ten thousand Albert Schweitzers giving their lives for their fellow men, do you think anyone would have a second thought about God?.......

But suppose you could show me one "sin," one pure act of malevolence. A different cup of tea! That would bring matters to a screeching halt. But we have plenty of evil around you say. What about Hitler, the gas ovens and so forth? What about them? As everyone knows and says, Hitler was a madman. And it seems nobody else was responsible. Everyone was following orders. It is even possible that there was no such order, that it was all a bureaucratic mistake......

"Evil" is surely the clue to this age, the only quest appropriate to the age. For everything and everyone's either wonderful or sick and nothing is evil......

The mark of the age is that terrible things happen but there is no "evil" involved. People are either crazy, miserable, or wonderful, so where does the "evil" come in?

There I was forty five years old and I didn't know whether there was "evil" in the world.

If you like gospel music....

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....especially gospel with an Appalachian or bluegrass tinge to it, you simply must listen to this album by Dr. Ralph Stanley and his Clinch Mountain Boys:


Dr. Stanley is 78, and his voice shows it. But in the spare arrangements used on this album, that is a plus, not a minus. He attended the Primitive Baptist Church as a child, and that background shows in some of the songs. My personal favorites are The Old Church Yard and Palms of Victory.

But if you can listen all the way through This Little Light of Mine without tapping your toes or singing along, I'd be dumbfounded. McKid and I sang it through TWICE on our errand running trip yesterday.

This one's a keeper.


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Sorry I've been so absent around here! We are getting ready for a 2 week vacation (the first in more than 3 years--we're due!) and vacations only really mean rearranging the work you have to do. I've been killing myself trying to get caught up on my church accounting and altar guilding. I'm washing clothes like a maniac--Zteen brought back a pile of dirty, smelly things. And at the same time I'm juggling a day with BoyC, the McKid, and all my regular stuff.

Maybe it's a good thing that the vacation starts with 2 solid days of driving. I may need the sleep before we start sightseeing!

A prayer request!

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From one of our regular readers, Lauren. Please help us pray!

I am making a desperate prayer request. My dearest friend's father (56) has been recently diagnosed with colon and lung cancer with tumors in his liver. Upon x-ray the lung cancer looks like snowflakes. This is beyond any surgical help. His name is Pete.

I'm praying. Will you pray, too?

.....since last Sunday. Sorry to be so busy that I'm only posting it now!

He who would valiant be ’gainst all disaster,
Let him in constancy follow the Master.
There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.

Who so beset him round with dismal stories
Do but themselves confound—his strength the more is.
No foes shall stay his might; though he with giants fight,
He will make good his right to be a pilgrim.

Since, Lord, Thou dost defend us with Thy Spirit,
We know we at the end, shall life inherit.
Then fancies flee away! I’ll fear not what men say,
I’ll labor night and day to be a pilgrim.

We sing it at SMV to Monks Gate, though I have also sung it to St. Dunstans. Go to if you don't know the tune.

I think the hymn is appropriate for our times--when it appears that we are truly fighting against the giants of the culture, politics, and all things secular. It is hard not to despair. Hard not to give up the fight and run away. I certainly want to. I'm only too like Frodo, telling Gandalf that I wish I had not been born in these times.

But God knows more than me, and He has a reason for me to be here, in this place, in this time, with the meager gifts I have. So, I guess I'll just keep plugging along, as constant to Christ as I can be (which is often not so very constant), in the hopes that my little life and voice makes a difference somewhere.

It's hard, when we don't see how or where or why. But we don't have to see those. We only have to see Christ.

MMT Day #5

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No traveling on Day #5, so instead of a map, you get this picture:


It was coldish and rainy on Thursday. They saw a bunch of small geysers, some sulphur springs and the Upper Falls. Here's a picture of the Upper Falls:


Zteen said he didn't think that his pictures would be very good. "Mom, everything is SO BIG!"

Because it was raining, they actually stayed in a motel Thursday night. Probably a good night's sleep for a change!

This is worth reading:


Seventeen Minutes

(Thank you to Dom over at Bettnet--link to the right.)

MMT Day #4

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Wednesday's trip looked like this:


402 miles across Northern Wyoming. They took the Medicine Wheel scenic bypass through Bighorn National Forest, hoping to see this:


This is an 80 foot in diameter Indian Medicine Wheel, preserved by the state in coordination with the Indian Tribes of the area. HOWEVER, when they got to the place where you had to hike in to see it, they weren't able to go. Why? Because it was KNEE-DEEP IN SNOW!

To those two Texas born and bred boys, knee-deep snow on June 15th was a hoot. They tromped out in it and took each other's pictures.

Oh, and Zteen said they had to stop at Wal-Mart to pick up more disposable cameras; they had already used 2 1/2 of the 3 I sent. I shudder to think what the developing costs will be.

After that, it was on toward Yellowstone, where they were to camp for the night.

Here's the kind of scenery they are driving through. Zteen says it is beautiful beyond belief, but "Mom, it's the middle of nowhere! Nothing here except beautiful stuff!"


First time they've driven through mountains. They are stopping at every "historical landmark" sign by the side of the road and reading it. They both called their grandmothers late yesterday afternoon, while they were in a spot with phone coverage! Good boys!

We laughed....

| | Comments (4) the McKid today. She was talking to my good friend Pam. Pam asked her what she liked to do.

"My friends and I like to go PARKING!"

"What? You go parking? What's that?" (Looking at me with a very surprised look!)

"You know. Parking. When you go to the park and swing on the swings and slide on the slides. We go parking!"

Whew. Thank goodness.

Book #22 of 2005 finished:

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The Raphael Affair by Iain Pears. A snappy little mystery, taking place in Rome and London, with a nice set of protagonists: General Bottando and his trusty aide, the glamorous Flavia, are part of the Italian National Art Theft Squad. They run into Jonathan Argyll, a British art historian, who thinks that a mediocre painting by an artist named Mantini actually covers up an unknown Raphael. When the painting is purchased by a well know art dealer, the mystery is on. The beautiful painting is destroyed, a restorer is murdered. What is going on?

Well, I can't tell you, because it's a mystery. Liked the characters, was a little lost in the plot. Will try another book in the series. Also have two more books, not in the Argyll series by Mr. Pears: An Instance of the Fingerpost and Scipio's Dream. But they are projects for another day. I went to the library last night and checked out Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog. That's next on the list.

Boy, time without my kiddo is proving good time to read, huh?

MMT Day #3

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Tuesday was the day to see Mt. Rushmore. According to Zteen, it is definitely worth seeing, but you shouldn't plan a whole vacation around it! So, here's your look at it:


After four hours, they left there and went around to the Crazy Horse monument that is being built with private funds. Here's what it looks like:


The guys thought that this was pretty much a rip off. Since it is being done with private funds, it costs a LOT to get anywhere close to the monument itself. The guys didn't think they could afford $200 (!!!!!) to go on the tour out to Crazy Horse's arm, as much as they would have liked to.

Anyway, from there they drove on to Devils Tower. You know, the one in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. And that's where they camped for the night:


Not so many miles driven today, only about 125 or so. Here's his map for today:


They are having so much fun! We can hear it in their voices. Those of you who are praying for them, keep it up. As they get tireder, we hope they don't lose their joy.

Zteen's MMT Day #2


Day Two of the MMT (Magical Mystery Tour) continued by driving from southern Nebraska to South Dakota. IN THE RAIN. ALL DAY LONG. Here's the picture of the drive:


523 miles. Those boys are DRIVERS! (Aaaah, youth.)

The highlight of the day? Badlands National Park. Since it was raining (and pretty chilly), they didn't hike. They drove the scenic loop and got out and looked everywhere there was a stopping point.

Here's a look:


They saw a lot of buffalo, one only 10 feet from the car.

Then they drove on to Rapid City (close to Mt. Rushmore), 'cause they thought they would have to spend the night in a cheap motel. They didn't want to put the tent up in the rain. But it stopped raining, and they decided to camp in the National Forest 2 miles from Mt. Rushmore. "But it is EXPENSIVE, Mom! It cost us $18 to camp!" My frugal, frugal son!

After Mount Rushmore they make a decision to drive east or west. I'm sure they've talked it out, but they haven't told us where they're going next. They have to tell us as they decide, but they're holding out (and holding on to their independence) jealously.

Zteen's magical mystery tour....

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Zteen is on his two week driving vacation with one of his friends, hereafter known as Sguy. They've know each other since they were six, and for the last two years they've dreamed of taking a vacation together "when school was over." Well, it finally is for Zteen, and we made the decision to let him go. He saved up the money, he's a responsible young man. Yes, I'm worried, but then I'm a mom, you know! Plus, it made me feel good to know that on Zteen's list of "To Do's Before I Go" were the following items for Saturday:

Confession 4:45 p.m.
Mass 5:30 p.m.
Mam-mom's 7:00 p.m.

Can't really fault a guy who leaves confessed, communicated and hugged by his grandmother.

They left Sunday morning at 7:15 a.m. Yes, two teenagers left that early in the morning. It is surprising what they can do when they want to. They are required to call us when they stop for the night and when they decide where they are headed the next day. The only thing they (and we!) know for sure is that Mount Rushmore is the first stop. Needless to say, you can't get there in one day from here!



565 miles, from Arlington to Alexandria NE, where they camped. And it started raining.

And one question:


I was in a grocery store that happens to be near a housing development that is aimed at older folks. There were lots and lots of people shopping that were 20+ years my senior.

Why is it that when you see an elderly woman who has kept her hair dyed to the same color it was in her youth, you don't think much about it, but when you see the elderly men who are obviously coloring their hair it just looks sad?

Seen on a sign....

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......outside the local Unity Church:

Coming soon: The Day of Nonjudgement

It made me wonder. If God is a God of "nonjudgement" then what do we do with all those scriptures that talk about mercy? Because doesn't mercy mean that there has been some judgement made, but punishment has either been lessened or done away with? Without judgement, isn't mercy a meaningless concept?

Book #20: Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome. This is our book club selection for this month. We thought if we couldn't be on vacation yet we could at least read about a trip.

The story of 3 friends and a dog who take a fortnight's journey down the Thames. Equal parts travelogue, tall tales and humour (of course, spelled the British way!). I laughed out loud several times reading the book; PapaC had to come in and ask what in the world I was reading.

Here is an excerpt from the chapter on fishing. Understand that my bias is to dislike fishing intensely!

The neighborhood of Streatley and Goring is a great fishing center. There is some excellent fishing to be had there. The river abounds in pike, roach, dace, gudgeon, and eels, just here; and you can sit and fish for them all day.

Some people do. They never catch them. I never knew anybody catch anything up the Thames, except minnows and dead cats, but that has nothing to do, of course, with fishing. The local fisherman's guide doesn't say a word about catching anything. All it says is the place is "a good station for fishing"; and from what I have seen of the district I am quite prepared to bear out this statement......

The "Angler's Guide to the Thames" says that "jack and perch are also to be had about here," but there the "Angler's Guide" is wrong. Jack and perch may be about there. Indeed, I know for a fact that they are. You can see them there in shoals, when you are out for a walk along the banks; they come and stand half out of the water with their mouths open for biscuits. And if you go for a bathe, they crowd round, and get in your way, and irritate you. But they are not to be "had" by a bit of worm on the end of a hook, nor anything like it--not they!

Highly recommended!

Book #21: Wild Strawberries by Angela Thirkell.

Another of Thirkell's series of books set in Barsetshire. This time, Miss Mary Preston comes to stay with the Leslie family for the summer. But will she fall for the handsome, charming but selfish David, or the upright, serious and kind widower, John? Well, we all know how it will turn out, but it is such a lovely journey getting there.

I really appreciate the way Thirkell portrays the loving family. Not that they are perfect, and paragons of virtue. But each is valued in spite of, and many times because of their eccentricities.

You wouldn't want to live in Barsetshire permanently, but it is a lovely place to visit!

Go check out the baby pictures.....


......of Elena's newest, named Rosie, over at My Domestic Church. Link to the right. You won't be sorry!

Book #19 of 2005 finished:

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High Rising by Angela Thirkell.

A lovely little bon-bon of a book. Thank you Steven Riddle for the suggestion!!!

Published in 1933, it is a contemporary (to that time) story of a widow, Laura Morland, who writes fashion novels, and the characters who live around her in High Rising, a town in the fictional county of Barsetshire. (Yes, the same fictional place Trollope used!) "The local doctor loves the secretary, who is in love with Miss Knox's father, who appears to be in love with Laura, whose housekeeper is the subject of the village mechanic's intentions." Oh, and there's ANOTHER secretary in love with Mr. Knox, a small boy obsessed with trains, and a publisher in love with Miss Knox. How will it all work out?

Funny, appealing, charming. Nothing earth shattering, nothing nasty. Perfect summer reading. Here's a sample:

Laura shut the door and reeled downstairs. Four weeks of this to come. Nearer five than four. Thank heaven it was country, where he would be out all day, and would certainly amuse himself. Oh, the exhaustingness of the healthy young! Laura had once offered to edit a book called Why I Hate my Children, but though Adrian Coates had offered her every encouragement, and every mother of her acquaintance had offered to contribute, it had never taken shape. Perhaps, she thought, as she stood by Tony's bed an hour later, they wouldn't be so nice if they weren't so hateful.

There lay her demon son, in abandoned repose. His cheeks so cool and firm in the day, had turned to softest rose-petal jelly, and looked as if they might melt upon the pillow. His mouth was fit for poets to sing. His hands--spotlessly clean for a brief space--still had dimples where later bony knckles would be. Foxy was pressed to his heart, while Neddy, taking, as Tony had predicted, the middle of the bed, had pushed his master half over the edge.

Laura picked up the heavy, deeply unconscious body, and laid it back in the middle of the bed. Neddy she put revengefully on the table. Then she tucked the bedclothes in, kissed her adorable hateful child, who never stirred, and turning out the light, left the room.

Typical English hyperbole. Absolutely wonderful.

And oh, by the way:

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Officially Done.....

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.....and I'm happy and I'm sad.

We have finished homeschooling in our house. What started out as a "one year project" when Zteen was in the 2nd grade, has now been completed. We took an extra year because of family issues (my mom's health, PapaC's health, and a few other changes/additions to our lives), so really we've done twelve years of homeschooling.

As the homeschooling catalogs come in, here in what has been my "season of planning", it is with a great deal of regret that I toss them into the recycling bin. And for the first time in I don't know how long, I didn't attend the Book Fair, looking for "just the right math program" (our nemesis!).

There is some relief here. Zteen is taking a semester off to work, and he will start at our local community college (very friendly to homeschoolers) in January. I suspect that when he enters, he will have to take one remedial class in composition, unless he chooses to work on his skills a little during the fall. Other than that, I think he will be fine, and will surprise himself with how well he will do. Of course, I suppose the surprise could work the other way, but let's hope not.

I am so grateful for the years that Zteen and I spent together. I have a son who is a reader (he read Moby Dick for fun), but also a video game player. I have a son who serves at Mass every single Wednesday(and has since he was 12), but who is also a movie fiend. I have a son who is an Eagle Scout, but who is also a hypercompetitive card player. He is such a nice blend of normal and weird. I couldn't have wished for anything better.

Our one fear of homeschooling an only child was that he would become too dependent on us. That has not proved to be the case. Zteen and I spent Monday night talking; until 2 in the morning talking! He is excited to start this next chapter of his life. I told him that it really was *his* life now--for better AND for worse. Not that his daddy and I won't be standing there ready to advise (and fund!), but we *won't* decide for him what to do, what to take, how hard to study, etc. Those days are done. I told him it's an exciting time for him. And that it can be a scary time, too.

One of the things that I told Zteen was that the weirdest thing for me when I started school and "my own life" was how things didn't just stand still back at home. It's hard to explain--but it seemed normal for me to be making my decisions and plans, but I never thought about the people back home going around and doing things that *I didn't know about* while I was gone! I saw them in some sort of suspended animation, I guess, just waiting for my return. It was odd when I found that they had gone places and done things that I never even knew about. Zteen nodded his head. "Yeah. There'll be times I come in from work or school and you and Dad will have gone out to eat, or to a movie or something, and I might not know what's up. That'll be weird." And it will be. For all of us for awhile.

So, this summer we are taking the last guaranteed Big Family Vacation. We can't really afford it, and if we were truly sensible, we'd probably save the money for college tuition. But it's our big, fun farewell to twelve years of a lifestyle that is radically changing.

Yee haw! And pass me that Kleenex to wipe my eyes with.

18th book of 2005 finished


Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk.

This is the story of a young Jewish girl, coming of age in New York City in the 1930's. Her parents are immigrants, and have worked their way up from the Bronx to Central Park West. Marjorie is fresh from her triumph (at 17) at a Columbia College dance, and has visions of becoming an actress.

She meets Noel Airman--a semi-successful songwriter and director at a New York camp. He's exactly what she's dreamed of: older, man-about-town, handsome, different. He's unconcerned with propriety, has left behind the "primitive superstition of religion" and sleeps around.

The on-again, off-again relationship goes on for years, leading finally to Marjorie losing her virginity to Noel, and then, some months later, losing him. She cannot see that he is all flash, no substance. His spiels, which she thinks are so intelligent, are simply talk. Wouk created the perfect embodiment of a bipolar minor celebrity-type in Noel Airman. He is everything that I imagine many Hollywood types to be--completely contemptuous of "ordinary people."

Wouk also creates many fine secondary characters--Wally Wronken, the young man who carried a torch for Marjorie for years; Samson-Aaron, Marjorie's uncle, the heart of the family, though he plays the fool; Marsha, Marjorie's friend and sometimes enemy, an amoral, emotionally needy girl.

Interesting to read for the distinction drawn between the way the "famous" or "creative" or "intelligent" types see themselves and the way they see the unwashed masses. I suspect it is truer than we would like to believe, even today......

The Wednesday Baby Update

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Just got off the phone with Micki. She is tired (and a little drugged) but otherwise is feeling pretty good. The boys are doing well. Donovan was a little "wet", and they monitored his breathing for awhile yesterday afternoon and evening, but all is OK now. They are doing some routine testing today--Davis was yelling in the background as they were trying to do his hearing check. That's my boy!

Micki and the boys will be in the hospital until at least Friday, maybe a day longer. I read her all your congratulations, and she said to tell you thank you, thank you, thank you for all your love, concern and prayers.

Mick thinks the babies look like dolls. Given that her smallest baby before them was her oldest son, who was 8 lbs+, these two look tiny to her. I say, just hold them together and see how much baby that is! The other kids are ecstatic. Daddy is proud. All is wonderful.

Davis Anthony Damian 5 lbs. 11 oz.
Donovan Charles Cosmas 5 lbs. 8 oz.
Micki is fine and all is well.
The babies went straight to the regular nursery--no special care necessary.

Almighty God, we entrust all

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Almighty God, we entrust all who are dear to us to thy never-failing care and love, for this life and the life to come; knowing that thou art doing for them better things than we can desire or pray for; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Father, be with our friend and sister Micki this morning as she delivers her baby boys. For these long months, we have waited, prayed and watched as the time for delivery neared. Now there is nothing more that we can do, other than place those three precious lives in your hands, where we know they have been all along. It is hard for us to wait and watch, but we know that you have put into place a team of doctors and nurses who are not just competent in their fields, but also servants of your Kingdom. For that we give you praise and thanksgiving. Help us to wait with grace and peace, and, when the time comes, to give you thanks and praise for the outcome.


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.....and the time is right for comedy movie videos! Who wants to come in after working in the yard and getting all sweaty to watch angst and drama on the small screen? (Well, OK, me. I am still working my way through Upstairs, Downstairs, you know.)

This Saturday night we watched:


My Favorite Year with Peter O'Toole. We LOVED it. 5 thumbs up from the Southard extended clan after Saturday night's viewing.

It is definitely an adult film--there are lines that you do not want your kiddos hearing. Peter O'Toole plays a washed up actor (obviously a riff on the swashbuckling Errol Flynn) who is making an appearance on "Comedy Cavalcade" (think "Your Show of Shows") in 1954 to pay off IRS debts. Joseph Bologna plays King Kaiser (think Sid Caesar or even Allan Brady from the old Dick Van Dyke show) with gusto.......

Best line from the movie? "I am not an actor! I am a movie star!"

Worth renting. Zteen: 3 stars out of 5. Mam-mom: 4 stars out of 5. Me: 3 1/2 stars out of 5.

Today's great hymn....


.....about one of my favorite saints: Saint Matthew.

He sat to watch o'er customs paid,
a man of scorned and hardening trade,
alike the symbol and the tool
of foreign masters' hated rule.

But grace within his heart had stirred,
there needed but the timely word;
it came, true Lord of souls, from thee,
that royal summons, "Follow me."

Enough, when thou wert passing by,
to hear thy voice, to meet thine eye;
he rose, responsive to the call,
and left his task, his gains, his all.

O wise exchange! with these to part,
and lay up treasures in the heart;
with twofold crown of light to shine
amid thy servants' foremost line.

Come, Savior, as in days of old;
pass where the world has strongest hold,
and faithless care and selfish greed
are thorns that choke the holy seed.

Who keeps thy gifts, O bid them claim
the steward's, not the owner's name;
who yield up all for thy dear sake.
let them of Matthew's wealth partake.

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" He heard this and said, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."

Uh oh.....


Courtesy of the Daily Dig:

Just as bees are driven out by smoke and their honey is taken away from them, so a life of ease drives out the fear of the Lord from a man's soul and takes away all his good works.

The Desert Fathers

"If I could be" meme

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Done by many, we were tagged by M'Lynn over at Scattershot. We were tagged a long time ago, but have just now had time to think!!!! Maybe I should add "if I were more organized...."

Here's the meme:

Just answer 5 questions, then add three and pass it on.

If I could be a scientist, a farmer, a musician, a doctor..........If I could be a painter, a gardener, a missionary, a chef.........If I could be an architect, a linguist, a psychologist, a librarian......If I could be an athlete, a lawyer, an inn-keeper, a professor.....If I could be a writer, a llama rider, a bonnie pirate, an astronaut.....If I could be a world famous blogger, a justice on any one court in the world.......If I could be married to any current famous political figure........If I could be an office supply salesman, a dog show judge, a coal miner........If I could be a baker, a comedian, a monk...........If I could be a publisher, a spy, a greeting card designer..........If I could be a landscaper, carpenter, hair stylist................If I could be an economist, a snake-charmer, a potter . . . . . .

If I could be a clown, an artist, a party planner.......

Let's see:

If I could be a greeting card designer, I would design a line of cards aimed directly at teenagers to purchase for their moms/dads/grandmas/grandpas, etc. Zteen is a thoughtful young man and always wants to get me a card for the various "events" of my life. But there is nothing inbetween the "I LOVE YOU MOMMY" cards and the "I love you, Mother" flowery cards that are too old for him to feel comfortable giving. He comes home disappointed every time. Hallmark are you listening??

If I could be an innkeeper, I'd have a bed and breakfast in East Texas. I'd have about 4 guest rooms (I'm not efficient enough for more) but I'd be known county wide for my breakfast goodies. I'd also serve fresh-popped popcorn with real butter around 8 p.m. every night so that my guests could have it while they are watching their favorite movies on their room's DVD player.

If I could be an athlete, I would be a synchronized swimmer. I know, I know, ya'll all think it's not really a sport, and it should be dropped from the Olympics. I'm not sure I could argue you out of that. But having been a swimmer in high school, I KNOW those girls are athletes, and I wish I could have 1/2 the strength they do. Plus they get to do it with sparkles in their hair!

If I could be a gardener, I would do those almost wild looking gardens, with tons of ornamental grasses and very little grass. I would aim for natural plants, with minimal care needs once installed, so that my clients could enjoy their gardens, not *work* in them. (Unless, of course, they LIKE to work in them!)

If I could be a baker, I would specialize in cookies! They are my favorite dessert, and there are hundreds of delicious recipes. I love to bake cookies, and would work in a bakery that smells just like heaven. I would give tours to elementary school kids, and let them put the chocolate chips in and decorate with M&Ms.

Anyone who wants to do this, consider yourself tagged.

A Big Thank You....

| all of you who are trying to help me find some new reading! I've copied down all the suggestions, and will be going to the library this weekend, list in hand.

Marjorie Morningstar continues to be a good read. I hope to have more time to read this weekend, though I doubt I'll finish it that quickly......

Question for today...

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......reading TSO, I just need to know: Does he take a separate suitcase for the books he takes on vacation?????

Anyway, it's good to know I'm not the only one who packs like I may be marooned on Gilligan's Island for several years while packing reading material!

.....for all those June weddings you've gotten invitations to, or you want to give a graduate striking out on his/her own a really lasting gift, may I recommend something that was recommended to me? Try this book:


I have prepared quite a few recipes out of this book, and we have enjoyed most of the things we have tried. Several of the recipes have even made it to the infamous Southard Family Cookbook, which is the true standard of how much we like something.

Here's a recipe we made this week that made it to The Book:

Apricot-Ginger Chicken

2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1/3 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon grated, peeled fresh ginger
6 large chicken leg quarters (about 3 3/4 pounds)

Prepare grill. In small bowl, combine green onions, apricot preserves, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, and ginger.

Arrange chicken on grill over medium heat; grill until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Arrange chicken around perimeter of grill (where it is cooler); cover and grill until juices run clear when thickest part of chicken is pierced with knife, 25 to 30 minutes longer. During last 10 minutes, brush with apricot mixture. Makes 6 main-dish servings.

My notes: I used 12 chicken legs, which I had gotten on sale at the grocery store. Worked just as well, and was totally a delish way to spark up cheap meat. I saved aside a little of the sauce before I basted it on chicken, heated it up on the stove, and served it on the side as a dipping sauce. Yummo.

Zteen's reaction? "Only one thing wrong with this recipe, Mom. You didn't make enough!"

That's high praise.

Friday Feast, ya'll

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What comes to mind when you hear the word bizarre?

Using just a few words, describe your childhood.

Name one thing you do each day that you feel improves your appearance.

Main Course
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how would you rate your self-confidence?

Where did you last find a bargain?

My answers will be in the comments boxes, with yours!

Bang head on desk moment...

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....although why I continue to be surprised is, perhaps, a testament to my naivete.

Check out the story on the Expagan's blog: Anglican Church installs Wi Fi Access in Church.

"The church has to move with the times and I wanted to make St John’s a sanctuary for everyone, including business people with laptops and mobiles," Kimber said in a statement issued by BT. "I have no problem with people quietly sending an email or surfing the Internet in church, as long as they respect the church."


Restless, restless.....

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.....and nothing suits.

I have started and stopped 10 books in the last 10 days, looking for something, ANYTHING, that will hold my attention for longer than 10 minutes. Everything is too serious, too important, too something. I don't want complete fluff (not another cat mystery novel, anyway), but I want that old kind of "settle down into the story, and the longer the better" book that charmed me so as a teenager.

I think I may have finally found a contender: Herman Wouk's Marjorie Morningstar. It's been on my shelf for a year now--ever since the last Friends of the Library sale, when I purchased it for $2. I began reading it Monday evening, and continued last night. High hopes--it's the two decade story of a young Jewish girl who wants to break free from her parents' lifestyle and become an actress.

Read some of the reviews on Amazon--lots of "I loved this book when I was 17, but was disappointed in the ending. Now that I'm grown, I appreciate it much more!" That sounds promising. And a fair subset of "A period piece--thank goodness we don't have to worry about losing our virginity the way Marjorie did." And "feminists probably won't like Marjorie". Well, if they don't, I almost surely WILL.

I need to read some really good "stories." I need a break from dark and dismal. Dramatic tension? OK. Angst and sorrow as the purpose and/or meaning of the book? Need a break.

Got any other suggestions?????

A very nice resource

aslan.jpg is a website dedicated to the teaching of the Narnia stories. The authors of the site have compiled an ebook teaching guide for The Magician's Nephew. Teaching guides will follow on the other Narnia books. With the movies coming up soon, soon, soon, there'll be a lot of homeschoolers and others wanting to read the books first. Take a gander at the site. You'll be impressed with the amount of work put into this project.



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