Saturday, June 30, 2007

Busy, Busy Week!


My apologies for not posting to this blog all week; we've been extraordinarily busy, and then our down-time has not been computer-oriented.

This week the boys have been helping me with some gardening projects; we've transformed a nasty, foxtail-infested corner of our yard into a (currently) weedless flower bed. The boys weeded and hoed, moved out a rotten piece of fencing, then added potting soil and dug the soil deeply. T pulled out the faded irises which is no small task considering the network of bulbous rhisomes to be dug out by hand. Then T helped me to plant the honeysuckle that Miss Sandy gave us in San Antonio last fall, and we added four plants that Judith donated. T also formed a walkway from the front gate, lining it with rocks we dug up when Keith laid the foundation for his garage. We finished up the bed with a layer of fine compost from a downed tree.

I took the kids to Balboa Park for our last Free Tuesday outing; we visited the Aerospace and Automotive Museums, as well as the Botanical Garden and Timken Art Gallery. T and J did some fine sketching in and around the Botanical Building.

On Wednesday we drove down the hill for a swim day with the Lake Murray crew, then headed for Grossmont Mall for a free sneak preview of Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille. Because it was a free screening with tickets everywhere, we arrived two hours before the showing and found ourselves about halfway back in the line; the tickets were all gone a mere twenty minutes later. So E played the new Harry Potterw game on her Nintendo DS; I read a book, and the boys played quietly with some action figures. Keith brought us some corn dogs and fries for dinner in line. It all ended up being very worthwhile; the movie was endearing, wonderful, funny, and a triumph in every way. And it was rated "G."

On Thursday we did more work in the garden, and the boys had afternoon piano lessons. Friday morning I headed alone to Alpine Anglican for the weekly healing service, then on to see both of my doctors. And Dr. Adema is ready to have me start weaning off the fentanyl patches I wear for pain relief! I hate those things, so I'm very excited about working with a different pain reliever and getting off the strong narcotics with all their nasty side effects. Yippee! Thanks be to God for answered prayer!

I also computed, filled out, and mailed in the kids' report cards to Heritage Christian yesterday, so we're officially done with our tenth year of homeschooling. Yay! The kids all did well; E received two B's on her high school report card, but with the 5-point A system for her Honors courses (English and Latin), she still ended up with a 4.0 GPA. A year done, and done fairly well. The only thing we didn't finish completely was California History, but we did cover the most interesting material, and we're hoping for a trip to Northern California fairly soon, so we can cover more state history then. They certainly know Southern California history well as they're sixth-generation San Diegans and get showed all sorts of family sites and history on a continual basis.

Last night I drove back down the hill for our final Esther study party where we watched One Night with the King (based on the book of Esther) while eating "hidden" foods like stuffed grape leaves, stuffed pasta, enchiladas, Chinese dumplings, and the traditional Purim delicacy of "Haman's Pockets" which Kim picked up at DZ Akin's, the local Kosher diner. While I can't recommend the movie (very confusing and choppy -- hard to follow), the food and the company were superb.

Today the boys and I finished up the gardening project mentioned above, and E cleaned out the kitchen pantry. The kids also watched the TNT Librarian films, which are kinda a cross between the Indiana Jones movies and National Treasure.

So I'm still here,and I will try to post more often, but it has been a very busy week. So much for a relaxing summer!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Anglican Moment: Third Sunday after Trinity



The Sundays of the Church Year after Trinity seem so, well, ORDINARY, if you'll pardon the very bad pun. But today's Collect for the Third Sunday after Trinity covers so much of our journey in Christianity: prayer, protection, and the amazing fact that the Creator of heaven and earth, the Lord of the entire universe, actually listens to us, actually hears our prayers:

O Lord, we beseech thee mercifully to hear us; and grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire to pray, may, by thy might aid, be defended and comforted in all dangers and adversities, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

These few lines of prayer, prayed by Anglicans this day around the world, prayed in Nigeria and in England, prayed in Vietnam and in Bolivia, prayed in the United States and in Uganda, rely on God's mercy, His comfort and defense in adversity and in danger. God doesn't promise that we WON'T experience danger and adversity, b ut He promises to be with us through them, comforting our hearts and defending our reputations, our familiues, even our lives. Plus He is willing to grant us "an hearty desire to pray" -- that's a mindblower right there. May we be open to the heart desire to adore Him, to confess before Him, to thank Him with grateful hearts, and to ask needful things of Him, as a child asks a father for what is needful. Amen to that!

At Lake Murray, Nathan preached today on Philippians 4:6-7: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our Lord."

These verses are extremely familiar to most Christians, but Nathan expanded them wonderfully well. Our first response to any danger or adversity is to worry. We, as believers in Christ, need to turn that natural propensity to worry into a natural turning to the Father in prayer, thankful prayer, prayers of adoration and worship, prayers of need and of the heart. Then God's peace, which is totally beyond our comprehension, will protect both our hearts and our minds as we focus on Jesus, our Lord. Amazing verses, so familiar, yet opened up wonderfully well today, and verses that tie in perfectly with today's Anglican Collect from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. All thanks be to God when He ties together His Word with our lives so beautifully! Amen!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Free Concert



I found out at a party this week that the B-52s would be playing tonight within fifteen minutes of our town. With a couple of friends from church going and paying big bucks to see the B-52s, I had to go check them out. T and I headed to the outlet center/casino to wander around, eating ColdStone ice cream and singing along to "Roam" and "Love Shack." Well, I was, anyway. We got there just late enough to miss "Rock Lobster" which is one of T's favorites. Of course, we could only see the band through a screen, but the music was plenty loud and very danceable.

So, for the cost of two ice creams, we enjoyed a top-notch concert by a great band. Can't beat it....

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Pre-Raphaelites at the San Diego Museum of Art



On Tuesday, the four kids and I toured the Pre-Raphaelite exhibit from the Delaware Museum showing at the San Diego Museum of Art. This is a collection not to miss! Our favorite artists were by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (also a favorite poet of mine), Ford Maddox Brown, and Marie Spartali Stillman. J and T took in their sketchbooks and drew some cool arts and crafts era glassware, among other subjects. E and I admired the beautiful artwork, so romantic and so linked to Scripture and literature. We saw paintings that represented such literature as Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare's plays (including Romeo and Juliet), and Mary Magdalene, as well as other Scriptural representations.

The Pre-Raphaelites believed that art since Raphael had been corrupted somehow, hence their name. They were English artists of the late 1800s who drew from more classical models and also took inspiration from the English Romantic poets Byron, Shelley, and Keats. Most of the representations are of red-haired women (gotta love that!), with a true sense of both realism and romanticism that I admire.

I have to say that the Pre-Raphaelites are really my favorite period of art -- such fraternity, such elevation of women, such a wonderful balance of story and technique. Aaah ...we had such a lovely time at the museum this week. And such a wonderful way to start our summer break in beautiful San Diego County.

Summertime Fun!




This is our first week of summer vacation, and we've been on the move. We were in Cuyamaca and Julian on Friday, then Balboa Park for Free Tuesday at the Museum of Art, and Wednesday at a friend's pool, visiting with other moms from church while our kids swam.

So it's been a fun and busy week -- and hopefully more down-time next week to just rest and relax with a good ol' mystery novel under a tree....

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Writing....



This weekend I had time to work on my book. Before I send a certain book to a friend across the country (It's on it's way, Carrie! I promise!), I needed to take a few notes. A few notes turned into nine handwritten pages before too long -- all on the saints and how they can affect our Christian walk.

Saints inspire us, encourage us, and perhaps even intercede for us -- all of which makes knowing their stories a valuable part of our Christian journey. They've BTDT in their own lives, and we can look to them as pilgrims further along the journey than we are, and we can find help in them as they point us to Christ.

And now that summer vacation is actually, finally here, I'm hoping to have more time to write, write, write. And I'm definitely of J.K. Rowlings' mindset: the best place to write is in cafes. I'll be spending a goodly amount of time at the coffee places in our small town as well as down in the city. But when I can't get away, I suppose that the beach chair on the front lawn will have to do....

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Simple Pleasures: A Ringing Phone

Well, a ringing phone may not sound like a Simple Pleasure, but it entirely depends on who's on the other end of the line.

This morning my friend Eve called; I had been trying to call her earlier this week, so it was with relief and gladness that I heard her voice. We both had homeschooling stuff to discuss regarding next year's studies: should her 9th grader do a full literature AND a full grammar course? Should she cut down on the history she's requiring? And I had been wanting to discuss whether I should put T and J in the same grammar program which will lne up with their history and literature studies. Eve warned me of some anti-Catholic bias in the history book I'm using for the boys and promised to send me her notes when we get to that portion of the Middle Ages. I warned her about some gaps in one history book and the benefits/detriments of the American history series E used.

We watch each other's back in curriculum choices, providing a sounding board for each other as we consider how to raise children who are committed Christians and are also culturally literate people. She's Catholic and lives in the Midwest; I'm Protestant and live on the Left Coast. We discuss everything: religion, politics, NFP, school, finances, children, and "birthin' babies;" no subject is taboo for us.

Years ago I watched Eve's process as she converted to Roman Catholicism from a Vineyard background. Her trek to the Tiber, with all her honest wrestlings with theology and practice, has affected me more than words can express. I count her among my dearest friends, even though we've only seen each other a few times IRL (in real life) when she used to live in So Cal. I wish I had made more of an effort to see her when she lived a few hours away, but we now talk on the phone and e-mail even more than we did when she lived closer.

So when that phone rings and it's Eve on the line, I know I'm in a very safe place and can share anything and everything. And that's a Pleasure that's both simple and profound.

Done!



We're done with school! Well, E does have finals to finish this weekend in Latin and World Geography, but we're glad she decided to accompany us on our field trip through the Cuyamacas and up to Julian. Here are all four kiddos at the picnic grounds -- it's been a very good school year.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

School Daze Are Almost Done....

We wrapped up the last of our book work today for school with the boys. Yep, last day of area and perimeter, last day of studying fungi, last day of discussing the geography and culture of Canada (to finish up American History), last day of phonics, last day of spelling, last day of revising and recopying essays, and the last day of assigned readers. Yay! School's out!!!

E still has finals for world geography and Latin I tomorrow, so she spent the day closed up in her room, writing out final Latin exercises and studying maps and geography review questions. But she's finished algebra and English and physical science and Bible courses. One day more to go for our high schooler!

Tomorrow I'm hoping to take the boys on a picnic to Green Valley Falls or somewhere in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park which will give E peace and quiet for taking her exams. I'm hoping that the Falls are running so the boys will be able to play in the water. We're also taking along our sketchbooks.

Over the summer we still need to finish up California History with the boys. We're doing it with our neighbors, and we're about 2/3 the way through the program. We also want to take the three CA History students on a field trip to Julian, especially the gold mines which are only open on weekends. So that's in our plans.

It's been a good year. All is done and done well, except CA History, which we'll finish up at our leisure. The kids' standardized tests show good results, and I'm already planning for next year's home school. We'll be back at our school's co-op Class Days, and I'll be teaching two high school writing classes, one college prep and one honors.

But that's next year. This year is done and done well! Yahoo!!!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Freewrite on "Broken"

Dali at the Lamp Post posted a writing prompt last week: use the word "broken" somewhere in a freewrite. I wrote a few lines of verse as my freewrite -- here it is without revision:

"Only You can make me perfect again." -- Bono, "All Because of You."

Shattered like a crystal glass on the kitchen floor,
I lie here,
Unable to stir
Unable to move even my little finger
Without pain.

I'm more than broken
And less than broken.
The body trembles, fails, faints,
Drapes itself on the sofa for hours and hours,
Immobilized by weakness and restraint.

Yet the mind clinks on,
Ferreting Truth from the chaos,
Seeking the lovely in the unlovely,
Claiming what may be unclaimable
But claiming anyways.

The mind flies where the body
Cannot follow.
To faraway lands filled with art of the masters
And to Evensong in stunning cathedrals,
To places I've been, places I want to be.

Yet my broken body is reality --
A reality to be lived day by day,
Hour by hour, minute by minute.
Offered up to Him whose body
Also was broken, and broken for all.

If I were to revise, I would change or omit the fourth stanza, but it's what came out in a ten-minute spurt of writing.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Happy Birthday, J!




Today was J's 10th birthday -- a day he's been counting down since, uh, January, I think. We opened presents over pancakes with fresh strawberry syrup, went to the zoo with my parents, ate "real" pizza with a friend over, then blew out candles on his cake. He gave his birthday two thumbs up, so we're pleased.

We love our J guy! Happy Birthday, Dude!

So Who's a "Real Christian"?

John Armstrong of Act III Ministries is a guy I'd love to meet with to discuss theology and postmodernism and the Catholic Church and the present evangelical church and ....

Here's his latest op-ed piece, one discussing the "real Christian" label that evangelicals slap on certain candidates and reserve from others. An intriguing and thought-provoking piece, indeed:

http://www.act3online.com/ArticlesDetail.asp?id=331

I also noticed that he's been in a bit of a debate regarding AWANA and apparently for the same reasons that I've been hesitant in my support for the group, well-meaning as it is. I'm going to dig around on his site and find the entire article; I've so far discovered a "conversation" of sorts between the current national leader and Armstrong regarding an article written by the latter. I'll post a link when I find the whole enchilada; I assume it's worth chewing on (pardon the pun).

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Simple Pleasures: My Brain on Paper



Okay, this one isn't the cheapest item around, but it's worth its weight in solid gold. The New Yorker Desk Diary lays open on my desk all year to the current week. Each two-page spread has long columns for the weekdays, and Saturday and Sunday share a column. Each hour is covered from 8 AM to 6 PM on the weekday spaces, with a space in between to mark events occurring on the half-hour and a space of three lines after 6 PM marked "Evening." Plus each week contains a witty New Yorker cartoon, something I've missed dreadfully since not subscribing to the magazine. This desk diary is perfect in every way.

I mark piano lessons, chiropractor and doctor appointments, E's tutoring and babysitting gigs, Bible study times, parties and fun stuff, Creative Arts meetings -- everything! It's so linear and orderly -- just how I wish my mind could be. The way it used to be, anyway.

Then it has a large space (4" X 5") for each week for NOTES. I can apply little sticky note reminders in this area, or I can write myself reminders, such as "Call Dr. Burns and move Tuesday's appt." or "Buy cards for Lianna and Kevin."

I don't think I could function without this desk diary, or the B&N one I usually get but was defective this year and pulled from the shelves. $25 is cheap for this kind of organization -- less than 50 cents per week. And that's a simple and absolutely necessary pleasure.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Friday's Anglican Moment: The Nicene Creed



One element of Anglican worship that I appreciate is the use of the historic creeds. Last year I taught our four homeschooled children the Nicene Creed from the Book of Common Prayer, and I was thrilled that today when J accompanied us, he remembered almost all of it. We learned it simply by reading it together each morning as we started school, and I'm really glad we did so.

The word "creed" comes from the Latin "creo," which means "I believe." So the creeds affirm the beliefs of basic Christianity. On their own, they are tremendous works of theology, but when stated aloud in a worship setting by a community of believers, these words sing of the strength of Christianity, which has come down intact through the centuries since the Nicene Creed of 325 AD. When Christians affirm these words of nearly 1700 years ago together, the Church is strengthened and Christ as fully human and fully divine is proclaimed for all to hear, and more than that, God is glorified, praised, and honored.

(The extra capitalizations are for the purpose of signaling a pause for breath as the congregation reads the Creed aloud together.)

I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, And was made man: And was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried: And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father: And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets: And I believe one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church; I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, and I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come. Amen.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

People in Glass Houses....

I first posted this link on Lamp Post, then Carrie posted it on her blog, so I thought I'd post it here as well.

Personally I didn't believe this e-mail when I received it. I always check out everthing suspicious e-mail (which is most of them) and was somewhat surprised to see it was true.

I can't express how upset I get when people espouse a certain belief and then don't "walk the walk." Grrrrr.....

http://www.snopes.com/politics/bush/house.asp

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Which Theologian Are You?

You scored as Anselm, Anselm is the outstanding theologian of the medieval period.He sees man's primary problem as having failed to render unto God what we owe him, so God becomes man in Christ and gives God what he is due. You should read 'Cur Deus Homo?'

Anselm

93%

Karl Barth

87%

Martin Luther

73%

Jonathan Edwards

60%

Augustine

60%

Friedrich Schleiermacher

60%

J├╝rgen Moltmann

53%

John Calvin

53%

Charles Finney

40%

Paul Tillich

27%

Which theologian are you?
created with QuizFarm.com


I thought I'd end up as Anselm, whom I haven't read since college but really liked. Besides, he resided in Canterbury, one of my favorite British towns. He was a cool guy, so I'm okay with hanging with him and his theology.

I've always been a medievalist anyway, so that explains part of my attraction to him. And the eleventh century was a very good year, right?

So which theologian are YOU?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Another Summer Plan Is a Go-Ahead!

I chatted with my friend Kitty tonight, and I think we've hammered out the details for starting a literary group at Lake Murray, something I've been wanting to do for a few years now. We now have a list of books to discuss for the first year, with the plan of having everyone chip in ideas after that.

And we have chosen a name: Logos, which is Greek for word or study. In the Gospel of St. John, the word "Logos" is used repeatedly to refer to Jesus: "In the beginning the Word (Logos) was with God, and the Word (Logos) was God...." So we'll be studying (logos) these works to see Jesus (Logos) in them.

Our preliminary list of works to read:

Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
Measure for Measure by Shakespeare
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek by Annie Dillard
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
Great Expectations by Charles Dicken
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

So I'll pass this list by Pastor Steve and then write up a blurb for the church bulletin, and we'll meet on the last Friday of each month, starting in July. I', praying that it will be a wonderful group with deep discussions and wonderful revelations of God's working through the writings of these talented authors.

Another BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is becoming a reality -- woo-hoo!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Another Book Recommendation...



Looking for God in Harry Potter simply confirmed for me all the reasons why my daughter and I adore the series.

John Granger, a father of seven homeschooled kids, was as resistant to the series as I was at first. But when a copy of the first Harry Potter book was given to his daughter and he read it, he was as hooked on the books as I found myself. Granger has taught Harry Potter classes on B&N.com and has lectured widely around the country as a Harry Potter expert. All the exciting plot developments and excellent character development of the HP series aside, these books called to me on a spiritual level that I simply couldn't articulate. But John Granger does, and does it exceedingly well.

He explores the Christian imagery, the Christian symbols, the Christian significance of the characters' names, the connection with alchemy, and the difference between incantational (magic used in Harry Potter) and the kind of magic the Scriptures warn us about. But most of all, Granger lays out the true themes in Harry Potter: love for others, eternal life, and most important of all, good vs. evil. Granger claims that the Harry Potter books help us in our own spiritual battles against evil and deftly arms our children for battle with the true Voldemort (Satan). I've felt all along that the theme of the books is the Scriptural command to "cling to what is good." And Granger supports the worth of these books valiantly, stating that ALL Christian children should read them for edification, just as they read the Narnia or the Lord of the Rings books. He also believes that the Harry Potter series will bring unbelieving children closer to believing the Gospel because the books appeal to the "God-shaped void" Pascal asserts is within us all.

I found this book absolutely fascinating and plan to read it over again. A friend from my Bible study lent it to me, and I think we'll definitely have to invest in our own copy. I can't recomment this book highly enough, whether one is a Harry fan or believes that these books are evil. Either way, you owe it to yourself and to your children to read this excellent book.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Doing What I Love Best....

I got an idea about the introduction for my book while I was watering the garden today. As soon as I could, I took my laptop out onto the front porch and while I watched the boys do yard work, I hammered out a good chunk of the intro.

Today at church I also asked Nathan, our newly-elected associate pastor, if he would read over my introduction and outline, and he said he'd be happy to do so. He's had a bit on his plate lately, what with the birth of his and Wendy's first son on Monday and his graduation from seminary yesterday. But before he takes on the associate pastoral duties in late July, I hope he'll have time to give me a little feedback. He's one of the many people I want to look at my ideas and see if they're helpful.

Getting my book started today felt wonderful. It's always difficult to start writing for me, but once I get going, I like to do nothing better. It's a relief to get words actually into my computer ... my BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is now starting to be a reality!

I'm excited!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Another Simple Pleasure....



For at least the last twelve years, Bath and Body Works Honeysuckle Body Splash has been my signature scent. It's lighter than perfume, not too sweet and clingy, and can be purchased for half price ($5!) immediately after Christmas. And that $5 bottle of spray lasts me over a year.

I get many comments on it -- "You always smell SO good!" -- from hugging friends at church. (And are we ever a church of huggers!)

One can't beat the results for the price. I always feel very feminine and all "put together," no matter how I actually feel, if I'm wearing my favorite scent, Honeysuckle Spray from Bath and Body Works. It's another simple pleasure that makes a simple life feel GRAND!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Friday's Anglican Moment: Proper Preface



In the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, after the confession and "comfortable words" yet before Communion is served, a Proper Preface is prayed by the priest. Following is the Proper Preface for Whitsuntide (Pentecost and the seven days following):

Through Jesus Christ our Lord; according to whose most true promise, the Holy Ghost came down as at this time from heaven, lighting upon the disciples, to teach them, and to lead them into all truth; giving them boldness with fervent zeal constantly to preach the Gospel unto all nations; whereby we have been brought out of darkness and error into the clear light and true knowledge of thee, and of thy Son Jesus Christ

Then the service proceeds as usual:

Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify thy glorious Name, evermore praising thee, and saying,

HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God of hosts, Heaven and earth are full of thy glory; Glory be to thee, O Lord Most High. Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord: Hosanna in the Highest.


Now, that's WORSHIP!

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