Sunday, December 31, 2006

Okay, I've set my second New Year's Resolution. Each
end of the month I'll let you know how many mice
G'ma Opal annihilated during the previous 30/31

December 2006--8 mice total.

If I forget, please remind me to give her a call. I
don't know if she makes marks on a sheet of paper, or
if she records the kills on her calendar, but she
sure 'nuff knows and will gleefully tell me.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

It hits daily. Sometimes I am just more aware of
it than others.

My human nature is unbearably close to the surface.

My veneer of spirituality is terribly thin.

Psalm 51:6,7
Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom.
Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Friday, December 29, 2006

In and Around Mayberry

Overheard as G'ma Opal and Annie were playing cards
with Derrill and Kent, after Kent laid down an off
card: "I'm off," announced Kent. "You sure are off,"
shot back Granny.

Overheard as Philippine Sister was holding on tightly
to a careening car being driven by Philippine Sister's
mother through the big metropolis of Poplar Bluff: (This
one was said by said mother),"You girls have problems!"

My first resolution as I approach the New Year-Remember
to thank God for laughter.

A few weeks ago I came across an article about
Jacob Bernoulli. He, of course, is a famous
mathemetician. He had engraved on his tombstone
what I want engraved on mine. If you want to
make your own tombstone click on the one above.

Tip of the bonnet to Carmen.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Philippine Sister and her family are in Mayberry for
several days. Today Derrill, Becky (PS), niece Annie,
Kent and I headed down the gravel to visit G'ma Opal.
What a time we had.

"What felicity," thought I. "G'ma always cooks for Phil.
Sis. and family, and since we are with them maybe we'll
come in for a share of it." Oh wonderful life to not
disappoint me when I ask so little of it. When Kent and
I got there (the others had gone on ahead), G'ma had a
pumpkin pie in the oven and a roast in the crockpot. She
was already embroiled in a game of High Five as these
delicacies were merrily bubbling and creating delectable
odors. She won. That put her in a good mood so she gave
up her seat at the card table and began to peel potatoes.
I volunteered to help, but, no, she didn't need my help.

The potatoes went in a pot. Some carrots went into another
pot. Then she sat down to play another game. My stomach
was beginning to feel a little empty. The roast was already
done, I'd sneaked a peek at it. The potatoes were softening
nicely; I was babysitting them to keep them from boiling over.
The carrots were looking good. But the game was far from
over. It looked for a time as if the girls would win (G'ma
and Becky). My insides were decidedly uncomfortable now.
The pie came out of the oven, but the game raged on. The boys
(Kent and Derrill) took the lead, things were beginning to
look bleak. We must keep G'ma in a good mood! I was also
eyeing the made-from-scratch cake with chocolate icing that
was sitting on the counter. Then with a final turning of the
tide, the girls won...Grandma was happy.

Quickly we mashed the taters, mixed gravy into the carrots,
opened up a jar of homemade dilly pickles, opened another of
pickled beets, pulled out some homemade cherry jelly, set
the meat, potatoes, carrots, and bread on the table, and
joined hands in the living room for prayer.

Oh, it was good.

Pretty good for a 96 year old. A feast and a double win
at cards all on the same morning. What more can a girl
ask for?

And, in case you are wondering which dessert I chose, I had
a small piece of each.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

You know your children are growing up when you
have to wake them up on Christmas morning.

You know your children are growing up when they
look like this after they've been awakened.

And here is an extra bonus of our Christmas Elf
reading the Christmas story before gift opening.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Here is a fun story about a family named Christmas.

Tip of the hat to Amy.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


God with us.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Cheer:

What do you call people who are afraid of Santa?

What do you get when you cross a shark and snow?

Where do you find reindeer?
Where you left them.

What do reindeer have that nothing else has?
Baby reindeer.

Why was Santa's little helper sad?
He had low elf-esteem.
Yesterday we birthday partied for my oldest son Joel.
He turned 23 on Friday, but we held off the celebration
till Saturday. Joel has had to fight his way through
life, but he has done so with a heart that is 100%
given over to Christ. His whole life is a journey of
discovery. He surrendered to the love of God when he
was a young boy, and since then his main question has
always been, "Okay, Christ is my Savior, now what does
that mean for my life? What does it mean to be a
Christian?" His faith is far deeper than almost anyone
else I know.

Happy birthday to the son who as a four year old, trying
to pick up the vacuum cleaner, with a cape on, said in a roar,
"I am Superman, I am Mighty Mouse, I am the Word of God!"
And then, with a sheepish look, and a much quieter voice,
squeaked out, "Mom, can you help me?"

Saturday, December 23, 2006

This is fascinating. It shows the history of
world religion in 90 seconds.

Tip of the hat to Challies.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The epistles are chock full of God's life-giving
message. They are also strung throughout with
wonderful blessings. I love to tiptoe into my
children's rooms at night right when they are
hovering between wakefulness and sleep and leave
them with a blessing to ponder.

Colossians 4:5,6 adapts beautifully to such an
end. Here is my adaptation of these verses and
newest blessing for my crew.

May you walk in wisdom in the world, may you
redeem the time, and may your speech be filled
with grace.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

One reason I like blogging is that it causes me
to slow down and think a little more deeply. My
tendency is to have an idea burst upon me, usually
in my reading, and say to myself, "Wow! What an
incredible idea," and then move on to the next
item on my to do list, folding clothes or whatever
it may be. Often I will think, "Such and such an
idea relates to this verse I read here, and to this
other idea I came across there...," and this all
makes a lightning quick connection in my brain
and then it all dissipates into the reality of
everyday needs of the moment, such as, what meat
should I thaw for dinner?

One of those connectings has been rolling
around a lot lately and here is my stab at
pulling it all together.

I am in the midst of a wonderful book called,
In the Steps of Moses, by Louis Golding. He is
attempting to follow in the steps of Moses beginning
with his birth and going straight through to his
death. After coming up to Mt. Sinai and climbing
it Golding makes the following observations:

"We had made a journey between the Nile and Mount
Sinai in the steps of Moses the Lawgiver. We were
setting out that day on a journey between Mount
Sinai and the Jordan in the steps of Moses the
Conqueror. It was not the second part of a journey
we were making, but a new journey, different in mood,
with different fellow-travellers....We had till this
moment of departure from Sinai been engaged upon an
Exodus, fugitives from the terror of Pharaoh....But
now, now that we were moving forward from Sinai, we
were not a rabble of fugitives any more. A great
thing had happened to us, no greater has ever
happened to any host of men. We were a People....
We were bound together by a Covenant....The Exodus
of a rabble was over. The Advance of a People
towards its pomised heritage was about to begin."

Psalm 114:1,2 says:
When Israel went out of Egypt,
The house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
Judah became His sanctuary,
And Israel His dominion.

So, God began to dwell with His people, and His people
were the called out ones. The Tabernacle and the
Temple were symbols that He was with them. They
showed that He was in their midst.

And then God goes further, He has Isaiah pen the
following promise in Isaiah 7:14:
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son,
and shall call His name Immanuel.

And, of course, that came about in the fullness of
time and Matthew 1:22,23 reports:
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which
was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:
"Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a
Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which
is translated, "God with us."

No longer would they need the symbols of Tabernacle or
Temple. No longer would God's People need to
picture the presence of God. Now they had
Immanuel in the flesh. God was with them. This
is the picture I carry with me through the
Christmas season.

God with His people. No longer a symbol; no longer
a picture of God, but God Himself with them.

God with His called out ones.


And now we are on a journey. A new journey. A journey
that is like none before it. It is like none other
because the People on this journey are from every
tribe and tongue and people and nation (Revelation 5:9).
And this journey will lead us straight to the Throne
of God.

It will lead us straight to our Immanuel.

Then, not only will we have God with us, we will be with

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Principled Discovery has posted a yummy looking
week short of a year Carnival of Homeschooling.
Hop over for some great reads.
Our biggest dilemma these days is whether or not
we will start a fire. If it is in the 60's as it
was last week then using the wood furnace means you
will have to open all the windows and doors. The
house quickly develops a tropical heat level. If
it is in the 4o's or below the wood furnace is
perfect and makes the house quite cozy. But this
week is in the 50's. That means it is not quite
cold enough for the wood furnace, probably it will
quickly become 80 in the house (as it feels right
now), but it is really too cool to run just the
electric heat, since we are such cheapies and will
only set the temp at 68. Oh, what to do, what to

While you are helping us make this decision, here
are some fun and some thoughtful links to Christmas

Here is a Christmas I Corinthians 13 for Busy Moms. Hat-tip to Chrysalis who gave a hat-tip to Crikl's Nest.

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows,
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen,
baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals and arranging
a beautifully adorned table at mealtime,
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen,
carol in the nursing home and give
all that I have to charity,
but do not show love to my family,
it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels
and crocheted snowflakes,
attend a myriad of holiday parties
and sing in the choir's cantata
but do not focus on Christ,
I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to
kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has
coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out
of the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able
to give in return but rejoices in giving to
those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
Video games will break, pearl necklaces
will be lost, golf clubs will rust.
But giving the gift of love will endure!

Tammy at Family Doin's has a fun remake of
Clement C. Moore's famous poem.

And finally, this Advent Calender must have been
made with Mayberry in mind.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I had to go past the first three definitions of
"tradition" to get to the one I usually mean when
I use the word. That is interesting. The first
meaning listed is an obsolete one and is: a
surrender or betrayal. But, this is a rabbit
trail and not at all what was first intended when
I began this post. Dictionaries are dangerous in
such ways.

When I use the word I use it the way the fourth
definition lists it.

Tradition-n. (a surrender, delivery, tradition).
4. a long-established custom or practice having
the effect of precedent or unwritten law.

Traditions are comforting. They let you know where
you stand and what is expected of you. They can
enter with you into the unfamiliar and keep you
stayed because you have a familiar routine to be
repeated. They help define you.

And yet, traditions are fluid, they must be, if not
we would still be living as our parents did 6000
years ago. Change is not bad. Of course, it is not
always good either. Change is amoral, it is the
what and the how things are changing that is either
bad or good.

There are many things that were tradition at one time
in my family's life that no longer are. And there
are traditions that were unknown years ago that have
come to be. How, with the adding of people into the
family and the loss of others could this not be? How,
with movings and growings up and growings old could
things always stay the same?

One tradition that has come to be with my children is
a Christmas one. Every year when they were younger
I very carefully chose an ornament to give each one of
them. These were intended to be the beginning of their
own collection when they were grown and on their own.
No longer do I do this. It is not because I don't like
ornaments, nor is it that I am against decorating for the
holidays. It is because I don't need to. They each
have an ornament collection that is out of this world.
Well, maybe not exactly out of this world, but it is
definitely a world ornament collection.

My Father and Mother-in-law do a lot of traveling, and
it is their tradition, wherever they go, to buy an
ornament for each of their grandchildren. My children
have ornaments from Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Finland,
Estonia, Norway, France, Spain, Ireland, England, Italy,
Germany, Canada, Mexico, Poland, and many of the states
in the US. You can always tell how much traveling they
did during the year by the number of ornments the grand-
kids receive. Last year each one got 10 or so. This
year they each received only one; it is a beautiful
little drum from Williamsburg,VA.

I love hanging their ornaments every year. It is a
reminder that the gospel is for the whole world not
just my little corner of it.

However, this year, with our little tree, and the huge
number of ornaments, over 2/3 had to stay packed away.
I guess that is the start of a new tradition; we'll have
to rotate using the ornaments until my children are
grown and move out taking their ornaments with them.
Then once again both they and we will have to start
building a new tradition.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Who would've thought that here in the very deeps
of December it would be...balmy.
Yesterday was a typical morning on the farm.

Translation: hassles.

We were up at the crack of dawn. That is such
a energetic thing to say. Actually we just like
getting up at the crack of dawn. And, why is it
called the "crack of dawn"? That sounds so
dramatic and harsh. Dawn really comes traipsing
in so softly and lightly that it is there before
you quite realize it.

We were up at the dawning of the day. Kent was
studying and I was baking for a neighbor who lost
a young baby this week to pneumonia. Kent went
out to hang some new hay feeders we bought this
week. He wants to spread out the 11 bovine mouths
we have to feed. When he went out, though, he saw
we had a major problem. A cow had gotten her foot
stuck through the slats of a metal chicken roost
that was in the barn. She was banging and clanging
around like a mad thing. So, Mr. Farmer asked for
Mrs. Farmer to come out and help him, as though I
can do anything with an insane cow.

I foolishly tiptoed through the muck and other
unmentionables to the barn in my nice clothes and
good shoes. "Laurie, we've got a major problem,"
said the farmer to his wife." I could see that.
The stuck cow just happened to be one of our
wilder cows. "Okay, I'll go get some feed."
That is my answer to everything. Feed them,
they'll feel better and so will I.

As I was turning to go, the farmer said, "And get
some boots on, you crazy woman." (Well, those weren't
his exact words, but I can read between the lines
as well as the next person.)

I decided to change shoes and pants and by the time
I got back out there the foolish cow had banged and
clanged her way to freedom. So, now all that was
left was to hang the new feeders. That took some
ingenuity, but Kent is full of that, so they got
hung in due time.

There is no better sight than the sun slanting
in the door of the barn while hay dust is sifting
throuh the shafts of sunlight; and there is no
better feeling than watching that dust dance in
the air while you are standing in the barn on a
balmy December day.

Of, course, there is still the muck and other un-
mentionables to be gotten off the good shoes. A good
walk down the gravel does wonders to clean off
shoes, though.

Life is good. Farm Life is good. Most of all God is
Only in Mayberry...

Yesterday Grandma Opal called to ask me if anyone
in my family was going to town. She had been the
day before and had bought a cord at True Value
to try and fix a lamp of hers. But, she went
off and left the cord laying on the counter at
the store. So, if we were going to town could
we pick it up for her, please.

"No," I replied to her, "no one is going to town."

However, a friend from church works at True Value,
and it was Wednesday, that means Wednesday Night
church. "Grandma," I said, "I could call True Value
and ask Danny to bring the cord to church and drop
it by your house later, Grandma."

"No, that would be too much trouble," replied G.Opal,
"I went to town yesterday and it would be too much
good luck to get to go again today. That's why I
called to see if any of you were going."

"Well," Laurie again here, "I am for sure going to
town tomorrow, I'll get it then."


Fast forward a few hours. We are sitting in the
sanctuary admiring the work the men have done on the
stage during the last few hours as we prepare for
the Christmas Program. I look over at Danny and
say, "Oh, Danny, my Grandma bought something from
True Value yesterday and left it."

Danny's reply, "I meant to bring that tonight, but
I forgot."

I saiy, "I'll get it tomorrow when I'm in town."

Danny, "Yes, but your Grandma hasn't been able to
get to work on her lamp yet."

Just a little snippet, but I am always reminded of the
connectedness there is in small town life.

And I am still wondering, just what is it G. Opal is
doing to her lamp?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

My heart's cry:

O Lord,
I have a wild heart,
and cannot stand before thee;
I am like a bird before a man.
How little I love thy truth and ways!
(The Valley of Vision)

My heart's prayer:

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or
conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem
others better than himself. Let each of you (me) look
out not only for his own interests, but also for
the interests of others.

Let this mind be in you (me) which was also in Christ
Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not
consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made
Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a
bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
(Philippians 2:3-7)
Slowly I am reading through a book titled In the Steps
of Moses.
It is written by Louis Golding. After I
finish it, I will write a complete review, but I have
come to love this book. It was given to me by a friend
to read quite some time ago, and I just kept it on the
bottom of my pile of books because, well, it didn't
look very interesting. So, when I finally pulled it up
off the pile, I thought I would just skim through it like
a speed-demon and then hand it back with a smile and a
"Thank you". That was the plan. Then I began to skim;
then I began to read; and then I began to enjoy it greatly.

I just want to whet your appetite by giving you a small
dose of what it is about this book that is so enticing.

Get a whiff of this...

"But where was I? What had Moses, what had I, to do with
this piscine imbroglio?" (You get ten points if you can
tell what piscine imbroglio means without looking it up.
I couldn't.)

Or try this one on...

"It impressed itself on our memory, for it was our introduction
to the great national pastime of Transjordan, whispering,
murmuring, scheming, whispering, murmuring....It does not matter
what race they spring from, what their professions are; when
two Transjordanians get together they put their heads close
and start murmurng, Arabs of the villages, Beduin of the desert,
British soldiers, Italian missionaries. Transjordan is one
vast whispering-gallery."

Oh, in case you're wondering about piscine imbroglio, here's the

Piscene-having to do with fish (I should have know...Pisces
is The Fish.)
Imbroglio-a confused heap; a confusing situation.

So-A confused heap of a fish situation. It makes sense in the
flow of the book. Guess you'll just have to read it for

Monday, December 11, 2006

There are two boarding homes and one nursing home
in Mayberry. We are on a rotating schedule with
the other Mayberry churches to provide Sunday afternoon
services to the people in these homes. About once a
month we are on the schedule, and yesterday was one
of those days.

Teasingly I have spoken of our Special Little Christmas
Yesterday at the boarding home there was one of
those spectacularly gorgeous trees. It was probably twice as
tall as I am, and dazzingly decorated in red and gold and
white. The lady responsible for decorating the tree came
through the room we were in and I complemented her on the
beauty before me. That woman just drips creativity from
every pore. I wanted to follow behind her and stand in one
of the puddles and splash in it for awhile.

Our Special Tree is simply decorated. We didn't buy any
new decorations this year. We didn't spend any time thinking
of new things to create to add to the ambiance of the tree.
We just cut it down, put a few lights on it, and then hung as
many ornaments as we could without making it look overloaded.
That is about the limit of what I could do, but we love our

Okay, I am not making a distinction, necessarily, between much
and little. I thought their tree was tremendous. I think our
tree is terrific. I am making a point about what is fitting
and right. I am making a point about contentment. There is a
lesson to be learned about meeting the need of the moment and
then moving on to the next job. There is a lesson about using
the gifts God has blessed one with and not being dissatisfied
with what is beyond one's ability. There is richness to be
found in the exact life God has surrounded me with and my
part is to enjoy that richness and to seek for ways to make
it more right and fitting for my family.

I want to bring together the following items. I think I
will just list them and you see if they make any sort of
connecting sense to you.

1. This article by Challies on the gifts of the Spirit,
with an emphasis on looking around and seeing what needs
to be done and doing it.

2. This article by Amy (Amy's Humble Musings) where she
quotes Elizabeth Elliot in saying, "Just do the next
thing." (I apologize, I can't get the exact article alone on
this. Just scroll on her page to the article titled EE put
put to the test.)

3. Colossians 3:23--And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to
the Lord and not to men.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Was that nice, do you think, for Grandma Opal to
point her finger at Kent and say, "I do not like
you!"?? The fact that he was creaming her in
Rummy should not matter to someone who is the mature
age of 96. Nor should the fact that he had just
scooped up the very cards she had her eyes on mean
anything at all. Anyway, she came in second, and
that was out of six players. Not too bad, Granny,
but better luck next time.

Friday, December 08, 2006

You may be wondering just how little our Special
Christmas Tree
really is. I'll tell you.

Robert Barry is the author of a wonderful children's
Christmas book called Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree.
I still have the copy of this that I had as a child.
Mr. Willowby gets an enormous tree for his home, but
it is a little too large and so they chop off the top
and throw it out. The butler then takes the top and
presents it to the maid, but it is again too tall
for the spot she has picked out and so--off with the
top. The gardener finds the little tree in the trash
and takes it to Mrs. Gardener, but once again it is
too tall, so "off with your head". This continues
on through a bear, a fox, some rabbits and finally
the tippy-top ends up in the little mousehole of
Mistletoe Mouse who just happens to live in the
large home of Mr. Willowby himself.

It is a delightful book. My tree is about the size
of Mr. Willowby's tree after it arrives at the
home of the bears. Not quite small enough for the
mantle (assuming we had one, which we don't), but
not even close to touching the ceiling as Mr. Willowby's
tree does.

It comes about up to my chin. It is adorable!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The gospel is an offense to a dark world. The good
news that brings such joy to the Christian is a stench
in the nostrils of those who reject it.

I Peter 2:6-8 conains partial quotes from Isaiah 8:14
and Isaiah 28:16.

Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,
"Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on Him
will by no means be put to shame."
Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but
to those who are disobedient,
"The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone."
"A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense."

Jesus, Himself, recognized he was an offense to the
pride of many people around Him.

Matthew 13:57 tells us this.

So they were offended at Him.

Jesus asked His disciples in John 6:61, after speaking
to them about the ramifications of His death.

"Does this offend you?"

Paul speaks to this also in Galatians 5:11. He says:

And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why
do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of
the cross has ceased.

There are several reasons the gospel is an offense.
The main one is the pride of man. Man does not want
to admit that he is unable to be good. He does not
want to have to lay himself down prostrate before
a holy God and say, "I am nothing; You are all."


Just because the message we, as Christians, bring to
the world is offensive to them, it does not mean that
we are to be offensive. Our part is to be gracious
and loving. Our part is to look for opportunities
to shed a word of truth (hard truth though it may be)
in a manner that is calculated to be pleasing. Let
the world be offended by that truth if they will, but
may they not be offended by an ungracious or prideful
attitude in me, the messenger. This is not to say
Christians need to look and act like the world. But,
it is to say that we need to portray the message of
salvation with grace, dignity and love.

Paul understood the Gospel would offend many of those
to whom he presented it. Yet, that did not stop him
from penning the following words in I Corinthians 10
verses 19-22.

For though I am free from all men, I have made
myself a servant to all, that I might win the
more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that
I might win the Jews; to those who are under
the law, as under the law, that I might win
those who are under the law; to those who are
without law, as without law (not being without
law toward God, but under law toward Christ),
that I might win those who are without law;
to the weak I became as weak, that I might
win the weak. I have become all things to
all men, that I might by all means save some.

So, we are to be an unoffensive people presenting
a message of great offense.

This week I read The Pearl by John Steinbeck.
I imagined a reporter coming to me to interview
me on my take on this book.

Q. So, in a technical sense, was this a well
written book?
A. It was written by John Steinbeck, so the
answer is "yes". (What a riduculous question.)

Q. Can you summarize this book, so I'll know
what it is all about?
A. Sure. It is based on a Mexican folk legend.
A poor villager is in desperate need of help
from the local doctor. He goes pearl diving to
try and find enough pearls for cash to pay the
doctor. He finds the Pearl of the World.
It is amazing. It sings to him of hope and of unheard
possibiliies. But from the moment of finding it
only evil things come into the man's life.
Finally the most evil thing of all happens and
he throws the Pearl of the World back into the
bosom of the sea.

Q. Hmmm. What would you say, in general is the
mood of this book?
A. This is Steinbeck we're talking about. The mood
is sad and depressing.

Q. Then is there no hope in this book.
A. Actually at the end of the book, there is a
paragraph that speaks to some hope. If it wasn't
there, if there were no redemption of any kind,
it would be an impossibility for the mind to
absorb this book. It is a long paragraph and I
will only give you the last few sentences for
your article.

The people say the two seemed to be removed from
human experience; that they had gone through pain
and had come out on the other side; that there was
almost a magical protection about them. And those
people who had rushed to see them crowded back and
let them pass and did not speak to them.

Now if you'll excuse me I've got clothes to wash
and breakfast to cook. This interview is at an

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Family News in a Very Random Order

1. Yesterday, as I was in Mayberry ringing the
Salvation Army Bell, Princess Daughter was at home
making cookies. Usually she rings the bell
with me. Actually, it is strategic for her to
come with me (who can resist an adorable little
person ringing the SA Bell) and on top of that
she loves to do it. But right now she has a
cold and a cough (that reminds me of when I was
in the Philippines and my friends would say, "I
have coughs and colds") and I didn't want her
standing in the cold for an hour.

She made Christmas Nut Cookies out of The Pooh
Cook Book and they are delicious. It was a new
recipe to me. She loves reading through recipes
and was thrilled to find one that had all the
ingredients she needed.

2. The Christmas Tree tradition at our house, since
we moved to Mayberry, is for Kent and some or all of
the kids to go out and about either on our or my parent's
property and cut down a tree. Usually they look for
the biggest, most beautiful tree they can find and
it takes a lot of looking and debating until one is

This year Kent had a different idea. He went, with
Billy and Hattie, back onto the property. My dad
and Uncle Jim joined them for the adventure. When
they came back they had a beautifully proportioned
little cedar tree. Did I say little? I meant it.
This gorgeous tree is shorter than I am. Wow! This
may be the first year the pile of presents is taller
than the tree, and I do not go overboard on presents.
We set it up, which was a challenge being as little
as it is, and then we strung on a single strand of
lights. We hung both ornaments on it (just kidding,
we hung quite a few) and put the angel on top. Of
course we had to use a different angel. The usual
lighted one was too heavy. It is beautiful and fun.
Oh, and short, did I mention that yet?

3. In their spare time from cooking and tree cutting
down Kent and Hattie are practising. He is teaching
her his favorite dance step. We have a niece getting
married in the spring and they want to be ready. He
has tried to teach it to me for over 24 years now, but
alas, not only can I not sing, I also have no rhythm. I thought
maybe the two were tied together, but then I remembered
that Philippine sister sings as abysmally as I do yet
she has great rhythm. Oh well, Princess Daughter gets
her lovely singing voice and rhythm from Kent, but she
gets her cooking ability from me.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A Tale of a Modern Day Homesteader

(I started to title this News From the Homestead,
and I was going to write about our special Christmas
Tree this year, but then I thought some people
might be interested in the small tale of
some modern day homesteaders, and I got distracted
from my original intent. Perhaps I'll continue
this tale of a Modern Day Homesteader in install-
ments and post on a different post about our
Special Christmas Tree. Yes, indeedy, I think that
is what I'll do.)

Really there is some truth to the word "homestead" for
our famiy. When we first came to Mayberry we lived
with my dear folks for about 8 months. We are a loud
family and drove them bananas, but they handled it with
love and grace.

We had some property down the gravel from my folks; it
was a lovely spot, but had nothing on it except about 20
acres of overgrown field and 20 acres of woods. Oh, and
of course, the two ponds, one good-size at the joining
of the field and the woods and one little one up-close
to the road.

I lie, there was an old house, an old barn and two or
three old sheds, but nothing suitable for us to use as a
dwelling. After looking at all the options we decided
to buy a re-built mobile home and pull it onto the property.

It is so easy to talk of these things and so difficult to
accomplish them. There was no driveway, no water, no
electricity, no septic, ARGH! I often wished, in those
days, that we could have bought the place after it had
been lived on for 10 years, but then we wouldn't have
been able to afford it.

I have some pictures to post from those early days, but my
computery son is in the Big City gaining much university
knowledge and I am tussleling hopelessly with the scanner.
I'll post them when I can and continue the saga at a later

Friday, December 01, 2006

The best laid plans of mice and men...

Poor Billy, stuck at the Metro Station at Wash U
last night because the trains quit running due
to the nasty weather.

Blessed Billy, to have such a good Opa that would
leave his warm nest in Weldon Springs to drive all
the way to the Big City to pick up the stranded boy.

Grateful Billy, to have a cell phone to call his Opa
and to while away the time calling friends and family,
from the cold, open-to-the-weather station, as he waited
for over an hour for help to arrive.
Chrysalis in a comment on this post asked me a
question about English Literature. I am no great
expert on this genre, but I have always enjoyed
English writers. There is a steadiness and rooted-
ness that makes one feel at home. (And of course
they make me hungry for cucumber sandwiches and
tea with cream.)

Here is a list of English writers I have read and
truly enjoyed.

Rudyard Kipling (My veriest most favorite are
the Just So Stories...great read-
Charlotte Bronte (Dark and gloomy)
Emily Bronte (I'm ready to re-read Jane Eyre as soon
as I get to the last page)
Jane Austin (Who doesn't love the flow of conversation
in her books?)
Dorothy Sayers (Lord Peter Wimsey is phenomenal, she
also wrote apologetics, but I've not
read any)
Miss Read (The penultimate in picturing village life)
Dame Agatha Christie (Mystery writer extraordinaire)
Charle Dickens (From Great Expectations to A Tale of
Two Cities he shines)
Shakespeare ('nuff said)
C.S. Lewis (I love both his fiction and non-fiction,
try out his Space Trilogy for a new twist)
J.R.R. Tolkein (I've been a fan of his for about 30 years,
it's a good thing I can't remember who I
lent the Silmarillion to, because I might
never have forgiven them for not giving it
George McDonald (His romances and his children's books are
A.A. Milne (I love his poetry books for children, as well
as the Winnie the Pooh books)
James Herriot (He has probably caused more people to become
veterinarians than anyone else)
G.K Chesterton (Mystery and apologetics)
Beatrix Potter (Silly rabbit!)
Edward Lear (Nonsense anyone?)
Lewis Carrol (Everybody needs a dose of Alice)
Robert Lewis Stevenson (Adventure, poetry, he does it all)
Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes to the rescue)
Baroness Orczy (The Scarlet Pimpernel...amazing story)
John Bunyan (Pilgrim's Progress)

I can't even begin to list them all; I see I've almost
totally negelected the poets: William Blake, Robert Burns,
Wordsworth, Shelly, Tennyson etc.

Here is a very comprehensive list of English Writers.