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Archive for the ‘Home and Family’ Category

I Think We May Be Missing Something Very Important

In all too many cases, I think she’s right.

hat tip: @sarahmae on Twitter

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Anthony Esolen provides a useful history lesson.

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… that not driving kids nuts by strangling their play time has beneficial results.

Who’d have guessed, right?

hat tip: Scott Ott on Facebook

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You’ve probably seen this wonderful and wise article elsewhere (in the slang of the day, it has ‘gone viral’), but here you go anyway: Marriage Isn’t For You.

If you haven’t read it, please do. The people around you will appreciate it.

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1. I had this plan to set up a 7 Quick Takes Friday draft post every week, probably starting on Saturday, into which I would pile links and short observations. That way, I could just pick the seven best ones come Friday, and wouldn’t that be sweet? I still think it’s a good plan. But nothing even remotely like that has happened this week. Sigh.

What I’ve done instead is redo every ebook cover on every book over which I have the control of the cover and content. I also pulled a couple of the really short children’s books, to rewrite. And I edited a new novel, that should be out soon. And mowed the lawn, and watered the lawn, and chased kids around. It’s been a busy week.

2. For a while, we had a cow that routinely jumped over the neighbor’s fence and ate in our front pasture. Our front pasture is new, and not fenced yet, which made it handy for the cow. When he felt like it, he just hopped back in with the other cows, so I stopped worrying about him.

I haven’t seen him in days. I’m a bit afraid of asking the neighbors how they solved that problem. He was a bit young yet to take to the slaughterhouse, but sometimes it’s better to cut your losses if you have a cow that will not stay home. I think I won’t ask.

3. I usually take a five year old grandniece with me to a couple of weekly ‘Bible studies’ at assisted living centers. I put ‘Bible studies’ in quotes, because it’s not quite the right designation. It’s more like a short rendezvous of Christians in the facility, with a couple or three of us outsiders leading singing, reading a short Bible passage, leading corporate prayer, and leading singing again, for a total of a half hour at each place. (No, I can’t sing. Yes, they forgive me for that.) This week, the five year old was having a very busy day, with her first day of pre-kindergarten, plus birthday celebrations, so I took her three-year-old sister. She did really, really well at being my helper in handing out songbooks, and collecting songbooks, and she sang along nicely as well as she could, and she tried really, really hard to sit still the rest of the time. That’s not to say she sat still. She was, however, praised by numerous people for being such a cheerful, detail-oriented helper. That was fun.

Please, if you have kids under your wing, consider getting involved in visits to assisted living centers or nursing homes. I hate age ghettos, and those set up for old people are some of the most heartbreaking, because most of the people there dreadfully miss being around children. Some don’t, of course, but most do. You should see them light up when they’ve got a child to chat with. It’s also been fun watching the kids learn to deal with old people with various disabilities. Kids are naturals at adapting to stuff like that, in my experience, and I doubt it hurts them any to see people loving people who may not be able to do much.

4. Here’s some perspective from an immigrant who grew up where there was a national curriculum: A Tale of a Common Core. (hat tip: The Common Room)

5. Speaking of national education programs that don’t like to have people deviate from the state indoctrination project, this is scary. I can’t say it makes me want to visit Germany any time soon, either.

6. On a more cheerful note, I discovered a wonderful little book that would be good for read-aloud, or bedtime stories. I got the Kindle edition while it was on sale: In Grandma’s Attic. As of post time, it’s still on sale, at 99 cents.

7. Back to a less cheerful note, another book I’d recommend is Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956. I don’t believe history ever repeats itself, per se, but it sure does rhyme frequently, and all too much of what Eastern Europe went through as it fell into totalitarian ruthlessness is all too similar to trends today. Not encouraging, that. But forewarned is forearmed, if you’ve got the stomach for it. It’s not as brutal a read as The Gulag Archipelago. But it’s scary enough, and I doubt our schools are likely to provide the info. On the contrary, they seem to be in a ‘oh, communism would be wonderful if only we ran it’ propaganda mode. Again. Or do I mean still? On the upside, the Iron Curtain didn’t stay up the way the central planners wanted it to, now did it?

For more 7 Quick Takes Friday posts, please visit Conversion Diary.

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1. Tell me I’m not the only person chasing preschoolers around who is seriously considering locking up the soap dispensers and not letting any girl under the age of six have access without a grown-up in attendance. Two girls I babysit love to wash dishes, windows, doors, toys, faces, hands, mirrors, what have you, and have a tendency to use up all the dish soap and hand soap they can get their hands on, most of it for uses other than keeping germs at bay. I don’t want to discourage their domestic streak, and I certainly want them to keep their hands clean, but they’re in danger of busting the budget, and of making it impossible to keep soap in stock for people who want to wash hands. On the upside, if I need a breather, all I need to do is let them have a sink and some soap, and they will usually wash away for unspeakable lengths of time, happy as larks.

2. I’m currently reading Amazing Grace on my Kindle. It’s currently $2.99. It’s a biography of William Wilberforce. If you don’t know who that is, you might want to remedy that shortcoming in your education.

3. We’ve been having winter trading off with pseudo-spring lately, sometimes back and forth in the same day. That’s usual for February around here: we get a taste of spring, and then get hammered with snow, ice, and frost. I like to think it builds character. Or, at least, that it could build character.

4. I’ve been busy for weeks now helping an older gentlemen get his aviation memoirs ready to publish. We’re getting close. He’s flown back country mountains for more than 50 years, much of it as a charter pilot, and I’m enjoying working on the book, even though I’m not a flyer, or even interested in flying. I’m enjoying the adventures, and also the personality of the man. When one passenger refused to behave, the author just landed at a handy airport, hauled the man off the plane, and took off again without him. I can appreciate that sort of pilot. Oh, my, yes. The book’s title is Adventures of an Idaho Mountain Pilot. Coming soon to a bookseller near you.

5. One of my favorite old ladies died this week. I’d see her nearly every week, at a Bible study I help with at the assisted living facility where she lived. She was already frail and wheelchair bound, and often a bit unsure what was going on, when I met her, but she was unfailingly gracious and courteous, and concerned for others above herself. She’s been a mighty inspiration to me. Last week, she was too sick to come to the study, mostly from some small strokes she’d had, so we popped by her room to say hello and wish her a happy 99th birthday before we left. As usual, she was sweet and kind and sent us out the door with a God Bless You, even though she was struggling from damage from the strokes. Amazing.

6. Speaking of Bible study, have you ever noticed what’s in the Revelation 21 list of who will be kept out of heaven? “…And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.  He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death…”

I don’t know why, but when I read that for this week’s study, cowardly jumped out at me like I hadn’t seen it before. I don’t know why it surprised me. After all, how many times does God command us ‘Do not be afraid’? But, still, it jumped right off the page at me.

7. I finally slogged my way through G. K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy. The man could make me half crazy, tossing in some of the best quotable quotes in the English language, and some of the most brilliant observations in print, side by jumble with passages I find questionable, or even counterproductive. To his credit, the man almost always forces me to think, and usually sends me off on a round of study. But he exasperates me, too. Should I dive for cover now – prudently, not cowardly, of course? (This neighborhood of Bloggityville, if you don’t know, is thick with nearly rabid Chesterton fans. It just is.) As a conversion story, it’s a great read. As a convincing presentation of orthodoxy, I find too much fairy land in it. If it gets you headed toward Christianity, all well and good. God works in mysterious ways. But, all the same, I’m glad I didn’t read it until after my own conversion.

Speaking of conversion stories, why not pop over to Conversion Diary, host blog for 7 Quick Takes Friday?

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1. First off, I’d like to say that I’m amazed there is a 7 Quick Takes Friday round up this week. The usual hostess is in the hospital. But, she asked a friend to host it on her blog, and away we go. If I haven’t mentioned it lately, I am in awe – awe – of these mommybloggers.

2. I spent much of the holiday season, Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, ill in ways that suggested quarantine would be only civilized. So I missed a lot of gatherings. Considering that large gatherings aren’t my favorite thing in the world, this was not altogether a disaster. I did miss having more time with visiting relatives, most of whom I barely know.

3. On those days I wasn’t a walking germ factory, one young visiting relative, age three, was kind enough to find ways that I could play with him even in my weakened state. Our joint favorite was where I stood in one place with my feet apart, and let him drive a remote control car between my feet. Or around my feet. Or into my feet. Did I mention that he’s three? And a boy?

4. The girls next door got a play kitchen for Christmas. And a play barbecue grill. The kitchen comes complete with a phone receiver hanging on the wall. The two year old loves to pick up the phone and say “Hi. Love ya. Bye. Bye.” and hang up. She is also very fond of toy horses right now. Incorporating her toys, I have caught her several times carefully grilling or studiously frying her toy horses. Thank goodness the toys only have play pretend heat.

5. Speaking of kitchens… Several friends have been campaigning on Facebook for butter, and against margarine. I’m with them there. The main reason I switched to margarine back in the day was because my husband and I didn’t use butter fast enough to get through a whole pound before some of it would sour. Then I discovered that butter freezes well. Such a deal. You can buy butter when it’s on sale, freeze it, and pull it out a stick at a time. Who knew? (I didn’t, that’s who.)

6. It’s cold outside, right at zero. I tried to take a walk yesterday, but between the slick, packed snow on the lane, and biting cold on my face, and the remains of a respiratory illness, I cut it short. It sure was a pretty day, though. We’ve had a lot of fog this winter. Clear days are such a treat.

7. Tomorrow is Shop Hobby Lobby Day. I’ve never been to a Hobby Lobby, but there’s one about an hour away, and it’s really close to a Chick-fil-A, which I’ve never been to, either. If weather and health permit, I’m going to vote for decency and freedom by doing a little business at businesses in the crosshairs of the Can’t Abide Morality crowd. I hope to meet some new friends, too. Here’s hoping for good roads and good health.

For more of this week’s 7 Quick Takes Friday posts, go here.

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