Sunday, November 30

Toby jammin' Part 2

I think this is my current favorite. I know when I was younger, the kind of love this song is about is exactly what I needed... and Loren was strong enough to give it to me. And then came Toby, making it all even sweeter. But enough sappiness... enjoy.

Toby jammin'

Enjoy!

Saturday, November 29

Hey, God, thanks for that 2x4

I've known for nearly three years that Jon would be getting braces for a tooth that hasn't come down. He's supposed to get them put on next Tuesday.

Honestly, we deal with emotional fallout from so many unusual things, we often find it best to be matter-of-fact about all that we can. Braces turned out to be one of those things. We briefly discussed it during our last appointment, and then moved on to something else. I'm such a lousy mom. Thanksgiving night we were playing Apples to Apples, and he played his "braces" card for the word "awful". He mentioned that on the card, it says he can't eat corn on the cob, which is one of his favorite foods. (I didn't know that, either... it seems to me they're ALL his favorite.) DUH, ya think he might actually have thoughts and feelings on the subject of braces? Unfortunately, in his communication with me these past few weeks, those thoughts and feelings took a back burner to his hatred of me and the rules of this house and how I discipline his sister unfairly and why I should stop feeding him and why the heck do I keep him around, anyway, besides the fact that I love him? I did well to remain calm and continue loving him and feeding him and disciplining his sister, not once stopping to discuss braces.

Today
, it finally hit me that I should maybe look into what he can and can't eat, hygiene issues, etc.

Now I feel sorry for the little guy. Some of his stocking stuffers will need to change. And I'm guessing he's going to be pretty sore for a while, and may not be up for the big day of shopping and errands we have planned for Tuesday.

I'm thankful that God hit me with this ahead of time, so I can at least be a little prepared. And maybe the last-minute sympathy is a good thing, too. I just hope it doesn't mean I'm as lousy a mom to him as I sometimes think I am.

Catching weasels.

This is me with my first two weasels of the season. I caught them in the same day. As you can see, the one on the right is a lot bigger than the one on the left. They were so different in size, the small one stretched shorter than most small weasels do, even on a slender stretcher, while the large one stretched longer than most large ones do on a wide stretcher.

Friday, November 28

I'm glad it's almost over

Just as I thought, there's a good reason why I don't normally blog every day. In this season of life, I don't have much to say. I know enough about my beliefs and opinions to recognize those with which I agree or disagree, for the most part. But it seems that thoughts of my own are hard to grab onto.

I chalk it up to stress and mental atrophy, mostly. The real question is whether it concerns me enough to change it. The answer that occurs to me first is that I've got more pressing problems. But if I'm not a thinker, how do I expect to deal with those problems?

Then again, I'm often told I think too much.

(sigh)

I'm glad November is nearly over.

Thursday, November 27

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you have a wonderful day, full of awareness of the blessings that surround you.

Wednesday, November 26

It's beginning to look a lot like Thanksgiving

Pies are done.
Rolls are rising.
Mashed potatoes and butternut squash are ready.
Cranberry sauce looks gorgeous.

I must admit, even though I've been making mashed potatoes for 17 years, I couldn't resist the urge to stop halfway through mashing and find out how Ree makes 'em. I don't know what I did before finding her... I do know cooking wasn't nearly so fun.

As an added bonus on the ta-da list, my first Etsy order is in the mail.

After rebooting the laundry and getting out the special holiday dishes, I'll be kicking back with a bottle glass of white zin and watching a video.

Tuesday, November 25

Time to bake the pies

I should've been baking pies earlier. Instead, I was playing computer games:

The Eyeballing Game
Fantastic Contraption
Bridges

Plus I spent far too much time on Facebook.

Time to go make apple, pumpkin, and pecan pies, and maybe some rolls, too. Good thing I got a nap!

Monday, November 24

A real, live cake wreck!

We've started cruising the bakery corner when we get our groceries, now that we've discovered the hilarity of Cake Wrecks. Tonight we found one so deliciously awful, Lynae just had to run out to the truck for her camera.


Comment away... you know you want to!

Sunday, November 23

Thanks to God

Here is a lovely old hymn we sang in church this morning. You can listen to the melody at cyberhymnal.

Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide.
Thanks for times now but a memory,
Thanks for Jesus by my side.
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and stormy fall.
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul.

Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny.
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply.
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair.
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare.

Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain.
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain.
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for heavenly peace with Thee.
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks through all eternity.

Saturday, November 22

No snappy title

I am totally beat. We got all but one of the Christmas packages ready to tape up and ship out. I have the Thanksgiving dinner plan ready, and the shopping list is on the table. The turkey is thawing.

Loren and the kids rearranged one of the rooms upstairs and hooked up the spare computer. Now the kids will have an extra work station.

Somehow, those things consumed our entire day. I think we're all ready for bed... a little early for some of us.

Friday, November 21

What a hoot!

I guess you've probably seen the video of Sarah Palin being interviewed in front of the turkeys being slaughtered... that's what I call keeping it real! I hope the viewers who were shocked are vegetarians.

Thursday, November 20

I took the plunge

I opened a modest little Etsy shop. There's a new section for it on the left side of the blog.

Yikes.

Truth

Truth has always been and will always be very important. Without truth, one can gain neither trust nor respect. That is why it is important for parents to teach their children well, and children are to listen to their parents. If either party fails to do their part, the child will be like a rotten tomato that nobody wants.

I have been teaching the little kids history this year, and am amazed at how consistently the prophets in the Old Testament were right. What if his prophets hadn't always told the truth?
What if God wasn't always right? We would be like a bunch of sheep wandering around in the desert looking for water. We wouldn't be able to gain anything from life because we would be living in lies. If such was to happen now, we would surely feel cheated.

It is true that we are sinners from the start and that it is in our nature to lie, but we have the opportunity to be rescued from our sin, and we can trust that the one that offers that freedom will never give up on us, even when we screw up. Isn't that wonderful? Isn't it great that God is patient enough to teach us? If that's not love, I don't know what is.

Wednesday, November 19

Table time

We've been doing table time for the past week. Rather than pretend this isn't happening and everything is wonderful or at least normal at my house, I've decided to give you a peek at my reality.

We've had a string of sneaky and destructive behaviors which have resulted in the kids needing more direct supervision than usual. I will not spell it out in detail, but they included markers, cough drops, the pantry, bits of the dining room table, and more lies than I can count. Normal children do these things, yes. But the malicious intent and remorseless response of children with attachment disorder and fetal alcohol exposure are not normal. These children are at risk of escalating their behaviors to nightmarish levels. And children whose behaviors are that deviant or aggressive do not belong in a typical home environment. Yes, these are the very sort of children who sometimes go on to harm themselves or others, even becoming the ones you read about and just cannot comprehend. There, but for the grace of God, go we.

Imperfect as my methods may be, I believe it is my job to protect these children from their own lack of conscience by reducing their opportunities to engage in behaviors for which the consequences are harsher than they can handle. And of course I must also protect my children from each other when the need arises.

We don't have nearly enough functioning alarms in the house to adequately help with that right now. I need to know where the children are at all times, because lately, if they cannot see me, they will almost inevitably do something they shouldn't. Because the children feed on each other's attitudes and behaviors, I also need to limit their opportunities to interact with each other in secret.

And so we spend time at the table. There, they receive instruction from their parents, learn God's Word, do school work, eat, drink, and listen to music. Bathroom visits are supervised, and there are breaks for physical activity.

It is not all fun and games. Michael wore out his pencil earlier. I have a pencil box full of replacements. Instead of asking for another pencil, he had a tantrum, ruining both pencil and paper. It took him an hour of encouragement to find a better solution and some exercise time to finally calm down and ask for another pencil.

I've had to change my routine a little to make this work. Getting a shower, working on the other side of the wall in the kitchen, rebooting laundry... all of these require help and creativity. I'm grateful that the rest of the tag team is pretty reliable. And thankfully, I've had plenty of work to do which could be done in the dining room like labeling soap, addressing Christmas cards, tweaking computers, and placing online orders.

I don't know how long we will be at the table. I'm waiting for a change in attitude, a softening of their hearts, at least a hint of "calm submission," as Cesar Milan would say (regarding dogs, but it’s helpful in children as well), that lets me know they're ready to play in the next room or do their chores without inevitable disaster. I have hope that we will get back to that point. I pray that none of us completely loses our sanity in the meantime.

Monday, November 17

Words Mean Things

That's a little Rush-ism with which I completely agree. But society is not on the same page regarding meanings of words such as agenda, victory, torture, colored, marriage, even Christian:

...it’s only a name, not an especially complimentary one, a name that believers picked up in Antioch, and I wonder if we aren’t fighting the wrong battle when we try to proclaim who is or isn’t entitled to be called a Christian. Perhaps believers could save some time and animosity, and be able to move on to more important things, if we just ceded the name to anyone who wanted it and called ourselves something else. Brother Dave Black says that he only introduces himself as a follower of Jesus anymore, and that simple phrase gets right to the heart of what I think of as the Christian life.

Rick Saenz has more on the subject.

Sunday, November 16

Yuck.

Long day.
Lots of tears.
Stuck between operating systems.
Lots of cellophane.
And puzzles.
Tough on a frazzled mind.
Nothing is as it should be.
Except that God is still on the throne.
And it's snowing.

I'll be glad to see Monday.

"Distance" revisited by the guy who hasn't been here for a while...

Well, I can't add too much to what Lynae said, but there was another part of the conversation, that was kinda funny but really helped the point I think. We were talking, as you know, about nursing homes. I said "You can just imagine Grandma from The Waltons in a nursing home. She'd last... what, a day there? Then she'd walk home all the way from Charlottesville." That's probably exactly what she would do too.

Mom was driving around on the dirt roads outside town, and helping me find places to trap. We would stop every now and then to look around. One of those times, I got out to look around and found that another trapper was already there, so I looked at the tag, and I happen to know this trapper. He is one of Mr. M's friends, Mr. B. About half an hour later, I was looking at another spot, and guess who drove right by: Mr. M and Mr. B. That was neat. I need to give Mr. M a call now!

I drove Mom to and through Duluth last night. That was exciting. Didn't even get in an accident, or even close to one. Didn't get lost either, or forget a turn, or anything like that. That was kinda fun.

Saturday, November 15

I'm here

Just got home from an evening out in time to vote "present." Now I get to play detective, then tech support. THEN it will be bedtime.

Friday, November 14

I think I made a young man's day

Since we moved here, Toby has been looking for a bit of space where he could spread out his trapping and taxidermy stuff. He’s been processing animals on whatever bit of surface he could find that was out of my way, which I appreciate, but boy, it’s been tough for him. And he’s been drying pelts in the basement, but now that we have turtles and a freezer and our main wood stove down there, well, sometimes his stuff was still in the way.

An addition was built onto the house not long after it was built. As a result, there’s a little, cave-like room at the back of the basement about the size of a large walk-in closet. It’s not as warm as the rest of the basement, but it is well lit. And this afternoon, I realized it would make the perfect spot for Toby to work! I gave him permission to set up down there, and Loren found him a good-sized work table to use. The joists already have plenty of nails for hanging pelts and a skinning gambrel. Now he’ll have a place for all his tools and a radio, and he’ll be able to hear me when I call him for lunch.

I think he’s thrilled to have his own space. I'm glad I thought of it.

Distance

A while back I volunteered at a nursing home to entertain the people living there. I made a few acquaintances and enjoyed going, but always felt as though something wasn't right. Everyone seemed sad except the nurses, and I always felt awkward because I was so happy.

A couple of days ago, I sat down in the spare room to listen to Toby play his guitar. When he finished the song he was playing, he put down his guitar and sat down. We started talking and came upon the subject of nursing homes.

''Lynae, how were you able to be happy when you went to volunteer?'' Toby asked. ''Well, I knew that my job was to be cheerful, and cheerful I was.'' I answered. ''But there was so much sadness, how did you not see that?''
''I saw it and felt it, but I knew that if I couldn't be happy then surely I couldn't cheer someone else up. One thing is for sure, no matter what happens, we can't let Mom and Dad live in a nursing home. They would hate it, and every day I would feel as though I'd failed them. They belong here, and if they ever have to be assisted in living, It'll be our duty to take them in.''

I hope that we will never have to be separated like that. I would never want to be so far away that I can't be there for my parents, and hope that distance never holds me back when my family needs me.

Thursday, November 13

Bailouts

So now the auto industry wants in on the bailout plan. If my husband wants to put his tax money toward a failing auto industry, I think he should at least get an auto out of the deal.

Just imagine the financial sacrifices our new President and Congress might require us to make if we are to fund the bailouts of all sorts of failing companies. It's already beyond ridiculous, even before the auto makers get their share.

Actually, let me oversimplify my take on the situation: I think these companies should be left to face the consequences of their mismanagement of resources and the reality of the current markets. In their places would rise up new, innovative business models and modern technologies. The failure of the auto industry as we know it might be the fastest track to alternative-fueled vehicles. I also believe Ron Paul is right about this:

We have to understand that an economic correction needs to take place and the only way out of the coming recession is to go through it. Efforts to avoid it can only prolong it.
I find it curious that he did not get the Republican nomination. But God knows the future of this country, and has put people in place who will take us in that direction. Lord, have mercy on us in our decline.

Wednesday, November 12

Have y'all MET my husband??

One day I was at work when the new guy came in to get his schedule. He was all smiley and bouncy and friendly -- a lot like Skippy Handelman on Family Ties. I couldn't help but smile at such goofiness. As we got to know each other, I found out his roommate had warned him that I was bad news. (Yeah, we still haven't figured that out.) Personally, I think that's what made Loren want to hang out with me. Before I knew it, we were friends. Everyone told me we'd make a great couple. But c'mon, Skippy? My new line was, "He's great, but we'll never be more than friends."

Famous last words.
Some of you may not know that after we'd been married a few years, we separated. The only reason we didn't file for a divorce was because we couldn't afford to. I thank God that we didn't. After two years of separation, I realized that I couldn't give up on my best friend. I prayed that God would help me love Loren the way a wife should love her husband. I knew I couldn't learn to do that without divine help. But of course, with God, all things are possible. Several weeks later, we were back together. And that, my friends, was over 11 years ago.
So I haven't been smiling this whole time, but I must say that Loren and God have done a lot to help me put on a more cheerful countenance. Now the grump only makes an occasional appearance, for old times' sake. (No comment, kids!)

Tuesday, November 11

Bet you can't smile

When I was a girl, I was known for being quite the grump. I often heard that if I continued to frown, my face would freeze that way. When my parents had finally had enough of my frowning, they'd say, "Bet you can't smile." That always worked... for about three seconds.
Oh sure, I had plenty to be miserable about. My parents favored my perfect little brother. I was only the second smartest kid in my class. I had allergies, chronic bad hair, and I was short and skinny (I know, go figure!).

When told that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile, I was quick to point out that it's less important how many muscles are used than how strong those muscles are. And my smiling muscles weren't interested in a workout.
When I got a job in a fast food restaurant, the stakes were higher. I had several write-ups in my file for not being pleasant to the customers. I could be polite, but smile at them? Just because they were there? Nope. Couldn't do it. Wouldn't do it. Especially in the mornings.

And then, one day when I was 19 years old, I changed. I began to smile. Willingly. I couldn't help myself. Check in tomorrow and find out why.

And Justin, you have to actually go to the blog this time.

Monday, November 10

Christmas portraits

Today was The Day.

How long do you think it takes to get five children to smile normal smiles at the same time?

It took too long for one little guy. He ran out of smiles after a while, and decided he'd prefer this look instead.

I think it's rather plain, myself.

We'll have to see what else we can come up with.

Sunday, November 9

Potluck

We ended up staying home from church with a sick kiddo today. As always, it was nice to sing and study as a family. We read from 1 Timothy 1, which includes the following verses:

5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
It is easy to see that in the people around us, but if we're honest, we can often see it in ourselves as well. Ouch.

While the family played a game of Axis & Allies this afternoon, I did a bit more Christmas shopping online. All I had left was the hard stuff. I'm glad to be done with that! It's been a pretty quiet weekend, so hopefully we'll all be ready to face the rest of the week with enthusiasm.

I read today that Obama plans to use executive orders to get things done quickly when he takes office. It has always concerned me how easily Presidents can use that power, and how difficult it is for Congress to reverse an executive order. I hope he's not too quick to go after the freedom we have left.

Yesterday I came across something Toby had written to an online acquaintance which warmed my heart, and he's given me permission to share it with you.
I don't want to change anyone, especially someone I want to marry. Her parents will have raised her the way they feel is best, and I can get me a woman who believes the same as I do. Not only will that make less work for me, it will also help make sure I'm not enemies with my in laws, if you know what I mean.
I wish I'd been that mature when I got married.

Toby just submitted his first quarterly column for the state trapping organization's newsletter. I think he's going to have a lot of fun writing for them. He's also found another publication looking for trapping stories and is planning to send them something, too. God is so good, putting these opportunities in his path.

He is also good to let me enjoy watching my children become adults even more than I enjoyed them being little. Yes, I remember it fondly. But I wouldn't go back for anything. My goal was to raise adults, and the purpose of each day was to get them to this point and beyond, covered with the fingerprints of God. And regardless of my feelings, remembering that purpose gives me the courage to continue on with the younger children on the rough days. Not my will, but Thine be done.

Saturday, November 8

Snuggle time

Today is a bit chilly, and the snow is flying. Loren is on his way to work soon. It's a great day for finishing laundry (as if that's ever finished at our house) and snuggling in for a long winter's nap. Tonight we will have some homegrown chicken and Ree's Creamy Herbed Potatoes. We'll also watch a video to supplement our study of Early Renaissance art. Then we'll get everyone cleaned up for church (and possibly Christmas pictures) tomorrow.

What kind of weekend activities do you have in mind?

Friday, November 7

That's what I'm sayin'!

Conservatives Lost More Than An Election
by Chuck Baldwin
November 7, 2008

That Barack Obama trounced John McCain last Tuesday should have surprised no one. In fact, in this column, weeks ago, I stated emphatically that John McCain could no more beat Barack Obama than Bob Dole could beat Bill Clinton. He didn't. (Hence a vote for John McCain was a "wasted" vote, was it not?) I also predicted that Obama would win with an electoral landslide. He did. The real story, however, is not how Barack Obama defeated John McCain. The real story is how John McCain defeated America's conservatives.

For all intents and purposes, conservatism--as a national movement--is completely and thoroughly dead. Barack Obama did not destroy it, however. It was George W. Bush and John McCain who destroyed conservatism in America.

Soon after G.W. Bush was elected, it quickly became obvious he was no conservative. On the contrary, George Bush has forever established himself as a Big-Government, warmongering, internationalist neocon. Making matters worse was the way Bush presented himself as a conservative Christian. In fact, Bush's portrayal of himself as a conservative Christian paved the way for the betrayal and ultimate destruction of conservatism (something I also predicted years ago). And the greatest tragedy of this deception is the way that Christian conservatives so thoroughly (and stupidly) swallowed the whole Bush/McCain neocon agenda.

For example, Bush and his fellow neocons like to categorize and promote themselves as being "pro-life," but they have no hesitation or reservation about killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people in reckless and unconstitutional foreign wars. By the same token, how many unborn babies were saved by six years of all three branches of the federal government being under the control of these "pro-life" neocons? Not one! Ask the more than eight million unborn babies who were killed in their mothers' wombs during the last eight years how "pro-life" George W. Bush and John McCain are.

As a result of this insanely inconsistent and pixilated punditry, millions of Americans now laugh at the very notion of "pro-life" conservatism. Bush and McCain have made a mockery of the very term.

Consider, too, the way Bush and McCain have allowed the international bankers on Wall Street to bilk America's taxpayers out of trillions of dollars. Yes, I know Obama also supported the Wall Street bailout, but it was the Republican Party that controlled the White House for the last eight years and the entire federal government for six out of the last eight years. In fact, the GOP has won seven out of the previous ten Presidential elections. They have controlled Supreme Court appointments for the past thirty-plus years. They have appointed the majority of Treasury secretaries and Federal Reserve chairmen. They have presided over the greatest trade imbalances, the biggest deficits, the biggest spending increases, and now the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression.

Again, the American people look at these so-called "conservatives" and laugh. No wonder such a sizeable majority of voters yawned when John McCain tried to scare them by accusing Barack Obama of being a "big taxer." How can one possibly scare people with a charge like that after the GOP has made a total mockery of fiscal conservatism? That's like trying to scare someone coming out from a swim in the Gulf of Mexico with a squirt gun.

Then there was the pathetic attempt by the National Rifle Association (NRA) to scare gun owners regarding an Obama White House. Remember that John McCain is the same guy that the NRA rightly condemned for proposing his blatantly unconstitutional McCain/Feingold bill. McCain is also the same guy that tried to close down gun shows. He even made a personal campaign appearance for a pro-gun control liberal in the State of Oregon a few short years ago. In fact, the Gun Owners of America (GOA) gave McCain a grade of "F" for his dismal record on Second Amendment issues. Once again, Chicken Little-style paranoia over Barack Obama rang hollow when the alternative was someone as liberal as John McCain.

But the worst calamity of this election was the way conservatives--especially Christian conservatives--surrendered their principles for the sake of political partisanship. The James Dobsons of this country should hang their heads in shame! Not only did they lose an election, they lost their integrity!

In South Carolina, for example, pro-life Christians and conservatives had an opportunity to vote for a principled conservative-constitutionalist for the U.S. Senate. He is pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, and pro-traditional marriage. He believes in securing our borders against illegal immigration. He is against the bailout for the Wall Street banksters. His conservative credentials are unassailable. But the vast majority of Christian conservatives (including those at Bob Jones University) voted for his liberal opponent instead.

The man that the vast majority of Christian conservatives voted for in South Carolina is a Big-Government neocon. He supported the bailout of the Wall Street banksters. He is a rabid supporter of granting amnesty and a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens. In fact, this man has a conservative rating of only 29% in the current Freedom Index of the New American Magazine.

Why did Christian conservatives support the liberal neocon and not the solid pro-life conservative? Because the conservative ran as a Democrat and the neocon is a Republican. I'm talking about the race between Bob Conley and Lindsey Graham, of course.

Had South Carolina's pastors, Christians, evangelicals, and pro-life conservatives voted for Bob Conley, he would be the new senator-elect from that state. In fact, Bob was so conservative that the Democratic leadership in South Carolina endorsed the Republican, Lindsey Graham! No matter. A majority of evangelical Christians in South Carolina stupidly rejected Bob Conley and voted for Graham.

Across the country, rather than stand on principle, hundreds of thousands of pastors, Christians, and pro-life conservatives capitulated and groveled before John McCain's neocon agenda. In doing so, they forfeited any claim to truth, and they abandoned any and all fidelity to constitutional government. They should rip the stories of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego out of their Bibles. They should never again tell their children, parishioners, and radio audiences the importance of standing for truth and principle. They have made a mockery of Christian virtue. No wonder a majority of the voting electorate laughs at us Christians. No wonder the GOP crashed and burned last Tuesday.

Again, it wasn't Barack Obama who destroyed conservatism; it was George W. Bush, John McCain, and the millions of evangelical Christians who supported them. And until conservatives find their backbone and their convictions, they deserve to remain a burnt-out, has-been political force. They have no one to blame but themselves.

And since it is unlikely that the Republican Party has enough sense to understand any of this and will, therefore, do little to reestablish genuine conservative principles, it is probably best to just go ahead and bury the scoundrels now and move on to something else. Without a sincere commitment to constitutional government, the GOP has no justifiable reason to ever govern again. Therefore, put a fork in them. They are done. Let a new entity arise from the ashes: one that will stand for something more than just "the lesser of two evils." As we say in the South, That dog just won't hunt anymore.


This column is archived as http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/c2008/cbarchive_20081107.html

Thursday, November 6

The Peace of Wild Things













When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

Wednesday, November 5

Autumn pics

Trapper guy doing his thing
It worked!
Enjoying autumn's last hurrah
We really made the most of it - there will be plenty of November 5ths with snow on the ground, I'm sure.
I'm not kidding! We spent several hours outside today. Little work got done, but we made memories.

Tuesday, November 4

Wrapping things up

It was another warm and beautiful day today. We spent most of it working outside. We mulched the strawberries, built a garlic bed and got that planted, removed a problematic plum tree, built and filled a compost bin, and insulated the eaves of the chicken coop. The firewood has been re-covered, hopefully well enough that the tarps will stay put now. Lynae took care of the peonies and roses, so they're ready for winter. And we got another bushel of apples picked.

We could still transplant some daffodils, but that doesn't tend to make it to the top of the to-do list in the fall, especially when it's rainy like it's been this year.

I think we're ready for the possibility of snow this weekend. Time to get the house back in order and start holiday preparations!

Monday, November 3

November 3rd

This morning it was warm and sunny out when Jon and I left to see the orthodontist. Halfway there, the weather turned cold and foggy. I felt bad for Jon, who didn't have a jacket, so I left mine in the truck as we ran errands. We were glad to get back home, where it was actually 30 degrees warmer. It was an amazingly wonderful day for working outside, so Grace and I took a nap, of course.

Jon goes back in a month to get braces. I wonder how that will affect him, and whether he will destroy them. It would be nice if he didn't, considering what we'll be paying.

This evening we enjoyed a cookout in the back yard. The little kids were Union and Confederate soldiers. They built a tent and were all set to sleep out there tonight. It got pretty windy, though, and I didn't want their tent to fall on them, so I made them come inside. I'm such a mean mom!

When is the last time you had fun doing something simple?

Sunday, November 2

Smile

I'm in shock.

Jon is doing jumping jacks because he was distracting the other kids while they cleaned up the kitchen. Normally, jumping jacks are done with lots of whining and crying, and sometimes even with complaining and arguing.

Not tonight. Tonight, he's smiling and laughing. I just asked him, "What's up with that?" He said, "I don't know. I just feel good." PRAISE THE LIVING GOD!!

Not so long ago, it was rare to even see Jon smile. I'm happy to report that, while we still have plenty of issues to deal with, he does smile from time to time. And tomorrow morning, we will start on the journey to improve the appearance of that precious smile. We have a consultation with an orthodontist about the front tooth that still hasn't come in.

But for tonight, we'll keep the smiles going with some Wallace and Gromit.

Saturday, November 1

Happy NaBloPoMo!

November is National Blog Posting Month. I have committed myself to writing 30 posts in the next 30 days. I'm not sure what I was thinking. I'm not even sure I can have 30 coherent thoughts in 30 days.


Yeah, I've got nothin'. It could be a long month.


So... have you started your Christmas shopping yet? I think I'm almost finished. My biggest challenge will be helping the kids buy for each other. They already drew names. This year they'll be buying secondhand. Taking five kids shopping separately, or figuring out how to do it in fewer than five trips, can get a little crazy. Eliminating the element of surprise might make it easier, or it might make it even more difficult. Either way, the kids have a blast coming up with thoughtful gifts for one another.

Ready for Election Day? We mail in our ballots, so Loren and I have already voted. It's nice to be able to research the candidates and issues and vote without time pressure. Unfortunately, I've missed more than one election in the past because the day just got away from me. It will be interesting to see how this Presidential Drama plays out, won't it? It's the Most Important Election of Our Time. As was each one before it.