Saturday, January 30

Random things that make me happy

  1. snuggling with my kids
  2. cardinals
  3. lilacs
  4. the smell of spring
  5. the smell of fall
  6. the smell of rain
  7. the smell of snow
  8. silence
  9. watching my kids figure something out
  10. getting all the bills paid
  11. the smell of hot sand and pine trees
  12. being home alone
  13. the idea of grandchildren
  14. back rubs
  15. a successful vegetable garden
  16. fresh-picked, sun-warmed plums
  17. setting off on a road trip
  18. a breeze on a hot day
  19. pileated woodpeckers
  20. nap time

Friday, January 22

Sharing my work

Whether we got complaints on my last post or it just didn't quite make the cut, I have been mercifully assigned the opportunity to redo this task. I will show my real work this time, instead of just my quotes.

Before I share it with you, I must tell you a little. See, I don't actually write in my journal in the Roman alphabet like typical humanoid beings in America. I use an ancient writing system, and this paragraph successfully explains why while telling a story and capturing the thought process of young Americans these days, in case you hadn't already heard the bad news. Anyway, this alphabet does not have all the same sounds as our beloved Roman alphabet, so I have corrected any misspellings for your sake.

"Why do I use runes within these pages? People stopped using runes a thousand years ago. And why do I still use them? To restore tradition? No, English speaking people are too far gone for that. To hide what I say? No, most of this nonsense I would not be afraid to show the world. What is there to hide? Do I write in another two alphabets to impress people? Miserable folly: it is hardly an accomplishment, and what of it is impressive impresses nobody. Do I do it because it is easy? It is easy now to say such, but there was a time when that was not so. I think that that is my real reason now. When I started I was a silly preteen whose world revolved around being a spy in the war between the sexes, a stupid... conflict twixt misinformed or superstitious children, which relies heavily on the belief in the presence of cooties (an indescribable but undesirable parasite in twentieth century mythology) in the opposing party and its sympathizers. I think my idea was to make my messages more resistant to interception, but I soon realized the whole war was pointless. If the girls had cooties, they were not going to lose them no matter how much information I intercepted. But as I discovered the facts, I kept using Anglo-Saxon runic for secrets. But now I think runic characters are more efficient, and that is why I still use them. It takes fewer characters to write the same word in these runes, except for a few rare situations."

There you have it. Unfortunately, that was about the most profound thing I have written in my journal so far. Let's just say it was slightly embarrassing to put that on the internet.

Thursday, January 14

Sharing my work, er, quotes

I wonder if you would really be interested in reading most of my work. I'm guessing not. I wouldn't be. So I have decided to share with you the product of the bridge between work and play, and that is some of my favorite quotes from books I've read for pleasure. Because half of them are for humor and the other half are for business, and this is supposed to be about work, we will try and stick with the business ones, but you might laugh at some of them anyway. Just don't tell.

"But then there are the other kind, those... who never do good, because they don't know how to and won't listen to any advice... Naughtiness can grow and grow, like a marshweed, until it turns to badness, then if it continues there is only one word for it: evil!" Bella in "Outcast of Redwall"

"You read me like a book. I do have a secret, but trust me, all will be made known to you in the fullness of time." Methuselah in "Redwall"

"Don't be ashamed to weep; 'tis right to grieve. Tears are only water, and flowers, trees, and fruit cannot grow without water. But there must be sunlight also. A wounded heart will heal in time, and when it does, the memory and love of our lost ones is sealed inside to comfort us." Cregga in "Taggerung"

Here I'll cheat a little bit. See, I enjoyed "As You Like It" so much that even though it was for school, I would read it again for pleasure, so I don't mind putting some of its quotes here.

"In respect that it is solitary, I like it very well; but in respect that it is private, it is a very vile life. Now, in respect it is in the fields, it pleaseth me well; but in respect it is not in the court, it is tedious." Touchstone in "As You Like It"

" 'So so' is good, very good, very excellent good, and yet it is not; it is but so so." Touchstone in "As You Like It"

"Then learn this of me: to have, is to have; for it is a figure in rhetoric that drink, being poured out of a cup into a glass, by filling the one doth empty the other; for all your writers do consent that ipse is he: now, you are not ipse, for I am he." Touchstone in "As You Like It"

"Therefore, you clown, abandon,-- which is in the vulgar leave,-- the society,-- which in the boorish is company,-- of this female,-- which in the common is woman; which together is, abandon the society of this female, or, clown, thou perishest; or, to thy better understanding, diest; or, to wit, I kill thee, make thee away, translate thy life into death, thy liberty into bondage: I will deal in poison with thee, or in bastidano, or in steel; I will bandy with thee in faction; I will o'errun thee with policy; I will kill thee a hundred and fifty ways: therefore tremble, and depart." Touchstone in "As You Like It"

"I did dislike the cut of a certain courtier's beard: he sent me word, if I said his beard was not cut well, he was in the mind that it was: this is called the Retort Courteous. If I sent him word again, 'it was not well cut,' he would send me word he would cut it to please himself. If again, 'it was not well cut,' he disabled my judgement: this is called the Reply Churlish. If again, 'it was not well cut,' he would answer, I spake not true: this is called the Reproof Valient. If again, 'it was not well cut,' he would say, I lied: this is called the Countercheck Quarrelsome: and so to the Lie Circumstantial and the Lie Direct." Touchstone in "As You Like It"

"I will name you the degrees. The first, the Retort Courteous; the second, the Quip Modest; the third, the Reply Churlish; the fourth, the Reproof Valient; the fifth, the Countercheck Quarrelsome; the sixth, the Lie with Circumstance; the seventh, the Lie Direct. All of these you may avoid but the Lie Direct; and you may avoid that too, with an If. I knew when seven justices could not take up a quarrel, but when the parties were met themselves, one of them thought but of an If, as in, 'If you said so, then I said so;' and they shook hands and swore brothers. Your If is the only peace-maker; much virtue in If." Touchstone in "As You Like It"

Now on to the LOTR quotes. LOTR geeks, unite and rejoice. Innocent civilians may leave at any time.

"Tell me what you want done, and I will try it, if I have to walk from here to the East of East and fight the wild Were-worms in the Last Desert." Bilbo in "The Hobbit"

"Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway." J.R.R. Tolkien in "The Hobbit"

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." Bilbo in "The Fellowship of the Ring"

"Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can't be right." Bilbo in "The Fellowship of the Ring"

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater." Haldir in "The Fellowship of the Ring"

"Yet you speak the truth, that is plain: the Men of the Mark do not lie, and therefore they are not easily deceived." Eomer in "The Two Towers"

"But there, my friends, songs like trees bear fruit only in their own time and their own way: and sometimes they are withered untimely." Treebeard in "The Two Towers"

"For I was talking aloud to myself. A habit of the old: they choose the wisest person present to speak to; the long explanations needed by the young are wearying." Gandalf in "The Two Towers"

"We boast seldom, and then perform, or die in the attempt." Faramir in "The Two Towers"

"But nay: the praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards. Yet there was naught in this to praise. I had no lure or desire to do other than I have done." Faramir in "The Two Towers"

"...adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that's not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually -- their paths were led that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't. And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on -- and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end." Sam Gamgee in "The Two Towers"

That concludes this blog post. I just finished The Two Towers and plan to read The Return of the King soon, so stay tuned!

Thursday, January 7


Comfort could be defined in several different ways. It could be snuggling up on the couch with someone you love and watching a sappy movie. It could be eating that bowl of oh-so-good potato soup. Or it could be sitting in front of the fire watching the flames and getting that really sleepy feeling. Whatever it is, we often think of it as stopping and taking time to enjoy something.

For me, comfort is found in the country(as well as, I admit, in all the things mentioned above). Having lived in the country almost my entire life, I really love the peaceful atmosphere here. Sure, I have work to do, but I can always slip outside and watch the grass dancing in the wind or take a bike ride down a dirt road, or lie down in the snow and look at the stars. Here I am surrounded by God's magnificent creation, and I can truly enjoy it.

On the flip side of that coin, whenever I'm in a city everyone has something to be doing or somewhere they need to be going, and for a while it's fun to be going everywhere and doing whatever is cool, but after a while I feel trapped in a rat race and I long for the comforts of the country lifestyle.

Surely there are comforts of living in a city, but I would prefer watching the deer walk through the orchard over being able to walk to the grocery store or the movie theater.


Comfort is a great thing. You know, I actually sometimes cry? (Orange alert, write this down, Toby is a normal mortal person.) It's true. And when I am busy crying, I generally don't want to be bothered. When I'm sad, I'm cranky. It comes with having a great attitude the rest of the time (if I may say so). Comfort is when I fall asleep in the middle of it and waking up to find that the house isn't cold.

Every once in a while I have this itch to read a great book. There are some really great books out there, but you have to actually dig to find them sometimes, which can mean hours spent looking before you find it. Comfort is finding the book and reading it with a cup of cocoa and a bowl of raisins.

Sometimes you don't have to dig to find the great books. Sometimes they come to you. That's when the real comfort starts kicking in, when you can curl up with a great book without having had to look for it for hours.

Comfort is walking around town barefoot looking for agates by the train tracks or in the park.

Southern comfort is the same principle, but it comes with strings attached. You don't get southern comfort in MN. You probably actually can't get it even in Illinois. You really have to be further south to appreciate the southern comfort.

Wednesday, January 6

Winter in the south

Lindsay absolutely nails it! And it only took me about 5 seconds to realize I used to watch her husband on TV when we lived in Kentucky.

Homekeeper's Journal ~ 1/6

What’s happening in my home?

In the kitchen We're using up the produce from the $15 food share we bought last weekend. It's all about peppers, potatoes, salad, bananas and citrus.

With our marriage We're getting used to a new schedule. Loren is going to bed just after an early dinner, getting up around the time I go to bed, working an early shift at his new job, then sticking around for a second shift as a driver's helper. I kind of love having quiet evenings and the bed to myself!

With the children We're still on a roll with school. I'm back in planning mode, though. Toby wants to finish early to go start a summer job in mid-May. It's also a good time to revisit my plans for the younger three. Each of them is progressing at a different pace, but I do like to teach them together when I can. I'm trying really hard not to be overwhelmed by Jon's challenges.

Around the homestead… The rabbits and chickens are surviving the cold, and we're still collecting a few eggs each day. I put together a chart in Microsoft OneNote to keep track of yearly notes on each of our apple trees. I currently have 31 trees charted.

In my “Inner Man” (2 Cor. 4:16)…

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.


Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

What's happening in your home this week? Visit Sylvia at the Christian HomeKeeper Network to participate in the Homekeeper's Journal each Wednesday.

Friday, January 1

2009 Book List

These are the books I read or started reading in 2009:

  • Brave New World
  • Amusing Ourselves to Death
  • Rules for Radicals
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Cold Comfort Farm
  • Atlas Shrugged
  • Trying Differently Rather Than Harder
  • Damaged Angels
  • 1984
  • Rich Harvest: A Life in the Garden
  • Diabetes for Dummies
  • The Enduring Hills
  • The Glass Castle
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves
  • A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family
  • The Kitchen Boy
  • Russia: A History to 1917
  • The Gulag Archipelago
  • The Encyclopedia of Country Living
  • Moby Dick
  • The Elephant in the Playroom