Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Lot of Jam

 Well, I have not blogged in a long time, for several reasons:  spring is always busy for a teacher; other things going on also; and topics that I'd like to think through, being personal topics not really for the internet.

But this - I want to put out there.  :-)  My daughter and I worked hard yesterday and made 60 four-oz. jars of strawberry jam.  She got the jars ready and I made jam.  They are going to be table favors at son's rehearsal dinner in June.  I ordered the stickers, which turned out a little small, but are still nice.  We will probably tie raffia around the jam jars when we set them out, but that can't be done now while they're being stored.  It was a good few hours' work!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Request For Obama, Jackson, and Sharpton

Yesterday a 28-year-old police officer was gunned down in Greenville, SC.  He was trying to talk with a self-proclaimed gang member who was suspected of trying to obtain a gun, and the young thug shot him down in cold blood.  The officer never even drew his gun.  The thug ran away, and, when close to being caught, killed himself rather than surrender to authorities.

Oh, and this 17-year old gang-member murderer was released from prison after serving 251 days of a 10-year prison sentence for a felony--strong-armed robbery.  He was convicted in adult court for that crime, after years of juvenile offenses.

The police officer leaves behind two young sons and a pregnant wife.  He was known in Greenville for his ability to work with young people and to be a positive force for curtailing gang activity.  He had a Purple Heart.  He was an Iraq war veteran.

I would like to ask President Obama, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and others to make a statement about this death, as they have about so many others.  Does it matter that this officer was white, and the assailant was black?

I would like to hear from these three leaders about THIS death.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday's Fave Five, 3/18/16

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog.

1. Son is MOVED OUT into his own apartment.  Mike helped him last Friday; they worked like troupers and were done by noon.  It is in a nice complex, and they are on the back side, where their view is of grassy areas and woods, which is nicer than looking out over a parking lot.  We went over in the evening to see how it looks, and they are getting things in order.  He will live there until the wedding, and it will then be their first home.
And this is what his old room at home looks like now!!  Renovations to come...

2. An impromptu trip to a baseball game on Saturday.  Mike works this weekend and next, so we decided fairly suddenly to make the trip to Columbia to see his beloved Gamecocks play baseball.  It was the first time I had been in Founders' Park - it is a beautiful baseball stadium, and we had a very nice Saturday going to the game.
On the way home we decided to stop at Fatz Cafe, since I had a $20 gift card for there.  We stopped at one partway home, had a nice meal of soup and salad (didn't want to eat too much too late), paid for the meal - and then realized we hadn't used the card.  Oh well.  That means we can go again, to the local one.

3. Daughter passed a very important evaluation this week at her job!!

4. Today is the Fine Arts Festival for our school, and I am NOT making the trip - the first time in four years.  As much as I love the kids, and watching them perform, it is a relief not to go this year.  It is a huge day - leave at 5:30 a.m., ride a bus for two hours, watch students perform and go to awards ceremonies all day, leave about 6:30, stop for supper, and get home around 10 p.m.  I do not have any groups performing this year, so another teacher is going instead to be the "long arm of the law" with the students.  So I instead get to work at school (no classes - most students are going) and do a little substituting for an elementary teacher instead.  It is a relief to have a year off.

4. I have all the junior research papers and all the senior journals graded, and during today's workday I will finish the senior career projects.  I want them DONE and off my mind.  It's a good feeling to get all the paperwork done.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The REAL List For the Guy You Should Marry

Yesterday for the nth time I saw one of those memes that floats around regularly, about what kind of guy a girl should look for and marry.  It always includes statements such as "Marry the guy who dances with you to your favorite song, under a full moon."  "Marry the guy who kisses your eyelids tenderly when you are upset," etc. etc.

Well, sweet romance is all well and good, and has a lot to do with the initial attraction between a man and a woman.  I get that.  But romance alone does not make a good marriage.  I am afraid that Disney and other factors have upped the ante so high on romance that it's almost impossible for most men to meet.  Or girls to lower their romantic expectations.

However, romance does not make a marriage.  Most girls may not be willing to see this, but it's possible to be married to a man who seems decidedly unromantic where flowers and soft music are concerned, yet is decidedly romantic in the truest sense of being a good husband.

Marry the guy who says:

  • "We will stick together through thick and thin.  We will not think divorce.  This is permanent."
  • "I'll help you babysit.  I like children."
  • "Your car needs an oil change.  I'll get that done."
  • "I would stay here and be with you.  Now.  But we'll wait until marriage."
  • "I'd love to impress you by taking you to that nice restaurant, but it's beyond my budget."
  • "I wish we could see each other tonight too, but I made a commitment to my friend, and it's important to keep my word."
  • "We will be faithful to church."
  • "I care more about my relationship with the Lord than I care even about you."
  • "I am a sinner.  I will fail the Lord and I will fail you.  I will do my best to make amends with you whenever necessary."

No man will be able to meet everything on this list.  But a good man will meet many of them.  And I guarantee you that this is a better list for a solid marriage than a man who dances with you in the moonlight.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Friday's Fave Five 3/11/16

LINK to Friday's Fave Five Host Blog

I have been a very poor blogger in recent weeks.  Maybe the next few weeks will be better.  In the meantime:

1. Last night we saw Andrew's new apartment, and he and Mike moved a desk into it.  That one piece of furniture about finished them both off - neither realized how heavy it would be, moving it up three flights of stairs.  Yes, the apt. is on the third floor, but it has a balcony and a nice view NOT over the parking lot.  It has recently been renovated with new appliances, and everything else is nearly new.  He is getting a nice apartment, and he and his fiancee will have a lovely place to start out after their wedding.

2. Good week at school, especially with the class that is most difficult to teach.  They enjoyed what we did this week, and that is always good.  The class below is another one, using whiteboards to practice spelling for an exam. 

3. Last Friday evening after we went out to eat, Mike let me run into my favorite store.  On a whim, I bought a long sweater, lightweight and with spring colors.  It was more than I usually spend, but it was pretty.  Got it home, it fits, and will get worn this spring.  Probably a lot.  Now I have to buy a skirt to match it. . .

4. Last Sunday evening we went to a nearby city to hear Andrew sing in the quartet he helps with.  We always enjoy getting to hear them sing.

5. Saw ML last night also--she stopped by to see the new apartment.  Always good to see my daughter in the middle of her very busy weeks!!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday's Fave Five, 2/26/16

LINK to Friday's Fave Five blog

1. I am getting a daughter-in-law!!  Last Friday evening my son proposed to his girlfriend...and she said YES.  Andrew has been beside himself ever since.  We are looking forward to this great event in our family!
2. The ring that Andrew gave to Teah is a family heirloom.  It was one of Mike's "picks" from his father's estate.  It's nice to know that she will be wearing a ring that has sentimental value to the family.

3. Andrew met Teah via Skype, over which they talked with each other for a year before meeting in person.  She was doing the same thing in Poland, that he was doing in China - teaching English as a means of ministry.  Andrew's best friend is Teah's sister's husband.  So Andrew and his best friend will be brothers-in-law!

4. In other news:  On Sunday, Mike was working, so Mary Lee met me at one of our favorite meat-and-three restaurants for lunch after church.  We have not seen very much of her as she has been extremely busy with the second-year evaluation program for teachers in our state system.  She and I had a lovely lunch!

5. Mike had a big test at work yesterday and passed with a 92.3%.  I'm always proud of him when he does so well on these written tests he has to take several times a year.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday's Fave Five, 2/19/16

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

1. Mike and I were both off last Friday through Monday.  He was actually supposed to work, but took vacation since I was going to be off.  We didn't go anywhere, but still had a good weekend.  On Friday night we went out to eat with dear friends whom we don't see as often any more, but it's always good to be with them.  And on both Saturday and Monday, we drove out to the farm ponds to see if there was anything interesting  there.  On Saturday, we watched a white goose at quite a distance, and never could decide exactly if it was a Ross's goose (rare for our area) or a snow goose.  The two are similar, but would have been easy to figure out had it been close to us.  And on Monday, we saw a big variety of ducks in the pond.

2. I made a new roast recipe last Sunday when my folks came for dinner.  It's called a Mississippi Roast, and it's all over Facebook and other places on the internet.  It's cooked in the crockpot, with an envelope of au jus mix, an envelope of Ranch dressing, some pepperoncini peppers, and a stick of butter on the top!  No water.  It was good, especially for those among us who love hotter foods.  

3. I finished crocheting this blanket, as written about earlier, and last night worked out details for it
to go to my friend in Mexico.  It does look Mexican!
 4. During a faculty prayer meeting, my dear friend ended her prayer with the words "the great crowd of saints who have gone before us."  That, along with the words "Be still my soul, the day is hastening on, / When we shall be forever with the Lord" (from the last verse of "Be Still My Soul"), have been a source of meditation to my heart this week.

5. And finally, a little lighter - I downloaded this some time ago, and had it printed onto large butcher paper at Staples for a very reasonable amount of money (black and white).  This week I pulled it out and made it into a bulletin board.  The students love it and can't believe that an "old lady" like me could be on top of texting.  Little do they know.   :-)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Over the four-day winter break from school, I finished reading The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver.  Not only finished it - but could barely put it down in the process.  Kingsolver's format in writing about the Prices, missionaries to the Congo, is to tell the story through the eyes of the five women in the family--the mother and the four girls, one voice speaking in each chapter.

This fictional Southern Baptist family went to the Congo in 1959, and the story is epic in that it covers the next three decades of their lives.  The overbearing, disconnected, and abusive minister father causes great and lasting harm to all of the family members.  The heart of the story covers the first couple of years of their tenure in Congo, although the repercussions continue throughout the rest of the book.  The events of the Price family parallel the events of the liberation of the Congo from Belgium in that time period, as aided by the U.S.
Many reviews have been written about this book, which was an Oprah's Book Club listing in 1998.  Most reviews written from a conservative perspective include the problems with the secular philosophy in the book - men are bad, women are good, native people are happier if you leave them alone, missionarying is wrong, etc.  I saw all of that.

However, what I really saw in this book was yet another example of the concept that everyone writes according to the laws of God that are written on our hearts, whether we acknowledge them or not.  Kingsolver in no way writes as a Christian author.  Yet her book illustrates these principles:

  • Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath.
  • Husbands, love your wives.
  • Pride goes before a fall.
  • A father's responsibility is to protect his family.
  • A husband and father who treats his family with disrespect and abuse will lose them.
  • Deep wounds can cause a lifetime of regrets and sadness.

. . .and many more as well.

Kingsolver is a master of characterization, and each girl spoke with a distinctively individual voice.  There were a few small objectionable elements; however, a mature reader could get past those issues to see the deeper issues that make reading this book worthwhile.  I could not easily follow all the historical information about the Belgium/Congo/US issues; however, I found the book to be gripping and moving, mainly due to Kingsolver's outstanding writing.

And this one is done

And this one is done!!  And I am glad.  A blanket with lots of monochromatic color is just too boring to keep me interested.  :-)  I also don't care for the stripe-style yarn, and learned that through making this one.  (The striped ends are actually even - it looks a little off due to the angle of the photograph.)  Furthermore, this was meant to be a boy blanket, and yet  the stripe yarn has pink in it.  It looks like I need to find someone from Mexico to give it to.  But--at least it is done.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday's Fave Five, 2/12/16

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

A lot of nice things happened this week!

 1. Last Friday night, we went to the nearest Apple store, about 40 miles away, and I got a new MacBook Pro!!  It is a wonderful new toy.  The old MacBook I'd been using was S-O-O-O slow.  This thing races along.  It should serve me well for a long time.

 2. Last Saturday morning we had a brunch in honor of my dad's 86th birthday.  This pic is of my parents, siblings, and spouses.  Several grandchildren were there also.  My youngest sister did most of the cooking and it was a great spread!
 3. This wasn't actually me, but I love it.  Mike was able to go to our daughter's classroom this week and do some demonstrations about electricity for them.  He drove to his work and got a lot of demonstration materials from the training center.  Daughter said the kids loved it - not surprising.  I'm just so proud of both of them!!
 4. Andrew's been working in Columbia all week, so one night Mike drove down and the two of them went to a Gamecocks basketball game.  It turned out to be a very exciting game and they had a wonderful time together.  Mike just stayed in Andrew's hotel room that night, so it was an enjoyable time all around with no pressure to drive home late at night.  (And I enjoyed the peace and quiet at home. . .)

If you look carefully in the picture below, you can see the two of them cheering.  I snapped this off the DVR recording when Mike found the two of them tonight!

5. WINTER BREAK.  I had Open House last night, and the trade-off is that we get Friday and Monday for a long weekend.  I'll take that trade-off any week!!  I am so looking forward to getting some rest as have been about half under the weather this week.  And we are supposed to go out with good friends for dinner tonight--always nice.