Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Ups and Downs

Since I never made it for a Friday's Fave Five last week. . .

UP - Last Thursday I stopped at the Office Outlet that is closing its doors in the shopping center by my school.  They used to sell mailers for $.70 apiece, which was a quarter or more less than anywhere else.  When they began going out of business, they sold them for half price, so I bought a lot.  Some new people have bought out the business and are unloading everything.  I asked about a box of 50+ mailers of the most-used size, and the lady said "How about $5.00 for all?"  Trying not to give away anything (learned from Mike) I asked for two boxes.  That's 112 mailers for $10.  Don't know when I'll ever sell that many books.

UP - An easier week due to achievement testing.

UP AND DOWN - Mike just found out he has to work 12-hour shifts in the control room all week.  Nice for the paycheck, but it always, always happens that when I have an easier week, he has a harder one, and vice versa.

UP FROM A DOWN - Last Monday morning, right about now, Mike and I both came down with the stomach bug.  It hit fast; it hit hard; it hit for a long time.  It was no 24-hour stomach bug.  I had to miss three days of work; he had to basically forfeit three days of vacation.  It took the better part of the week to feel better.  But we are both fine now.

Friday, April 4, 2014

What is a "Strong Woman"?

Several weeks ago my good friend Barbara wrote a good post on her blog entitled "Strong Women."  It immediately brought to mind Anne Bradstreet, the first poet in America.  (Note:  Not the first woman poet.  The first poet.)  My sister Mary did her graduate speech recital on Anne Bradstreet, which was my introduction to this great lady; in the past ten years I've been privileged to teach about her in American Literature class each year.

Anne Bradstreet has been the victim of a misunderstanding of the modern treatment of Puritanism.  For example, "The New England Puritans, in spite of their orthodox views, were people of broad intellect." (I'm sorry, but I no longer have the source--Author unknown.)  What a patronizing statement that is.  And that is typical of the treatment of Puritans.  Anyway - that is a separate topic - however, feminists would like to claim Anne Bradstreet as one of their own because of her independent ability to write and not be "just a housewife."
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"Anne Bradstreet was the kind of woman who modern feminists would love to claim as their own.  She was intelligent.  She was educated.  She thought for herself.  That makes her a feminist, right?  That is to retro-read feminism back into her life and work.  Anne Bradstreet was a committed Puritan woman devoted to her God. . .

"Anne Bradstreet simply does not fit into our contemporary categories.  She was not a feminist in the modern sense, and neither was she an early unfeminist.  She was an intelligent woman who objected to boorish behavior in men, and she also was averse to unscriptural criticisms of her work.  But this must be set in the context of her unswerving commitment to the Scriptures and her lifelong happy devotion to the masculine--God the Father, Christ the Bridegroom, her earthly father, and her devoted husband. . .She objected to carping and gossip because they were unscriptural, not because she might have been anticipating her agreements with Gloria Steinem. . .

"Anne Bradstreet knew that men who preserve their authority by undervaluing the legitimate achievements of women were not masculine.  In fact, they were exhibiting their insecurities, the antithesis of masculinity."  

Quotations from Douglas Wilson, Beyond Stateliest Marble - The Passionate Femininity of Anne Bradstreet.
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Anne Bradstreet was an intelligent writer who loved to express herself on a variety of subjects.  Fortunately, she had a secure husband who supported her endeavors.  She was secure in her abilities, but was not unhappy to claim her place as a wife and mother.  That was her first responsibility; she knew that, and she acknowledged that, but without discarding her independent efforts.

After teaching about Anne Bradstreet's life, and her lovely and very readable poetry, the students have to do a writing assignment about a "strong woman."  My dear friend helped me to come up with these questions the first year of teaching this.  The new high school juniors complete this early in the school year, so the questions are a little heavy for them.  But I think it is good to stretch their thinking.

The questions for the boys:

The Puritan Anne Bradstreet has been used as an example of a "strong" woman who still had great respect, love, and submission toward her husband.

--What is a "strong" woman?  Does it necessarily mean a loud woman, or can a strong woman be quiet?  Does the word "strong" have to include the word "godly"?  Does it have to mean being a feminist, as defined today?  Does strength mean a woman has to do the same things a man does--in other words, displace a man?  How does this type of woman compare to the Proverbs 31 woman?

--What benefit would it be to a man to have a strong woman as his wife?

--Are you threatened by a strong woman?  What characteristics of masculinity would a strong woman appreciate in a husband to whom she truly desires to honor and submit?  In what ways would you--as a rising 21st century man--encourage your wife to develop her God-given talents?

The questions for the girls (the first two paragraphs are identical to the boys):

The Puritan Anne Bradstreet has been used as an example of a "strong" woman who still had great respect, love, and submission toward her husband.

--What is a "strong" woman?  Does it necessarily mean a loud woman, or can a strong woman be quiet?  Does the word "strong" have to include the word "godly"?  Does it have to mean being a feminist, as defined today?  Does strength mean a woman has to do the same things a man does--in other words, displace a man?  How does this type of woman compare to the Proverbs 31 woman?

--How does a strong woman submit to her husband?  Is it possible?  What are some specific ways in which you would accomplish this?  What characteristics would a husband desire to see in a strong wife, and what characteristics would a husband need to have, to help a strong wife be the best she can be?

--In what specific ways can you--a rising woman of the 21st century--be strong and yet still be a godly woman?

The assignment may not accomplish much.  But perhaps it will cause young people to begin to give some thought to a very important subject as they approach adulthood.

Friday's Fave Five, 4-4-14

Link to Friday's Fave Five

1. We had a very nice brunch last Sunday for my mom's milestone birthday.  All my siblings and some family members were here:  my sister from Texas, my sister from Alabama, and my brother from Georgia.  Here all are watching my nephew (off to the side) open his presents as he has a birthday this week also.  It was a nice occasion to celebrate the birthdays.

2. Leftovers all week from the party, so I did not have to cook!!

3. A LONG night of sleep Wednesday night.  I laid down at 7:30 and slept until 5:45 the next morning!  Much needed.

4. Three students "pranked" my room with Clemson stuff on April Fool's Day (knowing we are Carolina Gamecocks fans).  So yesterday I created a poster of each one, gluing a Gamecock hat on a picture of each, and declaring how much they love Carolina.  Then I put the posters into the glass-fronted bulletin board in the hallway that I take care of, where the whole school could see them.  It was good fun on both sides.  April Fooling was in the air.

5. A good doctor's report for my husband this morning about a couple of issues.  That is always good news.

Thank you for reading!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday's Fave Five, 3/28/14

Link to Friday's Fave Five

1. The women of our church fed the teachers soup on Tuesday as a thank-you.  Very kind.  And - an unexpected gift - anonymous - was in my box on another day, expressing appreciation for the years of teaching at our Christian school. Maybe that person is reading this - if so, thank you!!

2. I've discovered that our nearby Bi-Lo grocery puts mark-down vegetables on a cart in the produce section on Saturday mornings.  And--they are still really quite nice.  So I made creamed corn last Saturday--one of Mike's favorites--with fresh corn.  In March!!  He really liked it.

3. My colleague Matt gave a fantastic presentation to my junior English students on The Great Gatsby.  That's a book that you want to teach carefully, and he was a big help.

4. Got a nice video from my son.  Here is the link to him teaching his Chinese students.

5. I have not slept well this week but have had some nice times reading, praying, and thinking in the middle of the night.  That made it a good week.

Andrew Teaches

I hope this will work OK.  It's a video Andrew sent of his students - to his friends and family, and to his  "momma"!  He said they are working in groups which is why they are segregated.  He has obviously not lost his personality. . .
video


Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday's Fave Five - 3/21/14


Link to Friday's Fave Five Host Blog

1. Last Friday I went to the SCACS Fine Arts Competition with my students.  I didn't have any groups this year, but another teacher was needed to go to keep order on the bus.  So - guess who got elected.  It was a very long day - had to be at school by 5:45 a.m. and got back at 10:00 p.m.  But it was a good day being with the students and seeing several old friends from other schools.

2. This is spring break week!  It has been so nice to be at home and get things done - a lot of grading, organizing, cleaning things out, finding things for a yard sale.  I like weeks like this.  I cleaned my entire house yesterday, complete with putting fresh Future on the vinyl flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms.  It smells really good, and looks nice and clean also.

3. The birds are feeding furiously even though the weather is getting nicer.  They plow through both sunflower seeds and suet like crazy.  We've had two new birds in the past week - brown-headed nuthatches, and yellow-rumped warblers.  We've seen them in the past (the nuthatches at our old Anderson house, and the warblers when we still lived in Greenville), but this is the first time at feeders. (The picture is of a chickadee, not the new birds.)

4. On Monday, I went to my daughter's school and had lunch with her.  It was a pleasure to see her school, and to meet her advisory teacher, her class, and the other 4th grade teachers she works with.  

5. Last night I got an interesting phone call from my son in China.  He was teaching and called directly from his class as an example of technology in the world today.  One of his students conversed directly with me.  It was fun!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Problem Solved

My thumb has been slowly healing and is much better than it was three weeks ago.  However, a new nail has started growing in, and I assume that is part of why there are still times that it hurts quite a bit.  Bumping it accidently on things has not helped.  However, the worst is when I am cooking.  The combination of cold things and wet things makes it throb.  Tearing lettuce, filling glasses with ice, working with cold meat and cheese, and many other movements, have made it difficult to work in the kitchen.  Amazing what you never notice when all body parts are working well, but notice intently when something has been injured.

I checked into what several drugstores might have, and didn't find much.  Metal braces aren't right and would cause more problems than they would solve.  Then, this morning I was walking through Walgreens, and just happened to glance at the foot section.  And there was an elastic bandage which was labeled for use on toes.  But in small print it said--useful for fingers also.  I bought one and tried it on.  It is perfect.  It has just enough compression to stay on, and it protects the end of my thumb much better than a bandaid.  I'll be wearing that most of the time for protection and comfort.


However, I don't want to get it wet.  I had tried using a glove by itself earlier, to protect from moisture while cooking and washing dishes; it did keep it dry though did not eliminate the pain of temperature differences.  But--a glove on top of the elastic bandage works great.  Problem solved.  $5 for the thumb sleeve and $.25 per glove.  Not bad.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Frances

This is one of my all-time favorite pictures.  It was taken on Thanksgiving day of either '95 or '96, when we met several years for the holiday at a farm belonging to one of Mike's sister's in-laws.  The family was shooting skeet, and Mike was giving Frances a lesson.  I think this is a beautiful shot.

I met Frances (Mike's aunt - his father's sister) on my first trip to Anderson to meet some of the family.  He took me by her gift/antique shop (an Anderson tradition for many years) and she was warm and welcoming.  I noticed a half a dozen Cherry Ames books on one of the shelves and exclaimed over them, because of my own collection.  Unknown to me, she wrapped them up and Mike smuggled them to the car to give me later, as it was near my birthday and Christmas season.

Frances has been gone for twelve years now, and we miss her.  I often think of how ML would have loved going to Frances' shop and helping her wrap Christmas and other presents.  I can see the two of them chattering away in the workroom.   They would have been great friends.

The children were little when Frances was still around; I was busy with them and other things.  Sometimes I'd think - maybe we'll stop by the shop on the way home.  But time usually got away.  

She could tell a story like nobody's business.  She was interested in everyone.  And one of my biggest regrets is that I didn't take better advantage of knowing that lovely, spunky, gracious, and delightful woman.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ups

UP:  Thumb is doing better.  Still hurts, especially if I use it too much or hit it on something.  But it is healing.  Mike says I will probably lose the nail.  We'll see.

UP:  No school Friday.  Thursday will be a killer, as we have an open house that evening, with students required to come back so we can hold actual classes.  But the carrot is that we don't have to come Friday.

UP:  Daughter's first day holding the complete student teaching load in her classroom went well.

UP: Good Sunday dinner with lots of leftovers so I don't have to cook much this week.


Monday, February 24, 2014

The Value of a Thumb

Amazing how you don't realize how important EVERY body part is until one is out of commission.  (Seems like there is a spiritual application there...)

I'm having to type this a little more slowly than usual, because every space bar push must be done with my left thumb--which I never use for that.  But my right thumb is useless right now.

Last night as I was getting out of Mom and Dad's car, I managed to slam the door on my thumb.  Don't ask how it happened--I don't know.  It hurt like crazy, but I had already said goodbye to them, so didn't let on.  "Just get in the house; just get in the house and get it under cold water."  But once in the garage, I could see that it was pouring blood.  The "just bruised" thumb was a seriously lacerated one.  Oh, it's bruised, too.  All the way through.  But the gash at the base of the nail is not pretty.  I needed half a Lortab to get the throbbing to stop enough to sleep.

Even though I'm left-handed, there is still much that is difficult to do.  I have found out that it's almost impossible to put rings on a left hand without using the right thumb.  Or lock a deadbolt door.  Or put on or take off certain articles of clothing.  Or pass out test papers in a classroom.  Or tear lettuce for a salad.  Or take the little plastic cover off of a bowl of fruit (the kind you buy in a four-pack for lunches).  I felt a little silly having to ask for help at lunch today.  Thank goodness I had my dad to help me unload some packages and chauffeur me around today (since Mike had to use my car, which is another matter).

I will spare you a picture.  At least until it looks a little better.