Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Usually I look at what's selling and then quickly lose the notion of getting one due to the prices. With two teenagers, one in college, there are just too many other demands on my $$ to be indulging in Hummel-buying at this stage of life. However, I've been looking for a "Little Fiddler" off and on for some time. He's just such a cute little guy, and with Mike taking up the violin a couple of years ago he's been the one I've had a desire to get.
So last week, I found one that was a really good deal. Bidders were shying away from the auction because the seller's feedback was not very good. I emailed her and she wrote back and explained the reason for her low feedback. I decided to give it a shot and take the risk--and am now the proud possessor of a 5" Hummel "Little Fiddler" for a very good price. Isn't he cute?
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
--This family is truly devoted to what they are doing. There are essays included from the college-aged daughter as well as the author's husband. Their garden includes unbelievable variety, and I'd love to try some of the squashes, potatoes, and other vegetables that she describes--they grow several varieties, some heirloom, of every vegetable they produce. Many I am unfamiliar with.
--I went to the grocery store for a few things this afternoon and looked at it in a new eye. One hears all the time about the overprocessed foods that we consume, but they are everywhere. Right in the lobby of the store were potato chips and instant pasta salad--both products far removed from their roots--and that was just two of hundreds, maybe thousands, of examples.
--This is a good opportunity to see that there is something to be learned from everyone. It is apparent that Kingsolver's life philosophy and religious roots are far removed from mine--for example, she sees far eastern Buddhists through the same lens as any other religious belief. She describes things in very evolutionary terms at times. Occasionally she is somewhat coarse--not dramatically so; not nearly enough to reject the book. Earthy might be a better word than coarse. But she has some great principles to digest (no pun intended).
--Kingsolver talks often about CAFO-raised animals (confined animal feeding operation). She discusses how these animals--usually cows and chickens--are raised in pens half filled with muck and manure; this in comparison to the free-range animals which she is willing to eat. I know there is a giant food pipeline through which meat is produced. But I find it difficult to believe that the two extremes are all that exists. Surely there is some middle ground for the raising of meat animals.
--I feel like I've really failed my two kids in this area. My son is happier with a frozen store-brand pizza than with a fresh vegetable of any kind except maybe corn. While we did better than some households, they got plenty of boxed macaroni and cheese and other processed foods when they were growing up.
--And a final thought: This woman has a beautiful way with language. For example, when describing a stop at a farm during a trip to Italy, she describes how overgrown squashes are disposed of there. She says "At home we would have considered these "heavers" (that's what we do with them, over the back fence into the woods). But these were carefully stacked against the back wall of the house like a miniature cord of firewood, presumably as winter fuel for a pig or chickens. The garden's secondos would be next year's prosciutto."
Or here: She is describing doing battle with a very large, very stubborn pumpkin, wanting to use it for a Thanksgiving pumpkin dish: "Or so I'd thought, before I knew this one would not go gentle into that good night (as Dylan Thomas advised). Even our meanest roosters hadn't raged this hard against the dying of the light." That's good stuff.
I even tried a recipe from the book tonight, modified slightly below. Andrew and I are the only ones at home, and naturally, he's not interested in it. But I made a 1/3 batch of the recipe below and thought it was delicious:
3/4-pound orzo pasta, cooked
1 chopped onion
garlic to taste
3 zucchini, grated
Thyme and/or oregano
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
Saute onion & garlic in oil. Add grated zucchini and cook about five minutes longer; remove from heat. Stir in spices, cheese, and orzo. Salt to taste. Serve warm or room temperature.
Monday, July 28, 2008
The reader quickly becomes apparent of how much we have lost in the culture of eating and cooking food. Kingsolver laments that loss throughout the book. She says mothers are losing the "eat your vegetables" war because vegetables do not taste good any more--they've been genetically bred, not for taste, but for durability to travel thousands of miles. We want to satisfy our tastes for strawberries, melon, tomatoes, and other fruits and vegetables year round, and it doesn't seem to matter to us that we're getting a poor reproduction of what they should taste like--we want what we want now. (A great encapsulation of society today!) Furthermore, she points out that in today's market, 87 calories of gasolines are required to get one calorie of usable food to our mouths. That's what it takes to satisfy our all-encompassing but insipid tastes.
And she makes painfully aware the family enrichment we've eliminated with our eating decisions. Listen to this quotation from pp. 126-127:
"When my generation of women walked away from the kitchen we were escorted down that path by a profiteering industry that knew a tired, vulnerable marketing target when they saw it. 'Hey, ladies,' it said to us, 'go ahead, get liberated. We'll take care of dinner.' They threw open the door and we walked into a nutritional crisis and genuinely toxic food supply. If you think toxic is an exaggeration, read the package directions for handling raw chicken from a CAFO [confined animal feeding operation]. We came a long way, baby, into bad eating habits and collaterally impaired family dynamics. No matter what we do or believe, food remains at the center of every culture. Ours now runs on empty calories.
"When we traded homemaking for careers, we were implicitly promised economic independence and worldly influence. But a devil of a bargain it has turned out to be in terms of daily life. We gave up the aroma of warm bread rising, the measured pace of nurturing routines, the creative task of molding our families' tastes and zest for life; we received in exchange the minivan and the Lunchable. (Or worse, convenience-mart hot dogs and latchkey kids.) I consider it the great hoodwink of my generation."
Whew! That's powerful stuff, and very convicting. I'm only on page 157 out of 354, so I suspect any readers of this blog might be getting more in the days to come.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
My earthly work, whatever it may be.
Call me not home with mission unfilled;
Let me not leave my space of ground untilled.
I long to be an instrument of Thine,
To bid men at Thy table "Come and dine;"
To be a means one human soul to save
From the dark terrors of a hopeless grave.
Yet most I want a spirit of content
To work where'ere you wish my labor spent.
Whether at home, or in a stranger clime,
In days of joy or sorrow's sterner time;
I want a spirit happy to lie still,
Or by Thy power to do Thy holy will.
Let me not die before I've done for Thee
My earthly work, whatever it may be.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
1) Link to the person who tagged me.
2) Mention the rules.
3) Tell six quirky, yet boring, unspectacular details about myself.
4) Tag 6 other bloggers by linking to them.
5) Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that lets them know they’ve been tagged.
Okay, six quirky things:
1. This summer I have really enjoyed watching Andy Griffith reruns on Channel 4 at 12:30 and 2:00 every day. I even time my kitchen work to be out there during those times.
2. I can't go to sleep unless the covers are securely tucked in at the foot of the bed, and I have to have something heavier over my feet, like an extra blanket, more than just the bedspread or whatever blankets happen to be on the bed.
3. I try to keep the house reasonably neat, but my bedroom closet is a disaster, and no one in the house may comment or object--it is the one place where I can just let things collect. Call it my form of rebellion against having to be neat as a sign of conformity, maybe?!
4. I really enjoy swimming in the summer but the water has to be about the temperature of a tepid bath. None of that cold water for me.
5. I don't care for coffee in any form, but there is nothing better in the world than a warm chocolate chip cookie dunked in a glass of cold milk.
6. Every spring I get excited about growing flowers and a few vegetables; then if the plants don't do well pretty much on their own, I always get lax about watering them. . .and in weather like this, that means that they die.
And I tag my sister Rhoda at rk2 and anyone else who reads this who wants to try it!
Saturday, July 19, 2008
On the right are the two Hummel-style figurines that I painted in Aunt Louise and Aunt Hulda's basement in the '70s. Details about that experience will be another post someday.
Elisabeth Elliot books. Her writings were especially influential on me during the college years, and on through adulthood also. There are a couple of Tozer books on the right--he is powerful.
Loula Grace Erdman books. Don't really know how I got started on her. She wrote in the '40s and '50s, not particularly "Christian" fiction but all of her books have positive moral and Christian themes. She is particularly good at characterization, which I've always preferred in fiction more than plot.
And that is my bookcase!
Friday, July 18, 2008
**I forgot to mention: The best part of the lasagna recipe below is that you don't have to precook the noodles!
**The best deal of the "season" so far with all this buying for the library on ebay: 3 DVDs called Liberty Kids; the auction ended last night and I got them for a penny apiece! Somebody got stuck there. I fully expected the bid to go up as the auction wore on, and had entered a higher bid of about $5.00 apiece, but apparently nobody else wanted them.
**A new stab at jam-making: This is "blueberry-cherry-peach" jam. Not bad!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
- WIND IN THE WILLOWS, 2 DVD set, $2.99
- Animated versions of DAVID COPPERFIELD and HEIDI, $1.00 each
- CHILDREN'S STORIES, 2 DVD set, $6.50. (These looked like good stories.)
- Animated TOM SAWYER, $1.99
- Animated ROB ROY, DON QUIXOTE, LAST OF THE MOHICANS, HANS BRINKER, and CAMELOT, $5.99 each
- Several MODERN MARVELS DVDs from the History Channel--FIREWORKS is one, and CANDY (how it's made) is another.
- and several Liberty's Kids DVDs still on auction--I just hope that somebody hasn't seen them and plans to bid high at the very end.
I've also gotten some good things for the Phys. Ed teachers as well as some science and lit. things. It's fun to spend money that's not my own! But, it's also fun to come up with good educational resources for the teachers for the fall.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
I've never been much of a lasagna lover, or a very good lasagna maker for that matter. All that changed with the discovery of "Simple Sausage Lasagna" several months ago in TASTE OF HOME magazine. (recipe available by using the search feature here. The whole family likes it, and it makes plenty for leftovers also. Best of all, by setting the oven to run from 10:45 to 11:45, it's cooked and has had a few minutes to set up, by the time we get back from church. Then I just throw some corn in a pot, and throw some garlic bread in the oven to brown into toast. And we can eat within ten minutes of walking in the door!
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Now, I don't think that churches I've been a part of over the years would be doing work that didn't really need to be done. I do think, however, that mission teams need to be evaluated carefully. They seem to be the latest "fad" (if that is the best word) in Christian circles, and they may or may not be effective.
--Is the cost prohibitive? A large overseas mission team, say 30 people at $1200 apiece, would cost $36,000, and that's not counting probable subsidy from the sponsoring church. Is that the best use of missions money? Even with small teams driving to other parts of the U.S.--there is much, much money used up in transportation of people, when there is also much that can be done closer to home.
--Does taking care of a large group of people take away from the missionaries' time to actually pursue their work? It is very wearing. I am sure that an occasional team can be invigorating. But I read on one missionary's site that "It's time for mission team season," and it was obvious that she and her husband would have to devote much energy to the teams.
--Most of all: Is the age of the participants optimum? I've been on two teams, and the one to Haiti when I was 20 years old changed my life immensely. Never again would I look at Christianity without seeing it through a broader filter--one that was not limited to U.S. style of living and worship. Nor would I ever take material blessings for granted again--and that was greatly reinforced on a trip taken to Mexico when I was an adult.
College students are at a premium age to be helpful but also to take in the lessons of the mission field. But I'm not so sure that that is true with high school teams. Granted, there are some teenagers who benefit and are changed by the trip. Two high school sophomores from our school who went to China come to mind. But for many teens, a trip to a mission field is just an "extension of the action"--a glorified youth activity, so to speak. Oh, they have a wonderful time, and usually get emotionally worked up for awhile. But most aren't mature enough to really appreciate the opportunity that they've been given and the sacrifice that parents or others may have made so that they can make this trip. They want to go because it's the thing to do, because their friends are going, because it's exciting.
Mission trips can have a valuable place in the world of Christendom. However, they must be evaluated carefully, both before they are planned and after they take place, to minimize the cost, to make them as effective as possible, and to have the most valuable impact on the lives of those who go.
Monday, July 7, 2008
meme: n. A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.
1. Do you remember how you developed a love for reading? My parents were readers and read to us often. And I was one of those kids who, once phonics opened up the world of reading, I was hooked.
2. What are some books you read as a child? As an elementary age child: Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, Dana Girls, and many other series books; The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett; many of the Moody Press fiction books for young people. I read the Little House series over and over into adulthood. Don't laugh, but I used to read encyclopedias just because they were interesting.
3. What is your favorite genre? Biographies and non-fiction. Very little Christian fiction interests me—most of it is pumped out too quickly and just doesn’t have the depth of characterization that makes fiction interesting.
4. Do you have a favorite novel? No. Lots are favorites. Since teaching literature for the past eight years, I’ve learned to appreciate several of the classics: Great Expectations (Dickens), To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee), Scarlet Letter (Hawthorne), The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald). I just re-read two Francena Arnold novels that have long been favorites: Not My Will and The Light in My Window. In my opinion just about every modern Christian fiction writer needs to read those two novels before writing another word.
5. Where do you usually read? In the La-Z-Boy in the den; or, if people are in there, I’ll read in the old La-Z-Boy in my bedroom. When I was a kid I read in the bathroom while my younger sisters were doing the dishes. You’d have to ask them about that.
6. When do you usually read? Whenever I have a chance.
7. Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time? Just depends.
8. Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction? Yes. If a novel is good I usually can’t put it down. Nonfiction is a little easier to put down and then pick back up.
9. Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library? I love to go to the public library and check out several good political books at a time. I also have access to the library at our school (it helps to be the supervisor) and often get books there. I don’t buy many books.
10. Do you keep most of the books you buy? If not, what do you do with them? I pass a lot on to our school library or put them in the Haven of Rest box. I hang on to collectibles and am starting a small collection of them. I’m not averse to flipping books on eBay.
11. If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you have shared with them? Were they some of the same ones you read as a child? I have fond memories of reading aloud to my kids. When Mary Lee was about three, we were reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe out loud, and after the description of someone coming through the forest on horses, I can still remember her breathlessly saying “The White Witch!!”
We read lots of Golden Books. They loved Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Story Book. We read the Bedtime Nursery Story series by Emily Hunter. They also liked the Christopher Churchmouse stories. Andrew loved Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things that Go (by age two he could find Goldbug faster than any adult). There was a great series by Nick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen with several titles about parables Jesus told—they were delightfully illustrated and are combined in a book called Stories Jesus Told. I don’t believe it’s currently in print.
Oh, there are so many. The Happy Days series from Standard Publishing was like a Christian version of Golden Books, and most of them were very well done. My favorite to read aloud was I Wish I Wish by Elaine Watson.
Goodnight Moon (Margaret Wise Brown). The Little Engine that Could (Watty Piper). Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel (Virginia Lee Burton). Blueberries for Sal and Make Way for Ducklings (Robert McCloskey). The Story About Ping (Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese). Corduroy (Don Freeman). If I were to go up in the attic I’d find a bunch more.
12. What are you reading now? I am trying to wade through A Tale of Two Cities (figure an English teacher ought to have read that one) and am currently looking for something else to start on!
13. Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list? No.
14. What’s next? Don’t really know. So much of my life is scheduled that I read on whims!
15. What books would you like to reread? Little Women and Little Men (Alcott). I’ve read them many times but still like to read and re-read them. A Garden to Keep by Jamie Langston Turner. Any of my Elisabeth Elliot books. Birds of Eastern and Central North America by Roger Tory Peterson. Evidence not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose. This is just a sampling.
16. Who are your favorite authors? Jamie Langston Turner, Francena Arnold, Dorothy Martin (the old Peggy series by Moody Press), Doris Coffin Aldrich (wrote Musings of a Mother published by Moody Press in the '60s), Harper Lee. Loula Grace Erdman is an excellent author (she wrote fiction in the '50's)--I have most of her books. I’ll think of others after this is posted.
My son has become a lover of reading; my daughter has not. It’s hard to figure out what turns that light on.
Oh, I also can't do without news magazines and the daily newspaper!
Sunday, July 6, 2008
There is beautiful story about an old missionary named Samuel Morrison. He had been in Africa serving the Lord for 25 years, and he was being sent home to America due to age and illness. He traveled home on the same ocean liner on which President Theodore Roosevelt was returning after being on a safari for three weeks.
As the ship pulled into New York Harbor, it looked like all of America had turned out to welcome President Roosevelt home. The bands were playing, the flags were waving, the balloons were popping, and all the cameramen were there. When the gangway was put down to down to the dock and President Roosevelt stepped off of the ship, there was a thunderous ovation as everybody welcomed Mr. President home.
When Samuel Morrison stepped off of the ship onto that same gangway, nobody called his name. As he walked through the crowd there was nobody there to welcome him. He stood on the curb looking for a cab, and he said later that in his spirit he was complaining, saying something like this:
“God, Mr. Roosevelt has been in Africa for three weeks killing animals and the whole world turns out to welcome him home. I’ve been in Africa for 25 years serving you and there is nobody here to welcome me.”
And he said to his heart came that still small voice saying, “But my son, you’re not home yet.”
Saturday, July 5, 2008
The differences between the two major political parties are real, are documented, and are extensive. The differences represent major opposites in philosophy of government and of life. These two parties are at extreme odds with each other. How in the world can a person say he can go in one direction or another, voting for the nominee he chooses at the time of the election, without betraying deeply held values?
I'm not talking about local elections, or even state ones. But our two national parties always select nominees who reflect their very different and very strong ways of thinking. I may disagree wholeheartedly with someone of the opposite political stripe, but I can respect him for holding to his principles. An "independent" who is proud of having no label does not engender that same respect.
Actually, the "independents" are probably far fewer than thought. Elections really boil down to how many of the philosophically-faithful a party can get out at election time. It's time for the (so-called) influence of the "independent voter" to no longer be given so much credit every four years.
Friday, July 4, 2008
She plans to add large white letters with her initials over her bed, and other touches to fix it up.
It's really turned out quite nice, and Mike worked hard on his few days off to get it fixed up the way she wanted.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Last night on the news the meteorologist said we are in extreme drought here in Anderson County, and we are right on the edge of the area labeled exceptional drought. Voluntary water conservation measures are now in place and I expect they will become mandatory in the coming weeks. No rain is in the extended forecast until fall.
I think of my Illinois cousins and all the rain they've had in recent weeks and months. Could you please send some this way?!!