Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Bit of Poetry

No strength of Nature can suffice
To serve the Lord aright:
And what she has, she misapplies,
For want of clearer light.

-William Cowper, 1731-1800
From what little I have read about him, William Cowper seems to have an interesting life story. He suffered from severe depression and even attempted suicide, and he was a great and famous religious author.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Home life

This morning’s family activities and discussions established the facts that:

1 Pocket knives are only to keep in your pocket, they are not for throwing
2 Couches are only made to be sat on
3 Nebraska spiders will not jump on you and kill you
4 It is possible to have fun and excitement at home without eating food.
5 One does not run their dirty fingers through the granola container

I had a very domestic day. I cleaned the kitchen, and washed tomatoes; did school with Jonny, and then rested for half an hour while the boys wrestled and chased each other, the rules being no biting and no kicking. I stepped up the search for a Nanny job yesterday. Calling people about a advertised job scares me to death. Then in the afternoon I went grocery shopping, visited the library, shopped for a birthday present, and paid the taxes for Mom. Tonight Jen and I are having our girl night, which consists of hiding upstairs with a combination of TV and sugar in chocolate form.

Last night I read a book by Danielle Steel. Now before you all have heart attacks, let me explain. The local book club, which I attend, decided that this month we would all read a Danielle Steel book. Usually the reading assignment is much more flexible, for example, one month we each read a different sea story; so generally, I can pick the type of book I want to read. I know that I didn’t HAVE to read a D.S. book, but I thought I would read one just to say with greater knowledge, “I don’t like her work”. And I don’t. I found her book to be poorly written, immoral, and utterly un-educating. Someone once said “It is a good book which is opened in expectation and closed in profit.” I read books for enjoyment and education. This book gave me neither. How I am going to tell all this to those kind but very sensitive old ladies at book club, I do not know.
Sometimes book club frustrates me- but we do have great treats afterwards.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Watercolor pencil, finished today. Posted by Picasa

The rainbow from a week ago. A photo just can't capture how beautiful it really is. Posted by Picasa

My cemetery during a heavy fog. Cool! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A book report

Recently I read a book titled "Then sings my soul: 150 of the world's greatest hymn stories" by Robert J. Morgan. I've really enjoyed reading learning the background to some wonderful songs, and I found it can be very encouraging to sing those songs to myself. Just yesterday I sang "It is well with my soul" under my breath while Andrew threw beanie babies at Jeremy, who I was trying to put to bed for his nap so I could go clean house and do chores before an unexpected visitor arrived. My attitude was not right but the song reminded me to not get so frustrated with small things. One of my favorite stories from this book was the story of the hymn "Praise ye the Lord, the Almighty" which is just such a fun song to sing. The author, Joachim Neander, was born in Germany in 1650. He was converted to Christianity at age twenty, and he died ten years later from tuberculosis. The last year of his life, he wrote this beautiful hymn. He loved to roam the nearby hills so much that eventually one of his favorite walking spots was named for him-Neander valley, or Neanderthal, "thal" meaning "valley" in German. Recognize that name now? In 1856, human bones were found in a cave in that very valley. The scientist William King claimed that bones were that of the "missing link" of evolution. Which we know to be baloney, as Joachim Neander would have also rightly asserted. I liked this hymn book so much that I plan to buy them for Dad this Christmas. Don’t tell!

1 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.

4 Praise to the Lord, Who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.

7 Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I should have learned to swim.

It’s been raining so much here we are like to drown. It was raining just last night(!) and Jen ran out in the rain to take pictures of it(the rain) and she discovered a beautiful, huge, perfect rainbow. A RAINBOW! What a rare and wonderful sight. We all ran out in the rain to stare and got slightly wet in the process. Rain! What strange weather we’ve had this summer.

Yesterday I went into town to do housecleaning for a(slightly crabby) 90 year old lady. On the way in I dropped the girls off by the river so they could go canoeing. I was at the lady’s house for two hours cleaning her cupboards- I nearly had a heart attack cleaning her fine crystal. Some of it nearly fell. After she released me from her hands, I rushed to the library to cover books for an hour. Libraries are a good place to hear gossip- the librarians know all. When I came out of the library, The sky was extremely dark. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it so dark. On the way home I got hit by torrential rains which rendered me nearly sightless on the horrible country roads. Anyway, I made it home and even got the girls to their next social appointment, a birthday party, to which I was not invited, so Jen and I decided to get ice cream!!!! at MacDonald’s after going grocery shopping and visiting the LIBRARY(A different one than the one I mentioned earlier)!

Today we girls are going to can cucumbers and tomatoes. I also have to make zucchini chocolate cake and carrot cake. I figured I'd better do the cake because if Jen's bread is any indication, her cake would not turn out well. Her bread is the stuff legends are made of- you know, the legends that go like, "Yes, I remember using Grandma's fruitcake to build brick walls". After that we have to make dinner-BLT’s. How we are going to do all that in four hours I do not know. We also have to prepare for tomorrow- we aren’t going to Church because we are attending a thank you lunch for veterans from the local nursing home. It starts at 12, and since we usually don’t get home from church until 1:30, we’ll probably just have Church at home.

Well, there you go- an update on my life.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Heart pounding excitment

Yesterday we had twenty-five of Dad's international students over for lunch. We've done this many times before, so we have the routine down pretty good- cleaning and cooking takes up pretty much half the day before and all the next morning, along with the cooking. This group was special, though, because they were all from Europe, not Asia, and they were almost all Muslim. These students were from Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and France. Quite a few of the students were actually Muslim immigrants from other countries such as Egypt, Pakistan, and Africa. Mom ended up discussing the war and religion with some of them while I ended up listening, which is fine- I probably would have said something a little too heated. I did talk to one seventeen year old girl from Denmark- actually, she was from Turkey, but her family immigrated to Denmark. She was much more serious than our silly American teenagers.

It was an interesting experience. The discussion did get my blood going. It was like talking to a member of our media. They were total political opposites of us. Mainly what was discussed was the Iraq war(they didn't mention Afghanistan), which they were heartily against. Then Islam was discussed- we heard the history of Islam, which I have heard before, and how alike Christianity and Islam are alike(I disagree!) and I left when one fellow started talking about how wonderful Islam is. So that was our first heart pounding excitement for the weekend.

Then today, the boys were loading wood onto the truck to bring up to the house for the winter. All of a sudden, Jeremy starts crying- no big deal, he probably got a sliver. Not so. Next thing we know, all four of the boys, followed by Dad, tumbled into the house. The three younger ones were crying hysterically, Caleb was shouting "Dad! there's another one! Dad!". Dad was swatting the air. It turns out that they had disturbed a wasp's nest that was in the wood pile. They each had been stung several times and the tears flowed freely for the next few minutes as we tended their wounds. Poor boys! They still have various swollen limbs but after we sat down to lunch, the pain seemed to disappear. Food- works every time. And that was our second heart pounding experience of the weekend.