Sunday, December 30, 2007

Psalm 5

Prayer for Protection from the Wicked. For the choir director; for flute accompaniment.

A Psalm of David.

1 Give ear to my words, O LORD, Consider my groaning. 2Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, For to You I pray. 3 In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. 4For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You. 5The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity. 6You destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit. 7But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house, At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You. 8 O LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes; Make Your way straight before me. 9There is nothing reliable in what they say; Their inward part is destruction itself Their throat is an open grave; They flatter with their tongue. 10Hold them guilty, O God; By their own devices let them fall! In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out, For they are rebellious against You. 11But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You. 12For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor as with a shield.

Anticiating a sermon on Psalm 5, I am reading this slowly before church.

Here's a link to last week's on Psalm 4.

Here's a link to what we're eating after church.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Sartorial Review

Usually on Fridays I highlight a piece of artwork on my xanga site and a piece of clothing on my blog. Fashion is an essential part of our lives and an expressive method of communication. One may think that she is not interested in fashion, but that does not keep her clothing from telling others about her.

Here's an interesting commentary by historian Paul Johnson on statesmen and what they wear. After reading this I am more intrigued by statesmen and what they wear and when they wear it.

Consider the recently assassinated Benazir Bhutto and the contrast between the civil and military cultures of Pakistan.

How does fashion factor into your daily dress?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Anniversary Time

For comparison's sake, here's a link to our 25th anniversary photo taken two years ago.

Do you recognize our minister?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Christmas Dinner

Here's a different view of my dining room,
showing my china cabinet.

A close-up of my inexpensive centerpiece, made with discounted glass balls arranged in a glass bowl.

I'm pleased with the way the meat turned out. The recipe was easy.

Preheat the over to 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Make sure the meat is brought to temperature before you place it in the oven, cooking for 5 minutess per pound. Then turn off the oven. Do NOT open the door for three, even four hours. Slice as shown. Served au jus and with horseradish sauce. Oh, and sauteed button mushrooms!

Yes, I did sprinkle seasonings on top before roasting.

Here are the veggies ready to be steamed.

Do you like my Christmas theme?

Green and red!

Sorry, forgot to photograph the rice and the croissants.

We visited over coffee and opened a few presents.

Then it was time for dessert!

Poached Pear with Chocolate Sauce

This meal was preceded by a wonderful worship service in which we sang some Christmas hymns, heard a sermon based on Psalm Four, celebrated the Lord's Supper, and ended with the psalter hymn based on Ps 4.

There is no day more special than one spent this way, especially this week :)

Update: We ended up drinking a Merlot (2005 Ghost Pines)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Holiday Menus

Sunday December 23rd

Standing Rib Roast
Wild Rice
Asparagus, steamed
Red Peppers, sauteed


Cabernet Sauvignon

Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce
Sugar Cookie

Christmas Day, Six O'clock

Honey Baked Ham
Hash Brown Cassserole
Beet Salad
Pickle/Olive Tray

Brownies, Fudge, Haystacks, Candy

Coffee/Tea/Me :)

Usually I print the menu on a special card or paper and post it, so guests wont ask "what's for dinner?"

Friday, December 21, 2007

Fashion Find Friday

Nothing simpler

and less expensive

makes me feel any more

festively attired

around Christmas

than a pair

of red gloves.

How do you dress for the holidays?

Here are a few words to remember, when you put on your gloves.

Glove of Friendship

If the heart is true
a friendship will last
If it's built on mistrust
it 'll become a thing of the past

If the heart is honest
a friendship will thrive
the bond will be solid
and never implied

If the heart is open
and truly willing to love
a friendship will flourish
and should be worn like a glove

by Jock Ridi

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Reading Level

cash advance<

What's yours?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Piety and Justice

Our modern day Diogenes, Richard Weaver, continues on his quest in the final chapter of his far-reaching diatribe, Ideas Have Consequences, by examining the roles of piety and justice in reversing the decay of civilization.

Like the ancient philosphoser seeking a man of integrity (wholeness), Weaver wonders whether modern man wants to be well.

His conclusion?

It doesnt matter whether man desires health.

Weaver knows that it is his duty as one who can foresee (prophet) to shine the light on the path illuminating the way.

So, dear reader, if you peruse my words no further, be advised that this short volume is indispensable to your health. I cannot make you read it. My summaries might make you feel better temporarily, but like true medicinal aids the prescriptions are lethal and necessary. I can only pray along with Weaver that you will read and catch the imagination of those who look to you for guidance.

Now for a little recap.

After six chapters explaining the miserable state of society (civilization), Weaver proposes a solution which involves 1) a right relationship with property, 2) repaired communication (skills), and 3) a major attitude adjustment. The last of which is the concept addressed in chapter nine.

Weaver jumps right to the point and blames modern man's attidude. He is impious. If you are not offended by this label it only proves that you are a product of modern civilization, killing off everything/one who came before you and unconscious that crimes have been committed. Weaver proposes that we discipline (or exercise self control) the will through respect (venerence) in three areas of life:

1) Nature - Find the middle ground, avoiding total immersion and total abstraction.
2) Neighbors - Accept others as being allowed to live their way. God made my enemies :)
3) History - The past has substance but only insofar as I can reflect on it.

It is disheartening to observe that modern man seems to have lost all sense of obligation, not feeling accountable because he does not recognize that anything is owed (due) these areas. This is where *Justice* seems to have been abandoned. It made me realize why some people dont believe in Hell.

Not one to skim over distasteful part of a discussion, Weaver explains how our impiety toward the distinctiveness of nature, the loss of individuality(personality), and the contempt for the past are powerful forces disintegrating the foundations which undergird our civilization. I liked best his dispelling of the myth of the equality of the sexes, which was a part of his proposal to restore the proper sentiment in nature.

Check out the word theomorphic, especially as it relates to the distinction between the disease of individualism and the tonic of personality. This is admirable as defined by Weaver:

that little private area of selfhood in which the person is at once conscious of
his relationship to the transcendental and the living community.

I'm sure Cindy will address these as well as his other examples. Be sure and read her synopsis.

Finally, Weaver admits that even his chosen field of philosophy doesnt have all the answers and if applied is very likely to blow up any government on which it is founded, pg 182. Carmon has an interesting essay about the presidental race, which will tie in with Weaver's statement that "every figure in modern public life feels called upon to stress the regularity of his background, habits, and his aspirations." Dont be fooled by political rhetoric. If you do anything political, I implore you to pay closer attention to local over national politics.

In the end, I admire Weaver for his dedication to the "fair goal of justice" through the implemenation of old-fashioned piety, although we may need to consult a spin-meister for a more marketable term, if we desire more companions. However, that may not be necessary since as students of history, we know that minorities have exercised control in the past.

Weaver devoted his short life to restoring civilization. That makes him a hero in my eyes. He learned the lesson of endurance and for that I credit him with substance. I hope you will too.

In a way he lives on as a force helping to shape our dream of the world.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Tour

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at our house, even though we dont have snow like lots of folks (DD#1 included)

For many years the tree was in the living room.
But now that we are all adult-sized, there is not enough room on Christmas mroning for all the people, the tree, and the gifts.

Hence the foyer location of our nine-footer.

Yesterday's Sunday lunch was simple soup and sandwich fare, but it's more festive to eat in the dining room on Christmas china.

Turkey noodle soup and grilled cheese sandwhiches are hard to beat.

It's was a long time before I was hungry again, so I just had tea later in the evening, when I got chilled.

It was Lipton's orange-spice (herbal).

And I listened to the angels sing.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Family Tree

Not exactly museum quality material but nevertheless very important artwork for our household because it was created by Grandpa Jago (d. 2001) and illustrates our genealogy back to the 18th century!!

As Christmas Day approaches, many get a pit in their stomachs wondering what they can give. Allow me to suggest this type of gift - that one of time well-spent. Many years ago, one of my sisters gave each of us the beginnings of a genealogy notebook. It may have been the topic of her required senior history thesis, but I know she spent a lot of time visiting relatives that year...some which I never had the chance to meet. Just this past week I telephoned an aunt and enjoyed a conversation about my grandmother/her mother.

This is a fantastic idea, low cost and truly one I've referred to often over the years.

Furthermore, I like the idea offered by Caroline Kennedy in a book of poetry dedicated to her mother. She relates that from a very early age her birthday/Christmas gift to her mother would be the recitation and or illustration of a poem.

What could be more simple, less expensive, or more priceless?

Now I'm off to search for that poem written for me by DD#2 a few Christmases ago.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Economics for Children a la Richard Scarry

In just a few short weeks (that's January 7th), our *blogging bookclub* will read and review Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson. This book was chosen because we were disappointed in our incorrect answers to economics-related questions found in this online quiz.

So, in preparation for this assignment, I've scoured my bookshelves in search of all things Richard Scarry, the author of many a child's favorite books.

Today I commend to you his What People Do All Day because it illustrates clearly basic economic principles. This book is classified as juvenile non-fiction and proves that it is never too early to start teaching our children economic theory, poetry, or etymology.

Here's a quick list of the chapter titles:

1) What Do People Do All Day?
2) Everyone is a Worker
3) Building a New House
4) Mailing a Letter
5) Firemen to the Rescue
6) A Visit to the Hospital
7) The Train Trip
8) The Story of Seeds
9) Wood and How We Use It
10)Building a New Road
11)A Voyage on a Ship
12)Where Bread Comes From

There is a companion title by Scarry called The Busiest People Ever, and it includes a chapter *Busy House Workers*, which is unfortunately omitted from the newer editions of What Do People Do. I can remember spending hours looking at Scarry books, pouring over the details and pictures.

Do you own any Scarry?

It wont take you an hour to read this fine article about one father who reads to his youngsters, teaching economics at a very early age. Even philosophy can be taught early on ....and not by reading aloud Richard Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences, but by recording for posterity Yellow and Pink, an out-of-print volume which is charming. It's never to early to talk about the first question of the Children's Catechism.

It is always perplexed me when someone asks a SAHM *What do you do all day*. I guess I am at a loss for words because it seems so obvious to me that taking care of a family is a full-time job full of all kinds of tasks, no matter whether your children are younger or older. Have any of us consider how we will keep our children connected after they are grown and married? While my mother has never worked outside the home, she has to be one of the most industrious people I know. Here's a link to how she stays busy.

If that does not answer the insipid inquisitor's question, I guess I will refer him/her to Richard Scarry.

Oh, and the word derivation assignment for today is *economics* . Answers in this link :)

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Power of the Word

Words and language, subjects near and dear to my translator heart are the topics covered in Chapter 8 of Ideas Have Consequences. No doubt my poet friend, Cindy, is thrilled with the concepts in this chapter as well. Surely, editor Carmon is wooed by Weaver’s efforts to restore America’s communication skills. Kelly? not sure which area fits her personality best. I’m more concerned that her daughter’s health is greatly improved.

Seriously though, now that we’re safe and hunkered down in our (underground) pieces of private property (that last metaphysical right), Weaver establishes the next offensive line of attack to rescue society from the perils he recognized in his short lifetime. Whether one agrees or not, community depends upon the ability of men to understand (one another). And I am here to lob metaphorical grenades from the trenches in an effort to keep the family together :)

My heart is further warmed by Weaver’s initial mention of the divine element present in language (Yay God!) and his quoting of Scripture (Genesis, John, and, everlasting life.) There was lots of background information on language. I suffered through the detailed explanation of the different theories of language and their various mutilations with dictionary in hand. It will make you feel better to know that I checked the definitions of the following words: teleology, tropes, noumenal, semanticist, atomist, positivist, and Charles Peguy. Have you ever read him? Not me, but maybe I should since this French poet is mentioned in almost every chapter!

Finally, Weaver gets to the heart of the matter.

Words are our reminders of knowledge.


language is our great storehouse of universal memory

not imprisoning us, but aiding us to get at the true meaning of things. The common currency provided by words allows man to evoke the ideal or the proper sentiment. He supports these statements by quoting poet Percy Shelley and Wilbur Marshall Urban, a contemporary psychologist and author of Language and Reality.

I loved the examples of the relationship between speech, dress(attire) and manners, pg 160 and the chinks in the armor of French, Bolivian, and Japanese societies. Current professor Walter Williams weighs in on this *pressure to abandon* in this short article. Note how his John Milton quote is similar to Ralph Waldo’s, the chapter’s opening quote.

The corruption of man is followed by the corruption of language.

That’s the point! Weaver is trying to reverse the trend of lowering the level of abstraction behind the meaning of words. Weaver knows that there are absolute meanings which the opposition is trying to muddle or destroy. We live in an age frightened by the very idea of certitude. pg 163 Thankfully since Weaver quotes Scripture, I feel permission to as well in support of the fact that FIRST comes the corruption of man.

Nothing outside a man can make him unclean by going into him.
Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean.
Mark 7:15

Futhermore, in light of the fact that the skill with which one uses his language is a solid indicator of success, Weaver rightly declare that dramatic poets would top the scale over scientists when rating *the best teachers*. Remember he's annoyed at the scientists development of the atomic bomb. And so, it should come as no surprise then when Weaver plops the task of rehabilitating the *word* in the lap of educators. That, dear reader, is YOU and the very reason that you are reading Ideas Have Consequences in the first place.

If you want to avoid the vices of sentimentality and brutality, the unfortunate results of our government's educational system, employ the twofold training Weaver proposes (1)literature and rhetoric and (2)logic and dialectic in your academic schooling. Read Cindy. She covers poetry very well. I (grammarian and spelling-n*zi who minored in French and German) will promote the study of foreign languages. Just do it!

Nothing so successfully discourages slovenliness in the use of language as the
practice of translation.

Teachers of the present order have not enough courage to be definers; lawmakers have not enough insight, pg 164. Presidential candidate Ron Paul's defines Freedom in this short article, which is important, but not as important as Justice, Mercy, and Truth. So, be an evangel. Your audience (offspring) is ready and waiting.

It’s all about definitions - order and forms (and proper spelling - tee hee). ALL education is learning to name rightly, discern, have the courage to see truly what you see.... to have a stable vocabulary so we have stable law. Make sure you’re not climbing down the ladder of abstraction (pg 155) but rather up to the WORD which is deliverance.

When Jesus Christ utters a word, he opens his mouth so wide that it embraces all heaven and earth, even though that word be but in a whisper.

- Martin Luther

Addtl reading at the Heritage Foundation lecture on the power of language.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


Sunday, December 9, 1984

Here's a family photo taken after church on the day of our first child's baptism. I thought of it because this weekend I've been addressing Christmas cards and we included this picture that year...exactly 23 years ago.

I like to re-listen to a recording of what the minister actually said. We have audio from two of the our four baptisms. I'm not sure how/why we're missing two.

No doubt you recognize these promises:

Acts 2:39

For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him.

Gen 17:7

And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee.

Acts 16:31

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house.

Then we were asked the following questions to which we answered affirmatively:

1) Do you acknowledge your child's need of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, and the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit?

2) Do you claim God's covenant promises in her behalf, and do you look in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ for her salvation, as you do for your own?

3) Do you now unreservedly dedicate your child to God, and promise, in humble reliance upon divine grace, that you will endeavor to set before her a godly example, that you will pray with and for her, that you will teach her the doctrines of our holy religion, and that you will strive, by all means of God's appointment, to bring her up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?

I dont remember much about the service after that because I think she and I exited for a feeding.

After church we traditionally had dinner together, and this Sabbath was no different. Grandma had come over from Charleston, SC, and we were living with my folks, so they were there. Usually I remember Sunday dinners right down to the very last detail, but in this case I only recall the Haagen-Dazs ice cream cake we had for dessert. Yum!

Here she is now....with her father :)

Ps 147:1 Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

Ps147:11 the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.

What do you know about your baptism?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Second Chance Christmas

Looking for a delightful Christmas gift?

What could be more fun than to sit down in the quiet of your own living room and enjoy a concert suitable for all ages?

This year after dinner on festive china I'm hoping all my siblings will gather 'round to hear this symphonic story.

Presented in the style of a Broadway mini-musical, SECOND CHANCE CHRISTMAS is the uplifting story of how a troupe of traveling musicians and the children of a fictional town in West Virginia returned music and dancing to the holidays after thirty somber years.

This entertaining story is expertly narrated by Stuart Culpepper and features a small cast of additional voices, as well as the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and the Murray County Chamber Choir.

Based on the original poem, THE HOLIDAY RULE, by Ric Reitz, the cadence of this production is reminiscent of classic Dr. Seuss, and follows Ric's first, very successful offering in this genre, THE JOURNEY OF SIR DOUGLAS FIR, which received tremendous reviews and the 2000 IPPY Award for Best Children's Audio Book.

Order one here.

There's a good chance you'll receive it in time :)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Last Metaphysical Right

Refreshing is how I would describe Chapter 7 of Richard Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences. After reading pages and pages detailing man's 400 year slide into a chaotic abyss, I was beginning to lose hope that Weaver in fact had a viable solution. I now know why Kelly chose to highlight this chapter in her review of the book last year.

Weaver has not been wandering aimlessly, however, in his search for a place where a successful stand may be made for the logos against modern barbarianism. He has carefully plotted the course of the ship which he navigated safely to the shores of the most free nation in the world. That is, a nation governed by a constitution which allows for small scale private property ownership.

The ordinances of religion, the prerogatives of sex and of vocation, all have been swept away by materialism, but the relationship of man to his own has until the present largely escaped attack.

It was easy for me to grasp the concepts presented in this chapter because not only was I taught them at home from a very early age but also I studied them in college. Weaver's explanation of the superiority of private property ownership in one word *hisness* is assertive and convincing. As mothers, we all see this in our children and their toys at a very early age.

In the *hisness* of property we have dogma and there the discussion ends.

I dont think my children started to keep track of their private property because of my nagging and rules, but more because of this last metaphysical right that is planted in their very beings.

So, it is clear (to me) that private property is a suitable citadel for protecting us from the long arm of the State. Entrenchment is another good word that Weaver uses to describe the position we members of society must take in order to defend ourselves from the literal and symbolic starvation alluded to in the opening quote.

In a Country where the sole employer is the State, opposition means death by slow starvation.

Now Trotsky (1879 - 1940) may have opposed Stalinism, but he was still a Marxist. But even he recognized the danger....all the evils that Weaver has catalogued, all flowing from a falsified picture of the world p 129. Providentially in my family, I (we) have been brought to see this quandary and have been driving afresh that wedge between the material and the transcendental.

Practically speaking, we have followed the moral solutions proposed by Weaver by supporting and being involved in small, local business ownership, occupying the homes we own, and enrolling in schools which provide a private liberal arts education (specifically independent of federal or state funds). While we dont have a family farm (at this time), most of us own land, in addition to the lots where we reside.

There is a price here. It costs time and money and backbone. It's tiring. It's satisfying.

Achtung! Dont drop your guard. The modern state does not comprehend how anyone can be guided by something other than itself. In fact, these days the State is jealous of any entity which competes with its position. Expect to be attacked.

Furthermore, many in society today are not healthy and ready for battle. They have tasted the apple of this evil mindset and are complacent. They need a prescription for healthy living. In order to follow the instructions, they will need nourished minds. Intellectual integrity provides clarity for the of practice (or discipline as described by my blogging buddy, Cindy.) Recovery from this illness cannot be hurried.

So, while Weaver explains better the whys of private property than I have in this summary, I am here to tell you that it is possible to take a stand in this critical battle against the cancer of chaos just by reading Ideas Have Consequences and teaching the principles to your own children. Start by making sure they understand the vocabulary he uses.

One last piece of advice...

Make an assessment of your family's dependence on the State.

Then make sure your catacomb is safe and solid.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Citizen of Megalopolis vs Citizen of Zion

Thinking about the effects of the prevalant spoiled-child psychology manifested in our national character can be depressing, unless you're reading along with Cindy at Dominion Family. According to Weaver though, we are fast approaching mass psychosis (and that prediction was fifty years ago!) Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences was an effort to diagnose the ills of the age. He offers a remedy based on the right use of man's reason, acceptance of an absolute reality, and the recognition that ideas, like actions, have consequences.

While this book encapsulates many ideas which are dear to my heart, there are ideas more dear to my heart. Those are the ones found in Scripture. And so, today I call on you to read Mark 4:26-29 with me and contemplate this parable in light of Weaver's citizen of Megalopolis who expects redemption to be easy (instantaneous)
pg 113

Here's Mark 4

26 He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man
scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets
up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by
itself the soil produces grain--first the stalk, then the head, then the full
kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to
it, because the harvest has come."

So, while Weaver acknowleges that if all he proposed were couched in spiritual insights, the case would be different, he does not do that. However, I like to think that he would approve of these correlating verses. Jesus's parable from Mark tells us how and where we will find the source of dicipline Weaver mentions in the last sentence of the chapter, pg 128.

I hope you will take the time, read this article commenting on the parable. It is written by a man whose little pamphlet changed my outlook years ago.

It will help you digest the rest of IHC.

I promise...

"for everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures,


Rom 15:4

Christ uncrowned himself to crown us, and put off his robes to put on our rags, and came down from heaven to keep us out of hell. He fasted forty days that he might feast us to all eternity; he came from heave to earth that he might send us from earth to heaven.

- Dyer, W.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Weekly Worship

Isaiah 1: 10-20

10 Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah! 11 "The multitude of your sacrifices-- what are they to me?" says the Lord. "I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. 12 When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations-- I cannot bear your evil assemblies. 14 Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood;

16 wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, 17 learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. 18 "Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; 20 but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Do I look forward to every, single Sunday, all 52 of them, each and every year, as I look forward to Christmas or Easter?

That is my prayer.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas Meme

from Donna at Quiet Life

1. All I want for Christmas is.... for others to enjoy themselves.

2. My favorite holiday cocktail.... a glass of merlot.

3. My favorite holiday party hors d'oeuvre.... brie en croute (baked with fig preserves and roasted pecans)

4. The average price I spend per gift.... $25

5. My favorite gift to give during the holidays .... something *I* want ;)

6. Something overrated about the holidays .... fruitcake!

7. Something I must have before Christmas .... Thanksgiving.

8. One thing I always do during the holidays ... attend a Lessons and Carols service.

9. Where I love to shop for the holidays ..... before the crowds get there.

10. A holiday tradition I have .... to give my daughter’s charms for their bracelets.

11. One thing you won't find me doing during the holidays... going to the mall.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Spoiled-Child Psychology

Chapter Six of Ideas Have Consequences

"Incriminating" is the adjective that came to mind when I wanted to summarize Weaver’s essay. Or “Guilty as charged” fits the description, too.

As Weaver delineates his impression of man’s *brat* behavior, it is easy to identify with his examples and it would be easier still to turn this synopsis into a parenting guide, like I did here.

But that’s not where Weaver is headed as indicated by the opening quote from Hermann Rauschning (1887-1982).

Wherever the typical mass character becomes universal, all higher values are as
good as lost.

This German conservative and reactionary became an opponent of Naziism and Hitler and fortunately lived to write about it, although his repuation is somewhat scarred. The quote is possibly from his book The Revoloution of Nihilism, published in 1939, and was a warning to the West against the anti-cultural, anti-Christian, philosophy of the National Socialists. It is interesting to note that Herr Rauschning died a farmer in the Portland, OR area.

So, while I find it easy to pick out the individual personality traits and characterisctics described by Weaver in the people I deal with everyday (not just my own children), I believe Weaver wants us to take a few steps back from the pages and look at the entire world from a national (mass) character point of view.

The author begins by surveying the landscape and reminding us of the development of national personality types in: Plato, Aristotle, the Renaissance, the Bourgeois, Thomism, and our current Middle Class. I cant get out of my head the image of the Wizard of Oz as the Stereopticon telling us what to think, where to live, what kind of work, where to worship, what to eat. But if we had a wide enough perspective, we could see these personalities in the various countries of the world. For example, Mao Tse Tung's vision for the Chinese.

Weaver blames urbanization for many of society’s ills because cities encourage man to believe he has superiority over nature, especially with the benefits of modern science. Because a person is separated from nature it makes it easier to forget the presence of something greater than himself. Good point. But being a suburbanite myself and grasping Weaver’s ideas and consequences, I am just a little resentful of that broad generalization. I like to think that I appreciate comfort appropriately and could live without the many which I have.

So, let’s acknowledge from the outset what Mr Weaver admits on p 114,

“If all this had been couched in terms of spiritual insights, the case would be different.”
That means no religious solutions count in his logical argument.

Weaver’s “big question” pg 121 is whether this spoiled-child psychology has made us unfit for the political struggle which now seems to loom before us. He identifies the balance of power between the East and the West, or the bourgeois liberal democracy and Soviet communism, but I’m sure we can easily name the current tensions or polarities, like Hilary Clinton as President! I assure you she has visions of a certain type of national character.

It was a surprise to learn that some of Norman Rockwell's famous drawings were commissioned to illustrate FDR's Four Freedoms Speech.

IMO FDR was the ultimate Stereopticon with his ABC government programs perpetuating the modern man's idea that the world/state/father owes him a living.

I had to laugh when Weaver proposed his whimsical solution of having the opposing philosophers duke out the world's problems with the winner’s solutions being adopted by the losers.

Can you imagine?

I do agree that discipline, hard work, and distancing one from the Father/State are key to maintaining the desired culture. Read Cindy on discipline.

So, despite the fact that Cindy refuses (wisely) to use logic when *arguing* with her sons, in this case, we are called to don our intellectual caps and employ the powers of deductive reasoning in order to apply Weaver‘s knowledge to our humdrum existences. Perhaps tomorrow I will post a few stories of how the spoiled-child psychology rears it's ugly head in a small town family practice where my DH works long hours to serve man and his family.

Suffice it for the moment, however, that if you read nothing else today, read chapter six of Ideas Have Consequences. The more people who understand this warped mentality and can thwart it, the better chance we have of correcting our nation’s mass character and restoring its intrinsic value.

Better one and give it as a gift.

But remember, because the recipient is a spoiled brat, you will probably have to read it for him/her, tell him/her what it says, AND then explain what that means!

Just dont get bitter about it, as Carmon says.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

"First the Blade"

One of the very important and much neglected verses of Scripture is Mark 4:28: "For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself: first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear." Our Lord tells us (Mark 4:26-29) that the Kingdom of God, as it develops in history, has a necessary growth and development. No more than we can plant grain and then expect the harvest at once, can we expect quick or immediate results in the growth of God's Kingdom. If we plant grain, we must cultivate it, often water it, tend to the field, and, only after much labor, reap a harvest. To expect otherwise is stupidity and foolishness, whether in farming or in the work of the Kingdom, In fact, our Lord describes quick growth as false (Matt. 13:5 6, 20-21).
The expectations of most people nowadays run contrary to our Lord's words. They demand immediate results, and then wonder why their harvests never come.

Within the church. this demand for immediate and spectacular results is commonplace. We need to remember that in church history sometimes the most successful preachers over the centuries have been heretics and compromisers. Carl E. Braaten has rightly observed, "John Tetzel was surely a popular preacher. He told people what they wanted to hear and sold people what they wanted to get. He was a preacher of indulgences, and lots of peoples swarmed to hear him and bought what he had to offer." (Currents in Theology and Missions, vol. 14, no. 2, April 1987, p. 111 f.) Today, even the Catholic Encyclopedia speaks of Tetzel's "unwarranted theological views." However, we need not go back to Tetzel, Today preachers of all sorts, and laymen too, believe in and demand of God instant results: sow the seed and stand back while the harvest pops up at once! As a result, such men often do better at growing weeds than grain.

This mentality is common in all circles, modernist and fundamentalist, socialist and conservative. During the 1930s, I recall spending a futile dinner hour trying to persuade a fellow student out of quitting his university training. A passionate and devout leftist, he was convinced that, very shortly, the forces of international fascism would conquer the world. It was therefore necessary to go underground with the party of world revolution and work for world liberation. He was totally convinced that, once the forces of world fascism were broken, peace and plenty would flourish from pole to pole and sea to shining sea. I believe that on that occasion I first made serious use of Mark 4: 28, but it was futile.

In the 1960s, great numbers of students all over the world fell victim to the same wild delusion. They believed that, with a little action, the full ear of corn could be reaped at once. One group held that only the reactionaries prevented the immediate dawn of an automated, work-free, and war-free world. When a reporter asked one girl in the group how a work free world could produce food, she answered with haughty contempt, "Food IS!" The student movement commanded superior minds academically, but it lacked any sense of historical development and growth. God can produce instantaneous results; He created all things out of nothing. But the Kingdom of God in history moves, our Lord tells us, in a different way, even as "the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself: first the blade, then the ear. after that the full corn in the ear" (Mark 4:28).

In the past ten years, I have been involved in many court trials defending the freedom of the church, the Christian School, home schools and families. It regularly amazes and appalls me that so many Christians, before they have fought a court case or voted (so many still do not vote), are ready to give up hope or to think of extreme measures and flight. (In this, they resemble the students of the 1960s.) Only yesterday I talked with a fine veteran of Viet Nam whose pastor sees no alternative to total obedience to the state except revolution; since he opposes revolution, he insists on total obedience as the Christian duty. He overlooks the vast realm in between, i.e., voting, pressure on legislatures, the education of Bible believers (of whom 50% do not vote), and so on.

It is important to recognize that this inability to see the necessity of growth is a modern failing, and also to see its source. The church fathers by and large tended to neglect Mark 4:28; but Calvin noted that the parable has as its purpose to make us diligent and patient "because the fruit of... labour does not immediately appear."

It was the Enlightenment and Romanticism which produced the new mentality. According to Scripture, man's problem is himself: he is a sinner. His original sin is his desire for autonomy, to be his own god and law, determining good and evil for himself (Gen. 3:5). However, there is nothing man wants less to face than the fact that, whatever other problems he has, he, his own nature, is his main problem. In fact, man rejects radically and totally the idea that God's indictment of him is correct. He may approve of the motto, "In God we trust," but he lives in terms of the premise, "In myself I trust."

The more man develops in his sin, in his evil will-to-be-god, the more he believes that his own fiat word can make reality. If statist man says, Let there be prosperity, there should be prosperity. If he says, Let poverty, hatred, and oppression be abolished, these things should disappear.

But, the more he pursues this course as god and creator, the more the evils around him increase. As James tells us, "From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?" (James 4:1). Men create evils and then blame God, their environment, and other men for them.

How many politicians are ready to say, "We, the people, are responsible for the mess we are in. We want something for nothing. We want to eat our cake and have it too. We have despised God's laws concerning debt, and much, much more, and we deserve the judgment God is bringing upon us." Man himself is the primary problem, and man insists that the blame must be laid on someone or something else. As a result, his problem is compounded.

The Enlightenment and Romanticism deny the Biblical answer. According to the Enlightenment, man's Reason is the solution to the problem, whereas Romanticism locates the answer in man's will. In either case, man is the answer, not the problem.
Such thinking placed the modern age (in Europe, after c. 1660 especially) in radical disagreement with orthodox Christianity. The modern era exalts man and his needs, and it is at total war against the faith that declares man to be a sinner. The epitome of a God-centered faith is the Westminster Shorter Catechism's opening statement, "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever."

The logic of such man-centered thinking in the Enlightenment and Romanticism led to Revolution. John Locke, after Aristotle, insisted that man's mind and being is a moral blank, neutral to good and evil. The premise of modern education is Locke's assumption: education then becomes the conditioning of the morally blank child.

But what about adults who are no longer morally blank but have been conditioned into an evil outlook by Christianity, family and capitalism? (This, for modern thinkers, is the great trinity of evil, Christianity, the family, and capitalism.) How are these peoples and cultures who have been conditioned by evil going to be changed? How can they be dealt with?

Revolution is held to provide the answer. Revolution is seen as personal and cultural shock therapy. We should not be surprised that psychiatrists turned for a time to electro-shock therapy: it is a form of psychological revolution. All old patterns are supposedly destroyed in order to clear the mind of past beliefs and habits; then the new, revolutionary changes can be instilled. Such a "therapy" has proven to be a dramatic failure; the moral nature of the man remains. It is not that which comes from outside which pollutes and warps a man but that which comes from within.

Political revolutions rest on the simple-minded belief in shock therapy. The French and Russian revolutions, and the Spanish and other revolutions, have all believed that destruction will free man from the chains of bondage, but all these revolutions have only enslaved man all the more. The more modern the revolution, the more destructive and vicious it becomes. The Russian Revolution murdered priests wholesale, worked to destroy the family, and confiscated property. The murder of priests became even more savage and intense in the Spanish Revolution.
The belief has been that the murder of man's past is his liberation into a glorious future. The results have been hell on earth, but the mentality of the past which is to blame. Gorbachev, to "reform" the Soviet Union, has intensified the war against Christianity.

Modern man refuses to be earth-bound. The proud American boast after the first space flight showed an astronaut as a newly born baby, and his umbilical cord tying him to earth being cut. Man now was supposedly transcending the earth to enter into a "space age" of freedom. With this new, god-like status, man, some held, would guide his own evolution, clone himself, and overcome space, time, and death.

Is it any wonder that even churchmen have neglected Mark 4: 28? Our Lord is very clear: the pattern of the Kingdom of God is like that of the earth which bringeth forth fruit of itself. There is an order and a progression from the seed, to the first green shoot to emerge, to the cultivated growth, and finally the harvest. Both time and work are essential.

I still recall my pity and revulsion for a prominent American pastor who, after World War 11, wanted people to spend their time praying for a speedy Second Coming of Christ. He was arrogantly contemptuous of all Kingdom building as wasteful of time and money. He agreed with another prominent preacher who dismissed all efforts at Christian Kingdom action as "polishing brass on a sinking ship." Such men do not preach on Mark 4:28.

I recall also, sadly, a very fine man, a very wealthy man, who called me to see him not too long before his death. His family and the firm's director were now fully in charge of all his wealth. About seven years earlier, I had suggested to him that, if he had as his intention turning America around to a better direction, starting Christian Schools across the country would do it. He rejected my answer sharply. Now, near death, he called me in to say that if he had spent the millions he did seeking a "quick victory" on Christian Schools instead, the country would indeed be different.

That man was the antithesis of everything revolutionary. He had funded generously a number of anti-Communist causes. He loved deeply the more simple America he had known in his youth. He loved the one-room schoolhouse of his midwestern youth, and the country church with its kindly, neighborly believers in the old-time religion. He was a simple, honest, hard-working, old-fashioned American Christian.

At the same time, although he did not know it, and would have been outraged at the suggestion, he was a revolutionist. However much old-fashioned, he had something in common with all revolutionaries, namely, the hunger for and the belief in a "quick victory."
Millions of American conservatives demonstrated, shortly after Reagan's election in 1980 that they too were believers in the myth of victory by revolution. They acted as though the millennium had arrived with Reagan's victory! Conservative political action groups saw an alarming decline in monetary contributions. Reagan was elected, the war was over, the troops were leaving to resume life as usual in their now peaceable kingdom.

The mentality of instant results is all around us. It is the mentality of the modern age, and of revolution. It is the belief that the problem is not ourselves but something outside of us which an election, revolution, money, education, or some other like measure can alter tomorrow. Meanwhile, we ourselves see no need for change where we are concerned! We can maintain our modern lifestyle and make God happy with a few dollars tossed into an offering plate.
But God says to us, as His prophet Nathan said to King David, a better man than all of us, "Thou art the man'' (IISamuel 12:7). The turn-around begins with us. Then, we work in terms of God's order on earth for His Kingdom: "First the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear."

Rousas John Rushdoony
Reprinted from Chalcedon
P.O Box 158. Vallecito. CA 95251
Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

Have you ever sung this hymn?

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways!
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.

In simple trust like theirs who heard
Beside the Syrian sea
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word
Rise up and follow Thee.

O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee
The silence of eternity
Interpreted by love!

With that deep hush subduing all
Our words and works that drown
The tender whisper of Thy call,
As noiseless let Thy blessing fall
As fell Thy manna down.

Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be numb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm!

by John Greenleaf Whittier
published 1872

These verses represent the latter part of a longer poem. Here's an interesting (short) explanation of the poem and it's inspiration: The Brewing of Soma!

Soma (in case you didnt know) is the name of a prescription muscle relaxer commonly prescribed today.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

There is a center island in my kitchen and we start at the upper left hand corner with the meat and gravy and circle around serving up sidedishes.

This photo shows the serving arrangements for our meals, not just holiday ones but everyday ones.

Roasted Turkey, Gravy, Cornbread Dressing, Sweet Potato Souffle, Brussel Sprouts, Sweet Onions w/artichoke spread, and Cranberry Sauce.

Then we take a place at the table where we say a blessing, unless there are two rooms of diners in which case we gather around the food and pray then.

That's a Black Swan Shiraz/Merlot which we enjoyed.

It's always a challenge to find a red that doesnt clash with the cranberry sauce.

This one worked.

And thinking of leftovers, I bought two bottles.

Now the challenge is to remember this label next year.

Dessert was compliments of Sam's. This pecan pie was perfect a la mode on an antiques glass dessert plate. (See my FAF entry here.)

And yes, my family thinks I'm a little nuts with all this photo-taking.

But I'm thinking family cookbook complete with illustrations.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Great Stereopticon

Subliminal is the one word I would use to describe chapter five of Ideas Have Consequences by Richard Weaver. Here's the dictionary definition:

existing or operating below the threshold of consciousness; being or employing
stimuli insufficiently intense to produce a discrete sensation but often being
or designed to be intense enough to influence the mental processes or the
behavior of the individual

Weaver's greatest concern is not just the subliminal messages that come through the newspapers, radio, television, movies, and now world wide web and bombard our consciences, but he draws attention to the filtering agent or the Great Steriopticon, which he believes exercises more control than we realize over our thoughts and actions.


Weaver words communicate no lost love for journalists, public relations officers, or press agents, and movie producers. Today we all know them as spin meisters. Weaver addresses the art of writing, the skilled use of propaganda, and the unique opportunities available in the transmission of the human voice. He gives us valid examples in Plato, Thomas Jefferson, the Russians, the US Navy, and advertising (laxatives!).

However, Weaver is not just concerned about these disseminators, but more so about the harm created on the Western mind by the filtering agent. And he looks for the fundamental source:

The operators of the Steropticon by their very selection of matter make
horrifying assumptions about reality.

He believes they are overly influenced by a sick metaphysical dream. Weaver laments:

Somewhere, moreover, the metaphysicians of publicity have absorbed the idea
that the goal of life is happiness through comfort. It is a state of
complacency supposed to ensue when the physical appetities have been well
satisfied. Advertising fosters the concept, social democracy approves it,
and the acceptance is so wide that it is virtually impossible today, except
from the religious rostrum, to teach that life means discipline and

Thank goodness for that religious rostrum! It is our saving grace. And
our privilege to educate our own with the proper perspective to filter all this

So, while Weaver acknowledges that some of us realize that we have been misled, he wonders if we (common men) have sufficient analytical powers to assess information. He sees a small ray of hope in serious writing (Saint Exupery and Hemmingway) because they have exhibited a more genuine contempt for materialistic explanations (to life). He mentions Yeats again in the chapter (Cindy likes Yeats.)

I wonder what he would think of the new movies Bella or Beowolf.

In the end, Weaver seems to toot his own horn (that of the philisopher). These blasts of information (knowledge) from all these different sources is too fragmented and discourages composition, which in turn prevents the simultaneous perception of successive events, which is the achievement of the philosopher. (pg 111)

Again, I just cant argue with his assessment.

Thus, absence of reflection keeps the individual from being aware of his former selves, and it is highly qustionable whether anyone can be a member of a metaphysical community who does not preserve such memory.

But we know there is hope because we (some) are members of a metaphysical community and we remember.

Another quote:

The man of culture finds the whole past relevant; the bourgeois and the barbarian find relevant only what has some pressing connection with their appetites. Those who remember alone have a sense of relatedness, but who has a sense of relatedness is in at least the first grade of philosophy.

Well, ladies. I guess that makes us philosphers. And I dont mind being in the first grade because all I need to know I learned in kingergarten.

So, now in the style of Edith Schaeffer, let us prepare our homes and our relations for a great tradition - gathering together and giving thanks. Here's an opportunity to remember who made you and for what purpose.

That filter will shine the proper light on the images in your path.

Oh! Here's Kelly's (Badgermum's)

cup of tea

awaiting her arrival so we can finish our discussions.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Great Stereopticon

Source-n*zi that I am, I couldn’t really get very far in my comprehension while reading Chapter Five of Ideas Have Consequences until I had investigated the title and the quote. Believe me, I tried to skip that step. So, now I share with you the answers to my queries and save you some time.

Without looking it up, I thought *The Great Stereopticon* was a word made up by Richard Weaver along the lines of Tolkien or Lewis.

But I came to find out three things: that a stereopticon is a real word (a 19th century invention), that I’d seen one recently (think Frandsen‘s magic lantern show in Sweet Land), and that my family owns one (photo illustration)!!

In addition, the entire chapter made more sense , when I realized that we all have stereo vision. Each eye sees a slightly different image that then blends to create what we see. Things are becoming more clear now, huh?

Mr. Weaver states that the “vested interests of the age... have constucted a wonderful machine whose function is to project selected (emphasis mine) pictures of life in the hope that what is seen will be imitated. There are three parts to the machine which he calls the "Great Stereopticon” (think the Wizard from the Wizard of Oz). The components are 1) the press or newspapers 2) motion pictures and 3) radio.

Granted we 21st-century- types might not think much of radio, but in 1948, when Weaver was writing radio was enjoying a tremendous impact. I dont know what you think of talk radio today, but there’s a connection. However, to get a better sense of this, I asked both of my parents, who grew up in the Forties, to tell me about radio in their families. My father remembered listening mainly in the car, whereas my mother remember sitting around a large, table-top radio listening to programs like Let’s Pretend.

Now for the distasteful part of my research - the quote which is an obvious slam at the first part of the Great Stereopticon’s image-creating monster.
“Sick are they always; they vomit their bile and call it a newspaper.”

Friedrich Nietzsche, 19th century philosopher and mental case, wrote a book Thus Spake Zathustra: A Book for All and None. It contains long passages of poetry and song, mocking Judeo-Christian morality and tradition. The most famous line from this book is “God is dead.” I read Nietzsche in college and didnt like him or his Ubermensch then or now. His Zathustra is a reference to an ancient Iranian prophet and religious poet, also regarded as a prophet in Islam.


My final research covered “primordial synthesis.” What the heck is that? Those are the fifth and sixth words in the opening sentence of the chapter. Did you know what that is? I didnt. Most of the google searches involved physics and formulas. Thinking that didnt quite fit, I searched my Britannica (2003) and found an answer: it’s related to the study of religions.

From Britannica I gathered that the history of religions on a cross-cultural basis, though it has quite an ancient pedigree, came into its own in a modern sense from about the time of Max Müller (late 19th cent). During this period, various lectureships and chairs in the subject were instituted, being located in The Netherlands, Western Europe, Britain, and the US (Harvard and Chicago).


There’s our link.

Our author was a professor at the University of Chicago and this academic area of study, the Science of Religion, enjoyed popularity under Joachim Wach (died 1955), who studied how religious values tended to shape the institutions that expressed them but whose time obviously was over by 1948, when Mr Weaver talks about the disappearance of primordial synthesis (or the blending of these basic assumptions across cultural lines.)

Well, there you have the background needed to finish reading and understanding chapter five of Ideas Have Consequences.

Surely there were some things you didnt recognize right away.

Come on...tell me.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Friday Five


What was your first “real” job?

After a very successful babysitting career beginning at age 10, I *quit* at age 16 and signed up as a clerk at a retail department store (Rich’s). Working there taught me a lot about customer service and uncomfortable shoes. I stuck with that career route through highschool and college. The best part was the extra 10% discount on purchases.


Where do you go to spark your creativity.

The refrigerator. Here's what happens when I do.


Complete this sentence: I am embarrassed when…

I say the wrong thing. I have done this so many times, you would think I could learn. It's embarassing!

Main Course

What values did your parents instill in you?

I cant think of a value they didnt instill in me. They are excellent parents. They even tried to teach me to *think before you speak!* Read here my list of parenting pet peeves all of which I learned from them.


Name 3 fads from your teenage years.

That would have been 1971 - 1977..........hmmm.

Seeing that I’m not very fad-conscious (that means, I’m always behind in figuring out what the fad is - note the previous post as support for my claim), I find this question difficult to answer.

In addition, I am still trying to chose one book that changed my life, a question Donna's Friday Five has asked before and I skipped answering even then.

Plus I cant remember.

It's embarassing :)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Fashion Find Friday

Ha! Ha!

Are you

tickled at




Focus on the paisley skirt.

I've worn it off and on since 1993, with various blouses, sweaters, vests, or turtlenecks. sometime green tights, even red!

Today I challenge my readers to look deeply into your closets for an article of clothing that you can dress up/down/update/alter to create a new outfit. Call it thrift shopping at home.

Then post a picture. I suppose that it's ok, if you're not in the photo as most of my Fashion posts do not include me :)

Leave me link.

If we can post pictures of our desks, showing a bit our personal sides, surely we can smile for a fashion foto!

I must be crazy to post this picture of myself, especially since I forgot to remove my cheaters.

Ok, so you've read this far and refuse to participate?

Then your job is to re-read Mrs. Schaeffer's chapter 12 on clothing in The Hidden Art of Homemaking.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

Here's the menu that's rolling around in my head.

Roasted Turkey
Cranberry Salad
Butternut Squash
Green Beans 'n Tomatoes

Pecan Pie vs Italian Creme Cake

This would be a slight departure from previous years's menus, but I'm ready for it. There wont be a crowd at my house this year, but we are expecting special company.

Thanksgiving Prayer:
Isaiah 12: 4-6

Give thanks to the Lord,
call on His name;
make known among the nations
what He has done,
and proclaim
that His name is exalted.

Sing to the Lord,
for he has done glorious things
let this be known to all the world.

Shout aloud and sing for joy,
people of Zion
for great is the Holy One of Israel
among you.

Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken
Hymn 269, Blue Trinity Hymnal

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Egotism in Work and Art

Stripping away all protective layers Richard Weaver exposes man for what he really is in chapter four of Ideas Have Consequences. Then he proceeds to detail how this inner self manifests itself in our daily lives through work (labor) and play (art).

Without delving into modern psychology, Weaver is addressing our ability to self-assess by identifying the ego (id and superego, too) and how man knows himself (epistomology.) Taking us back to the Renaissance, Weaver points to a split in the theory of knowledge, throws in a reference to forbidden knowledge, and then throws up his hands by saying

Nothing can be done until we have decided whether we are pimarily interested in

I concur with Weaver’s lament that man’s egotism has prevented him from realizing that he is an obligated creature. Once that concept is apprehended, work and play take on different meanings. Because most do not understand this concept, Weaver spends pages explaining how man has fallen from the ideal and created a big mess.

At this point, I highlight only one example from each category of work and play, not really ignoring Weaver’s references to the middle class mentality, labor unions and the institutionalized workforce or the artistic community of writers, musicians, and painters, but trying to cut to the chase.

In labor egotism rears its ugly head in the work of the homemaker. While Weaver does not specifically address this arena, I propose that his principles of interpretation apply because of the obvious general lack of appreciation for this valuable commodity within the current work force and market place. The fact that most men expect their wives to work outside the home is all the example needed to support my claim. It is a full time job to take care of the nuclear and extended family. Women understand this naturally, but suppress it (in rebellion). These jobs are work (labor) and have value (monetary). If men and women truly understood the “ideal of the task” in the work of the family (the basic unit of society), our culture wouldnt be in the state of decline that we are experiencing. I'll bet my blogging buddy, Cindy agrees with me on this point.

Allow me to propose a few questions at this juncture:

Who heads up the corporation called the family and who executes the plan? How do we propose to keep our large families unified in the future? Have you ever considered how you will gather (and finance) your family in ten years when all your children have spouses and children? Here's a taste of how my parents keep us together and are influencing the culture. I'd love to tell y'all more about it.

Next Weaver explains how egotism rears its ugly head in art. Let’s just focus on the modern.

In Impressionism which is the revolutionary event of modern painting the
movement has a variety of causes. Clive Bell is inclined to see it simply as a rediscovery of paganism. This meant the acceptance of life as good and
satisfying in itself, with a consequent resolution to revel in the here and

This assessment is undeniable in Auguste Renoir’s masterpiece, the Luncheon of the Boating Party (whose theme is La Vie Moderne). I wrote about this here when I read Susan Vreeland's book by the same title. Furthermore, I have recently viewed a fabulous exhibit of paintings where the theme is the reliance of the Impressionists on the Old Masters. As the Impressionistic works were juxtaposed with examples of the inspirational masterpieces, all of Weavers statements are visible as one regards these paintings and reads the curators program notes.

I find Weaver’s surveys enormously helpful in setting the stage and giving me a proper perspective for whatever form of work (homemaking) or play (reading/writing) I undertake.

In conclusion, how should we view this information?

Go back and make a vocabulary list from chapter four and incorporate it into your family's daily life. There will be consequences. I propose that they will be good.

It will help to clean up the mess.

Update: Don't forget to read Kelly's insights. And I'm looking for Carmon's next entry, too.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Source Material

Ignoring the quote at the beginning of each chapter of Ideas Have Consequences is a mistake. Hence, today I take some time to write about the author of the one which frames chapter four, Egotism in Work and Art.

All persons chronically diseased are egotists.

There’s more to the quote and I challenge you to re-read it. I did several times and could not recall it from my limited Hawthorne exposure in The Scarlet Letter or The House of Seven Gables.

However, just those six words alone are pregnant with meaning and I'm sure I can tie them into Cindy's recent posts about parenting and discipline. But back to my framing of chapter four.

The first sentence grabbed me on several levels, not the least of which was my connection to the medical field. But that’s not where Weaver or Hawthorne were going with the thoughts. These few phrases are clipped from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, "Egotism or The Bosom Serpent" published in 1843 and nowadays readily available in a book of his short stories. Perhaps I should read it in my preparations for synopsizing and applying chapter four.

A little background on Hawthorne (1806 - 1864) from my college professor, Dr Russell Kirk, who names Hawthorne as one of his ten "most exemplary conservatives." It is significant that “on the eve of the Civil War, the two most interesting conservative thinkers (Nathaniel Hawthorne and Orestes Brownson) were men of letters (note connection to IHC chpt 3), rather than politicians. Unfortunately, they could not prevail against Abolitionists and Fire-eaters."

Furthermore, Kirk recommends reading Hawthorne as necessary in the development of the moral imagination (an Edmund Burke phrase mentioned in IHC’s chapter one - remember?). Kirk divides the reading of Great Books into four categories, which levels address the formation of the normative conscious. Hawthorne falls in the narrative history category.

Today Carmon is highlighting a noteworthy film because of its virtuous message, and I indeed hope to see Bella. In addition, however, I’m adding some Nathaniel Hawthorne to my reading list, so that when I run across him in the future I will recognize him and his influence.

I leave you with another Kirk quote:

Great books do influence societies for the better, and bad books do drag down
the general level of personal and social conduct.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Parenting Pet Peeves

Cindy in her jolly, winsome way entreated us to join her in listing the things that really bother us about the parenting skills/methods of others.

Now I hestitated to comment on her post, but somehow Cindy has power over me and I did.

I agreed with her on everything :)

Actually, I didnt stick my neck out as far as I should/could because I thought *Surely you will offend people. And remember, Dana, there IS (read “IS” as defined by Mr. Clinton) more than one way to skin a cat. ha ha!*

But here I am, fragmenting myself from the group and obsessing over my own vocational skills, being the egotist that I am, and posting my comments on my own site. After all, negativity garners attention. It sells. Cindy says so! Think the Simpsons will get me some comments?

At any rate, here’s my list based on some vocabulary in Richard Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences, which a few of us area reading together.

IDEAS - It really bugs me that most parent have no idea where they are going and what they are doing. Having no (or low) expectations of themselves, they cant possibly project positive expectations of their offspring.

CONSEQUENCES - Parents conveniently overlook the consequences of the actions of their children creating a never-ending ripple effect of (perhaps more serious) consequences for a single easily corrected action/idea.

SENTIMENT - Most parents today lack the correct sentiment. I’ll extrapolate Weaver’s cold logic and let you know exactly what I mean: many parents dont see themselves the way God sees them.

DISTINCTION - Distinction, differences, discrimination are all healthy skills that parents should teach their children. These all are easily identified within the family unit and can be modeled simply in every day life. Higher educational degrees are not required. It is common sense, as Cindy decries. I claim that we do our children a disservice when we dont make things perfectly clear.

HIERARCHY - Stopping short of addressing parents as His Highness and Her Highness, I believe in delineating the roles of male/female, mother/father, parent/child, teacher/student, et cetera with a clear authority structure. Whether parents like it or not, this is the way the world functions because God set it up that way.

FRAGMENTATION - Here I see a lack of emphasis on the family as a single unit taking precedence over the fragments (individual children). There are some (many) things which we do together as a family because we are a family. That means that not everyone gets to do what s/he wants all the time. And furthermore, there may be lots of things we choose not to do because it fragments the family. Like not worshipping together at the same church (or even divided services) or like the preppy trend to enroll a child in the school which suits him/her best, even if that means the mother is driving to several schools.

OBSESSION - Here the idea follows that the parent is so over involved in the details and micromanagement of a child’s life that s/he cannot see the bigger picture and make wise decisions. It’s just crazy. Quit racing forward, acting as if you are progressing. Take two or three steps backwards and assess the situation from a wider perspective that doesnt just focus on the needs of one child. Balance is Cindy’s word and moderation is Carmon’s, if I remember correctly.

EGOTISM - Aren’t we all so stuck on ourselves that we can’t see clearly. It’s even worse when we can’t see our children clearly, and therefore, can‘t be exemplary models. EGO, ID, whatever you want to call it, it’s just plain distasteful, especially in mothers who stroke this inner monster and stunt growth.

WORK - This word makes me think of mothers who do everything, unable to enforce her own rules and afraid to delegate tasks. She works hard, seven days a week, but for some reason this ethic is not transferable (or transferring) to her children. So much more could be said here, but I’ll leave you with a favorite phrase of mine: God said “Six days shall you labor and do all your work.” And that command is addressed to all His creatures.

ART - Aesthetics doesnt have to be high brow. Here I will simply refer my readers to one of my favorite books - The Hidden ART of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer. She addresses the ways in which we overlook this area in every day living and makes valid suggestions for incorporating drawing, writing, and music into family life.

Let me know if you're looking for more specific information. I have more examples than you want to hear or than I should tell.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Art and Truth

We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth, at least the truth that is given to us to understand.

Pablo Picasso

Researching for my FAF entry, I stopped by Artcyclopedia for some details and noticed that topping the list of favorite searches is Mr. Picasso. Not one of my favorites at all, in fact I eschew him, today I highlight the phrase at the top of his Artcyclopedia page and entreat you to read a longer quote at the end of my entry.

While I might warm up to some of Picasso's art by visiting the museum in Madison, GA to see a signed print, I cannot seem to erase from my mind Picasso's political persuasions. I guess I should be glad I dont know too much about the backgrounds of other artists or I would like none.

As many of you know I'm reading (slowly) Ideas Have Consequences by Richard Weaver. It is very thought-provoking. It was published in 1948. The following Picasso quote dates from 1952. The two have a connection.

From the moment that art ceases to be food that feeds the best minds, the artist can use his talents to perform all the tricks of the intellectual charlatan. Most people can today no longer expect to receive consolation and exaltation from art. The refined, the rich, the professional 'do-nothings,' the distillers of quintessence desire only the peculiar, the sensational, the eccentric, the scandalous in today's art.

I myself since the advent of Cubism, have fed these fellows what they wanted and satisfied these critics with all the ridiculous ideas that have passed through my mind. The less they understood them, the more they admired me. Through amusing myself with all these absurd farces, I became celebrated, and very rapidly. For a painter, celebrity means sales and consequent affluence. Today, as you know, I am celebrated, I am rich. But when I am alone, I do not have the effrontery to consider myself an artist at all, not in the grand old meaning of the world: Giotto, Titian, Rembrandt, Goya were great painters.

I am only a public clown - a mountebank.

I have understood my time and have exploited the imbecility, the vanity, the greed of my contemporaries.

It is a bitter confession,

this confession of mine,

more painful than it may seem.
But at least and at last it does have the merit of being honest.

For sources-nazis like myself, this quote is clipped from the publisher's letter page of Plein Air magazine, Oct 2005 issue. The comments were titled "Weapon of Indifference."