Thursday, December 03, 2009

Christmas


The shepherds sing;
and shall I silent be?
My God, no hymn for Thee?

My soul's a shepherd too;
a flock it feeds
Of thoughts, and words, and deeds.

The pasture is Thy word:
the streams, Thy grace,
Enriching all the place.

Shepherd and flock shall sing,
and all my powers
Outsing the daylight hours.





Then will we chide the sun for letting night
Take up his place and right:
We sing one common Lord;
wherefore he should
Himself the candle hold.
I will go searching, till I find a sun
Shall stay, till we have done;
A willing shiner, that shall shine as gladly,
As frost-nipped suns look sadly.
Then will we sing, and shine all our own day,
And one another pay:
His beams shall cheer my breast, and both so twine,
Till ev'n His beams sing, and my music shine.



Poem by George Herbert


Art by W A Bouguereau
oil on canvas 165x88cm
Berkshire Museum



See previous entry for commentary on the painting.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Additional commentary

about the oil painting excerpted from Fronia Wissman's book, Bouguereau.

Comparing Bouguereau's shepherdess with a similar scene by Millet (Newborn Lamb), while in a different medium-pastel-and on a wholly different scale, shows how Bouguereau has citified, or, at the least, taken the country out of his version. Millet's peasant does not pose; she has work to do and walks sturdily along. She does, however, take the time to look back at the ewe, a relatively scrawny creature, who follows her baby. In Millet's pastel the lamb is truly tiny-almost pathetic in its yearning for its mother-not the larger animal, old enough to resemble a big, fuzzy stuffed animal, cradled by Bouguereau's girl. Millet's shepherdess is stocky, rounded, and wears nondescript clothes. A telling difference, apart from the fact that Millet locates his figure in the specific context of the Norman countryside, evinced by the swinging gate in the hedgerow, is the girls' feet. Bouguereau's shepherdesses and mothers are almost always barefoot; Millet's wear sabots, the wooden shoes of the peasants. Bare feet can mean many things-poverty, a carefree life in a warm climate, humility. The bare feet of Bouguereau's figures underscore the fact that they are not real peasants, as Millet's were seen to be, so the urban viewer need in no way feel responsible for the peasants' hard lives. Bouguereau would have denied such an interpretation, insisting that he painted the human figure because it was the most beautiful subject to paint. Painting the figure well, meaning according to classical precepts, was the goal of the academic tradition of which he was a proud part. Thus, well-drawn and well-painted feet, notoriously difficult to render convincingly, can be seen as a mark of a highly skilled academic painter. Not interested in limning contemporary social concerns, Bouguereau focused all his attention on what he was good at-conveying sentiment in perfectly drawn figures.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Weddings

















Twenty-eight years ago Thanksgiving weekend, we gathered to witness the marriage of one of my sisters.

I had married the Christmas before.

See me there on the left?






In fact, I think most of my siblings married around the holidays. Two of us at Christmastime (five years apart), one at New Years, another at Memorial Day. I guess the convenience of an extra day off helps with scheduling.

So far, one of our daughters has married at Labor Day, another at Christmas (on our anniversary ;-)).

In 2010, I have four nephews getting married.




First comes love,
then comes marriage,
then comes the baby
in the baby carriage!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The First Thanksgiving


When the Pilgrims
first gathered together to share

with their Indian friends
in the mid-autumn air,

they lifted their voices
in jublilant praise

for the bread on the table,
the berries and maize,

for fields and for forests,
for the turkey and the deer,

for bountiful crops
they were blessed with that year.


They were thankful for these
and they feasted away,
and as they were thankful,
we're thankful today.



by Jack Prelutsky



It's quieter than normal here today. We're headed to Grandmother's daughter's house. It is over the river and through the woods.

I'm in charge of two veggies: roasted cauliflower and green beans almondine.

Three of our daughters are gathering in Detroit, the fourth in Elkhart.

Looking forward to a louder Christmas.

Here's a link to this year's thankfulness.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

HOW TO RECOGNIZE GRACE


It takes you by surprise
It comes in odd packages
It sometimes looks like loss
Or mistakes
It acts like rain
Or like a seed
It’s both reliable and unpredictable
It’s not what you were aiming at
Or what you thought you deserved
It supplies what you need
Not neccessarily what you want
It grows you up
And lets you be a child
It reminds you you’re not in control
And that not in control is a form of freedom.







by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre


Watercolor Rose
Vera Holcombe
1917

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Brown Thrasher
















He's outside. I'm inside.

In fact, I'm about ten feet away peeking around the corner of the oven.

Here's some perspective.
























Can you see him?

Best I can tell, he's just sunning himself and enjoying the view. Not trying to eat from the feeder. He's so large, he'd have to contort himself in order to get his beak into the cylinder.

I'm having fun watching him and learning how to improve my pictures in Photoshop.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fashion on Fridays

Costume parties usually provide more fun than ordinary gatherings and long ago there was one such one for me that did just that and remains very special.

While I'm not fond of the current holiday (or anything scary/horror for that matter), Halloween brings back romantic memories for me. It's the anniversary of our first date.

Flip the calendar back to the Fall of 1976, when I was starting my second year of college. We had a large group of friends that socialized together. (Here's a link to a group photo.) It centered around one of the smaller dorms on campus - Koon Hall - thirty plus fellows with a wide variety of interests (football players to yearbook editors) and activities (keg parties with professors)

On October 30th, they hosted a costume party and I was invited. Earlier in the week (Wednesday breakfast, to be exact) a certain resident of said dorm asked if I would accompany him to the college play at 8p on Saturday followed by the costume party.

It was a magical evening.

I could write lots more about every.single.detail.

But I'm not the Pioneer Woman.

I'll let this photo speak its 1000 words.

Thirty-three years ago today.....





















Costume made by yours truly and fashioned after one of my mother's 1940's party dresses. I needed it for one of my sorority's rush parties.

I was NOT responsible for DH's costume which was a total surprise, by the way.

His sense of humor has been a blessing over all these years.



A few weeks later - more costumes!
















Happy Halloween!!


Dont forget to change your clocks!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fall Birthday Menu


Pork Roast (crock pot)
with apples, onions, celery & raisins

Fordhook Lima Beans
Steamed Cabbage
Corn Muffins




Cavit Pinot Noir


Pumpkin Cheesecake
(Cheesecake Factory)


Opening presents is fun no matter where you are!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Five

1. How often do you get sick with a cold? The flu?

Rarely do I get sick, although this week I felt crummy on Wednesday and went to bed at 6:30 pm, skipped dinner, and slept straight through 'til morning. I took some Advil for the body aches.

2. Are you the sort of person who goes to work or school no matter how sick you are or are you willing to stay at home when it gets bad?

Yes, I usually carry on with my duties even when I dont feel well. DH noted that in the 35 years he's known me, he's never known me to stay in bed all day. Hope that doesn't jinx my streak :)

3. Will you get a flu shot?

No, not planning to get a seasonal flu shot, nor an H1N1.

4. What do you do to keep from getting sick in the winter?

In addition to making sure that the host (my body) is good at fighting off bad germs and viri by eating healthfully, sleeping adequately, and drinking plenty of water, I will wash my hands more often this winter in order to avoid getting sick.

5. What is your favorite thing to do when you stay home from work or school?

If I'm sick enough to stay home, I will be in bed. That's how I know that I'm really sick: I dont want to read a book, watch TV, or listen to music.


PS: I do like a hot toddy, if I feel something coming on....


My recipe:


6 oz boiling water

juice from fresh lemon
2-3 Tbs local honey

whiskey - one shot?



What's your home remedy?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Twenty-five Years Ago Today


"A daughter brightens up your world and shines forever in your heart."

You're always there
with love to share,
showing kindness everywhere.
You brighten days
with smiles and fun,
giving joy to everyone....


You're always thought
so warmly of...
You're always treasured
and always loved.



















Have a wonderful birthday!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Leisure: The Basis of Culture
Chapter V


Briefly reviewing chapter four, I remind myself that Pieper listed four movements through which a threatened value (leisure) is seeking to regain strength:

1)Art for art's sake,

2)Traditionalism,

3)Liberal Arts Education,

4)Humanism.

He spends the better part of the chapter debunking secular humanism by pointing out its specious economic value.

None of them are enough.



Now in Chapter V, we are reading the piece de resistance, for which we've all been waiting. Pieper declares that nothing need be founded or arranged.

He reminds us that the ultimate solution lies outside the range of our responsible, voluntary action.

He refers us to divine worship.

Because worship is at the heart of revitalizing the nature of leisure AND leisure must be an upright pillar in the cultural foundation, we must draw on that innermost root that lies outside the range of responsible, voluntary action.

Basically, spiritual revival is Pieper's prescription for curing the ills of a diseased society. I concur.

I wonder though, if we must hope for something like America's Great Awakening, or if a minority (remnant) will carry the harmony. I'm not really sure to which signs of reawakening Pieper is referring in his essay, but clearly fifty years later, his countrymen did not take his advice.


Europe does not know God.

Pieper himself was the product of a rigorous, classical education, having attended the most prestigious school in his country. So, he recognizes that that type of education is not the true answer; nor the type of university education that is career training. He even derides the propaganda promoted by the secular humanists who want to establish holidays without the gods, recreating society according to man.

Sticking to his thesis, Pieper continues to direct us to the worship of the living God as the source of leisure. He even describes it economically when he explains that every aspect of the leisured person's daily living is sacrificial and creative of a capital wealth that can support and sustain community.

Pieper's language speaks to me.

I understand only because the Lord has regenerated my heart, giving me spiritual eyes and ears.

By way of application I can examine my activities in light of Pieper's definition of leisure. Broadly dividing my 24 hours into three categories: work (school), sleep, and discretionary, I understand how to measure them with leisure's yardstick. Completing each day brings me closer to the highlight of days, that recurring feast day called the Sabbath. Providentially, this week's sermon addressed laziness (sloth/acedia).

The Lord gives me refreshing sleep. He's teaching me how to be a helpmeet. He's giving me confidence to rear our children in His nurture and admonition. He governs my discretionary hours even when it may appear to others that I am wasting time.

With loving care, I repeat my days with holy persistence.

I'm cultivating through the seasons.

I'm shepherding with hope.

I'm acting philosophically.


My prayer is that you can, too.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Leisure and Education in America

George Roche had a powerful influence in my life and in the life of the institution he lead for 28 years.

It was not until after I had completed my Hillsdale career that I felt the need to study his book, Education in America.

My copy is autographed - To Dana - who knows that a better way exists to educate our young - George Roche.

First published in 1969 and acquired by me in 1977, I didnt re-read it until 1990, when we began making serious choices for the schooling of our four charges. I bring it to your attention today because I continue to enjoy this topic and think his book sheds bright light on the questions arising from my current book club.

Cindy, at Dominion Family, is a fun mother of nine who thinks. I like her blog posts because she has knack for illustrating problems and providing a friendly forum for discussions. Currently the term *classical* is bothering her, especially as it applies to education.

That's why I went to my shelf in search of Dr Roche's excellent volume. He TWICE references the esteemed Josef Pieper, whose book Leisure: The Basis of Culture is our book club selection.

Because I think most readers skip/skim through lengthy quotes, I'm going to post links only to these two references. The first is from Roche's chapter three entitled *Scientism and the Collapse of Standards*. The second is from chapter eight, *Multiversity*.

In the comment section of Cindy's query about the definition of *classical* education, I noted that discernment is required. We must be ever vigilant of the words used by those we trust.

While many parents complained about attending Parents Nights (at our children's schools) and listening to the same old rhetoric, I did not. Not only was I there to show my support, but also I was making sure that those in charge were staying true to stated vision (definitions) that we had used to make our school choices.

In conclusion, without a link, the last two paragraphs of Dr Roche's Education in America, entitled *Ultimate Solutions*.

Educational reform must begin with parents as individuals, with the recognition that better upbringing for their children lies in their hands, not in the hands of the state. If and when enough parents begin living their lives self-responsibly and apply such principles to their children who are an extension of self, a new educational day will have dawned. The answer, then is not to "throw the rascals out," substituting good men for bad in the political control of collectivized education. Instead, let each act in his own small orbit, with his own children, with those who he influences directly. If one's example and understanding are of high enough quality, the education pciture will begin to change no matter what course politicalized education might take.

Those who effect great revolutions are always small in number. Such people need not wait to become a majority. No one else can do the job except those who understand what needs to be done. The disruptive influence of political centralization in education will continue until it has been overshadowed and rendered meaningless by a moral force of sufficient intensity, a force generated by individuals who understand what is at stake and who serve notice by their own example that a better way exists to educate our young.



If you're reading this, then that means you're already overshadowing and on the path to rendering meaningless statist education.

We are a moral force of sufficient intensity.

Dont lose heart!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fashion on Friday: Romance

Two hearts that have beat in unison through childhood's hours and school-days bright decided their 'troth to one another without further delay.

The original plan was to wait until the holidays and make a tour West.


However, early on Saturday afternoon, October 16th, Dr Albert O. Linch and Miss Dorcas Giles motored to Lafayette, AL,

where at seven o'clock




"The silver hammer smithing two lives into one, fell on Hymenaios's Altar,"

and they were united in marriage, a resident minister officiating.

Mrs. Linch, a young woman of many lovable traits of character, has been engaged in office work at the State Capitol, for the past five years.

Dr. Albert O. Linch, surgeon at Grady Hospital, is a young man of sterling worth and rare ability.

The couple formerly of Flovilla now resides in Atlanta.


Copied from an unidentified newspaper clipping.





How about that 1920s' fashion?

Read more about my maternal grandparents here.

See this nuptial portrait of my paternal grandparents here, noting the dark dress and army uniform.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Education in America
Chapter Eight: The Multiversity
Section: Specialization


Superspecialization further requires a seemingly infinite variety of course offerings in the curriculum. It is true that men are different, but surely there are features of the human condition which are universal and which override all specialization.
Only by maintaining a balance between our experiental bent and our loyalty to the ageless wisdom our our tradition can we hope to remain clutrually in the Western orbit. The distinguishing mark of the educated man is his sense of continuity and the awareness of his heritage. As Professor Josef Pieper has the courage to affirm in an age of specialization, a man must be able to comprehend the totality of existence.



actually a quote from Thomas Molnar's The Future of Education

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Education in America
Chapter Three: Scientism and the Collapse of Standards
Section: What Is The Truth?


This failure of standards within the modern academy can be easily demonstrated. One of the foremost students of St Thomas Aquinas, Professor Josef Pieper, gives graphic illustration:
The medieval philosophers, in studying Aristotle and Plato, wished to know all those things and only those things which were true. Where the truths of these philosophers were not complete, they asked themselves how to complete them.

There is an enormous difference between this attitude and that usually held nowadays and which we consider the sole possible and responsible attitude toward "sources." For the student especially, that difference is of vital importance. Anyone who asks Thomas his opinion receives a reply which makes perfectly clear what he, Thomas, considers to be the truth - even when his reply is couched in the form of a quotation from Aristotle. But if we are asked our opinion, we reply with historically documented quotations which may reveal a good many things - for example, how widely read we are - but fail to reveal one thing alone: what we ourselves hold to be the truth.



from Josef Pieper's Guide to Thomas Aquinas

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Leisure: The Basis of Culture
Chapter IV


Vocabulary appears to be the key to understanding this week's portion of Josef Pieper's essay decrying the validity of leisure when building or re-building culture.



Right at the beginning our philosopher/author wonders about the effect of accepting or refusing a word newly appearing in the German dictionary.


Redefining terms is a classic way of abusing power.



As in previous chapters, Pieper goes to great lengths to explain the meaning of the words that comprise this section, like proletarian and de-proletarianization, like honorarium and wage. These concepts are variables in the equation proposed by the socialist rebuilders, worthy of scrutiny.

He specifically identifies the binding of the worker caused by lack of private ownership, mandates from the State, and the inner poverty of persons. These are fighting words in Pieper's day when professorships at the universities are based on party-affiliation.

In the end, Pieper identifies the eventual failure of the statist solution even if the leaders make available for the working person a meaningful(restorative) kind of activity.

Political measures which expand life economically only are not sufficient to attain the goal. The project would only come to fruition if it were possible for the human being as such to "be at leisure."


HIStory has proved Pieper correct.

In October 1949, shortly after publishing this lecture, the GDR was established and the socialists embarked ever more fervently to develop their economy based on the fruits of the proletariat. A mere 41 years later (10/7/1990), the Berlin Wall came crumbling down, symbolically proving to the world that Western (Judeo-Christian) capitalism indeed undergirds leisure.

It is a worthy model.

Now how does that translate into family life?

Capitalize your time!

1) Schedule time for vocabulary.

Because Pieper tells us that leisure is a condition of the soul, begin now to teach vocabulary that defines this concept. From spelling to penmanship, from derivatives to calligraphy, the possibilties are endless. Denying access to this type of knowledge is tantamount to hiding the Gospel.

The next three tasks require talented juggling in order to determine the proper balance for your family. Note the delicacy of the instrument in the painting. Anything more specific than listing these would be meddlin'.



2) Schedule time to think.

3) Schedule time to listen.

4) Schedule time to be human.


These are all ways for a (wo)man to occupy leisure.




My newest favorite poet, Marilyn McEntyre has written an inspirational poem based on this Vermeer painting.

And of course, Scripture always guides us.

In Proverbs 31, King Lemuel's mother poetically describes the *woman of leisure*, especially verse 27:

She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Insist that your leisure is that shield or preserve of freedom, of education and culture, and of undiminished humanity that views the world as a whole.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

To Kosciusko

GOOD Kosciusko, thy great name alone
Is a full harvest whence to reap high feeling;
It comes upon us like the glorious pealing
Of the wide spheres - an everlasting tone.
And now it tells me, that in worlds unknown,
The names of heroes, burst from clouds concealing,
And changed to harmonies, for ever stealing
Through cloudless blue, and round each silver throne.
It tells me too, that on a happy day,
When some good spirit walks upon the earth,
Thy name with Alfred’s, and the great of yore
Gently commingling, gives tremendous birth
To a loud hymn, that sounds far, far away
To where the great God lives for evermore.



John Keats
English Poet
1795 - 1817


In keeping with my book club and Cindy's post promoting the memorization of poetry, especially for boys, I went in search of one to highlight.

While this particular verse heaps praises on the hero, it provides few details of the general's military prowess. I think just learning how to spell Thaddeus's last name would be a fine accomplishment. Then I could search for books about him.

I first learned of him because I have a friend from Koscuisko, Mississippi. Now I know his birthday is October 31st. And that President Obama recently received a copy of the book, The Peasant Prince, from the President of Poland.

What do you know about this Polish-born American patriot?




On a side note, anyone thinking of seeing the new movie (Bright Star) about John Keats?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Leisure: The Basis of Culture
Chapter III

Since we last met there's been a new edition of Leisure released by Ignatius Press, introduced by Father Schall.

I'm wondering if the title should have been changed to Recovering the Lost Tools of Leisure.

Clearly, this topic continues to be as important today as it was fundamental when Pieper proposed it in the late 40s, for Father Schall names Leisure as a *must-read* in his Student's Guide to Liberal Learning.


The implication is that our country has strayed so far from its moorings that she is not unlike Pieper's homeland. Remember, Germany is rebuilding after the devastation of WWII and our author is pleading his case: that leisure be at the basis.

Furthermore, with all the work-oriented designers, philosophers, statesmen, etc, Pieper's ideas run cross-grain and threaten modern presuppositions. Pieper fears that the reconstructionists have forgotten the most important aspect of culture.

So, after defining the first term (work) in the previous chapter, the author proceeds to define leisure by comparing and contrasting the components of the term in light of work: activity vs non-activity; toil vs celebration; functionary vs human. Pieper cites philosophers, poets, and prophets as witnesses of the concept. Kierkegaard, Aquinas, Sombart, Scheler, Heraclitus, Job, Weiss, Hodlerlin, Kerenyi, to name a few.

Current society is so far removed from the (High Middle Ages) context that Pieper believes is crucial to an healthy society that he approaches his audience much like the apostle Paul at the Areopagus when he's presenting the gospel to the Greeks. He's coming at them from all angles.

Despite Pieper's spiritual language - leisure is a condition of the soul - and my re-reading of Hebrews 4 in light of the obvious correlation with the Scriptural promise of rest, I dont get the feeling that a sermon is being preached. More that I'm hearing a spirited debate between power brokers.

Which team can harness the strength of its citizenry?

Pieper's power?

Pieper's power is special because his leisure is
powered to step beyond the working world and win contact with those superhuman, life-giving forces that can send us, renewed and alive again, into the busy world of work.



Is your leisure empowering?

Or more on topic are you homeschooling from a position of leisure?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Leisure: The Basis of Culture
Chapter II

Imagining myself in the audience of the annual meeting of German Philosophers' Society is the only way I've been able to digest this chunk of the essay. (Still pretending here) I sit near the front of the auditorium in order to hear better the key-note-speaker, Josef Pieper.


Despite his calm demeanor and clear speech, I get the feeling that he intends to wave a red flag.


Pieper starts by describing the current state of affairs within the field of philosophy, mentioning two Ernsts: Niekisch and Junger. Then he goes back to the ancients and medieval in order to explain *how we know* and ties that in with the moderns, specifically Kant. As the essay continues, it is obvious that Pieper is trying to change the paradigm that is driving the architects designing 5-year plans for the rebuilding of Germany after WWII.

With reference to Cardinal Newman and his The Idea of the University, I believe Dr Pieper is defending the type of institutions of higher learning he would like to see characterize the new Germany. He doesnt want the professors (philosophers) to be functionaries. Furthermore, I think there's a good chance that Pieper thought that all of us should be philosophers to some extent. It makes us better workers.

It took several readings, both Dru's and Malsbary's, but I think I could explain ratio, intellectus, and why a third component (spiritual vision) should not be overlooked. If I had to, I could list the elements of intellectual labor. But none of those are on to-do list for lesson or curriculum planning.

In fact, I focused on some of Ruth Bell Graham's advice for preparing my charges. Take a course in dog training (obedience)! Those principles served me better in my homeschooling (parenting). My college career was not diminished by overlooking the classes in developmental psychology, introductory philosophy, or educational methodology.

In contemplating Pieper's ideas, seeking insight and wisdom, I can point to three applications for in my own life.

One, I am a product of a liberal arts education. My parents understood the value of this type of schooling: whoever is educated knows how the world as a whole behaves and made it possible for me to pursue a college degree. Here's a link to a teeny story about how I felt the day I graduated from college.

Hillsdale is one of the few private colleges remaining independent today, preserving the integrity of their professors from government-worker status. Lord willing by 2012, we will have graduated four daughters from there. That's what I call *putting your money where your mouth is*.

Second, within the field of medicine and healthcare rages a huge battle. If I follow Pieper's example of examining the history of philosophy and apply it to my own research of national health insurance, universal care, or government medicine, I find myself in the position of swimming against the current as he was. Doctors should NOT be functionaries.

Again following our convictions, DH and I will be attending the annual meeting of an organization which is fighting the battle against further government intrusion into our private lives. Here's a link to a short article with proper perspective. Dont be fooled by what you hear from politicians.

Third, Pieper was rare in his field, a theologically-grounded philosopher: Catholic-Christian, even presuppositional (I suspect). He prized the meaning of words and decried their misuse. Consider reading another of his fine essays published as Abuse of Language: Abuse of Power. It motivated me to improve my vocabulary and pay more attention to etymology.

For example, be aware that when doctrinaire planners want to implement their vision, there may well be a change in the definition of terms. I'm thinking specifically of the abortion debate where babies are referred to as POCs (products of conception). How about organ transplantation and how the definition of death was redefined in order to accomplish the end. Here's one more controversial yet applicable topic. Examine the arguments of the New Perspectives on Paul or the Federal Visionists. There appear to be new definitions for old words.

This book is a real brain exercise. This second section was long and thought-provoking. There is much to be discussed. Check out the thoughts of others and join me in cheering on our leader, Cindy.

In a *world of total work*, I know that I am not legitimized by my social function. God gave me the gift of knowledge. I know Him. His Son died for me. That makes me valuable. That gives me understanding. That makes me bound to Him.

Time to get on with my craft. :)


Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman;
And I was daily His delight,
Rejoicing always before Him,
Rejoicing in His inhabited world.

Proverbs 8:30

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Eliot Introduces Leisure

After the first week of book club where we're focused on Josef Pieper's Basis of Culture, I felt the need to step back and re-read. Roger Scruton introduces my 1998 edition (translated by Malsbary).

Fortunately I discovered an online copy of the book and read T. S. Eliot's (pictured above) 1948 assessment.

BTW Happy Birthday, dear sir!



Basically, we book club participants are off and running with our insightful comments and words of wisdom, making us modern-day philosophers. Yeah, right?! Joking aside, I feel compelled to find my roots and confirm that my philosophical thoughts are growing in the right direction.

That confirmation came in Mr. Eliot's introduction to Leisure: The Basis of Culture.

He decries the 20th century divorce of philosophy from theology and hails Josef Pieper's clear attempt to restore this right relation in the two essays which make up the book. Furthermore, Eliot recognizes that Pieper's arguments contribute to the restoration of the importance of philosophy for every educated person.

By affirming the dependence of philosophy upon revelation, and a proper respect for the wisdom of the ancients, Pieper's philosophical influence has the potential to avert two dangers:
1)that philosophy would imitate exact science and
2)that one-man philosophies (worldviews) would abound.

In much the same way that every Christian must be a theologian, every educated person must be a philosopher. That gives me two reasons to finish reading Leisure.

The third is no less important.

As a mother rearing those in charge of the next generation, I aim to apprehend Pieper's insight and wisdom for rebuilding our house (culture), thereby fulfilling my role in the ritual of public sacrifice.

Sounds lofty?

Perhaps.

But it's necessary.

So, read with us..... Josef Pieper's Leisure: The Basis of Culture.

It's refreshing!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fashion Friday:Statement Color

Honey-colored Satchel -Meet #9 & #10



on the Top Ten List of Items to Look For in my closet as I'm organizing the Fall/Winter Wardrobe.







#9 = Something Glittery/Shiney :)

#10 = Statement Color


Choosing statement color over statement jewelry is the way I tailor fashion to my own predilections.

Granted this over-sized pocketbook was not already in the closet, but as I was *weeding*the closet, I began to see the colors in a different way.

Leonardo came to mind.... da Vinci, not Caprio.


There are three classes of people:

those who see, those who see when they are shown, those who do not see.


This fashion report is teaching me to see.

A warmer, more subdued Honey Yellow carries the 2009
color of the year, PANTONE 14-0848 Mimosa, through to
fall and winter with its golden tones. Pairing Honey Yellow
with its color wheel opposite, Purple Heart, will surely add
a surprising flair. Or, for a more typical fall combination,
group Honey Yellow with Burnt Sienna and Iron.


I was amazed at the number of times I kept seeing this color in my closet.

Here's the satchel in her work environment.

Notice the grey electronics?

That's close to *Iron*, right?






I'm thinking a gray-colored dress is in my future.







Seasonal Color - that's the ticket!

What's yours?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fall/Winter 2009

Top Ten Clothing Items:
1) Feminine Blouse
2) Boho Skirt
3) Jean Vest
4) Chunky Sweater
5) Novelty Jacket
6) Fashionable Dress
7) Sweater Set
8) Anything with Ruffles
9) Something Glittery or Shiney
10)Pantone Color Palette

So, you've read this far and dont feel inspired?Okay, here's the best fashion advice I've ever received. It was from the owner of an upscale accessory shop.If you cant do anything else, Dana, pay attention to your lips and your ears.

Top Five Accessories:
1) Lipstick
2) Earrings
3) Watch
4) Pocketbook
5) Sunglasses

Monday, September 21, 2009

Leisure: The Basis of Culture

Long before I'd heard the term *worldview* (weltanschauung for Pieper) I knew I was philosophically driven.

In my teenaged-mind, I defined that as knowing AND applying my principles and convictions.

In fact, I used to quip that *thinking* got me into trouble.

I think it still does.




But I'm a slow (life-long) learner, determined to examine my contemplations and measure them up against standards.


That's why I'm reading Leisure: The Basis of Culture with others and discussing it online at Cindy's blog.


After WWII, Josef Pieper, a 20th-century, German, Catholic, Professor of Philosophic Anthropology, published his answer to the ills of the evil age. So very well-received was this slim volume, that it's been republished (different translators and introducers) several times, and continues to be reviewed and lauded by others.

Also, it's interesting to note here that the two previous books* reviewed by this book club (Ideas Have Consequences and Economics in One Lesson) were published mid-century (1948 and 1946, respectively.) Both were proposing remedies for stemming the demise of Western culture/civilization.


Right away, I can agree with Pieper's premise that rest/leisure (what we do when we're not working) is inextricably interwined with culture. Which is tied to worship. I grasp the connection.

But I'm a little bogged down with following all the references to philosophers, their theories and approaches. I mix them up as readily as I do the Greek/Roman gods/goddesses, their life stories and children. It's soap-opera-ish.

Inherently, I know that understanding these fundamental issues and problems will serve me well as I worship God: serving my husband, rearing a family, and ministering in my community. Here's a link to one application: Sundays.

So, I'm donning my thinking cap and ready-ing my brain cells for a nice, long, explore in the philosophical woods.

Join me?

I dont want to get lost.




*Temporarily forgot about All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Leisure: The Basis of Culture

Towards the end of the apology on leisure, Josef Pieper imagines that someone may well ask -

What are we to do about it?

Well, the considerations put forward in this essay were NOT designed to give advice and draw up a line of action; they were meant to make men think.

In that sense, with me, he accomplished the goal.

But I also want to talk about it...... I think because I'm dedicated to hope.

bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, I Thess 1:3

Hope inspires me to action. My moving and being each and every day are nothing but preparation for that day of leisure, in which I consciously remove myself from the world of work, means, and industry.

I focus on faith, festival, and feasting.

Specifically, I've learned the language and vocabulary of my faith. Words like regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification.

Those words inspire me to order my six days in anticipation of that seventh one, which is the highlight - a festival celebrated weekly.

Last but not least, I feast on Sundays, not just by partaking in the Lord's Supper, but by sharing a meal afterwards with fellow believers.

These are just a few of my thoughts about redeeming the time, recapturing culture, and breinging all thoughts captive to the Savior.

It's not that difficult.

It's as straightforward as getting ready for church.

See you there.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fashion Fridays: Boho Skirt

Planning my work

and

working my plan...

in this fine example of

boho*!

#2 & #3 on the list :)






Just three weeks ago, I started thinking *Fall* - time to turn over a new leaf, rustle the wardrobe, and basically position myself for autumnal audacity.

I just feel better when *dressed*

That means, my countenance is refreshed and my outlook is positive.

I accomplish more.

I'm ready for *leisure*




















Don't just do something: stand there!



How about you?











*Truth in blogging: all items already in the closet (vest purchased in 1993!) except skirt which was recently acquired from TJMaxx.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Red Velvet Cake

1/2 cup shortening (butter)                               1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups sugar                                               2 1/4 cups cake flour
2 eggs                                                               1 tsp soda
2 oz red food coloring                                      1 tsp salt
1 tsp vinegar                                                     2 Tbs cocoa

Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add eggs one at the time, mixing after each.   Make a paste of the red food coloring and cocoa powder.  Then add to butter/sugar mixture.  Add the cake flour (and salt) alternately with the buttermilk (and vanilla), all the while blending gently.  Lastly add the soda and then vinegar.

Divide equally into two prepared 9-in cake pans.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, checking for doneness at 25 minutes.

Cool and frost.


Frosting

Blend together 5 Tbs flour with 1 cup whole milk and cook over low heat until thick.  Cool completely.

Cream 1 cup granulated white sugar with 1 cup real butter until light.  Add 1 tsp vanilla.  Blend in cooled flour mixture, beating until it resembles whipped cream.

Makes enough to frost one two-layer cake.

The Snow Goose

Illustrator Beth Peck's reputation drew my attention to The Snow Goose,

but it was author Paul Gallico's touching story of sacrificial love that captured my heart.









Set during the early 1940s, the narrative establishes the friendship of two unlikely characters in the small coastal town of Dunkirk.

Philip, the misfit artist and nature lover befriends Frith, a teenaged girl who brings an injured bird to his isolated doorstep. While this storyline develops and resolves, another is happening in the world at large - wartime.

At this point, the plot becomes both historical and spiritual. Philip is departing in his boat to help stranded soldiers.
Frith stared at Philip. He had changed so. For the first time she saw that he was no longer ugly mis-shapen or grotesque, but very beautiful. Things were turmoiling in her own soul, crying to be said, and she did not know how to say them.

The Snow Goose rates high on my list of gift books. The writing is descriptive, the plot instructive, and the illustrations enchanting.

I am not sure who will be the beneficiary of my copy.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Inaugural Address of the President
Fulton County (GA) Medical Society


The following is only one paragraph from a speech given by my maternal grandfather as he took the helm of his local medical society in 1950. More of the address will be posted (for the sake of posterity) when I have time to type it up, or when I figure out how to work my scanner, whichever comes first :) In another post I reference to these remarks.

America today stands at the cross-roads, and there seems to be a tremendous urge to go down the road of least resistance, which leads to chaos and ruin. If what I say smacks of non-medical politics, let those that are burned make the most of it. America must have a change in the way of thinking of our men in high political places or our way of living will surely collapse. Justice Brandeis warned, "The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning, but without understanding." We are borrowing from the future and robbing the purses of our children and grandchildren by continuing the deficit operation of our government. It behooves us to fight in every way possible those who would torpedo the medical profession and scuttle American freedom to satisfy the whims and political aspirations of these demagogs. I plead with you to support your political leaders who are interested in free enterprise and in the economic operation of your government.




by A O Linch, MD
January 1950

Monday, September 07, 2009



Labor Day

Federally legislated after its first celebration in 1882, Labor Day seems to have strayed far from course, not much celebrated for its original intent of protecting the laborers. However, I've never been a member of a labor union, so perhaps it is still alive and well in those brotherhoods.

Most of the weekend's activities center around recreation and rest. In our local newspaper, I found one article touting the *true* meaning of Labor Day.

From Wikipedia:



The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday: A street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations," followed by a festival for the workers and their families.


I dont think I've ever attended a Labor Day Parade. Have you?

I will admit to attending a political rally around this time of year (in my youth), but now I fall clearly into the camp that this holiday represents the end-of-the-summer-beginning-of-football-season camp.


Fashion-wise, it is an important day, too.

No more white shoes!

I switched to these!









However, there are others who are trying to capture attention by renaming the day to Vocation Day.

Here's a link to Gene Veith's proposal, which is really a thinly-veiled advertisement for his book, God at Work. I like his opinions, but dont own many of his books.

Blogging buddy, Cindy, created an interesting discussion about Motherhood and Vocation, which I hope she will continue because she raised some good questions. We workers at home clearly have the best job of all, enjoying the rewards of the most important career known to man.

That's why it is so important to know who we are and our nature.

I think an integral part of seeing myself (my vocation AND my avocation) accurately must include an understanding of how others view me and how I fit into the overall situation (society).

So, today I'm starting with this Valley of Vision prayer entitled Vocation. It's helping me be faithful.



Now it's time to fix a couple of side dishes for tonight's dinner of BBQ ribs.



How are you marking this special day?

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Vocation

Heavenly Father,
Thou hast placed me in the church
which thy Son purchased by his own blood.
Add grace to grace that I may live worthy of my vocation.

I am a voyager across life's ocean;
Safe in heaven's ark, may I pass through a troubled world
into the harbour of eternal rest.

I am a tree of the vineyard thou has planted.
Grant me not to be barren, with worthless leaves and wild grapes;
Prune me of useless branches;
Water me with dews of blessing.
I am part of the Lamb's bride, the church.
Help me to be true, faithful, chaste, loving, pure, devoted;
let no strong affection wantonly dally with the world.
May I live high above a love of things temporal,
sanctified, cleansed, unblemished, hallowed by grace,
thy love my fullness,
thy love my joy,
thy precepts my pathway,
thy cross my resting place.
My heart is not always a flame of adoring love,
But, resting in thy Son's redemption,
I look forward to the days of heaven,
where no langour shall oppress,
no iniquities, chill,
no mists of unbelief dim the eye,
no zeal ever tires.

Father, these thoughts are the stay, prop, and comfort of my soul.

The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions

Friday, September 04, 2009

Fashion on Fridays

Time to get dressed!!

Last week I made a list of items to look for in my closet as I transition my wardrobe from summer to fall to winter.






And here's my first accomplishment: #7 on the list is *sweater set*.




Found in the dresser drawer, this two-piece, light-weight, celery-colored top is perfect for this time of year. I've paired it with a basic jean skirt and updated the outfit by wearing a long multi-colored scarf. Shoes will be comfortable since I'm the sensible type :)

Here's the link to my list.

If you havent looked at any of it, I'm hoping I can at least pique your interest in reading the Pantone report and choosing a color to highlight this season.

I've got my eye on one (TBA).

What about you?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

September 1, 1939

It was a Friday.

by W. H. Auden
Anglo-American poet
(1907-1973)

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.


Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism's face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
"I will be true to the wife,
I'll concentrate more on my work,"
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the deaf,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or (and) die.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.



Have you ever read that poem before?

I hadnt, although I'm vaguely familiar with the italicized phrase. So, these verses will jump-start today's lessons for a life-long learner.

What's memorable about September 1st for you?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Christian Funerals

Roman Catholic liturgy defined my first funeral experience. Those memories spoke loudly while I watched Senator Kennedy's service on Saturday. I cried.

Strange, since there's not a lot about Mr. Kennedy's politics (or person) that I appreciated.

When I was 10 years old, my great aunt died. It made me feel grown up that I was old enough to attend her memorial mass.

It was at The Cathedral of Christ the King here in Atlanta.

There are not a lot of specifics that I remember, except about her husband (when he broke down and cried) and the incense.

Weird though,

that I didnt cry then.



Furthermore, having grown up (baptized and confirmed) in the Anglican-Episcopal church, I continue to have a strong appreciation for the ritual and splendor of high-church ceremonies.


After all, my Lord is the one and only true King:  Ruler of All.

But now I eschew too much pomp and circumstance and look for a simpler funeral. The components are a worship service, burial in a cemetary (no cremation), and a fellowship meal. Here's what I'm thinking today:

First, I want the gospel preached. The minister can start with John 17:3
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus
Christ, whom thou hast sent .


Second, I want the congregation to sing a lot. I'll make a list suggesting some hymns. My blogging buddy, Carol, has already started her selections. If possible, I'd love to have a soloist sing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.


Third, I dont want much said about me.

I want the focus to be on Christ and what He did for me (and what He wants to do for the lost).

I want the message to be clear that when God looked down on me and changed my heart, that from that point onward whenever He glanced in my direction, He saw the finished work of His Precious Son.

So, dont talk about my deeds. Or lack thereof.


Talk about Christ.


Horatius Bonar, one of my favorite hymn writers. said it very well with these verses from Not What My Hands Have Done, sung to the tune Leominster.



PS You can talk about me at dinner
or in the circle.






Sunday, August 30, 2009

Not What My Hands Have Done


Not what my hands have done can save my guilty soul;

Not what my toiling flesh has borne can make my spirit whole.

Not what I feel or do can give me peace with God;

Not all my prayers and sighs and tears can bear my awful load.



Your voice alone, O Lord, can speak to me of grace;
Your power alone, O Son of God, can all my sin erase.
No other work but Yours, no other blood will do;
No strength but that which is divine can bear me safely through.

Thy work alone, O Christ, can ease this weight of sin;
Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God, can give me peace within.
Thy love to me, O God, not mine, O Lord, to Thee,
Can rid me of this dark unrest, And set my spirit free.

I bless the Christ of God; I rest on love divine;
And with unfaltering lip and heart I call this Savior mine.
His cross dispels each doubt; I bury in His tomb
Each thought of unbelief and fear, each lingering shade of gloom.

I praise the God of grace; I trust His truth and might;
He calls me His, I call Him mine, My God, my joy and light.
’Tis He Who saveth me, and freely pardon gives;
I love because He loveth me, I live because He lives.

By Horatius Bonar
Scottish churchman and poet
1808 - 1889

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fashion on Fridays

Hello

from my writing desk
in the living room,

where Matthew Henry's Commentaries

grace the desktop;

and a pencil drawing after Harnett

makes me ponder
what I'd choose for a still-life

composition.



It's that time of year again.

What?, you say, what time of year?

Time to compose, I say.

Perhaps you think I'm referring to the *back-to-school* season. And I am, but not in the sense of curriculum choices.

Nope, today's essay topic is what-not-to-wear.

Hopefully, I can inspire you to take a second look at your wardrobe. Whether you stay at home all day or leave the house early for a day of errands, I'm challenging you to pay attention to what you wear - from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet.

So, skipping over all the details and rationale for wardrobe composition (see Chpt 12 of Edith Schaeffer's Hidden Art of Homemaking), I'm posting a list of items to identify in your closet. No shopping necessary, just look to see what's there.

Then, make a plan.

Top Ten Clothing Items:

1) Feminine Blouse
2) Boho Skirt
3) Jean Vest
4) Chunky Sweater
5) Novelty Jacket
6) Fashionable Dress
7) Sweater Set
8) Anything with Ruffles
9) Something Glittery or Shiney
10)Pantone Color Palette


So, you've read this far and dont feel inspired?

Okay, here's the best fashion advice I've ever received. It was from the owner of an upscale accessory shop.

If you cant do anything else, Dana, pay attention to your lips and your ears.


Top Five Accessories

1) Lipstick
2) Earrings
3) Watch
4) Pocketbook
5) Sunglasses


So, after making sure that my hair is clean and coiffed and ignoring that I'm wearing an *old* skirt,

I color my lips and clip on my ears, thereby framing my countenance.


Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,
I Timothy 2:9

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Manhattan: Vermeer 's Allegory of Faith


Sunday seems like a fine day to highlight this particular Vermeer which was new to me.

I dont think of this Dutchman as a painter of religious works, but apparently he painted one.

Here's a link to the gallery label to help you locate all the meaningful items.


I love that Faith is using the world as her footstool!

Isaiah 66:1


Here's word of explanation copied from humanitiesweb:

You'd never know it from looking at his work, but Vermeer lived during turbulent times in Holland. Political and religious strife between Protestants
and Catholics in Holland was at a peak during the mid-1600s. Vermeer was born
and raised a staunch Protestant. But, much to the consternation of his parents
and friends, he fell in love with a Catholic girl, converted, and married her.
Even today, the saying goes that, "There is no more devout Catholic than a
Catholic convert." This was probably even more the case in Vermeer's troubled
time. His faith was important to him. That's why, when he was asked by his
church to paint an allegory of faith, he could neither refuse nor resist the
challenge, even though such a work was completely foreign to his artistic
background. This also accounts for the fact that his Allegory of the Faith,
painted in 1670, is easily his least satisfying, least successful work.


In many Protestant churches, pictures of Christ are forbidden (as graven images). Yet they abound as decoration and teaching tools. An enormous part of art history is church-related. So, while I fall squarely on the side against icons, I am not offended by Vermeer's rendition of the cruxification depicted in Allegory of Faith.



Side Note follows:

In my very short visit of Manhattan I am pleased to report that I regarded eight original Vermeers. I repeat: eight. There are only 35, all together.

So, three at the Frick.

And,  five at the Met.

Plus I've seen the ones at the National Gallery in Washington, DC.

That's six more.

I am especially fond of the one with the woman holding the balance.

According to my travel diary, I visited the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Holland, on June 18th 1978.

There are four there. That brings me up to 18!

I must have seen *The Milkmaid* because she's there.

(FYI she's visiting the Met in September.)

Then in Vienna at the Kunsthistoriches Museum around 4 July 1978, I could have seen The Artist's Studio.

Earlier that summer in London, I recorded visiting the National Gallery in London, which boasts two: Women at Virginals.

Now I can count having seen 21 of the 35.

Do you seek out artists/paintings like that?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thankful Thursdays

Counting my blessings by categories, here's what comes to mind on this particular day:

Faith - the gift of it - Ephesians 2:8-9

Health - restful sleep














Husband - the way he can tell a good joke

Home - A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book. Irish Proverb

Family - dinnertable conversation over BLTs and corn on the cob

Church - for the election and installation of three new elders who are committed to shepherding God's flock.

Employment - for the short-term summer jobs DD#3 & 4 enjoyed this summer

Country - the privilege of voting in local, state, and federal elections, unlike some around the globe. I thinking specifically of the recent Afghan elections.



Photo Credit: Getty images FYI -I really did try for a long time to scan my own, but will have to post it later, as the machine would not cooperate :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Manhattan: Alice's Tea Cup

Early Monday morning we joined the bustle of the morning commuters,

but broke off from the throng in order to enjoy a quiet breakfast at this stellar tea room.





After looking around the restaurant,

















we settled on this sunny spot near the window.















ordered a pot of Orange Spice Tea









and Eggs Benedict













And didnt eat again until dinner (link).



Is there a tea room in your town?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Manhattan: Redeemer Pres


Hunter College
Auditorium








Last Sunday evening I worshipped on the upper East Side with about 500 Christians who make up part of the larger Redeemer Presbyterian Church. It was a delightful service with jazz band accompaniment, a strong female vocalist, a confident worship leader, and a teaching elder who entered the sanctuary moments before delivering the sermon. He also exited immediately afterwards and the service was closed by the unnamed worship leader.

When I left I asked an usher the name of the minister; it was Rev Matthew Paul Buccheri. The usher explained that they never know in advance who will be delivering the message because the session wants to decrease the chances of congregants' attendance based on the teacher.

While the music was definitely more contemporary than what I'm used to or what I prefer, it was well-done and I enjoyed the singing (7 songs all together!), even if I couldnt do it as lustily as I would have like (due to lack of familiarity).

The sermon was expositional: both basic and forthright and followed along in their series about King David (2 Sam 7:1-17).

Visiting churches is not one of my favorite things to do, but I'm definitely glad I went and would attend again.

What about you?

Do you attend church while on vacation (or traveling)?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Manahatta

(because I'll be there in a few days)

I was asking for something specific and perfect for my city,


Whereupon lo! upsprang the aboriginal name.








Now I see what there is in a name, a word, liquid, sane,
unruly, musical, self-sufficient,
I see that the word of my city is that word from of old,
Because I see that word nested in nests of water-bays,
superb,
Rich, hemm'd thick all around with sailships and
steamships, an island sixteen miles long, solid-founded,
Numberless crowded streets, high growths of iron, slender,
strong, light, splendidly uprising toward clear skies,
Tides swift and ample, well-loved by me, toward sundown,
The flowing sea-currents, the little islands, larger adjoining
islands, the heights, the villas,
The countless masts, the white shore-steamers, the lighters,
the ferry-boats, the black sea-steamers well-model'd,
The down-town streets, the jobbers' houses of business, the
houses of business of the ship-merchants and money-
brokers, the river-streets,
Immigrants arriving, fifteen or twenty thousand in a week,
The carts hauling goods, the manly race of drivers of horses,
the brown-faced sailors,
The summer air, the bright sun shining, and the sailing
clouds aloft,
The winter snows, the sleigh-bells, the broken ice in the
river, passing along up or down with the flood-tide or
ebb-tide,
The mechanics of the city, the masters, well-form'd,
beautiful-faced, looking you straight in the eyes,
Trottoirs throng'd, vehicles, Broadway, the women, the
shops and shows,
A million people--manners free and superb--open voices--
hospitality--the most courageous and friendly young
men,
City of hurried and sparkling waters! city of spires and masts!
City nested in bays! my city!

by Walt Whitman



Link to American Experience: Walt Whitman

Friday, July 24, 2009

TGIF-Lake Lanier

Fabulous Friends

Wonderful Weather

Delicious Dinners




Simple Summers

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Gazpacho


















First introduced to this summer soup, I was a teenager and we didnt use air conditioning.

We ate later in the evenings, enjoying cold soups (cucumber or spinach) and other vegetarian fare, i.e. flat rocks.

Then in 1995, I made gazpacho for the first time myself. It's the perfect hot weather meal!

Start with 6 cups V-8 juice and 6 cups ordinary tomato juice in a very large stock pot. Add the following veggies. Chill well before serving. Top with croutons, if desired.

8 cloves garlic, crushed
8 Tbs olive oil
12 Tbs wine vinegar
4 tsp salt
4 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp black pepper, ground
24 drops tabasco

10 tomatoes, peeled and diced
6 ribs celery, diced
3 cucumber, peeled and diced
6 spring onions, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
some chives, chopped
some parsley, chopped

Makes one gallon.

Store in glass container.

Keeps up to a week, refrigerated.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

CWAC 2009 Recap:Thursday

Cousins' Week at Callaway is just not complete without a handwritten note to declare thanks for hosting such a wonderful week in the lives of our families.












There is added enjoyment to such gatherings for several reasons.

First, the anticipation is great as we all look forward to this gathering all.year.long.

Second, having plain, old-fashioned fun creates more and more memories to share not only with my own children, but with my siblings' children, and special cousins.

And last but not least, reflecting on the long-lasting ripple effects of building strong families this way inspires me.



Thank you for the bottom of my heart for continuing this terrific tradition.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

CWAC 2009 Recap:Wednesday

Attendance was up this year.

In fact, I think it was our highest count to date. Here's the basic breakdown from our Family Calendar:


2 Parents
6 Children
5 Spouses
29 Grands







Nuclearly speaking, we're talking 42 people. While we didnt have quite that many when we first started years ago, the numbers have increased steadily to the point that we're adding to Gen Four aka great-grandchildren at a rapid rate.

So, add the spouses of grands (4) and two great-grands (2) and we're topping out at 48!!


It all started with the classic sofa picture.

This one was taken in the summer, 1985.



Click on the link for 23 years worth of snapshots.





Here's one of the earliest reunion photos, summer 1987.

















We've always had close friends join us as well. From childhood family friends, schoolmates and colleagues, to the proverbial *special* friends, who end up marrying into the family, we enjoy increasing the size of our circle.

There were close to 60 at our Friday night Leftovers Picnic because we had an influx of cousins at the latter part of the week.

We just keep growing!