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:

In a mug, combine

2 Tbs lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2-3 Tbs local honey
2-3 Tbs whiskey

Pour in 6 oz boiling water and stir until blended.

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,


3)Liberal Arts Education,


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?