Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Today is my husband's birthday

We celebrated in my class today both Schaeffer's( yesterday) and Ken's birthday with brownies ( mix)  with this icing on top from a former student. I omitted the marshmellows and nuts. It is just
delicious as plain chocolate frosting!

1/2 cup butter
4 Tbs. Cocoa
1 lb or 4 cups confectioners sugar
1 Tbs vanilla
pinch of salt
6 Tbs. buttermilk
1/2 cup nuts (optional)
1 cup marshmallows (optional) 
In sauce pan mix butter and cocoa but DO NOT BOIL!!! when butter is melted then take from heat and add all but the nuts and marshmallows. pour over WARM brownies. Let cool for 5 minutes then top with nuts and marshmallows!
They are very yummy reheated in the microwave with a scoop of icecream on top!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Brooklyn Sketchbook Project

I finished  my Brooklyn Sketchbook Project  this morning . The  theme I selected: Filled with Stories.  I still need to take photos and get it in the mail today. Deadline for posting it is tomorrow. My favorite page is the back one. I have a DATE DUE from an old book on that page with all the dates marked out from the 1990's. Then I put Jan 31, 2012. 

Today is Francis Schaeffer's 100th birthday. What a legacy we still have from L'Abri, books, lectures, biographies of this family. For the Children's Sake was the first book I read in 1994 when I started homeschooling. The following year Susan Schaeffer Macaulay was here for a solo conference. Amazing....abundant ....grace.

“We discovered that L’Abri wasn’t going to be easy. But we hadn’t asked for easy. We asked for help. We asked for truth.” Edith Schaeffer


Friday, January 27, 2012

Death Comes to Pemberley

In a letter from Lady Catherine is this funny line. 
I actually laughed out loud:

 " I shall convey your news to Mr. Collins since it cannot long be concealed.  As a clergyman, he will wish to send you his usual depressing words of comfort, and I shall enclose his letter with mine but will place an embargo on its length. "   ( p. 151)

Spring Friday in January!

Daffodils on our walk today. Really. It is still January. 

Quote that my students heard, discussed, copied  in their journals , and then wrote about it:

"The essential disciplines of emerging leaders provide  them with an ability to see beyond the constraints of present circumstances to the possiblities of the future. They stir up in them a hunger to see what is in terms of what ought to be. They provoke in them a passion to live life beyond the limits imposed by the tyranny of the urgent."
 by Tristan Gylberd

Habits matter.
Work matters. 
The tyranny of the urgent presses in even on 14 - 18 year olds. (My students' ages.) Living beyond that is where the balance is. Like today's walk at the end of a busy week. Needed for thinking time with my husband.  Laundry needed to be folded but ....... the tyranny of the urgent. The busyness of a home.

How about you? What are your habits of discipline? 
Lectio Divina.  Drink from it. 
You find the time to do what you are called to do. You have to have Lectio Divina to do that. 

Thank you , Tristan!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Sun is out....all day!

Everyone is out and about. 
The sun is out.
All day. 

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world”
- Thorin to Bilbo Baggins

Monday, January 23, 2012

Checked OFF

I finally got my Fall Semester grades done tonight for my English high school class. One of the best classes I've had with 11 students. They love to talk, connect big ideas, and are reading The Odyssey now. I will not 
correct the names , even the title! So they are looking for Honda vans and loved what the word means: odyssey.   " So that is why Honda named the van Odyssey!"

Update to the TO DO list

Suits .... the groom of the June wedding just picked out suits to buy.

Not long and the two weddings will become one. 

To Do list gets shorter then longer! 

Checking off TO DO lists

I have many lists now with two weddings: March and June. Even  the groom's side has much to do  like  the DRESSES I wear plus everyone else in the family is in the weddings!   The dress I had for March is the right color for June so I've been looking for another. One is here to be tried on! YEAH!  A major "check off" the list  today: the ring bearer knows where to get his tux. Well, his mom does.  ( my nephew is 8 ) Thankfully, our 3rd son ( June wedding ) had coupons for $40.00 off each tux that our  2nd son ( March wedding ) is now using.  They had to be used by the end of this month. So Saturday was spent moving 2nd son into his new apt., Emma had Musical Theater practice and I monitored backstage, and 3rd son was calling me as he looked for suits for his wedding. The contract for the March wedding tuxes got done too. Busy rainy day.

IF you are confused, you have now stepped into my mind.

IN this  busy time:   Emma is  in a Musical Theater production in 2 weeks, going to a  Bridal Shower this coming weekend  and teaching my English class which is starting  with The Odyssey. But I've  escaped to Pemberley! I don't usually like sequels by a different author , especially those with Jane Austen. BUT P.D. James has risen up to the role because of her excellent  writing. I knew she would.

Here is a quote referring to when Elizabeth gets news of Lydia's elopement at Lambton Inn in a letter. Mr. Darcy arrives and quickly leaves. We know the story which ends up turning Elizabeth's heart to Mr. Darcy. 
He becomes her knight in shining armor as he rights this wrong that Mr. Wickham has done to the Bennet family. As James writes she tells the story  of  Pride and Prejudice as each character thinks back upon events.

Here her writer's salute to Austen:

"If this were fiction, could even the most brilliant novelist contrive to make credible so short a period in which pride had been subdued and prejudice overcome?" 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

 I read P.D. James' Time to Be Earnest years ago when it came out. I saw it on the library shelf  which meant it grabbed me. Have you ever had THAT happen with a book.
It is her memoir that she didn't want to write, even at 77. I wanted to have tea with this British author afterwards. Her voice had been a conversation and I listened.  I didn't have tea with her but what a good and living book does is make you feel like you did! There is an excellent talk at the very end she gave to the Jane Austen Society in England on EMMA as a Detective Story! Here in her latest book which she apologizes to Jane Austen for continuing onward into the lives of those in Pride and Prejudice.

  Death Comes To Pemberley  begins in the Prologue with : 

   "It was generally agreed by the female residents of Meryton that Mr. and Mrs. Bennet of Longbourn had been fortunate in the disposal in marriage of four of their five daughters."

Emma and I are sharing the library book. She's ahead and said today: " OH, you have that?" I've just begun. 

Don't you love a good book on the bedstand?!!

Monday, January 16, 2012


I am almost done with this book. My Commonplace Book, which I just call my journal,is fully of quotes of Pat Conroy's authors that helped make him a writer.

For Ann Voskamp:

             " I am numb with gratitude."

"When Dickey is writing at his best, it is like listening to God singing  in cantos and fragments about the hard dreaming required for the creation of the world."

For Laura Barkat:

"When I read James Dickey , I was transported into that ecstatic country where poetry and poetry alone can take you, and shake you with the cutting edge of beauty and hammerlock of its language."

" I want a novel so poetic that I do not have to have poetry anthologies of poetry to satisfy that itch for music, for perfection, and economy of phrasing, for exactness of tone."

For Nancy:

"In habit lies safety."

" Books are living things and their task lies in their vows of silence." 

Other authors covered by Conroy: Margaret Mitchell's GONE WITH THE WIND ( his mother read it to him at age 5) , The New York Book Shop in Atlanta where he read and read, Thomas Wolfe, Charles Dicken's Christmas Carol to Gullah speaking kids on Daufuskie Island and tonight I will read the last chapter:
                        The City.

Friday, January 13, 2012

End of the Week almost: Friday

I want to give praise as it says in Psalm 24:
"Lift up your heads, open the gate . Let the King of Glory come in...."

Yesterday , my DAY was full from the start to finish.

 The praise : In the morning, a  cell phone text came: " You don't have to come today." 

You know how the soul is lifted  when weight is upon it and then released!  My day was like that. This text was God's answer to my morning prayer: "Lord , help me today as I do the things YOU have in my day. Arrange each step. " It made all the difference.

 I was  running in the car from one thing to the next:
from  teaching  to celebrating my fellow teacher's  birthday to  running with meals to others ( Another text later  from my son that his wife was home sick  from school: she is a 7th grade teacher) to  running Emma to her Musical Theater practice and back. I had enough food to bring to my sick daughter-in-law from the other meal. One commitment  also was in my day but lifted out with that text.
       "Order my steps........arrange my day, Lord."

My literature class  started studying Psalms yesterday. I didn't know that MY  pastor is also preaching on Psalms this January. Psalm 24 started  this past Sunday and sermon/ his notes are here. He wrote an excellent book that is a complied devotion of his writings for the PCA's 40 Days of Prayer:

My class read Psalm 24: the first Psalm of the Week ( Sunday ) read and recited  in the homes of the Israelites from 539 B.C. on . Jesus would have said this every Sunday. Memorized it easily that way. We had dictation to learn more of the use of commas and semi-colons alongside The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. ( only one student got the dictaton perfect!)

                     Illustrator: Maira Kalman

Then Emma started singing:" This is the song we sing at church! "  ( Worship Director composed it)

" Lift up your heads , open the gate, let the King of Glory come in ...."

I awoke in the middle of the night singing it. 
Doing that all today. Reminds me of Beth's blog.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Part 1.

In the midst of a rainy day that would have been a blizzard if it had been colder, I thought about time.
Don't you have a day's list of "things to be done" press upon you but the day becomes what the Lord has . A listening ear on the phone twice today. Meeting an old student to give her a recommendation for NC School of the Arts. Writing some letters. In the car , I listened  to Susan Macaulay as I took Emma  to piano and to choir practice and to biology.  Susan  said " look for a half an hour at least a few times a week to read and ponder the Word." A good reminder. She understands life. Busy life. 
Her voice brought a peacefulness to my soul. That is what happened when God called me to homeschool. He used her writing to do the same. I seem settled and calmer and life seems balanced  after listening to her English voice.

Listen to her free.

Part 2:

My students had fun writing their own verses like Billy Collins' Aristotle. You can listen here.
Try it yourself. 
The Beginning..... the Middle.....The  End.
Then you will never forget Aristotle ( Poetics) gave stories that structure! Seems simple but then the beginning of oral stories to written is a fascinating history. Of course, Billy Collins makes my students say : Let's write!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Stunning Beauty

I have seen Rembrandt in major museums but not so many portraits ~ 50~ in one exhibit. His "oeuvre" ( they used the French at the museum ....work) is mesmerizing to stare at. The lace, the wrinkles, the hair, the cloaks, the pink and flesh colors in the faces with the noses even shining a bit, standing behind docents to catch more information ~~ I liked just looking myself and seeing the portraits. The most famous were two of his self-portraits:


( photo  below is not  mine but a similar one on my phone)

I did find a glass cased full of copper etchings of Rembrandt's in the free part of the museum.
I would love to be going to the Morgan Library in NYC
for their exhibit of Rembrandt's world. 

How about this: went later in the afternoon to another museum to see an exhibit on "Genghis Kahn" ~~ my. 
Good and we will be studying him in March.

How about this: ended with one gallery in a Gallery Crawl that a friend had a few paintings being exhibited. Fun to talk to artists , here are a couple you will like:

Shannon Newby

I Pledge | Shannon Newby  | cut book, encaustic on wood
 12 x 12 x 3" | 2009

( lots of book art) 

Phaedra Taylor

Bound and Waiting  |  Phaedra Taylor   
encaustic, paper, string, oil paint on wood | 12 x 16" | 2011

Hannah Costner

 and my friend Anna who loves color and Van Gogh and Rilke and the Lord.........

                       To Rilke

I was energized coming home after all of that!
Today I am  taking down the Christmas tree (Ephiphany is over) AND reading this book which is very, very good...... a blog to come:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tomorrow : Rembrandt

Heading out on a day trip to Raleigh to see "Rembrandt in America" tomorrow.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Gladys Taber on Christmas

"I think most mothers get tired during the Christmas rush. I do. There is always a low moment when I fervently wish it were just over and I could SIT DOWN. I wish it were August. And nothing at all going on.
And yet, when the children say, "Thank you for a wonderful Christmas, best we ever had," and one child whispers, "this was just all I wanted - how did you know?" and one child curls up to read the book you have chosen so carefully, and one says, "we never had such a Christmas," suddenly then all the tiredness ebbs away, and a pure happiness floods in.
For in spite of the tinsel and wrappings and struggle over presents, we still have an idea, after all, that Christmas means giving some special joy, an unusual joy to someone. And that compensates for the commercialism which sometimes seems to threaten to engulf Christmas entirely."

( written in 1955)

First Week of 2012

It has a nice ring to it this New Year Number: 2012.
"The Year of Weddings"  in our house: two this next 6 months. 

I started reading through some of Michael Dirda's  books. This one was already copyrighted to 2012 when I opened it last night:

I haven't seen the new  Sherlock Holmes movie yet.
Some of my kids have. We did see The Adventures of Tintin and if your kids grew up on those comic books, it is very worth seeing so they can relived the stories. My sons got the books out that we had collected and started rereading them! Also saw Midnight in Paris: very Woody Allen. I would love to see it again to catch more of the wit and innuendos. We've already seen Season 2 of Downtown Abbey and know the ending  BUT rewatching it on Masterpiece Theater. 

College son still here. He starts back later than most being at a school in the NC mts. We think they save on heating bills although today is the first cold during the holidays.

Epiphany ahead.