Thursday, April 6, 2017

Time to Get Out the Crayons

We are about to have another week of break for Holy Week. This is the kindest school calendar I have ever known.  We have had an interesting week with lots of thunderstorms, rain, and WIND.  Due to the hail from a couple of weeks ago, we have a new roof. We have needed it for a long time, and when the contractors started coming through he neighborhood after the hailstorm, we looked into it. The woman from the Corporate office of our insurance company called with the notion that we were opportunists trying to take advantage of the scenario to get a new roof.  She came to the house (from Chicago!) and climbed on the roof herself.  I was mad--not that she came, but that she came with this predisposition.  We have lived here about 14 years and have NEVER made any kind of claim on our insurance, paying our premium (first as renters, then as owners) faithfully to a local agent we hold in high regard.  After  her "walk around" on the roof, she said, "yeah, and we'll get you some new gutters, too. How about that bird feeder? How much did you pay for that?" I was stunned. Michael took it all in his usual stride. Everything ended very cordially and professionally. 
We had the roof done this Tuesday--with rain and storms the day before and the day after. It was amazing. Our neighbor had damage that extended into his house, so the roofers are over there today. 
Anyway, we are settling into the week's wind down.

I told John Thomas, "it's time for a coloring party." He said, "I'm for that."
So, we can plan on one next week since he has to work Friday and Saturday.
We are all big Crayola enthusiasts, so we all try to keep up with the changes in the products; we were sad to learn that the color "Dandelion" is being retired. It is one of his favorite colors. We have plenty of them in the house to set aside as artifacts to show the grandchildren! 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Blessing

I was supposed to have a meeting today with my "big boss" (as opposed to hubby who is my immediate boss).  Meeting was postponed, and now I have an hour to read. Pretty good deal.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Masterpiece Theatre

I grew up watching PBS. Back then, there weren't so many channels, and I think we were better off. Moma and Daddy loved Masterpiece Theatre and Evening at Pops with Arthur Fiedler and The Boston Pops.  You can still watch some of the episodes of the latter on You tube, including an evening with The Carpenters. Alistaire Cooke was the host when I first watched the show, and we have seen many others fill that role over the years. I thought Diana Rigg did a great job. She introduced a remake of Daphne de Maurier's Rebecca  in which she starred, playing the mysterious and dark Mrs. Danvers.

Among my parents's favorites were The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Elizabeth R.  Our kids have grown up with these classics and others from the program.  We have come home many a night from church, grabbed our supper, and sat down to watch Poldark, Downton Abbey, and most recently, Victoria.  I love Wolf Hall (although I question the historicity of some of it, as with Victoria--it's no fun living in the house with 4 historians). I love the original Poldark, and the remake was good as well. I am currently watching The Pallisers. There are quite a few available on YouTube. By the way, in a survey taken to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Masterpiece, Upstairs, Downstairs was rated #1.  I tell our kids that there would have been no Downton had there not been an Upstairs, Downstairs. In fact, there were many story lines and characters that seemed very much like those in the Jean Marsh series.

Michael really likes some of the older Masterpiece Mystery: P.D. James and Lord Peter Wimsey in particular. We love Foyle's War and Lewis now. You have to be careful because some of the mysteries can be harsh. The Cadfael Mysteries are really good--especially the first series with Sean Pertwee as Hugh Beringar.  When he leaves the series, it loses quite a bit of its character.

I told Michael I want a "Masterpiece" shelf--the videos and DVDs we have collected over the years, the books they represent, and a couple of used book store Masterpiece Theatre book finds we have.
These programs and the literature and history upon which they are based have added a lot to our lives.

Here is a favorite of our family's:  Upstairs, Downstairs with an introduction by Alistaire Cookie.

Monsterpiece Theatre

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Piano Girl

Friday night there was a performance of some of the participants from last Saturday's Music Festival.  Virginia loves to play on these grand pianos. 
She found this dress in SC when we went to Belk's to get Michael some shoes. She had looked longingly at the dress earlier last year, but it was just way too much.  It had been marked down to about $14 when we were there Thursday!  There was only one left, and it was her size!

This was her 11th year in the Piano Festival. The boys participated for about 9 years.  Their teacher, Mrs. Ann, has meant the world to them over the years.  She has taught them much more than piano. She believes in the old fashioned virtues of deportment, courtesy, and professionalism. If you make a mistake when playing, keep going. Always be gracious. Always treat others with kindness. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Trying to Gather Thoughts, Capture Time, and Move in the Right Direction

Years ago, I followed a blog called "Raggedy Janet's Country Home."  This beautiful blog was a source of encouragement from a mom who homeschooled her three children. She often spoke of "busyness" and the dangers associated with it.  I think time slips through the cracks of life when we are so busy we don't know what we're doing. An insidious aspect of this is that you can easily slip into the routine of "busyness" neglecting the importance of taking time together to do what is really important.  A couple of expressions come to mind--we have all heard these, but they bear repeating:
1. The enemy of best is good.  (Amen to that!)
2. Stop and smell the roses.

A new watchword in popular culture today is to live "intentionally." I usually hate cliches and phrases of the day, but this one has a place in the discussion. If we do not live INTENTIONALLY, we will live in a way we didn't intend to at all. 
Hubby and I are blessed beyond measure to have the kids at home now.  When we were their ages, we were in colleges far from home. I am so happy that they are still here and still want to be here. But I feel that our youngest is losing track of what is best in the face of so many things that are good. 
Life at college has completely swallowed her senior year of high school, and the demands of her schedule have pushed away some of the things she needs to do at home with her school work. Her college grades are exemplary, but she is so tired when she gets home, she really doesn't do much. 

I have specific prayers for all of our children:
1. That they will add to their lives Christian friends who treat them the way they treat their friends. I pray this especially for DS 2. He often feels isolated. 
2. That they will work harder at spending time with the Lord in a personal way.
3. That they will put down their phones and pick up a book.
4. That they will find the RIGHT individuals for dating . . . and marriage.

5. We ALL need to stop, smell the roses, count the blessings and sit quietly amongst them. 

We went to South Carolina the other day, and the best part of it was just being together in the same spot. 

Lord, I pray today that You would show me what to do to better manage my time and to better help them to manage theirs. 
I love You, Lord.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

May I Have My Chalk Board Back, Please?

Our college had a nice blend of old and new as they work hard to have a good teaching and learning environment. I really do appreciate the technology, although I don't understand it all, at our fingertips. Today, I showed a good movie off of You Tube about the Glorious Revolution. Gone are the days when we have to lug in VCR's or even DVD players. It is all at our fingertips.  However, it is difficult for me to understand what plugs into where and how.  I thankfully had one of my own children in the class to help today. James Martin came to the rescue when it came time to get everything set up. I will have to master this myself since he is GRADUATING this semester! Many of us remember the old filmstrip projectors and the record that BEEPS when it is time to go to the next frame. Having said that, I do miss my chalkboard. I have a dry erase board now, and I like it, but I miss the chalk board.  [ I had to teach one semester in a classroom with one of the SMARTBOARDS--I  didn't think I would make it]. All of this AV stuff helps make the class room more entertaining, but there is no substitute for putting pen to paper and chalk to the board and TEACHING through lectures, reading and good note taking.

I am troubled, too, by the shrinking attention spans young people have today.  This problem is often exacerbated by a touch of rudeness. Today, after a "multi-media" class with film accompanying the lecture, a student had found one of the poems mentioned in the lecture.  He was going to read a bit of it . . . that showed a lot of initiative, I thought. The entire time he was reading, however, they were all packing up their books to go.  The only exception was James Martin (our youngest son) who sat listening. 

These are not bad students or students that are rude beyond how their generation usually acts. I was just a little surprised.  I have had some heart-to -hearts with them this semester, and I don't think anything I have said or done has really changed their ability to see themselves. 
Oh well . . .
I am grateful for them and the fact that I have this position.

Thursday, February 9, 2017


I love this blog, but haven't posted on it in a while.  We are all hip-deep in school work, Church responsibilities, and everyday life.  Added to that was a flu-bug that fell on Michael about a week ago. He is far from 100% but is doing better. John Boy thinks he is coming down with it, too. I had a mild version, but feel much better today, owing largely to the amount of chocolate and Diet Mountain Dew I consume.
Pictured above is a little Calico Critters set I bought for Dear Daughter.  She had some of these Calico Critter toys when she was younger, and she still loves them. I thought she would like the little piano, flute, and violin.
Updates on the Boys:  James Martin is having a good term. He is LOVING his library work and his classes.   He is working on his capstone (senior paper). We fixed up a table in his room where he can put all of the books and papers he is using for the paper.
John Thomas is having a good term--he is completing his first year in the grad program. He is also working still at the Chicken House. He has a good working relationship with the people there, and they know they can depend upon him. 

Hope you're all enjoying the pretty day wherever you are.