Thursday, December 24, 2015

Thoughts on Home Education

I follow an interesting group on FB called "Intellectual Takeout." The page administrator's deal with all kinds of topics from reading to politics.  Yesterday, they took on homeschooling. Lots of discussion ensued, and I put in my two cents worth. The questions was posed as to why families were abandoning the public school system. My comments were civil, but I made one particular public school teacher pretty darn mad.  She seemed to single me out because I noted that bullying was out of control. I responded that the changes in the schools has come out of the removal of prayer and religion.  That inspired a further rebuttal in which she sent an article link describing religious children as "more selfish." I countered with a statement without Christ and the Scripture, all is lost.  I am sure my comments fell on deaf ears. I don't know this woman, but she is from my home state and looks to be about my age. This blog post isn't meant to be about her or the fb page, but about two other important topics that are lost in all the gobbledy-gook of the original discussion. First, it is frightening to me how many individuals are lost . . . they have no interest in the Lord Jesus, and they believe that there are many paths to eternal life.  The issue of "salvation:--being saved from our sins, being forgiven for our sins, is at best forgotten, at worst, rejected outright.  We live in a lost world that refuses to acknowledge its sinfulness. The second issue is about the condition of the public schools--they teach and encourage thinking that is contrary to the Word of God.  The family as an institution created by God is falling apart, having been undermined at every turn. Kids today have no security, no remorse, no sense of responsibility, no values.  Why would I want our children in the midst of that?

On the positive side, having our children at home has allowed us to freely and consistently teach them from a Biblical perspective. They are secure in our love and in the Lord's values. We, not the local school system, have raised them.

The public schools used to reflect the local community and the family. Perhaps they still do and that is the problem. Sadly, many private Christian schools are just about the same. Part of the reason that we made the leap to homeschooling was an discussion I had with another professor's daughter. I asked her about some physical mistreatment I had heard was taking place in the school--she replied that yes, it did, "but just to the geeks."  I can't tell you how her attitude made me feel. She dismissed the hurtfulness of the actions because it was happening to those who were geeks. She will never know how that 15-second exchange colored how I felt about her and about the public schools. Our boys would certainly fit the "geek" mold. Her unkindness and the cruelty of the situation however, changed our lives for the better.

Our home life has been much like the picture you see at the top of this post, and I am more grateful for that than I can say. Your children need to be brought up in the warmth of the family, and in the love and admonition of the Lord and His Word.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Quiet Land


This painting was done by an artist named John Sloane. You can see all of his beautiful art work on his web page here.  Your spirit will be blessed with his paintings!  I have a calendar hanging up in our living room with John Sloane pictures for each month. The one posted above is for November. Our oldest son, John Thomas, loves this picture and what it represents to him.
We have watched each of the children go through phases of interests and aspirations.
John Thomas has wanted to be an astronaut, an airline pilot, an architect, the President of the United States, and a Senator representing the state where we live. Needless to say, I am grateful that he no longer wants to be a pilot or astronaut, and just about as pleased with his turning away from politics! He might change again, but I have seen  a major shift as he has become more comfortable in who he really is. Now, he aspires to be a History professor in a small, Christian college (hmmmmm . . . where did he get that notion?). He wants to be married  to a woman who wants to make a home for him and their children. He wants to homeschool. He wants to farm. He wants to be a deacon in his church.  He wants an old farm house with trees all around. He would consider himself rich beyond any measure.
He wants a quiet, country life.
I couldn't be more pleased.  Not only do I love and laud his goals and values, but I am so happy to see the restlessness that plagued him for a while melt away like so much snow on a warm sunny afternoon.
Only the Lord knows our destinies, but I also think that He places dreams and desires on our hearts.
John Thomas struggled for YEARS with his salvation. My husband and I believe that he has been saved since he went into his bedroom closet and prayed when he was 8 years old (he thought he was supposed to do that!). But something began to sift and rattle his assurance and understanding of the Lord.  He felt he wasn't saved. We battled this for so long. Then about a year ago, he took a course that wasn't required of his major. Because John Thomas is leading music at our church, he thought the course would help. It was called "Theology of Worship." It was taught by a wonderful and godly man, Dr. Jon Duncan. Something in the course and in Dr Duncan's teachings touched John Thomas' heart. He was sure of his salvation and comfortable in his relationship with Jesus as never before. I don't know what it was, but it was heaven sent. Since that time, I have seen our precious boy settling
comfortably into who he is and what he wants as a young man of God.
I am praying for our other two treasures that they will find their way as well.
Thank YOU, Lord for having Your hands on us. You send others to bless and guide us.
Thank You, Lord, Thank You.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Some Serious Thoughts About the State of Education


That our Nation's morals, values and character is on a downward spiral is evidenced so very clearly by the changes we see in students. I have noticed a trend in students today, and I thought that maybe I was just growing grumpier . . . maybe the change and perception was internal. But, I heard this change given a name, and it is SOOOOOOOOOO accurate. I feel vindicated in my observations, but it is a Pyrrhic victory--our culture is in grave peril from this trend.
For the last few years, we have all heard the term, "helicopter parents.'  They are the ones who hover around their child as they register for classes (to get the easiest teachers and the classes that will transfer to another school) and then as the grades come in--
they failed their children by not "hovering" when they were young and needed to be taught to work, study and practice honesty in all situations. These parents will argue about grades and try to tell you that their child will lose his financial aid if he doesn't get an A in your course. I saw that in action many years ago in another state--a fellow faculty member if you can believe that. I would go so far as to argue that these parents are less concerned with their children actually learning than with what they earn.  Maybe it is even a different definition of what it means to "earn" a grade. 
This post is really about a dangerous shift from "helicopter parents" to "snow plough parents." 
This term refers to parents who will "plough over" anyone by any means to make sure their child receives the A  he or she deserves. I have seen this more times than I can count.  I didn't realize that others were recognizing it as well. 
Several years ago, one student who did not attend class and failed to turn in assignments earned a failing grade. She was one of two in that class who did not pass the course.. To cover for her lack of effort, she lied to her parents and told them that the professor was "on academic probation for being such a bad teacher and he fails everyone!"  The parent protested to the Administration that this professor, being on academic probation had given her child an unfair grade. That professor, who kept meticulous records of attendance and grades, was able to produce the evidence for the student's failing the course. Do you think that any apologies were offered? None.  Blessedly, we have an administration that gives a fair hearing to everyone. The grade stood, the student went on to another college, and the Professor was heart broken.
The situations at the University of Missouri and Yale wherein imperious students are acting like spoiled 3 year-olds are not isolated. This behavior is the "new norm." They are learning this from their parents and their peers. A's are owed . . . .
I have taught for almost 25 years, and I see this terrible scenario gaining steam. It is as bad in the homeschool and Christian school environment  as in the secular. That fact is appalling. 
I grew up in the days when you got in trouble or had bad grades, your guilt was assumed! You would never dare to lie about a teacher. 
This is a testimony to our overall spiritual condition and the collapse of authority throughout our culture.
Lord, come quickly.

Friday, November 13, 2015

On Our Way to Jamestown and Plymouth


Virginia has been working on a timeline of the great explorers, and she has made some great narrative pages.  Next on the list is an exploration of the original 13 Colonies, beginning with Jamestown and Plymouth (yes, just in time for Thanksgiving). From their we will move into a state study (we have done mini-studies over the years, but I want this one to be thorough and full of lots of information). By the end of the year, she should have a notebook full of information that spans history, geography and a little natural science (we will incorporate a look at the National Parks and their ecosystems as well).  



Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sweet Times


One of the blessings of being able to home school is that the children have been able to do some really neat things that public school schedules wouldn't have permitted. John Thomas, Virginia and Dad  went to the Georgia Baptist Convention, basically to hear the TMC musicians and leaders perform as well as to hear a group called The Gettys.  They are responsible for the beautiful song, "In Christ Alone." They apparently specialize in familiar hymns with their own Celtic interpretation. Dear Daughter came home with a CD, and we have all been enjoying the music.
Our Church elected Michael, IVE and JT as messengers (my Baptist friends will understand that). 
James Martin didn't want to go, but I think he would have enjoyed it. The two of us  had a good time with chilli dogs and a table game called "Time Line." It was good for  us to have some time together. 
I was happy though, when everyone was back together.

There's a lot to be learned from books . . .


 . . . but a great deal as well from riding in the van with DAD!
Virginia was saying that he has taken them so many places that were really special.
That's true, but it's a two-way blessing--the kids bless us by wanting to do some of the nerdy things Michael and I love.

Dad loves to have Cece as his navigator!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A World of Books

Those of you who have followed the older blogs know that our family loves Encycolpedia, especially World Book!  One of my happiest thoughts about growing up was that Moma and Daddy bought a set of World Book for the family when they could NOT afford it. These books meant so much to all of us. We have bought used sets over the years at library sales--these older editions are always better than the newer. I think John Thomas' love of learning was jump-started by his green and blue set. We probably paid no more than $10 for them. He still uses them and loves them. 


At the first homeschool convention we attended quite a few years ago, we came upon a vendor selling packages of Britannica, the Great Books of the Western World and World Book for an unbelievable price. We had to pay them in installments, but we bought that set for the kids. I wish you could have been at our house the day they arrived. We use them all the time. 



There's something special about books, about digging through them to find out what you need to know rather than simply "googling." 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Groovy

I really miss the colorful fun of the 70's decor. This is a picture of someone's collector's corner I found on Pinterest  Look at all the records and the Barbie collectables.
I have really enjoyed Pinterest. It is drama-free and absolutely FUN!  I have a Murder, She Wrote board, a James Herriott board, a Vintage Barbie, board and tons of others.
What are you interested in? I bet you could find some great Pins!


Thursday, October 29, 2015

My Favorite Season

I love Fall, and this has surely been one of the loveliest (and most unusual) we have had in a while. The beautiful colors have been accentuated these last few days by rainy days and overcast skies. The gray of the heavens brings out the full contrast of the gold and red leaves. 
Last night when we were headed to Church, we saw a very different rainbow--it was thicker than you typically see, and the colors were mostly pinks, blues and purples. WOW! The clouds were that gorgeous shade of coral . . .
only a loving Creator could fashion such beauty!
Who is like Thee, majestic in holiness, 
awesome in praises,
working wonders?
Exodus 15:11

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Coloring with Washington Irving


Here we are! It is that time of year again--we are listening rather than reading this time--"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."
We combined this with a coloring party. Dad joined in the fun as well. 
I wouldn't trade these moments for all the gold in the world.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

An Apple A Day . . . and Welcome, Flannel Weather


On our trip, we ran up to Hendersonville to go to a branch of our bank. On the way back to Ridgecrest, we saw all of these signs for the Justus Apple Orchard. We followed them and visited the Orchard. It was beautiful, and the people were very nice. That is a gorgeous part of the country. I wish we could have visited longer. We took a swing by the lovely campus of the Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute. I think they must have also been on Fall break, but what a beautiful campus.

We are back to normal, with too many things to accomplish each day. 
I don't know how to slow that down.
Last night, after a LONG day at Church cooking and cleaning up for the 140th Habersham County Singing Convention, I was able to get some laundry done and a little bit of cleaning before a late supper at 7:30. We watched 2 episodes of Gunsmoke, and that was great. I changed the sheets and washed the bedspread, so it felt wonderful to just crawl into that floral flannel goodness and go to sleep. We are enjoying the cooler temperatures very much.
Hope your day is full of the Lord's love and the beauty of His seasons . . .


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Our Fall Getaway


We don't get away very much anymore, but we are able to make this annual trip to North Carolina to the Ridgecrest Baptist Conference Center. We love it. We will be heading back home tomorrow, but we have had a nice time. 

I am married to the world's best driver. (The handsome man in the picture--the giraffe is a Virginia creation-Cecilia--"CeCe"). We were anxious about the weather given the deluge of rain we have had over the last week or so. We didn't run into anything difficult, and the weather has been lovely today. The leaves are beginning to change color here. There's more red and orange than you would expect this early. 
We are all headed over to the "Clouds" coffee shop in a minute. 
This has been a nice trip--the Pastor had his rocking chair on the back porch of our room, and he had biscuits and gravy for breakfast at the cafeteria this morning. 
God bless each of you this evening. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

At Home on This Rainy Day



I cannot get over this rain we are having! Man alive! Don't get me wrong, I love rainy days. There are many things I need to be doing, but I am going to spend some time today completing a crochet project and watching Nancy Drew mysteries (from the 70's). 

Friday, October 2, 2015

A Beautiful Season


Here we are already in October. I can't believe it. We are still a little warm, and we have had so much rain.  Some of the leaves in the neighborhood are beginning to change, though. The temps will probably be dropping a bit before too long.
Today, we finished up the week at school and went to have some lunch together as a family. We had to run some errands, and while we were waiting for Dad out in the car, we were talking about favorite memories of homeschooling. Virginia said she most liked eating biscuits, drinking hot chocolate and reading The Moffats. John Thomas said, "being home." James Martin seconded his answer. I was stunned. Sometimes there's a little in me that makes me wonder if homeschooling denied them some of the pleasures of friends and activities. No doubt, it does. But the pay off comes with these kind of discussions. I am so grateful for their answers (I will be fixing some biscuits and hot chocolate soon).
I am grateful for this lovely autumn season and for this season of life.
Thank You, Lord.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

My Favorite Season of the Year


Fall is the loveliest and the most fleeting of seasons. The colors are so very vibrant. Here in NE Georgia, the skies are overcast, and the temps are still quite warm. The hurricane looming off the coast is having some impact already here, I think. We have had a lot of much-needed rain, and more is to come.  We are about to wind up the week and the first half of the semester. Fall Break is next week, and we are hoping to make our pilgrimage to Ridgecrest. 
The kids have had a particularly happy semester so far. The boys really like their classes--James Martin is having the time of his life in his PE class (I would never have predicted that). He is taking "Indoor Games" with Coach Jennie Dietz. There are several of his friends in the class, and they have a blast. No one is mean to anyone else, and they just enjoy playing these games together. Jennie told me that this is a great group of students--I am happy for all of them.
John Thomas is getting anxious to finish up his Bachelor's degree and move on to graduate school. He will be enrolling in the Master's Program at TMC.  That makes me happy on many levels. 
Virginia is having a good time with her dual-enrollment courses (I am one of her professors!). She especially loves her English course with Dr. Walton Young. Everyone loves Dr. Young. The boys will be graduating with a minor in "Dr. Young"--they have taken so many of his courses.  
They each have a sense of belonging at Truett. I am grateful for that and for the opportunities we have through the college. How can I ever thank the Lord enough?
Fall is a great time of the year to think about the blessings we have had and to thank Him for getting us through the challenging or painful times. 
Hope you are all well. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Today


I can't find the words to describe how I am feeling now--I have my COMPUTER back. I can't wait to take some pictures of our latest yarn projects and post them. I am grateful to our IT Director for getting this fixed for me. 
Michael and I are in Duluth to attend a meeting of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board (our new name) Historical Commission. The kids are left in charge of the homestead.  John Thomas is leading Bible study tonight--should be interesting to hear about when we get back tomorrow afternoon. 
Michael and I are already in our pajamas. He is reading, and I am about to take out my yarn.
As always, we are the country mice in the big city. 
Looking forward to posting more soon . . .

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Time to Get On the Car . . . . .


My understanding is that Cracker Barrel has rolled out their delicious Autumn dessert once again. -(They skipped last year, and I was broken -hearted). It is a pumpkin spice--mousse -pudding concoction with a lovely, spicy whipped topping and ginger snaps on top. 
I will ask the Pastor to gas up the flibber on Friday . . .

Sunday, September 13, 2015

An Evening At Home

 
Sunday night services are always my favorites at Church, but I have to admit, tonight I was happy that we were able to be at home. Because of all of the special activities and an outreach event this afternoon, our evening worship time was canceled. SO, we had a nice night with our Saturday night specials--hamburgers, hot dogs and Matt Dillon!
Those of you who have followed my blogs recognize this picture--I had to pull it off of https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432908582905032138/  since I still don't have the computer with all my millions of pictures back! YIKES!!!!!
We have really enjoyed the cooler temperatures of today.

This Week at Home, Work and Church


1. One of the best things about the week was the time Virginia and I spent with Daniel Defoe's great novel of redemption, Robinson Crusoe. We have started it many times before, but now she is really enjoying it. The other day when we were all in the van together, she asked if she could read aloud as we went down the road. We had to stop in Dollar General, and she said, "I can't wait to get back to the book." I thought she was talking about a Lamplighter she is also reading, The Hidden Hand. But she wanted to get back to Crusoe. She read to us the rest of the way home and we read some more after everyone started getting settled in for the night. WOW! I am very happy about that. 
2. We had our fish fry at Church yesterday. Everyone has been working so hard on this event. All of the members of the Church were invited by a beautiful, personal letter. It was a way of reaching out to those whose names are on the rolls, but who have not been attending for some time. Michael put his heart into it--he feels this is what the Lord has asked him to do. The Church family put all of their support into it as well. We had lots of fish  followed by singing, prayer and a great message from the Lord afterwards.
3. The week at school has been a busy, but good one. I am pleased to see that the boys are enjoying their classes and professors very much. One of the Christian Studies professors is having quite a positive impact on James Martin. I am pleased. He is a good man. The boys are working hard and getting things accomplished.
4. On a very sad note, my cat of 18 years left us last night. She is running around in the Lord's Presence. She was born under our bed in Tennessee in 1997, and she has been a loving and faithful friend all these years.
5. To end on a positive note, our oldest, who has long been interested in politics, is (much to my relief) growing increasingly disenchanted with the political world. I am so glad. I think he has a stronger sense of purpose now and for the future than he has had in his life. His relationship with the Lord is SO much stronger than it has ever been--he seems to have accepted finally, the joy of his salvation.
Wishing you all a wonderful week with the Lord . . .


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Books or E-Readers?

 
There's lots of discussion out there about the merits of e-readers. Every member of our family has one. I like the fact that I have a light built in, and I can adjust the size of the font to meet the degree of eye-tiredness I am at that time experiencing. However, my heart still belongs to the book.  My husband and I laugh at ourselves as we "smell" books--is there anything more appealing to the olfactory sense than an old book? You can smell a Kindle. You can't pull it off the shelf and enjoy the beautiful cover or end pages. There's just nothing like a book.
I am doing a lot of reading for the semester, and enjoying it very much. My students, for the most part, won't read.  With the textbook for the American Revolution course, I am putting their feet to the fire. I made reading guides (questions to be answered from the chapters). They received a wake up call on Wednesday when I had them sit in a circle with me and answer the questions for the assigned reading. 90% of them had NOT read, and it was evident they were unprepared. I will keep this up until they get it . . . until they READ it.
All of the electronic STUFF they have distracts them. They can't focus, and they don't want to be encumbered with assignments. I want to change that in their lives. Foolish? Ambitious?
We'll see.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Wonderful Sunday Evening


This Sunday was "Fifth Sunday." It was Communion Sunday, and the service was both beautiful and solemn (in the best way). Michael likes to do something different in the Fifth Sunday evening worship time.  This time, we had a nice light supper of grilled cheese and tomato soup and watched this WONDERFUL movie together out in the fellowship hall. We were so pleased at the turn out and the response to the movie. I think this is probably now my all time favorite movie. If you get a chance, watch it. It should be out there on Youtube, and it is available on Amazon and at many Christian book stores.

A Happy Mistake and Sweet Memories

 
Yesterday morning, I fired up the family crock pot (much larger than this lovely avocado green model pictured above). I had in my possession a WONDERFUL chuck roast (Mama always told me that a chuck roast was more tender and flavorful than any other). I was going to brown it and add it to the pot with the other ingredients. Keeping it simple this time, I had mixed a can of Campbell's beefy mushroom soup and a packet of Lipton onion soup mix. Well, I didn't add the Lipton onion soup mix--it was a partial envelope of ranch seasoning from a pasta salad mix!  I felt awful. I didn't have another can of the beefy mushroom soup, and I didn't have time to replace it before school. I had to just "go with it." What kept me from panicking was the thought that I had looked at a "Dill marinated roast" recipe for the "slow cooker." I just didn't have any dill. Dill is the key ingredient for Ranch-flavored things. The only problem was "how would the ranch flavoring taste with the beefy mushroom soup." I have to tell you--Michael kept saying that it was the best roast I had made. Considering how many we have had over the years, I was pleased as punch!  Virginia made some wild rice, and I fixed a pot of cooked carrots with a brown sugar glaze. We also had a can of the boys' favorite biscuits, "Grands jr., flaky layer" to add to the fare.It was a feast! I have enough left over to fix Michael a hot lunch today.
I know I didn't discover a new approach to slow-cookery. I went on Pinterest this morning and saw all kinds of Ranch crockpot recipes. I may submit mine though, since it is a little bit different with the beefy mushroom soup.
The crockpot pictured above is just like the one I bought my mom when I was in 11th grade.  I think I purchased it from TG & Y, and I am sure it was less than $15.00. She used that thing all the time. Her specialty was slow-cooker pinto beans. Mama knew her way around the spice rack, and she added just the right amount of thyme, garlic salt and oregano. I couldn't begin to recreate her recipe. 
Michael had a long day yesterday, but I could seem him really unwind at the table. He loved the supper and he loved sitting listening to everyone talk about their day.
Don't underestimate the power of a good meal served with the family. Your recipes don't have to be the least bit fancy--just serve them with love!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Still No Computer But Here's A Bit of an Update

 
The semester is off to a great start. We are moving towards a routine. Everyone is enjoying their classes and coursework so far.  They are having some good times with nice friends who are encouraging and positive influences. That is an answer to this mother's prayer. Virginia has faced a lot of changes the past few months--they are good but difficult changes.
Last night, she had a sleep-over with some friends at the dorm. Tonight, the boys are going for a movie night at the student center. Everyone is working on homework and I am doing laundry!
Heehee . . .

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Thursday Things on Sunday Morning--Food for Thought

I have a few minutes as the chicken for lunch is cooking. Michael is downstairs working on the message for this morning, and the kids are still asleep. I have made the tea for lunch and will soon have a bowl full of chicken salad thrown together for sandwiches after Church. Maybe it's a good time to throw out a few ideas . . . . "thinking out loud" as my hubby says . . .
 
Thursdays have long been my favorite day of the week--the week is winding down and the weekend is just around the corner. For many years, I have wanted to have Thursday nights be "soup nights." Many times, we go to the park with our supper on Thursdays, and I like that "tradition"  as well.
But I keep coming back to "soup night." Everyone in the family loves soup, and if I would just PLAN better, I could make this happen. I have all kinds of recipes for soups--I would like to move away from the wonderful canned soup base as you see in the vintage add above.  They are so high in sodium, and that's not good for the pastor.  Maybe we could alternate between soup and sandwich night and cook-out night on Thursdays.  Virginia and I could compile a collection of soup recipes that work well that she can use with her own family one day. Soup is a strange food in that it is satisfying in any season.
I want to say that more than ever I am grateful for the family life we share. Before too long, surely one of our children will venture out on his or her own. Now more than ever, we need to be thankful for the time we do have together, and we need to make the most of it.
We have a student who is a close friend of the children--she is a lovely young person who loves the Lord. She said to me the other day, "you mean you all sit down and eat meals around the table together?"
Unfortunately, I think this is far too typical in today's world.
I make a lot of jokes about how much the boys love eating at the cafeteria at the college--they really LOVE IT!  But, it's more than the unlimited hot dogs and chicken strips--what they really love is what they call "the melting pot of friendship"--this is a group of them that sit together when possible as they eat lunch.  The real star at the table is the FELLOWSHIP. Isn't that the family table as well?
The food provides a tasty (hopefully) excuse to be together and share whatever is going on in the lives of the family.
Better fun . . . my chicken is ready!


The Close of Summer is Upon Us

 
Summer is subtly coming to a close  . . .  activities at the college have kept us busy, and this week will see us all back at the books. My computer will be ready for me to pick up on Monday morning, so I will be able to get my syllabi completed . . . and back to some consistent blogging.
This has been a good summer, but not without some stress. I am looking forward to the routine of the school schedule, and I think everyone else is as well. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Are They Talking About US?

 
This summer was a busy teaching summer. My class sizes were smaller, but we worked very hard to get everything done. A student asked that I put the First Ladies course on the summer schedule, so we did, and we had a blast. The course was supposed to run for the A term, but we voluntarily extended it to the full-summer term, and we had a great time discussing these women, their husbands and their eras. We were able to have some meaningful debate about the role of a "successful" First Lady.
The class was also required to read Catherine Clinton's biography of Mary Lincoln. Her treatment of Mary is even-handed, even kind, and I think that Clinton is trying to find the best in her, which is always a refreshing change of pace in this era of "deconstruction." However, we still have a hard time in seeing Mary as anything but an hysterical and incredibly self-centered woman. One bit of trivia I'll share is very interesting--
we all refer to Mary as Mary Todd Lincoln. She would NEVER have used her maiden name.  Because her family didn't approve of Lincoln and his "station" in life, she turned her back on them for the most part. Mary TODD Lincoln is a modern affectation we have added. Her married name of Lincoln was her pride. She would want us to think of her as Mary Lincoln. That she loved her husband and her children is beyond question (maybe things were more than a bit strained with Robert there at the end!) Her life was not easy, burying three sons and her husband, suffering a terrible National reputation, and experiencing the terror and humiliation of being committed by the remaining son.
Anyway, the course and the students were a collective blessing to me this fall, and I am grateful to the administration for allowing me to add it to the summer schedule.
Hope you all had a great summer. I still don't have MY computer, but hubby is good as gold to let me use his at any time. I am going to go to IT tomorrow to check on my little silver box. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

National Parks Study and Other Homeschool Plans

 
We have always loved National Parks in our family. We used to live within the same county as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is beautiful. We still visit the North Carolina side of the park several times each year. The kids and I have done some Park studies over the years, and I want to do another but more-in-depth study with Virginia this year. The Creation Museum folks have put together a wonderful study, and I think I will look into that (I am a little behind as you can see). I think we could put together a fun afghan using the Lion's Brand Heartland yarn --each color is named for a National Park. We can combine science and crafts!
The boys have a very full schedule at the College, and we will all be going in about 10 different directions at once. Dear Daughter will be taking Latin with me for credit as well as English 101 at the College. Having said that, we want her to work through the A Beka American literature program as well. She will be doing A Beka math.  We haven't settled on a Bible study yet nor a history. She is leaning toward music history, and Memoria Press has a good program for that.
The year will be a full one, but lots of fun, I think. 
She hopes to sing with the TMC Choral and maybe participate in handbells, plus there is always piano. I am grateful that she feels a clear direction on her life--
more than anything, she wants to be a wife, mother and homemaker, but I am pleased that she takes seriously the idea of another vocation. She can help her family, her Church and her community with the skills she is working on now. 

The Fugitive



One of the many blessings of the new tv channel we are receiving is the broadcast of classic show, The Fugitive.  I found the entire series on Amazon for $40 and I splurged and bought it (not a good thing to do this time of year). It is just wonderful! The show ran from 1963-67, and for 120 episodes, the falsely accused- and convicted Dr. David Kimball is forced to flee from scenario to scenario to elude the obsessed Lt. Gerrard. David Kimball seeks the one man who can exonerate him--the killer himself--the "one-armed man" whom David saw fleeing the scene on the night of his wife's murder.
The show is sometimes hard to watch because every bad thing that can happen to someone happens to him--except his capture. Throughout all of his trials, he manages to do the right thing; even on the run, he helps everyone he can along the way. You can't help but fall in love with this character.
I think there are some episodes available on You Tube if you don't get the new TV Channel --the channel is "H and I"--Heroes and Icons. The shows they run are fabulous.




Friday, August 7, 2015

Thoughts of Autumn

 
 
I try not to think about the next season or to entertain thoughts beginning with " I can't wait 'til . . . ."
But I am starting to think about Autumn, our favorite time of year here in the Willows. There's something about the beautiful colors, inviting aromas and cooler temperatures that please all of your senses.
My computer is still at the doctor's, and I am hoping to get it back before too long. Thanks for checking back with the blog from time to time.
Love to you all--hope you are enjoying this season and happily anticipating the one to come. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Where Have I Been?!

 
 
 
Just some thoughts for today:
 
1. I have been out of the blogging world due to the fact that my computer has been in the "shop" for almost a month. I am very stressed, but did get through the summer classes, grades and all.
 
2. Although I have missed the blogging, not seeing the news these days has been a blessing. More than ever, we need the Lord.
 
3. If you need solace, comfort, help from discouragement or fatigue, open you Bible!
 
Back soon . . . hopefully.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thinking About School


Well, time to think about getting ready for the next school year. This weekend we are traveling to a nearby state to attend their homeschool curriculum fair. I am so excited. We will use the occasion to spend the night in a nice hotel with an indoor pool. I think this will offer a welcome respite from worldly intrusions. We also hope to visit the grave site of the wonderful Ellen Wilson, the first wife of President Thomas Woodrow Wilson. 
I look forward to being able to get back with you soon with some details about our choices for the school year. 
Today, we are off to Church for the monthly food and clothing distribution. We provide lunch for the workers and the guests, and it's always an adventure coordinating all of that. Today is spaghetti day. 
Hope you all have blessed days, enjoying your fellowship with the Lord. 
Thanks for enduring my rants and critical posts of late--
the world will always be the world, but we serve the 
great I AM  and His Son, Jesus Christ. Neither They nor Their precious Word ever change. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Good-Bye to Old Friends

I am bothered by the fact that everywhere we turn, we are confronted with pithy maxims lauding the victory of "love"
over hate and condemnation. When we went into the big city to pick up our son at the airport, it was everywhere. Disney World lit up Cinderella's castle with the rainbow lights for all to see their corporate endorsement of same-sex marriage. Today, however, represented a new low:  a cross-stitch merchant I have shopped with for many years is now hawking a pattern with a rainbow and a clever saying--"Love is Love."  I have received their emails and advertisements happily since about 2003.  I sent an email asking my name to be taken off of their email lists (the don't have an "unsubscribe" link).  I didn't tell them why, but if they ask, I shall. They won't--I am just one person who has probably spent far less than many customers these past 12 years. But how sad! 
I am removing them from my list of suggested places to visit on my other blog.. I won't mention their names because I don't want to give them publicity ever again. 
They have chosen whom they will serve.

Sunday, July 12, 2015



I found this picture on Pinterest and couldn't resist it for this post. I wish my laundry area looked like this.  I have to tell you all how pleased I am at a couple of accomplishments this week. Dear daughter painted her bedroom a very different color--it is a deep blue-green--quite a departure from the apple blossom pink that has festooned the wall for the last 10 years or so. Taking things off the wall and moving things around was pretty much her responsibilities, but she did it. She also did 95% of the painting. It looks great. I will get her to take a picture for us so you can see how pretty it is. Our plan is now to start really sorting through things to make cleaning and keeping things in order easier. 
The other accomplishment was the work we got done in the boy's room. JM worked hard, Dad helped a lot, and together we were able to clean their room "within an inch of its life!" HaHa! It really does look better. I am not finished with the chest of drawers, but they're "under way."  I convinced JM to help me get all of the "stuff" out of their closet (the boys share a room--they seem to want it that way--I am grateful). The closet is now what it is supposed to be--a clever repository for clothes and shoes! 
It is a very small walk in, but there are two distinct walls, with two shelves above the pole on each side. For years, I have tried unsuccessfully to keep their clothes more or less sorted. Now they are. I got rid of things they can't wear, washed and organized everything else, Underneath their respective clothes and shelves are baskets of jeans and their shoes. The belts and ties are hanging conveniently and neatly on the wall. Sheets and blankets are on the shelves above the clothes. 
To you, this probably seems like no big deal--but getting things in order is always a major accomplishment for me. 
What I wanted to achieve with this project was a means by which the boys could easily access (FIND) what they need when they need it. I can easily see what need to be washed or ironed. They can help me help them. I want to do things for them when I can while teaching them how to help when they're needed. I think this system will work. 
Moma said that "we can control our things or our things can control us."  Daddy loved the old adage, "a place for everything and everything in its place." For a long time, I have wanted  our home to be neater and cleaner, but more than that, I want it to be a comfortable, peaceful environment. 

Home Sweet Home


Our oldest returned last night from his trip "across the pond."  I think he was as glad to be back as we are to have him back. He was exhausted, and fell down on his bed, clothes and all. I brought his pj's and convinced him to change -- I hope he was able to sleep soundly. Sometimes you can really get "too tired" to sleep well.  He had been awake for so long, trying to get back in our time zone.
Yesterday, when we returned to the airport in "the Big City" to get him, I was struck as I always am about how I do not belong in that world. We make jokes about having 4 traffic lights here in our home town, but I am SO grateful to live somewhere like that!  (And I think we may be up to 5 or 6--look out Atlanta!)
We have all had enough excitement for the month! I am ready to settle down and enjoy each othere right here at our house!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Our Church Sign


Maybe it's just me, but despite all the hoopla and hoorays about the Court's recent decision regarding the nature of marriage, I think enthusiasm for Independence Day was not what it usually is.
Hmmm . . . . 

Our Sweet 2 and 3


Happy Birthday, James Martin! You're a sweet old boy. 
We put a hurting on those hot dogs, didn't we?

Yellow Happiness


Nothing lifts the spirits like a little housecleaning and a bouquet of  yellow flowers.  The lamp, the candle holders and the pitcher/vase are all second-hand store finds from over the years. Bosie was my Christmas present. She is usually playing BBN--and that ALWAYS lifts my spirits. 
The flowers were from a bouquet at Kroger's where we found James Martin's Black Forest cake for his birthday. I actually divided the flowers in half. The rest are in a glass milk bottle on the sink counter in the kitchen. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

What Do You Believe?



This has been quite a July 4th. I have wanted to post, but don't know really where to begin, with regard to the recent Court decision, the controversy of the Confederate battle flag (which sadly, has overshadowed the terrible loss of life involved in the tragedy), and the continued attack on God's Word, vis a' vis the Oklahoma Supreme Court's order of the removal of the Ten Commandments monument on the capitol grounds..


1. With regard to Obergefell v. Hodges, the Court has caved to the pressure to remain relevant. It has no power to enforce any of its decisions, so as a branch of the government, it is dependent upon the willingness of the others  to make their decisions reality through changes in the law.  As a body, the Court always worries about being ignored--with good reason. I believe that Chief Justice Roberts is afraid of a legacy of impotence in the face of  loud (but exaggerated) call for change. He is also afraid of this President. Roberts, et al,  are no doubt patting themselves as the heroes of the hour. They are like the fools in the children's story, The Emperor's New Clothes. In graduate school, I aspired to be a Constitutional historian; I have taught Con law for several years and American History for many. We are in a sad and sorry state.I no longer have ANY desire to be a Constitutional scholar. 

2.Similarly, I am appalled by how so many are patting themselves on the back for celebrating sin--we have family members who are outspoken advocates for this godless worldview. They claim to be Christians, but discount God's Word and His clear rejection of this way of life. Never have I seen so public of an endorsement of sin. "Love wins"? Really? Love won on that terrible day at Calvary, and we celebrate that victory by heeding Christ's words, "If ye love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). Love does not win by celebrating sin. 

3. In the Oklahoma case involving the removal of a 10 Commandments monument, there are a lot of frightening elements:  the suit was brought by a Satanic organization from Massachusetts who threatened to erect a satanic monument unless the  other was taken down. Joining this group was a Baptist minister who just wanted to "keep government neutral."  Part of our problem is that we have turned a man-made document, the Constitutior, into a moral compass rather than an instrument of government. I disagree with my brothers in Christ who defend any Constitutional "principle" against the Word of God. They cannot see--they are deceived:  the Freedom of religion has been changed into a Freedom from religion, and they think they are doing right by defending a man-made standard rather than a God-ordained command.

4. For the first time in many years, I have not wanted to fly an American flag in our home. I do not want to sing, "God Bless America." We live in a Nation that has been blessed by God, but one that has run from Him and thrown His blessings away, congratulating ourselves along the way. 

5. The Christian community has been too quiet for too long. We have treated marriage and sex outside of marriage with contempt.  We have been silent as our rights to worship and pray have been taken away. We have stood by as abortion laws have changed. I know Believers who are pro-choice and pro-gay marriage. How can that be? There are Christians who belong to a political party that shouted down "God" in their platform. I had lunch with a man who I am sure thinks he is a Christian. He supports this President and what he stands for. His wife belittled my candidate, Scott Walker, because he doesn't have a college degree. Your priorities are of the world and not of God. 

Now is the time to know what we believe and take a stand. Silent acquiescence WILL turn into acceptance and then approval. 

Hear the words of Joshua:
Choose ye this day whom ye will serve . . . but as for me and my house, we wills serve the LORD>
Joshua 24:15

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Lovely Scene


This lovely painting is by John Sloane, and it is called American Patchwork.
Thank you, Mr. Sloane for reminding us of the beauty that is still here. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Rambling Thoughts for Friday



3/5 of the family has been in another state the last couple of days. JM and I have remained here so that we can continue with our summer classes and make progress in getting everything ready for JT to leave for his trip on Saturday. JM and and I went to McD's last night for supper, and watched Wheel and Jepoardy! afterwards. He had some homework for class working with those Mendelian genetic square-thingies. I think we spent about an hour or more working through the problems. JM will tell his professor he had "help" from me--although I really don't know how much I really helped. 
I am very grateful that JM has had a good time with this course. It has been very intensive, but that has been good for him and his work ethic. The class is taught from the Biblical perspective of Creation--and we are more grateful for that than you can imagine. Science is a gift of God, just like the study of History, language, music . . . all given to challenge our minds and bless our hearts. Only man can mess up these gifts.
I do not want to hear any more news this week. More SCOTUS decisions are coming down here in the next few days--and they don't promise to be anything that honors God and His Word. 
I am ready to stay in my house with the news turned off. I do look forward to everyone returning home today, although we will be going separate ways again on Saturday (JT will be gone for 2 weeks). 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

For My Friends At the Beach (and You Know Who You Are)


For my sweet friends frolicking at the beach this week! If I had known, I would have saved this picture entirely for you!  I hope you are being sensible like these young ladies in your choice of bathing attire! Have fun!
xxoo
the other Janis

Family Fun


Last night was a great night. We had a later supper, but that was fine. Virginia cooked for me while I did a little housework. We were able to spend a little time together after the kitchen was cleaned up.  We are working on the Book of 1 John in Sunday School. I just so happened to have some BEAUTIFUL copywork pages with that Book of the Bible. They are so pretty. So, we prepared to sit down and work on them together. As you can see, we were joined by a couple of other members of the family--Gertie and Dad!!
Michael was so funny--he came to the table before we sat down--he brought his Bible and his latest issue of Sword of the Lord.  He said, "well, if you all are going to sit here and color . . ." He had a good time with us and we were thrilled he joined us. My father-in-law is happiest when is surrounded by his family. They don't necessarily need to be talking to him--he just likes to have them nearby. I think his son is shaping up to be the same. 
We finished a couple of pages, and Dad finished his crossword puzzle. He lives to get his Sword of the Lord  in the mail. 
Adding to the fun was the package of Keebler Simply Made chocolate chip cookies. They really are wonderful. 
Sweet times . . .

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Thoughts for This Day


After the concert yesterday, we went to Sonic for supper. I had made supper in the crock pot, but it will be fine for today. Everyone was hot and parched, so we just pulled into Sonic. It was great. Nothing like a Route 44 Sprite Zero when it is so hot.
When we came home, Virginia went out into her garden.  She and her dad staked her tomato plants. Her garden is beautiful. And a dear woman from our food distribution program at Church brought her a ton of strawberry plants for next year. After we came in, Virginia fixed her dad a glass of lemonade--his favorite way to combat the heat after yard work. Like the headline in the newspaper above, I feel like we are in the midst of a heatwave (and I grew up in Florida!).
For a short time, we have everyone back home. Later this week, 3/5 of us will run up to Tennessee to attend the funeral of a most godly man--in fact our oldest is named for him. Heaven is even more wonderful now with Brother Bethel there. I think I will be remaining her with JM--his summer classes are wrapping up, and he will be taking a final exam at the end of the week.
 On Saturday, our oldest son is leaving for his trip to England to study in a special program at one of the schools in Oxford. He will be gone for two weeks. 
I worry about Michael being so tired and running around all over the place with all of our busy-ness and his own. At Church, we have had several families with health crises, and he has been involved more and more with helping them and picking up the slack at Church in their absence. 
I would love the luxury a week off from life . . . . I suppose most people would!