Thursday, April 30, 2009

FellowshipMATCH: Fellowship for Mentors, Administrators & Teachers of Classical Homeschoolers

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Click to join FellowshipMATCH

Gentle Readers, a friend and I have started a new e-mail loop called FellowshipMATCH: Fellowship for Mentors, Administrators, & Teachers of
Classical Homeschoolers. This is a place for those of us who are teaching or providing a community of learning for homeschoolers from a classical Christian perspective, to get together, share ideas, and encourage one another. If you:
1. Are teaching homeschooled students who are not your children in any setting (individually or in a class, in person or online, in a co-op or study center or on your own);
2. Can assent to the Apostle's Creed as a statement of your faith in the triune God; and
3. Want to participate in civil, humane discussion about classical Christian education;
you are invited to join us! Membership must be approved by one of the moderators (myself or my friend Beth).

I hope to see some of you there!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Practical Atheism

Today I read an excellent article in World Magazine about our tenuous times and the fall of Christianity as reported widely in the media. Tony Woodlief makes excellent points about what our real problems are as a culture and as the Church. He sums up his case this way:

What we are in danger of—in our country, in our churches, in ourselves—is practical atheism. This is not a considered embrace of godlessness. It is instead the slow slide into lives where God is irrelevant. The people who walk away from churches likely haven't pondered Christian theology and rejected it; they simply haven't been exposed to theology in the first place. Absent knowledge of—and communion with—the living God, why would anyone in his right mind keep coming back?

Practical atheism isn't limited to people who abandon church; it extends to all we who drift from Christ, even as we dutifully attend Sunday services. It's in the brief morning prayer that eventually becomes no prayer at all. It's in the way we emulate men rather than the God-man. It's in the way we brood, as if the things that vex us don't pass through the hands of a loving God. I don't know if practical atheism afflicts you, but I slip into it every day. Surveys tell us more people are forgoing the Christian label. What ought to concern us is how many—perhaps most of all ourselves—are willing to keep the label without fully living the life it requires.

Excellent reminders. Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Ben!

Today my eldest son turns 25. Don't ask me how that happened. As a good friend said today, another 5 years and he'll be 30! Now he can rent a car, for heaven's sake! And I guess that is fitting, since he is married, owns a home, and has finished a Master's degree. I guess he really is an adult...

Where have all those years gone? I remember him as clearly as he was hiking down the mountain path in the above picture as I do in his home in Bloomington. Ben has always had places to go and things to do and great plans and big dreams. And he has enriched all of our lives with them. I have had the privilege of having several nice conversations with my 25-year-old this week, and he is always funny and provocative and full of grand ideas still.

Ben, you are a blessing to us. Have a wonderful birthday, and may God bring many blessings in the year ahead. We love you!

Monday, April 27, 2009

A glorious day

This afternoon, I sat for a time under one of the apple trees in my backyard, and listened. The bees working among the blossoms made a constant hum, and the finches courting their mates and robins building nests added to the lovely music. I am blessed to live in a place where I rarely hear traffic noise or sirens, and the sound of the wind in the trees is audible. And all of this, below an immense and crystal-blue sky. It was a glorious day!

I wonder how often I am hurrying through the yard, a task on my mind, and never hear the bees. It seems my life has been characterized that way for a long time: on to the next task, get more done, hurry, hurry... I am grateful for a season of more time to hear the details of life.

But at the same time, I realize my time in this world is short, and only getting shorter. I can't linger to listen to bees forever when there is important work to be done, and I am here and able. This whole business of trying to balance priorities, work and rest, pursuit and leisure, is tiring, don't you find, Gentle Reader? One of the many things I look forward to in heaven is always doing exactly what I ought to be doing, and enjoying it to the utmost with no nagging questions or traces of guilt. The object and light of that place will be my Lord. Now *that* will be glorious.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sundays with Jean

This week we have been slogging through Calvin's responses to various heresies. I keep hoping that we, as the Christian Church, will learn from these battles so that we don't need to repeat them. However, I am not finding many great quotes in this section. Never fear, however! I've been storing up quotes to share. Here are a few of them.

First, a great quote on the purpose of the Moral Law:

In our discussion of the knowledge of ourselves we have set forth this chief point: that empty of all opinion of our own virtue, and shorn of all assurance of our own righteousness-- in fact, broken and crushed by the awareness of our own utter poverty-- we may learn genuine humility and self-abasement. Both of these the Lord accomplishes in his Law. First, claiming for himself the lawful power to command, he calls us to reverence his divinity, and specifies wherein such reverence lies and consists. Secondly, having published the rule of his righteousness, he reproves us both for our impotence and for our unrighteousness. For our nature, wicked and deformed, is always opposing his uprightness; and our capacity, weak and feeble to do good, lies far from his perfection.
~Institutes I.7.1

And on God's promise of eternal life:

...we should reflect that we are promised long life in so far as it is a blessing of God; and that it is a blessing only in so far as it is evidence of God's favor, which he testifies to his servants far more richly and substantially through death, and proves it in the reality.
~Institutes I.8.37

And finally, of the eighth commandment:

In this manner, I say, let each man consider what, in his rank and station, he owes to his neighbors, and pay what he owes. Moreover, our mind must laways have regard for the Lawgiver, that we may know that this rule was established for our hearts as well as our hands, in order that men may strive to protect and promote the well-being and interest of others.
~Institutes I.8.46

Friday, April 24, 2009

All clear on the doctor front...

My oncology visit went well and uneventfully today. Thank you to those who have been praying for me!

My adrenal adenoma has not changed, so I am hoping that means no further follow-up there. I am on "regular maintenance" which apparently means another doc visit in three months, and a breast MRI in 6 months. (I HATE that test...)

Now I have a little break until my regular physical in about 3 weeks. Seems to never end...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

God's perfect timing

Today as I walked in the back yard beneath the blossoms of the apple and pear trees, the air was alive with birds chirping and bees buzzing. It was a lovely reminder that Spring has sprung, and that God's timing is perfect in all things. Winter is over and Spring is here. And Winter was not too long, after all.

Another reminder of God's perfect timing today was a lovely tea I was able to have this morning with a young mom. She is the daughter of dear friends, and I had the privilege of watching her grow up in our church. But what a privilege to see her today: mature in the Lord, an excellent wife and mother, and as sweet-natured as ever. What a treat to spend a little time with her and see the fruit of her parent's love and God's calling in her life! And we talked a bit about blogging. You see, she is also among those who find catharsis in processing their lives through writing for others to read in the blogosphere. You can read her words here, though she is in the middle of a move, and may not write much at the moment! She talks honestly and movingly of the struggles and blessings of following the Lord in a fallen and broken world. And she has adorable children to boot.

And speaking of God's perfect timing, I am off to the oncologist tomorrow to obtain CT-scan results and discuss life. I'd appreciate your prayers.

Monday, April 20, 2009

On the road again...

Some of you have asked recently if Tim is still running. I am happy to say that he is! After a rather tragic final season of track last Spring, he was plagued by injuries (things like broken toes), and pretty busy with getting married, moving, and starting a new job. The last few months he has settled into something I never thought I'd see him do: rising early at 5 AM to run! That is a necessity as Tuscon summer arrives with its heat. So Tim is once again running and training and setting goals. We'd appreciate your prayers that the Lord would bless his endeavors, and keep him injury-free for a while!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Whatever happened to Sundays with Jean?

Well, the reading and marking of wonderful quotes through Calvin's Institutes continues on schedule, but I have been Providentially hindered from posting those quotes the last few Sundays. And today I am in the airport with my dh, heading on travel with him for a few days. Jean is with us, but he is in my suitcase, which is checked. If I had him with me, now would be a lovely time to post some quotes, but instead, I'll just offer this lame excuse...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My least favorite book of the Bible...

Does it seem slightly blasphemous to have a least favorite book of the bible? There are books that are hard to read because their content is convicting (like James) and there are books that are hard to read because I don't understand their context as well as I wish I did (I'm thinking of Jeremiah, or many of the minor prophets. But then there are books that are just hard to read. The one I always struggle with is Leviticus. It is long, repetitive, and has to do mostly with the ceremonial law which Christ fulfilled and which is no longer incumbent upon me. So, whenever I hit Leviticus in my regular reading, it is tough going for me. In my two year reading program, which I have basically been keeping up with, I have suddenly found myself a full 14 chapters behind!

So today, as the snow melts from our Spring snow yesterday, I am trying to catch up in Leviticus. And as I do, I am asking myself, "What does God want me to see here? What is He telling, not just Old Testament believers, but me as well?" And here are a few of my thoughts.

*God is a specific God. He is not an "anything goes" God. And when I am an anything goes gal, I'd better be careful.

*God is serious about sin. I am far less serious about sin than God is, and when I am justifying my sin, or can't even think of what my sins are, I am on dangerous ground.

*God is so serious about sin, and so holy, that he even requires payment for the sins that are committed unknowingly. When I think about my sins, if I committed them without knowing I was committing them, I tend to think that is a good excuse for God to sort of wink at me, and remind me to do better next time. But no, God requires the shedding of blood for the remission of all sin-- that I do knowingly, and that I do without realizing it is sin.

*Praise be to God that Jesus shed his blood once and for all, for every one of my sins. It is not that God no longer cares about those sins mentioned in Leviticus, but that Christ has satisfied the justice and holiness of God.

Not All the Blood of Beasts by Isaac Watts, 1709
Not all the blood of beasts
On Jewish altars slain
Could give the guilty conscience peace
Or wash away the stain.

But Christ, the heav’nly Lamb,
Takes all our sins away;
A sacrifice of nobler name
And richer blood than they.

My faith would lay her hand
On that dear head of Thine,
While, like a penitent, I stand,
And there confess my sin.

My soul looks back to see
The burdens Thou didst bear
When hanging on the curs├Ęd tree,
And hopes her guilt was there.

Believing, we rejoice
To see the curse remove;
We bless the Lamb with cheerful voice,
And sing His bleeding love.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Softball and beauty

On the left, you will see my young friend, M. I was invited to watch her play softball yesterday, and since the game was near my home, I thought I'd head over to watch. Now, I am not naturally a softball fan. I don't believe I have ever watched a softball game, and I haven't played in one since high school, and even then, it was never willingly. When I did play softball, I tried to place myself in the spot least likely to draw a ball towards me. Not so with M.

M's mom is a good friend of mine. She was a pretty amazing softball player in her day, too. Neither M nor her mom "throw like girls": a skill at which I can only marvel. And M. is an 8th grade home schooler, the youngest of 5 children, who auditioned for and plays catcher for our high school varsity team as its youngest member. She has lots of courage and skill. But even more, she desires to play for God. She is nothing short of an inspiration to me.

So, as I watched yesterday, I saw softball from a whole new viewpoint. I remember this happening when I saw Dave run in a race for the first time, or Tim run at Nationals, or our friend Katie throw the discuss. There is an ease and beauty, a fearlessness and grace in sports when they are done well, that is a wonder to behold. I not only watch M, but in my mind's eye I can see her mom out there, and it gives me a richer understanding of her, too. And today, I went to another softball game. I might even have to catch one over the weekend.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Of volcanoes and other providences

This morning I read an excellent post over at The Blazing Center. Among other worthy things, Mark Altrogge says:
We have no idea of the thousands of times God has spared us from falling into the devil’s snares. Let’s spend a few minutes today thanking Jesus for his providence that hems and hedges us in and keeps us from the pit of destruction.

As I read this, I started wondering about God's providential act of saving me and my family from things that would harm or destroy us. Could I think of examples? Well, perhaps the most remarkable family story happened in the weeks and months prior to Dave and my wedding.

Dave was in graduate school at the University of Maryland, studying trace metals in gases coming out of volcanoes (really, people study such things...) and he was very excited about a trip with a colleague from the USGS. They were to visit the newly-erupting volcano, Mt. St. Helens, in Washington state. This was May of 1980, and the colleague was named David Johnston. If you do a quick google search of David Johnston and that date, you will find that David Johnston was the scientist across the valley when St. Helens erupted, and he had time to say, "Vancouver, this is it," before he was buried under tons of burning, hot debris. If Dave had been with him, he would have surely suffered the same fate. But at the last minute, the grant money that would fund Dave's trip along with David feel through. There was great disappointment and gnashing of teeth at the time the funding fell through. But later we saw how God had providentially protected Dave. And Dave was still with some of the first scientific teams to hit the ground after the eruption, in late June/early July of 1980. As a matter of fact, he arrived in Ohio for our wedding right after his time at Mt. St. Helens.

God is always good to us, though we don't always understand so clearly what God is doing. I have a friend here who is always saying, when plans fall through, "You never know what God is saving you from." And that includes powerful forces like erupting volcanoes as well as subtler ones.

So don't be discouraged, Gentle Reader, when your plans fall through, or you can't get a grip on why things are happening. We have a great God who is working a plan for the good of those who love Him, and for His glory!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A stream-of-conscience update

Yesterday I was pretty tired from the weekend fun, and started the day with even more fun: a C-T scan. The nice technician, C, couldn't get my IV started. After some amount of pushing, shoving and digging, he began eying my other arm. Ever since the surgery and lymph node removal over there, I am supposed to tell people "NO!" when they want to use my left arm, so I did, and C began eying the back of my hand for a whole new approach. I explained that the whole hand thing didn't appeal to me. To his credit, C said, "Yeah, it hurts a lot more..." So I left C to his own thoughts and prayed for divine intervention. C then said, "Let me see if I can find someone else to try this." Hurrah, God! C returned shortly with K, who has easily been working in the radiology department my whole adult life, and inspires confidence. But K had a tough time, too, though it did appear he eventually got it in and going. When it was time for that odd feeling of the contrast to rush through my body, however, it came with some arm pain that I had not felt before. I was just about to ignore the recorded voice that was saying, "Breath; hold your breath." and holler for C when it stopped hurting, so I continued and finished my test, glad to get it over with and get home for a nap!

Later in the day I went out to finish cleaning out one of my flower beds and enjoy the beautiful Spring day. The warmth of the sun encouraged me to take off my sweatshirt, and when I did, I discovered a huge, bulging, purple bruise about an inch above the injection site. I have never had anything like it in previous tests, so I called the radiology department, and they told me to ice it and elevate it. That did help, and today already it is fading. But I guess my veins were determined not to bow even to the exprience of K yesterday.

This also reminds me of my determination not to bow to the fatigue and weariness I feel some days. I think over all my energy level is slowly improving. Then I have days like today. Last night I had a pain episode (I have self-diagnosed ovarian cysts...) and woke tired and weary. But I determined to tough through it, and met my friend Kelley for a little walk up on the Hill. We had only done about a third of our usual walk when I knew I had to cut it short. By the time we had returned to our starting point, I was shaking, sweating, and faint. Why don't I listen to my body instead of giving it orders all the time? Why don't I hear when it cries "Rest, rest!" instead of just pushing ahead with my agenda as if I have the power to overcome such things?

And that reminds me of how I listen to the Lord sometimes (or more appropriately, don't listen). He guides me by His word and by the events and people He brings into my life. And sometimes He is telling me things very clearly, but because I don't want to hear them, I plunge ahead as if what I want is what matters. What foolishness. So this afternoon, I'm resting and reflecting on the fact that I am not in control of my life or anything else. But I know the One who is, and He is gentle and good, and doesn't do anything without a gracious reason for it.

Please keep the following things in your prayers:
*For good results from the C-T scan yesterday, which I should receive at a doctor's appointment on the 24th (a week from Friday)
*For continued health and growing strength
*For sensitivity to the voice of God in my life, and the desire to follow His lead and calling

Monday, April 13, 2009

A wonderful weekend...

This weekend didn't go the way we expected, but it was full of fun and surprises and people we love! Here are just a few of them... the ones with whom I remembered to take out my camera...

Tim and Nikki arrived on Friday morning. It is always such a joy to have our kids around! Our friend Katie Page came and had lunch with us on her way out of town on Friday.

In addition to the full weekend of Easter activity at church, we also were celebrating the home-going of an elderly saint from church. One of the wonderful parts of that celebration was the arrival of Amy, Molly and Lillie for the weekend. What a treat to be with folks who feel like family!

Above is my name-sake, little Abigail Christine. Isn't she adorable? And look at her beautiful big sister, Molly, who quickly found her favorite place at my house, behind the couch and with the picture books!

And this wasn't all. We managed to catch our dear friend Em, home for spring break, and friends Rebecca and Quinn stopped by for a night of vailing tea and Quiddler, and Sunday included a Hanson family dinner in Rio Rancho with Grams and Gramps and the Browns. For all of these dear family and friends, however, I forgot to get out my camera, so you'll have to take my word for it! And now you'll know why I needed not one, but two naps today!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Love , Crucified, Arose!

Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!

Love Crucified Arose by Michael Card
Long ago He blessed the earth
Born older than the years
And in the stall a cross He saw
Through the first of many tears
A life of homeless wandering
Cast out in sorrow's way
The Shepherd seeking for the lost
His life, the price He paid

Love crucified, arose
The Risen One in splendor
Jehovah soul Defender
Has won the victory
Love crucified, arose
And the grave became a place of hope
For the heart that sin and sorrow broke
Is beating once again

Throughout Your life You felt the weight
Of what You'd come to give
To drink for us that crimson cup
So we might really live
At last the time to love and die
The dark appointed day
That one forsaken moment
When Your Father turned His face away

Love crucified, arose
The One who lived the died for me
Was Satan's nail-pierced casualty
Now He's breathing once again

Love crucified, arose
And the grave became a place of hope
For the heart that sin and sorrow broke
Is beating once again

Love crucified, arose
The Risen One in splendor
Jehovah soul defender
Has won the victory

Love crucified, arose
And the grave became a place of hope
for the heart that sin and sorrow broke
is beating once again

Love crucified, arose
The One who lived and died for me
Was Satan's nail-pierced casualty
Now He's breathing once again

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thinking about Good Friday

Lord, the condemnation was yours,
that the justification might be mine.

The agony was yours,
that the victory might be mine.

The pain was yours,
and the ease mine.

The stripes were yours,
and the healing balm issuing from them mine.

The vinegar and gall were yours,
that the honey and sweet might be mine.

The curse was yours,
that the blessing might be mine.

The crown of thorns was yours,
that the crown of glory might be mine.

The death was yours,
the life purchased by it mine.

You paid the price
that I might enjoy the inheritance.

John Flavel (1671), from his sermon, "The Solemn Consecration of the Mediator," in The Fountain of Life Opened Up: or, A Display of Christ in His Essential and Mediatorial Glory.

(Thanks to JT for this and other great thoughts this Good Friday)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Thinking about Easter

A few interesting things have come across my computer this week as we approach the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ.

Here and here are a couple of myth-busting articles about the origins of Easter.

Here is an interesting site where you can listen to the passion narrative from the gospel of John in Gregorian chant, complete with an English translation to follow. Peaceful, beautiful music!

Below is a video excerpt from a talk at a Desiring God conference. (Thanks to JT) It is an illustration of what the gospel really is, and isn't: it is God desiring to love a sinful and rebellious people, including me! It's not about legalistic or moralistic formulas for living according to some set of rules. It's about the love of Christ, so powerful and practical and sufficient that even sinful, broken, and sometimes pathetic people like me can be the object of love and adoption by the Creator of the universe through his son, Jesus. If you don't know Jesus, now is a perfect time. If you need an introduction, let me know.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Thinking about death

This week I'm thinking a lot about death. Several thing motivate these thoughts.

First, an elderly lady in our congregation, who was a charter member of our church, went home to be with the Lord last Sunday, and plans are under way for her burial and memorial service this week. She was a prayer warrior, a faithful heart.

Second, all my recent physical activity has left me sore and hurting in every muscle group I can think of. When I am trying to wake up in the morning and everything hurts, my thoughts turn to the time when I won't hurt any more, and that most likely won't be until I'm with the Lord. So my early morning meditations are realistic reminders that this world is not all there is, and through Christ we have passage into a better place one day, when we lay down the suffering here. They are also meditations on the nature of dying to self every day, and looking for what the lord has for me to do each day. If it was just up to me, I would likely stay in bed. But the Lord calls me to follow his example, take up the cross before me (my physical pain in this instance), and follow His lead with my day. It's a good thing He gives me the strength to proceed!

Third, it's Passion week. As Christians, we remember the suffering and death born for us by our Savior, Jesus Christ, in anticipation of his resurrection. Without that death, my redemption was not possible. And because of it, I have a relationship with the Creator of the universe. That's something to contemplate!

At the Memorial Service on Saturday, I'll be singing the wonderful song below at the beginning of the service . These words are good ones to be hiding in one's heart.

I Will Glory In My Redeemer by Steve and Vikki Cook

I will glory in my Redeemer
Whose priceless blood has ransomed me
Mine was the sin that drove the bitter nails
And hung Him on that judgment tree
I will glory in my Redeemer
Who crushed the power of sin and death
My only Savior before the Holy Judge
The Lamb Who is my righteousness
The Lamb Who is my righteousness

I will glory in my Redeemer
My life He bought, my love He owns
I have no longings for another
I’m satisfied in Him alone
I will glory in my Redeemer
His faithfulness my standing place
Though foes are mighty and rush upon me
My feet are firm, held by His grace
My feet are firm, held by His grace

I will glory in my Redeemer
Who carries me on eagle’s wings
He crowns my life with lovingkindness
His triumph song I’ll ever sing
I will glory in my Redeemer
Who waits for me at gates of gold
And when He calls me it will be paradise
His face forever to behold
His face forever to behold
His face forever to behold

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Some thoughts on the season

I love Easter season. I love the way the thought of resurrection is all around us as dead things emerge from the earth, and dead branches begin to bloom. I love pondering the victory of Christ over the grave, and the depth of the love that drove him to the cross.

Tim Bayly posted a wonderful poem , written by his late father, on his blog here. I found it thought-provoking:
A Psalm for Palm Sunday

King Jesus
why did you choose
a lowly ass
to carry you
to ride in your parade?
Had you no friend
who owned a horse
—a royal mount with spirit
fit for a king to ride?
Why choose an ass
small unassuming
beast of burden
trained to plow
not carry kings.

King Jesus
why did you choose
a lowly unimportant person
to bear you
in my world today?
I’m poor and unimportant
trained to work
not carry kings
—let alone the Kings of kings
and yet you’ve chosen me
to carry you in triumph
in this world’s parade.
King Jesus
Keep me small
so all may see
how great you are
keep me humble
so all may say
Blessed is he who cometh in the name
of the Lord
not what a great ass he rides.
~Joe Bayly

Monday, April 06, 2009

A new recipe

Tonight I made a fun and fast chicken recipe. I was pretty tuckered out after having a nearly full day of activity...something I've not done for a long time! So I wanted something fast, and this was a winner. I thought maybe some of you would enjoy it as well. It is called Chicken in Silver and is from a little out-of-print chicken book I have. This recipe is for two chicken breasts (two servings), but for more, just multiply. I made three servings tonight.

Make the following sauce in your blender or food processor:
1 tsp. minced ginger
2 small cloves garlic
2 TBS apricot jam
1 tsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp. butter
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dry mustard or mustard seeds

For each serving, take a 12 X 12 piece of foil, place a thick slice of sweet onion in the middle, and place one boneless, skinless chicken breast on the onion. Divide the sauce among your chicken breasts, just spooning it on top. Atop each breast spread several julienne strips of carrot and several snow peas. Then join up all the corners of the foil and seal.

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees (yes, 500 degrees). Put a cookie sheet in the over for the last dew minutes so it will heat up, too. Cook the pouches on the cookie sheet for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and allow to stand for 5 more minutes. Serve with rice or potatoes to soak up the lovely sauce, and a fresh salad.

It was a lovely meal!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Puzzler answer

For any of you who missed Shannon's excellent (and correct) comment yesterday, here is the answer to the grammar puzzle from yesterday:

John, where Jim had had "had," had had "Had had;" "had had" had had the teacher's approval.

Now there's a language for you: 11 hads in a row, and it still works!

Friday, April 03, 2009

A word puzzle

While visiting with Ben and Elsa, David Canfield, the composer and collector and brilliant host of their small group, posed us with a grammar challenge. You can make the following words a grammatically correct sentence by adding a total of 11 punctuation marks. Can you do it? I couldn't! Here are the words:

John where Jim had had had had had had had had had had had the teachers approval

Now, add eleven punctuation marks to make sense of it: don't change any words, remove any words, etc.

Good luck! I'll post the answer tomorrow.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

A painting party

Today, we had a painting party at church. The stark, white wall behind the pulpit has been replaced by a warm, taupe wall, which I am sure will make our pastor even more handsome.

Above is our intrepid paint crew in a pose we call "American Gothic Painters". Below, Rachel, Kelley and Kris get started.

Above, Charlie did all the ladder work. We got to break in our new 10 foot ladder, which will be splendid for picking apples. Below, Kris shows the finished, and almost dry, product.

We had a great time of fellowship spending the day together, playing games with the kids between coats of paint, and finished the day with pizza together at church. What a lovely, productive day!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A quilting party

Today I had the pleasure of inviting over some dear friends (K. and R. and E. and M.) for a "quilting" party. The real motive was that I had two double-sized quilt tops that needed to be sandwiched and pinned, and I knew that I couldn't physically do it by myself right now. And having help and company is always more fun, anyway! So the Baer women, and two of the Watts women were gracious enough to spend two hours or so crawling around my living room floor, helping me with the quilts (the quilt pictured is for use in my new "office", which used to be the boys' room; the other is a very belated wedding gift for M. and A. G. in Ohio.) And then we enjoyed lunch together. What a sweet fellowship, and what a productive morning!

I must admit that I am just pooped. As I cleaned up after lunch, I knew my comfy chair was calling, and so I am headed there to nap until dinner. Still, what a joy to feel like doing something, then actually planning it and doing it! God is very good to me to allow a measure of energy to be returning, even if I have to nap afterwards. And He has blessed me with the friendship of these four ladies beyond measure.

The silly item of the day must be reported, too. I have never done this before, but as we laid out the first quilt, I realized that I had somehow measured the short-side twice, and had a square back instead of a rectangular one. Having to find this out in front of your friends is rather embarrassing. But then we discovered I had done it on BOTH quilts. Geesh! My dear friends laughed with me, and gave me time to add to the backing fabric, and pretended like it was no big deal. Which it wasn't, of course. But it does prove to me that my poor mind should not be trusted with anything important...