Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cloud of Witnesses

The internet can be a curse or a blessing. Here is one way it is a blessing:

Issues, Etc. is a five-day-a-week, two-hour talk show focusing on current events, theology (specifically Lutheran, but many of the guests come from outside the Lutheran church), and worldview training. IE has shaped my theology and increased my appreciation for historic Christianity and has helped me to view the world more Christianly. Each program is available here for on-demand listening. One of their taglines is “Talk Radio for the Thinking Christian,” and if you count yourself among that number, give IE a try.

Weekly Hymn~~Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted

I teach music to seventh and eighth graders. Don’t pity me! I enjoy this age! One of my goals for my students is to introduce them to some of the great hymns of the faith. I’m saddened that I must introduce them because it indicates that the huge majority of of my students know no hymns at all. They mostly sing contemporary praise songs, and I’m distressed and concerned that the great hymns of the faith that have sustained God’s Church for so long are being neglected and forgotten. So for half an hour a week, the nine young ladies and gentlemen in my class are learning to appreciate their nearly forgotten heritage of great Christian hymns. As a Christian, teacher, and musician, this excites me.

Recently it occurred to me that I could share here our weekly hymn. That is, for as long as they last. The weekly hymn will take a hiatus during the summer and will likely wrap about about a year from now, but it’ll be good while it lasts! And what better day to do this than the Lord’s Day? So here’s the first installment:

Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted

This hymn is based on Isaiah 53, the fourth verse especially: “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.” Thomas Kelly, born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1769, is the author of the text. He originally planned to be a lawyer but gave up his law studies after converting to Christ and became an Anglican minister instead. All told, he wrote 765hymn texts before his death in 1855. This one first appeared in Kelly’s Hymns on Various Passages of Scriptures in 1804.

The hymn tune is O Mein Jesu, Ich Muss Sterben, which translated means, “O my Jesus, I must die.” Cheerful, isn’t it? But considering that the text is about Jesus’ great suffering on our behalf, it is appropriate. This tune is found in the Geistliche Volkslieder (“Spiritual Folk Songs”) of 1850 and has the meter 8 7 8 7 D. Have you ever wondered what those letters and numbers at the bottom of each hymn mean? The numbers tell you how many syllables each line contains. So in this case, there are four lines of first eight syllables, then seven, then eight again, and then seven again. The D stands for “double.” So you do the 8 7 8 7 pattern again. Simple, isn’t it?

Have a listen:

There is much to meditate upon in this hymn, especially during this season of Lent.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bookstore Bliss

When we were in Indiana a couple weekends ago, we stopped briefly at Hyde Bros. Used Books. It is the perfect place to spend an afternoon (though we only had a measly forty-five minutes). There is room after room of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves all well-organized and with those sliding rail-guided ladders to reach the top shelves. Customers are actually expected to use them. (No “For Employee Use Only” signs at Hyde Bros.!) There are squashy armchairs, and there’s even a resident cat! Well, in our short time there, I found more books to buy than I had money to buy them, but I did settle on the gorgeously illustrated Psalms of David illustrated by James S. Freemantle. According to the bookflap, Freemantle was born in India in 1859 and traveled extensively throughout India and the Middle East. In 1906 he began illuminating the Book of Psalms as a gift for his wife, whom he must have loved dearly, and finally finished in 1943, just before he died. His son had it published posthumously. My copy, though bought in a used bookstore, is brand new; even the ribbon marker was still tucked inside in its original position. I see that Amazon has used copies for $.48!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook--Feb. 23, 2010

FOR TODAY Feb. 23, 2010...

Outside my window… are the tiniest beginnings of spring~slightly warmer temperatures, crocuses and daffodils just poking up, a little more sunshine

I am thinking... of my plans for my garden this year. They will be simplified because of the move to a new state we are hoping to make, but I have to have things growing!

I am thankful for... my husband! His birthday was yesterday!

From the learning rooms... Since we’ve finished our Viking study, Girl 2 and I began our Shakespeare study this week with Hamlet. I like to use the Oxford School editions because they provide background information, study aids, and explanatory notes in the side margins. We listen to a BBC version on CD, borrowed from the library, and read along. We also use Peter Leithart’s Brightest Heaven of Invention: A Guide to Six Shakespeare Plays.

From the kitchen... Pot roast~a family favorite!

I am wearing... a warm burgundy sweater and jeans.

I am creating... pillows and dishcloths still!

I am going... nowhere today, but tomorrow we will attend our Lenten mid-week service at church.

I am reading... Kitchen Gardens by Mary Mason Campbell and illustrated by Tasha Tudor. It is delightful! This book was published in the early 1970’s. Books from that era and before have a certain quality that many books today lack. Don’t ask me what it is~I can’t put it into words! lol

I am hoping... that it won’t take too long to grade the tests waiting for me.

On my mind… I’ve been thinking about my garden plan for this year.

Noticing that… the drafts coming into the house aren’t as cold!

Pondering these words… “Surely he [Jesus] took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:4)

I am hearing... the sound of my husband turning the pages in his book.

Around the house... I’m almost finished washing and drying laundry but not folding and putting it away. That will probably come tomorrow.

One of my favorite things... emails from Girl 1 :-)

A few plans for the rest of the week: looking through seed catalogs, calling my mother, wrapping up some grading, taking Girl 2 to the library

Here is picture thought I am sharing...This is Girl of the House (aka Girl 2) typing on the old typewriter her grandparents gave her:

You can read more daybooks at Peggy's!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Two Articles and a Funny

I have two bang-on articles to share with you today.

The first article is from Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon. He writes regarding the important education children receive at the family table, and I wholeheartedly agree, though I hadn’t thought of all the points he makes here. My family has always made it a point to eat dinner together most evenings. I am continually surprised at how few families do! We limited activities that would interfere with dinnertime, but that’s not to say we outlawed every one of them. If it was a worthy endeavor, then we’d work mealtimes around it, but the overwhelming majority of our dinners are shared as a family. And now, after reading this, I’m gladder’n’ever that we do!

The second is from the American Enterprise Institute. I am especially interested in it because the subject of the article, Prof. Patrick Allitt of Emory University, is also one of the lecturers in the Teaching Co.’s US history course Girl 2 used in high school. He was very knowledgeable and engaging, and after reading this article, I’m sure he’s even more so in person. Also, I relate to his lament; I see some of the same complaints from my own students, who are junior and senior high school age. I am strengthened in my resolve with my remaining homeschooled child and my students to stick to my persnickety ways!

And now on a similar note~~a funny here.

Picture courtesy of allposters. com (Florence Cope Saying Grace at Dinnertime by Charles West Cope)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook~~Feb. 16, 2010

The daybook has moved to Tuesday, so I didn’t miss it after all! Hurray!

FOR TODAY Feb. 16, 2010...

Outside my snow, snow, and more snow!

I am grateful I am that we got home safely from our three-day trip to Indiana where . . . guess what? . . . it was snowing most of the way home. Toward the end we could hardly see the road, and it was dark on top of that. But my husband and the Lord saw us safely home.

I am thankful son-in-law, who is making my daughter very, very happy.

From the learning rooms...We are taking a much-needed break this week, though we will probably do some science experiments later in the week.

From the kitchen...oven fried chicken, biscuits, gravy, mashed potatoes, and peas.

I am jeans that are too old to wear outside of the house (lol), purple sweater, my tried and true gold hoop earrings, and slippers.

I am creating...pillows for my daughter’s (Girl 1’s) couch. I haven’t made much headway on them, but at least they are started! I finished knitting another dishcloth.

I am going...nowhere today. It’s too snowy to drive, and I maintain the privilege of not driving on snowy roads. Tomorrow, my daughter (Girl 2) and I plan to hit the end-of-winter sales in search of a new coat for her . . . if my husband will take us, that is!

I am reading...Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge. I bought this at the library sale for $2. I’ve heard so much about this author and am excited to try her out. So far, so good!

I am hoping...that interest in our house picks up. It’s been on the market for nearly two months, but we haven’t seen much activity yet. Could it be the weather?
On my mind…how glad I am to be home.

Noticing that…the flowers my husband gave me for Valentine’s Day (a bit early because we were out-of-town of Valentine’s Day proper) are beginning to fade.

Pondering these words… It encourages me to redouble my efforts at educating my own child and the students in my classes!

I am hearing...not a thing. The house is unusually silent.

Around the house...My main housekeeping days are Thursday and Friday, so I rarely have anything to say regarding this category. Laundry tomorrow.

One of my favorite own bed. Hotel beds are just not the same.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Take daughter shopping, housework, school planning, reading maybe some sewing. This week is pretty low key because it’s a break week.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...The snowy Indiana landscape (courtesy of Girl 2)

Read more daybooks at Peggy's!

Valentine's Day 2010

We don’t make much fuss over Valentine’s Day at our house, but I wanted to show you what Man of the House got me for Valentine’s Day. Just the touch of spring I needed! He’s the best!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More Commonplaces

Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.~~Martin Luther


Some things are worth knowing on their own account; but others, although apparently offering no return for our trouble, should not be neglected, because without them the former cannot be thoroughly mastered. Learn everything; you will afterwards discover that nothing is superfluous; limited knowledge affords no enjoyment.~~Hugh of St. Victor


Were earthly comforts permanent, who would look for heavenly?~~Anne Bradstreet


Cleanliness and order are not matters of instinct; they are matters of education, and like most great things, you must cultivate a taste for them.~~Benjamin Disraeli


Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.~~Frederic Bastiat

Monday, February 8, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY February 8, 2010

Outside my window... The sun is shining and the snow is melting.

I am thinking...Of the guest lecture I am giving tomorrow (twice!) condensing the last 1500 years of music history into 90 minutes!

I am thankful for...So much, but especially for my wonderful, hard-working husband.

From the learning rooms...Trying to fit in dd’s piano lesson today~~I’ve put it off a bit and it’s time to catch up!

From the kitchen...An early dinner of tacos. On Mondays, we leave the house at 5:00 to get my daughter to her confirmation class at our church a half hour away, so dinner must be simple.

I am wearing...a burgundy sweater and a new denim skirt I bought this weekend. It was definitely time for a new one! The old one was becoming embarrassing. lol

I am creating...pillows for my married daughter’s couch . . . at last! I haven’t made much progress yet, but at least I’ve started.

I am going...To take my daughter to the aforesaid confirmation class and grocery shop while she’s there.

I am reading...Evening in the Palace of Reason: Bach Meets Frederick the Great in the Age of Englightenment by James R. Gaines

I am hoping...That everything goes well tomorrow.

On my mind…This post from Gene Edward Veith’s blog.

Noticing that…it gets harder and harder as the winter wears away to get up while it’s still dark.

Pondering these words…all of Psalm 112, which we sang in church yesterday, but especially these words: “He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD” (verse 7).

I am hearing...The clack-clack of dd’s old typewriter as she works on some schoolwork. (She loves her old Remington her grandma and grandpa gave her at Christmas!)

Around the house...Nothing in particular. Housework is under control; laundry day is Tuesday. Monday’s are days I do a lot of preparation for teaching my classes.

One of my favorite things...Violets. Our neighborhood goes wild with them in April. The deep purple against the deep green is gorgeous! I love old-fashioned flowers.

A few plans for the rest of the week: We are leaving on Saturday to do more house hunting in our destination town. I won’t be able to post next Monday. :-(

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...Our new baby! lol We traded our six-foot grand for this this little model. We moved that monstrosity in this house, and we didn’t want to move it out! This will be much easier when the time comes.

Thanks to Peggy!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My Commonplace Book

As people have done for centuries, I keep a commonplace book. I got the idea few years ago as a place to record interesting quotations I’ve read and wanted to remember but had nowhere to go with. So I hied myself to the bookstore and bought an elegant blank book and have been filling it ever since. Though not exactly like this one, it looks very similar. From time to time I’ll share some of the gems I have stored there. Here are a few for today:

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.~~Thomas Edison


Thou has commanded that an ill-regulated mind should be its own punishment.~~St. Augustine


Perhaps the greatest gift any father can bestow upon his children, apart from the covenant blessings of parish life and a comprehension of the doctrines of grace, is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives a knowledge of the world, and it offers experience of a wide kind. Indeed, it is nothing less than a moral illumination.~~Thomas Chalmers


Trouble is often the means whereby God delivers us. God knows that our backsliding will soon end in our destruction, and He in mercy sends the rod. We say, “Lord, why is this?” not knowing that our trouble has been the means of delivering us from far greater evil. Many have thus been saved from ruin by their sorrows and crosses.~~Charles Spurgeon


Photo from

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How Our State’s Required Annual Evaluation Undermines Our Homeschooling

The great state of _________ requires every homeschooled student between the ages of six and sixteen to undergo either yearly standardized testing or a portfolio evaluation. For many reasons (which I may go into at some other time), we’ve chosen the portfolio option for Girl 2. Some years we’ve done both. After six years, I can tell you that the yearly evaluation undermines rather than enhances my teaching of our younger daughter. Here’s how: I believe that Girl 2 is one of those non-mathematically inclined children who would have greatly benefitted from waiting for formal mathematics until age ten or so, but because we are required by the state to submit either a standardized test score or a portfolio evaluation of her math studies and abilities, we could not wait until age ten. So we’ve plunged ahead, working slowly and painstakingly through many a math lesson, sometimes with tears (on both our parts!) and with Girl 2’s growing dread and dislike of math. She declares at least once a week that she hates math and is bad at it. And I can only wonder how she’d feel about it if she’d been allowed to wait until she was ready for it, until her brain had matured and she’d stand a better chance of excelling. She might not love it, but I doubt she’d be convinced that she is a math dunce. The moral of the story: Sometimes the government’s attempts to improve education actually hinder it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook--Feb. 1, 2010

FOR TODAY~~Feb. 1, 2010

Outside my window... The sun is shining even though it was a chilly 14 degrees when I woke up this morning!

I am thinking... about my daughter’s upcoming 13th birthday and how 13 years ago today was her due date.

I am thankful for... Any and all sunshine we see at this time of year!

From the learning rooms... We are four lectures away from finishing our Viking study using The Teaching Co.’s The Vikings.

From the kitchen... Spaghetti

I am wearing... Jeans and a brown sweater, slippers (just like a couple Mondays ago! lol)

I am creating... Dare I say it? More dishcloths. lol It takes me a long time to finish one because I only have a few minutes to knit each day (if that).

I am going... On Mondays we take my daughter to confirmation class, and then my dh and I hit Wal-Mart or the grocery stores. Today is a Wal-mart day. I also need to make a quick stop at the post office.

I am reading... The Jan./Feb. issue of Touchstone magazine. I’m almost finished. (Not much reading time this past week.)

I am hoping... For an early spring.

On my mind ... Our upcoming move

Noticing that... I like the idea of winter more than I like winter itself!

Pondering these words... by Theodore Roosevelt: "Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are."

I am hearing... The birds chirping at the bird feeder.

Around the house... I’m hoping to give the mud room a good cleaning this week.

One of my favorite things... Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

A few plans for the rest of the week: Finish up our homeschool support group newsletter, prepare a guest lecture on the history of classical music for next week
(1000 years of music history in 90 minutes. Yikes!)

Here is picture for thought I am sharing... This is a picture of my two daughters taken a couple years ago. The younger turns 13 this week.

Simple Woman's Daybook courtesy of Peggy!

Catching Up

Lake Michigan--gorgeous! It really has been two months since I last made a blog post!  This summer has been full of traveling, gardening...

Popular Posts