Friday, November 30, 2007

All in a Day's Work

  • Prayed with Marc (and drank coffee)
  • Showered and Dressed
  • Breakfast in front of the sun-lamp
  • Marathon grocery and other stuff shopping trip (with the kids)
  • Lunch
  • Started pizza dough
  • Unloaded groceries, put them away
  • School with Caleb
  • School with Anna
  • Cleaned fish tank, changed filter
  • Cleaned garage, put rest of summer stuff in attic
  • Filled and rehung bird-feeders
  • Turned on snow-blower- yep, still works (bring on the snow!)
  • Plumbing -cleared a clog, fixed a leak in the tub drain
  • Load of laundry in
  • Took another shower (you should have seen the garage!)
  • Picked up kitchen, loaded dishwasher
  • Sat for twenty minutes with Sofia
  • Went to pick up a friend's daughter at dance class and take her home
  • Came home (and parked in previously cleaned garage)
  • Switched over laundry, another load in
  • Read to Caleb
  • Ate dinner, watching Peter Pan (2003)
  • laundry switch, folded and put away todays and yesterdays clothes
  • made homemade granola (a recipe that I came up with 8 years ago, that has been in hibernation for ???? years)
  • filed last weeks homeschool work
  • prepped and pulled out next weeks homeschool work
  • Blogged

All in all, just another day.
Guess maybe I'll stop feeling guilty that "I don't work full time".

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

G, part 1 - Guilty Pleasures

In celebration of the long weekend I got two books from the library to continue my 'guilty pleasures' reading. From G, I got Just Shy of Harmony, by Philip Gulley. I began reading it last night. By the third page, I was laughing so hard that Marc asked me if maybe I should read it in the living room instead of in bed. Now I am up to page 52. I have been near to crying several times, and have had more opportunities to laugh as well. WOW!

Challenging Thoughts

I've been reading "breath, Creating Space for God in a Hectic Life" by Keri Wyatt Kent. It's a book I recommend for the most part.

I was introduced to the book of Dominguez and Robin: Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence . They suggest "Frugality means we are able to enjoy what we have. If you have ten dresses but still feel you have nothing to wear, you are probably a spendthrift. But if you have ten dresses and have enjoyed wearing all of them for years, you are frugal. Waste lies not in the number of possessions but in the failure to enjoy them. Your success at being frugal is measured not by your penny-pinching, but by your degree of enjoyment of the material world."

What a good way to think about it.

Happy Kids

The kids were so excited to have the snow yesterday and today... they couldn't wait to bundle up and og out and play!
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Bathroom fan...

It was about at this point that I realized that today was the day that I was to learn how to install a bathroom light/fan fixture.
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Sunday, November 18, 2007

for today

Dick and Judi
helpful kids
clean desks
new mercies

Saturday, November 17, 2007

for today....

high school musicals (Anna and I went to see Annie at WHS)
donuts on Saturday morning
hugs from Caleb
Sandra Bullock movies

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Public Library
Marc is home - early!
New windows
Pizza delivery
My sister

Monday, November 12, 2007

For Today...

Time outside
Christmas blend coffee
reading with my kids
Anna reading
Our neighborhood

Sunday, November 11, 2007


  • My sermon is done (based on 1 Peter, The Incredibles, and an NPR interview and Shekhar Kapur)
  • New washer and dryer (and the laundry is done - temporarily)
  • New friends on Facebook
  • Marc's safe travel
  • Caleb's cooking dinner

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

For today....

1. Lee (Leigh?) at the library
2. Book titles that crack me up (just picked up Desperate Pastor's Wives, Kolbaba at the library... seeing the title sent me into a fit of giggles)
3. Potato Soup and warm bread
4. interviews on NPR
5. a husband who gives me a night out on a regular basis

I am the Hulk

I'm researching super-heroes, anime, and comic books for the sermon I'm doing and came across this quiz.
Your results:

You are Hulk
You are a wanderer with
amazing strength.

Iron Man
Wonder Woman
Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Monday, November 05, 2007

Thankful for

1. Dreams about high school friends
2. Someone else cooking and hosting dinner
3. Izzie
4. VCW... what a team of friends
5. Aha moments on a website

Sunday, November 04, 2007

On a lighter note.... thankfulness

Went into Walmart to pick up a few things yesterday, and heard Christmas music playing. Looked around and saw Christmas decorations. Shook my head to get my bearings, wait, isn't it November third?

Then my cynicism kicked in. Isn't that just like us.... straight from the overconsumption of Halloween to the overconsumption Christmas, with barely a pause for Thanksgiving.

It will be my intention, and it is my challenge to you, to take the time to be thankful for five things a day until the end of the year. I'm going to create a 'ThankYou spot" in our hallway for our family, and will use my blog as my personal "ThankYou spot" until 2008.

My husband
Clean carpets
Warm brownies
Good books
Flannel Sheets

PS. If you want to participate with me in my quest to be thankful, feel free to lift the "ThankYou Spot" from my side bar. : )

Christian Censorship: The Golden Compass - Part 3, a rant

I can't abide Christian censorship. Censorship bugs me, but Christian censorship really, really bugs me.

Let me state my position. I am a Christian. I think I am fairly conservative, but then I run into people who call themselves conservative, and find that I am not so conservative as I thought. I am homeschooling mother who would fight for my kids safety, but at the same time hope that I would have the courage to let them explore things that make me uncomfortable, rather than keep them huddled away in a sterile environment. And I am a member of the Board of Trustees of the Waterville Public Library. I value our right to read what we want to read as one of the most precious rights in this country.

So when Christians begin practicing censorship, I am angry and embarrassed.

Censorship is thought control by those who believe that their way is higher and better. It is an act of arrogance and fear.

There are certainly things that I am not going to expose myself to. I rarely watch a rated R movie... that is a thresh-hold that God and I worked out for me. Not something that my pastor told to abide by (in fact, my pastor - also my husband, has an incredible knack for watching rated R movies with discernment and wisdom - and delight). There are things I won't read, and I won't look at. There are places I will not visit. But by and large I will make those decisions on my own with the Holy Spirit as my guide. There are only a few people who have permission to say 'do not read (taste, touch, look)' to me(and they know who they are).

When Christian censors start their campaigns, several things stir up in me. First of all, I believe that all truth is God's truth. I believe that excellence reflects the Creator. I believe that God is not intimidated by the irreverence of authors (artists, readers) on a journey (I guess that that means that I also believe that artists of any sort are journey-people, how else could you participate in creativity if you aren't journeying).

When Christian censors start their campaigns, I wonder what they hope to accomplish. Nobody is forcing us to read things we don't want to. If we start a book or a movie, we aren't obligated to finish. If we find ourselves being challenged, we can leave, or stay and use our minds. God has given us wonderful minds, and the Holy Spirit, to guide us, instruct us, grow us. Christian censorship isolates, insulates, and alienates us from the very people Jesus challenged us to love and reach out to.... those Samaritans and Greeks.

If we allow censorship to prosper in our Christian circles, then I am afraid of all that we will miss, and how impotent we will become. There are some amazing ideas and thoughts that evangelistic atheists have that we need to consider and be challenged by. There are scientists that are pushing our comfortable understanding of our universe being flat, that can greatly enhance our awe of how great is our Creator God.

My most recent tangle with Christian censorship involved The Golden Compass, a movie coming out in December, based on a book by Philip Pullman. I read the book. There is comment on the church, on original sin, and science attempting to explain our fallenness in the book. But it wasn't threatening at all to my faith. Nor can I see how it would be.

One thing that particularly frustrates me about Christian censorship is that people pass on the censors 'opinions' without thinking for themselves. We are so quick to pass on emails (I hate forwards... ) or anything we hear or read from Christianity Today or Focus on the Family (for instance.... and which I also hold in low regard) without doing a little research. Even if I hadn't taken the time to read the book, I could have at least looked for more information. At there are three sources of rebuttal to the Snopes review of the email that is being circulated. And I could have read the book and totally agreed with Snopes, but at least then I would have done my thinking for myself.

Finally, when it comes to what me and my family read, I would much rather read excellent work by an atheist than poor to mediocre work by a Christian.

For a list of banned books and authors go to

The Golden Compass - Part 2, a review

Whenever I get a warning on my computer from (well-meaning) Christians, I am naturally (rebelliously?) skeptical. If I have time or resources, I try to do some research. This time, when The Golden Compass warning came across my desk (see the preceding post), time and passion combined, and within four hours I had gotten the book from the library and had begun to read it. (I thought I would be able to finish the book in 24 hours, but it took me 3 1/2 days to finish it. Oh well.) So here is my review of The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman. (Fair warning, this may contain some spoilers.)

The main character in the book is Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon. The story starts in Oxford, and moves more and more North toward the Aurora Borealis. Gobblers have begun to steal children and send them North. Nobody knows who the Gobblers are, and what they are doing with the children. Lyra becomes involved with a rescue effort by the 'gyptians' who have most suffered the stealing of children.

The journey north includes the meeting of other characters, notably Serafina Pekkala a queen of witches, Iorek Byrnison a king of bears, and Lee Scoresby a Texan. Lord Asriel is being held captive by armored bears, by order of Mrs. Coulter, head of the General Oblation Board (gobblers).

There are battles, journeys, and a quest for understanding Dust.

I began to have difficulty with the book on the first page. As Lyra is introduced, her 'daemon' is right by her side. After a few pages of reading about Lyra and Pantalaimon's interactions, I finally went to the dictionary to get some understanding.

1.Classical Mythology.
a.a god.
b.a subordinate deity, as the genius of a place or a person's attendant spirit

It can also be translated as 'demon', as in evil supernatural being, but I took the mythical definition. As the book progressed, the interplay between humans and their daemons became more and more important and I became more and more appreciative of the role that they played. I kept telling Marc what a 'genius literary tool' it was, because it told the story perfectly.

The other difficulty that I had with the book was Pullman's language. My daily reading level hovers somewhere around 'hop on pop', and Pullman is very intelligent in his writing. There were a combination of words and places that I did not know and that he has made up. Science and myth meet in this story.

I love this story. It is good guys against bad guys. It becomes an encounter of greed and fear against the innocence of children. It is about an attempt understand 'human nature' and our place in a 'war that we are born into'.

Lyra and Pantalaimon (her daemon) are an amazing team. Pantalaimon pushes Lyra when she needs to be pushed, comforts her when she needs comfort, counsels her when she needs counsel.

Serafina Pekkala and Lee Scoresby have a great conversation about being born into a war.

Lyra and Iorek Byrnison talk about what the armor means to the bear in comparison to what a daemon means to a human.

The quest that overtly brings the gyptians and Lyra north is to save the children that have been stolen. I found this particularly interesting in light of child traffiking, child soldiers, and child sex slaves.

Many times over, Lyra found herself at the end of herself, and had to go on anyway. Her courage and strength, and her alliance with interesting and wonderful friends were a beautiful mix. Throughout the book, there is talk and understanding that Lyra has a particular destiny, but Lyra isn't a destiny character. She is a hero only in her love and work with those around her, not as a stand-alone by any means.

I am so thankful that I was provoked to reading this book. I am looking forward to the movie, though I know it won't be as good as the book. And I plan to be at the library at opening time tomorrow to pick up the next book.

I would not consider comparing this with Narnia or Lord of the Rings or even Harry Potter. I might compare some of L'Engle's writing with Pullman. I would not yet have Caleb read this book (he has read much of Potter and Narnia) for the same reason I wouldn't hand him Lord of the Rings... it is just a little above his level of reading comprehension. But I look forward to reading it with him in a few years. It is incredibly refreshing and exciting to find a new author, and I will continue to post reviews as I finish his trilogy.

For more information about Pullman's Dark Materials, check out the fascinating wiki site at ''

The Golden Compass - Part 1, a rebuttal

Recently, I found on my desktop a referral to an email that is circulating, and has been 'verified' by Snopes, regarding the upcoming movie release of The Golden Compass, the book that it is based on, and the author, Philip Pullman.

Here is a link to the Snopes article on the email and Pullman

There are several 'warnings' about the danger of Pullman and His Dark Materials series and about Pullman. The email warns that Pullman is an atheist and that his mission is to promote atheism. The email reports that Peter Hitchins calls him the 'most dangerous author in Britain'. The email says that he doesn't like CS Lewis. Finally, the email warns that this is part of a conspiracy to entice children to read the whole trilogy and get the full course of 'atheistic' and 'anti-god' propaganda that Pullman has poured into His Dark Materials.

I feel very strongly about this, and will answer this email in the posts on my blog. A rebuttal, a review, and a rant. This is the rebuttal.

My first rebuttal: Pullman is an atheist.... First of all, so what? Lewis was an atheist, too. As Pullman writes stories, his own story is being written.

On the reference to Peter Hitchins.... I did some research about Hitchins. He seems like he might be the British equivalent to the American Religious Right. And I personally tend to disregard most of the platform that the Religious Right is posting. (Talk about propaganda.)

On the fact that he has hidden an atheistic agenda..... I didn't see that at all in the first book. I saw some very harsh, but I think fair criticism of organized religion (Christian and otherwise), and think we would do well as Christians to seriously consider them.

On the fact that he doesn't like CS Lewis's Narnia. So what? Is that our barometer of spirituality or literature? Even Tolkien had issues with the liberties that Lewis took with the mythical characters. And the article I read (for myself) said it was actually "Lord of the Rings" that Pullman didn't really care for. And even though I don't understand them, I actually have friends who feel the same way!

On the fact that this is all a conspiracy to get our children to read 'dangerous' literature.... Oh please. Enough with the conspiracies. Do we serve the Almighty God or not? Shouldn't our children be equipped enough to read difficult things, even things that are opposed to what we believe? How are we helping them be strong warriors by hiding them from the battle?

Further, this is CLEARLY a SCIENCE FICTION story. The America Heritage Dictionary defines:
science fiction n. A literary or cinematic genre in which fantasy, typically based on speculative scientific discoveries or developments, environmental changes, space travel, or life on other planets, forms part of the plot or background.
It is not meant to be symbolic the way that we have made Narnia and Lord of the Rings to be (btw, those authors weren't meaning to write in allegory either, we've done that to them).

For further rebuttal and information go to this article or this article. Both are written by much smarter people than me.

I am thankful for the Snopes warning that came to my desktop. "The Golden Compass" is one of the most intelligent and courageous stories that I have read in a long time.