Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Part of my Advent Discipline has included reading, reflecting on, and praying the prayers in the Book of Common Prayer. They are too amazing and wonderful. So I have copied them here.

As you read them, I challenge you to remember that these were written long ago, and are prayed by so many people. When I take time in my BCP, I always have a deep and grateful sense of the 'Great Cloud of Witnesses' both throughout eternity and in contemporary times.

I also challenge you to remember that each prayer is a companion for a full week. It is a rich and wonderful and alive tradition.

First Sunday of Advent
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of
darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of
this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit
us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come
again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the
dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and
for ever. Amen.

Second Sunday of Advent
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to
preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:
Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins,
that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our
Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Third Sunday of Advent
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come
among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins,
let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver
us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and
the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Advent
Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation,
that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a
mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

First Sunday after Christmas Day
Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of
your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our
hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our
Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

(I copied these from this website: http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/bcp.htm .)

Marc and Dr. DoLittle

One of Anna's homeschool books right now is Dr. Dolittle.This morning as I was getting ready to start my day, Marc was reading it to her while she was eating breakfast.

I must say, you are really missing out on a rare treat to hear Marc read Dr. Dolittle out loud. This morning he was the voices of Dr. Dolittle and his sister.

What a hoot!

(And thank you, Marc, for being such an active homeschool partner.)

Homeschooling Moment

One of the things that I internally battle constantly is the illusion that homeschooling should be a life of idyllic learning and family creativity and harmony. Even though I've 'lived the life' for four years now, I still expect that there will be some magical glow that surrounds our days.

But often, homeschooling is reminiscient of bringing a new baby home from the hospital, with the full expectation and adoration of new life, hand in hand with a brutal nursing schedule and diapers full of questionable material (which we celebrate each time!).

So when something happens that looks like my flawed image, it is worth celebrating and celebrating publicly.

This week I declared a reading week. I wanted to do something different since the kids are so wound up. I had nightmares of pushing through math and handwriting with wiggling, giggling kids. I also was feeling deeply unsatisfied (ashamed?) of the small amount of time that we just sit and read together, and how easily it has become to default to the television.

So this week is reading week. We will do a couple weeks worth of reading, sitting and cuddling in front of the Christmas tree.

So, of course, every good reading week starts with a trip to the Library.

Yesterday, I gave Caleb specific instruction. 'Caleb, I want you to look for three or more chapter books to bring home'. We got to the library. Caleb says to me 'Mom, I only want to get chapter books about real people, not story chapter books.' We've been reading Johnny Tremain, and Caleb has read a few biographies as part of our beginning study of US history.

'Okay Caleb'. So I show him the biography section in the Children's room and how to find who he was looking for (he had already decided on Franklin and Washington). (I should add that every trip to the library this Fall has included a brief suggestion... 'Caleb, here are the biographies'... but yesterday was the first time he 'heard' it.)

It was tremendous to hear Caleb exclaim about all the names he recognized. "Mom, look.... Mom, check this out... Mom this.... Mom that".

I figure if the ONLY thing I concretely equip Caleb with during his third grade year is a love for reading biographies, I've done enough. It took a tremendous amount of self-control to not scream for joy out loud in the library.


(By the way, he came home with Three biographies: Ben Franklin, Paul Revere, and George Washington. And he was thrilled to find the one of Ben Franklin which was written by Mary Pope Osborne - author of Magic Tree House books.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Just finished....

Anna's New Hat

Caleb sitting at the counter at dinnertime

"I just feel the urge to talk, but I don't know what to say."

Politician, or Preacher in the making?

Monday, December 10, 2007

H - Guilty Pleasures

Arly Hanks is the featured character in the Maggody mysteries by Joan Hess. I read Maggody in Manhattan. There were parts of this book that I really liked, but they were few. I didn't really dislike the book, it just wasn't a thoroughly engaging mystery... it was a little too easy to put it down. But I think I might like to read another Maggody mystery, one that takes place in Maggody, because the characters were quite likable.

G - Guilty Pleasures

Philip Gulley has written a series of books based in Harmony. When I chose Just Shy of Harmony off the shelves at my library, I had no idea what I was in for. It was a thoroughly delightful book. The characters were ones I related to and enjoyed like friends. I laughed and cried, especially as the pastor in the book goes through a 'crisis of faith'. I am looking forward to reading more about Harmony, and highly recommend this book.

In the face of convention...

All the experts say it is important to have family meals together. It creates a time of bonding and fond memories, so they say.

Well, we have had family meals, since before Caleb was born. Sometimes multiple times a day.

Last week, after another meal of spending more time talking about manners at the table than talking with each other, we decided to break with convention. For nearly two weeks, the kids get dinner about a half hour before Marc gets home. They sit at the counter, and eat together. I pick up the kitchen and talk to them, or sit and knit and talk with them. Marc gets home, and they get to be with Daddy on the terms that they most love... snuggling and reading, or wrestling and tickling. And they get to see Mommy and Daddy have time to eat together. They are often getting pajamas on while Mom and Dad sit together, peacefully, at the table and eat our meal together.

The experts may say otherwise, but I think our family is onto a good idea... we sure seem to be enjoying ourselves more.

Monday, December 03, 2007

My Project

Look what I just finished!

My friend Izzie let me borrow her book Knit 2 Together (Ullman & Clark) and this is one of the patterns. I love the book, and the pattern.
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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Rite of Passage

For as long as I can remember, one of the signals of Christmas coming has been Chex Mix. It was something that we always had around the holidays. Today, Caleb was initiated into the Holiday Tradition, and made his first batch of Chex Mix. YUM!
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like Christmas!

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a lot

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It's beginning to look

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The Golden Compass, Follow Up

Well, in all the zeal of my previous posts about The Golden Compass, I truly attempted to read the second book of the trilogy, The Subtle Knife (by Philip Pullman). I really tried. But it just didn't hold me. (This is the second science fiction book that I've tried to read this year that has lost me... I think it just might not be my thing).

Anyhow. Marc persevered through the second book, while I got some far more interesting and fun ones from the library. Marc's thoughts can be found here at his blog.

As for me, I can't recommend the books, and I'm not sure if it is because of the genre preference, or if because the writing and story became less engaging. My sense is that his trilogy might have been stronger if he had stopped after one book. Maybe this will be one instance where the movie is better than the book... we'll see when it comes out on cable next year.