Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Long Underwear

How's that for a title? Give me a break. . .it's not even 7 o'clock yet.

I got up early this morning to wash the load of clothes containing my long underwear, as the high today is in the 30's and my dress slacks are none-too-warm. Rather than go back to bed while they were washing, I made the responsible decision to type up the lesson plans I neglected to put on the official form over the weekend. Now that is finished, the washer is almost done, and there is no sense in me going back to bed for the 5 or so minutes before I need to put them in the dryer. Although, I should go cook some oatmeal for my breakfast, so I will be back momentarily. . . .

While that cooks (it's a mixture of real rolled oats and a seven-grain hot cereal, so it takes a few minutes), I will share an excerpt from a Dietrich Bonhoeffer devotional I was reading last night. I picked up a collection of Bonhoeffer's Christmas sermons a few weeks ago, in an effort to understand more of the Church celebration of Advent. The author uses Christmas and Advent somewhat interchangeably, but does understand the purpose of Advent, and the majority of the sermons thus far have penitent focus. To understand where I am picking up, first read Daniel 10:1-2, 8-9, 15-19. Without further delay, here is the excerpt with appropriate citation below:
Such a moment is strange to none of us, certainly not to any owho have seriously sought to live with God. When we are disturbed by the chaos in our own personal life, when we are not ready to face it, when again and again every security fails us and there is no firm ground under our feet, when our life hangs between good intentions and shame, when it becomes inevitably clear that we are weak, when some unmanageable fate comes over us, a great sorrow or a great passion and we are horrified at the inevitable working out of this fate, when we can see only how faithless and hopeless we are caught in our errors or when friendships are finally broken, when withthe best will in the world we cannot find reconciliation with the other, in short, when we take seriously the whole human chaos in which we are stuck--then it all comes over us and we say to God: Lord, I can bear no more. I can't take any more. No, I don't want any more. I am too deep in the mire. God', don't speak any more to me, for I will not hear you. God, we have nothing more to do with each other.
And then it happens that we want to hear something new and at that moment, we hear afresh: "Peace, courage." Courage, which God gives is like a mother taking hold of her child who is out of control with so many faults and failures, who is now very unhappy and begins to cry. She takes his hand and gives him a new chance: "Now, let's try that once more." Courage, courage--so God speaks to us when we are disgusted with ourselves.
And now what happened to Daniel can happen to us. His was a special occasion, which we today can understand as scarcely ever before. God says, "I will speak to you," but Daniel cannot hear. Can we? Is it not so with us, that in this unholy turmoil and helplessness, we say, "God go away!" Yes, we know it is stupid. But if you come, then it is all over. Untold anxiety, God's judgment on our people, on all we do. . .courage, courage! To what end? That we become stregthened men and women, who hear God's voice of judgment on our people and it will lead one day to a more obedient people and greater faith."

"Fragment of a Devotional Talk During Advent," December 1, 1932
taken from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Christmas Sermons, edited and translated by Edwin Robertson

I confess that I have often been guilty of this kind of attitude: the one that says to God, "Enough. I can't take any more. I can't talk to you or listen for you to talk to me. I am too weak." The second sentence in the first paragraph resonates with my own memories of these times. And at such times, I often feel like the child he describes, being gently but firmly told, "let's try this again." To what end? That we beome strengthened men and women, who hear God's voice of judgment on our people and it will lead one day to a more obedient people and greater faith.


Bishop Remington

The appearance of this quote--
I am wishing for you this day a happy Christmas. I would send you those gifts which are beyond price, outlast time, and bridge all space. I wish you all laughter, and pure joy, a merry heart and a clear conscience, and love. . . . I wish that the spirit of Christmastide may draw you into companionship with Him who giveth all.
--prompted a somewhat-involved Internet search for biographical information on Bishop Remington, to whom the quote is credited. I found numerous other citations of the same quote, or parts of the same quote, but information on the speaker is not forthcoming. Assuming that "Bishop" is his title, not his name, I believe it may be Bishop William P. Remington, Bishop of Eastern Oregon for the Episcopal Church during the early to mid 20th Century. Would anyone like to accept a challenge and see what else you could find?

In the process, I found this page of Christmas quotes, which I share in the spirit of the season.


Six minutes and counting. . .

Another Monday, another lunch period. . .which means my 2 most difficult classes are up next.

I've just enjoyed a handful of mixed nuts, a cup of yogurt, and a piece of fruit leather (read, "fruit roll-up with real fruit). Tonight, putting up our Christmas tree (FINALLY) and making biscotti. After a too-short weekend break, it seems that Christmas break can neither get here fast enough nor possibly be long enough to suffice.

My cousin had her baby last night. . .weighing in just under 10 pounds, and this from a girl who had never topped 120 before the pregnancy. All are safe, however, so that is good. His name is Logan.

My time is up. Fare thee well.


"Painting the Town Red"

This is an excerpt from my dear Yankee friend in honor of my favored scandalous red sheets. She neglected to tell me where it comes from, so you'll have to check the comments to know whom to credit. . .after she fills in the blank, of course.

He's talking about the idea of "painting the town red".

"But taking the case of ordinary pagan recklessness and pleasure seeking, it is, as we have said, well expressed in this image. First, because it conveys this notion of filling the world with one private folly; and secondly, becuase of the profound idea involved in the choice of colour. Red is the most joyful and dreadful thing in the physical universe; it is the fiercest note, it is the highest light, it is the place where the walls of this world of ours wear thinnest and something beyond burns through. It glows in the blood which sustains and in the fire which destroys us, in the roses of our romance and in the awful cup of our religion. It stands for all passionate happiness, as in faith or in first love.

"Now, the profligate is he who wishes to spread this crimson of conscious joy over everything; to have excitement at every moment; to paint everything red. He bursts a thousand barrels of wine to incarnadine the streets; and sometimes (in his last madness) he will butcher beassts and men to dip his gigantic brushes in their blood. For it marks the sacredness of red in nature, that it is secret even when it is ubiquitous, like blood in the human body, which is omnipresent, yet invisible. A s long as blood lives it is hidden; it is only dead blood that we see. But the ealier parts of the rake's progress are very natural and amusing. Painting hte town red is a delighful thing until it is done. It would be splendid to see the cross of St. Paul's as red as the cross of St. George, and the gallons of red paint running down the dome or dripping from the Nelson Column. But when it is done, when you have painted the town red, an extraordinary thing happnes. You cannot see any red at all.

"I can see, as in a sort of vision, the successful artist standing in the midst of that frighful city, hung on all sides with the scarlet of his shame. And then, when everything is red, he will long for a red rose in a green hedge and long in vain; he will dream of a red leaf and be unable even to imagine it. He has desecrated the divine colour, and he can no longer see it, though it is all around. I see him, a single black figure against the red-hot hell that he has kindled, where spires and turrets stand up like immobile flames: he is stiffened in a sort of agony of prayer. Then the mercy of Heaven is loosened, and I see one or two flakes of snow very slowly begin to fall."

It makes me think of one of my favorite lines from Macbeth: "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red."

Which quote, in turn, reminds me that a "little yeast works through the whole batch of dough." To interpret on the flip side of usual, a splash of color, in the right place, brightens all of life. I stand by my beautiful red sheets.


Another Week Successfully Past

It's Friday, and I have 9 minutes to post.

This has actually not been a bad week, aside from the infuriating griping of a few particular students about the lack of respect THEY receive from teachers. That was hard to swallow. . .you'd understand if you knew the students. Otherwise, it has passed fairly quickly. We're 2 days into Julius Caesar, after a day of background reading. I actually had a mostly successful day getting students to read about Caesar from Suetonius, an ancient Roman writer. Very impressive.

This weekend: Christmas, coffee and biscotti, and the eternal grading. I haven't made lesson plans yet, either, but that should be relatively simple: Monday, read Caesar; Tuesday, read Caesar; Wednesday, read. . . . Well, not quite that simple, but close. There is still a lingering hope that I will be caught up on grading by Christmas break and have a whole 10 days to forget school exists. If my hope is thwarted, I may despair, but we'll cross that bridge if the river rises.

3 minutes to go.

The following quote was on my daily calendar yesterday. I found it amusing and offer it in the hope that you will, too.
Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like clearing the drive before it has stopped snowing.
(Phyllis Diller)

So long.


Turkey, Pumpkin Pie, and . . . Pot???

Greetings all.

As it has been some time since I last posted (per usual) and as much has happened in the interim, I'm tempted to jump right into a few random reminisces. However, I hate to prolong anyone's agony of suspense over my. . .unusual. . .title. On the other hand, postponing satisfaction will guarantee that you continue to read. So, first about MY Thanksgiving. . .which did NOT include any pot other than the metal kind you cook in.

(On a side note, Kevin just brought me a wonderful mug of homemade apple cider. I have discovered he has quite a talent for making it just right. . .very impressive.)

During the course of Thanksgiving week, I baked an 11 pound turkey, 3 pumpkin pies, 2 chess pies, and 2 batches of Pumpkin Nut biscotti. The turkey was fabulous, thanks to the modern invention of pop-up timers (in spite of which convenience our small group was duly impressed). The pumpkin pies (made, of course, with freshly steamed pumpkin) were delectable. The chess pies were oh-so-sweet, although most of the family liked them (I did not). The Pumpkin Nut biscotti, also, was a family hit (albeit my slight indifference; I did have great fun freshly grating the nutmeg to go in them. Have you ever seen the cross-section of a nutmeg? Pungently aromatic, it's laced with dark brown streaks - very pretty).

It was great to have all the family together again, emigrants and immigrants alike. We played games until the wee hours of the morning, and no one ever became cross, snippety, or umbrageous (That's my new word. Do you like it?)

We returned home Saturday evening, had a fairly lazy Sunday. . .during which I did far less work than I should have, considering that I did no school work the previous 4 days. . .and returned to normal activities yesterday. Other than being rather cold, school has gone well so far this week. Perhaps the break did everyone good. Nonetheless, I am looking forward to Christmas Break.

In our small group tonight we began a book by O. Palmer Robertson entitled The Christ of the Covenants. It promises to be deep and insightful, generating much discussion and exploration of related topics. I'm looking forward to continuing.

That is all my news, I suppose, except for the long-awaited explanation of my intriguing title:
At the end of the day yesterday, I was sitting at my desk with my classroom door still open. I heard a student in the hall laughingly telling a friend about her family's Thanksgiving. They apparently had a bonding session, sitting around smoking marijuana together. Hooray for healthy family traditions!

Oh, I can't end on that note. It's dismal. One last random tidbit. . .
this Saturday, my grandparents are coming up with their seniors group from church to visit some sites in Tulsa, after which they're coming over for coffee and biscotti. I'm terribly excited. . .I get to play hostess twice in 5 days this week! (Next week is our week to host our small group.) Biscotti is my new area of baking exploration. There are so many different kinds; they keep very well; they're not extremely difficult to make; they afford an excellent excuse to have gourmet coffee! I haven't chosen a recipe (out of my 50 Biscotti Recipes book) for this weekend yet. Perhaps I should try 2 varieties. . .to provide for people's differing tastes, of course. I need to get some real creamer (we usually use milk) and some sugar substitute. And I think I'll draft Kevin to make cider for the non-coffee drinkers. That should do it.

Okay, I'll quit. I really must do a little work before bed.


Not knowing when the dawn will come. . .

I open every door. (Emily Dickinson)

This quote was on my daily calendar today, and I liked it.

All in all, it wasn't a horrible day. There was a steady stream of annoyances that eventually added up to exhaustion and a headache, but no major crises. My grading is. . .not done. Progress reports are due tomorrow, so I need to be finishing that now. On the bright side, the Vo-tech people are giving presentations in all the 10th and 11th grade English classes tomorrow, so I should be able to get a lot of work done during the day. Perhaps my desk will even find its way to cleanliness!

Sometimes I wonder if I'm being selfish and need to be more ministry-minded. Then I open a literature book and see my name and person desecrated in the cover. Not to take it personally, it still makes me question why people do this. Then my better side argues back, declaring something about the longsuffering of God's servants through history. If service were always easy and pleasant, would it still be service? Does my discomfort and frequent distaste make my task less holy? Or, perhaps, more so?

I'm rebelling against my own better judgment. Let's pretend I didn't just make any of those arguments.

We're still shooting for a free weekend, followed by a free Thanksgiving Break. . .which means I should get busy and grade now. Perhaps that dawn Emily spoke of is just around the corner.


The prospect of endless catching up is not inspiring.

I didn't grade at all this weekend. I completed cursory lesson plans and finished a test key for something that should have been graded 3 weeks ago, but that's it. It would be a lovely sensation if it weren't Monday morning with all those ungraded papers now hanging over my head at the start of another week. The prospect of endless catching up is not inspiring.
Honestly, if my first priority is to make our home, and my current job substantially interferes with the fulfillment of that task, it is only logical to do one of two things: change my first priority or change my current job. Since I can't conscientiously change my first priority (and, besides that, don't in the least want to), the logical course of action is to change my current job. Right? At least, that's the way my obviously biased and perhaps currently not-so-rational rationale settles the issue. I have not, ashamed to say, made the matter one of serious prayer, so I should stop trying to rationalize what I want and just ask for open (or shut) doors and windows.
Well, as it is Monday morning whether I want it to be or not, and as my afternoon classes have a test scheduled today that does not yet exist, I must betake myself to test-writing.

P.S. - How many errors did you count in this post? I should not try to write before 7. . .either my fingers or my brain (or both) rebel.


Be such a woman

Be such a woman, live such a life, that if every eoman were such as you, and every life like yours, this earth would be a God's paradise.

This quote from Episocopal Bishop of Massachusetts Phillips Brooks is in my newest book. . .a book with a decidedly feminist perspective, above quote notwithstanding. Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her traces the history of the Nancy Drew series from the man whose idea started the spark through the various women who have been Carolyn Keene over the years. I find it interesting, if somewhat amusing at points. The quote. . .I liked it, so I had to share.



Eight minutes left. . .

It's Wednesday of a 4 and 1/2 day week. . .much better than Wednesday of a 5 day week. Of course, I have to work Thursday evening, so it's really just a modified 5-day week. We have parent conferences tomorrow night and Friday morning, then we get Friday afternoon off. I'm planning a knit/crochet session with a friend who's on bed rest in the hospital.

I'm supposed to give my AP classes options for their research papers tomorrow. Oops. . .forgot to prepare that list. I guess I'll be doing that tonight. I hope I can come up with enough. Their papers are going to be researched argumentative essays, so I'm wanting topics that have to do with current events. I want these to force them to survey and research something about the world around them. Examples would be: Evolution v. Intelligent Design in the Science Classroom, America: Democracy or Republic?, Affirmative Action, etc. If you have any bright ideas--or not-so-bright-but-it-will-do ones--let me know. I have 20 students, so I need at least 25 ideas. Bah.

Down to three minutes. . .

I've almost finished the grades for the 1st 9 weeks that ended last Wednesday. Luckily, our high schools don't give 9-week report cards, or I'd be late. At least, I'd have been forced to pull some later-than-usual nights to finish them by a deadline. The grades are looking better than they did at progress report time, but not too great in general. For that, however, I refuse to accept responsibility. I cannot force people to turn in assignments.

Time's almost up. I must go open my door to the populace.


Two in a Day! And Two Days in a Row!

I figure the other one doesn't really count, so. . .

It's Wednesday, and this week is officially more than half over. It is Wednesday, right? I lose track. Today I'm staying after school to grade papers, clean my desk, and prepare for tomorrow. . .then (ideally) I won't take anything home. We'll see if it happens that way.

My days are looking up. Most of my classes are falling into line, and I'm feeling more organized and more prepared than I did the first few weeks. I still don't want to get up in the morning, and I still don't want to come to school most days, but it is at least livable (and maybe even enjoyable) once I'm here.

I've come to a new realization this week that what our society has done in allowing women into the mainstream workforce is not only "allowing equal opportunities" or "sharing the work," but quite literally created new and additional chores. It's not as if working women replace the work they would otherwise do at home with a paying job. They add the career on top of the work that is required at home. What logic is there in doubling one person's work load and then being surprised when both spouses (spice?) are stressed and overworked, as is true for many American households today? No wonder people feel like they can't keep up. More money does not equal more time. In fact, it may often equal less. "Time is of the essence" has a whole new meaning in our two-paycheck-family world.

Only 70?

We're not talking about years, but posts. My dashboard says I only have 70 posts. Is that a pitifully low number, considering the length of time this blog has existed? How many posts do YOU have?


To Quiet My Conscience

So I'm feeling guilty. So I haven't posted in. . .how many days? So I got a ShinyStats e-mail yesterday notifying me of faithful would-be readers. So I post.

It's sad, really. I come up with all these great post titles during the day, when I can't post. By the time evening comes around and I can post, I've either forgotten the great titles (and therefore lost my motivation) or am too tired to feel like typing something cheerfully newsy. Last night my great post title was "Hungry Husbands and Weary Wives." Great, because it's alliterative. I wasn't so much weary--although Kevin was hungry--as just tired. Weary implies more long-term tiredness, exhaustion, and apathy fueled by lack of energy. So maybe it wasn't such a great title. But it sounded good.

Today all my classes are taking tests, and it's wonderfully quiet. . .relatively speaking, of course. It gives me time to grade, at least, although I have to leave in about 30 minutes for a workshop having something to do with preparing 10th graders to take the state writing test. Blah. And I could be grading!!! Maybe I'll take it with me. . .I wonder how conspicuous that would be.

Students return from lunch in 1 minute. Gotta go!


Succumbing to Peer Pressure

In response to complaints and wishes for my uninspiring prattle, I blog.

I confess it has been too long since I opened this page. However, the truth is I haven't been enjoying an overly positive outlook on life. That bad week I wrote of before seems to be prolonging itself, indefinitely. School, on the best days, is trying. I consistently feel sapped of energy and enthusiasm, and not just for school. Behavior continues to be a serious problem; a day with only 1 fight in the school is a good day. A day where I only write referrals for students who have too many tardies or don't wear their IDs is a really good day. I have called numerous parents, written too-numerous referrals, and have gone almost completely gray. (Okay, so the last part isn't true. Does it get me any sympathy? I'm only 23!) I keep injuring my fingers, too: a paper cut here, a scraped knuckle there, a burn blister from cutting hot peppers. My AP class tells me I need to slow down. They don't understand why I always have a band-aid somewhere on one of my hands. (Speaking of band-aids, I've almost run out. . .and I don't have kids to use them up!)

Last week started off badly, but was better by the end of the week. Hopefully this week will be the same. Most of it is just stress and an overwhelming number of things to do (which is why laundry is piled high in my closet), combined with lack of energy to prepare any real meals. However, I did pre-cook some meat this weekend, so I can probably start cooking again. K is gone for a business trip to DC for the next 2 days, and I'm hoping to get caught up on grading and cleaning while he's out. Then we go to OKC for him to get his wisdom teeth taken out, and then Amanda is coming to stay with us for a couple nights during her Fall Break. Then I get Fall Break(!!!) and a birthday. In other news, my mom is back home. Brian still doesn't have a mode of transportation; Insurance wants to total his truck. And my class is returning from lunch, so I must go.



The Never-Ending Week

. . .but wait, it's over. So all things DO come to an end, good or not. Let's run over a synopsis of this week. . .

Monday - I stayed home with a hoarse voice and a sore throat. I didn't feel like trying to control my 144 students without a working voice.

Tuesday - My day begins at 3:30 am when Brian calls to say he's run his truck into a tree. For the next 3 hours, I help him get a wrecker, etc. About 6:30 I come home for a fitful 45-minute nap before I get up and go to school. First hour is. . .horrible. My voice is still weak, I'm still coughing a bit, and I'm exhausted. My class is all attitude and talk. I finally resort to calling an administrator down, because they refuse to listen to me at all. The middle of the school day is better, and the last couple of hours are difficult again. I arrive home in time to go get dinner before we attend our weekly small group meeting. My mom calls as I'm about to go to bed around 10, and I finally crash around 11 pm. . .having been awake for almost 20 hours.

Wednesday - I do not want to get up. My throat is no better and is in fact starting to feel worse. However, I make it to school. First hour is not improved. I wind up writing one referral when an angry student threatens me and calling a couple parents of other students with severe attitude problems. The rest of the day is not too bad, although the last 2 hours are, as usual, difficult. I leave quickly after school to take Brian to work, then go to sleep in the living room at 7. At 9, I get up and go to bed. My throat is definitely worse, and my cough syrup (as if it were helping anyway) is almost gone.

Thursday - First hour is a little better today. They're starting to catch on. My throat is killing me, and I'm trying to decide if I can miss school again on Friday. The day progresses with little incident until 6th hour. I'm trying to get my oversized class's attentiont to actually teach when I realize 2 of my students are actually yelling at each other. Trying to calm them down, there is suddenly a sharp pain in my head and a shower of Mountain Dew over the rest of me. Apparently, one of the angry students decided to pelt a pop bottle at the other one and had very unlucky aim. Several other students clean up the mess while I get Security to escort Angry Students out. Class continues, with 2 students telling me how much they now respect me, apparently because I didn't join the fight and start throwing punches when I got. . .baptized. If only I'd known their respect was so easy to earn. . . .
I'm rather in shock from this whole occurrence and don't know quite what to think. I've decided some absurdities are indeed too absurd to even be laughed at. There are already several teachers out on Friday, so I guess I've got one more day to go.

Friday - My voice is almost gone. My head is bruised and sore to the touch. I have to spend my planning period filling out staff injury forms with the nurse. We survive the whole day with me maintaining as much control as possible. Mostly, it's not too bad. Several students are sorry I feel bad, hope I get better, etc., etc. One in 7th hour asks me if I can speak up more. Ha.
Once home, I become mute. Kevin reads my mind amazingly well. . .apprently I don't need to talk much anyway. After dinner, we experiment with a tiramisu recipe. It has to be refrigerated at least 4 hours, so I'll let you know later how it turns out.

That's my week in a nutshell. How many weeks of school do we have left???


Just a Tidbit

Friday is almost half-over. I might make it.

My throat is still rather sore, which makes talking (read: "yelling loud enough to be heard over a roomful of teenagers) painful. I'm also sounding rather hoarse. Only 4 classes left to go.

I'm afraid I have no amusing anecdotes to relate today. However, I will report that Kevin helped me plant my herb garden last night. Now if it will only live. I'll try to post a picture later. . .if I remember.


Please Yield

I was going to spoof a student-made sign I passed in the hall today which contains a large yellow diamond with the letters YIED on it. However, I decided I should not just take my lunchtime opportunity to ridicule people every day. So, on the bright side of things, allow me to share some encouraging news. My AP class today mostly agreed that profanity in public is disrespectful, rude, careless, and indicative of poor vocabulary and widespread poor public education. Hoorah for them!

As for other matters, I have none. My throat is feeling slightly sore, which I hope is from reading aloud to 5 classes yesterday and not from the beginnings of an illness. I have not talked to Brian since the weekend, since he inadvertently got "pushed" into the pool with his active cell phone in his pocket. (He doesn't have a landline, so I guess I'll have to go visit him if I want to know how he is.) Kevin scheduled an appointment for wisdom-teeth extraction in October, so I am set to enjoy my last month of wise wedded bliss. . .after this we'll just be foolish together, I suppose. (Why are they called "wisdom teeth" anyway?) My classes are still completely imbalanced, but there is a ray of light somewhere ahead, and I'm hoping they will be balanced by the end of next week. (That's only 4 weeks into the school year. . .way to safeguard instructional time!) I left for work without my rings this morning and had to go back to get them. (Of course, I wasn't out of the parking garage yet, so it wasn't actually far to "go back.") I'm supposed to start a novel with the AP class tomorrow. . .and haven't chosen one or, obviously, prepared any background notes. Oops. (Shall we go with "Brave New World?") Tonight is date night, so I'm not likely to get much of anything done for school.

Well, I still have 7 minutes of lunchtime quiet left, so I'm going to do something productive. . .like staple $*#%@! profanity assignments together. . .hee hee.


A Lunch Post???

Yes, indeed, I am still here. Perhaps I shall endeavor to post briefly at lunch. . .although today I only have 2 minutes left, so it shall necessarily be short.

I am in the process of making copies of articles that have to do with profanity, free speech, and offensive language. This is my new disciplinary plan for profanity in my classroom: read the article, answer the questions I assign. We'll see how it works. If you come across any articles. . .I'm sure to run out soon!

Time's up. Tomorrow, perhaps.


For the word lovers. . .

There is a wonderfully entertaining site of international tongue twisters, indexed by language.

On Countdown

In an effort to actually finish the books I'm reading, I'm trying to narrow down my current reading list BEFORE school starts, when I undoubtedly will forget I ever read or was reading anything. To that end, I finished Literary Feuds last night. I have to say that, while I had some difficulty paying attention at times, I am pleasantly surprised with the book as a whole. It's the kind of random, trivial information you only get from being a well-read and educated person. . .not to say that I overly qualify for either of those adjectives. The author seems to write from a moral perspective, sometimes mildly scolding the feuding authors for their below-the-belt digs. He also seems very fair, citing both positive and negative about all authors discussed. Without the knowledge to judge the validity of his points, I would nonetheless say that he appears to have a well-balanced perspective. It's a good "broadening-your-spectrum-of-knowledge" book.


More on School

According to the website of the Oklahoma State Department of Education , Oklahoma is the only state that constitutionally provides for parents to homeschool their kids. There are no regulations or accountability requirements; if the state wants to force you to send your children to school, the burden of proof is on them to prove that no other means of education is being provided or that the provided means of education is not equitable.

Did Puritans really create public schools?

Check out this lovely article on Fox News about a parent who is being a parent. There's a good link at the bottom of the article too, and a link from that page to an article on homeschooling.


Return of the Internet Access

After being without any means of getting online for. . .let's see. . .4 days now, I am happy to report that our DSL is up and running again. I am sitting on the couch in our new apartment staring at a prodigious mess of empty, half-empty, and not-empty boxes. (Note that I prefer to think in terms of empty boxes rather than full boxes. . . .) The kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom are mostly put to rights, but there is clutter and an eclectic scattering of odds and ends everywhere. The living room is just mass chaos. All in all, however, I think the move will be worth it. We have a cute little patio that opens into a picturesque courtyard. I'll post pictures in a couple days. . .when there is a path to the patio door again. We have more room, as well. I am anticipating not feeling "squished" as soon as all the boxes are disposed of. (Speaking of, do you want boxes back, Rachel?)

I should probably get busy, as I only have about 2 hours before Kevin comes home for lunch, and then I'm going to spend the afternoon working in my classroom at school.


If Life were a Movie about ME. . .

the sun would be my own personal spotlight, the rain my scheduled daily shower, and the clouds attenuated to my personal desire for shade.

Obviously, life is not a movie about me.

I think someone should write a poem, if not a book, entitled If Life were a Movie about Me, and the first line should be "the sun would be my own personal spotlight." However, the only books I can think of that might have such a title are silly contemporary novels or almost-equally-questionable inspirational/self-help snippets. Oh well. . .you have to admit it's a catchy title.


Galactic Explorers Be Warned

Apparently, the galaxy is a place overrun with illogical events and ironic British humor. . .at least, so it is portrayed in the infamous The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I finished the book this morning, so now I suppose we can see the movie. I recommend the book for a humorous and easy read; I'm sure there are philosophical musings somewhere within its infinite depths, but I don't care to extricate them.

We returned from OKC this evening; it is good to be home. We had a very busy 3 days of various family gatherings, all of which I survived unscathed. My lack of sociability is really lamentable. Someone should do something about it.
In truth, we enjoyed seeing everyone and catching up. We haven't been to the city since the first weekend in July. . .hmmm, it seems so much longer than that. Please say a prayer for my youngest cousin as she goes back to school this week. Public high schools are scary places, no matter where you live.


Nothing In Particular

I visited an AP camp at another high school this morning. AP students commonly have summer reading assignments, usually consisting of 1 or more novels and some related writing project. AP students commonly do not complete their summer reading assignments. (To be fair, that is not entirely accurate. Many do. Many, however, do not.) To alleviate this common problem, this high school has started a week-long AP camp during the summer. While not required, it provides a structured time for students to come in, get help, and finish their summer assignments before school starts. I think this is a good idea, and perhaps I shall try to implement it next year.

As for my own AP class planning, I am realizing how completely unprepared I am to teach this class. I suppose all AP teachers feel this way at the beginning. There is such a huge volume of information to cover, in addition to the catch-up material some students arrive needing. And to be honest, I am not completely sure that I've ever had formal instruction over all of the material myself. Not that formal instruction is the only, or even the best, way of learning. . .it just makes me feel somewhat at a disadvantage. They start listing different types of essays written for different purposes, and I'm not sure I could explain what each type/purpose is, let alone give examples. Fortunately, they are mostly common-sense and easy-to-figure-out-if-you-just-think-type labels. No doubt this year will prove. . .adventurous.

On an unrelated subject, it is utterly ridiculous how we (or at least, I) make ourselves miserable over things we cannot control and cannot change. How ironic that selfish behavior tends only to make the self (who, of course, is supposed to be the prime beneficiary of said behavior) more miserable and more conscious of its "wrongs" than otherwise. I am ashamed to admit it has taken me 2 days to admit this. To subdue my massively chaotic mental ravings, I finally scrawled them all out in random and spontaneous order. I am not sure what I think about this method of therapy. While writing is unquestionably therapeutic, spewing out childish whining is not much better (if any) in ink than by voice. On the other hand, it is easily recognizable as childish whining when spelled out on paper, and at least no one else has to put up with it.

I believe I should now be getting ready for our trip to the city this weekend. The kitchen needs to be cleaned up, my school paraphenelia (of which there is an over-abundance) straightened, and a suitcase packed if we plan on wearing clean clothes--which we do. In addition to that, I need to make 2 phone calls, pay the bills, balance the budget, and wash a load of clothes. Oh, and I have chicken thawing that must be cooked before we leave. Yes, my afternoon work should keep me busy. Some music will be helpful.


Reading Results

I've finished both the book on the hip-hop generation and the one on home educating. While I definitely recommend the Boyer book to those who are interested in a bit of background philosophy and a few tips on home education (he dislikes the term "homeschool"), I'd recommend the hip-hop book only with a couple grains of salt. The facts are interesting, but the interpretation is decidedly liberal. There is, of course, some truth what she says; there is always a bit of truth on both sides of the fence. Personally, I think it was worth reading to see the dilemma facing young black Americans as many of them see it.


Giant Zucchini and Purple Peppers

Last week, I didn't make it to the Farmer's Market until 10 o'clock. Since they open at 7 and close at 11, the prime produce is mostly gone by 10. However, I still came home with plenty, including peaches and a watermelon. This week, I made the effort and got out of bed at 8. However, I then discovered I had to do a little prep work for lunch if we wanted to eat before 3, so I didn't make it to the Market until 9. They were MORE sold-out than last week at 10!

Although I am disappointed that I didn't make it in time to get any fruit, I did come home with potatoes, tomatoes, fresh garlic, green bell pepper, and, my two prize purchases, a giant zucchini and a dark purple bell pepper. I have seen large zucchini before, but this one might take the cake. (Or bread, as that is what it will be used for. . .) It is almost a foot long and 4-5 inches in diameter at the biggest part. As for the purple bell pepper, I've never seen such a thing. The proprietor assures me they are somewhat sweet; I must confess I'm more excited about the aesthetic value. Imagine the added appeal to stir-fry or baked vegetables with purple thrown in!

Do you think getting up early on Saturday to go buy fresh produce counts as "bringing food from afar"? (Excuse my British punctuation. . .it just makes so much more sense!)


O Realist of the Fantastic!

. . .Joseph Conrad's moniker for H.G. Wells.

I've finished The War of the Worlds. I must confess that I don't particularly like it. . .just not my type of reading, I suppose. Neither do I particularly like his writing style. I'm sure I should be better able to articulate a reason for that statement, but suffice to say I think it redundant and bogged down with theorizing. Thick with social commentary, I'm not quite sure if that or the story is really the main point. Nor am I sure if my previous comment on Wells' theology are correct. The Christian overtones I cited at the end of the movie do indeed come from the book. . .word for word, if my memory serves. Yet he is clearly an evolutionist, both scientifically and socially. I am confused as to whether the process of "survival of the fittest" or the predestination of God saved Earth from the Martians. In truth, I do not particularly care and shall not trouble my head about it any more. I have more interesting things to read, including a book on writing that my aunt sent me today. I really want to start it, but I think I will force myself to finish one other book before I do. . .my progress has lagged this week, with the workshop I've been in for 6 hours every day, and is likely to remain slow next week. Not that I'm complaining, as both workshops are practical, not politically correct doggerel (not a new word, but a new context for me. . .Wells uses it as a "dumb or silly rhyme." Hurrah for ever-expanding vocabulary!).

I believe it is near my bedtime, so farewell to all.


Art Deco Tour

We took a guided tour of downtown Tulsa in my teacher workshop today, looking at all the art deco buildings built with oil money in the teens and 20's. Here's some of what we saw.
A piece of an elevator door in the 320 South Boston building, formerly the National Bank of Tulsa:

The 320 South Boston building as seen from the 15th floor terrace of the Mid-Continental building, formerly the Cosden building, built in 1918 by an oilman, renovated in 1984 (Note the stonework of the Mid-Continental building, seen in the corner):

The top of the Philtower, so named for Waite Phillips, oilman of the famed Phillips oil company:

The tower of what used to be the local grocery store:


[God] is not an insurance agent.

It's a quote from The War of the Worlds. The narrator, who is running from the advancing Martian attack, runs into a curate whose mind has collapsed in response to the mass destruction. The editor's notes comment on Wells' portrayal of the impotency of the clergy as a representation of the outdated institution of religion, etc. The implication is that Wells is decidedly anti-clergy, if not anti-Christian in general. Nevertheless, I like the quote. When the curate bemoans the destruction and repeatedly asks why it has happened, citing such childish remonstrances as the church they just built and the great work they've done in the community, the narrator responds with "He is not an insurance agent."

I watched a sermon last night by a local charismatic pastor. In the course of his sermon, he asserted that Christians are not supposed to "barely get by." Typical prosperity teaching, I found it ironic that this man who, I believe, has a true faith in Christ believes he is insured against poverty (which he defines as "barely getting by;" lacking basic needs, which others consider poverty, is "bondage") because of his faith; meanwhile, this at-best-deist speaker in Wells' novel openly acknowledges the truth that God's rain falls on just and unjust alike.


Summer, Risk, Stir-fry, & Interplanetary War

This day felt like my first actual day of summer. I got up when Kevin did, worked on bills and groceries and bank balances in the morning, fixed lunch so Kevin could come home, read, fixed dinner. . .I fear I shall be a basket case when it comes time to return to school. At least I won't have much time to get used to this. Next week and the week after I have week-long workshops, then I'll begin packing. We're moving into a larger apartment with a patio and balcony area on the weekend of August 5. Then I'll unpack for a week. And by then, I'll only have a day or two before I have to be back at school. Frightening.

I lost a game of Risk to Kevin tonight. It was a lousy game. I'm a horrible dice-roller. Don't ever take me to play Craps. It's very depressing to lose every battle, regardless of one's position as attacker or defender. I even lost the battles I rolled for the neutral territories. Very sad.

I fixed stir-fry for dinner tonight. I really like rice. I've always like rice, but now that we've switched completely to long-grain rice, it's even better. Lately, I've been buying Thai rice. It's supposed to smell like jasmine, and it has a slightly softer texture and a slightly sweeter flavor. We're almost out. . .AGAIN. I think I may as well buy the giant, feed-a-family-of-twelve-size bag, because we go through it pretty fast. I wish I had another canister in my set. Why do they only make canister sets with four canisters? There are more things than just flour and sugar (and whatever else you happen to put in the other two) that should go in cansiters. For one, I have three different types of flour. What am I supposed to do with the other two??? (Actually, at the moment I have four. . .but one of them is not a staple.) Then there's rice, Bisquik, coffee, tea, brown sugar, corn meal. . .the list is endless. I need at least a six-canister set, bare minimum. Perhaps I should just get two of the four-canister sets, but that would take up a lot of space. Of course, if I just stack like sizes, it wouldn't take any more space than it takes now. I wonder if it would look cluttered with canisters standing up over the top of the counter. . . .

We went to see War of the Worlds a couple days ago. It was a bit graphic, but I was surprised with the Christian overtone of the final narration. I started reading the book this week. I don't think it came from there. . .H.G. Wells was an evolutionist and seems to be something of a pessimist about the future of mankind. It was probably a Spielberg addition. Interesting.


In Case You're Wondering. . .

Strawberry jello is NOT a substantially filling food.
Vehicle registration is outrageously expensive in Oklahoma.
There is a baby grasshopper on my driver's side mirror.
I am feeling better, aside from being ravenously hungry and not knowing what to eat.


Considering the busy list of things I had set out to accomplish today before we have company around 12:30, this day is turning out to be a dismal failure. That could have something to do with me getting up at 5:36 and again at 7:10 to vomit.

Currently, I am ravenous and scared to eat. I had some jello about 40 minutes ago, so perhaps I shall try something else soon. I don't feel sick: no fever, no aches, no pains. This is all very confusing.

So, I'm guessing that my lunch plans are now to go out somewhere, because I no longer have time to take a shower, go to the grocery store, and cook lunch. We'll settle for taking a shower and renewing my car tag and driver's license, both of which are expired. That was in the thwarted plan for this morning, too. So was paying bills. I don't know if I'll get there today.

I made prioritized lists and everything. So much for the best-laid plans.


Home Again, Jiggity Jig

After 2 busy weeks away from our little hermitage--err, apartment--it is lovely to be home again. Cozumel was beautiful, the marine life vivid, the sun hot, the experience enjoyable; Florida was refreshing, the family reliably hilarious, the food overabundant, the weather muggy, the scenery gorgeous; but home is home, and it is best. I am going about my laundry and after-vacation cleaning in spurts interrupted by friendly phone conversations, pleasant reading, and the disturbing of Kevin at his new computer game. We have very little food in the house, so meals are a bit of a challenge. Neither of us want to brave the grocery store on Independence Day. Tomorrow will be soon enough, as I did (thankfully) have the foresight (or blind luck) to store 3 different meats in the freezer and a few miscellaneous vegetables in the pantry.

I have just been reading Home Educating with Confidence, by Rick and Marilyn Boyer. There is a hysterically funny and sadly accurate quote I must share:
New hypotheses and fashions are constantly slithering out of the swamps of imagination to sprout wings and go swooping through the swirling winds of mass educational theory.
After 4 years of college and 1 scant year of teaching, I can boldly say I know enough to proclaim it true. It's pitiful how many professional development workshops we have to school us in the latest "research" that will suddenly make our teaching effective. How sad that I can't even hope to be effective now, as I am sure "they" will discover later this year the one element I am now missing.

More later. . .


Children with Fins

After logging about 4 hours snorkeling with my husband, I am suffering from the acute fear that our future children will have fins and flippers instead of arms and legs. Has the human genome project found any remedies for this?

In all seriousness, it is rather amazing to see the many varieties of fish and other sea life. The varieties of colors, shapes, and even swimming motions that I, with my untrained eye, can pick out are astounding. We saw a small, grey, speckled stingray; a brownish-greenish eel; several beautiful, tiny, bright blue fish with luminescent blue spots; a large, horned fish with leopard-like spots that fade into nothing as it swims over the white sand; striped angel-fish; rainbow-colored fish; trumpet fish; barracuda; and others of all shapes and sizes. Some are smaller than my pinky, some are half my size. It's amazing. What an amazingly creative God to make so many different types.

The weather has been gorgeous. It rained both Monday and Tuesday, but it's even pretty to watch the rain here. The rain has also kept the temperature down a bit, although it does increase the mugginess. I've had fresh tropical fruit, freshly caught fish, and the ever-elusive caipirinha. It's nice.

Tomorrow we embark on a snorekl tour to 3 different reefs. I hope I can still walk on land by the time it's over! My poor knee may think I'm trying to force its evolution into a fin of my own!

I should go, as I must dress for dinner. Adios.


Iglesia La Hermosa

I gathered all my nerve this evening and went to a Spanish service, all by myself.

It was a traumatic experience, considering how I hate new situations and crowds of strangers. However, I am determined to expand my linguistic horizons, and this seemed a good option. It was fun, in spite of my emotional trauma. I discovered how helpless and stupid it feels to know you sound like a 2-year old trying to communicate your thoughts. . .the few thoughts I was forced into trying to communicate before I escaped, that is.

Don't misunderstand. I fully intend to go back--regularly. Spanish is a beautiful language, and I am excited about finally building on my meagre foundation and finding somewhere to use it. I just know it will be. . .challenging.


Psalm 73

. . .it seemed a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God. . .vv16-17

Reading at random this morning, my eyes fell on Psalm 73. The verse above especially stood out.
In context, the psalmist is bemoaning the prosperity of the wicked, and the "wearisome task" is that of trying to understand the use of purity when the wicked are evidently more prosperous. His dilemma is solved when he goes "into the sanctuary of God" and "perceive[s] their end." The close of the chapter is a repentance and affirmation of continued faith.
I don't think it improper to take this verse out of context and focus on just this half-sentece. What a beautiful, utterly true reminder as I begin my last Monday with my students. Teaching does often seem "a wearisome task." Fortunately for us, the "sanctuary of God" is no longer only a physical place in the city, but a spiritual temple within us. My task need not remain wearisome.
But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, to tell of all your works. vv28


Reason for Horror

We have just returned from a 32-hour trip to OKC. I left Roots in Tulsa, both because I knew there would not be time to read and to allow myself a brief reprieve. I have, however, continued mulling the story. . .and the comment to my previous blog. . .over in my mind. Why do I read this stuff? In the case of Native Son, I did not realize what I was getting into until it was too late. If I had it to do over, I do not know if I would read it again. In the current case, although I have not yet finished the book, I would. I would readily read it again. I would readily teach it in a class. I would readily share it, albeit not with just anyone. Why? Although Roots is a novel, it is based upon historical events. It is not gratuitous sensationalizing. These things really did happen. People really did--and do--treat people this way. I do not want to forget. I do not want our culture, our children to forget. Someone must remember if we are to resist repetition.
It may be argued that we can remember the facts without the graphic details, but I must disagree. While I would not consider myself an intellectual, I am an educated person. I know the basic historical facts of the Atlantic slave trade, of American slavery, of World War II, of Vietnam, and of other horrors in history. Yet they are not real to me until I have some personal experience with them. With World War II, it was the grandfather of a Jewish classmate who came to school to share about his time in a Nazi concentration camp. I remember the number tatooed on his arm, his inability to restrain the tears as he related his experience, his grave demand for quiet, for respect. For the evils of slavery and racial discrimination, it is, in part, books such as this. I am an avid and vivid reader--avid in that I can read almost anything, vivid in that what I read becomes very real in my imagination. It becomes a part of me. The horror and ugliness of treating another human as an animal is now a part of me. Yes, I hated slavery before. I have fought back tears when discussing subjects related to racial discrimination with my students, because it is so odious to me. Now, there will be a new passion in my voice, because I have had what is, for me, a very personal brush with slavery. I have come as near to a first-hand experience as I hope I ever do. I may not be able to hold back the tears the next time we discuss America's past in my classroom. Students may see me cry. And that is okay. Somebody needs to care enough to cry, even for sins that were committed 200 years ago. Our nation is still suffering for those sins. There is no magic solution to make them go away, but there is the hope of continued repentance and rebirth.
I do not think everyone should read such books. There are too many books for everyone to read them all. We must, to some degree, accept a differentiation of tasks and skills. For some, remembering is a task; remembering evils of the past to fight them in the present. Fighting racial bias, racial prejudice, racial ignorance is a task that I accept with gravity, but also with some anticipation. I delight in the particolored beauty that rises out of such motley ashes; it is for that joy that I wished to teach where I do. What might my beautifully diverse students say to see a white teacher cry for our ancestors? Would it make a difference to some, to one? Would it impress upon a single youth the need to remember, to repent, to reach higher?


Coping with Horror

With a three-day weekend and a sore mouth that inhibits communication, I have settled into several hours worth of postponed reading this evening. I started Alex Haley's Roots weeks ago, but had not progressed very far. I am now about 1/3 finished (it's quite a long novel) and have stopped to assimilate.

I am feeling a deep and justified horror. It is not the same horror as when I read Richard Wright's Native Son a couple months ago. . .the horror that drove me to tears of revulsion and disbelief during a sleepless night. I will not share the too-vivid images that caused my insomnia; I will only say that I knew the general events of the book, but was not in the least prepared for the specific and brutal depiction. It was days before I recovered, and I have not before now visited the memories to evaluate what I took away from the book. Thinking about that for the first time, I want to claim a deep--as in deeply rooted, not profound--understanding of the consciousness of an oppressed people, even as I know there is no outside understanding of such a thing. I sense and pity the bewilderment and confused anger that created Wright's main character, even as I am reviled by the result. I blanch from the idea of a similar working upon any of my students, even with mitigated circumstances and outcomes. The horror is still very real--real enough to draw tears now.

This horror, however, is somehow different. It is still characterized by some revulsion, but the main parts are shame, disgust, and pure grief. I have reached the point in the story where Kunta, the main character, has been captured by slave traders, has survived the hellish voyage to America, has recovered through the punishment of 2 failed escapes, and is recovering from the permanent punishment of a 3rd. His punishment? He had a choice. . .to lose a foot or what, at least in his eyes, makes him a man by enabling him to father sons. He is only 17. Now, without his right foot, he is struggling to learn the use of crude crutches on a strange farm (he did escape a good distance from his owner), still unable to communicate anything of substance in English. The author is graphic in his recounting of the voyage over. The images and sensory details are horrific--more so, I believe, than they would be in a movie. I find my muscles tensing as I read and hold back tears of anger and grief. How, in the sight of God whom they claimed to serve, could these men treat other men as they did? What kind of man takes a sadistic pleasure in offering such a choice to a teenager already frightened out of all reason? I cannot find it in me to admit I am connected in any way to these creatures. I know I am man, and therefore I am depraved, but I shudder at such a clear picture of man's depravity. I shudder with the unadmitted knowledge that, inevitably, there is such a story somewhere in my bloodline. Whatever form it may have taken, there is such sin somewhere behind me. And, God forbid, even in my own life. Was I so different as a child, when I painfully remember joining 4 of my peers in making one poor boy's life miserable for an entire school year? Was I any better, because I did not have a knife or a whip in my hand?

Faced with the horrors of the past (blissfully ignoring the similar ongoing horrors of many places today), I am without excuse or ability to deny the overwhelming consciousness of my own fallen humanity. I am. . .awed. . .by a grace that reaches so far and stoops so low to save any wretch born thus.
Amazing Grace
How sweet the sound


Stubborn Canker Sores, Ogres, and Oars

Yes, my canker sore is alive and well. It hurts. And it makes talking miserable, which makes teaching miserable. Thankfully, it's a 3-day weekend.

We were reading "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" in my junior class today. One of the stanzas begins, "Then I heard the dash of oars." I stopped right before this stanze to check for comprehension, then asked them to look ahead and see what noise the mariner hears. After about 20 seconds and several wrong answers, one girl finally says, "Oh, oars?" Beaming (as much as possible with my huge canker sore, which is not at all), I excitedly affirm her response and ask what oars are. She, having been encouraged, confidently continues, "Like those things on Shrek." Puzzled and with a bewildered look, I frantically comb my memory for the 1 time I've seen the movie, desparately trying to remember a scene in a boat. She, seeing me confounded, clarifies, "Isn't that what he is? An oar?" The girl next to her laughs and says, "An ogre!" *sigh*


Canker Sores, Spiders, and BB King

The very nature of the word "blog" seems to me to be indicative of randomness and spontaneity. So, items from mi dia. . .

I have a canker sore in my mouth, on the inside of my cheek right next to my back molar. It was a bit sore this morning. Then I read 2 chapters of Huck Finn aloud to my 1st hour, which caused intense soreness. I didn't want to talk, much less smile. Thus, 3rd and 4th hour got to listen to their literary selections on audio. Thank goodness for CD players.

I killed 2 spiders today. There was a medium-sized one on the bathroom floor before I got in the shower this morning. I killed it with tissue and flushed it down the toilet. Not my favorite morning greeting. Then there was a large-sized one in my classroom. I took my shoe off and killed it, then threw it in the trashcan with a napkin. Very gross. And I can't be girly and helpless, because there are students around. I'm supposed to be the mature, responsible monster-slayer. Waah.

We're on our way to OKC for a BB King concert. More on that afterward. . .I'm not sure what to expect.


True Womanhood

I must credit where credit is due. In the past couple of weeks, I've been semi-steadily working on memorizing the latter half of Proverbs 31. It began with a verse of much-needed inspiration for the high school English teacher (She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.), progressed to equally-needed inspiration for the newlywed homemaker (She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness), and continued from there. It is an ongoing struggle--not the memorization so much as the putting it into practice (what's the word that means that?). As one who did complete 4 years of "Christian" college (rather resentfully) with all its social activities (well, if "all" means as few as I could manage) and related issues, I admit to being envious of those who have the wisdom and support to utilize the available time in pursuit of truly important subjects. I admit to being vociferously defensive of the wise friends I am privileged to know when said methods are questioned by others. My hat is off to you. . .with all the respect, sincerity, and admiration I can muster. Thank you.

Oh, implementation. That's the word I couldn't think of.

(This entire blog was prompted by the article at the following link: "Make for the Higher". I have read the article twice since finding it in the middle of this afternoon and shall certainly revisit it, I know.)



According to the pastor in service this morning, "enthusiasm" comes from the Greek words meaning "in God." I find this. . .inspiring. Care to comment and/or expound (Naomi)?

Pachabel's Canon in D

I fell in love with this classic piece the first time we played it in Orchestra. It's the song you always hear at weddings--the one that isn't The Wedding March. As of this weekend, I have now had 2 dastardly experiences in which this beautiful work was tragically misused.
The first was during my tenure at ORU. It was a video in some class depicting parts of Aztec history. In one scene, they were depicting an Aztec man being prepared for human sacrifice. The music was dark, suspenseful, forboding. Just at the point when the captors swung a blade to kill the sacrifice, the music abruptly switched to the most upbeat section of Canon in D. I was traumatized.
The second was Friday evening at an otherwise lovely graduation. During a slideshow, there suddenly came a song I struggled at first to place. Smothered beneath a heavy drum beat and watered-down rap lyrics, there it was. Pachabel's masterpiece. I do not know if I shall recover from this travesty.



Novalis was a 18th Century German Romantic, admired and respected by thinkers such as George MacDonald and C.S. Lewis. Here are some lovely quotes. . .

A character is a completely fashioned will.

Only as far as a man is happily married to himself is he fit for married life and family life in general.

Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.

Our life is no dream; but it ought to become one, and perhaps will.

Corn - the place, not the food

Tomorrow I’m going to a graduation in Corn, Oklahoma. Find it on a map. . .it’s about an hour and a half west of Oklahoma City. In other words, it’s mostly nowhere. In spite of that, I’m quite excited. The graduate is a girl I haven’t seen in several years, but someone for whose family I hold the utmost fondness and respect. I got her 2 sets of poetry magnets and a metal stand to arrange them on last night. . .I hope she agrees with me on the necessity of impracticalities.

With Naomi’s help, I have also been formulating a few words of limited wisdom – not so much advice as reminders from our own exigent college experience. It's a frightening experience, wanting desperately to save someone a bit of your own growing pains, yet not truly knowing if they are subsided enough to produce something of value.


Celebrating Absurdity

At times, and sometimes more than others, life is absurd. For example. . .

Last Thursday, I had dirty fish water leaking through my classroom ceiling from a broken fish tank in the classroom above mine.

At dinner with some TU people Friday evening, a guy I'd never met called out, "Hey, baby" to a random girl walking by. Thankfully, she did not respond.

At TU Commencement on Saturday, I happened to notice a great lack of overweight graduates. . .compared, that is, to ORU, with all its physical education regimen.

Adults fighting like 5-year olds. . .the equivalent of "I won't be your best friend anymore."

Schools that arbitrarily take students' word and attempt to hold accused students accountable for vandalism without evidence, especially when said snitches had the motivation of free rent for turning in "guilty" parties.

Sometimes absurdity is hilarious, sometimes is horrific, and sometimes it is heavenly.

It is absurd that anyone, especially one blameless and divine, would sacrifice His own perfect life for any number of foolish, selfish, headstrong individuals who will never be able to fully grasp the enormity of His gift. Yet He did.


Strength and Dignity

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
She laughs at the time to come.

Proverbs 31 - I've decided I should memorize it for inspiration in my (ever so brief and ever so few) dark moments. Strenght and dignity are the catch-words of the day, at least for this week.

Naomi coined a new phrase—“epic mercy”—and wants to use it in poetry. I’m going to beat her to it. . .and write something more on the light side of the dark tunnel than my previous poetic attempt.

There are epochs in each life
When events transpire as designed
When tasks are all completed
When spirits consistently shine

There are epochs in each life
When things don’t go as planned
When jobs are left undone
When emotions get out of hand

Epochs of felicity, Epochs of fear
Epochs of peace, Epochs of pain
Epochs of darkness, Epochs of dawn
Epochs of rainbow, Epochs of rain

Though epochs ever rise and fall
As kingdoms and rulers of Earth
One epic forever continues
Of divine mystery and mirth

A cosmic epic directed by God,
An epic universal, reigns above
Epic justice, Epic redemption
Epic mercy, Epic love

I don’t particularly think I’m a brilliant poet, but I do love words.



The Road to Hell. . .

is paved with good intentions. Or so they say.

I am the fulcrum of a seesaw.
An actively mobile plank of wood
Stretching across a single point -

I am two children riding a seesaw.
A constantly wavering solid beam
Carrying up and down its young riders -
Me and Me.

I am the fulcrum and the riders.
An often vascillating single entity
Striving for person, wife, teacher -
Me, Me, and Me.

I would be a merry-go-round.
A simple circle of level steel
Spinning endlessly its single role -

Naomi's poetry obsession is contagious. . .I haven't written poetry in ages. I also haven't posted in ages, as said person so relentlessly reminds me. I've been protecting the computer from vituperative entries about obnoxious behavior and undesirable attitudes that, apparently, are also contagious. However, with Kevin now finished with classes for the semester and a faint light at the end of my own tunnel, I am beginning to feel a spark of hope. Actually, it may have more to do with a certain visitor at the end of this week and a coming day off. Or both.

I confess I am finally becoming anxious for this school year to end. I need some breathing space. Some listening space not filled with an infinite string of profanities. Some speaking space that doesn't require a near shout. Some space, period. I cannot imagine doing this for a lifetime. How does one protect oneself from the continual bombardment? I fancy myself capable of sufficient protection for a few short years, but for a life? The secret, I am sure, is in Scripture - the eternal breath of fresh air that purifies our sin-sick souls. Yet even Scripture so easily is pushed aside in the constant craze and demand of this 60-hour-a-week job. I must improve my time management. Later. When I have time. . .


Gwendolyn Brooks, ee cummings, T.S. Eliot

I replaced the Gwendolyn Brooks link below, but I think I should offer a few words of warning. Or rather, of explanation.

The poem is included in the midst of an essay, also by Brooks. To understand what's there, you should know that Gwendolyn Brooks is a black poet who lived through the Civil Rights movement. I do not like everything I have read of hers, but I do appreciate her sometimes-sarcastic insight into social issues. This particular poem happens to be my favorite explanation of the irony of Western foreign policy. . .although I'm sure it could be interpreted in other ways as well.

As for ee cummings, I enjoy his lack of conventionality in syntax. I don't always understand him or agree with him when I do, but I do appreciate his originality. "anyone lives in a pretty how town" is a modernist-type poem about isolation, I suppose. Odd, because just yesterday I was proclaiming how I dislike modernist work. It's so empty. Maybe it's just the novels I don't like. . .prolonged emptiness. It's not the emptiness I like about this poem, of course, but the recognition that people contribute to it through ignorance and lack of consideration for their fellow man.

We're going to tackle "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" today in class. It's empty and random. Modernist work saddens me; loneliness and isolation are such avoidable tragedies. However, I continue reading it on occasion for that very reason--for the reminder that I have a part in rejecting that emptiness in my own life and the lives of those I come in contact with.

I really must be going. . .students will be (I am sure) eagerly awaiting their introduction to T.S. Eliot.


Shakespearean Insults

Yesterday, I read this and thought it very fitting. . .

Ungracious wretch,
Fit for the mountains and the barbarous caves,
Where manners ne'er were preached! Out of my sight!
(Twelfth Night)

Today, I read this and felt remorseful. . .

I think thou never wast where grace was said.
(Measure for Measure)

Unfortunately, my remorse only lasted until 4th hour started.


For Sell: One Sin Nature

. . .selectively active at inconvenient times, primarily when in positions of public responsibility. That is, unless expected, in which case primary activity reverts to moments of relative solitude.

I just typed this whole thing, and the computer lost it. I shall try again.

My certain key students in 4th hour were back today. I am perfectly aware that, by allowing my temper to rise, I am letting them win. I am perfectly aware that I am solely responsible for my actions. I am perfectly aware that the atmosphere and attitude of my classroom is largely controlled by my response to stimuli. I am also acutely, wistfully aware that it is much easier to be patient and cheerful and godly in the safety of my home and husband than in the face of these uncouth adolescents.

I would say that they bring out the worst in me, were I not suspicious that the very phrasing of that cliche in some way shirks personal responsibility. Of course, I'd like nothing better than to shirk that responsibility right now. Nothing, that is, except perhaps to wreak revenge. I suppose that would be unprofessional, though. I'm not sure what I would do, anyway. . .find some way of making them sit down and be quiet and participate in edifying activities maybe. I don't know what to do with them. I can't remonstrate--they argue back. I can't discipline--they laugh. I can't ignore--the noise level alone indicates that no learning is taking place. What does that leave?

I know that they will not and cannot change until my attitude changes. However, I don't want change. I want to win. I want to prove my dominance and shame them into obedience. How very primal.

Sold. Paid for and redeemed in Blood. Feel free to discard at any time.


Working Late and Recounting Drama

I'm still at school, finding anything to keep me from starting to grade the projects that my sophomores turned in today. I should just get started. One of my students from last semester just stopped in to chat. That makes me feel good. They may hate me in class, but at least I have some friends afterward. Ha.

On the bright side, I have a delightful and polite student here working late, too. The end of the quarter is Friday, and he's trying desparately to pass. He has a great smile and actually says thank you when I answer a question. Amazing. Besides, I get paid for overtime if there's a student here. . .it counts as tutoring, and Title I pays for me to tutor after school. Since it's Wednesday, Kevin's still in class, so I'm not missing much at home. . .just doing laundry and cleaning the kitchen. I'm sure they'll still be there when I leave here.

About my 4th hour trauma, err, drama this week. . .

we were supposed to have our class Renaissance banquet yesterday. Until Monday afternoon, when I cancelled it, that is. Behavior and respect were less than ideal during class Monday, and the last 10 minutes were more than I could handle. I gave up trying to talk. . .give instructions for the banquet. . .and sat down. Then, since no final preparations had been completed, I spent 30 minutes after school calling every student's home to call off the banquet. I was. . .what's that word? Livid. No, probably not. Just extraordinarily weary and frustrated. Angry, perhaps. Behavior was slightly better yesterday. Today much better. . .some key people were absent. Grades, on the other hand, are looking bad. The Renaissance banquet is generally a good grade-booster. Several students who had a good chance of passing with it are now in dire straits. However, I shall refuse to accept responsibility for that. I'm not the one who didn't turn in their assignments.

Enough. I must be productive. Farewell.

Laughable Contradictions

In my overwhelming dread of facing the holy terrors in my 4th hour yesterday, I took as my encouragement a verse from Proverbs 31: "Her mouth opens with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her lips."

I was thinking about that as I ripped the page off my daily Shakespearean insult calendar and read, "Thou elvish-marked, abortive, rooting hog!" I almost laughed aloud.

Do you suppose Shakespearean insults are truly healthy? Perhaps I should get rid of them.


The Holy Spirit: Gifts

Yesterday in Sunday School we talked about spiritual gifts. I don't have a huge amount of time, but I'll introduce a few of the questions. My own personal study will have to wait for a later date.

1. How are spiritual gifts different from natural talents/abilities? Are they?
2. What is the purpose of spiritual gifts?

The answers taught are as follows, with my thoughts in italics.

1. Some spiritual gifts are obviously different from natural talents/abilities, ie: soccer. Otherwise, the test is in what the gift is used for. Also, spiritual gifts are only for the elect.

The test is in how the gift is used? More on that with the next question. . . .
As for being only for the elect, I need to study on that. I think it's a Calvinist v. Armenian question. I know I've been taught that some people may use their spiritual gifts for the wrong purposes. The major example given is Balaam, along with a couple in the NT (The NT examples are questionable, as most of them could be explained as satanic. The Balaam example is questionable; were spiritual gifts the same under the old covenant?) So, basically, I suppose it boils down to free will to use God's gifts as we choose or predestination that gives them only to the elect. Perhaps therein lies the difference between spiritual gifts and natural talents--God gives everyone natural talents, but only the elect receive spiritual gifts. I'm not sure.

2. Three purposes were named, with the stipulation that any gift not serving all 3 purposes is not a spiritual gift. The purposes are: to build the body/unify, to glorify God, to promote personal growth in faith.

There is first of all the question of whether teaching some "non-spiritual" subject can still be counted as the spiritual gift of teaching (or similar situation with another gift). Can a spiritual gift be used for a purpose that is not explicitly spiritual? Granted that there is really no distinction between sacred and secular, but does teaching math build the body? Does it promote personal growth? I'm not sure about this definition, but I can't completely deny its validity yet.
Secondly, some of the gifts (ie: prophecy, tongues, interpretation) are explicitly said to be for the body, not for individual growth.

That's a summary. I'll look at the verse references and record some study results when I have time.


Revealing Abstractions

I have come to realize several things about myself this week. . .things pertaining to a certain situation that I don't care to discuss. However, the realization of those things and my subsequent action has led to realization of certain other things I do care to discuss. So, with that bewildering introduction, I shall begin. . .

Sometimes I do what I think is the right thing, and I'm not happy. After the thing is over and done with, I discover that I am miserable, upset, moody, sulky, and generally disagreeable. After I settle down, I come up with an explanation for my poor reaction to the situation. I explain what the problem was THIS time to those involved and make minor adjustments for the next occurrence of the particular situation. However, when it comes, I find that those adjustments make no difference. My reaction is still decidedly not in keeping with Christian character. So I contemplate. Eventually, I decide that perhaps this is not the right thing at all. At the next recurrence of the situation, I take the opposite action. I am not comfortable with my choice. It is not what I want to do or even what I know is right. I don't know. I can't decide which is the worse of the two evils. So, having tried the first and not received any happiness, I decide to try the second. . .with only a vague realization that that is indeed what I am doing. Unfortunately, my new course of action turns out worse than the first. Not only am I miserable, but this time I know that I have good reason to be miserable. It is not my moodiness or my refusal to respond with love; it is the confrontation of Christ inside of me with sin. This was the wrong choice; I regret that I had to experience it before I would see.

The conclusion? My emotional response to doing the right thing is not always one of happiness. I do not have to be happy. In fact, I may even be miserable. It does not excuse sulking or moodiness. Doing the right thing does not give me the right to act like a martyr. I have not really done the right thing if I do not do it meekly and pleasantly, with a cheerful spirit. Moreover, my own personal moodiness is not an indication that I should change my actions. It is only an indication that something is wrong. . .and that something may very well be me.

Little life lessons. . .lessons we already know and yet must relearn over and over. What a mixed blessing my humanity is.


Fooled by April Fool's

A Lesson in Lessening. . .

The day I've feared and fretted over has passed. As it turns out, no one carried out any mischief. . .except a few of the teachers, that is. I'm amazed. I do not often get worked up over future potential for problems. Perhaps this lesson will lessen the number of times I do.


Fortunate Freudian Slip?

I had an oddly beneficial experience in my 4th hour class today.

At the beginning of the hour, I was very frustrated with them. . .and showing it. However, class progressed. We got toward the end of the hour and began our reading for the day. We're working on Macbeth currently, which means that I have to stop and explain the language every 20-30 lines (or less). During one of my brilliant explanations, I had a slip of the tongue. Actually, what I said was perfectly innocent, unless you're a crude adolescent who consistently takes certain words as slang words meaning things to which they don't remotely relate in reality. At any rate, as soon as the words came out of my mouth, I realized how it would sound to their ears. There probably would have only been a couple smirks, but I couldn't restrain a violent blush--a blush I quickly covered with both hands, which of course sent the entire class into a chorus of improper laughter. Curses on my imprudence! Nevertheless, I must say that my mistake seemed to break a bit of ice between the class and myself, creating more of a community atmosphere than has existed all semester. Amazing. . .and appalling. . .what things will get them on my side. I don't yet know what to think, and I'm still struggling to restrain a blush when I try to figure it out.

Oh well. I suppose any amount of class cooperation is worth a little embarrasment on my part. A very little. Perhaps the laughter today will help ease any trauma caused by April Fool's pranks tomorrow.


Whining & Wishing, Procrastination & Propriety

Life is slightly better today than it was yesterday afternoon. Fourth hour was twice as loud, but half as whiny and incompetent. . .just don't ask me to look at the research papers they handed in. Not yet. At any rate, I can handle loud better than whiny. Tomorrow is the last day for them to retake a test that over half the class failed before Spring Break. As of yet, no one has come in to take advantage of my oh-so-generous retake offer. In fact, no one who was absent has even come in to take it the first time. I suppose I shall have a roomful tomorrow. Why do we humans always wait until the last minute for things?

I am still slightly whiny myself. . .still, as if it only started yesterday and is not almost the norm lately. Only, it's not so much whiny. I don't whine. I just sigh wistfully. I suppose that's slightly better than whining. I'm sure I should greatly appreciate my 4th hour if they only sighed wistfully for lack of easy, brain-dead assignments instead of whined for them. So I shall self-righteously insist that my wistfulness is perfectly understandable and acceptable. In the meantime, I shall continue ignoring it and throw myself into the grading that is waiting to be done and the laundry that is waiting to be put away. It is beyond me how any woman manages an all-consuming career along with a husband. I should think I'd go insane if I didn't know an end was (almost) in sight.

Notice my affinity for "I should" and "I shall." Aren't we proper?



For some reason, my latest post only shows up in my archive. . .not on the main page. Why???

From Easter to Monday to Mental Exhaustion

I spent the first Easter of my married life driving through Arkansas with my husband. We intended to go to church. We found the address of a Lutheran church not far from where we were staying. We got up early and checked out early so we could attend. We arrived to discover that their Easter service had been at 7am, not the normal 10:45. Perhaps I should have foreseen that possibility, but. . .I'll plead my newness to the world of reformation. Evangelicals would NEVER have service that early.

So we did the only reasonable thing. . .headed for home while I read the Easter story aloud. We discussed communion and baptism and I-don't-know-what without coming to any conclusions, but were nonetheless thankful for God's grace in spite of our ignorance.

Then Monday and school. Have I mentioned that school is wearing on me? The ever-increasing desire to stay home and take care of our (messy and cluttered) home is seeping deeper and deeper into my bones. I keep thinking of one of the Elisabeth Eliott books, in which she talks about a couple she was counseling. The wife was complaining about her job, saying it was beneath her skill and educational levels. She was apparently trapped in it for her husband's sake. . .I don't remember the details too clearly. What I do remember is EE's response. She asked the wife why she was working. She reminded her that this was necessary for herself and her husband at that point in time. She asked her if she could work the job for her mate, not for herself or her career, until such a time as it was no longer needed.

I keep reminding myself that this is what I need to do for now. It is not forever, but it is my place for now. Truthfully, it hasn't been bad. I enjoy the kids and the teaching. It's when I come home and still have school work to do. . .on top of the housework and cooking I'm not getting done but really want to do. . .that I get impatient. It's not that I'm unhappy. I just can't do all the things I would like. . .but who can?

I must say that my 4th hour does not help any. There are some great kids in there who I really like, but there are others. . .and I don't know what to do. Today I am completely and totally exhausted. I was fine at 1:05. At 1:15 I started feeling anxious. By 1:45 I was hot and harried. By 2:20 I was slightly irritable. By 2:40 I was impatient and frustrated. Pretty normal for that class. If my day could only end after 3rd hour. . . . But it can't. There's one girl who laughs at me. Always. I instruct, she laughs. I discipline, she laughs. I answer a question, she laughs. Her insolence galls me. It makes me feel petty and childish. And I can't win. Mental exhaustion sets in amid the whining and the laughing, and I just hold on until the bell rings.

But enough of this. I must go and start dinner. Cooking is almost always therapeutic. . .as long as I don't burn my hand or chop my finger off. Then it's stressful. I shall endeavor to refrain from either tonight.


Latest Thoughts on the Holy Spirit

In Sunday School this morning, we discussed the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It was a good discussion, and I think quite productive. There is some further study I wish to do, but I think this is a good working doctrine in the meantime.

It was pointed out that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not mentioned anywhere in the Old Testament and only about 9 times in the NT. The references given are Matt 3:11, Mark1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33 (all from John the Baptist's quote regarding He who would come after), Acts 1:5, Acts 11:16, Acts 2, I Cor 12:13, and Romans 6:1-4. Actually, I question whether the Romans 6 passage is referring to Spirit baptism or water baptism, but it has little bearing on the conclusions--at least for now.

Next, we discussed 4 specific actions of the Spirit: baptism, filling, indwelling, and sealing. They were differentiated as follows: baptism signifies a believer's joining of the body of Christ and is given in response to belief (see Acts 11:16-17); filling empowers the believer for daily Christian living; indwelling is the Spirit taking up permanent residence within the believer; sealing is the mark of permanent possession by God. We talked about the literal meaning of the words. Filling is to put into a container as much as it can hold (with the spiritual application that as the believer grows in Christ, his capacity for 'fullness" may increase); Sealing connotes approval, ownership, completion, and/or authority. Indwelling is said to be different from filling in as much as the Spirit may still inhabit the believer, even if the believer is not living righteously as a result of continual and constantly increasing filling. The proposition is that all 4 take place simultaneously at the conversion of a believer (which brought up a discrepancy in belief about infant baptism, but we'll get there later).

We then looked at the following scriptures with the associated interpretations:
1. John 14:16-17 The Spirit was sent by Christ in inhabit and be with believers forever. That is, the filling or indwelling of the Spirit cannot be temporary. (Overtly Calvinist - it brought up some curious questions about evangelicals who believe in backsliding. I'm still not sure what I think about that.)
2. John 7:37-39 The Spirit was first given after Christ's ascension in response to belief alone, not specific requests. (Hence, no need to pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit)
3. Ephesians 1:13 Believers are marked with the seal of the Spirit at conversion; a pledge for the future, this is eternal and permanent.
4. Galatians 3:2 The Spirit is received by those who believe.
5. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 The Spirit's seal is one of ownership, a deposit that absolutely guarantees the future.
6. Ephesians 4:30 The command is given to not grieve the Spirit. (Therefore, there is a potential for stifling the Spirit.)
7. Ephesians 3:19 Paul's prayer for Ephesus is that they may know the love of Christ to abound in knowledge and be filled with all the fullness of God. (Already believers, they must already be filled with the Spirit. The interpretation is that their capacity might be increased to be filled with ALL the Spirit.)
8. Ephesians 5:18 The command to "be filled" with the Spirit. (Why is the command necessary if filling is automatic upon belief, unless the believer may be "further filled" in time? The interpretation is that the filling of the Spirit is continual and ever-increasing in response to the believer's increasing humility and submission to God's sovereignty.)

As for speaking in tongues and other gifts of the Spirit, it was proposed that they are each a manifestation of the baptism of the Spirit, but none is the manifestation. This may fit with 1 Corinthians 12, if you ignore the section heading inserted between verses 11 and 12 in most Bibles. 1 Corinthians 12 is the chapter on the gifts of the Spirit and the unity of the the body's many different members. Verse 13 says ALL believers are baptized in the Spirit into 1 body. It comes after 12 verses of discussing the different gifts and members of the body, emphasis on the word different. This is what I want to study more, but here's my initial idea: the chapter is all on the different gifts of the Spirit for different members of the body. Might that support the idea that speaking in tongues is a gift of the Spirit, but not the single recognizable gift?

To briefly return to the infant baptism question. . .
From Lutheran perspective, Spirit baptism occurs at water baptism. . .therefore in infancy for those born into a Lutheran church. Does that mean that conversion is not necessary for the infant baptized into the covenant? That would seem logical. However, the Presbyterians baptize infants as a sign of the body's belief in the covenant for the child. The child must still accept Christ when they are older; thus, conversion is separate from baptism. Confirmation, if I'm understanding correctly, is basically a new-member class. It has no bearing on conversion. Odd.

I shall be out of internet contact for 2 or 3 days. I hope to have some study time between now and then to further explore these ideas.


Second Thoughts

On second thought, I'm not sure "The House Beautiful" will inspire any more interest than the others. It might be a bit too pretentious. . .as if anything Oscar Wilde ever did was the least bit pretentious. Ha.

I shall continue ruminating.

More on The House Beautiful

Bad art is a great deal worse than no art at all.
A quote from Wilde's lecture. Taking parts of it with a grain of salt, I think it will generally due as the source for our club name. Check it out at House Decoration. Comments?


The House Beautiful

In talking to my dad about the homemaking club idea, we were kicking around titles. Domestic Divas leaves something to be desired on a moral basis, aside from the fake quality. In fact, I don't think anything with any form of the word "domestic" will win points at all. I know there is a desire among some of the kids for homemaking skills, but tapping into it and keeping it "cool" may be a challenge. Then I thought of Oscar Wilde and his lectures on "The House Beautiful." I wonder if something could be taken and used from that. It bears examination, at least. I'll have to delve into that later.

Homemakers R Us

We spent the latter part of our day at school in professional development meetings, discussing a variety of topics and arriving at few (if any) conclusions. Typical. However, one thing mentioned was the possibility of having an "activity hour" built into the monthly or bi-monthly school schedule next year. In that event, they are asking for teachers to step forward and suggest/volunteer for clubs or organizations. In light of my thoughts this past week, I was wondering about a "homemakers' club" (for lack of better terminology). I did make the mistake of mentioning my budding idea to a couple other teachers. By and large, I got laughed at. I shall also have to be more careful how forceful I am in my philosophical supports. . .I may step on toes.
Anyway, I remembered seeing a "Future Homemakers of America" sign in one of the rooms at a school I substituted for last year. The organization's creed was beautiful:
We are the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.
We face the future with warm courage and high hope.
For we have the clear consciousness of seeking old and precious values.For we are the builders of homes, Homes for America's future,Homes where living will be the expression of everything that is good and fair,Homes where truth and love and security and faith will be realities, not dreams.
We are the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.We face the future with warm courage and high hope.

As you can see, they've changed the name to the "Family, Career and Community Leaders of America." How PC. At any rate, I was getting really excited about the possibility of starting a chapter here. Then I discovered 2 things. First, to host a chapter, the school must offer Family or Consumer Science related courses. We don't. No Home Economics class. (That's what's wrong with our test scores. . . .) Secondly, only students currently or previously enrolled in said courses may be full members. *sigh* So much for wishful thinking. But why can't I do something similar? We don't have to have national recognition to teach girls how to make a home and take care of a family. . .although I would like a name better than Homemakers R Us.