Sunday, December 28, 2008

If you've missed me...

It's because I am on vacation with my family.

And this is a funny group. It could certainly be a movie. There are 32 of us. It's amazing.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

"Of the Father's Love Begotten"
by Aurelius C. Prudentius, 413, cento
Translated by John. M. Neale, 1818-1866
and Henry W. Baker, 1821-1977

1. Of the Father's love begotten
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the Source, the Ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see
Evermore and evermore.

2. Oh, that birth forever blessed
When the Virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bare the Savior of our race,
And the Babe, the world's Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face
Evermore and evermore.

3. O ye heights of heaven, adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him
And extol our God and King.
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert ring
Evermore and evermore.

4. This is He whom Heaven-taught singers
Sang of old with one accord;
Whom the Scriptures of the prophets
Promised in their faithful word.
Now He shines, the Long-expected;
Let creation praise its Lord
Evermore and evermore.

5. Christ, to Thee, with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving
And unending praises be,
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory
Evermore and evermore.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #98
Text: 1 Tim. 3:16
Author: Aurelius C. Prudentius, 413, cento
Translated by: John. M. Neale, 1854 and Henry W. Baker, 1861
Titled: "Corde natus ex Parentis"
Tune: "Divinum mysterium", Plain-song tune, 12th century

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rush is right

I love it when people are able to admit it when someone from the opposite side of the political spectrum is right about something.

(If you have a Digg account, go digg!)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Quite a few of my friends have done this one, and since I'm busy with the buying and wrapping of presents and baking of cookies, I up for the lazy blogger thing.

The idea is to bold the ones I've done. So here goes.

1. Started your own blog
(um, yeah)
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (I played flute in elementary and junior high school)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea (No, but I have on Lake Michigan)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning (!st & worst, Bruno's in Lafayette, Indiana)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (I still can't believe we didn't take a gondola ride!)
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (My family has been in this area for seven generations)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (trying)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David (in Florence!)
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (snorkeling)
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving (but I've been parasailing!)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (if fish counts)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day (Harry Potter!)

Okay. enough about me. Any of you who decide to do this, be sure to leave a link.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ice storm

Just a few pictures from the big ice storm. We were without power off and on. Then the phone went out last night. We lost a couple of trees. But it is gorgeous!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Man of the Year

I'm not surprised Barack Obama was named Time Magazine's Person of the Year. It would have been far more surprising if he hadn't been.

I am surprised that they used the Soviet propaganda poster style picture for the cover. Or maybe not. He seems to be engaging in plenty of newspeak.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hold a grudge? Me?!

Sitting across the table from the hubby at Mad Anthony's the other night, I saw a face on the TV screen that caused an immediate visceral reaction. Anger bubbled up from the depths of my being. I scowled. I may have even muttered a bad name.

The hubby saw who I was looking at and started laughing.

Who caused this reaction? Keith Olbermann? Bill Clinton? Hugo Chavez? Joel Osteen? No, no one you might expect. It was Gene Keady, former Purdue basketball coach.

When Colin was back at Purdue working on his master's degree, I supported the four of us by working as a waitress. I worked at a Damon's, where, in our Clubhouse, we had four large screen TV's. It was a fun place to work. The food was great. I was a good server and got good sections and made really, really good tips. I also had people who would request seats in my section. Unfortunately, one of those was Keady. (For the record, I don't think he cared who waited on him, but I usually had one of the two sections that had the best tables in the Clubhouse, and that's where he sat.)

The first time he sat in my section I was excited. He was with his wife and another couple. They ate and drank for hours. His wife smoked and I kept their glasses filled and their ashtrays emptied. The manager was comping their food, because, after all, he was Gene Keady. Usually a comped table meant an especially nice tip. Unless it was Keady. Then, as I discovered, it meant no tip.

So, they came in often. He would take up the best table, usually for the whole night. He and his wife were demanding. One time he left $5. When he sat in my section I usually lost about $25-30 that I usually made on that table on a weeknight.

Seems like it was just yesterday, not almost 20 years ago. Yep, I think I'm holding a grudge.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Here's the big question

Who will bail out Uncle Sam?

More on Indiana Planned Parenthood

Hoosier Access has a great update on the flouting of law by Planned Parenthood in Indiana, and the growing response to it.

I encourage everyone to use the link at Hoosier Access to contact the FSSA Secretary and ask them to suspend state payments to Planned parenthood.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy anniversary to my good friend Bill

One of the best friends that most of us have is celebrating an anniversary today. We take Bill for granted. But we would sure miss him if he were gone.

So for your reading pleasure, here's Bill in his own words:

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Book review: Garner on Language and Writing

Once again, I hit the jackpot with my Early Reviewer book from LibraryThing. For November I received Garner on Language and Writing by Bryan A. Garner.

I love well-written books on using the written word, and this is a good one. Although the main focus is on legal writing, the book is accessible and useful even for those of us who aren't legal scholars. And for those of us who enjoy reading about the law, it is doubly enjoyable. Garner encourages clarity and precision in writing, which is always good advice, whatever your field.

The large and well organized final chapter, "Recommended Sources on Language and Writing," has added many books to my wanted list, and makes this book even more of a must-have for those who are interested in good writing in general and legal writing in particular.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Smart Girl Politics

I've found another interesting place to connect. Smart Girl Politics is like Wittenberg Trail for conservative women.

Global warming, you say?

I just realized this morning that not everyone is on Facebook, and that's the only place that I posted the last couple of good pieces that I found dealing with global warming, or should I say, the lack thereof.

I really liked this line from this one: "But even though global warming is over, politicians are still trying to enact solutions to a non-existent problem. "

And then here's the one about the scientists dissenting against global warming orthodoxy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Some blog stuff

I'm trying to decide what to do with my blog.

It has never been very focused, but it is becoming less and less focused over time. It's certainly a fair reflection of it's owner! What I'm thinking that I may do is go back to blogging on my homeschooling blog, with a set posting schedule there, because I like to post about homeschooling, but not every day.

I may start a new blog for my book reviews and tracking my reading challenges.

That would leave this blog for everyday stuff and politics, with reference to books and homeschooling thrown in. I already do this with my genealogy blog.

So I'm thinking about it.

Conservative tweetings

I've mentioned that I had joined Twitter, but up to this point wasn't seeing much point in it. But tonight I found a point: Top Conservatives on Twitter. This fast-growing group is exactly the kind of grass-roots activity we need. They have started on Twitter, but the work they have in mind is the real, in-the-trenches activity that makes things happen.

So if you are on Twitter, check out #tcot. Join up. And tell them I sent you!

Oh, and be sure to follow me: Indiana_Jane. If you aren't on Twitter yet, sign up, and then do all of the things I mentioned above.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Reading challenge: 100+

I love this challenge. It's simple. Read at least 100 books in 2009.

Here are the rules:

1) You can join anytime as long as you don’t start reading your books prior to 2009.

2) This challenge is for 2009 only. The last day to have all your books read is December 31, 2009.

3) You can join anytime between now and December 31, 2009.

I'll be listing my books here. As I read books I will gray them out and put the date completed. I can hardly wait to get started!

1. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
2. Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster
3. The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper (have you read this EC?)
4. Albion's Seed by David Hackett Fisher
5. A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffery Archer

Reading challenge: Suspense and Thriller

When I saw that there was a Suspense and Thriller Challenge, I knew that I had to join. These are the kind of books that always show up and divert my attention from other books I plan to read. These are my favorites for a quick, can't-put-down read.

Rules of this challenge:

* Read TWELVE (12) different sub-genres of thrillers in 2009.

* You do NOT need to select your books ahead of time. Also, you may change as you go.

* Your books can crossover into other challenges.

The sub-genres are listed at the challenge site.

I'll be listing my books here.

1. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

2009 Reading Challenges: World Citizen

I've decided that I want to put a little more effort into my reading challenges this year so I'm searching out some different ones that are out there. I've picked a few that I'm going to do. The first is The World Citizen Challenge.

I am picking this one for several reasons. First, it is non-fiction, which I have only really started reading for pleasure during the past couple of years, but enjoy immensely. Second, it encompasses things like history, economics, culture, and politics from an international perspective. Those are things that I would be reading about, but it will help give me some focus. Third, it's only seven books and can fit in nicely with the others that I am doing.

I'll be listing my books here and will link to it in my sidebar.

1. The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper (need to figure out category)

Books, books, books

I've updated my reading challenge list again, but I forgot to add the books I read for about a month, so I have to try to remember what they were.

I've enjoyed having a kind of guide for my reading this year, even though I haven't completely followed it. (and the books that I haven't gotten to show up my mental laziness.) Is anyone taking a challenge or constructing a guide for your reading for this year? I'm trying to decide what I'm going to do, but I'm definitely going to do one. I'd love suggestions.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Blog roundup

Several of the blogs that I read have really good posts today, so just in case you haven't seen them I thought I'd share a few. Sort of a mini blog carnival!

Cheryl has a post about Obama's agenda pertaining to health care. I love this line: "I think a lot of people are going to wake up in a few years with a massive Obama hangover...."

Scott has this interesting bit of info and analysis.

Rebekah shares a childhood misunderstanding that is really a profound truth.

Evan writes about the disturbing changes to the Oxford University Press junior dictionary.

Finally, Spunky has an interesting post about what homeschool success is. I think this may generate its own blog post in the next couple of days.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Two question quiz

Saw this on a couple of friends' blogs and thought it looked like fun. Wow, is it on the money! So much so that I almost didn't put it up.

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Doris!


You are a Doris --

Dorises are warm, concerned, nurturing, and sensitive to other people's needs.

How to Get Along with Me

  • * Tell me that you appreciate me. Be specific.

  • * Share fun times with me.

  • * Take an interest in my problems, though I will probably try to focus on yours.

  • * Let me know that I am important and special to you.

  • * Be gentle if you decide to criticize me.

In Intimate Relationships

  • * Reassure me that I am interesting to you.

  • * Reassure me often that you love me.

  • * Tell me I'm attractive and that you're glad to be seen with me.

What I Like About Being a Doris

  • * being able to relate easily to people and to make friends

  • * knowing what people need and being able to make their lives better

  • * being generous, caring, and warm

  • * being sensitive to and perceptive about others' feelings

  • * being enthusiastic and fun-loving, and having a good sense of humor

What's Hard About Being a Doris

  • * not being able to say no

  • * having low self-esteem

  • * feeling drained from overdoing for others

  • * not doing things I really like to do for myself for fear of being selfish

  • * criticizing myself for not feeling as loving as I think I should

  • * being upset that others don't tune in to me as much as I tune in to them

  • * working so hard to be tactful and considerate that I suppress my real feelings

Dorises as Children Often

  • * are very sensitive to disapproval and criticism

  • * try hard to please their parents by being helpful and understanding

  • * are outwardly compliant

  • * are popular or try to be popular with other children

  • * act coy, precocious, or dramatic in order to get attention

  • * are clowns and jokers (the more extroverted Dorises), or quiet and shy (the more introverted Dorises)

Dorises as Parents

  • * are good listeners, love their children unconditionally, and are warm and encouraging (or suffer guilt if they aren't)

  • * are often playful with their children

  • * wonder: "Am I doing it right?" "Am I giving enough?" "Have I caused irreparable damage?"

  • * can become fiercely protective

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz
at HelloQuizzy

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Unschooling and being a Christian

I original wrote this in February 2006, but it was brought to mind by a conversation on another blog, and I realized that it wasn't on this blog. So I'm posting it here.

Just before my unplanned hiatus I received an email from a homeschool mom who wanted to know how I could square being an unschooler with being a Christian. This isn't the first time I've heard someone question whether the two are compatible, but it is the first time I've tried to come up with an answer.

So what does it mean to be a Christian parent? The simplest way for me to answer is to turn to the Table of Duties in my copy of Luther's Small Catechism. There I find these words:

Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Eph. 6, 4.

I fulfill my vocation as a Christian mother in many ways, including but not limited to having our children baptised, regularly attending services, and doing catechesis together. Part of our vocation as parents--whether or not we are Christians--is to see to the education of our children. We have chosen to homeschool, and, in the course of our homeschool journey, to unschool.

I think that some people equate unschooling with having no discipline. They assume that unschooled children are allowed to do as they please in all areas of life. There very likely are unschooling families where this is true. However, I have a number of unschoolers among my acquaintances who--like us--require quite a bit from our kids and are unquestionably in charge.

Our unschooling does color the way we live our lives. My children have a great deal of autonomy in choosing what they will read and how they will spend their time. We don't have set times for "English" or "social studies." They don't do assignments and worksheets. They spend lots of time doing exactly what they want to do and learning all the while.

But there are things that they have to do. They have to bathe and brush teeth daily. They have to do their share of the work around the house without me nagging. This includes dishes, laundry, bedrooms, their bathroom, and cat care.

They have to attend church services. (As yet, no one has complained about this.) If they make commitments--to a team, choir, job, etc.--they have to fulfill them.

If I ever see that unschooling is not working for one of my kids, we will do something else. Because I *am* ultimately in charge. Unschooling was my decision not theirs. But after over ten years, it is still working.

So, yes, the short answer is I do think it is compatible with being a Christian.

Cookie bakin' fool

I've been kind of knocked out this week by a cold and sinus infection, so--of course--I got really behind. I had a lot of cleaning that I wanted to do this week, and I wanted to get organized for Christmas. But most of all I needed to bake.

The Bach Collegium does it's Messiah Sing-along tomorrow, and I'm providing the "holiday cookies." So I got a couple of batches done yesterday, but I've been baking all day and I'll likely be baking all night. Later I'll post a picture of the chaos that is my kitchen.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Dealing with doubts

For me, the most difficult part of homeschooling has always been dealing with my own doubts. I can deal easily with the doubts of others, although those are rarer the longer we do this and the more outward success we have. Unfortunately--or perhaps, fortunately--my own doubts are not so easily silenced. So I start running through the questions that plague many of us:

Have we done enough? Have we done it the right way? Would (insert name here) have been better off in school? At least for high school? What are we doing????

Then I settle myself down and look at some facts. Fact one: All of my children can read complex material with good comprehension and they love to read. Fact two: All of my children know how to find information that they need. Fact three: All of my children are culturally literate. They understand and recognize allusions from history and literature of the past, but are also conversant with the present. Fact four: All of my children are learning the practical skills needed to live as adults. They can cook, sew on a button, balance a checkbook, check the oil and change a tire, grow food, unclog a toilet, do laundry, or paint the house.

Could we have followed a more structured path? Certainly. Could we have pushed more advanced academic subjects? Sure. Could I have instilled more of a desire for success in the eyes of the world? Without a doubt. But we haven't done those things. Do I wish we had? Sometimes, but not because I am unhappy with our results. Instead, it is because I sometimes get these worries about how things SHOULD be, generally because of something someone says.

I also know that even if I had done all of things, I would be having doubts. So we'll continue on, adjusting as we go, doing what seems to make sense for each of the kids. It won't be perfect. It might not even be the best. And I'll always second-guessing. But it's working for us.