Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy New Year

We are in for an awesome year with wonderful conversation and no misunderstandings.
An example: December 31st 2008

We all went to prayer meeting then Jeremy, Evan and Deanne drove to the Bible School to see the New Year in. Delvin and Christy, Dan and MariJo, and all the youth got together to play games and nibble on snacks and otherwise have a glorious time.

Ellis, Jorgan, Krysta and I were rattling around in our huge suburban, shivering and shaking in the arctic air because no one had warmed the beast ahead of departure time. We were going home to snacks and a game of Authors and to welcome the New Year in.

I was huddled inside my coat like a turtle in its shell. Poked my head out and said, "I suppose Jon is flying about now." (Some one told me Jon was coming on Thursday January 1st.)

Ellis gave me a look that said, "You must have fallen and hit your head very hard. Are you okay?" He asked, "What did you say?"

The whole combination of look and voice brought out a truly nasty streak in me but I would be generous. Okay, maybe I mumbled and he really didn't hear me. I'll try again. "Jon is probably flying home now."

Another stare from Ellis -- like -- "you poor darling. What have you done to your head?"
Asked me again, "What did you say?"

The nasty streak rose up inside me. "Well, I suppose Jon decided to paddle across the ocean in a canoe this time."

Ellis, very slowly and distinctly, "Jon was at church tonight."

My turn to stare... "What?! I didn't see him!" Explanations and exclamations all around ...

My world is a pretty small cocoon some days.
At least I wasn't turning around and staring at the people on the back bench. *small comfort*

All my best wishes to you and yours for 2009!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Porch for Christmas

When we went through our books I found this poem. At the same time as Deanne was sorting through books, Jeremy and Evan were working on our porch. Now the porch has been on the *back burner* for many a month ... make that many a year...

Everyone was elated to see progress even though it was a bit unhandy to go up and down a step ladder to reach the basement. Jeremy hoped to take the stairs out one day and put them back in the next. Nature had other plans ... as in a couple of snow storms back to back. So Jeremy and Evan were plowing snow instead of working on our porch.

Oh well.

The Old Sailor
by A.A. Milne

There was once an old sailor my grandfather knew
Who had so many things which he wanted to do
That, whenever he thought it was time to begin,
He couldn't because of the state he was in.

He was shipwrecked, and lived on a island for weeks,
And he wanted a hat, and he wanted some breeks;
And he wanted some nets, or a line and some hooks
For the turtles and things which you read of in books.

And, thinking of this, he remembered a thing
Which he wanted (for water) and that was a spring;
And he thought that to talk to he'd look for, and keep
(If he found it) a goat, or some chickens and sheep.

Then, because of the weather, he wanted a hut
With a door (to come in by) which opened and shut
(With a jerk, which was useful if snakes were about),
And a very strong lock to keep savages out.

He began on the fish-hooks, and when he'd begun
He decided he couldn't because of the sun.
So he knew what he ought to begin with, and that
Was to find, or to make, a large sun-stopping hat.

He was making the hat with some leaves from a tree,
When he thought, "I'm as hot as a body can be,
And I've nothing to take for my terrible thirst;
So I'll look for a spring, and I'll look for it first."

Then he thought as he started, "Oh, dear and oh, dear!
I'll be lonely tomorrow with nobody here!"
So he made in his note-book a couple of notes:
"I must first find some chickens" and "No, I mean goats."

He had just seen a goat (which he knew by the shape)
When he thought, "But I must have boat for escape.
But a boat means a sail, which means needles and thread;
So I'd better sit down and make needles instead."

He began on a needle, but thought as he worked,
That, if this was an island where savages lurked,
Sitting safe in his hut he'd have nothing to fear,
Whereas now they might suddenly breathe in his ear!

So he thought of his hut ... and he thought of his boat,
And his hat and his breeks, and his chickens and goat,
And the hooks (for his food) and the spring (for his thirst) ...
But he never could think which he ought to do first.

And so in the end he did nothing at all,
But basked on the shingle wrapped up in a shawl.
And I think it was dreadful the way he behaved -
He did nothing but bask until he was saved!

Monday, January 12, 2009

History Lessons

"What are they teaching you in history these days, Billy?"

"The 1980s." ;)

from The Family Circus
Maybe the reason I didn't get any blogs written in December was because I was living back in the 90's with Barbara Bush.

I read Barbara Bush . . . A Memoir and Reflections . . . Life after the White House. My family was very polite and let me read anecdotes to them without plugging their ears and running from the room screaming, "No more! I don't want to hear another word."

Just reading the books Barbara Bush wrote inspires me in my relationships with my family. They (George and Barbara) are both so positive and admire their children and grandchildren. The books are full of family get togethers and all the fun they have.

... From congregating in their bedroom at 6:00 AM to read the papers and drink coffee to all the other fun things in between. Of course you'd need a big bedroom to have your family wandering in and out -- drinking coffee and lounging on the couch and resting their feet on the table.

It seems George W. had been out for an early morning run and came in, sat on the couch and stuck his feet up on the table. Barbara told him to take his feet off the table. George said, "Bar, he is THE president of the United States." He says she replied, "I don't care who he is . . . get your feet off the table!"

These books give an inside view of politics and life in Washington D.C. and stories about the Bush family from Barbara's perspective. If you need some books to read you'll find these are hilarious.

AND -- you can travel the world without taking your feet off your own coffee table.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

December Memories #2

Deanne went on the rampage and started sorting through books.

She did an amazing job and we are totally grateful to her.

This turned into a long drawn out process because cleaning our book shelves is like squeezing a balloon. When we clean one shelf extra books bulge out somewhere else.
The goal was to round up all the Phillip Keller books
all the Harold Bell Wright books...
the James Herriot books,
Laura Ingalls Wilder books,
Gene Stratton Porter,
Corrie ten Boom,
Eugenia Price,
Christmas Carol Kauffman,
Catherine Marshall,
Marjorie Holmes.
All the Bible study books and dictionaries
Bible Story Books
Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories

In the middle of all this chaos I found a quote that fit exactly . . .

If you cannot read all your books, at any rate . . . peer into them,
let them fall open where they will,
read from the first sentence that arrests the eye,
set them back on the shelves with your own hands,
arrange them on your own plan so that you at least know where they are.
Let them be your friends;
let them be your acquaintances.

Winston Churchill, 1874-1965

We've barely started this huge task. I'm thinking of the gardening books, old readers, craft books, song books, etc. etc. Maybe this is a tiny bit of comfort . . .

He has half the deed done who has made a beginning. --Horace

A little library, growing every year,
is an honorable part of a man's history.
It is a man's duty to have books. --Henry Ward Beecher

I cannot live without books. --Thomas Jefferson

These quotes describe the Harshbarger family.

December Memories #1

December went by *like the shuttle of the weaver*

We took a deep breath and it was gone. Here are some highlights beginning with . . .

A Field Trip in Austin MN December 8, 2008

We had a field trip yesterday---sat in the court room for about an hour listening and observing. Very interesting.
Be sure to have your insurance on your car up-to-date or they fine the socks off you. The judge was a very pleasant man and seemed understanding. He was kind and concerned and had a sense of humor. One gal was fined for littering.
"What did you throw out the car window?"
"A cigarette."
"Was it flaming?"
The police was a woman. She wrote on the ticket -- driver failed to use blinker when turning "because there was no one behind me." Driver was snippy and talked back to the officer and threw a cigarette out the window twice --
The judge asked, "Did you throw the cigarette out and then get out of the car and pick it up and throw it out again?"
The gal explained there was only one cigarette and she only threw it out once. "And the police threw the ticket in my lap and said, 'Have a nice day!' and I didn't think that was very respectful to just throw the ticket in my lap."
The judge didn't fine her for littering. "If it was shattered glass or metal objects that could harm another vehicle or if we had a drought it would be different." The whole court room was smiling.

Then on to the fire station. The main thing to prevent fires is a working fire alarm.
We need to get the batteries replaced in ours.
Fires caused by candles in Austin in a year: 1,000,000. That's amazing. Did I read that right? Double checked with Jorgan and that's what he remembered. So why do we burn candles? On second thought I'm wondering about statistics like that. Do they mean 1,000,000 candles were lit? That would be a lot of little fires.

Lunch at Culvers!

On to a tour of Cedar Valley. That is an amazing place... where handicapped and mentally challenged people can work and contribute to the community. Very cheery and everyone was happy and busy. Hormel gives them lots of work. We saw lots of Spam and cans of Chili and pouches of pepperoni. Lots of assembly lines. Some things are packaged in display boxes. Those boxes are shrink wrapped and shipped out again. Some people are paid by the hour--others by how many pieces they get done. Everyone gets a pay check. ;-) They are matched up with the right job for their skills. Cedar Valley is helping more than 200 people in Mower County.

This happened to us the other day. After eight o'clock on a school morning. I'm doing the mom thing, "Hurry up! Don't do this. Do that. Get out to the car!" ...being a crotchety old monster. Jorgan and Krysta are safely in the sub with everything they need. I storm up to the driver's side and open the door... step up on the icy running board and quicker than a sneeze I'm on my back looking up at the sky. Jorgan and Krysta's startled stares and open mouths are priceless. I start laughing like a hyena. They take time to ask, "Are you okay?" before they start laughing. I climb in and look at the clock. It's 8:18 A.M. ARGH! It seems like our brains and bodies are programmed to climb in that vehicle and start out at 8:18 A.M. every blinking morning. There is no way to get there on time when we leave that late. But at least we are laughing! It didn't hurt, fortunately... I was talking to my friend the other week. She said she was always late no matter what she did. She would determine to start early to get ready then she'd fritter away the extra time and still be late. -


Lo, how a rose e're blooming From tender stem hath sprung,
Of Jesse's lineage coming, As men of old have sung.
It came a flow'ret bright, Amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Isaiah 'twas foretold it, The rose I have in mind,
With Mary we behold it, The Virgin mother kind.
To show God's love aright She bore to them a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

This flower, whose fragrance tender With sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor The darkness everywhere.
True Man, yet very God, From sin and death He saves us
And lightens every load.

From the German
English version by Dr. Theodore Baker

Someone asked me what the rose is about... I looked in various books and asked Ellis. He looked too, and we are both puzzled. We thought we could look in Strong's concordance and find a scripture in Isaiah that specifically calls Jesus a rose. Does anyone know the history of this beautiful song?