29 December, 2006

Stormy, Rainy Day!

Youngest son Androcles and I are sipping peppermint mochas and watching the weather forcast, in between movies. The rest of our fine family are on their way home from a two-day hiking/camping trip they wanted to take. This made it possible for A. and me to visit old, best friends and for me to do a little cleaning out of my mug cabinet and my clothes wardrobe thingie. A little decluttering, as it were. I was working in about 15-20 minute increments, then moving on to something else. I still have more to do. I'm sure that I'm not alone in the need for after-Christmas decluttering!

It's almost New Year's Eve...What are you all doing to celebrate? Our whole family will be visiting with several sets of friends on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Alright, back to my son and the weather forecast!

27 December, 2006

part time work

Well, I've been hired by a homeschool mom friend of mine to stuff envelopes for metro pcs advertising. The nice thing about it is that 1) the kids get to help me out and earn money for their efforts, 2) we get to work at home in comfy clothes, 3) it will help us make ends meet each month, since insurance and other expenses have skyrocketed this past four months or so, 4) it will help us put money in an emergency fund again and if we can keep at it, a "fun" fund, as well.

At first, I was wondering how the driving would be, but the drive to pick up and drop off the materials is actually quite easy (though not real close), and our 13 yo ds is very motivated to come along and help out.Our 11 yo is a good helper when he wants to be, and our older two are pretty busy already. I think our dd will help when she runs out of babysitting money. She is without a consistent job now, as the family she sat for the most is trying to move closer to the Dad's workplace.

I'm still hopeful about having some consistent extra money coming in, and I'll let you all know how we do when co-op starts up again :-). I may want to pull my hair out then, but I hope we can juggle it all well and that the kids are motivated to keep at it. It is a good opportunity for them to learn some things about earning and saving money, keeping commitments, and being good stewards.

26 December, 2006

Christmas surprises

The Hubster read to us from Luke 2 in De Nyew Testament in Gullah language.

First of all, I have to mention that someone left us a nice Christmas card blessing over the weekend. Thank you, whoever you are!

Oh, my!! Thanks to my in-laws! This is what I REALLY wanted, but didn't ask for. Somehow, my fil just knew! He and my mil are professional photographers, btw.

Close-up of our new camera, (candid taken by our oldest son, on his Canon).

When it comes to college ball, we have a house divided (one decided Longhorns fan and two serious Sooners fans), but boy were these guys surprised with some college football gear they've been asking for :-). We got 'em beanies but later in the day, their Aunt and Uncle supplied them with caps and a hoodie or a vintage T-shirt of their favorite team. They were also happy to receive some Starbucks gift cards that Hubs and I and some friends gave them.

For family bonding through airsoft battles :-)

Happy 18th!

La Familia

Eighteen Candles

Gift cards and candles for presents

To our oldest son, who was four days early, way back all those years ago. He was supposed to be born in Boston, where we were living at that time. Alas, Hubster's mother was having serious health problems, so we made a last-minute decision to move to Texas...so he was born a Texan, instead of a cool, bohemian Bostonian. (He did keep the bohemian part, truth be told :-).

I bought lots of confetti poppers (I love confetti :-) and prepared the meal of his choice. J wanted homemade lasagna (with ground turkey) and Caesar salad. Dear daughter helped me mix up a yellow butter cake, complete with homemade chocolate butter-cream frosting for his birthday cake...and because we're never too old for sprinkles, there will be a lot of them all over the frosting. The drink of choice: tiny cups of espresso.

Happy Birthday!

Javamom of four, who always wanted to be a mom

24 December, 2006

Thanks and Merry Christmas!!

Thank you, ladies, for all your input. Hopefully the Booksncoffeehaus will function better, now! I wish you all a Blessed Christmas Day. If you are going to Christmas Eve services tonight, enjoy...and let God's Peace reign in your hearts and homes. Here are the lyrics from a song I sang in both worship services today. It fit in with the Advent theme of "Peace."


words and music by Darlene Zschech

He is here
The Saviour has been born
The One we've waited for
Surrounded by our praises

He is here
The promise of the King
To You our lives we bring
Let Your glory be revealed

Joy to the world
Peace to all who love Him
The Saviour has been born
And all of Heaven smiles

Glory to God
We bring an offering to You
Join with all the angels singing


Merry Christmas, y'all!!

23 December, 2006

Blog or browser troubles

Two or three of my visitors have let me know that they have trouble when visiting my blog. I'm wondering which browsers are the ones having trouble. One friend, who uses aol, used to have trouble, but her browser loads on my page just fine, now. I had messed with some of the html a month or two ago, and so I have removed those two small things. Maybe that will fix the problem. I really don't know much else about the template, but possibly swithcing to the new Blogger program will help alleviate any other possible troubles, as well.

Let me know if things seem to be working better on your own end, now! I'll also post a message to Blogger's help desk.

Our computer crashed about two weeks ago, and I noticed that made my photos here on the blog a little blurry. Thanks to my handy hubby and some upgrades in the hardware of my computer, we got that all worked out, now.

Thank you for stopping by and keeping up with us!


16 December, 2006


Isn't he adorable?

14 December, 2006

Nap time

We're watching one of my great nephews today. The boys wore him out and he fell asleep watching Veggie Tales.

13 December, 2006


I am currently putting together a syllabus for a class that I will be teaching next semester called "Word Feud." So on this relaxing day, when I should be decluttering my bedroom, I am instead researching word roots and games for said class. I found several interesting websites. Here is one with a giant list of Words, short phrases, and their explanations. Fun-with-words dot com is another fun one!

I would welcome any tips or references, if you have any to share! I also plan to use SAT prep word lists and word roots from various curriculae that I have in my home library from our 14 years (come January) of homeschooling.



"If knowledge means so much to us, 'What is knowledge?' the reader asks. We can give only a negative answer. Knowledge is not instruction, information, scholarship, a well-stored memory. It is passed, like the light of a torch, from mind to mind, and the flame can be kindled at original minds only. Thought, we know, breeds thought; it is as vital thought touches our minds that our ideas are vitalized, and out of our ideas comes our conduct of life."

~Charlotte Mason (vol. 6 page 303)

12 December, 2006

My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is

Charlotte Mason says toward the end of her volume Towards a Philosophy of Education'
(on the bottom of page 321):

"Only as he has been and is nourished upon books is a man able to "live his life." A great deal of mechanical labour is necessarily performed in solitude; the miner, the farm-labourer, cannot think all the time of the block he is hewing, the furrow he is ploughing; how good that he should be figuring to himself the trial scene in the Heart of Midlothian, the "high-jinks" in Guy Mannering, that his imagination should be playing with 'Ann Page' or 'Mrs. Quickly,' or that his labour goes the better "because his secret soul a holy strain repeats." People, working people, do these things. Many a one can say out of a rich experience, "My mind to me a kingdom is"; many a one cries with (Robert) Browning's 'Paracelsus,' "God! Thou art mind! Unto the master-mind, Mind should be precious. Spare my mind alone!" We know how "Have mynde" appears on the tiles paving the choir of St. Cross; but "mynde," like body, must have its meat."

I thought at first that she was referencing Shakespeare, but alas, my first guess wrong! It is just about the same time period, however. I think she references these as examples of being alone, BUT not that that is always a good thing. Handling things alone and being completely self sufficient is not a good thing, hence the references, I believe. she goes on to stress that "The mind must have its meat," then when one is alone working, the mind will be thinking of literary things, stories, even Holy things. Her main beef, pardon the pun, is that (as she says on page 330):

"...our fault, our exceeding great fault, is that we keep our own minds and the minds of our children shamefully underfed."

So here I include the whole poem by Sir Edward Dyer, d 1607
My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is

Sir Edward Dyer (d. 1607)

MY mind to me a kingdom is;
Such present joys therein I find,
That it excels all other bliss
That earth affords or grows by kind:
Though much I want that most would have, (5)
Yet still my mind forbids to crave.

No princely pomp, no wealthy store,
No force to win the victory,
No wily wit to salve a sore,
No shape to feed a loving eye; (10)
To none of these I yield as thrall;
For why? my mind doth serve for all.

I see how plenty surfeits oft,
And hasty climbers soon do fall;
I see that those which are aloft (15)
Mishap doth threaten most of all:
They get with toil, they keep with fear:
Such cares my mind could never bear.

Content I live, this is my stay;
I seek no more than may suffice; (20)
I press to bear no haughty sway;
Look, what I lack my mind supplies.
Lo, thus I triumph like a king,
Content with that my mind doth bring.

Some have too much, yet still do crave; (25)
I little have, and seek no more.
They are but poor, though much they have,
And I am rich with little store;
They poor, I rich; they beg, I give;
They lack, I leave; they pine, I live. (30)

I laugh not at another’s loss,
I grudge not at another’s gain;
No worldly waves my mind can toss;
My state at one doth still remain:
I fear no foe, I fawn no friend; (35)
I loathe not life, nor dread my end.

Some weigh their pleasure by their lust,
Their wisdom by their rage of will;
Their treasure is their only trust,
A cloakèd craft their store of skill; (40)
But all the pleasure that I find
Is to maintain a quiet mind.

My wealth is health and perfect ease,
My conscience clear my chief defence;
I neither seek by bribes to please, (45)
Nor by deceit to breed offence:
Thus do I live; thus will I die;
Would all did so as well as I!

I believe her (brief) references to these in her writing are negative references of how NOT to be. She does that a lot in her writing.

Now for the
Paracelsus reference.
(from the linked website above)

"Paracelsus is a study of intellectual pride and its humbling. The philosopher, conscious of his mission to arouse society with 'new revealings,' places entire confidence in his individual powers, and thereby repudiates both the guidance of tradition and the support of love, as personified by Festus and Michal. Festus repeatedly warns him of the danger of trying to do without human sympathy: 'How can that course be safe which from the first/ Produces carelessness to human love?'; and again: 'But do not cut yourself from human weal!' Paracelsus, however, sets off alone on his wanderings, strong in the conviction that he is sufficient unto himself and that ultimate truth has its seat in the depths of his inner consciousness.

Paracelsus is divided into five sections to suggest the stages in the hero's tragic progress. In the second part there begins for Paracelsus the betrayal by the intellect, although he continues to insist that this is the supreme faculy:

"God! Thou art mind! Unto the master-mind
"Mind should be precious.
Spare my mind alone!
All else I will endure. . . ""

Yet another stanza says:

"My nature cannot lose her first imprint;
I still must hoard and heap and class all truths
With one ulterior purpose: I must know!"

and then the realization that his failure may be attributable to pride of intellect:

"... were man all mind-he gains A station little enviable. From God[75/76]
Down to the lowest spirit ministrant,
Intelligence exists which casts our mind
Into immeasurable shade. No, no:
Love, hope, fear, faith-these make humanity;
These are its sign and note and character,
And these I have lost!"

This is one I need to explore more deeply. Makes my brain hurt sometimes :-)


08 December, 2006

OC Bookworm? Who, me?

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

You're probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people's grammatical mistakes make you insane.

Dedicated Reader

Literate Good Citizen

Book Snob


Fad Reader

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Hat tip ~ Dawn ;)

05 December, 2006

Great Thoughts Anticipate Great Works

My book club will finish reading Towards a Philosophy of Education by Charlotte M. Mason this month. It has taken twenty one months, reading a chapter per month but this has allowed us the time to let it settle deeply within; to be able to chew on it slowly and savor it. I have enjoyed digging deeper into the literary references and in the meaning of her words and oft-times her paragraph-long sentences. She was a Victorian/Edwardian-era Brit, afterall!

She writes:

"The Greeks believed that a training in the use and power of words was the chief part of education, recognising that if the thought fathers the word so does the word in turn father the thought. They concerned themselves with no language, ancient or modern, save their own, but of that they acquired a consummate appreciation.
With their words came great thoughts, expressed in whatever way the emergencies of the state called for--in wise laws, victorious battles, glorious
temples, sculpture, drama. For great thoughts anticipate great works; and these come only to a people conversant with the great thoughts that have been written and said."

Then she goes on to say, "In what strength did the youngest and greatest of our Premiers bring about the "revival of England"? He was fortified by illimitable reading, by a present sense of a thousand impossibilities that had been brought to pass––of a thousand things so wisely said that wise action was a necessary outcome. To say that we as a nation are suffering from our contemptuous depreciation of knowledge is to say that we scorn Letters, the proper vehicle of all knowledge."

~Charlotte Mason (1842-1923), Towards a Philosophy of Education, (Volume 6 page 316)

02 December, 2006

OU Wins!

Oklahoma Sooners 21, Nebraska 7

What a fantastic game for quarterback Paul Thompson and the OU defensive line--
Now it's on to the Fiesta Bowl! This is a nice reward for a hard-played, tough year for OU, including and most especially because of the Oregon game that the Refs took from OU. It will be good to see Adrienne Peterson back in the game again, although it seems that his injury may have enabled a lot of other young players to step up and play better. Maybe it was just good coaching. Who knows? I'm just a mom...who grew up in a household of OU fans, who married a Texan, who has three growing sons and at least ONE of them is an OU fan. I now have someone in my own home to watch the games with again! Yes!!

Sooner Javamom, who is a Genuine Okie from Muskogee

P.S. Go Cowboys...who beat the Giants 23-20 with one second left in the game!

29 November, 2006

The last Sunflowers

The arctic blast is arriving in TX! I cut a bunch of the last crop of small sunflowers that have continued to thrive in our warm TX autumn almost to December! I snipped them by the roadside tonight, while on the way back from dropping off my three teens and their little brother at youth group. I wanted to bring some sunshine into the house, since the temps dropped 30 degrees (from 78-48 just in the 30 minutes that I was out)! Tigga-ma-jig is checking them out. These are my favorite yellow wildflowers.

Off to sip some warm coffee after eating nachos.


26 November, 2006

Inspired by Coffee Art

While visiting nephews and their families this past week, we went to a beautiful coffee shop just outside of Tulsa. The atmosphere of this place, Nordaggio's, was simple but stunning, with hints of Old-World charm; Venetian Plaster and dark wood tables and leather couches. It also could have had something to do with their counter filled with multiple flavors of *real* Italian Ice...YUM!

Another charming characteristic of this cafe was the sepia-toned, framed watercolor art on the walls. You can visit Karen's online gallery, and purchase some of your own coffee art, or be inspired by it, as I am, to try your hand at making your own! Our youngest son immediately recognized the art, since we've spent time with some of Van Gogh's works this fall.

My favorites from Coffee-Art: Cafe Terrace, The Lady of Chocolat, and Mona Latte...and there is just something about Nighthawks (the real version by E. Hopper) that I have always liked. It reminds me of pre-dawn life in a big city, like Chicago or Boston.

Enjoy and get creative!


The Birds!

Remind anyone of Alfred Hitchcock's movie? These birds are flying into and out of our trees. Autumn in Texas is in full swing!

25 November, 2006

Thanksgiving Road Trip to OK

JK was reading, Ky crocheting, Drewski was content with his legos, and J was sleeping.

We had a lovely trip to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving holiday; lots of laughter, connecting, and fun. We stayed with one of my six nephews, and his wife and two sweet kiddos in their new home. They have a game room with a pool table, which was a big hit with my family...especially the Hubster! It was good to get to spend real time with them, which we've not gotten to do before. We got to meet some of my niece-in-law's family, meeting her sister, first. Her sis has an incredible teedy-bear of a dog, a Rottweiler named Diesel! He reminded me of the children's picture book character, Carl, by Alexandra Day. He really was a big sweetie.

On Thursday, we drove about 30 minutes away to visit my Mom and Dad for several hours, after the big, Thanksgiving meal. My parents were in need of some quiet time at home, so skipped out on the big meal this year, what with Mammaw passing on so recenlty and mom being quite ill with bronchitis. We had both sweet and funny conversation with them. I will treasure these memories.

We spent part of Friday with my oldest nephew and his family at their home, visiting over a lunch of Mazzio's pizza, watching Texas A & M beat the Longhorns. Then they took us to one of their local coffee shops, which was absolutely beautiful. It was almost a dollar pricier than Starbucks, but they had a small internet cafe and cherry-wood tables and chairs, old-world Venitian Plaster walls, and dark cherry-brown leather couches, as well as a double-sided fireplace. Being that it was 80 degrees in the Tulsa area, though, it was not lit.

Our daughter learned how to crochet a scarf, thanks to Aunt Brenda and cousin April. They were such a help to her, giving her visual instruction as well as some printed instructions from a scarf book. She is a hands-on learner, so having them there to work with her was priceless! It gave her a lot of confidence, and she is so excited about Christmas projects, now.

The little great nieces and nephews were a blast to watch and talk with. I will continue to update with more photos of our trip this weekend!

~ our dd Ky and great-niece T ~

~ Great Nephew J trying to fill Daddy's boots! ~

Drew, Buddy and Curious George admiring Grandma D's new music box that Papaw bought for her

The girlies fixing their hair


21 November, 2006

Thoughts on Thanksgiving

I awoke early this morning, earlier than early for *me* - 5:30 or so. I couldn't have really felt 'thankfulness' (even though I prayed with others for it on Sunday afternoon) for the most recent batch of hard times (otherwise known as life) until this morning.

God directed me to the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 16 for this morning's reading, and once again it is confirmed to me that *Nothing* is ordered by God without purpose. Such a comfort and a joy! With God, hard times can be followed by times of blessing.

In this passage, God is instructing the Israelites on the second major annual harvest festival that they are to celebrate, in which he is telling them to give freewill offerings (vs. 10) and *rejoice* before the Lord your God (vs. 11), you and your son and your daughter, your servants, the Levite...the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are among you....you shall remember that (vs. 12) you were a slave (yes, we can be enslaved to many things!).

Vs 14, he says "And you shall rejoice in your feast, you an your son and your daughter, etc...because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice.

This is a scene of the ultimate experience and outward expression of inward Thanksgiving, and I am thrilled that this morning, I have a similar sense of Thanksgiving, in my heart and home and life. That said, I am going to be careful that when family members start to wander from the Thanksgiving table, and my romantic expectation to be all deep, warm and fuzzy, rejoicing (dancing), may melt quickly before my (our?) eyes, as brothers, nephews, husband, sons...even *I myself* amble to the TV to watch football.

This was THE common occurance during my growing up
years, which we experience even as adults returning "home." BUT...I will treasure this passage in my heart. God has given me a very clear reminder, I am thankful before hand, and I will also lower my expectations on extended family events.

I awoke this morning with a sense of comfort and grattitude that I can feel thankful for hard times.

Love and Rich Blessings in HIM alone!


Autumn Favorites

Change is in the air, and that is a good thing. Here are some of my favorite little poems about this change of season, in the physical world, and in the spiritual.

"Autumn is the eternal corrective. It is ripeness and color and a time of
maturity; but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance. What man can stand with autumn on a hilltop and fail to see the span of his world and the meaning of the rolling hills that reach to the far horizon?"

~ Hal Borland

Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An' I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers.

~ Edgar A. Guest, Thanksgiving

Then, there's Louisa May Alcott's short story An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving
that I love to read. This site also has links to other Thanksgiving specialties and stories.


20 November, 2006

Sweet "Niephces"

Playing music together, checking out little instruments from Auntie's music basket

These are some photos from visiting family a few weeks back. These two "niephces," along with others, will all be together at Thanksgiving.

18 November, 2006

New Twist on Autumn tree photos

I think some of my Spanish students did this :-). What fun!

If you notice, they even got the mailbox and the (fake) fall flowers on the front porch!


16 November, 2006

Catching up

Homecoming was pretty fun, and I've been grading Spanish lessons and tests and preparing lesson plans and homework assignments like crazy. This year's Spanish curriculum is BJU Spanish I, and it is loaded, detailed, and keeps us all busy. It doesn't help that we have to try to cram 33 lessons into 25 or 26 weeks. That just goes against my philosophy of education! Ha! I'm doing everything that I can to make it work at its best for the majority of my (formerly 12--two moved-- currently 10) students.

This is the last Friday to meet at our co-op this year. I've worked 16 hours for this class so far this week, since I need to have all things caught up, corrections and everything graded and grades/labs, etc. averaged for grade cards this Friday.

My class and I will have a study fiesta in December to help them get through their coursework between semesters.

I am looking forward to our Thanksgiving Week break!! We will be visiting one of my nephews and his sweet little kids, then making the 1/2 hour-drive to spend some time with my parents. Then it's back home, since oldest son has to work.

Sending out prayers for safe travels and blessed Thanksgiving holidays for all my friends!


07 November, 2006

HomeSchool Homecoming :-)

Ever heard of one? It is kind of an oxymoron, isn't it? But our homeschool co-op is having one this weekend! Should be fun :-). This is an awesome group of kids and families. Alumni have been invited "home" and their are no mums required :-). We'll have flag football and a dance, plus a chaperoned afterparty for the seniors.

06 November, 2006


This is the last song we sang for Mammaw's funeral

There's a Stirring
Words and music by Annie Herring
a capella

Altos begin:

There's a stirring deep within me, could it be my time has come?

Add tenor:
When I see my Gracious Savior face to face when all is done.

Soprano and bass join in:
Is that His voice I am hearing, come away my precious one.

Is He calling me? Is He cal----ling me?


I will rise up, rise up,
Then I'll bow down
and bow down
and lay my
lay my crown
at His
at His wou-ounded feet.

Repeat first verse

:Repeat Refrain:

Then Fine, all parts, softly

There's a stir-ring deep with-in me....

Happy Blog Birthday to Me

The Booksncoffeehaus turned two this past weekend, and begins its third year of "production." It has been a nice way to simplify my writing in multiple places, being able to post my opinions, thoughts, ideas, photos, experiences, with family and friends all in one place. There is so much more that I'd like to write about these days. I am pretty opinionated, I just haven't had a lot of free time to formulate my arguments as well as I'd like in the past year. Being "Mom" and "Wifey" holds the higher place in line, and therefore, many of my thoughts go unposted or unpublished for now.

I just found out yesterday that my sister's daughter, a young mom to twins, has been diagnosed with Mitral Valve Prolapse, which is hereditary. That's a new wrinkle in life that I'll need to look into, because it may have come through my Mom or Dad's side of the family. It could explain many of the little nagging health symptoms several of us in the family have struggled with at various times over the last decade or two, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (yes, I have had bloodwork and gotten an official diagnosis, not a self-diagnosis!), heart "flutters," good-to-lowish blood pressure, spells of low energy or dizziness, slight scoliosis, headaches, all which I think can contribute to a frustrating general clutziness that I experience sometimes...along with other symptoms.

Life is interesting.


05 November, 2006

How to Express...

The gratitude I have for my family. I am truly blessed. Thank you to all for prayers on our behalf.

Mammaw's funeral - the honoring of her life - was special. The reunion with family, sweet. I will update this post as I am able, adding a photo or two.

Mammaw wanted my brothers to sing some of her favorite songs, but they were surprised by a couple of her choices. So, they asked me to help them...then we added other singing family members (including my nephew who just flew in from Iraq!) to the mix for a capella backup, and it was a special way to pay tribute to our Matriarch. We knew it would be difficult to get through it, but we sang from the back of the auditorium. We had about 90 minutes to rehearse and pull together the following songs:

"You Raise Me Up" sung most by Josh Groban. My brother and a nephew sang this, with our family choir backing them up.

"Wind Beneath My Wings." I sang this one, and another brother joined me part-way through as a duet, with family backup.

The chorus, as most are familiar, begins like this:

"Did you ever know that you're my hero,
You're everything I want to be-"

The words could not be more true!! She was a pretty great role model, and she did so much with her time here on Earth.

Then we all sang a four-part, a capella Annie Herring Song called "There's a Stirring."

It just felt right. She would have loved it.

She was an adorable, sassy lady who looked very much like Barbara Bush (really!) who would tell you exactly what she thought about anything. She loved shopping at Dillards and dressing like a lady. She collected music boxes, and I'd spend time listening to all of them as a small girl.

Mammaw's husband was once the mayor of their fair city and an elder in the church. He was an architect and designed church buildings and other structures. He loved modern architecture and had some futuristic designs kept in storage of funky, modernistic space-houses! My grandparents ran a dress shop back in the 60's and 70's named "Todd Fashions." I remember getting to pick out little girlie things from the shop, like scented powder with a powder puff and mitt or flowery bubble bath stuff. Mammaw also cooked for a local snack shop for teenagers. She made the best hamburgers, complete with sautéd, caramelized onions. I still make them just like she taught me. She also taught me how to make her (best-in the world!) tuna salad sandwiches and her favorite cole-slaw. I'm told that I'm a lot like her.

Photos of them from the 20's and 30's made us grandkids think that Grandad was a gangster, and that she'd been a flapper :-), that they were actually part of the witness protection program and changed their lives completely.

They lived in the same home for many decades; it is the only home I remember, besides seeing the one my mother grew up in in pictures, and when we'd drive by it on visits to their little city. The house that we live in now has a very similar floor plan to the way theirs used to be before they added on a huge kitchen to the back, and an extra room to the side. It's a little comforting in that sentimental way of just being "home."

As Mammaw's obit read, survivors include her four children and their spouses, 13 grandchildren (one, my favorite cousin, preceded her in death in a small plane crash exactly 13 years ago), 36 great-grandchildren, and 15 great-great grandchildren. What a legacy!

At the grave site on Saturday, the clouds rolled in and the winds had picked up substantially in the rural Norman, Oklahoma cemetery. After greeting and hugging some of my Aunts and Mom in the "tent," I realized that I was standing right before my late-favorite cousin's grave, and the urge came over me to place some of Mammaw's
flowers on Grant's grave, as I did when Grandad died not too many years ago. I said a prayer and patted his grave, and looked up and saw his parents, my Aunt and Uncle, and hugged on them. My cousin was an awesome guy who was working for the Senator of Oklahoma in Washington. I loved visiting him when we lived in Boston and he was working in D. C. For whatever God's reason, he was taken home before he turned 30, and someday we'll see him again.

Appropriately, the rain has arrived here, and I should sign off for now.

Hug your families, make amends with your loved ones and friends. Spend your time on Earth ~well.~ God has a reason and a purpose for your life. Don't squander it!


31 October, 2006

In bittersweet loss and in joy

Ah, time flies when things get busy...and life is full of surprises and stresses. My family is so very blessed, even amidst the stresses.

I got a call just a couple of hours ago from my sister, who was just visiting me for a long weekend last weekend.

It seems that my Mom's Mother in Oklahoma, who is a three-year-cancer survivor, has fallen this evening and the hospital couldn't wake her up. She had been doing pretty well
this year. But, I just got an update after the hospital ran tests. They say that she has had a massive stroke. She is 91 years old, and has survived a lot, but as soon as my Uncle makes it to the city tomorrow, my Mom and her sisters and brother are going to pull her life support...that should be Wednesday sometime. Pray that her passing is as if she were walking right into the Lord's loving arms. Pray that my Mom, Aunts and Uncle are comforted immediately, even though they've been preparing themselves for this possibility.

Please pray for travelling mercies as we head to the funeral, maybe on Friday, or perhaps on Saturday.

Bittersweet reunions will be the theme of the week, as we celebrate our mother/grandmother's life, and also celebrate the homecoming of my nephew, who is scheduled to be on American soil tomorrow (Wednesday) evening.

The whole family needs prayers for safe travel and comfort; the safety to feel the extremes of emotions that we will be sharing all week of sadness, joy at the storehouse of memories, and celebration of my grandmother's homegoing to be with our Lord, and Greg's homecoming to his wife, two sons, twenty cousins (just on my family's side :-), six nieces and nephews, two aunts (including me!), two uncles and a host of other extended relatives, who will be hugging his neck for his service to our country; thankful to have him home in our arms.

We don't grieve as those as those of this world, Praise be to God.


In Him who is able to do more than we can ask or imagine,


30 October, 2006

Neat opportunity

Our daughter, a sophomore, and our son, a senior (who is going to be out of town on a worldviews weekend campout) were invited to attend a special Portfolio Day field trip an area university this weekend. They were invited by another teacher, a friend of my husband.

It's funny timing, as I will be presenting a homeschooling workshop on Saturday morning on Internships, mentoring and apprenticeship opportunities for high schoolers and older.

What experiences do my readers have with their high school children and continuing education toward their future careers? DO share them with me!


29 October, 2006

Lots of Company!

The big weekend has come and gone. What a fun and precious time it was. The news on my nephew is that his unit got bumped on the timetable and flight home by a unit with a higher ranking officer. So he has still not left Baghdad, as far as we know. Family travelled to our area to stay overnight on the way to Ft. Hood for Greg's homecoming. We got the news after everyone had taken time off of work and made their reservations for accomodations near Ft. Hood. Think of how many hundreds of people had to cancel reservations and wait to make new ones? How does the army justify that? I realize that it is minor compared to other things they do...this is just a small piece of straw on the camel's back, but it doesn't mean it's not important.

So, while my brother and his family were here on their way to go see their son's /brother's/uncle's homecoming, we had a little family reunion and brunch out here at our home. One of the neatest things about our little reunion this time was that our sister got to be with us. She has always missed out on our little 4th of July celebrations, family parties for nephews while on leave or about to go back to Iraq, etc., because of her own family needs, obligations, and the fact that she lived so far from most of us.

My sister surprised me this week by coming into town with a friend who needed a driving companion for the long trip. The young friend of my niece had never been out of their small town, and did not want to travel alone. My sister arrived Wednesday night and just left this morning, around 8:30. She so needed this break, as she and her husband, a full-time minister, are helping their daughter raise their toddler twins, since their dad walked out on them and got himself a girlfriend before the twins were born. Recently, my sis and her family were able to move to west Texas, now she lives a lot closer geographically than she has in years.

We had a great time doing a lot of catching up. We have not seen each other for a year and a half, since our grandmother's 90th birthday party in the summer of 2005. She has not been able to visit us at our home in about 10 years, so this was a treat. She was able to read and to rest easy, knowing that her grandbabies and daughter were safe and well-taken care of.

We took a few pictures at our family brunch yesterday. I'll have to post one of all my siblings here. It is on my husband's desktop and not mine, so it will need to be transferred. (Sheila, you will enjoy seeing everyone!)

A couple of my other great-"niephces" came this time, ones I haven't seen since last Thanksgiving. My nephew's sweet daughter saw that her picture was up on my frig and said to me, wide-eyed, "you remembered us??" and I said "You better believe it!!" She was my friend all day long! What a doll. Being and aunt is pretty awesome. Being a Great-Auntie is even better!! I have 15 great-"niephces" and one on the way! We are a pretty close family, even if we don't all live close. Two of my brothers and some of their kids live near us. The oldest one of us lives a state away, as all most of his kids/grandkids. His son Greg is returning from Iraq and they have just moved back at Ft. Hood. My sis lives only 5 or so hours away, now.

The snack treat of the weekend: Chocolate No-Bake Cookies and cold milk or strong coffee.
This was a family staple when we were all young. Brings back good memories.

All together, we had 21 of our family members here yesterday. That still leaves 26 that weren't here with us :-), which doesn't include our Mom and Dad, who started it all!! Several of my kids' friends visited during the day. Two of my 24-ish yo nephews went out and played airsoft gun battles in the fields with some of my kiddos and their friends. They had a terrific time of it! We sustained two broken chairs, one broken porch swing, a few cuts and scuffs from the airsoft battle around an old, abandoned house, and two shy kitties who hid in the back room all day :-).

Later in the afternoon, I took the gals shopping at a sample outlet. By evening, I was driving my sister to the opposite side of the city to pick up a transitional bed for one of her grandbabies. Everyone else went to hear my brother's band play about 40 minutes away.

At the store, I got to practice my Spanish several times. I found a wonderful 12' x 12' hardback copy of a Christmas Book en español called Cuentos y Cantos de Navidad for only $7.90!

It was a full day, and a fulfilling weekend!
Yes, I am sooooo tired, and I ~DID~ get a great nap today.

Keep praying that Greg and his unit make it safely home, and all of you have a wonderful, blessed week.


18 October, 2006

Nephew home soon

I heard from my brother this morning, and my nephew is coming home soon! Prayers for safety for all the troops are appreciated; pray that they arrive home well.

They will be leaving Baghdad in 6 days (unless the Army changes their mind again)! He should be arriving stateside somewhere between next Thursday and Saturday!!!
In other news...remember the base you saw on fire last week on the news?? That was his base and he said the ammo depot was roughly 150 meters from his quaters. One of the explosions blew out his windows and ripped his door in half. He said he was thrown around like a rag doll and was pretty sore the next day. He also said one of the mortars flew about 10 feet over his head and he ran a 4.0 40 to his quarters . But, at least a this point he is doing well.
I just want to thank everyone for your prayers so far and just one more time ask you to continue to do so untill his feet touch American soil!! (hopefully a week from tomorrow!)


16 October, 2006

Manhattan Transfer

I am an old Manhattan Transfer fan (since 1980). A couple of weeks ago, I won tickets on our local Classical radio station to go see them in Fort Worth at the beautiful Bass Hall Performing Arts Center in Sundance Square (which happened to be designed by a friend of ours, and his architectural team). We had great seats on the floor, basically in the middle...perfect for taking in those incredible, tight, jazz and swing harmonies.

Hubby got back from his freshman class trip chaperoning just in time to zip on over to the concert with me, though it was quite a change from being in the desert all week long!

I have to say that they've still (mostly) got it! I had wondered. I have not seen them live since 1981, so you never know (grin).

They sang some of the old standards: Candy, Tuxedo Junction, Java Jive :-) my favorite
and of course, Birdland...my second favorite.

When I was in High School, we performed many of their songs in our own high school vocal jazz group, in competitions and for shows, even at World's of Fun and Silver Dollar City. Those were busy/fun times! Oh, the memories...

Yes, it was nice to know that they've still got it...

Javamom, doin' the Java Jive

Manhattan Transfer

I am an old Manhattan Transfer fan (since 1980). A couple of weeks ago, I won tickets on our local Classical radio station to go see them in Fort Worth at the beautiful Bass Hall Performing Arts Center in Sundance Square (which happened to be designed by a friend of ours, and his architectural team). We had great seats on the floor, basically in the middle...perfect for taking in those incredible, tight, jazz and swing harmonies.

Hubby got back from his freshman class trip chaperoning just in time to zip on over to the concert with me, though it was quite a change from being in the desert all week long!

I have to say that they've still (mostly) got it! I had wondered. I have not seen them live since 1981, so you never know (grin).

They sang some of the old standards: Candy, Tuxedo Junction, Java Jive :-) my favorite
and of course, Birdland...my second favorite.

When I was in High School, we performed many of their songs in our own high school vocal jazz group, in competitions and for shows, even at World's of Fun and Silver Dollar City. Those were busy/fun times! Oh, the memories...

Yes, it was nice to know that they've still got it...

Javamom, doin' the Java Jive, swing, and even a little "Old, Soft Shoe!"

12 October, 2006

Alphabet Meme

From my blog friend, Carol

The new assignment is to use every letter of the alphabet to describe something important or descriptive of my personality. Only use one word per letter.

A = auditory processor :-)
B = bookbinder
C = Charlotte Mason conversationalist (that's a 2-fer :-)
D = decorator
E = extroverted (but borderline introverted)
F = family
G = guarded
H = helpful
I = inquisitive
J = journaler
K = Keeper of the Home
L = laid back
M = mountain and other music appreciator
N = natural night owl
O = outdoors
P = philosopher
Q = questioning
R = respectfully reluctant
S = symphony
T = teacher of Spanish :-)
U = understanding
V = visual
W = wonder
X = x-treme sports (sometimes)
Y = yield
Z = zealous

11 October, 2006

A most gorgeous sunset

Describing the most beautiful but quick sunset that I've observed in months...

The clouds seemed to brush and swirl about the huge, burnt orange ball still peeping over the horizon. The background canvas was a brilliant light blue-ish teal. A globe of vibrant peachy-pink and subtle lilac hues glowed intensely from the center-most point, just above the now unseen sun...it *really* beamed an amazing light all its own on the horizon. It was the shortest, most brilliant sunset that I've gazed upon in so long. I wish that I'd have had a camera with me at 7:00 p.m. tonight, as I returned home from working with the cute, the interesting, and the busy "afterschool" kids.

I began and I ended my day with both a pink sunrise and a pink sunset, and it will be seared into my memory forever! It's not often that I free myself up (read: get up early enough ~snicker~) for the opportunity to observe both in one day. I tend to cash in on moments like these during camping/hiking trips or other travels.

What was your most lovely sunrise or sunset like? Why did you happend to see it? Was it planned or did it happen quite by accident?


Javamom, encouraging others to Take time to enjoy the sunrise/sunset

10 October, 2006

For Angela

The song you asked about in a previous post is on the Women of Faith Christmas album
and is track number 8. Hope this helps!! It is a beautiful song, and great for a trio :-)



07 October, 2006

Long time no update

As you can see, I've not been able to update in a couple of weeks, so my blog has become very boring! We are about to have a brief fall break, from our hs co-op. The homework and grading continues through this week, but we won't have classes this coming Friday.

I will, however, be covering my hubby's afterschool program at school...so I'll actually be busier than usual. I am going to be one tired chickadee next week, from the driving, as well as from the work.

Oldest son finished his Starbucks training and started his "real" work this past week. He loves it. Now I pray that he can juggle his responsibilities well, and keep up with his schoolwork with a good, humble attitude.

We saw a huge flock of butterflies clustered in the trees around sunset, during their regular, Autumn migration south, and even went back to the park another time this week to take friends to see them.

My parents will be in town next weekend, and we get to celbrate my Dad's 70th birthday (which is actually in November) with some of my brothers and their families while Mom and Dad are here.

I won free tickets to see Manhattan Transfer, now I'm wondering if it's going to work out for me to go and take one of my kids or friends with me, since Hubby cannot go on concert night.

So, my to do list looks like this this week:


~ Sing (Gals trio) for worship team this week
~ Run the afterschool program
~ follow up from parents of high school seniors meeting: make a phone call or two in planning for a couple of the activities for seniors (of which our son is one) in our co-op this year.
~ Edit and type up an old outline for new homeschoolers
~ Finish preparing speech to go along with above outline to be given on Oct. 18th
~ Send out quiz to my Spanish 1 class
~ grade Spanish 1 homework on Wednesday/Thursday
~ de junk a little in each room this week (15-30 minutes each day)
~ read for bookclub
~ shop, cook, clean-up and laundry as usual
~ celebrate a birthday

Things for which I am thankful:

~ anytime I get to see a humble spirit exhibited by loved ones, friends, or anyone in leadership
~ My family's efforts at learning to be patient with each other
~ the good friends that our kids have
~ cooler temperatures (well, it is staying in the 80's now, instead of the 90's!)
~ Bluebell icecream with caramel syrup!
~ good coffee
~ guitars and music
~ a van that runs well
~ grocery money :-)

24 September, 2006

Chores in Spanish

We had a very busy week, and a nice, relaxing weekend. I am fighting fall allergies, though, so I'm a little extra tired. I did make time to plan some Spanish lessons, in between church, symphony, and weekend movies.

Vamos a limpiar... - We're going to clean...
We will be making chore charts en Español, both at home and in my Jr. High homeschool co-op class. Es muy práctico, ¿no?

Here are some of the chores we will be using:

cortar el césped - to cut the grass
limpiar el cuarto - to clean the room
lavar la ropa - to wash the clothes
lavar el carro - to wash the car
hacer la cama - to make the bed
lavar los platos - to wash the dishes
secar los platos - to dry the dishes
lavar al perro - to wash the dog
planchar la ropa - to iron the clothing
pasar la aspiradora - to vacuum
pasar un trapo - to dust
preparar la cena - to prepare dinner
poner la mesa - to set the table
sacar al perro - to take out the dog
caminar con perro - to walk the dog

Sounds like a productive project, eh? The kids are making their own charts and doing their own work.

19 September, 2006

overheard about music in our CM bookclub

When reading a score of sheet music or in a hymnal, you want to know what key the song is in so that you'll know what key to play or what pitch to blow on the pitch pipe, or which tuning fork to use. I grew up singing hymns without instruments, and by shape notes. I knew that I was an alto by the age of 8. I was in multiple singing groups and classes growing up!

I was also in band from the fourth grade through college, playing the flute and bassoon, (and as an adult, vocals and percussion instruments with a band). This is a memory trick that was taught to me by my dad, who also taught whole youth groups to sight sing (a capella).

If there is one sharp in the key signature, the song is in G
If there are two sharps, the song is in D
three sharps - A
four sharps - E
five sharps - B
six sharps - F#
seven sharps - C#

So the memory trick sentnece is: God Destroyed All Earth By Flood, Charlie.

(do note that the sharps as they appear in order in the key sig. from left to right are: F#,C#,G#,D#,A#,E#,B# and you'd have to have a different device to remember that by)

For the flats in the key signature~If there is only:
One flat - the key of the song is in F
two flats - Bb
three flats - Eb
four flats - Ab
five flats - Db
six flats - Gb
seven flats - Cb

So the memory sentence is: For Being Evil And Disobeying God, Charlie.

(note that the flats appear in this order from left to right in the key sig. Bb,Eb,Ab,Db,Gb,Cb,Fb)

Of course, the key of C has no flats and no sharps. That you just have to remember on your own.

A neat interactive website for testing your key signature skills is

(let me know if you see typos.)


13 September, 2006

androcles & the lion

Too sweet for words!

...and it's a good thing, too...because this sweet child is the reason I got this:

In my 18 years of being a Mom, I must say that this is the worst one of these I've ever sustained. That is saying a lot, with three boys (four kids) in the house. Can you venture a guess as to the cause of this injury?? Virtual Toblerone (with hazelnuts!) to the first person who gets it right. Maria, will it be you??

09 September, 2006

Finally, The newest Mandolin!

The Dread Pirate Sparsebeard has another hobby, besides chile peppers. He plays the guitar and mandolin, and enjoys woodworking. He cuts, planes, sands, glues, bends, files, fashions, trims beautiful scrap wood, cuts inlay, and makes homemade instruments in his spare time. This is his newest finished project. He played it at the nursing home with his ChileMen buddies. Their band is called "Podnas," like 'Partners,' but with the play on green chiles and jalapeño peppers using the word "pod" in part of their name.

The mandolin, his fifth one to be exact, is made of Bois d'arc wood back and neck, Spruce top and a Mesquite wood fingerboard. The fret markers and headstock inlay are cut from the bones of an alligator that expired in Hurricane Rita last year near Galveston. The shooting star inlay piece on the headstock is out of ebony. (click to enlarge for better detail).

It has a lovely, rich sound that just resonates through the room!

08 September, 2006

~ Chile Men ~

Here are some photos of The Chile Men from their trip to bring back toe-sacks filled to the brim with Big Jim and Sandia from New Mexico. In all the photos, Hubby is on the far left. Mr. Medina, who is the patriarch of Medina Farms, is in the middle.

The chiles were perfect this year, as the temps were cool and the men had overcast skies the whole drive home. This kept the hundreds of pounds of chile cooler and fresher in the trailer.

I love the smell of the air when fresh Hatch Big Jim or Sandia chiles are being roasted on the grill!

04 September, 2006

Five Things...

I've seen this one on several sites, and decided to play along. It has been finished and waiting in another program for several days. I decided to post it on a day when I am busy prepping for my Spanish classes, not having time for any other writing at the moment.

I'm sure this reveals some very important things about me and my family. ~Smirk~

5 things in my freezer:

1. two 1/3 full smoothies! I assume someone was too full to finish them.

2. green chiles

3. extra coffee

4. brussels sprouts

5. ice and ice packs

5 things in my closet:

1. hidden gifts

2. too many clothes and old purses

3. my wedding dress

4. a shoe rack w/ shoes

5. some cool fabric

5 things in my car:

1. my tambourine and shaker, printed music

2. a small trash bag and mini-vac (b/c we have messy boys, and I'm messy, too)

3. bags of outgrown clothes, etc., for the second-hand shop (b/c we have boys)

4. a lint roller (b/c we have two cats)

5. some of my teens' mix CD's (b/c they don't want to listen to talk radio :-)

5 things in my purse:

1. Tiger Balm for my stiff neck and shoulders

2. an ink pen of turned bois d'arc wood made by my hubby

3. Neutrogena Moisture Shine lip soother, with spf 20; I don't wear lipstick

4. a short grocery list and receipt

5. a couple of my bookbinding tools

5 things in my wallet:

1. no cash or debit card, but lots of coinage

2. library card

3. driver's license

4. symphony ticket stub

5. my teacher ID card teacher discount cards

Five things on my computer desk:

1. Müsli cereal box from Estonia (finished up the last bowlful at my desk. My niece, who used to live there, brought it to me from her last trip there.)

2. a slide whistle

3. Plutarch, and a whole stack of books

4. Don Quijote (or maybe Cervantes?) resting up against a stack of books figurine / box from Southern México

5. coffee mug filled with pens/pencils

people I tag:

Feel free to participate in this one, if you'd like! No pressure. I don't want to encourage anyone to waste precious time!