29 April, 2008

April Family Birthdays

Well, at least half of them are represented here, anyway :-). My mom and siblings also have April birthdays, galore!

At Grandma Honey and Poppy's home - group birthday dinner for Hubster, our youngest ds (now 13) our only dd (17) and our niece.

Getting ready to set a temporary pet lizard free at ds's birthday party.

Filling water balloons

Water balloon fun!

I'm a little exhausted. It's been a busy month full of birthday cake and ice cream. Espcially the last ten days.

23 April, 2008

It's bluebonnet time

Garden update

Our garden groweth!

Living Sacrifices

Romans 12:1 (King James Version)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Romans 12 (NASB)

Dedicated Service
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

y en español:

Romanos 12:1

Sacrificios vivos
Por lo tanto, hermanos, tomando en cuenta la misericordia de Dios, les ruego que cada uno de ustedes, en adoración espiritual,[a] ofrezca su cuerpo como sacrificio vivo, *santo y agradable a Dios.

22 April, 2008

For Katie's Girls

...So that they can enjoy the beauty and details of the mourning dove. I was amazed at their "blue eyeshadow." They really are camping out on our patio/deck. That was a spectacular day of nature study for us.


19 April, 2008

Garden Progress

On this, Dread Pirate Sparsebeard's 45th birthday, we weeded and mulched our little garden!

Do you see the little Romas just in the center? There are three of them so far.

Earlier in the day, we had a Greek Feast with friends and some great conversation. What a nice way to cap off the day, in the garden at sunset. The full moon has now risen, and we are about to eat some dinner and have the rest of the birthday cake, complete with Bluebell Ice Cream, of course.

Happy weekend, all!

17 April, 2008

Smells so good...

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm ~

Storms are coming our way, but it sure smells good outside!

16 April, 2008

Just Waddlin' Through

I was trying to recount to a friend yesterday the different birds that visit our yard, which usually consists of just the standard ones: mockingbirds, grackles, cardinals, and sparrows, even dove (especially in the cold of February and March). I forgot all about the mallards that stop in every spring to dig in the puddles in the yard. They were here on Sunday, the same day I chanced to see the baby cardinal flying. You'll notice the marshy, grass at the back of our yard...it was still too wet to mow, thus more perfect for the ducks!

13 April, 2008

Cardinal family - learning to fly

This is what I was lucky blessed (hehe) to witness today:

12 April, 2008


We have quite a few cardinals that nest in our yard every year, since we have lots of bushes and bushy trees on our half-acre. I tried something new this spring ~ I put a basin of black sunflower seeds inside the bushes by the house, just outside of one of the bedroom windows. This way, the black birds / grackles do not steal the seeds, and the cardinals and sparrows can eat in safety. A friend asked today about the type of container or feeder I used. I simply used the base of a large terra cotta pot.

It turned out brilliantly, and we get a good show!

10 April, 2008

Divine Generosity

Well, once in a while, I actually do think what might be considered as controversial thoughts, and against my normal posting habits (and my post from last week), I will share one such thought-provoking article with you all.

The article is titled "An Open-Handed Gospel." Do read it if you want to be challenged. The writer, Richard Mouw, mentions the trend in many of today's Christian young adults being frustrated and put off by our "stingy" or "judgmental" attitudes. In fact, I have had similar conversations about these very issues with our oldest son, who graduated last spring and has moved to begin college in another state. He and young people that he meets are put off by things such as "Jesus Awareness Week" and other campus-type events put on by well-meaning groups, that come across as harsh, judgmental, and uncompassionate.

Know ahead of time that it is not talking about ecumenicalism or universalism, and neither am I!

I have much frustration with judgmentalism that I have seen and heard often in the past ten or so years. In fact, I sometimes want to distance myself from groups that, no matter how good their intentions are, create such a protective bubble. We need, instead, to be providing messages like the one in this article ALONG WITH our various 'Worldviews' courses, for healthy transition for our teens to manage the important balance between humanitarian conviction and balance it with the love of Christ and his Gospel.

If we don't do that, we will continue to lose our young people in droves, or we will continue to create judgmental and hostile evangelicals.

Look, I know the Lord said that we will be hated in the world b/c of the message of the Gospel of Christ, but we sure go the extra mile to ensure that they hate us by our lack of compassion or action; the truly hypocritical things that I do not believe Jesus would condone. The world has hi-jacked the Biblical message of lovingly reaching out and taking care of widows and orphans in our midst, of being good stewards of our blessings and our land. When did that happen, and why?? But I digress from the article, which mainly talks about the importance working together with others in religions different from our own. His emphasis is on the balance of civility in balance with the Gospel.

Mouw mentions the phenomenon among young-people by quoting a recent Barna survey which states:

"...evidence that many young people in the larger society think of evangelicals primarily as "judgmental" types, hostile toward folks in other religions and mean-spirited in our attitudes about homosexuality. Even many young evangelicals share some of these assessments of the older generation. A leader at an evangelical college said it this way: "A lot of our students worry about typical evangelical attitudes toward people who have different belief systems and lifestyles. It's not that they don't take the Bible's teachings seriously. It's just that they have gotten to know Muslims and gays, and they are embarrassed by the harsh spirit toward such folks that they see in the older generation. If we don't do something about this negative image soon, we could easily lose them for the evangelical cause."

Mouw also quotes Martin Marty, who made this observation in one of his books:

"'People today who are civil, Marty observed, often don't have very strong convictions. And people who have strong convictions often are not very civil.'

What we need, he said, is convicted civility. He notes that it is very difficult to keep the balance and difficult not to slip into the comfort of doing just one or the other. But he believes that the struggle to do both is the EXACT antidote to relativism and universalism is not a retreat into a stingy spirit. We must be clear in telling others about the hope that lies within us, the apostle Peter teaches; but he quickly adds that we must always do so "with gentleness and respect" (1 Pet. 3:15–16)."

I encourage you all to go read this article, and let me know what you think!

It is important issues such as these which prompt me to ask myself and my Hubby, "Are we making sure that in our home (and homeschool), we are preparing our teens to face and communicate with the larger world outside [of our Christian bubble] in a way that they will not crumple, but confidently embrace the conversation and the people with love and compassion, not with a stingy, judgmental approach?" I don't want them to feel like the heritage they came from is stingy, elite, and fake, thus throwing the truth and religious practice out the window. I must be humble within the discussion and realize my own weaknesses, and implore with them to show the love and compassion of Christ to all they meet, that is so important, just as the need to share the gospel is important. We need to do both.

There is value in meeting regularly with the body of Christ, but what if those one meets with regularly show no compassion and civility if they even take action to reach the lost. Too many times I hear this thinking, "Only God knows who the lost are, and since he is in charge of who is saved and who is not saved, then I don't need to worry about trying to reach all those people who are hurting or lost." *I* know what that message is trying to communicate theological, but will hurting people who SEE or HEAR such attitudes understand the theological talk?? No, but they will most certainly see the lack of action/compassion.

I want to close my post with a final quote from the article. One caveat is that my upbringing was neither Calvinistic nor Lutheran, but I still believe that there are mysteries that the Lord does not reveal to us, so am mostly in agreement with this paragraph,

"I can't speak for others who look for common ground with Roman Catholics" [or I believe other denominations of Christians, emphasis mine*], "but he certainly has me right: I am passionate in my agreement with Martin Luther on justification by faith alone. But do I believe that a person can be confused about this doctrine and still be saved? Absolutely. I wish that many of my Catholic friends would subscribe unambiguously to the views about salvation by grace alone that I hold preciously. But is their failure to do so a reason for me to doubt their salvation?"
Here the author of this article side clearly with Charles Hodge, Calvinist theologian from the 19th century, "To whomever Christ is God … Christ is a Saviour."

Whew. I'm glad I got that off my chest.


05 April, 2008

Yard and garden!

Spring is exploding around here!

underneath the wisteria

overwintered rosemary - buds and blossoms

my rose bush

swamp mallow


back row: (l-r) cilantro, jalapeño, strawberries, habañero,
middle row: spearmint, oregano, basil, parsley, thyme,
front: peppermint

Lettuces and cabbage, tomatoes and peppers toward the back

peppers and tomatoes

I've been having to clean under my fingernails again...and it feels good!


03 April, 2008

Blog spring cleaning

I've begun a little spring cleaning on the blog, taking off old links, rearranging a few things and such. I'm doing this as I can interspersed with working at Hubby's school, teaching, taking ds to football carpool daily now, and wrapping up a semester at our hs co-op.

Thank you to my handful of visitors who stop by every once in a while! Some don't post comments and that is fine, since you e-mail me ;-). The purpose of this blog is not to stir up controversy or complain about the state of things. I post to keep family members and friends up to date with our family. I also post to share my latest research in teaching a foreign language or Charlotte Mason, especially when CM is associated with foreign language learning. As I've stated before, the researchers and practitioners that I read now go back to M. Gouin and his research, just as CM did @ 100 years ago! So much of what these FL teachers talk about on a weekly basis on our TPRS teachers' list are these things:

~ Telling Back aka Narration
~ Dictado or Dictee aka Dictation
~ presenting a short list of new words at a time
~ learning to read in context
~ speaking in the target language in context, such as a nature walk in the target FL

So, that is my area of joy and research these days, besides teaching three or four Spanish classes each week and also homeschooling, I stay pretty busy and am not able to post as much as I'd like. But maybe that will change in just a few weeks!

One thing I have added is a list of blogs of some of the ladies in my local CM book club. I have given up on the international AO blogring, because I can't get the html update to work and can't really access my account at RingSurf. I may start over again fresh this summer, but right now, I just don't have that kind of time.

Thanks again for continuing to stop by~

Trying to keep things simple!