Amazing Love Recipe

Need to take someone dinner, but don’t know when they’ll eat? Here’s a recipe for taco soup that tastes wonderful.

Can of ranch style beans (with any additives you want)
Can of cream of mushroom soup
Can of cream of chicken soup
Can of corn
Can of chicken
Can of rotel tomatoes
2 cans of chicken broth
bag of tortilla chips
package of shredded cheese

Heat all but last two ingredients. Longer cooking makes the soup spicier.
Dip soup out into bowls.
Top with broken chips and shredded cheese.

For dessert: Bag of refrigerator cookies. Or a thing of ice cream.

Amazing Love

My church’s email posted that I was dealing with the complications of my hysterectomy. (They hadn’t known originally that there were complications. R had just said the surgery was “more extensive than we had expected but it went well.”) That was Tuesday.

And I started feeling better again. (Should have known why!)

Wednesday evening I was wandering around the house, trying to think of something to fix for supper, when the doorbell rang.

A very sweet lady from church was there with a flowered sack containing all the makings for dinner. She came in with her broken ankle and carried the sack to the kitchen. She explained the procedure, although she’d already typed the recipe and stapled it to the bag, gave me hugs and limped out. Her husband, with an abcessed tooth, was waiting in the car for her. He had driven her over because she can’t drive yet.

I felt like a fraud. I was feeling better and they weren’t in good shape. Yet here they were, serving my family in such a wonderful way.

My husband asked, when he got home and heard the story, if I had asked them when I could bring them dinner. I hadn’t. I’m not that quick.

But that, serving when it’s hard, when it’s not fun, when you are not well, that is amazing love.

This woman is the MIL of Keith (with the brain melanoma) and the grandmother of Lincoln (of the cute pictures) for whom I asked you to pray in this post. The McCord’s family blog with details of the therapy and the baby is here.

Nice ring to it.

I read Language Log all the time. Sometimes I don’t understand it. (Yes, I took lingustics. No, I’m not a linguist.)

But this is what I liked best about the above-referenced post: ” those little changes that wear languages thin and loosen things and make things drop off our language like buttons off an old coat. ”

Can’t you just see the coat? Maybe a bright red hunting coat worn by our parents’ great-grandfather in Somerset (you have to read Living, and even then you might not get it)? And there it is, in the hall, on a peg. And it’s rich, bright, thick, lovely in many ways. And the button falls off.

What a rich metaphor! I loved it.

Note: I fully understood Geoffrey’s article on language degradation, including his account of what isn’t language degradation. I concur with him on that. (History of words being a hobby of mine. That and using archaic forms of words.)

The Anchoress Pushes My Button

I love reading the Anchoress. And when someone recently asked me for great reads on line, her blog was one I recommended highly.

Today, though, I think she’s wrong.

Here is the interesting question…when a life has been lived with a sense of deep mission – as in either Hamlet’s or Harry’s case – and that mission has been fulfilled, what is the purpose of the life, thereafter? If the 18 year old Harry (or a 20-something year old Hamlet) have accomplished their goal, the thing that has driven them and given their whole life meaning and purpose, are we supposed to believe they can ever rest easy in a sort of “busywork” retirement? Perhaps this is why monarchs, old generals, popes, entrepreneurs, mother-hung rock stars and CBS newsmen can never willingly retire and live out their days. Without their sense of mission, life has no thrust and parry, no vivacity, no purpose.

That’s one of the things she said. And my first thought was a screaming brain “NO!” This is the attitude that lets people give up on their lives too easily. This is the attitude that killed Romeo and Juliet. Unfortunately it is the attitude that kills many people, by their own hand.

Just because you have done one GREAT thing in your life, does not mean your life is over. It does not mean the meaning of your life is finished. (I don’t think she would have said that, though it seems to me to be what she said.)

So what if you’ve written the Great American Novel and you only had one in you? Does that mean your life is over? No. Maybe you living on will mean your great-grandchild will re-create the country through his/her Great American Video.

God takes the long view. I think we should try to do that more often.

It’s like Susanna Wesley. How many kids do you want? Your children are grown. Isn’t your life finished? But no. Her prayers for her children ended up influencing thousands. (I know it was John and Charles, but don’t you think Susanna’s prayers continued to influence their lives? I do.)

I think that we tend to give up life too easily in this culture. We have abortion. Giving up brand new life. We have assisted suicide. Giving up life when it is hard. We have suicide. Giving up life when we don’t like it.

And so I don’t think Harry should die. Okay, so he won’t be Superman every day. So what?

I think that Ken Osmond, from “Leave it to Beaver,” is a good example. He was a famous Hollywood kid star. (Who didn’t love to hate Eddie Haskell?) And he grew up. And he wasn’t a star anymore. So what did he do? Did he die? Did he whine and wine his life away? No. He became a police officer. It is possible that in that line of work he did far more good than he did as a star. It’s not as famous. It’s not as well paid. It’s not as “important” by the world’s definition of important. But it’s a good way to live a grown up life. A life of responsibility.

That’s not what I wrote on the Anchoress’ comments, though. You can only write so much there. And I wrote a lot. I’m not sure I have said it well enough yet, but here’s how I started saying it:

Neither Hamlet nor Harry’s life is over when the work of the prose is done. They are characters; that is true. So in that sense their life is over.

But Hamlet could have gone on to be a gracious king. He could have found love, raised children, been a model of how to overcome. Of course Shakespeare wrote the play as a tragedy, so he had to die. But if Hamlet were real, he wouldn’t die. It would tidy up his life too easily. The “big” challenges aren’t always the hardest. Sometimes living the life we’ve been given is the hardest.

And so I do not think that Harry should die. It goes too easily into the idea of suicide and death as the great redeemer. “I’ve finished my life’s work, so it’s time to die.” Or, “I’ve done the most important thing, so it’s time to die.”

No. Only Jesus, who actually knew his life’s work in the eternal plan, could say such and he only said it when someone else was killing him.

But if Harry dies, I think it will contribute to an easier acceptance of death by our culture. And I think we already have too easy of an acceptance. “Do not go gentle into that good night” is still a rallying cry we need to hear. “Death be not proud” is a rightful rebuke.

So I hope her “might” is a purposeful misleading, even if Harry has to go through his 20s figuring out what HE wants to do with his life, rather than doing what he has to do (go to Hogwarts) and doing what he needs to do (fight Voldemort). Yeah, it won’t be as exciting. But life isn’t always exciting.

Wow. Guess that was a button.

And I know there are people with more experience with suicides than I have. So I am not sure why this is such a button. But it did get pushed today.

Your children don’t make you happy.

And who the heck cares, since that’s not their job? There is a great article at Jewish World View.

Some of the great quotes:

Gilbert writes that psychologists have found that people are less happy when they are interacting with their children than when they are doing a variety of other activities, like eating or shopping.

Gee, do ya think?

In fact, “an act of parenting makes most people about as happy as an act of housework.”

I can see that. I can so see that. Except that instead of blowing up the vaccuum (my secret super-skill), I blow up.

Gilbert eventually explains that with kids it’s not about a transient notion of happiness, but transcendent abiding joy. In admitting that our children don’t necessarily bring us a daily dose of happiness, he writes: “… Rather than deny that fact, we should celebrate it. …

And the end of the above quote, which is the money quote for the article:

Our ability to love beyond all measure those who try our patience and weary our bones is at once our most noble and most human quality.

Biggest Challenge in Homeschooling.

Spunky Home School asks what is your biggest challenge in homeschooling and how did you overcome it. The comments make interesting reading.

I actually commented on three different challenges, based on where we were in the process, and how I got through them or overcame them or just made them not be a handicap anymore. Here, with more enlightening detail (because you shouldn’t have an entire post on someone else’s blog, don’t you know?), is my answer.

At the beginning my biggest challenge was having faith that I could do it.

The way to get through that was just by doing it. (Lots of prayer. Lots of tears. Lots of frustration. Lots of reading. Lots of advice.)

I didn’t think I was going to ever get over this. But when I put E in a private first grade class where we paid through the nose to have an abusive teacher who refused to let him excel, I decided I couldn’t do worse than she did. So I re-started. And kept going.

In the middle, my biggest challenge was getting my kids to work when they didn’t want to and I didn’t want them to badly enough to force them.

We got through that by having school year round. We always finished all the work by August 15. And they knew it meant that if they weren’t doing all their work, they’d be working all summer.

It wasn’t actually that big a deal to work two or three hours a day three or four days each week of the summer. They kind of liked it. It was better for them, too, because they are those kind of kids who forget stuff if they haven’t used it for six weeks. Doing school year round turned out to be better for all of us. I wasn’t as frustrated and they weren’t confused.

Towards the end (I have one son on dual credit at college and one son who is an 8th through 11th grader.), the problem has been doing the best I can do. I know the easy ways around things now and sometimes I go with those rather than the best ways.

To overcome that, I’ve had to tell myself, “This is M. He has not had all the good years of x that E did. So we really need to keep him on track by doing the best we can.”

It mostly works.

I have some things I want to do with M that didn’t work with E. And M’s high school work will last much longer than E’s. M started doing high school level history two years ago. (In public school he would have been in 5th grade then.) So he’s finished 11th grade history. What am I going to do with him? Well, we’re going to do more history in different ways.

And his reading is far beyond what a just completed 7th grader would have done. He read twelve biographies and twelve American novels last year. (That’s more than many people have ever done in a school year.) Plus we did some art, some folklore, some short stories, some poetry… And that was for literature class.

But he’s not going to go to college when he’s 14, probably, because his math skills are not as advanced as his brother’s. (His English is more advanced, but you have to have both.) I won’t need for him to go to college in order to get the math he needs. (The advanced math class at the teaching/tutoring homeschool place was dropped. So was the advanced science.) And I can teach him history and English equivalent to senior level in college.

I don’t expect to keep him at home THAT long. But at least till he’s 15 and probably 16. So that means that even though he has already completed 11th grade history, he’ll have three more years of history with me.

And that is what makes this newest challenge a true hurdle.

Finally Registered

My oldest son is finally registered for college.

We went on Monday for an appointment, but our counselor wasn’t in. (Emergency kept her out for an hour.) We finally gave up and went to someone else. But she insisted that I turn in his transcript before he was admitted. So that didn’t work. I hadn’t brought it. (It was why I had wanted to wait for the other counselor.)

Today I went in with all the paperwork and got him registered for his classes. He’ll be in Trig this summer and English and Precalculus in the fall. I also bought his trig book. $100. Ouch. Glad he’s not in two classes this summer.

I already have an extra copy of one of the books he’ll need in the fall, so we’ll be better off for that.

He’ll turn 15 the week summer school ends. Did I mention that?

You should have seen me dance

and strip off my clothes outside.

I went to lunch with my folks and was going out to feed the ants I’d seen on the way back in. But what I didn’t know was that what I saw was only the beginning. I was actually standing in an ant bed while dropping the poison.

I happened to look down at my shoe and saw a bunch of those little boogers running around. I actually started stepping out of my shoe when I felt a bite on the back of my leg.

I went running towards the side yard, screaming, “Turn on the water. Turn on the water.”

And I peeled off my jeans, after ditching my last shoe, and then got my socks off too.

Thankfully I was wearing bicycle shorts under the jeans, to keep my tummy comfortable.

Ants are very bad critters when they get riled. And for some reason standing in their beds and feeding them poison riles them something awful.

My dad said it was great because he got to spray me and I didn’t even complain.

What I’ll be missing

This fall I will be sitting at the college waiting for my 15 year old son to have his classes. It means I won’t be teaching on Fridays for the homeschool coop. I am so sad. I was going to be teaching an autobiography class. I was looking forward to it.

And Joanne Jacobs has a post today that talks about just what the kids will be missing as well.

I am so sorry for missing that. I was looking forward to it.

But mothering and homeschooling my own children has to be a priority over teaching other people’s. (Sometimes, though, it is hard to remember that.)

Kidney Donor

I wanted to say kidney doning, but I don’t think that’s a word. And I didn’t want “giving,” so I went with donor. Dynamist Blog has an interesting response to the National Kidney Foundation. (I hadn’t heard that the NKF had said this.) I agree with Dynamist, btw.

Kidney doning has been on my mind today.

1st- read an article in Texas Monthly about a donor who was surprised how many people tried to get her to change her mind. (I was not surprised.)

2nd- a friend whose husband died eventually, after his body having rejected a perfect match kidney, came over.

3rd- I served the friend dessert made by a friend who is on the kidney transplant list, having already rejected one kidney. She’s been having to go downtown 3x a week for dialysis.

If I live to be over 100 they probably won’t want my organs, but if I die in a car wreck or something, I want each and every organ that can possibly be used donated. I’ve said it. I’ve told everyone I know. Now I’ve told some folks I don’t know.

“Don’t take your organs to heaven. Heaven knows we need them here.”

Antarctica Used to be Warmer

National Geographic says that ancient seal remains reveal a warmer Antarctica.

The discovery, scientists say, is the first hard evidence for a warming period in the region between 2,300 and 1,100 years ago.

An earlier warming period, between 6,000 and 4,000 years ago, has been recognized by other researchers and is believed to have been widespread, at least throughout the Southern Hemisphere.

Global warming is real. But it isn’t because of human beings. It’s because of the globe.

More brothers, more gay?

Dr. Charles talks about the study that was all over the blogs yesterday, about having more brothers increasing the chance of a guy being gay.

Numbers included for those of who want to know what that really means. (5% as opposed to the “average” 3%.)

C-W v R&R

My youngest, who likes music, says that in Country-Western music, the guys are always singing of having been left by the women, but that in rock and roll, the women are always singing of being left by the men.

I guess you should be country, if you’re female. And be rock, if you’re male?

Would that make C-W the first goth? (Goth women tend to be bossy and primordinate in the relationship.)