“I am just the first drop of water in the village,” she says quietly. “I believe it will rain after me.”

so says a modern day hero, a speaker of truth, a survivor of horror, an illiterate woman who has dictated her story.

Read about In the Name of Honor at Gates of Vienna.

Men Tell It like they want it

File It Under gives titles to men’s articles by men for women.

Example: “A Man’s Guide To Dealing With Your Feelings: Bottle That Crap Up”

Go read it. It’s funny.

Honey, did it hurt when you shaved with your razor after I used it to shave my legs? And if so, why?

200 Calories

Wise Geek, don’t you love the title?, has a 200 Calorie pictorial essay. I am sad that a bagel is more caloric than a doughnut. Who wants to eat 200 calories of celery? I was surprised at how little cornmeal and flour it took to make 200 calories.

Go view it.

Clay bullets

1,000 of them were created to help in a war. They were made to be used in slingshots. But the walls came down first. 5500 years ago.

I am sure I could use this in Dielli. Surely I could.

Read the whole thing here.


Martha’s funeral is today. She’s gone home and is happy and pain free for the first time in years. But she leaves behind a husband and at least one son who think that they will never see her again. I know she’ll be joining the cloud of witnesses and, if we can impact the world we leave behind, be striving to bring those she loves closer to the light.

I made sandwiches for the funeral, twenty-eight of them. And I looked at her memorial card. She looks so young in the picture they chose and so much like her last remaining sister.

Her other sister died in October.

I am especially said for Melissa, the last of the three, and for her family who do not know that “…Through the lens of the Resurrection, life is not bounded by death — and thus we achieve our freedom in no longer being afraid of it. For while all of us will die one day, our understanding of death changes because of the Resurrection: death becomes little more than the closing of one chapter of our lives and the beginning of another (Ignatius).”

No more July 6th celebrations of birthdays, except for Pres. Bush of course.

Hey, Martha! Tell Donna and Be I said hello. Andy, too, if you see him. My grandparents all.

A re-run

Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber is an expansion, and a significant change, of a story from his moon series. It reminds me of Heirs of Empire.

Heirs of Empire story, at least the half related to this: Five folks end up on a planet where there is military hardware in the sky and the people of the planet have been taught that space farers are demons. The planet’s inhabitants have spent thousands of years with water and wind technology only, though they have re-developed semaphores, muskets, and cannon. Only those developments which pass the Church’s requirements are allowed to be put into production. The five have to bring knowledge of space to a people whose religion, made up by their ancestors as a reaction to a plague that spanned the universe, requires their death. They start a religious war, all unplanned, and explain the facts to a planetful of people. After that, they send a message home to their families who are under the impression that they, like the other thousands on their ship, are dead.

Off Armageddon Reef story: Aliens, not a plague, destroy most of the human universe. The leaders of Operation Ark declare themselves Archangels (ark angels, get it?) and start a new religion. They leave military hardware in the sky to destroy something– probably any techology past a certain and unknown point. They don’t just lie to the people they’ve brought to the planet, they give them false memories. They murder those who use electricity. And so for 900 years the planet has been using wind and water technology, because nothing else has been able to be developed under the Church’s proscriptions.

The main character is not five kids, but a dead woman who uses her brain patterns in an AI, kind of, to create someone who can help the planet, a guy named Merlin. He goes to the one group on the planet who don’t have serfs or slaves and keeps their heir from being assassinated. And, as above, a religious war starts.

Heirs of Empire was short, had two stories in the novel, and resolved the whole situation in one book. Off Armageddon Reef is a single plotline, twice as long-at least- as Heirs of Empire, and just begins the religious war.

Heirs of Empire has two romances in it. Off Armageddon Reef has none.

Heirs of Empire’s folks thought the kids were dead. The hero in Off Armageddon Reef is dead. Furthermore she’s been dead for 900 years.

Heirs of Empire brought an entire planetful of people back into the human empire. Off Armageddon Reef’s planet is the last of the human empire and might have to fight off the aliens who’ve been pillaging the universe for 10,000+ years if they actually do get technology back.

Heirs of Empire can use the prince’s ability to turn off the military hardware in the sky. Off Armageddon Reef’s military hardware was made to NOT be shut down by anyone.

We’ll see how much the plot diverges as the series goes on… But it’s sad that the main character of Off Armageddon Reef is dead.

Patricia Briggs

I haven’t read her books, but I may have to. When I looked up Wen Spencer, her name was on the “also purchased.” When I looked up Linnae Sinclair, her name was on the “also purchased.” And when I looked up Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, her name was on the “also purchased.” But looking at them in Amazon, they don’t look interesting. I may have to hit a bookstore and look one up.

Gabriel’s Ghost

Gabriel’s Ghost by Linnae Sinclair was an interesting book. I liked it. It had some minor twists I wasn’t expecting. I liked Accidental Goddess better. But this was a good read.

After a decade of piloting interstellar patrol ships, former captain Chasidah Bergren, onetime pride of the Sixth Fleet, finds herself court-martialed for a crime she didn’t commit–and shipped off to a remote prison planet from which no one ever escapes. But when she kills a brutal guard in an act of self-defense, someone even more dangerous emerges from the shadows.

Gabriel Sullivan–alpha mercenary, smuggler, and rogue–is supposed to be dead. Yet now this seductive ghost from Chaz’s past is offering her a ticket to freedom–for a price. Someone in the Empire is secretly breeding jukors: vicious and uncontrollable killing machines that have long been outlawed. Gabriel needs Chaz to help him stop the practice before it decimates Imperial space. The mission means putting their lives on the line–but the tensions that heat up between them may be the riskiest part of all.

Accidental Goddess

Accidental Goddess by Linnae Sinclair was a really good book.

It has time travel, aliens, first contact rules, romance, pool, deception, sneak attacks, murder, mayhem, and war. Fascinating stuff. I love the main character. She is very believable.

Raheiran Special Forces captain Gillaine Davré has just woken up in some unknown space way station, wondering where the last three hundred years have gone. The last thing she remembers is her ship being attacked. Now it seems that while she was time-traveling, she was ordained a goddess…. Gillaine’s only hope of survival rests with dangerously seductive Admiral Mack Makarian, who suspects her of being a smuggler—or worse. But he can’t begin to imagine the full extent of it. For Gillaine is now Lady Kiasidira, holy icon to countless believers, including Mack—a man who inspires feelings in her that are far from saintly…feelings she knows are mutual. But when their flirtation is interrupted by a treacherous enemy from the past, Gillaine’s secret—and secret desires—could destroy them both….

The World

goes on even when I am not paying attention.

Martha died on Tuesday and I found out today. It’s 1 am on Thursday. That’s a while. I pray for Melissa and her family.

Louis was laid off today. I wasn’t able to talk to Angie. I don’t even think I prayed. I’ll do that now.

Sherry is pregnant, feeling sick, and all three of her kids have Dengue Fever. Plus they’re running from a labor strike, of all things. 30 people have been killed and all the missionaries have been evacuated. Twice. Yet there’s little in the news. Most is from the Missions Network News.

But things aren’t all bad.

Jenny’s started her own dance studio and has four classes that are totally full. I’m getting pictures of Eve in the mail soon. (I hope they’re new ones. I’ve seen the old ones at her old office.)

My family is all good. Which is a miracle right there. Miracle. Thank you, God.

Who are we and how do we know?

Who are we but the memories we keep? That, I think, is why Alzheimer’s fills me with such fear. Who will I be if I can no longer remember me?

In my best moments I know that it is much the same question that I asked of God when he was asking me to let go of my anger. So much of who I was circled around and was rooted in my anger. If I let go of my anger, who would I be? I know I am a better person for having let go of the anger. Hopefully, if God calls my spirit and my mind home and leaves my body up and functioning, my family will remember that I am a better person… because I will be with Jesus and we will all be changed.

Motherhood and Romance

“I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child. I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.”

So said an email on a mother thinking about her daughter and motherhood. The email is so right.

One of my dearest memories of R with the babies is him throwing up changing a diaper, because he kept changing it.

And then there was the time that E pulled off his very poopy diaper and spread it all over himself, his crib, and the wall. The only clean thing in sight was his thumb. (Don’t think about it.) Because I was pregant with M and throwing up, R got to clean up the baby and the bed and the room. He did a great job of it too. It is another of those dear memories of R that makes me love him more.

Ice Storm

It’s not here. It’s cold and raining, but there’s not any ice on the streets. But for a week we’ve been hearing of an arctic cold front that is coming. And we’ve heard of hundreds of thousands of people without electricity.

So, in preparation for the big storm, schools here are closed for two days. My college closed after I had already started class and no one told us for over an hour. So I almost had a full class!

But I had no second class.

I hope the ice storm isn’t coming here. We’re not prepared. Our wood is outside soaking in the rain instead of dry in the garage as it has been for two years. (R decided it needed to be moved for some reason I don’t understand.)

The meteorologist’s report says ice pellets or sleet are only likely until 9 am. I’m thinking we missed the big disaster.

Thank you, God.

Ordinary Heroes

Scott Turow’s novel Ordinary Heroes was on my shelf by mistake. I didn’t realize at first it was a novel and I thought it was about the war today. When I opened it and began reading, it was clear it was WWII, but since I have always been a big “fan” (Should anyone call themselves a fan of a war? What word should I use instead? I have always been fascinated by the war.), I read it anyway.

At one point, talking of General Teedle and his horrific abuse, according to Bonner, of the men in his command, I was nauseated and thought I would put the book aside. Up to that point I had thought it was a true story. It says it is a novel on the cover, but I rarely read the covers of books. As I went to put it away, never to finish the story in my dismay at the tale, I saw the book says it is a novel. I still wasn’t sure and went and read the author’s bio. It is a novel.

That is not to say that what happened during the war at different times and to millions of people isn’t just as bad as what Gen. Teedle was said to be doing, but the idea of an officer using and abusing his men in the way described in the book… It turned my stomach.

The book is an excellent story, not only of the war but of a son’s search for understanding of his father. And I think there is a lot of truth in the story, even if the story itself is not true.

It’s a good book. I would recommend it.

Speaking of Reading

I mentioned in some post down there what three books I still remember from high school are. (Here I Stand: A Biography of Martin Luther, Nevil Shute’s An Old Captivity, and Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart. )

The ones I remember from college are:
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank. I taught this one to tenth graders. I re-read it in Europe and passed it on to others to read. E has read it as well.

The ones I remember from Europe are:
Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (which I still want for Christmas. Maybe in 2007?)
The Celebration of Discipline These were amazingly relevant to our lives. R read it later and we have given away multiple copies.
and the whole Narnia series from C.S. Lewis. That was the first time I had read it.

Grad school:
This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti. It’ll bring you to your knees wanting to pray.


Last Wednesday I had lunch with Chuck Norris, Neal Bush, and Michael Reagan. And 190 other people.

Chuck Norris’ best story, about his Kickstart program here in Houston through which 40,000 kids that are “at risk” have taken martial arts, is this:

X was making Ds in sixth grade.
He made all Cs in seventh grade.
In eighth grade he made all Bs.
He made straight As throughout high school and got a full ride scholarship to MIT.

Yahoo for Kickstart and the kids that make it through!

Mexican Steak

I made Mexican steak Friday night. My husband said I wasn’t thinking of him because I made the house stink. My eldest son said he would rather smell poop than M.S. My dad came and took some of it home so my sister could eat it. She climbed his eight foot fence to get into his house, since she’d forgotten her key. She even dug in the dirt trying to find the hidden key, but when she couldn’t, over she went.

My dad heard her in the kitchen and when she ran out to the car, he got out of bed, took the Mexican steak and put it in the bathroom. Then he went and got back in bed and put his CPAP mask on. She came looking for the food. He said she was almost crying when she thought the dog ate it.

Some of us like Mexican steak.

Did you like high school?

I loved it.

I went to a smallish high school, 800 at its peak, and was the new kid in town as a freshman. The school was known for its academic excellence and I enjoyed the work.

I had friends in different groups, though not among the jocks. But even the jocks had B averages and went on to Harvard or Yale. (They were legacy students.)

There were embarrassing moments.

I wrote a bunch of poetry about the jock I had a crush on and our poetry notebooks were shared around multiple classes. I heard about it after the second class had spent their time giggling through it. I went to the class and took it away. Since I had turned in two poetry notebooks the teacher was okay with that. –Why hadn’t he told us he was going to pass those around? –It was embarrassing for me, but more embarrassing for the jock.

I was asked to the prom by a guy who had told me he sold marijuana to elementary school children so that they could “make their own choices.” He told people he was going to ask me. I knew ahead of time, because a girl in one of his classes left on a bathroom break to tell one of my friends who brought her to me immediately. I ditched class to avoid having to say no. (That wasn’t hard, since I had been given permission to have two classes at the same time. I skipped the one he was in and went to my other one.) That didn’t save me. He found me in the hall elsewhere. I said no. Then on the late bus home I was sitting in the front and a guy in the back yells out, “Hey, are you going to the prom?” We had a loud conversation. Only when he asked why I said no, did the others on the bus finally tell him to hush. So I’m sure my inviter was embarrassed by that fiasco more than I was.

One day David and I ran into each other in the hall after school was over. Okay, we walked by each other. And we were both wearing the exact same pair of pants. They were yellow and blue plaid. I had bought mine in North Carolina the year before. He had bought his new in New York city. Neither one of us ever wore those pants again.

What did I like about high school?

I had friends- Leslie, JoAnne, Guy, some others whose names I have now forgotten. (I am sorry. Please forgive me.)

I learned a lot. That doesn’t mean I always did well. I made a C in high school geometry only by the grace of Dr. Knudsen and the fact that I passed the Regents’ multiple choice final with a B. (I should have had an F all year.)

I enjoyed school and my teachers liked me. I was a big hit in Mr. Klinger’s social sciences class. He even asked me to review books for possible adoption for his class when I was a sophomore. But not all of them thought I was perfect. Dr. ?, my high school biology teacher, said he knew I hadn’t opened the book all year. (That was almost true.) “But I took copious and perfect notes,” I told him. He knew. It’s why I’d done well in biology. Of course, looking back, I have to wonder why he wanted to teach in such a way that I didn’t have to open the biology book. Didn’t that mean I could have skipped class and just read the book?

School was enough of a challenge to keep me busy and not so much that I couldn’t do the work. I had friends and was known in my school, even though I wasn’t perfect and sometimes folks didn’t like what I did.

For example, I wrote an April Fool’s newspaper article saying that the school district was getting rid of basketball. (We’d just gone to state.) And I decided saying the pledge was a bad thing my first month in sophomore year and irritated my homeroom teacher. My dad helped me, with editing, write a piece for the paper and when I was asked if I did it all myself I said no. I am sure they thought my dad did it all and I didn’t do any of it.

But overall it was fun and I learned a lot.

So, yes, Gates of Vienna, I liked high school.

What If: Heirs to the throne

Reuter’s has an article about seeking heirs to the British throne. If Aetheling had been old enough to take the throne, his family would have inherited rather than Harold II. And who knows if that would have stopped William of Orange from taking over.

One thing I thought was odd about the search is that they had ads in Norway, Canada, and Australia, but not in the US.

My family has a geneaology that goes back past 1066, but I don’t remember who is on it. Some king somewhere.

Maybe I’m who they’re looking for. Wouldn’t that be odd?

Jamestown artifacts

A treasure trove of unusual artifacts found in Jamestown could alter perceptions of the Virginia colony’s place in U.S. history, archaeologists announced on Tuesday.

Tiny tobacco seeds, a loaded pistol, and an imposing ceremonial spear are among the discoveries excavated since 2005 from a 17th-century well in the colony, which celebrates its 400th anniversary this year.

Read the rest at National Geographic.

Btw, did you know that a tobacco seed is the size of a period at the end of a sentence? And I don’t think they mean those big circles girls in their tweens use.