Bible Class this Morning

I teach the fourth grade class at my church and this morning our lesson was on Jesus’ healing of the ten lepers. (Luke 17:11-19)

In reference to this we also discussed the stories of leprosy in the Old Testament (Moses’ hand, Miriam, and Naaman). In the Naaman story, Elisha’s servant and his family are cursed with leprosy (2 Kings 5:27). We discussed whether or not it was possible that the ten lepers Jesus healed were part of the servant’s descendants. (Possible, but no way to know.)

We also discussed how many children people in the Bible times had. I mentioned that Abraham didn’t start having children until 90+ and he had seven sons. (One by Hagar, one by Sarah, and five, after Sarah’s death, with Keturah.)

Then the kids asked about ages of people, so we discussed Methusaleh and how people figure he died the year of the flood. From there we went into a discussion of “the oldest man that ever lived, but died before his father.” Methusaleh, who lived to be 969, was the son of Enoch who, at the age of 365, was not for God took him. (Genesis 5:24)

We went all over the book, looking at thoughts and questions. It ws fun.

Phone call

I got a phone call from R, who’s off playing in Vegas. He said, “I had a car wreck. I need the insurance.” I said okay and headed out to get the information. I’d actually made it all the way across the house before I even thought to ask, “You’re okay, right? You’re not hurt?” Hours later I think of that and am amazed. Many people, R included, have found me to be a pessimist and a worrywart, but him being injured was not the first thing I thought of.

And he didn’t start the call with the ubiquitous, “I’m okay” either. Though when he called back about it that was the first thing he said. I doubt he remembers our first conversation much at all.

He is fine and so are the other people who were in the wreck. Our insurance will cover it. He’ll get a ticket, though. Out of state. He hates to pay those. I always pay them. This one he sounded like he thought he deserved though.

I am glad everyone is okay.


One of my students was absent last week. He came to class yesterday and said he would be absent on Thursday. I laughed and asked, “Are you ever coming back?” But then he said he was going to a funeral in Alaska.

His friend died in Iraq.

I don’t know who his friend was, but I want to say thank you to all those who have served there and their families. You have done great things for us.


Many people, including me, are annoyed by the BCE and CE that has become the “standard” for dating in modern textbooks attempting to deny Christ. But I found an interesting tidbit. The Masons, in the 1700s, used a dating system of “BCE” which was “Before the Christian Era” because they believed (probably rightly) that Jesus was not born in 1 AD.

There you go. Next time someone uses a BCE, you can laugh, because you will know they are using another religion’s annotations.

Read more about Mason dating in this article in a Mason journal.

San Francisco 1906

Today is the 100th anniversary of the San Francisco earthquakes and fire that destroyed much of the city.

Here is a picture taken five weeks after the earthquake from a tethered balloon.

For some fascinating personal accounts, and some audacious ones (the first man went from his home to his office, secured all the company’s goods, took them out of town, and then went back to his home to see if his wife lived), go to the Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco. Included in the lists is Enrico Caruso’s (world-renowned operatic tenor) description of his experience.

In honor of the date, or perhaps by felicitious coincidence, I read The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey, a fantasy novel set in 1905 and 1906 in San Francisco. It is inaccurate in places, not even in places where it needs to be for the fiction, but it was a timely reading.


After two months of doing nothing on my books, I went through and gave the first novel in the trilogy a stiff paring down. I dropped 30,000 words from it so that it will read faster. I could probably drop more, but at least this way the story should get a better reading.

In addition I wrote a much better cover letter for the book. I hope that helps.

Today I went to book two and added over 9,000 words. Wow. Imagine what would happen if I spent nine hours a day on it every day.

Nothing is what would happen, because I don’t think I would be that productive every day. But I am thrilled that I’m up to 63,700 words. Almost to the halfway point on the long version, before I start culling to make it faster.

Do you want to know what happens in the second book? Okay, I’ll tell you.

D is kidnapped by slavers, her parents shot, and she and her uncle sold away from all their friends. She is sold to a slaver in the far away country of K and lives with her uncle there for several weeks waiting for the slave market to be open. She meets other slaves who have been abused, rather than treated well, and realizes that she’s not so badly off.

She is sold to the leader of the army and the cousin and BIL of the king. With his help, her uncle wins his freedom. He vows to work and get home as soon as possible to come back and free her.

Slavery under the K is not as onerous as she feared and she is doing fairly well, except that she’d really rather be home.

The king gets married. Her uncle heads home for help. And her owner moves out of town. She’s devastated; her uncle won’t be able to find her. She leaves word for him.

They arrive at the new city. (This is as far as I have written so far.) Her owner gets sick. No one can heal him. He is quarantined. After lots of effort on many people’s parts, all of which fail, D suggests a prophet she knows.

With the king’s blessing the whole quarantined group set off across the country, across several countries, and arrive at the palace of the prophet’s king. This king is sure it’s a ruse to go to war with him, since he’s not a healer. But the prophet, who the king banished, says to send him on to him. The king does.

Her owner and entourage arrive. The prophet doesn’t even come out, but sends a servant with the “cure.” Her owner is insulted and determines to leave. Maybe he’ll even be mad enough to go to war over it.

D reasons with him. He takes the cure. It takes. He’s healed.

The prophet will not accept a reward. D is hoping her owner will free her in gratitude, but he doesn’t even think about it.

Even though she’s very close to home, she has to go back to the country where she’s a slave. And she’s devastated.

Not a very happy ending to a book. Maybe I’ll have to slip the aide in here, so that she’ll have some reason to be glad to be going back to N. (I’m thinking of the possibility of a romance, though I don’t know that there will actually be a romance.)

By the way, this story is set 3200 years in the past, in a fairly realistic setting, though it doesn’t match reality because I took events and compressed them. So what happens in the book (the history not the story of D) happened in real life, probably, but from 1650 BC to 900 BC. And I make several things that happened over 700 years, happen within one person’s lifespan. It’s not impossible; it is just not the real timeline.

Book 3: A power encounter with a demon’s priest leaves D free to go home.

Meanings of Words

Just yesterday my husband was decrying the theft/adoption of specific words with specific meanings to mean other things by certain groups of people. He spoke of three which have lost the meaning they had when we were young, sometimes leaving no word to replace them, and become something else. I am not going to say what those are. Would you care to guess?

But today, I was searching for the origin of an expression, and while I haven’t yet found it, I found something else quite fascinating.

Popular modern usage will often rob common words, like “nice,” “quaint,” or “silly,” of all flavour of their origin, as if it were of no moment to remember that these three words, at the outset of their history, bore the older senses of “ignorant,” “noted,” and “blessed.” It may be granted that any attempt to return to these older senses, regardless of later implications, is stark pedantry; but a delicate writer will play shyly with the primitive significance in passing, approaching it and circling it, taking it as a point of reference or departure. The early faith of Christianity, its beautiful cult of childhood, and its appeal to unlearned simplicity, have left their mark on the meaning of “silly” … And if there is a later silliness, altogether unblest, the skilful artificer of words, while accepting this last extension, will show himself conscious of his paradox. So also he will shun the grossness that employs the epithet “quaint” to put upon subtlety and the devices of a studied workmanship an imputation of eccentricity; or, if he falls in with the populace in this regard, he will be careful to justify his innuendo. The slipshod use of “nice” to connote any sort of pleasurable emotion he will take care, in his writings at least, utterly to abhor. From the daintiness of elegance to the arrogant disgust of folly the word carries meanings numerous and diverse enough; it must not be cruelly burdened with all the laudatory occasions of an undiscriminating egotism.

Thus have people aware of the meanings of words always deplored the change to those meanings. I have read extensively in English literature and yet I did not know those words’ original (or only earlier) meaning.

But, according to Walter Raleigh, that is what they originally meant. I assume this is Sir Walter Raleigh who brought these words of wisdom to us, via World Wide School’s library.

Resurrection Sunday

also known as Easter.

I enjoyed the song service our church had in place of Bible class this morning. And we had a full crowd this Sunday, even though many people were out of town and visiting.

The sermon was an eye opener as well, speaking of the custom of covenant making in the Old Testament and exactly how Jesus was the promise given/kept/made.

I prayed for my oldest to be touched by something that went on. I know he was listening because he looked up two things to see if they were accurate and what else there was about them in the Bible.


24 days after having gotten off my allergy foods, I ate some again.

The last time I got off the allergy foods, I was off for about three months, then I ate food which had the allergens in it. About three hours later, I had debilitating headaches, my back went out, and I had trouble walking.

So how did I do this time? A slight back ache and some hand pain.

My hubby says that if I’ll be worse when I get some if I totally avoid it, maybe I should have controlled amounts on a scheduled basis.

That sounds like a good idea to me.


If I do not register E for the THEA before tomorrow at 5, he will not be able to take it until June, when I will not be available to deliver him to the test… Could someone take him if I can’t? Probably. Though I don’t know who.

He graduates in 2009, still. But he needs the math this year because he has outstripped me and the other teachers presently available.

His teacher says he will easily test into College Algebra. I wonder if he can test out of it as well.

Crystal Dragon

It’s an excellent book. The second prequel in a series to what are some of my favorite novels. I recommend you read them in the order I did, starting with Agent of Change. Then Carpe Diem. Then Conflict of Honors. (Though it is earlier than AofC and may not be any odder to read in that order.)

After that I think that you could read them in the order of age of the story: Crystal Soldier, Crystal Dragon, Local Custom, Scout’s Progress…Plan B, I Dare, Lowport (the least of the books and sometimes painful to read. I have only read it through once. I forgot I had read it and began again. Ouch.)

By Sharon Lee and Steve Miller of Maine.

Lovely books.

But the sadness is that there are no others forthcoming, though there had been talk of a Turtle Book, which I would love to read.

Of course, I would love to read the entire history from Crystal Dragon’s end to Local Custom’s beginning. And I would love to read what happens after that.

The books are a tale. I recommend the tale.

Genes and fat

Live Science has an article which says that scientists can predict your shape simply by looking at your genes.

From that you would suppose there is no use in exercising, in eating right, in staying healthy.

But I’m going to ignore those findings and say that being overweight, while partially a function of genetics, can be regulated by exercising, eating right, and staying healthy. (Illness that cause obesity such as Cushing’s are excluded. Obviously if you can’t get healthy, you can’t stay healthy.)

Not everyone throughout the history of the US has been overweight. In fact, obesity is a relatively new phenomenon in the US. So unless we’ve all caught a virus that makes us overweight, which is apparently possible, it must be related to the way we’re living now as opposed to one hundred, even thirty, years ago.

Taking the gov’t’s money

-even though they took it from you in the first place- is probably not the best idea. Spunky Homeschool points out why Dutch women may be getting fined soon for staying home.

And she mentions, in passing, as a throw away line, that feminism was never about giving women choices, but about making choices for them.

If you think these things won’t happen in the US, perhaps you need to re-read Women, Working, and Urinal Cakes.

Iraqi Liberation

April 10, 2003.

“At this moment, the regime of Sadam Hussein is being removed from power, and a long era of fear and cruelty is ending.”

Thank you, Mr. President, and all those men and women of our armed services who made this statement true and lasting.

Odd language

Okay. That last post was enough of the odd grammatical phrasing. But, I recommend the books from Liad highly, despite the occasional unique presentation of information.

They are science fiction and have no relevance to the real world that I am aware of, which, I think, makes them rather more intriguing.

Opportunity Cost of Homeschooling

The Imperfect Homeschooler has an excellent post on the Opportunity Cost of Homeschooling.

What would I have made over the years if I’d been employed full-time? (This assumes no loss of job in that time, but academics is fairly steady.)

For some reason the public information on salaries is now limited to those with a user name and password, interesting.

But I’d have made about $650K. If I hadn’t been teaching the boys and had been working we’d be rich. Oh well. We’ll be rich later. Now our kids are getting an excellent education.

I’m an aunt

again. My newest niece, AK, was born last evening.

If her Nanna and Poppi hadn’t come to town, she would have been born at home. But since they did, they were at the house and watching AK’s big brother and sister so AK’s mom and dad could go to the hospital.

Her mother had an interesting trip across town, going 140 mph, and arrived at the hospital a bare 15 minutes before AK popped out.

My BIL M rushed the car into the emergency entrance going the wrong way. Someone told him he couldn’t park that direction as he got out and ran around the car. “My wife is having the baby now! Get help!” Though her doctor was on his way, he did not drive 140 mph and so missed the baby’s birth. Instead the ER doc delivered her.

There was some tearing since, though AK decided to turn and not be breech, she did not go through the canal face down, as most babies do. So S isn’t feeling too great right now.

AK has a full head of curly black hair. But her sister G and her mommy had black hair and lost it quickly. So I’m not really looking for it to hang around.

Unlike her sister G, AK had not done anything like swallow her poop, so she is not in neonatal ICU but is in with all the rest of the babies. Her mom sees her regularly.

I’ll go visit tomorrow. Since the in-laws are here, I’ve been asked not to come today.

Salt Caravan

An article on a modern day Salt Caravan:

In the great Saharan desert, the extraction and transportation of salt is a business that has changed little since the middle ages, and camels continue to be an essential part of it.

On the edge of Timbuktu, in western Africa, where the city blends into the Sahara, a group of exhausted camels lie resting on the sand.

The caravan of beasts, some 30 in total, arrived in Timbuktu after a five-week trek through the Sahara. Most have carried four large discs of solidified salt each, a combined load of some 160 kg, the whole distance.

The journey has been an arduous one, both for the animals and for their human handlers, but the cargo, carried from a mine in the desert, is worth it. In days gone by salt here was as valuable as gold, and even today profit margins in the trade are over 100 percent.

….Daytime temperatures can reach 50 degrees, while the desert wind is also a force to contend with. “A caravan can consist of hundreds of animals. Sometimes we ride on top of the camels and sometimes we walk beside them.”

The destination of the caravans is Taoudenni, a remote and inhospitable oasis some 700 km north of Timbuktu. The layers of underground salt deposits in the region are the remnants of dry lake beds.

On the outward trip, the caravans carry rice and millet for the workers in the mines. In Taoudemi, salt slabs are loaded on to camels’ backs using thin hide straps though they are well-protected by cushioning sacks of straw strapped to their flanks.

….From Timbuktu, traders ship the slabs to Mopti, at the confluence of the rivers Niger and Bani, a distance of 400 km or three days by boat.

….Salt from the Sahara is highly valued in Ghana, in Burkina Faso and as far south as the Ivory Coast. “It tastes much better and is much healthier than sea salt,” says he.

Because of the extreme climate in the region, salt is essential for the health of both livestock and humans. In countries with no direct access to the ocean, Sahara salt is also much cheaper than imported sea salt.

Boubacar spends most of the year not at the market, but mining for the mineral in Taoudenni. Half proud, half embarrassed he displays his hands, scarred in many places. “The work is very, very hard,” he says. “But you can earn a lot.”

The salt lies up to three metres under the surface and the workers dig it out by hand. “When you are injured, the salt burns into the wound,” Boubacar says.

The Saharan salt is one of the reasons why the city of Timbuktu reached its legendary status during the 15th and 16th centuries.

….”Camels do not like noise,” says Mohammed, who, like his father and his grandfather, will keep making the long trek to Taoudenni and back, carrying precious salt across the desert.

from Mirabilis

Pillows of antiquity tells of an archaeological find- a pillow.

a 4,000-year-old Egyptian pillow made out of woven plant fibers that were encased in a wax coating.

The rare artifact, which dates to 2055-1985 B.C., suggests Cleopatra and other well-known ancient Egyptians may have snoozed on relatively fluffy pillows that perhaps biodegraded over time, leaving the hard headrests for modern archaeologists to find.

“If sleeping on fiber pillows and bedding occurred, it has not survived well or at all in the archaeological record of the ancient Near East,” said Andy Gize, Judith Seath and Rosalie David, whose research will be published in next month’s Journal of Archaeological Science.

Since the wax on the pillow appears to have come from a Dead Sea petroleum residue, the artifact also could indicate that a community of “foreigners” brought knowledge of petroleum processing and pillow making into the Sedment el-Gebel region of the western Nile Valley.

Now I have a difference between Eiroan’s Port and the Kalhun. The Kalhuns will have these pillows. The Sea People did not.

Thanks to Mirabilis for pointing it out.