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Showing posts from September, 2008

A Sure Foundation

The kids and I have been nibbling our way through the book of Isaiah for months. It's our first venture as a family into the prophets. We wrestle with the message. It's a book for our times.

Isaiah wrote to his people, the people of Judah, at the dawn of a long season of international turmoil. Assyria ran rough shod over the Middle East, followed in quick succession by Babylon, Persia and Greece. According to Isaiah, each empire was brought down because of they were quick to gloat over their achievements but failed to give God the time of day. The sin of haughty eyes he calls it.

I brown the meat and simmer the stew and slice a crusty loaf of Italian bread but do not bow my head before I eat. It's the little red hen complex. I ground the wheat and kneaded the dough and sliced the carrots. I don't take into account that I didn't make the carrots or the wheat grow. I forget to be thankful that there are groceries in the pantry and healthy children around the table. The…

Before I say goodbye to Bella

Stuart, my darling,

The hours crawl. All thirty-six of them. I count the days and the hours until your return. I know that this is necessary for work and all and I will bear it. I must. I will be strong for you; and I will tend to your children and your home with strength and cheer.

But the hours do crawl and the days run together and I know not the date and this afternoon, while I carried the memory of your sweet smile in my heart, I sauntered to the beauty parlor that I might be made beautiful for your return. But in my befuddlement, I arrived seven days too soon for my appointed hour with beauty. However, my kind worker of magic took pity on me in my forlorn state and she waved her sharp and pointed wand in order to render me worthy of your attentions and affection. (The paint that you showered me with in loving kindness is now nearly gone.)

And in the dark watches of the night, I dream of your deep and even breathing. In my restless sleep I reach for your still and peaceful body. …

Through the Scrambled Looking Glass

The apple on the cover of Twilight tempted. John saw that it was pleasant to the eye and good for reading so he took it from the shelf and waited until a dark hour (because vampire books are best when opened after midnight) and he read through the nights until he was pale and dark purple circles grew under his eyes. Because the first bite was addicting, he passed the forbidden fruit to me and returned to the shelf of knowledge and plucked the sequential drivel, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn.

When everyone else has turned in for the night, we flick on our flashlights and dive into the next chapter. And we wonder why. These books are pathetic. Trashy romance at its finest. Bella swoons. She bleeds. She breathes. She forgets to breathe. Edward breathes. His icy breath brushes her lips. He is stone. She a helpless disaster. This is a short story bloated into thousands of pages and we must read them all.

We read on our respective sofas and every once in a while I burst out into an impr…

Out,Out Damned Spots!

"Honey, you've got something boiling on the stove."

"Yeah, I know. I'll be right there." Smashed potatoes were on the lunch menu. Mostly for Lauren because she has a thing for carbohydrates.


I put down the laundry and waited patiently in front of Stuart. There's a narrow entry way to the kitchen workspace and he was standing in it. He had just finished painting the backsplash and was taking apart the roller for cleaning. I wasn't worried. Stuart is a genius with tools.

It took some tugging to get the roller loose and then the thing slipped and went flying. Paint sprayed across the table and the floor and some cupboards and the oven. And me.


Look at me, people! This is oil based paint! Here I am in my Saturday work clothes and my Saturday hair but tomorrow is Sunday and I can't go out looking like this.

My face is taken care of. But what to do about the hair. A buzz cut is out of the question. Any suggestions or do I need to do my best rendition of Ja…

Blog, Blogger, Blogging

The Question How has blogging made an impact on you?
The Answer
We had just moved when I began Small Scribbles. It started as an effort to fight the invisibility that came with being a stranger in a strange land but over a year later, it serves different purposes.
Blogging has created a sense of connection. Dinner conversation includes mention of my air friends. " Mary just bought a new house. I like her floors...We need to pray for Isaac and his family he’s going back to Iraq in a couple of weeks... Even though Ike didn’t do anything here, you should see Xandra’s yard.” I talk about people that I have never met like they are old friends. And in a way, they are.

The most surprising blogging development has been a closer relationship with family. We are ten hours from our nearest relatives and a half a globe away from the farthest. The blog has given me a way to throw open the front door and welcome family and friends into our days. No cleaning required. One by one my sisters have caug…

To the Lake with Ye!

As I was clicking through blogs yesterday, I came across this picture and it made me laugh. Those of you who are Sonlighters know that Christmas in September feeling when a carton of school supplies shows up on your doorstep. Wild delight. We've opened many of these in the past seven years and showered a great deal of affection on the contents. Children have huddled around for the unveiling of new curriculum and and then sank in a collective heap, each lost in a different book. Until this week. Delight did not accompany the arrival of this box. John and Lauren intercepted the package from Mr. Fedex and took off toward the lake across the street.

"Where are you going? Come back here with that box. Guys? Come back!"
"No! We're taking this thing to the lake. Frogs and crabs and fish belong in the lake, not in the house."
"Guys, I'm warning you! Come back here. There's more than just the dissection stuff in there." (Really, how much authority can…

Chore Boards and Charts

It's been a wild couple of years here. We get a lot accomplished but our methods are not pretty. The children and I have opposing worldviews. I say to them, "For six days you must labor and do all your work. That means this is not playtime! Get out your math books!"

They duel with me like Lethargarians, "From 9:30 to 10:30 we dawdle and delay. From 1:00 to 2:00 we linger and loiter..." Oh, the banter. It's been an exhausting battle trying to stay on top of school and chores.

I've come across several posts in the past week that made me remember that chaos did not always have the upper hand. Sarah posted pictures of her chore wheels and Jennifer put up her family schedule. Hmm. We used to operate by charts and schedules. Maybe we should try that again.

Duly inspired by the organization of others, I spent all last weekend making up a schedule and chore charts (I went with rectangles. Circles baffle me.) Stuart leaned over me and offered helpful suggestions. &…

Handwriting: There's More to it than Putting Pencil to Paper

My blog was recently added to a homeschooling blogroll. You'll see the new blogroll listed in my side bar as soon as I learn the magic spell. I thought I'd celebrate with a schoolish post.

I was reminded today of how frustrating it was to teach handwriting in my early homeschooling days. At the time I didn't know I was teaching an Asperger's child.

Aspie kids tend to have sensory processing issues and once we nailed down what we were dealing with, Thursday afternoons were spent at the occupational therapist's office working on John's fine motor skills. I learned a great deal about teaching handwriting. John eventually learned how to type.

The first thing I learned was that we were using a writing program that was entirely inappropriate for a child with handwriting difficulties. Originally, I chose Italic Handwriting because it features a beautiful style of writing and the letters don't change much in the transition from printing to cursive. What the occ…

The Poolside Collection

I spent quite a few hours this summer by the pool with book in hand. It was a summer replete with good books and I have some treasures to share.

Jim the Boy by Tony Earley. A story of a young boy raised in North Carolina by his widowed mother and his three upright and understanding bachelor uncles during the depression. The author paints his scenes with a beautiful simplicity.

The Blue Star by Tony Earley. The sequel to Jim the Boy. Jim is a senior in high school. He falls in love against the backdrop of WWII. Teenage pregnancy and racism are dealt with in a compelling and compassionate manner. Honestly, I think the reaction of the teenage father is my favorite scene in the book. The characters in both books are well developed and believable. This will be a book that I encourage my older children to read both for the story and to study the author’s writing style.

The Penderwicks and The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall . When I first discovered the series, I checked the co…

Troll Water

It rained today. Heavy, crashing buckets of rain dumped down all morning and most of the afternoon. Sometimes when we have a short burst of rain in the late afternoon, Charlie dashes out and stands under the gutter and gets soaked to the skin. Then he runs sopping through the length of the house to dump his wet clothes in a heap on the floor in front of the washing machine. He had work to do this morning, so he couldn't escape, and by the afternoon, the backyard had a swift stream flowing through it.


"Can I go out, Mama? Can I go out and play in the rain?"
"No, honey. The backyard is a muddy swamp and I just don't feel like dealing with the mess today."

"Please, Mama. There's troll water out there."
I wonder where Charlie came up with troll water. Does he imagine a malicious fairytale character lurking beneath the murky stream or did troll water come to mind because his mean troll mama won't let him out for a terrific round of puddle stomping?

Bonding with Pippi

Faith is in love. I discovered this a few nights ago on my late night rounds. The light in the girls' room was blazing. It was nearly midnight so I reached in and snapped the switch off.

"Don't turn it off, Mama! I'm reading."
Seeing the position she was in ... ...I made a wild guess. (Well, it wasn't an incredibly wild guess because I am a connoisseur of fine children's literature.) "Are you reading Pippi Longstocking, perchance?

"Yes. And I need the light to see."

Look at her. How could I turn the light off?

I'm so excited. It's the first chapter book that she's picked up all by herself and is reading cover to cover. Pippi is the first character she has bonded with all on her own. It's my book. Finally, a child who likes to read what I liked to read in days gone by.
In spite of the late night, she greeted me early the next morning with bits of grass clinging to her hair and back. "Pippi starts her day with forty-three somer…

What Am I? Wikipedia?

The children and I are on a quest for knowledge. Not on the same quest though. The children are curious and inquisitive about the world around them. I, on the other hand, just want to know where exactly in the world I am. I'll show you what I mean.

Things I spend my middle-aged days wondering about:

Why am I standing in front of the open refrigerator? Have I been here long?
What are we going to eat for breakfast? Do oatmeal cookies count as breakfast?
What am I doing in my closet and why am I holding this spatula?
How come I'm the only one who knows how to change a roll of toilet paper? Should I be glad that I still possess this skill? One day will I forget how?
Why does the van marked Prisoner Transport keep stopping at the house next door? Should I be worried about this?

My children do not understand that my brain is ninety percent cotton and befuddlement and because of this they zing questions at me out of the blue and all day long.

They are such hopeful children.

There is not a cha…