Brownies & Big Ideas
Mar 5th, 2011 by Sonja

One of the best new things about this school year has been that I’m teaching/leading a class with some of the LightChildren’s peers.  We started out with about 15 students, and we’re down to about 8 or 9 now.  That’s okay because we’re intense and learning a lot.  It’s a philosophy class.  We’re using a text book called (without much inspiration), Philosophy For Teens:  Questioning Life’s Big Ideas.  It’s a really good text which is introducing the kids to a lot of great philosophers and (yeah, I’ll say it) big ideas.  Lately class has consisted of the kids reading the chapter and then we discuss the ideas contained therein.  This unit of four chapters is focusing on justice and began with a chapter on civil rights (Malcomb X).  The chapter we discussed the other day moved to animal rights.  That chapter opened with a dialogue between two boys about whether one of them had the right to force his dog to jump through a burning hoop and withhold food when the animal refused to comply.

So.  Of course, I opened our discussion with cell phones.  All of the students have one.  I wanted to know how they took care of their cell phones (there was a range of caring from downright love to abuse), how they would respond if their cell phone was lost or mangled, and how they would respond if/when the cell phone was replaced.  We talked about that for a while and I moved them to an understanding of the idea that cell phones are “property.”  They got that.  Everyone was happy.  But I sucked in my breath because I knew what I was about to do and it was going to be hard.

I asked them to think about our last class when we talked about civil rights and slavery.  I asked them to take a moment and consider all of the ideas we had just expressed about property as they concerned our cell phones and apply those ideas to human beings as slaves.  Everyone stopped for just a few seconds.  Most of the kids didn’t quite know where to put their eyes.  One even said, “Wow.  This isn’t so funny when we’re talking about people.”  Then we spent a few minutes talking about how just as there had been a spectrum of care for cell phones, there was a spectrum of care for slaves.  That most people throughout history had been considered property at one time or another (feudalism) and that slavery has existed in many forms.  We talked about slavery today (sex trade and child warriors).  I recommended “Half the Sky” by Nicholas Kristoff to them because if they can handle this discussion, they can more than handle that book.

We needed a break at this point.  I knew ahead of time that this class was going to be hard and uncomfortable.  That my wonderful students were going to need some sustenance and assistance to get through this.  So I made brownies for them to have at break (it’s a two hour class).  There’s nothing like a brownie to boost your spirits and keep you going during a rough spot.  If I’d had my whole act together, I’d have had milk for them to drink with the brownies.  But I only had half my act together.  They all wanted the brownie recipe … so here it is, because some of you might need some sustenance too.  I got the original here, but I tinkered with it and my tinkering is below:

Brownies From Heaven

  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 6 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate (I used Ghirardelli)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour (I used King Arthur)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • confectioners’ sugar

1. In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter and chocolate; cool for 10 minutes.
2.  In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with wire whisk.  Add sugars, vanilla and salt, beating after each addition with whisk.
3.  Stir in the chocolate mixture. Add flour and nuts; mix well.
>4.  Pour into a greased 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Bake at 325 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool.

I think peanut butter frosting or adding chocolate chips to this would be even more heavenly … but I didn’t have the chance to try either of those.  Ohhh … or I might add dried cherries and cream cheese frosting the next time I make these.  Yum!


Weren’t those good?  Are you revived enough to continue our discussion?  Well, the students were.  I told you … they are great kids.  I am really privileged to have the opportunity to meet with them, hear their ideas, and share mine with them.

After the break we carried on and moved to animal rights.  We talked about how animals are different from humans.  They are not really sentient beings and some cannot care for themselves, so we must care for them.  We talked about their relative intelligence and shared our favorite pet stories.  I shared some information from this sort of creepy article on crows and how they can recognize humans, pass on information to future generations and generally are smarter than you think.  This lead to a discussion on what rights should we give animals in the wild (i.e. wolves vs. sheep in our western states).  We talked about how it’s uncomfortable but okay to discuss euthanizing an animal, but that sort of discussion is off the table for people.  So we ended up in a place where we agreed that animals occupy a grey area.  They have rights, but they are sort of property … sort of.  It’s something we will probably discuss again.

Interestingly, at the very end of class one of the students wondered what would happen to a grizzly bear that had killed a man.  We joked about sentencing the bear to jail … the zoo.  Until the kids realized that wasn’t so funny.  Then another student wondered about dogs who had been so abused that they attacked people.  What happened to those animals.  Could they be redeemed?  And we decided that some could.  But some cannot.  So they decided that the ones who cannot should be euthanized.  So, I asked them … what should we do about the very real problem of criminals who cannot be rehabilitated?  What do we do with those individuals who are repeat offenders, who do their time in prison, but get out and are worse … sexual offenders, murderers, etc.?  I asked them to think about that and we’ll pick it up there at the next class.

But I have to say … these kids are fearless.

As long as I give them brownies. :)

Choice, Inspiration and Civics Lesson
Sep 8th, 2009 by Sonja

I still remember the moment when I first realized that I had a choice about whether or not I could finish high school and get a college degree.

I was about twenty-five years old, living on my own in Washington, DC with bachelors degree in political science and international studies.  I was musing about whether or not to continue on in graduate studies of some sort and it struck me like a lightening bolt … wow.  Education was entirely my choice.  It really was a choice and it was mine to make.  That had never been part of my paradigm before.  Never.  I had always known since I was tiny that I would grow up, finish high school and go to college.  It’s just what people in my family did.  The only question to be answered was, “In what should I get my degree?”

I spent a good deal of time agonizing over that.  I was going to (at various times) study oceanography, be a nurse, be an anthropologist (find the missing link), be an international lawyer, and a variety of other things too numerous to even remember.  When I was in ninth grade my earth science teacher was an amazing fellow who LOVED rocks and was so enthusiastic about them that I still remember most of what I learned in that class.  I still remember how rivers age and what an oxbow is and where glaciers form and what the different kinds of rocks are.  We measured beach erosion by going to the ocean and measuring a beach over the course of 24 hours.  I had amazing teachers and I knew I was in that adventure for the long haul.  So were my brothers.

I can still remember the agonizing phone conversations when my youngest brother was near to graduating from community college.  My parents thought that he might not want to go on to a four year degree and did not want to pressure him into it, but they didn’t want to close that door unnecessarily either.  He, on the other hand, kind of wanted to go and didn’t want to tell them because he didn’t want to add an unnecessary financial burden to their plate.  I had to respect the confidentiality of both parties and yet get them to talk to each other honestly so that they could hear each other because I knew he’d end up where he needed to be.  And he did end up going to a great four year college and got his bachelors degree in Automotive Engineering Technology (designing cars).

My parents understood what I was just beginning to realize.  Education is a choice.  It’s an important choice, but it is a choice.   It’s one that we don’t always appreciate when we’re young.

When I was in elementary and high school the technology did not exist for the President of the US to speak all of the nation’s children at the same time.  The best he might have done would have been a radio address and that just wasn’t done unless it was for emergency purposes back in my time.  The President only addressed adults back then.  Adults talked to adults and (as my grandfather was fond of reminding me) children were seen but not heard.  So I wonder how I would have heard the message that President Obama is going to give the nation’s children in about half an hour.  I think at the time, I would have heard blah blah blah … sort of like all the adults on a Charlie Brown special.  Who wouldn’t stay in school and work hard?  Duh …

Now, though, I’ve lived a little and I know better.  There are a lot of children who live on the crisp edge of the envelope between poverty and riches.  They live teetering between hope and despair.  They live mostly without any good role models of how to do something day in and day out (like get up over and over and over again every morning to go to work).  They don’t have the privilege of living with people who will praise them their good grades or even know when they get them.  Sometimes this is because the parents are working 3 jobs, sometimes it’s because the parents are absent.  Whatever the reason, these children are desperate for a role model who will tell them to keep going.  That it’s cool to stay in school.  And these children are all over.  Yes, most of them are in the projects, but some are in the burbs.  And they all deserve to hear from the Role Model in Chief … regardless of his or her political party, telling them to stick with it.  That they’ll be okay if they just try a little bit harder every day.  This is a good thing.  And I know that the LightKids and I are going to be watching right along with everyone else.

I’m Not Dead Yet
Feb 20th, 2009 by Sonja

I'm not dead yet ...

Wow … I took a little blog vacation there.  I didn’t mean to.  In fact, my writing has really suffered for the last few months.  I think I’ve finally found out why.

I was beginning to think I was going to have to say a fond farewell and just turn my back on this place I’ve called home for the past few years.  The thought was breaking my heart.  So I just wasn’t doing anything at all.  But I didn’t have anything to write either.  And well … let me tell you the story.

In some ways it starts with my dad.  But if I tell you that part now, I’ll be giving away the ending.  I’ll just say that there is an autoimmune disorder that runs in my family and leave you hanging with that for the moment.

In other ways it also starts about sixteen or seventeen years ago as well when one of my doctors noticed that something was enlarged.  It was mysterious, there was no genesis for this.  And, apparently nothing to worry about; no tumors or growths.  It was just enlarged.  So we waited and watched.  Then a few years ago it shrank back.

And then this also starts with my fall off the cliff three years ago.  As it turns out depression and panic attacks are markers of this malady I am currently dealing with.  So what is it?

Well … here’s the story.  Around the time of the Inaugural Ball (for which I still owe you photos, although there are not many), I got a low grade infection/irritation in my nether regions.  It was not a big deal and something I’ve dealt with many, many times in my adult life.  I did not go to the doctor for several weeks as I was trying to heal on my own.  It didn’t work.  Went to the doctor.  He prescribed a round of antibiotics.  But it wasn’t long enough.  So they called in another round of antibiotics.

Through all of this I was just exhausted.  I can’t even begin to describe how very tired I was all.  the.  time.  I would fall asleep in my chair around 8 every evening and do nothing all day.    I was so cold all the time.  And gaining weight just looking at food.

I felt as though I was not shaking the low grade infection even on the second round of antibiotics.  So I went back to the doctor.  To my actual doctor this time, not just anyone in the practice.  At some point in the past month, I’d had blood work done.  Lo and behold … my thyroid is beginning to quit.  This explains almost everything.

It explains why I can’t hold a train of thought long enough to write.  Or even read.

Why my hair has been falling out in handfuls for three years.

Why, although my panic has been controlled, we can’t get it to go away completely.

Same for the depression.

Why (as my brother with the same issue said) I can’t walk by sandwich without gaining three pounds.

Why I can’t stay awake past 8 in the evening.

And several other things that I can’t remember right now.  I’ve joined my family’s dysfunctional thyroid club (with my father and my brother).   So my doctor put me on synthetic thyroid hormone.  Things are beginning to clear up for me.

I’m doing some research and will continue to do so on what the best form of treatment for this is.  I know that tweaking the hormone replacement can takes months or even years.  But it’s do-able.  For the first time in a long time I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I might even find me there.  That is good.

Personally Speaking
Sep 4th, 2008 by Sonja

I haven’t written in a while and I apologize.  Things have have been bubbling here in the LightHouse, some good, some … eh.  So I’ll fill in the gaps for you.

Back in July LightGirl was visiting a friend and they went walking in the woods chattering away as girls are wont to do.  A few days later, she found a tick in her bellybutton (of all places).  She had a rash and some other odd symptoms so I took her to the doctor … who chastised her for not wearing insect repellent and did some blood work.  And off we went on our trip to Vermont.  Some days later I received a phone call from the doctor’s office saying that the test for Lyme Disease was positive and they were calling in a script for antibiotics.  Okay.  She didn’t do well on those particular antibiotics, so we changed to a type called Ceftin.

She finished that round last Thursday (a week ago today).  But she wasn’t doing well.  She was lethargic and achy.  Her head hurt and she didn’t have a very good appetite.  I had to beg her to go to hockey practice (which is very unlike her).  So we went back to the doctor, who put her on another round of antibiotics and got us an appointment with an infectious disease specialist if she did not improve by the end of this round (mid-September).  By Tuesday morning, something was seriously wrong with my girl.  She couldn’t stand up longer than a minute or two and was complaining that her knees hurt.  She would not go up or down the stairs more than once a day.  So I called the doctor to get in to see the infectious doctor earlier.  It took two days, but we finally got an appointment to see a specialist in Charlottesville today.  Our doctor faxed her records to him.  Imagine my surprise, when he called yesterday afternoon to tell us that her Lyme blood test results from July were NEGATIVE!  They had never been positive at all.

LightHusband looked up her antibiotic on the internet and it seems that the symptoms we had attributed to Lyme Disease are also less common side effects of the Ceftin.  She has not taken any of the antibiotic since that phone call (she’s missed two doses) and she is steadily improving.  She has no joint pain and her soul is back there in her eyes.  She’s laughing with us and eating normally again.  She has a lot of her sass back … which I may regret, but I will enjoy.

So there have been quite a few ups and downs over the past few days.  I’ve been reading the political news fairly avidly and will probably be sharing some of my thoughts on that soon.  I have a few more book reviews to post in the next couple of weeks.   I’ve been trying to get school organized and begun … but of course, with LightGirl sick, no school has happened.  However, LightBoy has begun making SockMonsters from all of our singletons this week.  He is also using LightHusband’s old ties as accoutrements.  He is busy dreaming up an internet kingdom selling these recycled toys.  So, this is an education of a different sort.

Sigh … onward and upward.

UPDATE:  And now the rest of the story …

We had an appointment with our primary care physician this afternoon and an education at the same time.  So … it turns out that there are “strict constructionist” doctors, just as there are strict constructionist judges.  Who knew?  When testing for Lyme Disease there are these things called bands.  I have no idea what those are … but they … um … are.  In any case, there are five of them.  For a strict constructionist doctor, you must have five of five positives to get a diagnosis of Lyme Disease.  Now, our primary care doc, saw LightGirl … saw that she was presenting with a tick bite and a rash AND three out of five positive bands and decided to be conservative.  She does this all the time.  She said that only one of her Lyme Disease cases presented with all five bands positive this summer.  It’s a gray area, as she freely admitted.

LightGirl is doing better and better the longer she is off the meds so all is well and we are all breathing a little easier now.

Taking Suggestions
Aug 27th, 2008 by Sonja

As those of you who read this blog regularly know, I homeschool the LightChildren.  Well, a more appropriate description is … they engage in home learning and I throw books at their heads.  No.  That’s not right either.  But something happens around here and occasionally something like an education seems to sprout.

Well, we fell behind in history.  This is sorta bad since I’m just a hair shy of being a certified social studies teacher.  Three hairs shy of having a masters in secondary education with a focus in … history and social studies.  So you’d think that we’d just fly right through history.  Well, yes.  And, um, no … not so much.  You see, I have all these hang ups and pre-conceived ideas about how history has to be.  So we fell behind.  We’re scooting through the modern period this summer and starting over again with the ancients this fall.  It will be fun because now I’m finally teaching a teenager and all.

In very exciting news, LightGirl has decided that she’s going to work on her own theory of everything.  The books are spread out all over the sofa.  First, though, she needs to get over Lyme Disease.  It all began yesterday when she and LightBoy watched a documentary on the History Channel on the island of Atlantis.  They came up from the playroom and recounted the whole thing to me.  Silly mom … I thought they’d been watching cartoons and was plotting revenge.  In any case, as she watched the documentary, LightGirl began to notice that many of the stories from Atlantis bore a striking resemblance to all the myth stories she read when we studied the ancients several years ago.  Later in the day, she asked to go to the library so she can get some books on myths and Atlantis.  She is quite determined to find this “missing link” as it were.  She didn’t even realize that we’re getting ready to tackle the ancients again this year in history.  It was a pleasant surprise.  Her eyes were sparkling.  She’s busy plotting the next book she wants to write.

In the meantime, we’re just flying through modern history, giving it a lick and a promise.  The girl who lives in my heart and studied international relations twenty-five years ago is weeping with shame at the utter horror of raising children with so little knowledge of modern history and its importance to where we are now.  (Okay, weeping may be overstating it just a little … but … you get the picture.)  So, here’s the thing.  We have a family movie night tradition.  We love to watch movies together.  LightHusband makes delicious popcorn, we have a light dinner before hand, turn down the lights and snuggle in together.  It can be any night … but we watch the movie together and then talk about it for some time afterwards.  So I thought it would be a good idea to get some movies with historical content to watch for modern history.  But I’m running out of ideas.  I’m going to post my list below.  Please add yours in the comments.  I’m looking for any reasonable movies about history anywhere in the world from 1875 to the present.  Please remember the ages of my children are 11 and 14.  They’re used to some violence (we’ve watched BraveHeart together without the final death scene, and LightBoy has watched Saving Private Ryan) as long as it has purpose and context.  We try to stay away from sexual content … but well the Viv@ Vi@gra ads and KY ads on television these days leave little the imagination, so really … who cares.

Here are the movies I found:

Grapes of Wrath
We Were Soldiers
To Kill A Mockingbird
Judgment At Nuremberg

Stayin’ Alive
May 22nd, 2008 by Sonja

I’m still here. I’m still alive. I don’t know what’s been going on in my head lately, but the well seems to be dry for the time being. I do have some things percolating, but the bubbles are moving slowly and gas seems to be on low.

What little writing energy I have has been going into exchanges with old youth group kids. They’re all grown up now, but we’re re-connecting on FaceBook and having some good conversations. Some of those have gotten sorta deep and required some thinking and processing on my part … and on theirs.

I’m also trying to finish up the school year with my kids, continue on with managing the hockey team through some choppy waters and dream about new adventures in quilting with some friends. I’m still around, and things will continue to arrive here, but I won’t make any promises about reliability in the near future.

I’ve got some reviews to post in the near future and some thoughts … and some photos of recent field trips.  So stuff is on it’s way soon, I just need to realign myself with some things.  Restructure my time and go home and rethink my life.  Or something like that.  😉

Back To the Drawing Board
Feb 15th, 2008 by Sonja

This week in the Osgiliath Classical School we’ve begun a new project. We are studying the weather. As a spine for this study we’re using a book called The Kids Book of Weather Forecasting with meteorologist Mark Breen. The LightChildren were each assigned the task of reading the first chapter and then they had to work “together” to design a weather log and come up with a list of tools that one might need to keep a weather log current.

First there was a two day argument over when they would work together. Once they began to work together, there was a loud and protracted argument over who’s list should “win.” LightGirl had a list that was created mostly around her senses. LightBoy had a list that was mostly more objective measuring tools. He, in fact, scoffed at her senses. She attempted to win him over to her more organic manner of observation. However, they were both clubbing each other over the head with their respective lists, in a metaphorical sense. When the clubbing left metaphor and became physical, I intervened.

“Alright, you two,” said I, “did you actually read your assignment?” Vigorous head nods followed by open mouths ready to assert their righteousness. I quickly went on before words could leave the open mouths, “I believe the assignment was that you were to work together,” and I emphasized the word “together.” “This means, LightGirl, that you do not come up with a list and LightBoy goes along with it. And LightBoy, you do not get to come up with a list and expect that LightGirl will go along with it. Do you both understand me?” More head nods, but the mouths are still open ready to defend their honor and tell me how horrible the other sibling is.

“No, I don’t think you do. You are both trying to win. There is nothing to win here. You will only win when you work together. It is very likely that there is something of value in both of your lists and that there is something that needs to be dropped in both of your lists. I do not know what those things are … that is for you to figure out” The mouths are closed now and they are beginning to look at each other as realization dawns. “Now. Get thee hence into the school room and work together on one list between the two of you.”

Off they went. They sat down in the school room and worked out a plan to figure out a list and then worked out a list. Then they presented it to me. The plan involved looking through their book together! Stunning. And thinking and talking together. Their final list was impressive. Lo and behold, it contained elements of both of their original lists.

I often allow arguments to carry on (until it gets physical). I allow them to work out their own relationship within certain boundaries. It can get painful and loud for the parents. But it is training ground for them to understand how to live with others. How to work out difficulties. How to work together even when each is certain they know the “right” way. I try to emphasize that they are always in this together. There is never a time when one is right and the other wrong. If When there is a fight, they have both contributed to it and both must contribute to reconciliation. As my mother used to say to my brothers and I, “It takes two to tango.”

So when I wrote yesterday about reconciliation, apology, power, dominant culture and oppressed culture, I was coming to it from that perspective. But most of you don’t know that. I forget that I’m kind of a blank slate when I write. Not an entirely blank slate, but I’m not as three dimensional to you as I am to myself. Most of us bloggers are. If anything, when we read a blog, we bring to it our own perspectives, prejudices, backgrounds, etc and read it through our own particular lens. Sometimes that lens has been broadened, sometimes not, sometimes it has been more healed, sometimes less. Sometimes the issue being written about is the driving force behind how we read the blog that day. There are so many different permutations and combinations of those possibilities, it kind of makes my head explode to think about it.

I am humbled by the grace extended to me by Patrick, Peggy, Grace and Christy in the conversation that followed. My experience of such has been rare indeed. So, if I may, I would like to give some context and flesh to my post from yesterday.

When I read posts such as Josh’s critique and participate in conversations about women in church, I often hear a sense of bewilderment and frustration from men of my generation and younger generations. The frustration that I hear sounds something like this, “I don’t know what to say/do. It never seems like enough. There are women in leadership now. We are moving forward. Why won’t women stop complaining.” Please, please read Josh’s critique … it is very good and he does make some very valid points. But … maybe it’s just me, but I can also hear a sense of bewilderment and frustration underlying his piece. A certain sense of why is this happening here? Why is this continuing to continue?

So, I very baldly and badly wrote that we “need” an apology. Which is not entirely true, as Peggy and Patrick were both very kind to remind me. We women do not “need” an apology. We “need” God/Papa to remind us that we are loved despite any of our earthly hurts. However, what I was trying to communicate was that it would be helpful to the process between the genders if an apology were offered at some point. I was trying to communicate that on the basis of what has happened in South Africa in the 1990s and what is poised to happen in Australia now, an apology might be a way of helping to drain those wounds.

As Peggy wrote, and I deeply agree with, I’ve got issues with a sense of entitlement. So I’m not certain that I think women are entitled to an apology. But I need to say that in my outloud voice now, because it’s obvious from the comments that at least some of you heard me say that. An apology extended as the result of a demand, is almost worthless as we all know. It is usually extended because of some form of extortion in that case, whether physical or emotional. The apology rendered is then meaningless, and we’ve all endured our share of those.

So what is the purpose of an apology? I’ve spent a lot of time over the past several years studying that question. I’ve read a couple of books. In short the purpose of an apology is to let a person who has been wronged know that you understand the hurt that has been done, you regret the harm was done in the first place and you will attempt to make it stop. It is an attempt, however feeble, to take some form of responsibility for a wrong done and to understand the harm that has been caused to the person who was wronged. Those are the two main prongs of an apology. Take responsibility and understand harm.

You’ll notice that my definition of an apology did not include anything about feeling guilty or bad about oneself. I did not write anything about eternal shame. I did write about remorse which is something different. Guilt is entirely different from remorse … guilt is a state of being, while remorse has to do with an action. One ought not to feel guilty about the state into which one was born. However, one might feel remorse about the status of those who are not in that state. Does that make sense?

None of that, however, makes an apology necessary. In fact, an apology is simply irrelevant in the economy of God’s forgiveness. S/He loves us and will heal our wounds, if we will allow that. What then, do we do about trusting the other? The one or ones who harmed us? Our wounds may be healed, but the trust has been broken and the relationship has not been reconciled. An apology offered (not demanded, but offered) is an incredible first step in that process of rebuilding trust between the two parties wherein the trust has been lost, to whatever degree.

That is where I think that an apology offered by male leaders of institutions (churches, both local bodies and denominational) could go a long way toward helping to re-establish some of the trust that is currently lacking in some of the female Jesus followers. Are we entitled to it? No. Do we also have junk to apologize for? Yes. Yes, we do. But as Christy wrote in her comment, “It’s not about asking people to feel bad and guilty – it’s about recognizing that all of us are responsible to do our part to work for justice.” It’s about all of us … all of us in this together, recognizing our responsibilities, the harm we’ve done, and the good we’ve done. That the inequities are harmful to the dominant culture just as much as they are to the under dogs. That justice, grace and mercy are for all of us, not just some.

So, let’s go back to the schoolroom and make our list together. Okay?

Spreading Some Meme Love
Feb 3rd, 2008 by Sonja

Jemila just hit me in the latest game of tag. This one is particularly fun. Here are the “rules.”

Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. No cheating!
Find Page 123.
Find the first 5 sentences.
Post the next 3 sentences.
Tag 5 people.

I can do this. However, most of my books are in the “other” room as I do most of my blogging/computing in the family room on my trusty laptop. My books are either on my bedside table, or on the bookshelf in the bedroom. But there was one peeking out at me here in the family room … so you were not treated to odd sentences from Drawing for Older Children & Teens (at the top of my current reading pile -in the school room- as I am prepping to teach LightGirl and a friend). And the book which peeked out at me?

Saints & Sinners In the Early Church: Differing and Conflicting Traditions in the First Six Centuries, by WHC Frend. I haven’t forgotten it, but it was in my bag to read on our ill-fated anniversary get away. I’m on a quest to learn more about Pelagius (or here or here or here) and this book was recommended by a trustworthy friend. Without further ado, here are the three sentences:

“He would be rewarded or condemned accordingly.

On the practical side, the Pelagian was a social reformer — in this he would contrast with the follower of the Western ascetics Jerome and Paulinus of Nola and with Augustine himself. Three quotations of a Pelagian Briton(?) living in Sicily: “

Here are my tags …

Peggy – the Virtual Abbess

Janet – Secret Women’s Business

Cathy – Sharing Information

Patrick – Dance of the Spirit

Maurice – the Sinister Minister

Jeremy – the New Light

MLK Conversation and then some
Jan 25th, 2008 by Sonja

The other day I retold the story of a conversation between LightBoy and I about the difference between freedom and justice.  He’s still mulling that over.  In the meantime, I gave him an assignment (LightGirl too).  They have to write a paper every two weeks.  Their current assignment is to write about William Wilberforce.  They can pick anything about him that they want.  Their last assignment was the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  LightBoy’s paper morphed into Benedict Arnold, but that’s okay.  Now they are researching the famous liberator.

LightBoy, “Dad, what’s hersey mean?”

“What?  How do you spell it?”

“h e a r s e y … I think.”

“Oh, that’s hearsay, and it means to overhear something and repeat it.”

LightBoy went back to the encyclopedia.  Pretty soon he came back, with the encyclopedia and a very dire look on his face.

“Dad!  I don’t think that’s what it means.  LOOK!”

burned at the stake

LightHusband looked at the picture and the word in question:

H E R E S Y.

And promptly explained the difference.

Oct 11th, 2007 by Sonja

Our new bed arrived. It’s beautiful … as may be seen in the photo below. Of course, I think it’s enhanced by my “We Can Learn Alot From Geese” quilt that is gracing it. For those of you who like such things, that quilt is made with all pre-1900 reproduction fabrics. The greens are a so-called poison green which I love. The blocks came to me from a block exchange in the summer of 2005. I belong to a loosely defined group called the Historical Block Society. We make and exchange quilt blocks. That summer we made flying geese blocks that just about killed us. I asked for blocks that were set with poison greens. Others asked for blocks in blues, or reds, or yellows, etc. Everyone in the group looked askance when I asked for poison green. But now they all agree that I have the most striking quilt. Hah! It’s what you get for thinking outside the box.New bed with quilt

So, Julie, I did clean our bathroom (before I read your comment and likely at a similar time as you 😉 ). It had also been … well … also a long, long time (I don’t want to think about how long). And it feels good to have a clean bedroom and bathroom again. Sherri, I think you’re right about being in the middle. I think I’m going to be in the middle for a long time … because now I/we are about to paint the bedroom and the family room (in no particular order) and I spent a good deal of yesterday ordering blinds for the masterbedroom, guestroom, and family room and fabric for new curtains in the family room. And Cindy, there must be something to your theory as well about home makeovers and grieving being similar. I wonder if we don’t grieve the old as we’re bringing about the new?

I did also get to spend a good deal of time yesterday with a good book … Patrick 😀

It's A Dance

I’ve been honored to be a pre-publication recipient of Patrick Oden’s It’s A Dance. So I’ve been reading that lately. It’s really quite good … which is not a surprise to me, because I’m familiar with Patrick’s writing through his blog. Yet it is a surprise. It’s A Dance dips, sways and sashays through scripture and novel and textbook … not really one or the other and yet somehow all three. I’m not nearly finished yet, so I won’t do a proper review … but it’s quite good and I heartily suggest that you put in your pre-order now! I think it’s available here and here.

The LightKids have been on their own this week and it hasn’t been good. We need to get back into a learning routine, which will involve they and me cleaning out the school room. On the other hand, some learning takes place even when school is not in session … for instance:

Praying Mantis

Science sometimes happens out on the deck … when nature shows up.  In this case a praying mantis came calling.  LightBoy obliged and explored.  He tried eating and feeding the praying mantis.  I’ll leave you to determine which was more successful.

Eating the mantis

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