Thursday, February 27, 2014

Living with Books

If the walls of our house failed and the roof came down, probably no one would be hurt. It would be held up by the book cases.

I don't know how many books we have. It would be fun to count them, I suppose, but I would wind up revising the final number a hundred times after someone found one in the bathroom (actually, I can think of two in there right now...), three under the couch, several under someone's blankets on their bed, a dozen more under the bed, etc. And that doesn't begin to include the number of boxes of books still in the attic.

The only problem we have had, no matter where we have moved, is lack of space for books. Speaking of which, no one ever wants to help us move a second time because they remember the first time... and all the boxes of books. In this house we are blessed to have a few built-in book cases to augment our free-standing ones.

 I have threatened many times to set up an honest-to-goodness library with stacks, rather than just ranging the cases against the wall. There would be stability issues, to be sure, but nothing that a little lumber couldn't help. (c;

As it is, we've squeezed in bookcases in every conceivable place. Including one between the kitchen and the back door. I took advantage of the location to put a row of cookbooks on the top shelf.

Each of the children's rooms have has its own bookcase. The girls keep theirs fairly neat and organized.

The boys, on the other hand...

We have books everywhere

One day, we'll live in a house with a library... or maybe just an abandoned library converted into a house...

Until then, I can dream.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Detailed Gifts

Remember the breathtaking dress that Mat. Brigid made Miss Moppet? Well, she made a bonnet to match!

It's the details that make it. :)

And, speaking of details, here is a precious tiny scrapbook Mimi made for her:

There is a page for every month of her first year.

Each month contains a sweet little quote:

It will be such a joy to fill it! 

Thank you, Mat. Brigid and Mimi!

Yarn Along: Shawls

Last week I finished and mailed a shawl to a very special person who has been quite ill: Pres. Elizabeth. 

Please keep her in your prayers. She is still in the hospital and struggling to breathe.

When I'm knitting or crocheting shawls for people I try to say the Jesus prayer while working.

Ravelry link

This week I started another shawl for someone who may not be physically ill, but who needs a big hug. 

 Technically what follows is not what I have been reading, but what I'm reading tonight. I've been reading all sorts of things the last several days: a star guide book, four of the Chaim Potok books, etc. But I've featured all those before (or at least I think so...)

This book always makes me feel better because I look at my girls and think, "they're old-fashioned girls... thank heavens!"

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuna Noodle Casserole

We tried a new recipe for a tuna noodle casserole today. It's from scratch; no canned soup required!

It's a very creamy casserole because it includes cream cheese (always a win in my book).

The only things I did differently from the recipe were (1) adding shredded sharp cheddar cheese to the roux instead of sprinkling it on top, (2) not adding additional salt, and (3) leaving out the green peppers.

I also doubled the recipe which in retrospect wasn't needed. One batch would have fed us quite easily. But at least that means we can have this later in the week!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Pass the BBQ sauce...

Here's something perfect for the first day of cheesefare week. (c;

-h/t Seamus

Male, Female or ???

You are filling out some forms. Under the usual name, address, birthday, ssn, race, etc., you see "sex: M/F". That may be a thing of the past, however, since our post-modern society has added increasing categories of gender. Each one is being split into more and more subgroups and the whole thing can't help but make me think of the long-standing and continuous splintering of Protestant churches. Even those gender categories are not expected to be static and individuals are expected (and increasingly encouraged) to move about within them. Depending on the kind of week you've had, you can select a pull-down menu on Facebook and choose another gender from a list of over fifty. A "flavor of the week" kind of thing.

Really, it's all rather ridiculous. At least it would be laughable, if people weren't taking it so seriously.

The problem is that there seem to be two main groups: (a) Those who push for more and more shades of grey in gender, working very hard to demolish the foundations of traditional sexes, grinding even the individual stones into powder, and (b) those who want to keep it quite simple: heterosexual and homosexual. Why is this a problem? Because neither is correct.

There is no homosexual or heterosexual. We are all human beings, male and female (yes, there are only two despite medical claims to the contrary and individual variations in physiology), created in the image of God. We were created to be procreative - otherwise humanity would be at a dead end... literally. Why is it wrong to label people as homo- or hetero-sexual? Well, in what other ways are we labeled by our sins?

No, sex is not a sin in and of itself. God created sex and He didn't create anything evil. But He did give us free will and we are able to turn that will away from Him in whatever way we choose. Just because someone is "heterosexual" doesn't mean they are standing on the moral high ground. People who commit adultery or fornication are heterosexual and few would say they are leading morally superior lives. Homosexuality, or the attraction to those of the same sex, is not considered a sin unless one (1) either entertains the thoughts or (2) acts on them. Let me be very quick to point out that entertaining thoughts of fornication with someone of the opposite sex is just as wrong.

The Church teaches us that everyone is called to either marriage or virginity. There is no other path. Anything else falls short of what Christ created us to be. And we all fall short, every day. Perhaps not in this area, but in others. So we all sin... but again, are we labeled by that sin?

Let me give you an example: Someone cheats on a test at school and is labeled a cheater...forever? If someone steals something, are they forever branded a thief? Isn't it possible to repent? Well, of course! Do any of these things become sociopolitical labels, demanding respect from the general population and earning federal funding for promotion? Um, no. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

A fascinating article, "Against Heterosexuality", by Michael Hannon, examines the entire social construct of heterosexuality and homosexuality. I urge you to read it. It caused me to take a very hard look at how I have viewed the subject and come to the conclusion that I have been a dupe of the psychobabble academics in this area.
Alasdair MacIntyre once quipped that “facts, like telescopes and wigs for gentlemen, were a seventeenth-century invention.” Something similar can be said about sexual orientation: Heterosexuals, like typewriters and urinals (also, obviously, for gentlemen), were an invention of the 1860s. Contrary to our cultural preconceptions and the lies of what has come to be called “orientation essentialism,” “straight” and “gay” are not ageless absolutes. Sexual orientation is a conceptual scheme with a history, and a dark one at that. It is a history that began far more recently than most people know, and it is one that will likely end much sooner than most people think.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wednesday Photos

Surprise for someone needing a long-distance hug


LOVE the expression!


Lovely evening...

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Once upon a time there was a little boy whose name was Thura. Thura lived with his mother and grandfather in a small shack built of scraps of wood and metal at the edge of a dump. He slept on some rags on top of a strip of old carpet in a corner of the shack. It was not a pretty place but Thura had never known anything different so it did not bother him as much as you would think. Every day he went out and searched through the garbage to see what he could find to bring home for his family. He had to be quick because there were many other people also searching. Often there was nothing to eat but some old cabbage. Once he found a candy bar that was not even opened! That had been over a year ago, but he never stopped looking, just in case. He also searched for clothes and most of all for shoes. But the shoes went quickly. He had a mismatched pair held on with some string and that kept his feet from getting cut on the pieces of glass and other sharp things at the dump. One day, he thought, he'd like to have a pair of shoes all his own, that matched, and fit! It was one of his life's dreams.

Life at the dump was hard, but as I have said, he didn't have anything to compare it with. One day Thura found a torn book poking out of a pile of rubbish. He couldn't read, but he looked to see if there were any pictures. There were so many pictures! He sat down on a bag of garbage and flipped through the book. There were pictures of gardens, all kinds. He saw birds, butterflies, flowers and clear, sparkling streams. He had never seen anything like it. The sun grew high and the smells of the garbage surrounded him, but he kept slowly turning the pages.

When he reached the end of the book, he slowly closed it and looked up. Suddenly he could see the dump for what it was: ugly. There were no plants, no flowers. There were no butterflies. There were birds, but only the kind that circled around the dump, sometimes diving down to get something to eat. They had loud cries and they were a dirty color, not red and blue and yellow like the birds in the book. He didn't know what sounds the birds in the book made, but he imagined that they sang beautiful songs, like the songs his mother sometimes still sang to him when he was sick with a fever. The only water they had was in a sluggish stream with banks of mud strewn with trash. It was brown and didn't sparkle. When he took a can to the stream to get water to bring home, his mother had to let it sit for several hours to let the mud settle on the bottom before they could drink it.

Thura opened the book again and saw a butterfly. A large, glorious, multicolored butterfly. If only he could see a butterfly!

Suddenly realizing how late it was, he gathered up the items he found and hurried home, hopping and leaping over the piles of trash. He thought how happy his mother and grandfather would be when they saw the pretty pictures in the book!

When he pushed through the rough piece of sacking that served for a door, his grandfather looked up from his bed. “Where have you been?” he asked crossly. His grandfather was always cross.

“I'm sorry, Grandfather. I know I took a long time, but look what I found!” Thura handed his grandfather the book.

He barely looked at it before tossing it back to the boy. “Rubbish! We don't need anything like this around here! You'll get ideas in your head. What good is it? Can it feed you? Cover you? Keep you warm? Well, maybe the last, if you burn it.”

Thura picked the book up off the dirt floor and turned away so his grandfather wouldn't see the tears in his eyes. He put the shriveled potatoes and a half loaf of stale bread on the wooden crate that served for a table, and then quietly pushed the book under the rags where he slept. He wouldn't burn it. When his mother came home, bringing some food she had gathered, he decided not to show her the book.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Yarn Along: Tiny Hats

More hats for Calvin's Hats

From largest... smallest.

I've been reading here and there, but this was the interesting read of the week: a hard-bound collection of the first six issues of National Geographic in 1914.

I liked this photo from Palestine: