Sunday, December 30, 2007

"Why Intelligent Design Fails", by various scientists

I picked up this book at the library to see if it would challenge my thinking and maybe help me better understand the reasoning of secular scientists. The book has several valid arguments against the concept of ‘intelligent design', including bits about probability and the simplicity of one-celled organisms. However, there were a few points in the book that I cannot resist poking fun at. Of course, not being a trained scientist from a prestigious university, I cannot understand any of this on my own and should just follow the teachings of the majority of qualified scientists, who obviously know better. Ahem.

This is shamelessly paraphrased, biased, and otherwise irreverent.

1. ‘Dogs and cats share certain characteristics. Therefore, they must have a common ancestor.’

WTF? Oh, yea, that’s real good science, that is. What ever happened to verifiable and repeatable? That’s right, I learned that in junior high, so therefore it doesn’t apply to real science.

2. ‘Death is equilibrium’. Death brings balance to the force, I guess. So is genocide just equilibrium on a large scale? Since mankind is a random accident, and morals grew out of necessity, the majority of secular scientists would have to admit mass murder is simply survival of the fittest. Should I believe them on this point to, or is now a good time to insert my religion?

3. ‘Blueprints require a designer, but recipes don’t, so cells follow recipes, not blueprints.’ This statement is a summary from a couple pages of writing. Obviously, these men don’t cook.

4. Wasp nests are built through a ‘dumb process’ (exact quote) and do not prove that someone designed wasps to build nests, because, you know, not all wasp nests are perfect, and um, yea. They’re just a bunch of dumb animals getting together and not knowing exactly what they’re doing and a wasp nest just happens to emerge…wow, I wish I was that dumb…

5 Nature is ‘self-organized’. Which means my children are just un-natural. Yes, yes, through a naturalistic process, a hurricane organizes itself and promptly wreaks havoc on the rest of nature. Ants organize themselves, as does DNA and the congress. This therefore proves that God is not necessary. Nice leap of logic. I would almost call it ‘faith’.

And my personal favorite….

6. ‘Evolution erases evidence of itself’. That explains why there is no evidence for it, of course. Oh, oh, but the fossil record! How could we forget that? ‘With a few bones and a good theory, we can prove anything!’ Again, somewhat paraphrased, but that’s the basic premise behind the ‘proof’ that dinosaurs evolved into birds.

I’m not making this stuff up, folks. Remember, I don’t have a degree, so I’m not allowed to!

Friday, December 28, 2007

the 'bucks

I have a love/hate relationship with Starbuck’s, affectionately referred to as “the ‘bucks”.

Stereotypical/hypocritical. Hypocritical in that their original logo was a mermaid with huge (bare) tracts of land, but they recently kicked a nursing mother of a store b/c she might offend the other patrons. Hypocritical in that they try to give an artsy, anti-establishment, progressive kind of feel to their shops, yet they are an enormous profit-making corporation, and every store looks alike. And that is also why they are stereotypical…

Dependable, good coffee and perky baristas. Often I go to small, local coffeeshops and am consistently assaulted with weak coffee and grouchy workers. What are you trying to do to me, man? This is my addiction. Yes, Starbucks is not really a progressive, artistically-inclined small business. Yes, they are trying to take over the world, along with Disney, Wal-mart, Google, and Microsoft. But heck, I’ll gladly whore my principles for a decent cup of joe…so Starbuck’s it is.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas comes just once a year. Thank God.

Well, despite my frightfully bad attitude towards Christmas, it was a rather pleasant experience this year. Nobody got too many obnoxious gifts or overdosed on sugar. We kept things pretty simple and tried to focus on people outside the family, and overall, the time felt rewarding and enjoyable. Definitely not relaxing, but not too exhausting, either. Life will soon settle back into a normal pattern, the days will lengthen, and we will have several months of holiday-free living before Christmas season hits again.

Oh blast, I have to take the decorations down next week…I knew I was forgetting something…

Saturday, December 22, 2007


There are many things that I give away, and expect no return. Time. Money. Food. Encouragement. Friendliness.

But not my love.

Its very nature should demand that love is given away freely, with no strings attached, no spoken or unspoken expectations, no thought of oneself at all. Is that not what love is- seeking the best for the other, not yourself? Yet somehow I assume that if I love, I should therefore be loved in return. Because of course, love is risky. It can be spurned; it can be manipulated, it can be mocked. I want to guard against that, preserve myself- so I cautiously only love those whom I know will love me in return, and if their love seems to be growing cold, I carefully withdraw my own feelings. Take my stuff, take my attention, take whatever else you want- just leave my heart intact, please.

I see now that God deliberately places people in my life that I must love, even though they may never love me in return. Yes, it is a risk that I would rather not take, similar to jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, but the alternative is much worse- to harden my heart, wrapping it safely in a casing of stone, to never be hurt, and to never truly love.

Friday, December 21, 2007

does dark chocolate count as sweets?

I’m a (recovering) sugar addict, and am trying to make it through the holiday season with a minimum amount of sweets. I had a lot on Wednesday so I’m hoping to abstain until Christmas Eve (and then binge.) But the cravings are setting in, and I’m trying not to think about a container of Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans sitting on the shelf just inches from the computer…

About this time I begin to have a theological debate within myself. Did God predestine me to eat chocolate everyday? In my struggle against sin, is it my will-power or the holy spirit that prevails (or the chocolate?) Why doesn’t the bible give us exact answers about these deep questions? And the really big one- does dark chocolate count as ‘sweets’?

Did you notice how many of my posts revolve around food?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Living Well in a World of Oppression


As a working-class American, I have to face the fact that while I whine about not having enough grocery money to buy beer, my brothers and sisters across the world are literally starving to death.

How do we respond to the overwhelming despair in the world around us? Do we harden our hearts, change the channel, and order pizza? Or (even worse) do we watch the movie about the horrors of living in Africa and then demand why our government isn’t doing more (WTF?)??

As an individual, I have had to come to the realization that I am not the Messiah- I know, that came as a shock to me too. I cannot save the world. I cannot even save one person. Heck, I can’t even save myself. Does this mean I do nothing? No. I can help those around me (to the best of my ability) and I can look for ways to ease the suffering I see. I can love my family and be faithful in taking care of them. Globally, I can help at least a few people- and help those who help them, with my finances, my time, and my prayers.

Because even though I am not the Messiah, I do know the Messiah. I know the one who can truly make a difference, more than any person or government or brilliant idea. And I know that he listens to prayers- even secular scientists have to admit that prayer is effective (they just don’t know why). So rather than sitting here feeling guilty over my prosperity, or complaining that my government isn’t doing enough, or working myself to exhaustion to fight all the evil around me, I do the work God has given me- and I pray for the Sudanese. And the drug dealers around the corner. And the little girls in brothels across the world. And the Mexican immigrants. And on and on and on…

Friday, December 14, 2007

Happy Birthday, Veronica

Yes, yesterday was my birthday, and I am now a whopping 31 yrs. old. Oddly enough, it doesn’t feel any different from being 30.

For my birthday present David found a hardback copy of George MacDonald’s Lilith. George MacDonald was a mid/late 19th century Scottish author who is considered the father of modern fantasy. He was also a Presbyterian minister (defrocked because of his unorthodox teachings) and a friend of Lewis Carroll, that morphine-influenced writer of Alice in Wonderland. Interestingly enough, MacDonald (to my knowledge) never partook of any funny substances, yet his books are more tripped out than even Alice. However, unlike Alice’s adventures, MacDonald’s work always whisper (and sometimes shout) at deeper underlying meaning, and so in that sense they have that very realistic feeling that my life means something, somewhere, I just can’t figure it out right now. His works also gift every aspect of our life with spirituality, not in the pantheistic sense but in the sense that nothing is prosaic or unimportant. And so Phantastes was a source of inspiration for the young, atheist C.S Lewis to consider many things about life and eventually Christianity.

What exactly do I love about MacDonald’s fantasy? Well, I asked David that at breakfast this morning- “Why do I like George’s work, dear?” and he said,

“Becuase it’s freaky.”

Yup, that sums it up nicely.

Monday, December 10, 2007


The cookies on the countertop are calling my name.
"Eat us! Eat us!" they cry out sweetly.
"No! I don't want you! I'm not hungry! Go away!"
"We will if you eat us!" they respond.
"I want to be good! I don't want to gain weight! I don't want to add unnecessary sugar to my body!"
"But we taste so good! We make your coffeetime special!"
"Get behind me, foul tempters! Spawns of Satan! Full of peanut butter, chocolate, and ginger! With dark brown sugar and melted chocolate, baked fresh in my oven...oh yum...."
I concede defeat.

dinnertime doldrums

Nine out of ten housewives agree- cooking dinner each night SUCKS! You don’t want to fix the same meal each night. You also want to serve your family something (relatively) healthy. And perhaps most importantly, all the ingredients have to fit within the dismally small ‘grocery budget’.

Add it all up, and basically I’m regularly cooking things at least one member of the family won’t like (too bad for them; this is when it comes in handy to be a mean mama).

My feelings about all this have gotten worse and worse over the years. It doesn’t help that dinnertime comes in the afternoon, when my Hispanic bones are crying for a siesta and we’ve already had a full day of school. But lately my heart has been convicted of these bad attitudes, and I have been contemplating the more global (to use the parlance of our times) and historical perspectives of eating.

Mealtimes, I believe, should be a time where we gather together to nourish our bodies, to enjoy the good things God has provided for us, and to appreciate our family. They should not be a ‘stuff-your-face-as-fast-as-you-can-so-we-can-get-back-to-important things’ kind of activity that the American culture typically practices. I am the person primarily responsible for facilitating this daily family ritual. I want to approach it with love and a desire to serve my family, not as another heavy burden added to my breaking back.

As with most things, recognizing the problem is half the battle, and as my friend Amy likes to say: “Progress, not perfection.” So do I get to order pizza tonight?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Shoe Event Horizons and other inane thoughts

I haven’t felt like posting anything lately. I’ve thought of stuff to write, but nothing that seems really that worthwhile.

SO…I’ll mention one of my favorite passages in Science Fiction literature.

“The Shoe Event Horizon” from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy, by Douglas Adams.

As you of course already know, an event horizon is the (theoretical) point at which time and light get sucked into a black hole- therefore, the point at which ‘events’ no longer happen.

A ‘shoe’ event horizon is the (theoretical) point at which a society can no longer support the number of shoes that are manufactured and collapses into ruin and myth. It happens something like this:

Factories produce shoes more cheaply, so more people buy more shoes. So more shoes have to be made, more cheaply, so that more people buy more shoes, thereby necessitating the creation of more factories and more shoe stores, until the only thing that the society manufactures or sells is shoes, and civilization crumbles.

As far as we could tell, Puerto Rico is approaching its shoe event horizon, as it seemed that about half the stores we saw sold shoes.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Pulp Fiction


Having made that clear, let me say that Pulp Fiction is one of my favorite movies ever.

It is difficult to explain what it is that I love about it. Oh, all the usual things- unique, well-written stories, great acting, humorous dialogue (if you don’t get easily offended by constant foul language and vulgar conversation), intriguing directing- but the whole package goes way beyond the technical details. It shows the crime world in all its gritty self-centeredness, without glorifying it (like the Godfather) or moralizing about it. These are real people, in unusual circumstances, making real decisions that impact their lives in rather unexpected ways.

To me, the best example of this is the section of the movie called the ‘Bonnie Situation’. The two hit men of the movie- played by John Travolta and Samuel Jackson- have a shared experience: another character shoots them several times, point-blank, with a large-caliber handgun. They should have died. They don’t even get hit. The wall behind them is littered with bullets, but they are unscathed. One hit man sees it as a freak occurrence and goes on with his life of crime; the other realizes it to be a miracle and repents of his lifestyle. And he is the one still alive at the end of all the stories. How oftend do you see that kind of thing in a Hollywood flick? And that's just one small aspect of the movie- Pulp Fiction is just as unique and shocking, a decade later, as it was when it first hit the screens.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Proof that we're weird

Malachi came downstairs this morning and told me he had a night mare last night.

I expressed concern, and asked him to tell me about it.

He was being chased by ducks, he said.

Six-foot ducks that would sneak up behind him, knock him over, quack, and say “Hah! I got you that time!”

David and I laughed hysterically, but did tell Malachi that ducks can be very scary- especially six-foot, talking ones.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Step One- Fight the Greed!

Early in our family life, we set some parameters for our extended families and gift-giving.

This is where the whole issue becomes a battlefield.

No matter what their station in life, Americans are very, very defensive about Christmas and how it should be celebrated. Giving gifts is seen as an inalienable right, and any attempt to curtail that right is met with petitions, threats, and jail time. Or at least it feels that way. Nonetheless, we’ve stood our ground, for the sake of our children and their long-term mental health, and requested that the gifts be limited to one per child from each family member. Now, this is not exactly deprivation, and adds up to a total of about twenty-five new things that our family receives each year. And it means that our children get nicer things (since we don’t limit the amount of money spent, just amount of gifts.) that they can remember and appreciate, rather than piles and piles of junk that immediately get stepped upon, broken, and forgotten. It also means that we can move some of the focus of Christmas away from greediness and more towards what we value as a family- things like self-sacrifice, love, and eternity.

I know-we’re weird.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fight the Greed! Step Two

The last couple years we’ve taken the money we would normally spend on the children for Christmas presents and have instead given it to charity. Last year, we bought goats through Samaritan’s Purse to give to poor families in South America, and this year we are giving it to people we feel could really use it. It’s fun for us as a family to think about how we can bless another family during the holidays, and moves the focus away from what we get to what we can give. Our children don’t feel deprived since they get so many presents anyway, and we have the blessing of knowing that our money is going someplace it can really be used, rather than ending up in the pile of discarded stuff on the children’s floors.

Good sources of gift ideas:

Samaritan’s Purse

World Vision

Heifer International

Local shelters and food pantries that probably have a long list of things their guests need!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Fight the Greed!

It always amazes me that the Christmas holiday is celebrated in the name of a man who was born, raised, and died in poverty. I have heard many people justify the excesses of holiday giving by talking about how God gives lavishly to us, and we should we reflect that in our lifestyle.


Well, rather than delving into the theological tenuousness of that position, I’m going to focus on its results- the greediness that settles into almost every American child during the month of December. We as a family have very deliberately tailored our holiday festivities to encourage thankfulness, generosity, and joy among our children, rather than feeding into the ‘what am I going to get’ syndrome- which comes naturally to humans anyway.

A couple of important notes- we start from a foundation of a frugal lifestyle, where we limit shopping expeditions to about once a month and allow no TV commercials in the house, and we never whine about ‘if only we had enough money to buy (fill in the blank)’. Also, we have discovered that fighting the greed makes us unpopular with lots of people this time of year, no matter how politely we try to explain our position. So- be warned!

To prevent this post from getting too long, I’m going to write about this over the course of the next few weeks, rather than addressing it all in one post.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

the tempestuous toddler

No, it’s not a recently discovered Shakespearian drama, it’s the (current) story of my life.

I’ve been asked on occasion how I handle homeschooling with a baby/toddler in the house. I, too, asked this question, of my wise friend Mary, mother of seven and veteran homeschooling mom. She suggested homeschool ‘lite’ for the first year of the baby’s life- I’ve now extended that to three years, and am considering making it a permanent philosophy.

In conjunction with that, I think the most important thing I’ve learned is to relax. The kids will learn. The house will never be clean. Insanity will be lurking around every corner. Time passes; seasons change; children grow; insanity creeps closer. And finally everything seems manageable, thru the grace of God. For truly Jesus spoke: Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you…even the strength to enjoy parenthood.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Things I have to do before 4 pm Thanksgiving Day


  • Change sheets (it’s been an embarrassingly long time since the last household sheet change…) but before I change the sheets, I have to…
  • Battle the fearsome Laundry Monster. It’s about thirty-feet high, twenty-feet wide, 6 tons and multi-colored. I shiver with fear.
  • Make pie crusts


  • Make pies
  • Start twice-baked potatoes
  • Maybe cinnamon rolls for Thanksgiving breakfast?


  • Clean house (such a simple statement…such a Herculean task)
  • Finish twice-baked potatoes
  • Make salad
  • Bake ham

Good thing I have slaves.

On a completely separate note, it’s amazing how quickly David and I can polish off a liter of Bailey’s. I was planning to save some for baking, but oh well- guess I’ll have to buy a new bottle!

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Day in the Life of G.W. Carver Academy

The children thudded down the stairs this morning at seven o’clock- the earliest they are allowed to get out of bed! We did the usual breakfast routine (breakfast is the only meal they are allowed to request separate foods, so I have to bustle about toasting bread and pouring cereal) and moved right into school- preparing stew for tomorrow night’s dinner. Stuart peeled carrots and potatoes, then Anastasia and Malachi chopped them while India watched them, and I browned meat, opened canned tomatoes, poured wine and mixed in the rest of the ingredients. The kids then scampered upstairs for the usual changing, teeth-brushing, and so forth while I did last minute preparations for the school day, like typing up an apostrophe test for the boys.

We are studying ancient Mesopotamia right now, so we first read chapter five of the book of Daniel, then a few pages from our history book which detailed the Persian conquest of Babylon (India and Anastasia don’t really pay much attention to that, but I make sure Anastasia gets the important points.) The boys passed their apostrophe tests with flying colors while Anastasia danced downstairs to reggae and made herself and India a snack. Math followed snack time (which also included forays into the online world of Club Penguin ) and after that the girls played outside while I made lunch listening to my favorite industrial band, Mortal.

We’re in the middle of our lunch break now, and will work on some fractions and then gardening in the afternoon. Not all days run this smoothly, but it sure is nice when they do!

we are handfuls of dust, yet made of stars…’ten-O’, Mortal

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Am I really that weird?

This morning we attended a library class geared towards homeschoolers. There were a few dozen of us there, and it was a good time. The kids got to interact with some other kids, we did some fun math games, and of course checked out about a million books. There was only one note of discord during the experience: for the most part, the other moms did not talk to me. And yes, I tried to talk to them. Usually I received short replies; in one instance, a hostile, silent glare.

I usually don’t complain about this kind of thing, and I’m really not complaining now. It actually doesn’t bother me- I have an overabundance of self-confidence and generally bite my thumb at anyone who slights me. But there are a couple things about this particular occasion that strike me as worthy of comment.

First, these are primarily conservative Christian women. I am a conservative Christian woman as well- in some ways. In other ways, obviously, I am very different from most people who fit that category. (I mean, are purple tights really that weird? Apparently so. I had no idea…) So, my question is, ahem, what about Christ’s love for the outcast? Shouldn’t we encircle those who are different than us, showing how God loves them, trying to bring them into the fold? From the reaction I received this morning, I would have to assume that odd people are not welcome in the kingdom of God, and brightly colored shawls are sinful. Hmmm....

Second, the librarians are very friendly and I had several good discussions with them. This proves my long-held theory that librarians in general are strange people and can associate freely with other strange people- which now means me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Quotes I Like (imperfectly paraphrased as I was too lazy to look up the sources)

“As I write this, highly civilized men are flying overheard, trying to kill me.” George Orwell

“I fear that I am ordinary, just like everyone.” Billy Corgan

“I refuse to be caught in the middle of a territorial dispute between mythical creatures.” the character Bella, from Stephanie Meyer’s novel Eclipse

“He who steals my purse steals nothing- it is trash.” Iago, from Othello

“The door is open, sir, there lies the way. You may be jogging til your boots are green. As for me, I’ll stay my leisure. I see a woman may be made a fool, had she not the spirit to resist!” Katarina, from the Taming of the Shrew

"Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!" Monty Python and the Flying Circuses

“Come to me, all you who are weary, and I will give you rest.” Christ

Friday, November 9, 2007

Extreme Frugality, revisited

Note: See ‘extreme frugality’ in the archive section of my blog to get the background of today’s blog.

We are a month or so into our severe budget restrictions, and have been reduced to borrowing toilet paper and wearing holy socks :P (Actually we just need to get to Wal-mart; our funds are sufficient this week to cover a large pack of toilet paper, and even some new socks!) God has provided, sometimes in unusual ways, but mostly by helping us say ‘no’ to anything outside our budget. This can be very painful. I have found the best way is to be very consistent: simply never make an exception, no matter how worthy or how much desired, to anything that exceeds our weekly spending allotment.

Like any addiction, the initial period of deprivation is the worst. It has been a blessing for me to realize just how dependent on ‘stuff’ I had become. Rather embarrassing, really, especially for a ghetto housewife, to always be thinking about what to buy next! But the payoff is worth it. Aside from enabling us to afford some larger things we have been saving for, the tighter budget will hopefully help the whole family lead a more contented lifestyle, and understand the differences between our ‘wants’ and our true needs.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Without you, I am rootless grass

translated from Japanese- words from the song played during the ending credits of the anime ‘Gilgamesh’

Ok, some things just don’t translate.

Or, perhaps this is exactly the sentiment the lyricist was hoping to express. “Rootless grass?”

Whatever the problem, lost in translation or analogy-challenged poet, I found the end result hilarious and laughed for at least a minute after reading it off the screen.

Without you, I am rootless grass…or perhaps, mouse-less computer…or even better, signal-less cell phone...

Friday, November 2, 2007


This is getting tiring.

I am determined to get some rest today so that hopefully (God have mercy) my body can heal quickly. I think, overall, I need to lessen the stress in my life, because I believe that is directly related to why I’ve been sick so much in the past few months. (though it could also just be Satan, she says in a sneering voice). I wonder, too, about increasing the amount of fresh fruits and veggies I eat, to booster my immune system.

Well, thankfully, the children can somewhat cope by themselves for a day, and we can keep school light. I hate just sitting around when there’s so much to be done…but I’ve learned my lesson from my last, never-ending sickness, and will shut my eyes to any unimportant details and will spend the day reading and playing pacman. I guess life could be worse!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

burden or blessing? Part 1 of 'life with children'

Halloween was lovely- a neighborhood party, a wee bit of trick or treating, and games here at our house, with homemade fudge and store-bought apple cider. We had a good time and went to bed early. The little bit of candy that was brought into the house will be doled out slowly, over the next week or so, and then dumped. Yes, I’m a mean mama!

I’ve been thinking about sacrifice lately, and what it means in the life of a Christian mother. I think too often us moms allow our culture’s view of family & children overtake our own perspective. We see our children as a burden; something to endure; indubitably, we love them, but please, get them out of the house as soon as possible!

I know how demanding the little ones are. I know what it is like to be with them continually- the questions, the needs, the arguing- it’s exhausting, and much like Jesus with the disciples, there are just times when a mother needs time alone. (Really, from reading the gospels, the disciples do sound amazingly like a bunch of toddlers. So I think Jesus really can sympathize with us young moms!) It’s a love that always gives without receiving anything except the satisfaction of serving. It requires the love of God in our own hearts. So what is the Christian perspective of children? A blessing. How? How can something which is so difficult, so costly, also be a blessing? I think I’ll save that question for another post…

Monday, October 29, 2007

anxiety vs. God

The sermon in church yesterday addressed the temptation to follow traditions rather than the word of God. In my life, this hits home hardest in the area of anxiety.

“Worry,” commands our culture. “Be anxious for nothing, but pray for everything,” my paraphrase of something I think Peter wrote. When I analyze my anxiety, I realize that much of it revolves around ‘me’- I’m not good enough. I’m not saving enough. I’m not working hard enough. Something is going to go wrong, because I’m forgetting something, and God knows we don’t have enough insurance to cover it all!

I think the story of Elisha and the widow’s oil was recorded in the bible for the sake of over-anxious stay-at-home moms like myself. Here is this woman who is having all our worst nightmares come true- her husband dies (i.e., she has no income). Her children are going to be taken away. There is no one to defend her.

Elisha does not preach to her. He does not say, “Why didn’t your husband purchase life insurance? Why didn’t you two have retirement savings? And why the hell were you in debt? Don’t you know debt is evil? Ok, fine, fine, I’ll help you, but this better be the last bloody time you are so inept.” He just tells her to fill a bunch of jars with oil. She obeys (not worries) and God miraculously provides. The two things the woman ‘did’ to secure her salvation were to run to God and to obey.

So I guess my point is- I need to trust and obey God, rather than choosing to worry. Sounds easy, but I know God is going to have to work a long time on this one. Those habits of anxiety and stress have roots that are too deeply entrenched in my soul to come out without a fight. But I’m not going to worry about it! I’ll let God take care of it. Meanwhile…where is that checkbook? I can’t remember the balance…

Thursday, October 25, 2007

hint of death

It is a perfect Autumn day. The sky is a clear blue, enhanced by the crisp coolness of the chill wind, and dotted with numerous small, fluffy white clouds. Without the warmth of the sunlight it would be discouragingly cold. Melancholy threatens to seep into my soul, and though I would usually struggle to throw it off I realize that it is good and appropriate to mourn this time of year: the first hint of nature’s yearly death can be seen in the yellowing leaves, the shortening days, the cold breeze. Dying should always be met with sorrow.

It is equally appropriate that Thanksgiving should be celebrated during the autumn. Gratitude is a natural antidote to depression. And even though autumn will fade into winter, where death seems inshakeable and permanent, I know that eventually life will be resurrected and spring will come again. Thus I have hope, and I can revel in the beautiful melancholy of the dying world and the autumn season. My favorite time of year.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Society of Non-Wicked Step-mothers

I’m beginning a new non-profit organization: The Society of Non-Wicked Stepmothers (SNWS). Our first project will be to sue the Brothers Grimm for centuries of degrading portrayals of stepmothers (Cinderella, Hansel & Gretel, Snow White, etc.) I mean, why do stepmothers always have to be the villain? What did we do to deserve this kind of mistreatment? Obviously all these fairy-tales have been written by embittered first wives, who probably faked their own deaths so they could run away with some wealthy body-builder, and then got jealous when their offspring were raised by nice, sweet, kind and beautiful step-mothers while the body-builder got arrested for excessive gambling debts and steroid usage. Hah.

We should hear more about the good step-mothers- ones like my grandmother, who had eight step-children and was…well…wicked. Blast. But she was equally cruel to her own children, so that doesn’t count. How about all those wonderful step-mothers in the bible, women like…umm…


There has to be a few good step-mothers out there.

Well, when I find them, we will band together to fight for our rights. We will no longer be the demons in over-dramatic fairy tales. We will not be the greedy, jealous, possessive old hags with OCD. We will even throw off the derogatory term step-mother (what does ‘step’ imply, anyway? Someone to step on?) and demand a neutral, more descriptive term of ourselves- something like kind, sweet, sacrificial motherly figure.

Look out, Walt Disney…

Friday, October 19, 2007

Extreme Frugality!

I’m sipping a cup of coffee during our lunch break. I let the children eat by themselves; sometimes this leads to ‘issues’ at the table but is one of the few times of the day when I have a few minutes somewhat to myself.

We are transitioning to a lifestyle of extreme frugality. We will continue with our current level of monthly obligations (which are pretty minimal, for the most part) and charity. However, all other expenses- clothes, fun, household goods, and anything else that creeps up- will have to come out of a small weekly allowance. The primary purpose of this is to prepare for a couple of big expenses next year- new (second) vehicle and new computer, both things we’ve been planning for quite awhile.

The other purpose of this is to simply live a more grateful, less covetous lifestyle. There is a never-ending list of things we could buy and even more things we could want. On a limited budget what we really ‘need’ suddenly becomes much more clear.

One thing I am trying to be very careful of: I never tell the kids (or even let myself think) ‘if we only had more money we could afford this or that’. Or especially, ‘we can’t do/buy that because we don’t have enough money’ (in a greedy, whiny tone). We could earn more money; we could spend everything we have plus rack up large(r) debts; we could stop giving anything away (which could be easily excused, considering we are large a family with not a large income). But the answer to our desires is not more money. It’s contentment, and wisdom, and gratitude, and more than anything, Christ!

I am excited to see what God can do with our budget and our needs while we make these changes. We may end with more bills :), and will handle them as they come. I trust that He will provide for us as he always has.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


It is a beautiful, rainy day. The school day has gone well (which is not always the case) and so I have a few minutes to myself while the children play after lunch.

We have two new members of the family- Mr. Moss and Zero. They are both millipedes. Mr. Moss is the larger, a giant African millipede already an impressive 8” and probably not full-grown. Zero, by comparison, is tiny- a 5” red desert millipede. They are Malachi’s pets, and, as we have been studying arthropods for the last couple weeks of school, coincide nicely with our studies. Watching them move about and munch on bananas is fascinating and we pray that we can keep them alive for a long, long time (the African millipedes reportedly survive for numerous years in captivity!)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday, Monday (la la, la la la la la)

It’s a Monday, and like most Mondays it just plain sucks. It is also a Monday after a very busy weekend, a weekend in which David and I traveled 500 miles while the children stayed with the grandparents. So I’m feeling depressed and weary- nothing that can’t be fixed with enough coffee and chocolate.

I have hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

Thank you so much to my technologically competent husband, who helped me link a picture and do some other stuff to dress up my blog site. Kiss, Kiss.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

ghetto housewife

Some have asked “Why ghetto housewife?”

Ok, no one has asked, but my husband has said I should explain it. I try to listen to my husband’s advice. I’m not going to say any more about that particular topic.

1. I am a housewife, not a househusband, not a midwife, not a fishwife. Hence the part about ‘housewife’.

2. I live in the ghetto. Ok, ok, not hardcore ghetto, not ‘machine gun fire every night’ ghetto, not ‘murder on every street corner’ ghetto, but recovering, trendy ghetto. Hence the ‘ghetto’ adjective.

Only we could move into a ghetto which immediately transforms into a hip place to live. Oh, we still have murders. We still have used hypodermic needles strewn across the sidewalk. We still have some crumbling old houses. But it’s all rapidly changing. Every where I walk I see signs of new construction and rehab. Yes, it’s a good thing, and I’m happy for it. But it is very surreal. We just wanted a big house that we could fix up to our liking in a community that we knew and enjoyed. Now, there are tours frequently circling the streets, made up of yuppies with sweaters tied around their necks and wine glasses in their hands, and property values are soaring. Fashionable housing magazines from other big cities talk about our area and encourage progressive young urbanites to check us out. We are no longer the ghetto….but “Previously blighted inner-city housewife” is just too long of a title. So…ghetto housewife it is.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

sex change

I have changed my profile to correctly reflect my current gender as ‘female’, rather than ‘male’ as it previously stated.

For security purposes, my husband has verified that this is indeed my gender.

Sorry for any confusion this may have caused. Thank you, Charlotte, for pointing out the error.

details about my family that you never wanted to know

We do:



shop at Sam’s and Aldi and Trader Joe’s (woo hoo Trader Joe’s!)

eat at ethnic restaurants

lead our church youth group

somewhat unschool (esp. on days that I’m tired J)

like to travel to expensive, exotic locations

use our credit cards and usually pay the entire balance each month (stress usually)

listen to loud, obnoxious music


attend church most Sundays

read the bible most days

lots of laundry

subscribe to Netflix (woo hoo netflix!)

shop at thrift stores

use birth control

like foreign films

We don’t:

have high-speed internet (gasp)

have two cars

have cable/dish/whatever tv (or even watch broadcast)

listen to the radio (except NPR and sometimes KDHX)

believe that CO2 is warming the earth (it's the fault of reality TV shows)

believe that over millions of years, tiny, simple particles changed themselves into large, complicated life-forms that eventually mutated enough to talk, walk, and shop at the mall

buy name-brand stuff (except for some foods and Toyota and if Charlotte gets her way, a new Mac)

save for retirement

engage in any form of politics (including voting, gasp again)

opening day

Well, I've taken the plunge and started a blog. It seems silly and self-focused in a lot of ways. But also a good way to journal (something I've always meant to do but without much success).

I'm recuperating from a week-long bout of the flu. I had begun to despair of ever fully recovering and was making plans to live my life dizzy, exhausted, and unproductive. That last part was the most difficult- like many Americans, I judge my life by how much I do. It was a good reminder to once again change my perspective, and remember that a good day is one in which I better worship God, rather than completing a mammoth list of housework and other worthy but often distracting activities.

This blog is interrupted by my children's incesssant and unreasonable demands for food :)