Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Deep thoughts (or not)

I was going to chronicle the deep and thought-provoking ideas upon which I was ruminating earlier today, but alas, I have forgotten those deep thoughts and am left with only the confusion and insanity of late afternoon.

Wednesdays are kind of our ‘off’ day in the middle of the week. I have my bible/book study on Wednesday mornings, so it’s pretty much impossible to accomplish any schoolwork. We did manage to squeeze in a trip to the library, one of our favorite places in the world, and then this afternoon we had Arthropod Emporium (the class we have been teaching for our homeschool learning co-op). So my inability to think much beyond making dinner and cleaning-up is understandable, I feel. Busy days- four kids- ten more kids over for class- it’s amazing we’re all still alive!

Now bean soup is simmering on the stove. I brought home some Bread Company remnants from the book study so I don’t have to make bread to accompany our soup tonight and I have a few moments to relax and catch up on the day’s neglected housework. David and Stuart are at my in-law’s house, doing yard work, and the rest of the family is engaged in quiet activity. Uh oh, I better go check on that…quiet is seldom good….

How does your garden grow? These are in my garden now...

  • hairy allium
  • irises
  • weeping pussy willow
  • firecracker flowers
  • echinacea
  • roses
  • lots of varieties of tulips
  • giant purple allium

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

When I get old, I want to be like Edith

My friend Edith lives in our neighborhood and attends church with us. She is also the grandmother-in-law of a good friend.

Edith is in her nineties (I think). I see her walking through the neighborhood on nice days, clutching her cane, slightly stooped but still brisk and bright-eyed. If it is winter, she will probably be wearing a beautifully knitted shawl and jaunty little beret.

In our bible study (where Edith is the oldest participant, though most of the other members are near or past retirement) she carefully chooses a seat near the leader and watches each of us intently as we speak- her hearing is just not what it used to be. Sometimes she has to ask the person next to her to repeat our words for her. But this does not prevent her from enthusiastically participating in the discussion. Her years of wisdom enrich our conversation, and her open, direct manner prevent her words from becoming pompous.

My favorite ‘Edith moment’ was when we were discussing violence from the perspective of a pacifist. She told the story of becoming violent with a persistent, irritating sin in her life- she opened the screen door and ‘kicked’ her frustrations out!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Jesus junk and the American Christian

For a variety of reasons, I’ve been thinking lately about people’s perceptions of Christianity, and how Christians display their beliefs. I think it is pretty obvious why the general public (American, in particular) tends to have a low opinion of Christians (it’s pretty much the same reason why I have a low opinion of many Christians- see earlier blog ‘Confessions of a Weird, Christian, Homeschooling Mom’). These ruminations have caused me to examine my external life for outward displays of Christianity.

Between all seven of us Holdens, I think we own two Christian-y t-shirts (David has a skull & crossbones one that he really likes, and I have a dragon one.) We have a few t-shirts of bands that are comprised primarily of Christians, but that’s it in the clothing department.

We have no Christian-y bumper stickers (unless the Pink Nun counts?)

We have no Christian-y wall-plaques, Scriptures, sacred hearts, crucifixes, or calligraphic Christian-y sayings. Zip, nada, nothing.

We DO have a few newsletters from missionaries- one from a friend working to end child sex slavery, one from a nurse in Africa, and one from some hippie-types working with the bohemian crowd in New Orleans. We also have a picture of children we sponsor in India and Bolivia, with some scriptures attached.

We have some posters of Christian cartoons (they are actually really, really, funny- I wouldn’t hang them up, otherwise!) in the upstairs hall.

We also have a plethora of bibles. Seriously. In Stuart’s famous words, ‘we have so many bibles we can’t count them’. I don’t know why this is. Maybe we attract homeless bibles? They make their way here, slowly, painfully; abandoned by their owners, unread, unloved, and find in our home a quiet, peaceful haven where they aren’t read, either, but at least they are off the streets. This gives me hope that one day I’ll find the house where all my missing socks wander off to…

I must now ask why it is we refrain from the typical American display of our faith. There is always the possibility that I am afraid of the stereotypes, afraid of what people might think, afraid of putting myself in a category. But mostly I think it’s because (let’s face it) all that Christian-y stuff is just plain cheesy. Bad artwork, bad puns, shallow beliefs. Maybe I’m picking on people here, but honestly, most of that Jesus junk is just that- junk. Plus I have this sneaking suspicion that a lot of those ‘Christians’ who fill their house, cars, and wardrobes with their statements of faith are trying to make up for a lack of real faith in their hearts. I know, I know, very judgmental of me, hopefully I’m very wrong, but there it is- that’s what I suspect. So for the time being, our bible collection and our lives are going to be the only public displays of our Christianity.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sedimentary rocks and pudding cakes.

Yes, it’s a stretch, but it gets the kids interested and makes everyone happier than writing a report on how rocks are made.

I gave the kids the chocolate pudding cake recipe and am sitting in the kitchen offering advice and aid as necessary. Pudding cakes are made by layering a few ingredients, adding boiling water, and then cooking in the crock-pot for a few hours. Sedimentary rocks are made by particles being transported by water or air, then laid down as deposits and glued together by the minerals from warmer water that have cooled down. I can see the correlation…

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

There are Worms in my Fridge

But they are supposed to be there…worms for fishing, and worms for our lizard. Safely tucked away in hygienic little cans. Still, it bothers me, the thought of creepy crawly things living in my refrigerator (and occupying valuable real estate, mind you. My fridge is tiny!)

I have been just too busy to write lately, and, honestly, uninspired as well. Spring should be here. It is perceptibly warmer out. But it is still gloomy and chill and my flowers refuse to bloom; they are tall and green and bulging but too frightened by the strange weather to dare to actually blossom. My backyard is covered with bricks which I intend to transform into walkways as soon as the ground is slightly less soggy, and I have several more plants inside that need to be planted, once again, as soon as the ground is slightly less soggy. Life is busy, the children are restless from the storms and clouds, and there are worms in my fridge.

These are the times when I can only shake my head and say- life just isn’t what you expect.