Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Adventure Continues

The great mouse adventure was kind of fun. Today's adventure not so much. On our morning walk, as Cassie and I approached the infamous "coon" trash bin, our dog Sam rushed ahead to the bin and began barking again. The lid was still up, so Cassie and I figured the coons were long gone. (They were.) We decided we should shut the lid since we had opened it the day before. As we turned to do that I stumbled on Cassie's heel and tumbled to the ground. It was slow-motion but I was powerless to stop it. OUCH! My left knee is scraped and bloody, my right knee has just a little scratch, but I can tell it will soon be very black and blue, and my right hand has a small but very painfull scrape. I know my entire body will be sore this evening and tomorrow.
I think I'd rather chase a mouse. *sigh*

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Eventful Morning

It's only 10:33 and it has already been an eventful morning:

Mom: Hey, Cassie, why are you up so early?

Cassie: I'm not sure if I'm imagining things or not, but I think I just saw a mouse run from behind my desk to under my Michael Box. (That's the beautiful box her boyfriend made for her.) Come look.

(Come look???? How can there be a mouse in the house when we have two cats????)

We creep into her room. She jumps on the bed. I gently move the "Michael Box" which causes a brown streak to flash across the floor finding refuge under Cassie's hope chest. (Which is closer to the bed.) We both scream, and Candace comes running.

In spite of Candace's protests (I think she's becoming an animal rights activist.) We bring in the cats. They have no interest whatsoever in ridding the house of rodents. (I think we feed them too much.) We eventually located the mouse behind Cassie's bed. Since we don't have any mouse traps I googled "live mouse traps" online and promptly made one using a paper towel tube, a trash can, and a piece of cheese. We left it for an hour. It didn't work. The mouse was still behind Cassie's bed. Candace's battle cry was still, "Don't hurt it." So, using a box and a yard stick we managed to maneuver the poor frightened creature into the box. We closed the box, drove down the road, and set it free.

(This is the "Michael Box". Can you guess her boyfriend's name?)

(This is her hope chest, which started out as a toy box. My dad built it and my mom painted it.)

And this is the MOUSE!

(Isn't he/she cute?)

But that isn't all......

While Cassie and I were on our morning walk our yellow lab (Sam) began barking ferociously at someone's trash bin. (A large wooden crate they put trash bags in for collection.) We paid him little attention deciding there must be a mouse in there somewhere. Before long Sam came along as we continued our walk. On the return trip Sam once again began barking ferociously at the trash bin. Our curiosity got the best of us, so Cassie and I raised the heavy lid to peer in. Imagine our surprise when we literally came face to face with a full grown raccoon! (It was clinging to the underside of the lid!) We both screamed and dropped the lid. A discussion ensued as to what our next course of action should be. We decided to free it. This time I was using a large stick. It took some effort, but I opened the lid long enough to see the 'coon (as we say in Mississippi) and drop the lid again. On the next try I noticed the critter was no longer attached to the lid. (Probably was experiencing heart failure.) I lifted the lid carefully with my hand and slowly peered in. (Cassie was keeping her distance.) Inside was not one, not two, but THREE raccoons huddled in the bottom corner! One was growling. Cassie came closer and took some pictures with my camera phone. (Which I will post as soon as I figure out how to get them off the phone and onto the web.)

We just couldn't wait for Candace to ask her customary, "Did you see anything interesting on your walk this morning?"

What will the rest of the day hold????

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The piecing is finished!

The sun is out now.


...made the muffins.

...decided what to make for supper. (It still needs making.)

...washed and dried a load of clothes. (They still need folding.)

...posted the previous blog AND this one.

...and finished Cassie's quilt top!!!!!!!!!!! (Can I hear a hurray!)

...I still have to sort shirts and be lazy. *grin*

Rainy Day

It's raining outside. I'm not complaining; we need it.

On this rainy day I plan to...

...make banana muffins out of freshly ground whole wheat. (My friend, Dawn, ground it for me.) Cassie's quilt top together.

...figure out what to cook for supper. (And perhaps cook it. LOL!)

...wash and dry clothes. (I'll let my girls fold them. *hee hee hee*)

...sort out the new choir shirts. this blog.

If I have time I'll be lazy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Take on Harry Potter

I realize I am rather late to the whole "Harry Potter" discussion. Let me explain why: In 1997, when the first of the seven book series came out, my children were ages 9, 6, and 2. I heard about them almost immediately, both pros and cons. With all the controversy surrounding those "wicked" books, and since my children weren't at an age they were clamoring to read them, I avoided all vestiges of Harry Potter mania, keeping me and my children "clean".


Children grow up. That nine-year-old is now twenty; old enough to decide what he thinks about things. And so he did. Kyle, convinced by his mom that all things "Harry Potter" were evil and to be avoided like the plague, wanted to know exactly what was wrong with them and set out to read the series determined to prove his mother right. That was the plan. He, however, fell in love with Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Hogwarts. He convinced his seventeen-year-old sister that she, too, would love the books, and so she did. She, in turn, insisted they would make great read-a-louds for her younger sister and me. Kyle insisted I shouldn't stand against something I knew nothing about; all my arguments were based on the opinions of others, and since the Harry Potter series was such a cultural phenomena I should at least read/hear them once and make my opinions my own. Out of curiosity and love for a good story I consented. We finished the book tonight, and I now feel qualified to offer some insight into the world of Harry Potter. I will divide my thoughts into three parts: The Bad, The Good, and the Neutral.

The Bad:

1. Most people in Christendom find the magical component the most offensive thing about the series. I'll be truthful; the story centers on a young wizard, his magical friends, and their "world"; there is lots of magic.

2. Harry and his friends often break the rules, and seldom experience real punishment for their misdeeds.

3. As the series progresses and Harry grows older, there are instances of "dating" and "kissing" (called snogging...which cracks me up). There isn't much and really isn't worth mentioning except that some people do try to avoid all boy/girl situations in their children's reading material.

4. As the children grow older some of them begin to swear. Sometimes it is merely mentioned that they "swore". Sometimes the actual words are used. I do find cursing offensive, but I try to keep in mind that J. K. Rowling is British and they don't always see things the way we do.

5. The story is dark and grows darker with each successive book. (Each book is its own story, yet together they form one large story.) It is a classic good vs. evil where the evil is very vile. These books are not for young children or those easily disturbed. (I will interject that humor is often used throughout the story relaxing some of the tension. I find that the movies are much darker than the books as producers have to stick to the main story due to time constraints and cut out many of the lighter moments.)

6. Alcohol is referred to quite frequently. "Butter beer" being a favorite drink of the Hog warts students. Butter beer appears to be mildly alcoholic.

The Good

1. There is a very clear distinction between good and evil.

2. This is good literature. Rowling's character development is amazing. Every character is "real" in that each has obvious strengths and weaknesses. In contrast, I found C.S. Lewis's Lucy Pevensie (who I adored, make no mistake) an almost perfect child; adorable, but almost unrealistically pure and true. Rowling's main characters are loveable, but they are very human. Her plot development, too, is well thought out and knit together. She makes good use of suspense, humor, mystery, and the dramatic. Many times I found myself saying, "I never saw that coming."

3. Sacrificial love conquers all. (I can't say too much here without giving key points away.)

4. The story is quite captivating and begs to be read. Each time Cassie has to stop reading (to go to work, to bed, or because her throat was sore) Candace and I beg for more and can't wait for the next chapter to be read.

5. This is a great read-aloud. Let's face it, some really good books don't make good read-alouds. The Harry Potter series is one of the best around.

The Neutral

1. Christians often hail Tolkien's Lord of the Rings as epic (I do too. I love LOTR!) Excusing his use of magic because it served a greater purpose. Make no mistake, there was magic in LOTR. Gandalf's staff produced magical results; it just wasn't called a "wand". (And don't forget Gandalf was referred to as a "wizard".) Just because the palentir were called "seeing stones" doesn't mean they weren't crystal balls.

2. I've heard the above notation explained away because Middle Earth and Narnia aren't real places. The magic there isn't real because the places aren't. LOTR and Narnia are total fantasy whereas Harry Potter, so they say, is set in the real country of England. I agree that England is a real place, and Potter's world occasionally intersects with that place. However, the farther one gets into the overall story, the clearer it becomes that Rowling's world is just as fanciful as Tolkien and Lewis's

3. The magic in Harry Potter is totally fictitious. The "spells" used are not true "spells". If you look at them closely you will see that some are loose Latin translations and some just sound like what they do. For example: "Lumos" is used to light wand tips. "Expecto Patronum" is used to bring protection and loosely means "I expect my protector" in Latin.

4. When I learned the Hogwarts students took a class in divination I immediately became concerned, wondering how it would be treated. I was relieved to find that few people in Potter's "wizarding world" took divination seriously. There were cases of "prophecy" that came true, but anything having to do with fortune telling, palm or tea leaf reading, etc. was actually made sport of.

Well, those are my thoughts on Harry Potter, even if they are a bit late. Taking into consideration all the good and the bad, I would (and hope to) read the Harry Potter series again. Right or wrong, I really, really enjoyed it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Quilt Progress

I wanted to post some pictures so people will know I'm not a total slacker around here. Cassie will have 24 blocks in her quilt; four each of six designs. I finished the last block today. Now all I have to do is arrange them, sew them together and quilt it. Oh, yeah, Candace has a quilt top that also needs quilting. Well, at least I won't have idle hands for a long time. *grin*

School Has Begun

*sigh* It's time for school to begin again. At least my kids are home with me as I begin my 14th year of homeschooling. (14 years!?!?!?! Seems like I'd be smarter than I am.) Cassie (Is she really a senior?????) works approximately 32 hours a week, so I'm proud that she has created a tight schedule for herself making sure she gets all her school work done. This year she is taking:

1. Sign Language
2. Government
3. Algebra 2
4. Human Anatomy and Physiology
5. Literature (Reading the Classics)
6. Grammar

My other dearie is in 8th grade. Too bad neither of us is as organized as her sister. Whereas Cassie jumped headfirst into school today and swam quickly, Candace and I are wading. We did manage to get a good bit of math done. She also did reading, science, and took a spelling assessment. I suppose that's not too bad for her first day. I want to add in grammar, copywork, and some kind of history. I'm not really sure what we will do for that last one. I think we will do a two week unit on the Gettysburg Address, perhaps a report on Lincoln to go with it. I also want her to create a notebook about Mississippi this year. I'm sure we'll read lots of living books related to history. I'll keep you posted.

Well, I hope everyone's week is off to a good start. It's raining here which means the high today is 78 instead of 97. I can live with that.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What has gotten in to me????

I'm in cleaning mode! I've scrubbed bathrooms, washed mini-blinds and curtains, and clothes, I've dusted the living room and dining room removing enough dirt to begin a small farm. Candace is vacuuming the living room for me. (Bless her heart!) Then I'll vacuum the hall and my bedroom. There are still more blinds, more curtains, more dust, and school shelves to go! Whoo-hoo! (This is so unlike me, the one who believes a home isn't a home unless you can write "I love you" in the dust. I wonder how many chocolate chip cookies I've earned????)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Me (and my beloved)!

(I originally wrote this in honor of our 21st anniversary. Today is our 24th! I thought I'd run it again anyway. )

Pearls for the Strand

When my husband and I first married, we had each other and not much else. We lived in a less than desirable single-wide mobile home that wasn’t even ours (It was the parsonage.) with second-hand furniture that was hideous. It didn’t matter; we were young and in love. Through the years, though, we have amassed quite a few treasures (you can tell by the ever increasing size of the u-haul each time we move). Baby teeth, trimmings from first haircuts, bursting photo albums, bookcases brimming with such items as Bible helps, Max Lucado, and Dr. Seuss, all the paraphernalia that goes with having three children, and tons of happy memories flood our home and our lives. Oh, yes, and we still have each other. What more could we want when we truly have all we need?

OK. The truth is, sometimes I do want more. Sometimes the “Discontents” invade my thoughts causing desire for that which I do not have. I wish I had more closet space, more books, more clothes, and a strand of pearls. “A strand of pearls?” you ask. Yes, a strand of pearls. I’ve never been big on jewelry, but for some reason I’ve often wished for a strand of pearls that could be added to yearly. I want a pearl for each year Raymond and I have been married; this year would make twenty-one.

Pearls are the perfect symbol of a good marriage. Just as an oyster turns life’s irritations (a grain of sand) into a beautiful pearl, so a man and wife should coat their frustrations with love, allowing them to grow into a beautiful, caring relationship. A pearl is a “Redeemed Irritation”, so to speak. That’s what good marriages are made of.

I’ve all but given up on the pearl necklace. Not that I wouldn’t like it, but after twenty-one years of marriage I have a better handle on what’s truly important. And I’ve come to realize that my dear husband has given me “pearls” of much greater value. He’s given me:

1. Acceptance
2. Affirmation
3. Attention
4. Care
5. Comfort
6. Counsel
7. Courtesy
8. Devotion
9. Encouragement
10. Faithfulness
11. Friendship
12. Help
13. Himself
14. His Tootsie Rolls and Hershey Kisses
15. Honesty
16. Leadership
17. Love
18. Praise
19. Protection
20. Respect
21. Security
22. Strength
23. Support
24. Tenderness
25. Three wonderful children
26. Time alone when I need it
27. Trust
28. Understanding
29. Wisdom

Ooops! That’s more than 21! (How blessed I am!!) Each is a beautiful, priceless pearl for my strand – gifts from my husband. What more could I ask for?

The Bible says, “The price of wisdom is beyond pearls.” (Job 28:18) and “…wisdom is gained by those who take advice.”(Proverbs 13:10) That is the purpose of this book – to give you little pearls of wisdom for your marital strand. Each has been harvested from your church family and the Bible – from which all true wisdom has its roots. Make sure the strand you string them on is Christ, for “by Him all things hold together.”(Colossians 1;17)

My prayer is this: when death parts you, may the pearl necklace you leave behind you leave behind for your children and future generations, be long, pure, and beyond earthly value.
“Never let loyalty and kindness get away from you! Wear them like a necklace…”(Proverbs 3:3)

Longing for heavenly “pearls” with you,

Drewe Llyn Jeffcoat
© Drewe Llyn Jeffcoat 2005