Emily Jane, A Christmas Poem

Oh, Christmas time is coming again

And what shall I buy for Emily Jane?

O Emily Jane, my love so true,

Now what upon earth shall I buy for you?

My Emily Jane, my doll so dear

I’ve loved you now for many a year.

And still while there’s anything left of you,

My Emily Jane, I’ll love you true.

My Emily Jane has lost her head,

And has a potato tied on instead.

A hole for an eye, and a lump for a nose,

It really looks better than you would suppose.

My Emily Jane, has lost her arms,

The half of one leg’s the extent of her charms.

But still, while there’s anything left of you,

My Emily Jane, I’ll love you true.
And now shall I bring you a fine new head,

Or shall I bring you a leg instead?

Or will you have arms to hug me tight.

When naughty ‘Lizabeth calls you a fright?

Or I’ll buy you a dress of satin so fine

‘Mong all the dolls to shimmer and shine.

For Oh! while there’s anything left of you,

My Emily Jane, I’ll love you true.

Above from a turn of the century edition of a Journal of Education.

This is from the Feb. 1920 edition of The Parents’ Magazine:

WHEN I was a tiny little girl I had the good luck, as I think it, to be stolen by the gipsies. Of course, I was not altogether happy with my “Mother” Stoner captors during the week that they kept me from my parents, but in spite of the longing for my own people I was very happy playing with the gipsy kiddies and have never forgotten a nice potato doll that one old grandmother made for me.

She selected a small potato that had a warty protuberance on it like a nose for the doll’s head. Into this head she stuck a stick and the other end of the stick was run through a large round potato that made a nice fat body. Two sticks made the arms and two the legs. She daubed some black paint on the face for eyes and some red for a nose and mouth. The doll was dressed in a bonnet made of a horse-chestnut leaf and its dress was fashioned from a burdock leaf and several thorns. I was told that this was an Irish doll, and as the face reminded me of our Irish gardener I believed what I was told, and I had more fun with that doll than I ever had with any other.

The gipsy kiddies had dolls made out of turnips, carrots, apples, radishes, squash, dried peaches, beans, pumpkins, etc. My favorite fruit-made doll was a dried peach. Her cheeks were withered, and when the old gipsy put a ragged handkerchief about the doll’s neck and fastened a string of leaves from the top of the head the peach resembled an ancient Indian warrior.

Children often grow impatient at the table while waiting for change in courses. Some parents for this reason do not allow the little ones to come to the table. I do not believe that children should monopolize the entire conversation at the table, and it is certainly not pleasant for guests to hear nothing but childish prattle, but generally very little things will make little people happy.

I have made kiddies happy and content by manufacturing a doll out of a radish and a lettuce leaf. Make eyes, nose and mouth in the radish, fasten a lettuce leaf around the radish for a robe.

I have also used pansies taken from the centerpiece to make cunning dolls dressed in one of my green lettuce leaves taken from the salad. The childish imagination makes real beings out of these puppets and forms interesting companionship. Of course these dolls are perishable, but they can be made fresh each day and they arouse the creative not only in yourself but in the children.

Just now I am planning a ZOO made of animals and fruits. There will be a reindeer made out of a banana. The head and horns of Mr. Reindeer must be drawn and cut out of cardboard, but his body will be just an ordinary banana and his legs will be crepe-paper wrapped wires. My elephant will be made out of the biggest potato I can find. For ears I shall use brown muslin and the same for the tail. For the nose I shall use permodello, adjusting it while it is soft and letting it harden. From a smaller potato I shall form a donkey, using permodello for the ears and a piece of rope for the tail.

In these hard times when fruit is so ex pensive it is rather extravagant to allow Johnnie to cut holes in a lemon to make a “spitting pig,” but potatoes are still cheap enough to be used in making a vegetable zoo.

Posted in Celebrations/feasts/memorials/high holy days | Leave a comment

Isaac Watts


isaac-watts-on-judging-without-readingA few more errors of judgment we tend to make when reading for information and ideas:

VI. Yet I cannot forbear to point out two or three more of these follies, that I may attempt something towards the correction of them, or at least to guard others against them.

There are some persons of a forward and lively temper, and who are fond to intermeddle with all appearances of knowledge, will give their judgment on a book as soon as the title of it is mentioned, for they would not willingly seem ignorant of any thing that others know. And especially if they happen to have any superior character or possessions of this world, they fancy they have a right to talk freely upon every thing that stirs or appears, though they have no other pretence to this freedom. Divito is worth forty thousand pounds. Politulus is a fine young gentleman, who sparkles in all the shining things of dress and equipage. Aulinus is a small attendant on a minister of state, and is at court almost every day.

These three happened to meet on a visit where an excellent book of warm and refined devotions lay in the window. What dull stuff is here! said Divito; I never read so much nonsense in one page in my life; nor would I give a shilling for a thousand such treatises. Aulinus, though a courtier, had not used to speak roughly, yet would not allow there was a line of good sense in the book, and pronounced him a madman that wrote it in his secret retirement, and declared him a fool that published it after his death. Poli- tulus had more manners than to differ from men of such rank and character, and therefore he sneered at the devout expressions as he heard them read, and made the divine treatise a matter of scorn and ridicule; and yet it was well known, that neither this fine gentleman, nor the courtier, nor the man of wealth, had a grain of devotion in them beyond their horses that waited at the door with their gilded chariots. But this is the way of the world; blind men will talk of the beauty of colours, and of the harmony or disproportion of figures in painting; the deaf will prate of discords in music; and those who have nothing to do with religion will arraign the best treatise on divine subjects, though they do not understand the very language of the scripture, nor the common terms or phrases used in Christianity.

VII. I might here name another sort of judges, who will set themselves up to decide in favour of an author, or will pronounce him a mere blunderer, according to the company they have kept, and the judgment they have heard passed upon a book by others of their own stamp or size, though they have no knowledge or taste of the subject themselves. These, with a fluent and voluble tongue, become mere echoes of the praises or censures of other men. Sonillus happened to be in the room where the three gentlemen just mentioned gave out their thoughts so freely upon an admirable book of devotion: and two days afterwards he met with some friends of his, where this book was the subject of conversation and praise. Sonillus wondered at their dulness, and repeated the jests which he had heard cast upon the weakness of the author. His knowledge of the book, and his decision upon it, was all from hearsay, for he had never seen it; and if he had read it through, he had no manner of right to judge about the things of religion, having no more knowledge or taste of any thing of inward piety than a hedgehog or a bear has of politeness.

When I had written these remarks, Probus, who knew all the four gentlemen, wished they might have an opportunity to read their own character as it is represented here. Alas! Probus, I fear it would do them very little good, though it may guard others against their folly: for there is never a one of them would find their own name in these characters if they read them; though all their acquaintance would acknowledge the features immediately, and see the persons almost alive in the picture.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Four Boys

UPDATE: Update on the Ukrainian orphan hosting for our friends in the states (and our much beloved four brothers in Ukraine):
The group may be able to fly Wednesday, but it depends on the willingness of an individual to get them all to the airport by then. Otherwise it will probably be Saturday, as there aren’t any available flights Thursday or Friday. So please pray for willingness to get them to the airport on Wednesday. Also, please pray for the finances and logistical issues for the families in the states. Some of them are probably suffering some hardships because of the changes.

There’s been a major glitch with the plans for the 4 Ukrainian boys we love so much. They were supposed to come to their hopeful forever family to spend Christmas with them tomorrow, but that now very much up in the air… truly, due to circumstances out of *anyone’s* control ~~ except God’s, and we are trusting him. Just please pray!
This does not just affect the boys, but all the other children in their group who were coming for Christmas, and all the families who have invested so much time, money, and emotional energy in preparing to host them. Please storm the gates of Heaven with this one.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Responses

Day Four

Day Four: (Pictures will have to come later- the blog won’t load them).

img_20161217_093955229_hdrWe took a cab to breakfast at Green Coffee: https://www.facebook.com/Green-Coffee-1779881528940623/

Cabs here are about a dollar (or less), for us even with all four of us. Obviously, this depends on where you go, but my son, who quickly has become a master taxi flagger, says the cost is also counted by how long it takes, not distance. So if traffic is clear, it takes less, if congested, more.  Davao City is very congested a lot of the time.  Green Coffee is close enough to walk to, if you don’t have a disabled child who wobbles a lot when she walks and who is also slow and erratic in her walk.  We have to walk down a either a stone road, or a badly gutted asphalt road, and then cross an incredibly busy street to get there.  Pedestrians cross those roads all the time, and because the mode of driving here is defensive rather than aggressive and offensive, it’s safer than it seems, but we’re new and it’s still nerve racking to step out into moving traffic.


Pro-Duterte signs are still widely seen around our area of Davao City.

The Davao City cab drivers are famous all over the country for their civility, honesty, integrity, and professionalism, and their reputation is well-earned.  This is, btw, part of the legacy of former Mayor of the city and now president of the country Duterte.  Davaoenos are incredibly proud of him.  The Visaya are not a majority group here.  They are an ethnic minority and they speak a different dialect, so besides the fact that Duterte really did clean up a city so riddled by crime that normal, every day citizens were unable to live normal lives, he is truly one of theirs.   (disclaimer: I’m only repeating what I have heard and/or read from others.  I should not be mistaken for somebody with any authority or keen insight at all).  Incidentally, the cab drivers do offer a discount to seniors and to disabled passengers, but we didn’t ask for it.
I’ll write more about transportation modes another time.

img_20161217_100539576_hdrThe Green Coffee shop is open 24 hours a day.  They have a wide array of flavored coffees and teas, and some amazing pastries.  At least, I assume they are all amazing.  The one I ordered was.  Most of them are sweet.  I ordered a blueberry ensemada  (picture), which was a lot like a cream cheese Danish, only better, less cloying, less sweet, more buttery and cheesy, with a lighter than air bun.

The men ordered  a roll with a corned beef and cheese filling.  It was delicious, but not very filling.  The bread was again lighter than air, tender, delicate, delicious.  There were only a couple spoonfuls of meat filling. But it was good.
Now for the really fun part.  On the way to the coffee shop my husband realized he had left his phone back in the room.  He has had the only phone that works here in the Philippines (my son and I got ours later today).  He thought about going back to get it, but we decided just to keep going.  We had finished our pastries and were lingering over coffee (juice for the ‘kids’) and discussing the logistics of our plans for the rest of the day.  After we decided what to do, I went to take some pictures of the pastries, and The Boy started toward the door to call a cab (did I mention he loves that part?).  A Filipino man walked in the door at that moment, looked up at my son, and then walked up to my husband and said, “Are you Brother ….?  I am Brother L.”

Back story : Our daughter jennyanydots has gone one two mission trips to the Philippines with the same American missionary.  We asked him about church contacts within our church home here in Davao City.  He had given us the name of  C.,  a preacher here in Davao City and we’d been in some contact with him, but it was limited because he was traveling and we had phone issues.  Because  he was traveling, he tasked his friend and co-worker Brother L. with finding us to make sure we knew how to get to church tomorrow.  Of all mornings to forget our one working phone, this was the morning Brother L. had been texting and texting, and not hearing back.  He knew the general neighborhood we were in, so he took two different jeepneys to get here, and just sort of walked around a bit hoping to find us.  When our son, a 6’4” inch white boy in a country where the average height is about a foot shorter, came to the door of the coffee shop to flag a cab, Brother L. happened to be right there where he could see him- which is not a wide angle of vision because the door is set back from the street and flanked by palm trees.  We could have been anywhere- it was my first time at this coffee shop, we hadn’t gone out for breakfast before, he never would have been able to see us if we’d been home at the school guest house.  It was something of a minor miracle to us.

Brother L. devoted the better of his day to us.  He flagged down a pedicab for the Cherub, Boy, and me to take back to the room, and then he walked back with my husband and and stayed longer.  The Boy and I were planning to go grocery shopping at the one store I had already been to, he told me one that was closer.  He stayed with my husband and the Cherub while we went grocery shopping (the boy flagging me a cab again), and chatted more with my husband about cell phones, politics, where the fish market is, children, the gospel and more.  When we came home from the grocery store, he went with my menfolk to another store to help them maneuver getting cell phones for the boy and I to use locally.  He’ll be back here tomorrow morning to help us get to church by taxi.

He also serves an evangelist and travels to other parts of the island sharing the gospel and strengthening established congregations.  He doesn’t get any support for this beyond what local people are able to share.   We paid him back for his transportation fees and bought him lunch today, plus a tiny bit extra, but it wasn’t enough. It’s never enough.

The Grocery Store: The supermarket I went to today is huge, enormous.  Like, the size of a Cosco or something.  It was, honestly, overwhelming.  It’s Christmas and a Saturday, so it was very crowded, too, and of course, while there are familiar things, everything is different, too.  People were unfailingly kind, friendly, and patient, even sympathetic to my cluelessness.  They were also endlessly gobsmacked by my son.  It is fortunate that he loves attention because he’s certainly getting plenty of it.  He is constantly being pointed out, stared at, flirted with, laughed at (not in a mean way, none of it meanly, he’s just really attracting loads of attention).  The Cherub attracts her share of attention as well, but it’s a lot more subdued and doesn’t include people of the opposite sex asking to friend her on fb.

Back to the grocery store: I bought some familiar things – squid balls and fish balls, shanghai lumpia, oranges, watermelon, sardines, milk, calamansi juice (okay, familiar to us- as our son told our host at the Korean restaurant, “we don’t really eat like most Americans”).  I bought some unfamiliar things to experiment with:  Pomelo (we already finished it off and want more), pechay, longganisa, banana ketchup, and some dried danggit.

You can buy plenty of raw meat, pork, meat, chicken, all kinds of fish, but the fish is whole, the cuts of meat and the choosing and pricing were new to me- it’s mostly not prepackaged.  There is a meat cooler similar to those at home, filled with containers of raw meat (think something like the deli and salads area of your home grocer)- but the case is uncovered. You get or are given a bag and put what you want in it, and then the meat counter workers weight it and seal it with a printed label with the weight and price for you.  Some things are common to American cooks, others slightly less so (beef knees, for instance).  Another day I will linger more, but today they were really busy and I felt like I was in the way of customers who knew what they were doing and were buying for the holidays and didn’t need me slowing them down.

img_20161217_123528118_hdr1The grocery store had two check out lanes devoted entirely to priority customers- the elderly/seniors, pregnant women, and disabled customers.  There were also some benches in that area to sit down and rest while shopping.

Other things  I liked about the grocery store- they cut the cardboard boxes into squares that fit in the bottom of the shopping bags.  This way you can get more in the bag without your groceries crushing each other, and you are also less likely to have your bag rip open, spilling your groceries on the floor.  In the states I sometimes ask the cashiers to bag all my frozen items together so they don’t defrost on the way home.  It was hot enough outside that I thought about asking, but I didn’t.  I didn’t need to.  They automatically did that for me.  It was very nice and made unloading my groceries so much easier as well.

We left the store, my son carrying my bags for me.  In G-mall, where we were, the supermarket is at the basement level, so you exit to a sort of half tunnel, and then go upstairs to the street level to look for transportation. Several shoppers left the store at the same time, but it was me the skinny young mother with a baby in her arms focused on to beg- for money, I assume, maybe for groceries?  She wasn’t speaking English.  Probably money- she kept peering hungrily into my purse, which I had unwisely left open.  She couldn’t see my money, that was in a make-up bag in my purse.  But it didn’t stop her from angling for a view, making me nervous.  She kept begging, following me up the stairs.  Nobody else even looked at her, so I followed their lead- when I tell you it was crowded, there were probably fifty people milling around on the sidewalk, waiting for a relative to fetch the car, waiting for a taxi or a pedicab.  At one point when she was really close to my purse a guard from the store came closer and hissed at her.  This kind of thing happens in the states too, if you happen to live where there is a homeless community, which I have done, but years ago.  When you live somewhere with winters that can get to 20 below 0, Fahrenheit,  the homeless tend not to linger.    I am pretty sure you’re not supposed to respond to the begging (which was much, much worse in Angeles City 25 years ago), but it always leaves me feeling unsettled, guilty.


I mentioned before you need to remember to carry some toilet paper yourself because the public bathrooms do not provide any (they have all been clean that I have been in, but they do’n’t provide toilet paper.  Something else to remember is not to call it the bathroom.  It’s the C.R. or the comfort room.

Posted in Davao Diary | Leave a comment

Recipe from the Philippines

The first day we arrived a family from the school took us out to dinner, and in that post, I could not remember where we had eaten.  I found it again.  We ate at a chain called Mang Inasal.  Inasal is a type of BBQ chicken.  It’s delicious.

What we had was a chicken leg quarter, sauced, BBQed, and grilled on a stick. The rice is measured out in a round, flat disc about 2 inches thick.  You can order ‘unlimited rice,’ and they just keep coming around giving you more, or you can stick to one serving.


The chicken is delicious, and the flavor is compatible with western tastes, so you really cannot go wrong with it if you want to try something authentic, but not too daring.


Okay, the baby peppers might be a tiny bit daring.  They are deceptively flavorful, by which I mean spicy.

There’s a recipe here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

  • The Common Room on Facebook

  • Amazon: Buy our Kindle Books

  • Search Amazon

    Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

  • Brainy Fridays Recommends: