Non-Musical Ruminations of the HeadGirl

Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, to the older women as mothers, and to the younger women as sisters, in all purity. (Paul’s instructions to Timothy, 1 Timothy 5: 1,2)

I happen to like this passage very much. It sketches an appealing image. It is the image of a family. Families have fun together. Brothers and sisters carry on conversations about all sorts of topics.

Why am I posting this? Because it gets very wearisome to have people ignore this verse. I was feeling very angsty about this recently, after (yet again) having conversations my sisters and I had shared with a single young man misconstrued as romantic flirting. The DHM said I should blog about it, do something with this frustration, let my message be heard… <-- there could very well be some paraphrasing in that suggestion. So. When you see a young woman talking to a young man, please do not instantly assume there must be “something” going on. The only “something” occurring is called Christian Fellowship. It happens to be Good Stuff. I like to have all sorts of friends. It is true that I will never be as close with guys as with girls, unless marriage is part of God’s future for me (and then it will be one guy, not any who comes into my life). And, yes, we need to be careful to maintain purity as singles.
This is something that could violate this purity:
* Two people choosing not to mingle with the group, but only each other, for long periods of time.

These things are scriptural and should not harm the purity:
* Being hospitable to a guest, no matter what his age or marital status.
* Talking to a guy for longer than five minutes about topics other than the weather

If I saw Mr. Jones (a married man) talking to Mrs. Smith (a married woman) , or offering her a chair, I would not assume they were flirting. That’s disgusting. And since there are no romantic intentions on either side when I talk to guys, but we each may be involved with someone else later on in life, it’s also disgusting to tease us.

Relationships have been cheapened. I’ve heard tell a romantic relationship is really special and I believe it. I also know, though, that relationships in the Christian family (brother/sister, sister/sister, mother/daughter, father/daughter) are one of the greatest blessings here on earth. Please don’t make it hard for me to enjoy this blessing by treating each interaction with a single guy as a Hunt For a Mate. It isn’t, and I resent the implication that this is the only potential I see in these friendships.

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Stopping Time

Most mothers get terribly excited when a child transitions out of one stage into another. The first lost tooth, the last diaper, the first step in independent reading, the last time a child needs help with shoelaces, birthday parties- these are all supposed to be joyful events. I have always found these milestones to be bittersweet. I am joyful over the accomplishment, but grieved over the ending of another phase of life.

One thing I have observed in my own life is that there are compensations. So often I have wanted to clutch my children to my breast and scream at time to just stop, right now, forever, in this perfect, perfect, perfect moment- and time doesn’t even blink for me. It keeps right on rushing by, leaving me gasping, trying to keep up with it.

But when I stop and think of some of those perfect moments, I realize that if I had been able to halt time right there, at that perfect stage, I would have missed later, equally joyful and perfect moments that would not have existed if I had been granted the ability to just freeze time. I would be missing some of my dear children, and I can’t imagine the hole that would exist in our lives without each of these precious little people entrusted to us.

I would be missing other lovely, wonderful stages in our children’s lives. I would be missing the blessing of new friends. I would never know what I was missing, but having experienced the blessings that come with the changes of time, I know God is wiser than I.

I cried on my firstborn child’s sixth birthday. She was growing up so fast, too
quickly. I didn’t have time to savor and enjoy it like I wanted. I wanted her, like the A.A. Milne poem, to stay six forever and ever. Yet when she was 16, she was such a joy, so much fun, such a treasure of a young lady- I can’t imagine what it would have been like not to have experienced that stage of her life. I thought
teaching her to read was really the last big milestone we’d have together before she left home forever, but it wasn’t. I wouldn’t have any of my children six again for anything. Each one of them is too much of a delight right now, at this moment, in the place where they are. I ache at how fast they are growing, while I delight in it at the same time. I had no idea mothering teens could be such a wonderful, joyous, experience, and now that I have some out of their teens, I am finding that the joy just continues.

And yet, and yet… I hear other milestones rushing nearer and nearer. One of them will say that when (if) she marries, she wants a younger sibling to come spend weekends with her, or will share some future plan only possible for a young person all grown up and independent, and I still want to scream, “No! Stop growing up right this instant!”

I want all this, even though I know that each of them will continue to bring me ever
increasing amounts of joy and delight with each new stage in their lives. No matter how much joy I experience in each new stage, I still ache at the passing of the old stages.

Babies are so much , and they do grow up too fast it seems. But toddlers, preschoolers, grade-schoolers, pre-adolescents, adolescents, teens, and beyond are all equally fun- just in different ways.

Enjoy each stage of life now, while it’s happening, but do not clutch at the past. Open your hands and arms wide and receive the blessings of the future when they come, too.

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Kerrynitions and Instruction in His Faith

Kerrynitions: Words defined Kerry style

“Forces outside the mainstream now seem to effortlessly push Republican leaders toward conduct that the American people really don’t want in their elected leaders, inserting the government into our private lives, injecting religion into debates about public policy where it doesn’t apply.”

Some Kerrynitions:
Forces: People I don’t like
Mainstream: The Democrats in the Senate
Inserting the government into our private lives: Controlling what you make, how you spend it, where you shop, what you smoke and drink- these areas are not private. Murder of the unborn and the disabled, however, is a private family issue in which the government should not intervene
injecting religion into debates about public policy where it doesn’t apply- What you believe should have no bearing on what we do, unless I approve of what you believe

“Jumping through hoops to ingratiate themselves to their party’s base while step-by-step and day-by-day real problems that keep Americans up at night fall by the wayside here in Washington.”

The majority part’s base would be, um, the majority, yes? So wouldn’t these also be Americans? Do we elect candidates and then want them to ignore us, or do we elect candidates with an expectation that they will be interested in the same issues that interest us. Are senators supposed to ignore the people who elected them?
And just what are ‘step by step’ real problems? I mean, really. Stop and think about it. He seems to be substituting cliches for thought.

“We each have to ask ourselves, ‘Who’s going to stop it? Who’s going to stand up and say “Are we really going to allow this to continue?'”

And at this point, somebody really should have responded to that altar call, and stood up and stopped him.

“Are Republicans in the House going to continue spending the people’s time defending Tom DeLay or they going to defend America and defend our democracy?”

Is this really an either/or proposition? Is he really saying that defending DeLay is a traitorous act, equivilent to giving aid and comfort to the enemy and permitting democracy to fall under attack (another question- wasn’t DeLay elected by a democratic vote?)

“Are we really willing to allow the Senate to fall in line with the Majority Leader when he invokes faith, faith, all of our faiths over here?”

Why, yes, yes, as a matter of fact, ‘we’ are, and here he goes:

“Joe Lieberman’s a person of faith. Harry reid’s a person of faith. And they don’t believe we should rewrite the rules of the United States Senate”

The procedural rules of the Senate are a matter of religious faith? Who knew?

” and we certainly shouldn’t allow this issue of people who believe in the Constitution somehow challenging the faith of others in our nation.”

I don’t even think he knows what he means by this, and nobody knows what he actually said.

Are we going to allow the Majority Leader to invoke faith to rewrite Senate rules to put substandard, extremist judges on the bench? Is that where we are now?

You mean, like the way you just invoked people of faith like Joe Lieberman and Harry Reid?
And just what is his definition of substandard, extremist? It appears to me to have quite a lot do with the faith of the judges he’s denigrating.

“It is not up to us to tell any one of our colleagues what to believe as a matter of faith.”

Except for John Kerry. It is, apparently, up to him:

I can tell you what I do believe though.

“When you have got tens of thousands of innocent souls perished in Darfur, when 11 million children are without health insurance, when our colossal debt subjects our economic future to the whims of Asian bankers, no on can tell me that faith demands all of a sudden that you put the Senate into a position where it is going to pull itself apart over the question of a few judges. No one with those priorities has a right to use faith to intimidate anyone of us.”

It appears he put together a list of Things He Does Not Like, wrote each item on a piece of paper and pulled out three at random from a paper bag. They none of them have anything to do with the other. Innocent souls are dying in Darfur, but refusing to simply close debate on judicial nominees is not going to save one of their lives. Eleven million children may or may not have health insurance in this country, but refusing to allow judicial nominees to have an up or down vote is not going to suddenly confer health insurance upon them. Our economic future may or may not be ‘subject to the whims… of Asian bankers’ (and isn’t that an ugly and bigoted thing to say), but I’m a little unclear on exactly how refusing to let judicial nominees receive a vote is going to protect us from that unpleasant future Kerry projects for us.
Perhaps it’s a matter of faith, and only True Believers can understand.

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News and Stuff

If you want to read the transcript from the Senate hearing on Bolton’s nomination, here it is.

Powerline has another transcript, an excerpt of one of the funniest exchanges between Biden and Bolton.

Hugh Hewitt has this pithy explanation of the filibuster issue:

All weekend long every GOP senator should tell every newsman and constituent:

“There was exactly one refusal to close debate on a judicial nominee in the entire 20th century, and that was a favor to a sitting Supreme Court justice about to be embarrassed by defeat who withdrew his nomination immediately afterwards and resigned soon after because of ethics problems.

Since January, 2003, there have been 20 different refusals to close debate on judicial nominees. This disfigurement of Senate tradition, disguised as the appropriate application of a rule intended for legislative debates, must and will end.”

That is it. That is all there is to the argument on the filibuster.

Michelle Malkin puts together a nice collection of links and quotes on yet another Cinton scandal- fundraising, this time, so it’s all clean, family friendly fun. As you read this, do compare these details to the accusations surrounding Delay, and compare the media coverage of the two as well.

Glenn Reynolds has an update on the Canadian scandal- the company Saddam Hussein invested a million dollars in belogs to Canada’s Prime Minister.

Economic revival in Cuba, where Castro more than doubles the minimum wage, bringing it up to ten dollars. A month.

You’ll want to read Tarranto today, especially his comments on Bolton and the Dems and want each really wants from the U.N., and keep scrolling to read his excellent analysis of the fetus/unborn baby doublespeak.

Stuff:

Captain Ed sums up the Wendy’s/Finger episode, and explains what happened when ‘nobody won the Frodo Baggin’s Look-Alike Contest. Eww, but funny.

A father explains libertarian principles to his college student daughter.

We blogged about a hair-braiding hero before, here. Minnesota (amongst other states) still has to catch up to the notion of freedom for hair-braiders, and you can read about that here.

If you have not read this, by Davy Crockett, before, you should.

Delightful, absolutely delighful, discussion between parent and son on boys and bikinis.

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The Primrose Post

primrose, how to draw I thought I’d share an adaptation of a post from the past, another forum, another time (i think the FYB was either an infant, or he was still in the womb), but, I hope, of some general interest and quite suitable for spring:

Dear _____________(insert your name here),

Thought I’d share what the kidlets are working on this morning for school- and
for life.

It’s primrose time here in my part of the country, so I bought fifteen
plants yesterday at the grocery store. Last night over dinner we discussed primroses and their growing requirements.

This morning the girls decided which of two flower beds they wanted to plant
in primroses. They took into account the growing conditions in each of the beds, their respective asthetic values, as well as which one would be harder to weed and which they would have to water more often.

Next, they weeded the bed, saving the weeds for educational purposes (get to that later), and learning an important and useful Lesson for Life- we do not pull up strawberry plants.

Then I had each of them examine the primroses with a magnifying glass and
carefully sketch the blossom, buds, and a leaf. I have found sketching nature observations to be very important, and not primarily for the artistic value. The more we do this, the more I see that sketching what we see is important because it forces one to look more closely at what one is sketching, and helps one to notice details otherwise missed. It was exciting to see that happen today. Although we had already looked at the flowers carefully (we thought) and even used the magnifying glass, it was not until we started sketching that the girls noticed that the different colours of primroses have different centers. We’re not sure why. One of them also commented that just like one of the logic problems in the Zoombinis computer game, primroses all have to have some characteristics in common in order to be primroses.

After they sketched and labeled their primrose portrait with its proper name (primula), they took turns arranging the fifteen differently colored plants into a pleasing arrangement.

We have two or three pink ones, and the rest are roughly divided into two groups, one set with dark purply blue petals with yellow centers and the other yellow flowers with pink centers. The idea was that they were supposed to agree with each other on which arrangement they will use when they plant the primroses, which is the next step. However, after some friendly wrangling over which single arrangement was best, they asked if the 8 and 9 y.o. could have seven plants, the young teens have seven, and the toddler have one to plant in a cunning little duck planter which is just so cute we have to use it even if it means watering the thing three times a day, so that’s what they’re doing.

After we transplant the primroses, we spread some newspaper out on the kitchen table, dumped the week collection out there, and began to work on weed identification.

We have several field guides. Some of the most useful are:
1. Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide
2. A booklet from ecology press called Weeds and What They Tell
3. Reader’s Digest North American Wildlife

Newcomb’s is not in color and it isn’t a field guide I would have picked up, but I’m glad I have it. Somebody else taught me how to use it and it’s indispensable in identifying flowering plants. You have to read the forward and introduction so that you understand how to use the key, but once that’s done, it’s quite simple.

The REader’s Digest book is the book to own if you can own only one. All of the most common plants, animals, trees, and birds are found in that single volume.

When the weeds are identified, we use Weeds and What They Tell to learn something about our soil, as some weeds indicate high acidity, others a nitrogen deficiency, and so on.

Enature.com is another incredibly useful resource for those of us with access to a computer (which includes all our gentle readers, doesn’t it? Otherwise, how would they be reading this?).

After we identified as many weeds as we could, each of us selected a weed to illustrate and label in our sketch books.

Although it’s not necessary to add other items to the sketchbook, it’s always fun to find poetry to match what we are studying. The first verse of this poem would be a nice touch for a primrose page in a nature journal:

A Chanted Calendar
by Sidney Dobell

FIRST came the primrose,
On the bank high,
Like a maiden looking forth
From the window of a tower
When the battle rolls below,
So look’d she,
And saw the storms go by.

Then came the wind-flower
In the valley left behind,
As a wounded maiden, pale
With purple streaks of woe,
When the battle has roll’d by
Wanders to and fro,
So totter’d she,
Dishevell’d in the wind.

Then came the daisies,
On the first of May,
Like a banner’d show’s advance
While the crowd runs by the way,
With ten thousand flowers about them
they came trooping through the fields.
As a happy people come,
So came they,
As a happy people come
When the war has roll’d away,
With dance and tabor, pipe and drum,
And all make holiday.

Then came the cowslip,
Like a dancer in the fair,
She spread her little mat of green,
And on it danced she.
With a fillet bound about her brow,
A fillet round her happy brow,
A golden fillet round her brow,
And rubies in her hair

Or this one by Patrick Kavanagh:

Primrose
Upon a bank I sat, a child made seer
Of one small primrose flowering in my mind.
Better than wealth it is, I said, to find
One small page of Truth’s manuscript made clear.
I looked at Christ transfigured without fear–
The light was very beautiful and kind,
And where the Holy Ghost in flame had signed
I read it through the lenses of a tear.
And then my sight grew dim, I could not see
The primrose that had lighted me to Heaven,
And there was but the shadow of a tree
Ghostly among the stars. The years that pass
Like tired soldiers nevermore have given
Moments to see wonders in the grass.

I like to leave this portion of their journal up to the children. They can copy a poem I choose, or not. They can look up another poem they like better, or not. They can choose some prose selection about their subject to copy, or not. If they prefer, they can write out their own description of the item in their sketchbook, just so long as they use their neatest handwriting.

We transitioned gently from nature study and botony into home economics as they cleaned the dirt and debris from the table, the detritus from the floor, vacuumed up the dirt tracked in on the carpet, washed the muck off their hands, cleaned out under their fingernails, and relaxed with a cup of tea (home economics).

They have learned many useful and delightful things, gotten some fresh air and exercise, they have the satisfaction of a nicely arranged fower bed, and a nice entry or two in their sketch books. I have a cleaner house, a weeded and quite pretty flower bed, fun with the children, and some precious time with poetry. I love homeschooling!

Indeed, ‘Thou hast set my feet in a large room should be the glad cry of every
intelligent soul…’ as Charlotte Mason said, and we have handled the treasures of a very large room today.

Love,

The DeputyHeadmistress

Posted in gardening, homeschooling, Nature Study | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment


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