I’m tired every night, but tonight I’m really tired. Dad and the kids are in the game room building the Tabernacle out of cardboard. Eldest Son still owes me a math test–from Monday. I need to make the Chinese Chicken Salad that we’re supposed to have for lunch tomorrow (according to my menu); however, I think it will wait until tomorrow morning. Too tired to even READ.
Now I’m reading a book called Families Writing by Peter R. Stillman. I picked up the book at Half-Price Books when I went there today to get over a fit of total frustration with myself as a parent. I got the book hoping that it would help me with a class I’m planning for the spring in co-op. However, as I read it, I got more and more ideas for our own family. One of those ideas was to start a blog for the family and get everybody writing in it. Maybe it’ll be fun.
From the book:
“Have you ever thought about paying a youngster to write? While that may sound like the very kind of bribery you and every other right-minded parent should oppose, think again: Writrs get paid to write, don’t they? And aren’t we attempting to get family members old and young to perceive themselves as writers? . . . Toby Fulwiller, a friend and college professor well known for his contributions to the teaching of writing, and Laura, his wife, came up with notion that to induce their eleven year old daughter into the habit of regular writing they’d make her an offer she couldn’t possibly refuse: a half hour daily at the word processor, 15 minutes to be spent practicing typing and the other 15 minutes to be devoted to writing about something that happened in her day. Both parents would respond to Anna’s entries. The incentive was money–a raise in allowance from two to four dollars a week. (Had my father thought to offer me a deal like that I’d have written the Great American Novel before I was sixteen.)”
Anyone ready to write a novel?
I’ve neglected my blog lately. I’m reading Oedipus Rex for the class in ancient literature that I’m teaching on Fridays. I haven’t read Oedipus since I was in high school–lo, these many years ago. I had forgotten most of the details of the story. My first impression this time around is that the Greeks had a very depressing worldview. If your fate is fixed and you really have no choices, what’s the use? Maybe Iraq is fated to be a violent, tryannical state run by power-hungry Islamic terrorists. Maybe America is fated to be their victim. Maybe the victims of September 11 were meant to be murdered. Ah, but here’s one for the liberals, maybe George W. Bush was fated to be president. Then again, I don’t believe in fate or even in strict predestination. I believe God leaves room for choices in this world even though He knows all things and holds all things within His all-powerful will. How? I don’t know that. Isaiah 55:8-9 says,
8″For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD .
9″As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
That makes sense to me. We are not capable of understanding the thoughts of God.
I’ve just about finished The Bounty. Alexander definitely decided in the course of her research that Captain Bligh could do no wrong. Fletcher Christian and another officer, Peter Heywood, are the villains of the piece–although the author seems to have a soft spot for Heywood in his old age. It all sounds right the way she tells it, but then again others have told the story from a completely different point of view. History is not as easy as it seems. Two (or more) people see the same event and draw totally different conclusions. Even in the case of current events we sometimes have trouble agreeing on the facts. Look at the OJ Simpson trial. “Just the facts, m’am, just the facts.” said Joe Friday. Easier said than done.
I finished reading Patrick–good book. I just started The Bounty by Caroline Alexander, subtitled The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty. So far, it’s interesting, but a little slow.
I also read some of my favorite columnists on the web–Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Suzanne Fields. Then, there’s the other three, the one I read to keep up with what the liberals are thinking: Ann Quindlen, Molly Ivins, and Maureen Dowd. I couldn’t read Maureen Dow tonight because NY Times wants me to register in order to read her column now, and I’m not yet willing to do so. However, judging from the first few words of her column, Maureen is worried about the same thing Molly is worried about, namely that some good news from Iraq might actually escape the liberal news filter, reach the masses, and corrupt the picture of unmitigated disaster that we’re getting from all the major news outlets. The idea that someone somewhere might think that something good is happening in Iraq apparently drives Molly (and Maureen) crazy. And, of course, if we believe this good news stuff, we’re bound to forget that “since Bush declared our ‘mission accomplished’ in Iraq, more than 200 American soldiers have died there, and thousands have been wounded.” How could we possibly forget this fact for a moment; Molly’s on the job and won’t let us.
The liberal columnists do seem to have forgotten a few things themselves. A month ago they were complaining about the electricity and the infrastructure. Now we’re told that the electricity in Iraq is back to pre-war levels–in spite of the sabotage still going on there. Molly doesn’t mention it, and if she did, she would probably only consider this another example of “PR.” US Intelligence now think that much of Iraq’s WMD was transferred to Syria before the invasion, so I notice that Molly isn’t blathering about how there never were any WMD in Iraq in the first place and how Bush deceived us all. Neither does she mention the current danger from Syria which is a direct result of our giving Saddam so much time to hide his WMD while we were trying to placate the French, the UN, and American liberals.
I’d better go to bed. I’m starting to sound like a war-mongering neo-conservative.
There’s a great article in WORLD magazine this week by Gene Edward Veith about reading and why it is vital to us as Christians and as witnesses to our culture–which is becoming increasingly a-literate. One of his points is that “many people can read but never do.” Veith has some of my favorite quotes about reading included in his article. For instance, this from C.S. Lewis: We must “keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can only be done by reading old books.” (I just finished reading the Odyssey for the first time for a class I’m teaching in our homeschool co-op, so I feel properly virtuous in this regard.)
Veith also quotes Milton recommending “the benefit which may be had of books promiscuously read.” I never heard this quotation before, but I certainly believe in following it. Lately, I’ve read Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, Under the Banner of Heaven by Krakauer, Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey and the afore-mentioned Patrick, Odyssey and WORLD magazine. This list seems fairly eclectic–even though Lewis recommends reading one “old book” for every three “new books.” I wonder if Age of Inncence counts as an “old book”?
I’m still reading Patrick–in between crises on the homefront. Believe me, with eight children, there are a lot of crises. The 14-year old just told me that she wants to teach herself to play the piano. She’s a disciplined and self-motivated young lady. The two year old, Z-baby, keeps trying to crawl all over me while I read and while I write. This makes reading and writing rather difficult. The four year old, Bee, just took a bath, and I’m hoping she got some clothes on before turning on the TV to watch ZOOM on PBS. They’re only allowed to watch PBS, and we try to keep it down to an hour or less a day. Some days I just don’t have the energy to set the limits, and then it gets out of hand. The next day we go back to an hour or less of TV. I really don’t want to raise TV addicts or sugar addicts, and with my children, there is a danger of both.
Humor for the day: Leonard Nimoy singing The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins. You’ve got to see it to believe it.
Wow! I have my own blog! I hope to fill it with scintillating prose that will provoke the few who read it to think and examine and perhaps even come to new and exciting conclusions. Who am I? I am the wife of one husband and the mother of eight children. I am a Christian (in spite of my faults), a Republican (in spite of their faults) and a reader of books. Right now I am reading Patrick, Son of Ireland by Stephen R. Lawhead. The book is a fictionalized biography of St. Patrick set in about the fourth century AD. I have read several of Lawhead’s other novels, and although he teeters on the edge of paganism, a Christian worldview seems to win out most of the time. His books are all set in the early centuries of the Christian era, and most have something to do with Celtic history. The Patrick book, so far, is absorbing and thought-provoking. How would a spoiled young nobleman react to being taken into slavery by Irish barbarians?