Saturday, October 27, 2007

Across Time

My very wise teacher friend informed me this morning that titles aren't supposed to come first - that the best titles come once one has finished the work. So, no more sitting waiting on a title for this blogger!

Lots has happened in the 3 weeks since I last posted, and I'll not spell out my daily doings for everyone since we all have full plates. Just weekend trips, day trips, school, parties, etc. We were rear-ended at a stop sign on the way to the State Fair, but thankfully no one was injured and we have a rental while the van is being repaired. So when you don't see a post, no worries!

My thoughts for the moment are spurred by Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution by Natalie S. Bober. It is Super Jirafa's biography reading this term, and I am reading it as well. I am truly fascinated. Many times among my homeschool mama friends someone has lammented, "Oh, to have been homeschooled...", and one of the primary reasons is this: I am learning SO much that I missed in school. The history that I once found monotonous, has come to life for me (and my children), and I can't get enough of it!

Reading Abigail Adams' letters written just over 200 years ago, at close to the same age that I am now, really brings tears to my eyes. She was a young wife and mother, schooling her children at home while her husband was away. And she stood with her 7 year old son (the future President John Quincy Adams) overlooking what remained of Charlestown during the Battle at Bunker Hill. I read the news and see scenes from Iraq on CNN. She had it in her backyard. A couple of nights ago I got to talk to one of my childhood friends, and both of our sons talk about joining the military one day. How proud, yet how anxious that makes us!

The part of the book that struck me today is on page 60 (for those of you with kiddos in AO year 4). "As she (Abigail) committed her thoughts to paper, she gained a clearer understanding of her own role as a wife and mother." Wow! That's me on my blog (or in my journal, which hasn't made it's way here quite so much)! I have to add, however, that it is more in the sitting at the feet of others that I learn and grow the most. The point of this revelation is that we are not so different than those who came before us. We can learn so much from them. I look at Abigail and how she pressed forward, remembering the prize set before her, and it encourages me onward as well. Imagine that she wanted John to burn her letters, but he saved them "that they may exhibit to our posterity a kind of picture of the manners, opinions, and principles of these times of perplexity, danger, and distress." Indeed.

My final thought on this topic for today is a similar revelation concerning children. My CM book club recently discussed our children's constant question of, "Is he a good guy or a bad guy?" as we read through our history books. And there is a quote in this biography from Abigail's son Charles, who at age 5 asked his mother, "Mar, who is for us and who against us?". And it struck me again how very much we are like those who came before us, even the children. Across time, that's what they really want to know - who are the good guys and who are the bad guys.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

I'm an Inspiring Personality

I have started this post sans title, hoping the right one will emerge as I type out the story of my thumb. I'm so graceful (not) that I've heard many comments on my condition over the years. But we'll start with this - this is the second time I have almost lost the top of a thumb in the kitchen - the last time was my left thumb (I'm right handed), and my weapon was a knife. It was midnight, the dawn of Christmas Eve, the first time I was cooking a holiday dinner for my family... and we'd ony been married about a year & a half. But the knife went through the nail, I had stitches through the nail... it was a horribly painful, throbbing, bloody mess. The wait in the ER was certain to kill me, I was sure. There was so much blood - couldn't they see that I was dying?? But, alas, I did not. Fast forward - where are we now? - twelve years...

Two weeks ago my inlaws had come up for lunch and to share their pictures, stories (and gifts!) from their recent trip to Switzerland. Yes, they are quite the globe trotters now. Fancy this and fancy that ;o) But I digress. Sr. Smith and Sr. Smith Senior (he he - coudn't resist that one) had run up to grab some bread from the grocery store in the next town. Sra. Smith Senior (hey, I'm liking this now - it sounds very dignified) and I were chatting it up, and I was slicing vegetables. Now, I do this ALL the time. I have this great weapon called a mandoline slicer - it makes perfect slices of whatever I put through it, and all the same exact thickness. If you google mandoline vegetable slicer I'm sure you can find a picture of this modern weaponry designed for the kitchen. Now, a VERY important component to the mandoline is the GUARD. You're supposed to hold the vegetable on the guard and then slice. But I get a little too comfortable with my weaponry (hey, it's been 12 years since my last major slip) and don't always follow the directions... Little Paco had just come through wanting to "help" and I had very carefully shown him the very sharp blade of the mandoline and explained how under no cirmcumstances whatsoever was he to touch this. He took off up the stairs, and I started slicing the Green Bell Pepper. In case you're wondering what we vegetarians eat, this was to be a vegetable and rice stir fry. Almost everything else was done. Bell Pepper was the last thing. Oh, but engrossed in conversation with Sra Smith Senior, I had cut the Bell Pepper in such a way as to make the guard impossible to use. Drat. Well, that's okay. I'll be real careful. So I'm talking and slicing and slicing and talking, and I think, "Yeah, you really ought to be using that guard..." OUCH! There went the end of my right thumb. Yeppers. Through the nail. I realized what I had done and stopped before lopping off the whole tip. Quick pressure. No blood! No pain! This is nice. Can I just pretend this did not happen and finish the stir fry, please? Um, no. It must be dealt with. So Sr. Smith & his dad make it home, Sr. Smith has already determined the very long wait at PrimaCare, and he heads down to Rescue Nurse, my sweet neighbor. Because Sr. and Sra. Smith Senior were prepared with butterfly strips in their first aid kit, Rescue Nurse was able to patch me up in no time. Whew! The rice was made, the vegetables stirred, and Wala! Dinner was saved, and so was my thumb.

The title did emerge! And you're probably thinking, "What in the world does an Inspiring Personality have to do with hurting your thumb?" Well, a lot. Sr. Smith and I had a date Friday night to a homeschool meeting (when he starts a blog he can explain that it was not a date) where we learned about personality types and how knowing about our personality will help us understand ourselves and our family members - thus promoting better relationships. I tend to have these little "accidents" because my personality is not so concerned with the details. That's why I married Sr. Smith ;o) He's probably the reason I went twelve years in between accidents, truth be told.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

I Am, I Can, I Ought, I Will

This is Charlotte Mason's Motto for Students, and tomorrow I am going to share it with the boys. Here is the rest:

I am . . . a child of God, a gift to my parents and my country. I'm a person of great value because God made me. (Eph 2:10)

I can . . . do all things through Christ who strengthens me. God has made me able to do everything required of me. (Phil 4:13)

I ought . . . to do my duty to obey God, to submit to my parents and everyone in authority over me, to be of service to others, and to keep myself healthy with proper food and rest so my body is ready to serve. (Mark 12:30-31)

I will . . . resolve to keep a watch over my thoughts and choose what's right even if it's not what I want. (Psalm 119:30-32)

Maybe we'll make a poster and put it on a wall somewhere so we can have it to ponder when we pass it... I just love the empowerment in those 8 words! Our circumstances or feelings do not have to control us - if somehow the younger soup ingredients can learn this earlier than their parents (who, by the way, are still learning...).