Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

DYK? A Tip About Potatoes

One of my recent RealAge mailings had an interesting tip on how to keep more nutrition in your potatoes: boil them whole.
Cubing your potatoes first will slash their potassium content by as much as 50 percent.
Roasting, baking, or microwaving whole potatoes also preserves more iron, zinc, and magnesium. Who knew?

For more information, go to Max Out Your Mashed Potatoes.


Last night, just before the evening news at 6:00 PM, my littlest cat rushed over to the wall by the back door with an extremely curious expression on his face. As he listened intently to what was a high-pitched squeaking/scraping sound, my husband and I became interested as well. Within seconds, King Richard was investigating. And what did he find? Yep, you guessed it, none other than a bat! Actually, he found two bats but one of them flew away. The other guy took a hit of wasp killer that my husband sprayed in the hole that the critters had crawled into. Not to worry, though, King Richard cleaned the vermin and made a temporary shelter for him in the garage while he recovered from his ordeal. Eventually, he left for parts unknown.

Herr Fledermaus should consider himself fortunate. If he had encountered the woman of the house first, he may be dead because I am NOT a fan of bats.


Yesterday, I received a fund raising letter from the Museum of Science in Boston, MA, the content of which made me do a double take (and not because my forty-seven-year-old eyes are deteriorating). Consider the opening sentence:
A survey by the National Opinion Research Center showed about one in four American adults believe the Sun goes around the Earth.
One in four adults. That’s 25% folks. 25% of American adults do not know enough basic science to understand that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the original survey to check if this same percentage of people were also missing the fact that the Earth rotates on an axis whilst traveling about the Sun. I tried to defend these survey interviewees to myself for a moment, thinking that this statistic was returned by the survey because of how the survey designers asked the question, but the letter continued with this:
The same survey found people who believe that electrons are larger than atoms…that lasers work by focusing sound waves…that antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria…
And people wonder why I homeschool.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Anniversary Gift

As I mentioned in my previous post (How Did I Get Here?), I went shopping for a new clothes dryer yesterday. I had to engage in this exciting activity, on my anniversary of all days, because the dryer that I purchased when my daughter was born (over eighteen years ago) finally “expired.” The post that holds the drum broke in two; definitely not a repairable problem. Hence, my husband and I spent the afternoon shopping for a new appliance.

What did we find? A great deal! The first dryer we saw was on clearance for $399.93. The washer we eventually settled on was also on sale for $284.93. After taxes and a 10% discount on the washer, the total came to $695.76. Not bad considering that I was ready to put close to $2000-$3000 on my credit card for a brand new, steam treatment, silver ion, front-loading washer and a high-speed extraction dryer. Apparently, the Lord knew I needed a price break this year.

Not exactly the activity I would have planned to commemorate 23 years of marriage, and not exactly the gift I would have liked to celebrate such a well-established commitment, but it was appreciated nonetheless. Maybe next year I will go to Colonial Williamsburg and have dinner at Christiana Campbell’s Tavern. Now that’s my idea of a great anniversary gift.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How Did I Get Here?

OK, so much for quoting the Talking Heads (“Once in a Lifetime” from the album Remain in the Light); now, on to the news:

Today is my anniversary. I have been married to the same man for 23 years, a fact that I have trouble wrapping around my brain some days. I don’t have trouble with the idea that I have been committed to him for that long. No, I have trouble with the idea that 23 years have flown by at the speed of light. Wasn’t I just 25 and learning to be a Navy wife? Wasn’t I just 28 and pregnant with our only child? Wasn’t I just 33 and sitting in a surgeon’s office listening to a description of the care plan for my husband who was stricken with thyroid cancer? Outside of the grace of God, I have no idea how I made it this far. It has been quite an adventure, and I am certain it will only get more interesting.

So how did I celebrate? Believe it or not, I did a totally middle-aged thing: I went shopping for a new clothes dryer.

Diocese Choir Concert Program

In case you were wondering what was on tap at the choir concert, here is a partial program. Enjoy!

Exsultate Jubilate
Mary Beth Lee, soprano

Psalm 117

Jubilate Deo
Mary Beth Lee, soprano
Scott Reeves, countertenor
Ed Tyler, baritone

Donations accepted at the door.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How Should We Handle This?

Get a load of this, as reported on Right Michigan. I went to this website to read the source of the story I originally saw on American Thinker:
Prayer had just finished when men and women stood up in pockets across the congregation, on the main floor and in the balcony. "Jesus was gay," they shouted among other profanities and blasphemies as they rushed the stage. Some forced their way through rows of women and kids to try to hang a profane banner from the balcony while others began tossing fliers into the air. Two women made their way to the pulpit and began to kiss.

Their other props? I'll let them tell you in their own words... from another of their liberal blogs:

"(A) video camera, a megaphone, noise makers, condoms, glitter by the bucket load, confetti, pink fabric...yeh."

- snip –

The "open minded" and "tolerant" liberals ran down the aisles and across the pews, hoping against hope to catch a "right winger" on tape daring to push back (none did). And just in case their camera missed the target, they had a reporter in tow. According to a source inside the church yesterday there was a "journalist" from the Lansing City Pulse along for the ride, tipped off about the action and more interested in getting a story than in preventing the vandalism, the violence and anti-Christian hatred being spewed by the lefties.

- snip –

The church's response? After things settled down, the blasphemy ended, the lewd props removed and the families safe from fear of additional men and women running into and past them the pastor took the stage and led the congregation in one more prayer... not for retribution, or divine justice or a celestial comeuppance (that's what I'd have prayed for) but instead that the troubled individuals who'd just defiled the Lord's house, so full of anger and hate, would know Jesus' love in their lives and God's peace that exceeds human understanding.
My daughter had some interesting questions about this:

1) Should the church members turn the other cheek as Jesus instructs us to do?

Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. --- Luke 6:29

2) Should church members defend God’s house as Jesus did?

In the temple courts [Jesus] found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area both sheep and cattle; he shattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!” --- John 2:14-16

3) How do church members decide between these two options? Is the sanctuary the tipping point? Is an invasion of the sacred space more serious and deserving of defensive action? Or is any intrusion, even if confined to the church grounds or a classroom, enough to activate a defensive response?

I have never been a fan of “security forces” at a church, but this incident has prompted me to begin re-examining my opinion on the subject. It may be awhile before I reach a sure conclusion. In the meantime, I will keep praying.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Fight the Good Fight

A hymn from today's church service based on this Bible verse:

Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. --- 1 Timothy 6:12

Written in 1863, it was composed by John S. B. Monsell (1811-1875).
Fight the Good Fight With All Thy Might

Fight the good fight with all thy might;
Christ is thy Strength and Christ they Right.
Lay hold on life, and it shall be
Thy joy and crown eternally.

Run the straight race thro' God's good grace;
Lift up thine eyes and seek His face.
Life with its way before us lies;
Christ is the Path and Christ the Prize.

Cast care aside; upon thy Guide
Lean, and His mercy will provide;
Lean, and the trusting soul shall prove
Christ is its Life and Christ its Love.

Faint not nor fear, His arms are near;
He changeth not, and thou art dear.
Only believe, and thou shalt see
That Christ is All in all to thee.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Fortune Cookies...Again

My family succumbed to weakness this evening and ordered Chinese food --- egg foo young and a pu pu platter. This time, we received six fortune cookies, two for each of us. Here are the fortunes:
No problem leaves you where you found it.
There are no strangers here, only friends you haven't met!
The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that extra.
Be a generous friend and a fair enemy.
The days you work are the best days.
And my favorite, which I plan to keep as a time management reminder:
The greatest of all mistakes is to do nothing because you think you can do only a little.
I wish I could figure out a way to send the Chinese vocabulary words on the reverse side of my fortunes to my American friend who just moved to Beijing. It would be interesting to see how accurately the manufacturer translated the words.

Don't Forget to Set Those Clocks

The end of Daylight Savings Time has finally arrived, so don't forget to set your clocks back an hour before turning in tonight. Remember, the time change does not apply in Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. It is also recommended (and customary) to use this time change as a reminder to replace the batteries in your smoke alarms.

So, check those smoke detectors and enjoy that extra hour of sleep. The holiday season is just around the corner!