the blog is growing up

How very exciting.
Last week I moved from my cozy little blog to this large expansive one. And now, I have just become!
I guess this is about four hours old. I don’t know.
Jim did all the work. It’s more like getting a puppy than having a baby. You get the call, it’s weaned and ready for pick-up.
Anyhow, I think almost everything is on here, except for those precious comments from the sweeties who wrote in to encourage me.
It wasn’t a rejection, just an adjustment.
I love you all.

a little follow up to the post below…..

I mentioned in the post below something about responding rightly to whatever might be hurled our way.  So, as I sit here with my cute husband reflecting on the day, I am compelled to tell you what was hurled my way today.

It was really a fine day.  We got lots and lots done.  Good fun at breakfast with kids.  Jim Stowe came with fabulous French pastries, and then he painted the kitchen blue.  David made pakoras.   I enjoyed some good rich fellowship with a sweet dear friend this morning.  Four or five loaves of bread were baked and either eaten or given away.
And then the septic system backed up.  It backed up in a big and ferocious manner directly into my guest room.  The large area rug in that room will be going to the dump on Tuesday.  I will not share any other details.
It turns out that we don’t just have the one septic tank that we KNEW we had.  We probably have another, secret, hidden tank.  So how wonderful…..our yard will be dug up tomorrow as the septic man searches for the phantom tank.
I must say that my sweet son Michael took one look at the carnage of flooding and misery on the guest room floor, and without a second’s hesitation, he got everything necessary to  clean up the mess.  It’s way more pleasant to clean that stuff up when you have a buddy working alongside you!

The moral of this story is:  if you have a blog, beware of tossing confident remarks on it regarding what may or may not be hurled your way.  Because something  just might happen.

One other interesting tid-bit.  Upon seeing the news of thousands of grounded airplanes in Europe due to the volcano erupting in Iceland, I remarked loudly that I was just so very very thankful Jon had just returned from Norway the day before.
Well, it turns out that my favorite brother in law, Hans Olav, was in Brussels, trying to get home to Oslo for his wife’s birthday party.  And no planes are flying in Europe.  So he is scrapping together train schedules and trying to get his carcass home by tomorrow morning, as he is hosting this event.  I guess this puts my little septic eruption into perspective.

Endurance, Encouragement, Unity

As I was getting myself oriented to the day this morning, getting some nourishment for my soul from Romans 15, here’s what popped out at me:

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

And I am always looking for encouragement and I know that I must endure, so I’m thankful that God is a God of Endurance and Encouragement.   As we are enduring, with the help of God, and receiving encouragement from God………and as we are working all this out in the company of children, some of us,  I think that this business of harmony and glorifying God in one voice is a key item.

When we are in harmony with the toddlers and teenagers and ultra energetic 7 to 12 year olds in our care, we can keep  it in mind that the point of the day, the week, the school-year, and the lives we are building is to glorify God with one voice.   Then, our hearts are easily righted, our sins against each other are more readily seen, confessed and repented of, and harmony lost is quickly restored.
Best of all, then we can actually see more clearly what God is instructing us to do, as our obedience opens our eyes.   And then comes the ability to receive encouragement from God, and to endure rightly and well in the thick of whatever may be hurled our way.

That’s encouraging to me.

What brought THIS on?

I write this as I am freshly returned from a gigantic homeschooling convention.

I am home, full of hope and promise and ambition.

I have managed, by the grace of God (No kidding…) to covey this hope, promise and ambition to my victims, who are my offspring.

I’m saying that my sweet children are all cheerful and in the game with me as I’m pep-talking them about transcripts and essay writing and reading a million pieces of classical literature in preparation for the Scholastic Aptitude Test
and the one thing all kids want most , cultural literacy.

This does sound like a fantasy story.  And it’s only happening because I have the nicest kids.
And for anyone who knew me as a teenager, how bloody likely is any of this?

I must say that , as a lazy underachieving highschool student in 1980, I did not knowlingly prepare for the SAT in any way.
I just walked in and took the test…. and aced it.
When I received my score, I read it as if it were permission to retire. I thought, hey if I can ace the SAT….and then use it to enter university a year early (which I did….) life must be a breeze.
So, of course, I was an idiot.

Life is hard.  I floundered around for a few years.  Then I kind of found my way.

Then, in a move much like my triumph at the SAT, only way better, I married Jon.

What a guy. Miles out of my league.

How did this happen?
The only answer is that God is just way gracious with me.

So, I am spending the September years of my life getting the education my parents wanted me to get between ages 17 and 21.

And I’m hauling my kids along with me, and they are apparently coming willingly.    They actually look enthusiastic.

And I have compiled most of a book list which can be viewed on the page bookmarked…..Book List.

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. “

Theodore Roosevelt

Giada’s Spinach and Pasta

First, from Nancy (who is in the throws of packing to move from Michigan to Missouri with her husband and three kids the -oldest-of-whom-is-three):

(This one is really delicious!  But we had to triple it to feed us all.)

Giada’s Spinach & Pasta

1-2 Chicken breasts (more or less depending on how much chicken you like)

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound spiral pasta

1 (9 oz.) bag fresh spinach, roughly chopped

1 cup diced fresh tomatoes

1 cup grated Asiago cheese

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp. salt

¾ tsp. black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender. Drain pasta reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid.

In a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil and add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Brown chicken with olive oil and garlic.  Do not drain.

Add the spinach and tomatoes and cook until the spinach wilts, about 2 more minutes. Add the cooked pasta and toss. Add the cheeses, salt, pepper, and the pasta cooking liquid and stir to combine.
You may serve the pasta mixture right out of the pan or try it in a casserole pan, dotted with butter and warmed in the oven, covered with foil.