Saturday Sayings – Color

(Henry) Austin Dobson, by Frank Brooks (died 1...

(Henry) Austin Dobson, by Frank Brooks (died 1937). See source website for additional information. This set of images was gathered by User:Dcoetzee from the National Portrait Gallery, London website using a special tool. All images in this batch have been confirmed as author died before 1939 according to the official death date listed by the NPG. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Ladies of St. James’s!
They’re painted to the eyes;
Their white it stays forever,
Their red it never dies:
But Phyllida, my Phyllida!
Her color comes and goes;
It trembles to a lily,–
It wavers to a rose.

Henry Austin Dobson The Ladies of St. James’s. Stanza 4

Oh, to be changeable but true!

How better than being permanently false!

Saturday Sayings: Lunchtime

English: Desolate field on Baynards Road "...

Desolate field on Baynards Road “No sun, no moon, no morn, no noon….no proper time of day….November.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No sun — no moon!

No morn — no noon —

No dawn — no dusk — no proper time of day —

No distance looking blue —

No road — no street — no “t’other side the way.”

Thomas Hood (1798-1845) “No”

I am almost positive this is the description of a day in the life of a mom.

No noon? Yep. No time to eat lunch, for sure.

No morn? Not if you’re up all night, nope. No such thing.

No proper time of day? That’s IT! EXACTLY! Oh, it’s day? Oh. Okay . . .

That’s what that distant blue is, isn’t it. Hmm.

Here in these four walls,
connected by two halls,
no matter nature calls,
or if the toddler falls,
or if the baby bawls,
or carburetor stalls,
or dog the mathbook mauls:
Mom to the table crawls
And has her lunchtime!

THE Cure for “The Quits” – At LAST!

English: An aerial view over the north part of...

An aerial view over the north part of the Grand Canyon.

Most of us entertain a combination of all four of the “quit” reasons I gave my friend that day.

From the core of our beings, we know that the home is where our beloved children belong, but we forget, we tire, we listen to others. If we keep fighting, we succeed, but too often, we quit. Quitting is not the way of God’s people. We must press on. We must realize that any prize that includes the rescue of our children from hell is worth any effort.

Many do not realize that it takes only a tiny bit of quitting to quit entirely, because the rest is downhill. It is like walking along the edge of the Grand Canyon, where unwavering commitment to careful success is of utmost importance: One slip can spell disaster, two slips most certainly can spell disaster, and few if any have survived three slips. The difference is that we know certain death lies at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, but we do not see that danger for our children in our wavering commitments to home schooling. We absolutely must develop a strategy for the times when we are tempted to take that slippery, deadly road of ease.

What should such a plan look like? Why, it must lead in the exact opposite direction from the bottom, just as you would lift a child who was slipping down a great gulf, of course! Therefore, any plan must include the following four aspects:

Keep the vision constantly before you. Pray that God will renew your vision for your children, in your heart. Make a list of all the reasons He gives you to home school, and READ it. Add to it often. Decide, forever, that home schooling is good. Read good home school magazines. Read good home school books. Read good homekeeping blogs. (Oh. I guess you already are doing that!) Remember all the upright people that home schooling has contributed to this world. Read the scientific statistics that prove the benefits of home schooling. Find a good support group and be involved in it, making good home school friends. Connect with Home School Legal Defense Association for wonderful confidence boosters. Wake up!

Determine that any cost is nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in the end. Eighty-five percent of the children who attend worldly schools grow to deny their parents’ faith. That does not happen with home school. What are a few moments of sleep compared to their lives in heaven and a “well done” from our Lord? What is a new car? What is a worldly friendship? What is a college education? What is a second income? What, on this earth, is worth the loss of even one of your children? Pay up!

Commit yourself to your children, as unto the Lord. People hear calls to all sorts of missions, all the time. Churches have “charge conferences” to determine what each one’s job should be. Tithes and other resources are pledged all the time. You have been called to your children, just because you bore them. They are your charge. Pledge your life, before God, to be what they need, so they can grow up right in this wrong world. Join up!

Do not slink back and let the enemy succeed with you and your children. Your enemy is looking around for whomever he can devour, just like a roaring lion. Learn to recognize his roaring for what it is. Set your face like a flint. Grit your teeth. Exert yourself. Protect and defend your children, as any good parent should. Provide for them. Pray for them, for yourself, and for all home schoolers. Stand up!

And do not give up.


photo credit: Wikipedia

Remind Me not to Lose My Mind

During the learning phase of acquiring new habits, reminding can be a good help for your children, or even yourself. Reminding goes beyond repetition. We reserve reminding for when we should already know a fact or skill.

Jesus did this from the cross when He called out the first line of Psalm 22, which minutely foretells the Crucifixion. Every Pharisee at the foot of the cross knew He was reminding them of the entire Psalm and its dire implications for them.

The child, who stops interrupting when Mom slightly raises her hand, is using a reminder. The stopped driver, who hears a slight horn tap and then proceeds at a green light, is using a reminder. The newcomer, who consults a photo-directory to recall a new acquaintance’s name, is using a reminder.

The word, itself, “remind,” means “pay attention, again.” We can cause our children to pay attention more often by the simple service of reminding them. Paying more attention can make the difference between knowing and doing.

During difficult memorized recitations, I have reminded my children with signed alphabet initials of tricky words or phrases. A childhood playmate received reminders from her mother in the form of having to return to the door, and open and shut it quietly, 20 times, to overcome door slamming. “Go back and walk,” is a common reminder at our house: Walk, the first time. Occasionally, even a policeman will give a warning instead of a ticket, if he judges that a reminder is enough.

Bible verses posted on the walls of our homes reminded our children of heart attitudes. Educational and health charts did the same for their earthly needs.

Reminders should be gentle because we realize anyone can forget something. Reminders can be exciting to our children, rather than dreaded, if we are willing to take the trouble to make them exciting. Our children are worth that trouble.



Silly faces on a small poster, can give as much reminder as a cross voice, but with more effect. A bright yellow sticky note hangs on a sharp corner of our cabinets with a drawing of an orange duck on it, to remind passers-by to “duck,” and not hit their heads on that corner. Computers remind us of our fallibility with the “Are you sure” page. The tiny poem, “Thank God for Dirty Dishes,” framed and visible near the kitchen sink, reminded a small, reluctant heart to take comfort at our house for many years.

And I must remind you to remind your children of your love for them with plenty of hugs, kisses, and favors.

More tomorrow.

Do Your Kids Have Habitual Blessings?

“Hey! Turn that back on!”

I heard it bounding from the hallway one day. It had happened again.

We have taught our children, from the time they were young, to turn off lights as they leave a room. Someone had turned out the light while there was someone still in that room.

It was a clear case of what I lovingly call “good habit — bad timing”.

How amazing that the brain, once trained, knows what to do on its own! Eventually we no longer have to think about what to do and how to do it. How unaware we are of how many habits scoot us along our way, every moment!

Imagine if you had to reinvent tying your shoe, each time you did it.

We can turn off a light without thinking, even without looking at the switch. We can be thinking about the next task in the next room while we finish the task in the current one.

The mind is wonderful.

Stretching OutDuring a gym class, as a teen, I heard a phrase worth remembering: “That which is used, develops; that which is not used atrophies.” At that time, I did not know the meaning of the word “atrophy”, so I guessed it meant the opposite of “develop”. Since our family has a motto of knowing, instead of guessing, it bothered me I didn’t know for sure, so when I got home that evening, I looked it up.

Think of all the habits working in this experience:
1. That phrase, repeated in every gym class so I could never forget it, reminded me of the good of learning, repetition, and training.
2. Habitual use of English caused me to guess correctly at the meaning of a word in context.
3. The habit of exercise, itself, gave me a lifelong urge to keep moving, partly spurred on by dread of atrophy.
4. Our habit of accumulating new words and facts inspired me to bother with a dictionary.
5. A family habit of returning a thing to its place enabled me to find the dictionary.
6. A habit of working alphabetically caused me to turn immediately to the front of that huge book for the word “atrophy”.

How difficult it would have been for me to benefit from the experience had I not had all those habits! It takes 21 days for a disciplined person to form a good habit. I was not a self-disciplined person by nature. Nope.

Oh, the drill, supplied by faithful adults who insisted upon good habits in me!

The sad thing is that some children who lack faithful training might be learning to hate exercise instead of fearing atrophy. We have many such children living among us, these days, lacking drill in good habits, and this loss causes many problems. They never reap normal benefits from life’s normal experiences.

They become abnormal.

Our children do not have to be among them, though. The home is the perfect environment for instilling good habits. With 180 days in an average school year, the potential for 9 good habits per child per year presents itself.

Let’s go for it!


Photo credit: Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

Saturday Sayings — Everyday Life

woman in housedress: madison + 41

woman in housedress

I cannot believe what I have seen, lately.

And that comment deserves an explanation.

The wedding wowed us all, and my son, no doubt, rejoices, now. We’ll talk about that later, I’m sure.

But what I realize suddenly, is that for the last 42 years, I have been co-existing with my kids. That thought barely fits inside my head. Just barely. For 42 years, I’ve had kids in my corner — whether pre-borns, school-aged, or 20-somethings, they were my kids and they were here.

Gradually, almost imperceptibly they have sought their niches and moved on to life as they envisioned it.

I wonder if they envisioned it accurately, any better than I did. I mean, I always wanted six children, but I never, even once, thought I would live with kids for 42 years. It makes me laugh because it sounds like I ran an orphanage. Often I jokingly said of my profession, that I helped my husband manage a home for children who would otherwise be homeless. I believed that, even while I laughed about it. I joke about someone else doing their laundry for a change, and I believe that, too, as I laugh.

The time arrives when all that work is over and I enjoy reaping grandkids and such. I re-arrange furniture in empty bedrooms, glad for the space, glad for a chance to access the under-bed areas with a broom and mop, daring not to allow the mixed emotions a venue, terrified of second thoughts, unable to admit missed chances, refusing to ponder the distance to check on these kids, allowing only the happy-thoughts.

I did it. They are raised and gone. Their rooms are again mine. I can have a sewing room and an office.

And more money for luxuries.

And more clean.

And more time.

And more quiet.

And my own way, more.

This brings me to the saying for Saturday, a chorus from an old song by Glen Campbell: Dreams of the Everyday Housewife

Such are the dreams of the everyday housewife
You see everywhere any time of the day
An everyday housewife
Who gave up the good life
For me.

However the writer of this song assumes the wife longs for the good ol’ pre-marriage days, it fails to realize what it juxtaposes:

Wrinkles vs. young men’s ridicule — give me wrinkles, any day.

Apron vs. dancing men waiting in line for her — really; that’s the good life.

Closet vs. photos, and dried flower crumbling — actually, I have many, many photos and flowers, none crumbling, and I could use another closet.

Housedress vs. mind-blowing gowns — the way I dress in the house is far more sensible and comfortable and desirable and if gowns are the “good life”, I’d give them up in a heartbeat for what I’d really like.

I’d really like to ride that “housewife” ride all over again.

(Photo credit: bondidwhat)

Mind the Other Gap

View of the reak of Puy de Sancy and cable car...

View of the peak of Puy de Sancy and cable car station above Mont Dore.

I don’t know how we got to the top, but we were inside a very small building atop a tower, like a firetower in a forest. My memory of many of the details of that day are lost in the cobwebs of childhood. I do remember a row of windows around the entire building, and a telescope of sorts.

I know it was a tourist attraction because there were other people up inside this building with us. In fact, it was somewhat crowded. Amazing what we do and don’t remember. I remember the floor was unvarnished hardwood and dirty, and my dress was red.

And I was wearing patent leather shoes with slick soles.

The attraction in this room on stilts, besides the magnificent view, was the ride back down to earth in a sort of passenger car on a cable. Great fun, like a zipline for civilized folks with small children. People ascended and descended regularly, and we viewed the view while awaiting our turn.

I was so little. Yet I remember a sense of needing to hurry. I suppose the quicker people loaded and unloaded the cars, the more money the owners earned. Finally we approached the doorway where the car was dangling, waiting for us to board. I watched this car swaying and heard it creaking while the owner reminded my parents of the huge space between the building and the car, with about a hundred feet of space below it. My parents cautioned me and explained the extreme danger in stepping wrong.

I froze. Anyone could see the gap was far larger than my tiny feet, and, in fact, my whole self could fit easily right through that gap. Of course, it was too huge a leap for a terrified little one.

I dug in. I was scared and wanted down. I cried.

That’s when my parents lifted me. I still was terrified, but they overcame my will with their own strength and jointly lifted me over that yawning hole, down into that cable car. I still was terrified. They had seen it was too hard for me and, after warning me not to struggle against them in my fear, had mercifully done it for me.

I am sure the view was spectacular on the ride down, but I don’t remember that part.

I do remember my parents’ loving mercy and surpassing knowledge and strength.

And I think of the gap between this world, that we think is so real, and the other world that exists all around us, that is really real — the Heavenly Kingdom.

The step we must take to leap from this world into the other is terrifying and too far, in our eyes.

But the loving mercy of our Heavenly Father and the Jerusalem Above, which is our mother, stand ready to bridge that gap for us, if we only will not fight it.

Love lifted me.
Love lifted me.
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me.


photo credit: Wikipedia