Friday, December 31, 2010

new catch up

It's true. I tend to just drop off the face of the earth at times. The muse leaves for a moment, I get out of the habit and next thing we know a month has gone by. It isn't on purpose, truly. And we haven't been eaten by rhinos or anything. It's just life keeps coming and I lose track.

So, what has been going on? Well, Thanksgiving, relatives, Christmas shopping, per usual. We had a really nice Christmas this year. I've come to the realization that I really like hanging out with my family. So far all my kids have become fun interesting people that I like to talk to, each in their own way, and that is something to be greatly thankful for.

Elisa and Shayleen have a bit of news. They have been scouted for a modeling agency and now are being represented by Muse Models here in Portland. They haven't gotten any paying jobs mind you, but the owner of Muse seems to feel pretty confident that they will. No, he hasn't sold us a $2000 photo package. :) They do the pictures for free and they seek out jobs for the girls and they get a cut when the girl gets a job. So I figure they wouldn't waste time on girls they didn't have a reasonable expectation of being able to make a little money with, anyway. There are probably some who would disagree with my allowing them to make a move in this venture. And I realize there are pitfalls everywhere. But, the owner is a married guy, has 4 kids (which by Portland standards is a rather large amount) and he was very understanding about conservative standards. Basically if a girl doesn't want to do lingerie, swimwear, alcohol, cigarettes and (oddly enough) fur there is a form that goes with her profile and she marks those things and they simply won't call her for those jobs. But this agency does catalogs and such so there should be plenty for them to do if they get picked for the jobs. They said Shayleen may be getting a lot of shoe ads because she has small feet and most of the girls they represent don't fit the standard model shoe size. I'm good with that!

Actually, they had been approached a few times before by another agency. The first time we got a card I laughed and threw it away. The second time I looked up a few things, said "I don't know..." and threw it away. There were some things about that particular agency (not Muse) that I wasn't too sure about. But Shay asked if she could just pray about it and if it ever happened again could she please just check into it? Well, it happened two more times after that in one day, so after looking at Muse and googling the owner's name and everything else, I let her go in for a meeting with him. Well, so I guess the rest is history.

I relented also because my kids have always been interested in media oriented subjects. Forrest used to do a lot of stop action animation with Legos when he was younger, now he's drawing a lot of manga, Elisa loves photography and perseveres with her cheap hand me down pocket camera, Shayleen has always loved clothes, clothes design, sewing, costumes... I thought maybe this is an opportunity for them to get a look into that world, develop some of these interests and skills, meet some people, and yeah, make a little money because Shay would sure love to get her little Volvo fixed up!

When my kids were younger I had a much more defensive posture against the culture. But I want my kids to grow up to be culture shapers, culture makers even. I want to be careful with them, but I also don't want them to get the idea that culture is something we fear or withdraw completely from. I want them to have the feeling that God wants them to be challenged, to try new things, to get "out there". It's a fine line, and I hope we are doing the right thing, but we'll take it one day at time and see how it takes shape.

Other than that it's the typical Oregon story of neverending rain, grey skies, puddles, dripping trees,(though today the sun is out a bit, I should step out for some vitamin D)...

I've been thinking about moving my blog to a web address that is more in keeping with the title. I'll see if asking Shayleen to do some bogging design for me puts her over the edge...

I hope all is well with everyone else and y'all have a happy New Year. :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Well, I was saying I had a lot of thoughts about "Radical Homemakers" . The thing is, my thoughts are very conflicting. I decided that I just really never was the target audience for that book and even though on the surface there are a lot of things I may hold in common with the author and the people she highlights, they are just that-surface similarities. But we didn't start at the same starting point and while our point may in some cases may be the same, ultimately if we were to meet at a party our conversation would be all "shop talk" and that's about it.

If you read the book did you get an eerie feeling that you were reading one of those "the case for homeschooling" books/articles from the 90's? It was all there-the industrial revolution, men leaving the home for work, the shift from the home being the center of production to the outer work sphere, all of it. I guess my very initial feeling toward the book was frustration and or annoyance because the author seems to think that she was the first to realize this (or her movement). She mentions the "Stay at Home Mom" sort of stuff coming from the Christian community that came out years ago but dismisses it all as being only in a sort of "women should submit to men" sort of mind set like we weren't interested in community, health, rejecting the materialism of the yuppie lifestyle, neighborhood safety or any of that. No. we were only interested in the whole submission thing. But these modern tomato canning young moms, they got it figured out. So, yeah. A little annoyance there.

I mean, I agree with a ton of the externals. I agree that baking your own bread, not going into debt for a car, canning tomatoes, growing a garden, all of these things when we put effort and love into them are important things. I agree that there has been a shift in our society from the home being the center to career and materialism being our god, really, considering all we do to satisfy it as a nation. Rand does work for some of these people, who pick their one kid up from day care at 7:00pm and dinner is a tray of "lunchables" as he's falling asleep on the couch. It's really sad. I wonder what on earth his happy childhood memories will be? It's a pretty soulless way to live.

But it also reminds me about how during my Grateful Dead days most of the really hard core hippie types were really the rich kids from Long Island and places like that. They lived on mommy and daddy's trust money all the while despising all that mommy and daddy stood for. They were the angriest bunch among us. It almost seems like they are the target audience for this book. Which I suppose serves it's own purpose. Canning tomatoes and having a garden rather than going out to have a career and make a bunch of money probably does seem radical to them. To me it's SURVIVAL. At own point the author (with a serious, straight face I'm sure.) comments that while she can't determine what people's incomes should be, a family would do well on $10,000 a year per person. Well YEAH. I *GUESS*. Honey, if we made $10,000 a year per person we would be making $120,000 a year which I can assure you is NOT happening around here by any stretch of the imagination. So this is radical?

See. I'm not the target audience.

It almost kind of displays the fruit of an age segregated society. The author writes about these things like they are so radical but they are what our grandmothers and great grandmothers did without ever considering it to be radical. It was life. Service to family. Do what needs to be done. Maybe being shut up in school all day with only one's peers is the reason for the whole mindset.

Anyway, it was interesting to look at the way the author thinks, but I don't recommend the book and I hope nobody bought it on my account. I only meant I was reading it, not that I actually recommend it. :) I saw it on a few blogs and picked it up at the library because I was curious. But you'd get more substantial reading material by reading a Ball Canning cook book or for plain ascetic looks at community and family life I really love the intros to Cooks Illustrated  magazine. If Christopher Kimball wasn't such a rocking good cook I'd think he missed his calling as a writer. As it is I grab every Cooks I can find just so I can read his intros.

"The world over, it would appear that life is lived countless miles from where we wish we still were. I know that to be true thanks to modern poets who, when they speak fondly of home, mean some other hallowed ground, either distant or in times past. Here in the mountains life isn't always easy, but we are deeply rooted in the center of things, just a quick step away from where we have always wanted to be and the people that we had hoped to become."
                                                                Cooks July/August 2007

That's the vision of home I want to give my kids. It isn't a movement. It's just love.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The last couple of days I have just not been feeling up to par. Earache, sore throat, wheezy and coughing... I feel like someone been sitting on my chest. Why do I always get sick when the weather changes? And why am I always off guard and surprised when it happens? Blah. I just feel like sitting in my chair and vegging out on movies.

On Sunday I sat and watched "League of Grateful Sons" which I got free from Vision Forum months ago but haven't watched because I knew it would make me cry. Well, it did, but it was really good too, I must admit. In the movie this poster came up
which I thought was rather appropriate for election day. *sigh*.

But I am never one to just sit so I took the opportunity to work on this as well

I tried quilting years ago when we were first married. But I am not an organized, precise person. No matter how carefully I cut out those little squares my corners just never, never did line up. I gave it up for a while but then through reading a few articles in Threads (long lost and forgotten) I decided maybe it didn't matter if the corners didn't line up! Maybe the world could make room for a disorganized free for all quilter like me? I tried out my theory on this quilt for Elisa

No worrying about corners. It was my first attempt at hand appliqué as well, and I embroidered lots of Scripture verses into it. Well, it won't win any prizes at a quilt show for sure, but she loved it. It's about 7 years old now and needs some mending and it doesn't quite completely cover her anymore, but she still keeps it on her bed and I pray the verses are emblazoned on her mind!

Anyway, back to the blue one, I machine pieced it, but I am hand quilting the layers together. I used only scraps from my sewing stash (including the batting which is made of flannel I had around.) I am just randomly quilting circles all over it in different colored embroidery floss. 

Today I will go turn in our ballots, thats for sure. (Praying, praying the whole way.) Dinner-meatloaf, salad and spaghetti squash from the garden with a little spaghetti sauce on it and French bread.

I haven't finished Radical Homemakers. Maybe now I will go and read the rest, while the house is quiet and nobody else is up....

What's up with you?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

These are my most recent doodles for the 100 day challenge...Which for me will be like a 25 day challenge, since I started so late. Anyway, I was just playing around with water colors. It has been a long time since I have picked those up. Painting with kids around is a challenge because they always want to join in, and also they get into them. That's why I moved to colored pencils a while back. Once Forrest ate a tube of Cobalt Blue. I did thank God I used water colors at that point and not oils-the only effect on him was interesting diapers-but that's about the time I put the paint away. (he was about 2) Colored pencils are really nice because they are simple to get out and use, the kids can easily join in, they give bight, clear color which I like, you can get amazing detail with them and they are easy to clean up after. They also forced me to focus on drawing skills rather then to depend on the nice swooshy, swooshy looseness of the paint. But their drawback is that they take longer to create with, the public isn't as familiar with them so they are harder to get exposure with, and they usually bring in a lower price than paint. Also they have to be framed behind glass and some people don't like glass over their art. Though that's true of water color as well. 

But there are artist who have taken colored pencil to amazing levels of art and I do think eventually they will be a well respected medium to work with.  

Here are a few of my favorite colored pencil artists.

Susan Brooks

Barbara Edidin

Bet Borgeson

Graham Brace

Pamela Belcher


Thursday, October 28, 2010

I know, I haven't posted. Sometimes life is just very mundane. :) For example, my day today-woke up about 5:00 and did some drawing and watercolor doodles. Girls got up, made breakfast, and I read the Bible and catechism study to my boys, clean house, the usual stuff. Then the boys come up and say the washer machine is overflowing so I go downstairs to investigate. No, it was the toilet, not the machine. Bring on the bleach.  Clean it up and wonder to self who could have been standing there flushing the toilet over and over because there was clearly more water there than just one flush. Throw away little area rug-not nice enough to bother with. Listen to boys read their lessons, daughter leaves for church decorating-we have an All Saints Day celebration on the 31st. Note to self, look for costumes tomorrow. Other kids leave for various piano and violin lessons. More schoolwork. Suddenly very tired. (I had about three hours of sleep the night before) so put boys in care of 14 yr old and went for nap. Got up to coffee brewing (yeah!) and husband saying no, it wasn't just the toilet, it is the main water line to the house. Tell renters no water use. Call Roto Rooter. Guy comes out and says it will be about 500.00 (at least) owing to our basement , heaviness of tools, safety requirements, etc. Really, really nice guy, suggests we call around, smaller company may not charge so much.  So I do call around. Finally got a quote of 250. Hubby is inspired to buy his own tool and decides to try himself. Please go get him beer. Yes, beer is probably a good asset for a job like that. Go get beer and also tater tots-Wed is my night to make left overs and quickie food for dinner and the kids want tater tots. Older kids come home from choir and lessons, we talk and eat tater tots. Husband succeeds with water line. Yeah! Tell renter, you guys can flush the toilet now, aren't you happy? :) They are, we chat, they make pie, I go to bed. I need to call the plumber in the morning and cancel.

Tomorrow, schoolwork, (a trend?) house cleaning (definitely a trend), steak fajitas for dinner, and I've got to, got to look for those costumes.

See? Mundane. Who could be interested? I ask you?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Things to be thankful for....

Typical Oregon Sky
Well, I like it anyway..:)
Full woodpile
Candle light in windows


George MacDonald

Oh that men would praise the Lord
  For his goodness unto men!
Forth he sends his saving word,
  —Oh that men would praise the Lord!—
And from shades of death abhorred
  Lifts them up to light again:
Oh that men would praise the Lord
  For his goodness unto men!
What are you thanking God for today?

On the drawing board...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Vintage Dance

Last week Shay and her friends had a vintage dance.  It was really fun to see all the vintage outfits people came up with.  There was everything from the 80's to the 1950's. And the boys all said "Hey, vintage! That means I get to wear a white t-shirt and Levis!"

Margay Hoi

Post Jig

Well, Forrest was content with the jeans and Tee...

But not all the boys. Some were more spiffy.

 Shay (center) and some bestie friends.

The pictures were taken by a friend of Shay's, she's very talented.  :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

drawings for today

Are you bored of my scribbles yet? :)
Well, tomorrow I will stalk fellow bloggers, steal photos and post pictures of Shay's vintage dance. Ohhh, the girls were so pretty! 

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm taking part in a artist challenge on a "Cloth, Paper Scissors" forum that is intended to get participants to create at least one piece of art a day for 100 days. The idea is not so much to create great pieces of art but to keep the creative spark going through out our day and remind us to think artistically. As we all know it's so easy to put our own interests on the back burner as we shop, care for our families, clean, work, etc. I am late to the party so I'm doing as many as I can, but I think there is about 25 days left. Anyway, here are some of the fruits of my labors. :)

The bottom two were doodles done during church. Drawing helps me not to space off. The communion cups inspired the one with the wine glass.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I hear that in the world of personality types there is like 5% extreme introvert and 5% extreme extrovert and then the rest of the world falls in between somewhere. Whenever I've taken any type of personality test I always fall in that 5% extreme introvert.

My bestie Mrs. Darling however-well, I don't know if she's ever taken a test but if she did she would be in the 5% extreme extrovert I am quite sure. Which is why we get along so well. She talks all she wants with me, (unless I have some bee in my bonnet, then she gets to listen a little) and she doesn't obligate me to talk. It's a good working relationship.

So the other day she comes over and we got to discussing vacations and how she doesn't want to Disney World again, they've done it so many times. Through the course of the discussion she realizes that I really have no clue what all there is at Disney World. The more she described it the more I got that horrifying feeling of noise, crowds, over stimulation, and wondering where on earth a person could get some peace! That is how I know I would feel there, just by the way she was describing it, that is. And I was thinking the perfect vacation for me would involve quiet, books, art supplies, and no phone, people... just quiet.

So, I told you that to tell you this. Here it is. My perfect vacation spot.

All I need is someone to pack in all my paint, fabric and knitting supplies. I would like the mirror room please.

What is your dream vacation?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I got home from an early morning trip to the store and my, everyone is in a funk.  And I have to admit that I have a hard time pulling them out of one when I'm tempted to go into one myself. But maybe a little Natalie Merchant will help. (Elisa would like me to say that she is not in a funk. Well, it was the general atmosphere. Maybe not everyone.)

I love Natalie Merchant. And I REALLY love the Chrysler building.
OK, one more thing about the Christmas thing and then I'll get off the soap box.

One of the biggest complaints against it is that the roots are pagan. One person has commented about how Christians are unknowingly celebrating a pagan holiday. I just feel like saying "and your point is...." The thing is, if  nobody even really remembers these so called gods anymore hardly (Except the Christians who want to keep pointing them out) how can it be a pagan holiday anymore? Isn't the fact that nobody remembers them and only really associates the day with the birth of Christ a true example of the reality of Christ's triumph over these gods? And if we retreat from the day and point out the gods (that nobody else remembers) are we not in fact reviving them and giving them back power? Are we not supposed to be taking over these things? We should find another pagan holiday to take over!

When we lived in a really, really liberal weird area of Portland there was a coffee shop by us (run by witches)  that was closed all day for winter solstice but only closed a half day for Christmas. If Christmas is so pagan, why weren't the witches wanting it?

And as for celebrating the Jewish feasts, isn't that kind of a return to Judaism that God warns against in Hebrews and so forth? I'm not going to go as far as to say it is WRONG to do this, but it seems to me that to replace distinctly Christian culture with the holidays and customs of Judaism is a step backward. But Christians seem to be falling all over themselves to please the Israelites these days. I find the whole thing perplexing. Is it a kind of "white guilt" sort of thing-since we did treat them shamefully for years? I guess that's another topic... Obviously I'm up with insomnia again. But what about you, do you find it perplexing?

I know probably nobody who reads my blog really has much to do with this argument. I'm still kind of detoxing from my uber conservative days I guess. It just frustrates me.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I am a member of an email group for homeschooling, having larger than usual families, moms. Every year this argument starts going round about the holidays. Our church has a wonderful Reformation Day party that my children (all of them- from the little guys to the 18 year old) look forward to with gusto so Halloween really isn't an issue for us. Secular celebration with the unbelievers in my neighborhood? Or celebrating with all their best friends, running around in historical garb, playing games and eating candy... no brainer.

But CHRISTMAS. Then the argument starts over Christmas. That is was pagan. That it is all about materialism. That we should celebrate the Jewish feasts because they are more Biblical, etc. Well, I'm not usually one to get all in a knot over email loops and I'm more of a libertarian, each to his own sort of person. But at the same time I remember being on those lists as a young mom and feeling guilty that maybe I was being worldly and these moms had more experience than me and were plainly more godly than me... (I mean after all, if they have 10 year old they must be really experienced, right?) and I just grieve for those moms who maybe influenced by this sort of thinking as I was. So I wrote this reply.

I have been a homeschooling mom for 18 years now, and have been around and in various elements of the homeschooling world for all that time (and before, as I always knew we would homeschool and bought my first books before my oldest was conceived!). I remember as a young mom hearing about Christmas being pagan and we didn't really celebrate Christmas for years. Sometimes we would go to the mountain and play in the snow, sometimes we would stay home and make a nice dinner and play soft music..

I am sorry now that I didn't celebrate more with my older children. 

I still have all my ten children at home, I have the benefit of regaining some of those years through still having very small children and I (and their older teenage siblings) thoroughly enjoy Christmas through their eyes. But I regret that I did not make more of an effort to make that time of year a wonder filled time of year for my older kids. What if I didn't have those younger ones, that I could change and model joy rather than dreariness to? What if my older ones had never been able to enjoy a joyful celebration of Christ's birth in my home?

I do not believe in celebrating the Jewish feasts. I do think we should study them and know all their Biblical importance, but I am not called to be a member of old Israel. God has created the church. We are to have our own symbols (he changed circumcision  to baptism, Passover to the Lord's Supper, Sabbath at the end of the week to resurrection at the beginning, etc.) We are the "called out ones". I want my children to take part in this new community called "the church".

It is not a command to celebrate Christmas, but it is a joyful privilege. If one of a tender conscience doesn't feel comfortable with elements of it, I certainly wouldn't ask them to do anything to harm their relationship in the Lord. But I also would not encourage young mothers who want to celebrate the seasons  with their little ones to abstain on the basis of someone else's conscience, but only if the Word of God prohibits. God tells us not to add to His word. Sometimes I catch one of my kids saying "Mama said" when that wasn't what I said. Who is in trouble there? Be careful when you cause doubt on another person on the basis of your own opinions, rather than on the Word of God. I do believe a case can be made Biblically for not allowing our children to sit under the tutelage of instructors that will overtly teach them falsehood. I don't see the same clear case for Christmas. 

I don't want to make anyone feel badly for what they chose to do if that is honestly what they want to do. But my concern is for the young mothers out there, dealing with so much burden, guilt and judgement in the world. Christmas is a glorious time for children. It's the one time of the year that Christ's name cannot be avoided. Take them to the parades. Get a tree. Talk about "Light", "evergreen", angels, shepherds, whatever your heart desires and rejoice in the Lord with thankfulness for whatever He provides for you to be able to do (present wise.)


I wish I was more eloquent, but I've done what I could.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

When I was young I used to dream of the day when we would have a large family. I saw an article once on a mother/daughter artist team and their house was full of paintings, paints, yarn, fabric and I dreamed of the day MY house would be like that. Only multiplied over many times. People would be drawing, painting, playing music, cooking... All that creative energy, all the color, all the fun...

Now I walk around the house and I see all the paint, all the books, yarn, cooking, piano playing, violin playing, fabric, embroidery floss.... and I say... "Goodness Gracious! What is all this mess! Can't the house stay clean for five minutes for crying out loud?????"

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Shop Item

11x14 with colored pencil and oil pastel on vellum finish acid free paper

Monday, October 4, 2010

Weekend Visitor

Rand's mom has had a series of little possum babies captured in her garage. We think the mother died. Anyway, in the interest of biology...or something... he brought one of them home for the kids to see. Irene kept it in a bucket in her room for a few days. Mainly, I think, she liked the shock value in showing him off to her friends. :) But he started to get a little grumpy (can't imagine why) so we soon let him go.
We had a pet rat for a while. It took me a little to get used to her, but I really didn't mind her. She was actually very sweet. I've heard of people keeping possums. But I don't think I could EVER get used to one, even if it was tame. For some reason it just gave me the willies every time I looked at it. 


I recently read this book to my boys

and it was a lot of fun. It was all about all the wild pets the author kept with her kids over the years. We learned a bit about crows especially, reading it.

But on the whole, I think I prefer pets of the domesticated sort. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window... The gold finches are enjoying all the sunflower volunteers we have in the yard

I am thinking... about the sermon on Romans I am listening to: Ray Stedman on Romans "From Guilt to Glory"

I am thankful for... Christ's righteousness. Mine just doesn't cut it.

I am wearing... Floral t shirt, Coldwater Creek jeans, Keen shoes

In the learning room... The dining room? Art supplies everywhere. Mine and the kids. :)

I am remembering... The fall air reminds me of the happy times I spent riding horses as a kid. 

I am going... hopefully nowhere!

I am currently reading...

and have a lot of thoughts about it...

I am hoping... ~that Rand will be able to fit in a  good size job before the rain really sets in.

On my mind... My "to do" list

Noticing that... Noelle needs tending to!

Pondering these words... 

"In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairy tales should be respected."
~Charles Dickens~
British novelist

From the kitchen... Elisa making lentil soup in the crock pot. I love the feeling of dinner being "already made." We will add baked potatoes and a steamed vegetable later.

Around the house... Laundry to fold, cleaning to do, but I hope I can work on a quilt I am making this afternoon. :)

One of my favorite things... Coffee in the morning!

A picture to share: 

Zeke likes the beach.

Simple Woman's Daybook

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The other day Zeke comes to me and he says "Mama! Now that it's fall you can make chicken and duckelings!" (I know it's ducklings, but that's how he says it.) 


(Before he was excited-Zeke usually is excited. But now he's hesitant...) 

You know... that soup that you put the baby ducks in?

That blessed boy thought I was putting baby ducks in his soup?!  I'm horrified! It didn't seem to bother him though... 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In which I tell a sad, sad story...

My drawings are like children to me. I fuss over them, I love them, I get angry with them... I had the most lovely time drawing this one...

I love bright, clear colors.  I was so happy with the way the orange and the green were getting along.. 

And then... 
(No it wasn't the boys this time.. their destruction would have been more complete...) 

But still, and then I went outside to take pictures and!!!!!!

What on earth are they!!!! I don't know. *sigh*
Well, what to do. Keep it? I put it into the shop anyway, at half price. (and included pictures of the spots) They don't show that much. I think once it's framed nobody would notice. But man, I could just cry. Think I'll have a bowl of ice cream instead. *sigh*

Have you tried the new Tillamook Ice Cream feature flavor, Cinnamon Bun swirl?


There is a giveaway at My Heart and Welcome To It. Head on over and enter!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Item in Shop

Apparently I took the wrong button from my daughter's blog yesterday. I linked her blog, but I meant to link her shop. So here's the right one:


Also, we have had another birthday. :)

Joseph is four.

And can I just say, the whole idea strikes me as really, really wrong. :/