Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree.....

If you recognized that opening line to a poem then you are already well on your way to celebrating the 200th Birthday of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow!!! If not go back to the links above and get started with some fun poetry. If you don't have any at home check here for some to read today (to yourself or your kids). Most know the opening lines of Paul Revere's Ride but did you know it's real title? I grew up on the Song of Hiawatha (or at least parts of it) because there was a statue depicting part of the poem in the park near Minihaha Falls waterfall near my school, and since my maiden name is Smith... (the blog entry title was a natural choice). So cuddle up and enjoy some American History in the form of Poetry today! We will be adjusting our home school day to take advantage of this date!!

Sunday, February 25, 2007


How did you worship today?

Today brought many versions of worship. This morning we did our normal worship day routine of attending Sunday School and Church at 10th Presbyterian. It was great to worship in the company of fellow believers and to visit with friends. The added blessings of infant baptism and sharing worship with some visiting scholars from Africa and the Near East were also part of the day. After coming home we handed of a meal someone else had made for a new mom in our family and had a friend and his daughter stop by to "hang out" while his wife practiced to help lead music at a local church plant. Falling snow later in the day caused us to stay home this evening but we still get to worship via the joys of our church's live webcast over the internet.

My dad and mom live in Minnesota in a managed care facility. Dad is a retired Episcopal Minister. They have not been regularly attending their area church because of the logistical difficulties involved. I have been concerned about this in terms of his spiritual health so I as glad to hear that today he decided to go down to the service at their facility. Unfortunately the scheduled pastor did not make it due to the weather so they were going to cancel the service. So my dad being my dad, volunteered to take over and after a brief consultation with the pianist about hymns lead the service and preached a homily based on the lectionary for the day. The Spirit is amazing in how he provides.

May you have worshiped in Spirit and in Truth today.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007



Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten Season for those churches or denominations that follow a Liturgical Year. It is traditionally a day of fasting and prayer and focusing on our sinful nature as we enter a 40 day period leading to Easter and its Joys and promises of forgiveness and life. I have always found that celebrating Lent and Holy Week added to the impact of all that Easter represents by reminding me/focusing me on an awareness of all that Jesus had to die for.

Lent is also a period when typically people "give things up", while that is good it is also important, maybe more important, to put something positive in the place of what you give up. To redeem that time for the Lord and not just try and loose a bad habit, but instead to replace it with building a good habit that glorifies the Lord.

The Bible Study I am working on (Grace to Stand Firm, Grace to Grow by Carol J. Ruvolo) had this question today. "How often do you go through an entire day without eating food (aside from days set apart for fasting and prayer)? How often do you go through an entire day without reading and studying the Bible? Based on your answers to these questions, can you say that your desire the milk of the Word like a baby desires milk? If you answered no to the last question, list several ways you can increase your desire for the Word of God." She goes on to encourage you to make a specific plan including accountability.

The Episcopal prayer book Collect for the Day is: "Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and doest forgive the sins of all those who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen"
Readings for today are: Joel 2:12-17 and Matthew 6:16-21


Pride Cometh After a Fall

It's Done!!!! Paul successfully finished fixing the floor last night. It looks great and is done, not just patched. He also put all the tools away. I am very proud of my husband for doing this and felt I should follow the lead of my pastor who praised his daughter in a sermon illustration, by thanking Paul here.

Thanks also to Tina who prayed with me about this getting done. The fellowship of believers is a wonderful thing!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Trusting the hidden blessing

Yesterday, in a bad mood, I carried too much laundry down the steps, missed one and landed hard on the stair landing putting my foot through the floor boards up to the knee. Laundry went flying, everyone got scared, especially the kids. I managed to get my knee out, nothing is broken though I am a bit scraped and bruised. (read minor scrapes, lots of lovely colors). It left a lovely hole, two boards wide and half the length of the landing.

Now anyone that know us knows that home improvement is not our strong suit, though we have improved (ask Rich about putting together the microwave cart with a MOMA screwdriver) . But we looked in our home repair book and after praying about it Paul went down to LOWES and came back with some supplies.

So now I am listening to him work while Andrew helps, asks questions and reminded him that they needed safety goggles like they say on the show. It is great to listen to my husband learn and grow as he challenges himself to do this and while he does his best to teach and include our son (and daughter though she is happier drawing right now) as he goes along. It is a balm to my heart.

Am I glad that I hurt my leg, no (especially when I try to squat down) am I glad we have to fix the landing, no but is it worth it, yes at some level when I see and listen with the perspective of trusting that God works all things together for good, Yes.
or to put it another way:
ibuprofen, antibiotic cream and gauze pad: $8.00
wood, nails and other hardware supplies: $52.00
listening to Paul and Andrew work and grow together: priceless

Now if the project works and holds up we will be golden. I'll just keep praying and trusting in Him (after all he was a carpenters son, he should be able to help in more ways then one ;-))

Thursday, February 15, 2007


When Legos go Medeival

Our co-op was canceld today and Paul is out of town so I really didn't have a big lesson plan made. We are studying castles lately and a search turned up this. Check it out, it is a very cool construction lots of fun to explore and learn from. Now all we need is a few more snow days, 10 more buckets of lego and a lot of patience. (My kids actually have the creativity already!!!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


The Mysterious One Legged Man

Today it is snowing in Philadelphia, the first real snow of the year. As we headed out at 9 am for groceries to beat the worst of it and to beat the "panic shoppers", my kids asked "why do people not like the snow mom?" As I explained that grownups didn't like it because of the extra work of shoveling and the extra work and danger of getting around in it, they looked at me with somewhat un believing faces and said something to the effect of " they should just have fun and enjoy it like us." That was when the blessings began.

You need to understand that for me getting groceries for me today meant walking about 10 blocks pushing our granny cart over uneven Philadelphia sidewalks that where now hidden under wet sticky snow that stuck to the cart wheels. We also had to do it. I am not a "snow panic shopper" but it had been a tight budget week and today was pay day so off we went. I have to admit that I did not have the best of attitudes about facing the walk. If you have to face a similar snow adventure my advice is take a 6 year old boy and his imagination with you.

All the way there and back he just reveled in the snow, scraping it off every ledge, fence etc. That we passed and flinging it at something while saying 'look, I'm helping people clean". He also made foot patterns in the snow including "the mysterious one legged man" made by hopping for a few feet and meant to confuse people as to who made it. It was just a joy to see all the fun he had, it made the trip fun and showed me the blessing God has for us when we have an attitude of thankfulness to what he brings. As a thank you to the kids I took them sledding in the park later in the day after we got a little school work done. (Hey, everyone needs recess!)

If the snow has you down and your attitude needs adjusting and you don't have a 6 year old handy you can also try a virtual trip to the Green Zone in Baghdad with Captain KJ the daughter of my mother in laws best friend or read a Letter from Rome and join the Skeel family on their sabbatical in Rome Italy.

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