Friday, June 23, 2006

Good Dog!

Lilly is waiting so patiently! :o)

(This post is for you, Delaney!)

For those of you who don't know, Delaney is visiting friends up in Kentucky right now. She's been gone for at least a week (seems a lot longer than that) and won't be back till next Thursday. *sniff, sniff* We all miss her around here!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Cheese souffle + Iced Peach Tea + Warm, hospitable hostess = a jolly good time!

Mom, Merritt and I went to Aunt Patty's place for lunch yesterday. They live in Tarpon Springs close to Lake Tarpon - in fact, they can actually walk to it by way of a shaded boardwalk. We had a delightful time chatting with Aunt Patty and enjoying her talent for cooking a scrumptious luncheon. I tried cheese souffle for the first time; and also had a sprig of fresh mint in a glass of peach tea -- both are quite good! Aunt Patty relayed to us that while she was growing up, particularly in Georgia, that fresh mint and sugar was a must in any glass of iced tea.

It's rather amusing how, by just sitting before a laced tablecloth adorned with a lovely floral arrangement and table setting, encourages oneself to be prim and proper (of course, there is the "southern" hostesses lovely example too). Some of us at the table, me in particular, had to search HI and low for ultra-lady-like manners. I finally found mine tucked away and in need of updating. Merritt, on the other hand, was doing a fine job practicing her manners. During the course of the meal she enthusiastically piped up with, "Out to sea and back to me!" -- referring to the direction one's spoon is supposed to go while tasting soup. Now, that's a little too detailed for me, I prefer to just worry about keeping my mouth clean and not talking while chewing! So, I turned to Mom and commented, "I'm happy to be a hick." :o)

It was such a beastly hot day that after taking a stroll to view their aviary garden and snip mint leaves thriving from the asphalt driveway, Merritt and I were game for a swim. The pool was surprisingly cool and refreshing. While Mom and Aunt Patty conversed in the shade and I dried off in the sun, Merritt splashed about and found numerous new ways one could utilize an inflatable pool lounge "thingy". :o)

Of course, every time spent at Patty G.'s is delightful and this visit was no exception. I hope that one day I'll be half the hostess that she is.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Nature on our doorstep...literally!

There once was a mother bird in search of a nest,
Who found what she thought, was the perfect place to rest.

Upon tucking each twig, grass and moss into her new abode
She established her very own temporary zip code!

Okay, how about I spare you the rest of the poem? Anyway, yes we do, or rather did have a little brown bird erect a quaint residence right in our mailbox. At first we tried to discourage her, but she was so persistent and industrious that we allowed her to make her own way. Soon we discovered two brown speckled eggs...then three...and then ultimately five speckled eggs comfortably situated in our brass mailbox. This diligent bird crafted such a beautiful little nest; though sharp twigs protruded here and there, none-the-less the cone shaped roost appeared quite comfy inside.

Eventually these baby birdies flew the coop and I have to say we, or at least Merritt and I were remorse to see them leave. We enjoyed watching the ugly little things mature, and witness how patient and constant the "mommy" bird cared for her offspring. Now, all that's left is a shabby, worn down nest -- no cheery chirping from babies, or dive bombs from mother bird as we step out our front kind of resembles a ghost town.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Life and Medical Ethics

Did you read the article in today's news about the brain-dead woman who gave birth, by C-section, to a premature little girl named Cristina?

Over at Doug Phillip's blog, he commented on this unique story. Rather thought provoking article...

Just out of curiosity, do you think this human "incubator" was already dead, soul-less and everything, before the doctors performed the delivery? Another question came to mind after reading Mr. Phillip's post: what if this young mother was literally being kept alive by the aid of machines (breathing and blood circulation, etc.), or was she still capable of doing some of these functions on her own? Would she have already passed away if she had not had the assistance of medicine?

Things can get so complicated. What do you think about this whole matter?

Though there might be controversy regarding this woman's death, etc. Nonetheless, I am so glad the baby was saved.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Now, a weekend go Cale could've swished that tassel off to the side, adjusted his gown (okay, a "robe" sounds better for a guy) and full of confidence at his achievement, walked onto a stage and graciously taken his high school diploma. Rather, upon his request, he found himself sitting in front of a large stove at a Japanese restaurant, laughing as the oriental chef "sprinkled" him with pepper, offering congratulations for Cale's graduation. No joke! Our whole family spent the evening celebrating my little brother's milestone. The chef, who really reminded us of Mr. Miyagi (he was cleaning the stove and chanting "wax on, wax off") - accent and all - did a great job entertaining us with bursts of flames and fancy knife handling. But, at one point during our dinner he had Merritt convinced he had lost a finger...poor girl just about lost her appetite, but thankfully his finger appeared in time.

Here is the only picture we got of our evening out (so sorry it's blurry!)

(all the flashes from the camera surprised us!)

There were no tears that evening, just smiles. I don't think any of us want to face the reality of homeschooling is now complete for Cale and now he'll be heading off to college this fall. *sigh* But this is just another stage in life.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Bright Lights Mother & Daughter Tea Party

"In China, serving tea is a symbol of togetherness and a customary way of showing respect for visitors. In Ireland and England, tea is taken with milk and sugar, and in Russia, it is served with a slice of lemon, along with a dollop of raspberry jam or a lump of sugar to hold between the teeth. In Tibet, tea is customarily served with churned yak butter and crushed walnuts, peanuts, salt, or sugar to make a thick beverage called tsampa. Moroccan shopkeepers greet prospective customers with a glass of mint-flavored green tea, and in Egypt, guests are served strong and heavily sweetened black tea prepared by the male head of the family. In Japan, the serene tea ceremony has been described by Yasunari Kawabata as 'a communion of feeling, when good friends come together at the right moment, under the best conditions'. "
(Excerpt from Afternoon Tea Serenade by Sharon O' Connor)
There were twenty-four ladies seated around lace-covered rectangular tables, sipping tea and enjoying the pleasantly nostalgic ritual of "high" tea. A charming tea book perfectly stated our sentiments, "Charmed by the smallness of the cups and saucers, delighted with tiny sandwiches and other treats, we were thrilled to step away from our everyday selves and enter a world of beautiful politeness." What a enchanting time we had on Saturday afternoon. Everyone looked so nice in their "Sunday best", tea cups in hand. Plus manners mirrored their fine attire -- such a great group of girls I've been blessed to get to know through Bright Lights! :o)
We savored scones, cookies, tarts and sandwiches, while relishing cups of English Breakfast, Earl Grey and peach teas. Nothing like a dollop of Devonshire cream and strawberry jam spread on a "simply sweet scone". Yummm! *licking my lips*
About midway through our polite murmuring, tea sipping and managed excitement we had the pleasure of being serenaded by a talented violinist, guitarist and pianist. After Jessica, Tara and Stefani (thanks again for playing!) entertained us with such favorites like "As the Deer" and "Amazing Grace" we all couldn't contain our delicate voices any longer and joined in with the remaining verses. By the time we tired of such delights, we had sung four or five songs through.
It was such fun to put this social engagement together. I'm afraid I would've been thoroughly stressed if it hadn't been for Mom, Patty G. And Delaney lending their hands and suggestions. We turned the drab church kitchen into a lovely tea parlor (you should've seen how many silk plants Mrs. G stuffed into her car -- it was amazing!). I even got to drag out my box of chipped china to use! What memories! :o)
Now, since we all acted like proper ladies this week, how about next week we have a regular rowdy time together at a park or something?? :oD

Sunday, June 04, 2006

FPEA Florida Homeschool Conference

Homeschool conferences are hectic and they can be overwhelming, but they're definitely fun!

We haven't gone to a homeschool conference in years, mainly because we already have plenty of "school material" to work through and these type of functions can be stressful. But then on the flip side, the literature selections are very enticing (you can never have too many good books for your personal library!) and the array of speakers at state-wide conventions are generally really good. I wanted to attend this years homeschool conference for the purpose of being a Bright Lights representative from Florida at the Mally's booth (currently there is only one group meeting here in Florida...and that one is mine). In case you're unfamiliar with the Mally family: Harold and Rebekah Mally have three children, Sarah, Stephen and Grace and as a family they share a ministry called Tomorrow's Forefathers. The "kids" collaborated and wrote a book on sibling relationships titled, Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends (they really aren't kids any longer, but some of them were when they wrote the book :o). Sarah has also started Bright Lights, which is a discipleship program for young ladies. Recently, she completed an excellent book on purity called Before You Meet Prince Charming. They came last year to speak at a couple of churches in our area and that's how we got to know them. This year they came down for the homeschool conference in Orlando.

The Lord worked it out for Delaney and I to catch a ride over to Orlando with the Mosterts (they introduced our family to the Mallys and their two girls, Danielle and Rachel go to the BL group here) on Saturday. It turned out to be a busy day! We spent time helping at the Mally's booth, walking around, watching the Mallys seminar, book shopping...etc. I really enjoyed chatting with the parents who came by to ask about Bright Lights. It was so exciting to see a mother's eyes light up as I explained the numerous benefits the Bright Lights material provides, and the importance of encouraging their daughters in their personal relationship with Christ. In some you could see the burden for their daughter's futures grow heavier, yet their vision for their "little women" was renewed and strengthened. I only wish we could've interested more parents!

I wasn't planning on getting any books, but I just couldn't help myself! I spent a lot of time over at the Vision Forum booth. I came away with three books from this particular location: Verses of Virtue, the poetry and prose of Christian womanhood compiled and edited by Elizabeth Beall Phillips, How To Be A Lady, useful hints on the formation of womanly character by Harvey Newcomb (I thought this book might provide some unique excerpts for my Bright Lights talks since it was printed in 1850) and Emotional Purity by Heather Arnel Paulsen. At another booth I picked up Debi Pearl's book Created to be His Help Meet.

Delaney and I thoroughly enjoyed our time at the conference (I can't wait to go back next year!). Here are a couple of photos Grace Mally took of their booth...

P.S. Tomorrow I hope to post some pictures of the lovely tea party our Bright Lights group had on Saturday! :o)