This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every moring: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3: 21-26

Friday, September 14, 2007

Favorite Ingredients Fridays

Blueberry Buckle
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, rinsed


Topping
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Cream 1/4 cup butter with 3/4 cup sugar; add egg and beat well.

Into a medium bowl sift together 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add sifted ingredients to butter mixture alternating with 1/2 cup milk, beating until smooth.

Fold in blueberries.

Pour into a greased 9-inch square baking pan.

For topping, combine topping ingredients and blend well to form crumbs.Sprinkle topping crumbs over batter.

Bake at 375° for 35 minutes.

Visit Overwhelmed With Joy for more recipes from the participants of Favorite Ingredients Friday.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Prayer Request

I'm praying for Kelli. Would you say a prayer for her and maybe leave a comment to let her & her family know that you did?

Many blessings,

Julie

Just Call Me Alexander


My "Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad" Thursday Thirteen

1. I couldn’t think of thirteen anything to string together coherently—so you are stuck with this.
2. The boys are both sick. Still.
3. And we still HAVE to go somewhere tonight.
4. I’ve had a headache since yesterday. Which means I am likely to get sick.
5. School has not been normal since before…well before mid-August.
6. I am having an “I miss my Mom” day.
7. My hives that started three weeks ago are almost all gone. But I am having nightmares now.
8. The potential for losing it in front of a bunch of people who don’t really know me and don’t really care to is high today.
9. Boo has been having one of his more “interesting behavior” weeks.
10. Auditions are this week and while I hate to sound like a stage mommy, I truly care what happens to my boys. So I am probably more nervous about it than they are—but I would never tell them.
11. My husband will most likely be working this weekend and the next at least eight weekends. He still has to go in normal hours during the week. He just gets to add more hours.
12. He is salaried. So there is no monetary benefit other than keeping his job for all the work.
13. There is a chance, however slight, that we may be obligated to be out of the house six days a week. That is not what a homeschool mom wants to hear—at least not this one.

As I was writing my Terrible Thirteen, I started to be reminded of some positive things though. So not wanting to leave you with my glass half empty, I will give you:

Thirteen Reasons My Glass Is Half Full

1. Once I started writing awful things, I remembered good ones.
2. I have handsome boys who I love and get to care for when they are sick.
3. We have an activity that the boys enjoy to go to tonight.
4. I will feel better soon.
5. We homeschool and it is okay that school has not been “normal.” And we started in July so we were ahead of the game anyway.
6. I had a Mom to miss.
7. My hives are almost gone.
8. I have friends who I will see who will care if I lose it and will be there for me if I do.
9. Both boys are very creative.
10. Auditions are this week. And then they will be over. And the boys have the chance to participate in something very cool.
11. My husband has a job that apparently needs his skills. We didn’t have this from January to April.
12. We have a paycheck to count on to cover our needs and some wants too.
13. We have a home to come home to.

So…I guess, while my head still hurts, I am in a better place than I was at the start of writing.

How are you today? Is your glass half full or half empty? Or is it like mine--both?

THE PURPOSE BEHIND THE THURSDAY THIRTEEN:The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. What do you do? Write Thirteen things about yourself, summarize your week in one entry, make it easy for other bloggers to get to know you on a weekly basis. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Tortoise









Visit Wordless Wednesday HQ for more photos that need no words.

New Book--Guardian of the Veil

by Gregory Spencer

Glass Road Public Relations sent me a new book! It came yesterday in the mail and I am really excited to get into it. It is the second in a series and I am on a mission to find the first if I get a chance today. Both look great and the first, The Welkening, received some good reviews.

Information from the promotion says:

In Guardian of the Veil, the long-awaited sequel to The Welkening, Dr. Gregory Spencer has created an alternate reality that is at once fantastic and hauntingly familiar, framed in a cataclysmic conflict between Good and Evil.

Four misfits of Weyerhauser High—Angie, Lizbeth, Len, and Bennu—are each blessed, or cursed, with unique characteristics. Angie has an ethereal quality about her; Lizbeth is physically plain but athletic; Len is impetuous and strong-willed; Bennu takes off on flights of poetic fancy. These gifts count for little in their small town. But when the foursome is drawn into the parallel world of Welken, they become the keys to save that world from the jaws of Morphane, the soul-eater.

The veil between the worlds is thinning, and once again the misfits are called to defend their adopted homeland against seemingly insurmountable odds. They must rescue their entrapped friends with the very fabric of existence at stake. This incredible adventure forces the friends to face their own weaknesses, nightmares, and pain—or lose it all trying.


Dr. Gregory Spencer is professor of communication studies at Westmont College in Southern California. He specializes in rhetorical theory and criticism, religious rhetoric, and media ethics. Dr. Spencer's teaching has been noted for its creativity. According to one former student, " his words do not merely paint pictures, they provide eyes to see the pictures that have always been before us. In this sense, his classroom is no less than a portal into a transformed world." Guardian of the Veil is his second novel.


From and interview with Dr. Spencer:

Q. What genre does Guardian of the Veil fit into, and who is your target reading audience?

A. Guardian of the Veil is fantasy. I think of the book as reaching Young Adult and Adult readers, perhaps those who enjoyed Harry Potter but are looking for something a little more layered, more complex.

Q. Where did you birth the idea for this book? When? How did it come about?


A. As a sequel to The Welkening, Guardian found its “first birth” in the history of that book, from when I told stories to my three girls, mainly on vacation. These children’s tales, about a detective cat named Percival P. Perkins, and his basset hound sidekick, Bone Malone, morphed into a larger, richer tale about four high school friends who visit the land of Welken. In Guardian, these friends discover that the veil into Welken is thin, allowing them to return and help Piers find Bors. The idea came from my own observations about the fragility of life, about various “thin veils” we experience, such as between health and sickness, sanity and mental illness, dreams and waking, depression and happiness, good moral choices and bad ones.

Q. If your book was turned into a movie, who would play the main characters?

A. A tough question, since the main characters are in high school.

Q. Which character do you most relate to, and why?

A. As many authors would say, all characters come from some part of me—or, as my mentor said, “The deeper I go inside of me, the closer I get to you.” One human soul has more in common with all human souls than we often recognize. Even so, I am closest to Len and Lizbeth. Until mid-high school, I was short like Len. I would like to say I USED TO be impatient like him, but that malady is too much still with me. I am prone to self-pity, like Lizbeth, and my parents were alcoholics when I was an adolescent.

Q. What takeaway points do you hope the reader pulls from this book?

A. A revelation to me was how the multiple stories in the book came together around the theme of forgiveness. If I had to reduce the “takeaway point” to one line, I would say “Because the veils are thin (between health and sickness, good and bad choices, etc.), we ought to be ready to give grace, especially the grace of forgiveness.

Q. What book are you reading now?

A. Grace (Eventually) by Ann Lamott, Crime and Punishment by Feodor Dostoyevsky, What Really Matters by Arthur Kleinman, and Rich Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah
Burroughs.


Q. Do you pre-plan character development and then let them run with the story, or do you plot the story in advance?

A. A little bit of both. I get some ideas ahead of time, and have a sort of broad outline for certain sections—but mostly I invent as I go along, often surprising myself with connections made to earlier events. In Guardian, the key motivation in Welken is to “find Bors,” the missing friend of Piers. I had no idea where he was even after 300 pages. My wife kept saying, “You mean you STILL don’t know where Bors is?”

Q. How do you deal with your other obligations (family, church, etc.) when it’s crunch time near deadlines?

A. I published my first novel at age 51, probably because I couldn’t find a way to meet my other obligations and also write fiction. As a professor, I had “obligations” to work at other kinds of writing. When my girls were pretty much out of the house—and I had been promoted to full professor—I gave myself permission to pursue fiction. For the most part, I wrote Guardian in two summers.

Q. Do you have an organized office and set times to write, or do you find yourself writing at unusual times or places?

A. I do most of my writing in the morning. I work from about 8:00 to lunch or so, and rarely keep writing into the afternoon. I may edit in the afternoon, or do art work, but usually not first drafts. I do all of my first drafts in longhand on yellow pads. If I am not sitting on my porch with my cat by my side and my dog at my feet, I am some place where I have a view: at the beach or a park. I can’t imagine writing a first draft by staring at a screen.

Q. What else would you like your readers to know about you, or about the book?

A. Hmm. I like high quality dark chocolate. In large quantities. And gift certificates to local restaurants, like Piatti and Stella Mare. And Jeannine’s cakes are amazing, especially coconut.


I'll be letting you know how it reads as soon as I am finished!

Fall Into Reading 2007

Katrina at Callapidder Days is once again the hostess for a reading challenge. After having so much fun with the Spring Reading Thing, I knew I would be joining her and all the other readers this fall.

The reading challenge will begin September 23rd and run until December 23rd. You can check out all the details here in her Fall Into Reading 2007 post.

I'm making my list and checking it twice and leaving some room this time because I got a little exuberant when visiting other bloggers and came up with more books than I could possibly read. It's a problem I have.

Visit Katrina and share your reading list for this fall. Besides the fun of the reading challenge she is giving away more books again, oh yes, indeedy she is!!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Children's Book Monday

The Lighthouse Family Series by Cynthia Rylant
The Storm, The Whale, The Eagle, The Turtle, The Octopus

She brought us Henry and Mudge, she brought us Mr. Putter and Tabby, and I was delighted to find that Cynthia Rylant wrote this series, also—The Lighthouse Family.

The stories are a bit more advanced reading than Henry and Mudge and Mr. Putter and Tabby. They are perfect for read alouds or for readers second grade and above.

The tales begin with Pandora, a solitary cat that saves lives by keeping a lighthouse. Pandora lives with the quiet, loneliness and hard work of running a lighthouse for four years before her life is altered by her rescue of Seabold, a sailing dog. Used to doing everything alone she continues to run the lighthouse and nurse Seabold’s injuries. Seabold, a solitary creature himself, has every intention of returning to the sea when he is healed. But the important work of the lighthouse and the company of Pandora change his mind.

Then Seabold rescues three young mice, Whistler,Lila and Tiny. The unlikely animals bond together to form a furry family and the lighthouse is full of light and not just from the big lamp in the tower.

Read about the family’s other creature friends and how they extend themselves to meet the needs of others. Preston McDaniels’ illustrations are delightful and detailed, the gray blue of the sea the animals reside by. Rylant’s soft and rich language is calm, comfortable and engaging, leading to requests of “Just one more chapter, please, Mom!” Music to my ears.

Grains of Gratitude

I didn’t post as much as I thought I might last week. Life seemed to require a lot from me and while I tried to catch up on my bloggy reading and commenting I didn’t get to visit everyone I wanted to and I really didn’t post much. But it was again a week filled with wonderful things to be grateful for.

The boys went back to dancing. I try not to boast often but I am incredibly proud of my young gentlemen and their talents. They both began the dance season with some fantastic teachers and were excited to see their friends they hadn’t seen for a while. I was blessed to be able to sit in on both their first classes and if I had buttons on they would have been busting. I am grateful my boys have an opportunity to use some of the gifts God has given them.

New piano books and a local store that is helpful and friendly! What a concept. Both boys are moving up in their piano playing and I am as tickled with the new books as they are. We will be revisiting some old favorite melodies soon and beginning some new and more difficult ones. The boys take after their father musically and I am really grateful for that!

I was grateful for the help we had getting the boys registered for church classes. They are excited to make new friends and to draw nearer to the LORD by learning more. How exciting!

We are all grateful for the safety that we had in traveling during some incredible storms. The boys and I were amazed and awestruck at the power of God’s creation. I just wished we could have viewed it from inside a house instead of inside the van. I would rank that as one of the five strongest storms I have been witness to.

We made a return trip to visit my dad and sister sooner than I planned. But I am grateful we did. There was actually more of a peace in going back than there was being at home wondering how things were going. We accomplished quite a bit of work and I think it helped me deal with missing Mom. I am grateful for my husband who understands my absences right now. I am grateful for homeschooling that allows us to pick up the work and travel as needed.

One of my jobs was to begin sorting out the family photographs. They have been jumbled in boxes for a long time and I’ve began the work of identifying, sorting and scanning them. To sit and look at photos brought back so many memories. I found my grandfather’s naturalization papers—that was exciting and I’ve found many, many treasures. Anyone with tips and experience doing this, feel free to share!

Looking back with gratitude for last week, looking forward in anticipation to what the new week holds.

Visit Christine at Brady’s Bunch, the originator of Grains of Gratitude.

Please bear with me as I try to catch up on life in the "real lane" as well as life in the "blog lane."
My blogging and forum friends are just as important to me as the ones I see daily, but family & faith needs are coming first and I am just a little behind. If I haven't visited in a few days, know that you will likely see me visiting by the end of the week. Thanks again for every comment, e-mail, card and call. I've felt all the prayers and support and have surely needed them.