Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Book Review by Jordan

John Adams by David McCullough


Posted on Dec. 29, 2008

John Adams, a book by David McCullough, is a great book to read if you want to understand the truth about our Founding Fathers. When we think of the great men of the early days of America like Washington, Franklin, Jefferson and Adams, we tend to see them as blurry images and we take it for granted that they were the perfect politicians because they were the ones who created the near-perfect political system that we have today. John Adams shows three of the Founding Fathers, namely Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin, as they really were. McCullough tells the tale of Adams from birth to death and brings out the good points as well as the bad. Adams was a good politician and a moral man, but he had his share of problems. During his courting days, he struggled with jealousy and as a result, was refused at his first proposal of marriage. Later on, he married Abigail Quincy. During his life as a politician it was his job, along with Benjamin Franklin, to try to keep peace with France. Although he considered Franklin a genius, he quickly found to his annoyance that he was extremely fond of the pleasures that France had to offer, especially the French ladies. Franklin would openly flirt with women half his age, and in one case played chess with one of his older female admirers while she was in the bath. But any complaints Adams may have had never reached Franklin's ears. For the most part, the book acts as an exposé of the Adamses and Jefferson. In reading this book, you will discover that while in France, Abigail corresponded with a man named James Lovell from time to time, and his letters closely resemble those of an admirer. In one letter, Lovell tells her, as if to spark distrust, not to imagine Adams doing anything in his private hours in Paris other than attending museums. Surely Lovell's wife and children knew that he himself wasn't writing to another man's wife regularly, and enjoying the company of many women in Philadelphia in his own private hours. Also further on into the book, Jefferson gains a rather infamous reputation. He was a man who owned slaves, and thought black people to be inferior, but that (and the fact he was married) did not keep him from having a relationship with one of his black maids, Sally Hemmings, and having several children by her. The Founding Fathers were only human. As for Adams, he struggled with pride throughout his political career. He did not take advice well, and he easily held grudges that lasted for a long time, even against Jefferson, who was Adam's closest friend. Over all, the book serves to show our early politicians as they really were, making it easier to understand our present government. This is a very well-written book I recommend if you want to make the early statesmen more lifelike.


Numbering Our Days

Every year during this season like many others the world over, I reflect on the past year. What can I do better this year? What do I need to work on with the children?
What do we need to work on as a family? There are so many areas that need improvement and it can be very discouraging when I begin to make a mental list of them. There have been areas of growth, though, and not just in family size. We are so thankful for our surprise baby, Caedmon, who has brought much joy. The children have grown in stature as evidenced by the "high-waters" pants that they occasionally pull out and the monthly trips for new shoes. They are also growing in wisdom although some days, being children, they can still be very foolish. But so can their mother.

Psalm 90:12 "So teach us to number our days, that we may gain hearts of wisdom." This verse always comes to mind as I clean out from the old year and plan and organize for the new year. I want every day to count...not just waste in fruitless activity, but to really COUNT for God's glory. Whether it be cooking or cleaning, teaching or playing, everything we do needs to be for His glory and as if we were doing it for Him. My prayer for my family and yours is that we will number our days, planning things that will bring glory to God--whatever it is that our hands find to do so that we will gain those hearts of wisdom.

Away in a Manger

Jackson's favorite Christmas carol this year was "Away in a Manger". He wanted to sing it every night during the Advent season. When Kaelan was younger her favorite was "Go Tell It on the Mountain." We sing Christmas carols around the Advent wreath every night before Advent devotionals. Usually it is on the dining room table, but here, in the floor of the den, campfire style.

Away in a manger,
no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus
Laid down his sweet head;
The stars in the sky
looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus,
asleep on the hay.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Please Pray for Baby Stellan

Please pray for Baby Stellan. He is in the ICU of some hospital in the snowy north. He has a bad case of RSV. Baby Stellan is a miracle baby (aren't they all?) who was diagnosed with lots of heart problems in utero. He appears to have none of those conditions now at about 8 weeks old. Check out his mom's blog at the link above. You will be blessed by this young mother of 4 children under the age of 4.


We were out of town for several days before Christmas and didn't do laundry. When we came home this was the pile of laundry waiting to be washed. When sorted and divided it was over 20 loads. For four days. For eight people. I have finally caught up!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Vision Forum Year-End Sale

Many of you know how much our family has enjoyed the many toys, books, dvds, and cds from Vision Forum. In fact, our Christmas presents this year were mainly from VF --the Jubilee doll, bugle, contintental soldiers drum, dagger, Confederate sword, Princess Adelina, Ballentyne and Henty were among the gifts under our tree. These products encourage imaginative play, give hours of great reading and encourage us in our family life. I am now able to link you straight to Vision Forum's year-end sale with the link above. Check out their great sale prices to start your shopping for next year's birthday and Christmas gifts.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Getting Older/Nursing Mother's Disease Part 3!!

Saturday morning we were all loading up to go to my mom's for a few days. When I say "all" I mean me, Lauren, her son-Chase, Devin, Jordan, Aaron, Kaelan, Jackson and Caedmon. If you lost track, that is nine people (Jeff and James both had to work ---or maybe they just didn't want to spend 4 hours riding with all of us). Loading up is quite challenging. I had packed, the children had packed and everything was gathered on the porch or by the front door.

Everything was loaded and we were off...we even managed just one stop for gas, lunch and nursing. We arrived earlier than expected and began unloading. I wanted to get the ice chest unloaded quickly so we could get the lasagnes in the oven before everyone else arrived. Lo and behold the ice chest was not on the truck!! Apparently it had been left behind on the porch. I was almost in tears!! Not only was the lasagne in there, but so were dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls and a variety of sweet treats! UGH!

It's a good thing Jeff didn't come with us or ALL my hard work would have been lost. Jeff put everything in the freezer for me. So, tonight, for our Christmas Eve dinner, we will have....lasagne. And the cinnamon rolls will be great on Christmas morning!

Here are the recipes for the lasagne and cinnamon rolls. Enjoy!

LASAGNE--this recipe has been in my family for about 35 years...we love it.

1 lb. ground chuck 1 cup chopped onion
2 large gloves garlic, minced 2 tsp. oregano, crushed
2 cans tomato soup ½ cup water
2 tsp vinegar ½ lb lasagne noodles (cooked & drained)
1 pint cottage cheese ½ lb mozzarella cheese, grated
grated Parmesan cheese

In saucepan, brown meat, cook onion, garlic, oregano. Add soup, water and vinegar. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring frequently. In baking dish, arrange 3 alternate layers of noodles, cottage cheese, meat sauce, mozzarella. Top with Parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes. I usually double or triple as it freezes well.


1 cup lukewarm water
1 tbs. active dry yeast
2 tsp. sugar
1 tbs. oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I generally mix in whole wheat as well).

I mix all in my Bosch food processor and then turn out on a floured countertop. Let rise up to one hour. Punch down and then roll into a long strip about 6 inches wide. Spread with melted butter and then brown sugar. Add a generous sprinkling of cinnamon over the whole thing. Roll up into a tube and then slice with a knife. If you are very picky you can get a section of thread or dental floss, put under the roll, and with a criss cross action, make very nice slices. Put cinnamon rolls in greased baking dish. Let rise about 30 minutes, then bake at 350 until lightly browned. We top with cream cheese icing....One brick of softened cream cheese mixed with powdered sugar...or you can buy cream cheese icing from the store. If freezing, under cook and do not put the icing on. This recipe usually makes 2 9 by 12 pans and can be doubled to make even more. They freeze well.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Getting Old part two

I left out something kind of funny/kind of rude/kind of "What?" that happened to Jeff and me the other day.

Jeff and I were together with Caedmon when someone who knows we are "older" new parents (OKAY!! We are at the point that is obvious that we are OLDER new parents, but we still feel young....well, every once in a while!) made a statement that really baffled and bemused us. A single, childless woman my age who knows how old Jeff and I are, came up to us and talked for a little while and then said before departing, "Let me just look at ya'll for a minute. I want to see what OLDER new parents look like. I still have hope that I will marry and have a baby someday."

Don't know whether we should be offended or just laugh it off! (OK, we have seven children...we are past being offended about how many children or how old we are when we have/had said children.)

p.s. I am finished Christmas shopping as of early this afternoon!! Hip! Hip! Hooray! Now I just need to finish the wrapping and the cleaning and the cooking and the.....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Movie Review

Last night we went to a preview of The Tale of Despereaux which comes out in your local theater this Friday. I am not a fan of most children's movies that are popular...too much bathroom humor, etc that I don't want my children to become familiar with. This movie didn't have any of that and there was no use of the Lord's name in vain. However, there were some dark images... some of the characters looked downright scary and we really didn't understand some of the storyline. My 12 and 9 year olds thought the movie was ok, but my 4 year old has repeatedly told me that he didn't like it. He did like going to our favorite Mexican restaurant after the movie with some of our favorite people, though.

Am I Getting Old, Do I Have Nursing Mother's Disease or Both?

I don't know if it's just that I'm getting old ( I am 44!) or if I just have Nursing Mother's Disease....those of you who have ever been a nursing mother know what I am talking about...those of you who haven't are probably just grossed out by the thought! Lately, I have had a few times of confusion or just plain out stupidity.

A week before Thanksgiving I inventoried my freezers and made a detailed list of all my prepared foods and meats ready to cook. My plan was to get back in the habit of weekly menu planning, but my list disappeared after Thanksgiving and I don't have time (and just don't want to make the time) to re-inventory. So, no weekly menu, but thankfully, I can still pull out prepared foods each morning to suit my mood for the evening meal.

The other day I was in my Research Room deeply submerged in research (this actually means I was soaking in my tub!) when my youngest daughter discreetly passed the phone to me as her father needed to speak to me. We were having trouble hearing each other and he asked if I had put it on speaker phone. I said, "Let me check." After checking I asked him if he could hear me now and he said, "Yes, that's much better. What happened?" I had been holding the phone upside down!!

Then I called my mom to check if she had worked on a little Christmas surprise that I had asked her to do. When I had asked her to do it she was just getting out of some outpatient surgery and was very groggy, so I didn't think she remembered. She didn't, but one of the recepients of the surprise was in the room with me and I couldn't reveal too much. I asked the recepient of the surprise to leave the room while I continued talking with my mom. Said recepient had been gone for several minutes and I had continued talking when my mom asked, "What did you want me to do?" I said, "What are you talking about?" I had forgotten what I called her for...even after asking the recepient to leave the room.

I think maybe it's a combination of both.....I'm just an old nursing mom!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas is coming!

Yesterday during the morning rain, I finished wrapping all the presents and put them under the tree. I still have one order that hasn't been delivered (eagerly awaiting the big brown truck's arrival soon) and have a few small items to purchase. We are downsizing a little this year, not necessarily because of the economy, but because Jeff splurged on some of the children's birthday presents this year.

Most of our Christmas goody baking is done- thanks to Devin's all day session in the kitchen last Saturday. We still have a few goodies to make, but I think Kaelan and I will try to do those things. I will also make and freeze several dishes to take to my mom's for our early Christmas down there and for our own Christmas dinner here. The turkey is in the freezer (actually there are 8 turkeys in the freezer purchased after Thanksgiving at 29 cents a pound!) and things shouldn't be too hectic for the rest of the season. We are enjoying some time off from formal study and I am finishing up plans for next semester and clearing out some things in the school room.

Yesterday Jeff took the afternoon off. He napped with the two little boys and spent some time with the others hiking down to see the swollen creek and playing a few games of Clue. Here are some pictures of my youngest children--Kaelan, Jackson and little brother Caedmon.

Caedmon is two months old!

Caedmon was two months old on the 6th and had his checkup this week. He weighed in at a whopping 16 pounds 5 ounces and was 24 1/2 inches long! He was off the chart with his weight and at the very top for height. He'll slim down in the next year....I have 6 others to prove it!! We grow them big around here!! I have had to empty everything from his drawers that is under 6 months....which was half of the contents. Most he never wore. Oh, well. We have another baby boy arriving in March that can wear them. (No, I am not pregnant!! Lauren is!)

Everyone is enjoying Caedmon. He is a very happy baby with lots of smiles and even laughs. He also loves to talk to funny to see the faces he makes. Lauren always wants to change his diaper when she is here. She says it's like putting a diaper on a ham. Here are a couple of pics of his chubbiness.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Check my school work, please!

Jackson is my four year old sixth child and ALL BOY!! Having two older brothers who love to study (read) about history somehow trickles down to Jackson in the forms of weapons. He loves weapons-- guns, rifles, knives, and especially swords (my dear brother Chance is bringing Jackson and Caedmon their first REAL swords from Toledo, Spain for Christmas!). Jackson is always asking, "Daddy, when I get older can I please have a knife?"

He is very wiggly and I quickly realized that preschool lessons with him this past year were not worth the time and energy and tears...his and mine, so they didn't happen.

But this child will also sit and look at books all by himself for long periods of time...okay, maybe 10 minutes or so, but that is long for him. ; ) I thought he was just studying the pictures, but apparently he was also looking at the words....Lately he has been found with notepad and pen in hand writing actual letters. He always brings the pad to me so I can "check his school work"! Now that he is actually interested and will be officially old enough for --gasp!--kindergarten next fall, I will attempt again to do a few minutes of formal activity with him in January. If it works out great....if not, well there's always another day! I have listed his proposed course of study in our "What We Are Studying" section to the lower left of my blog. I am looking forward to our new resource Language Lessons for Little Ones by Sandi Queen. This will require some discussion between us and I hope to really be able to work with him during this time on some of his letter sounds that he still has trouble pronouncing. We have never had a child with speech problems, so I am quite in the dark here. If any of you have dealt with this I would love some advice on when to seek outside help, etc.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Another Cranberry Recipe

When I was growing up my mom joined the Parent's Magazine Book Club and we received a couple of hardback books in the mail every month or so. One of my favorites was Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin. I have seen several Cranberry (name your holiday) books in the last few years, but as Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays....this book is my favorite. This is the recipe from the back cover of the book. I hope to spend some time in the kitchen making it this afternoon.

Grandmother's Famous Cranberry Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 cup butter
1 egg, beaten
1 t. grated orange peel
3/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cup light raisins
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add egg, orange peel and orange juice all at once; stir until mixture is evenly moist. Fold in raisins and cranberries.
Spoon into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan to cool on a wire rack.

You may substitute cranberries for the raisins to have an all cranberry bread.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Traditional Recipe

The only experience I had in my growing up years with cranberries was the canned cranberry sauce that we had every holiday with our turkey and dressing. A few years ago my mother-in-law began making this cranberry casserole. We really enjoy it and I think you will, too! BTW, a side note for those of you doing the KONOS states and regions unit beginning in January---you will need cranberries as you study the New England states in week 2. Sam's has a big bag that you can get to make this recipe and then freeze to use for the recipes in your study. Enjoy!

Cranberry Casserole

1 c. peeled raw apples, chopped
3/4 c. white sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. uncooked oatmeal
2 c. fresh cranberries
1 stick butter, melted
3/4 c. chopped pecans (I leave these out due to allergies)

Butter a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Put a layer of apples, half of each sugar, half of oatmeal and half of nuts. Repeat layers. Pour melted butter over all and bake in 350 degree oven for 45-40 minutes. Serves 8-10 people.

This also freezes well. I will be making two pans this week.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Our family photo on Thanksgiving Day. We rarely take the time to get everyone in the picture....and still missed Lauren and her family! They arrived a little later...when it was too dark to take more outdoor pictures.

For Lauren's first Christmas my mom decided to start a collection of Christmas ornaments for her. As the grandchildren kept coming, she kept up the tradition. She now has twelve grandchildren! Jeff and I have also added to the children's collections each year. The older children have at least one box full of ornaments. When Lauren and James got married three years ago, we gave Lauren her box of ornaments. Our tree is still very full!! Our plan is that all of the children will take their ornaments with them when they marry.

We always save decorating the tree for Sunday afternoon after Thanksgiving. That way I can assure that we will have on nice clothes!! We try to get ornaments that reflect each child's interest for that year. Jordan has been working on a pirate treasure story on his blog at, so his ornament is a treasure chest. Devin is into hats and scarves this fall (accessorizing, she says) and of course shopping, so her ornament is a young lady garbed in hat and scarf with an armload of gifts.

Kaelan has actually gone ornament shopping with me the last two years and has chosen her own ornaments. Both have been beautiful birds.

Caedmon needed a little help hanging his ornament. It is the typical first Christmas ornament which will include a small picture of him.. Right now he is only interested in sleeping, nursing and talking to his mom.

Jackson loves to help Jeff work around the house and follows any "worker men" that are around. His ornament is a handyman's shop with a hammer hanging from the sign. One day when "working" with Jeff on the barn, he spent a very long time hammering nails into a piece of scrap wood. He loved it.

Aaron still likes to ride our pony "Little Lady", so his ornament has a horse riding theme.

Over the River, Shopping Frenzy and Decking the Halls...Fa La La La La

Our long Thanksgiving weekend has been a blur! Our original plans had been to go "Over the River and Through the Woods" to Grandmother's house, but an early phone call on Thursday morning changed our plans. Grandmother wasn't feeling well...Hope you are better now! The children were disappointed and quickly wanted to know what we were going to do! I turned over for a little more sleep, but plans were formulating in my sleepy brain.

I had dressing and pies in the freezer and various ingredients for a traditional Thanksgiving feast on hand, but the turkeys in my freezer would not thaw in time for a dinner on Thursday. Thankfully, Jeff was willing to head out to Kroger for a fresh turkey and ham. While Devin and I worked in the kitchen, Jeff took Jordan, Aaron, Kaelan and Jackson out behind the barn for some shooting practice. Our dinner was complete and we had our fill and were out the door for a family photo shoot before 4:00. Just as it was getting too dark to take more pictures, Lauren and Chase arrived. ( I think Lauren planned it that way!! Her brother-in-law had taken lots of pictures of them earlier in the day...I think I will get a CD of those.)

My mom and her husband arrived later in the evening and we had sandwiches and more pie and fudge! Some of us went to bed early in order to take advantage of Black Friday sales. Lauren, Devin, Caedmon and I left home at 4 a.m. and returned around 10:30. My mom, Kaelan, Lauren, Caedmon and I were back out by noon and returned with a Chinese dinner just after 5. A good break from the turkey and ham!!

My extended family always plays games when we are together. However, I was so tired I went to bed early with Caedmon while some of the others played Rummikub....usually my brother wins, but he wasn't able to come home for Thanksgiving.. This time Jordan won....We may have a new game champion around here.

Saturday afternoon and most of Sunday was spent in decorating. By Sunday evening things were pretty much in order and we were able to sit down to a good dinner and then have our Advent/Jesse Tree devotions.

We have been celebrating Advent for many years. We purchased our Advent wreath at a roadside shop/bakery that was part of John Michael Talbot's monastery in the Ozarks. This has made our Christmas season much more Christ-centered as we reflect on the coming of Jesus every night during our devotions. A few years ago we also added the Jesse tree. We have a 3 foot Christmas tree with lights and small manger scene ornaments. Every day in December we have a devotional and time of singing that tells of Jesus beginning in the Old Testament. We hang an ornament with a picture symbolizing each devotion. The first reading is about the Creation, so the ornament has a picture of the earth.

Resources that we use each year are Jotham's Journey or Bartholomew's Passage by Arnold Ytreeide. These are Advent storybooks that have devotionals at the end of each day's reading. The Advent Jesse Tree by Dean Meador Lambert is used for our Jesse Tree. You can find Jesse tree ornaments and devotionals on the internet. It's not too late if you want to incorporate them in your Christmas traditions.

What are some of your family's favorite Christmas traditions? Leave a comment to let me know!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Can Do It by Myself!

Today Jackson decided to get dressed by himself....not that unusual except that he departed from his usual choice of a slip-on shirt for a button-up. He managed to get it done "all by myself" and this was the result. We didn't leave home today so I let him stay that way until bathtime.

Kaelan also decided to be independent today and bake a cake all by herself (with a little help from Jackson.) She is becoming quite handy in the kitchen.

Jackson takes a turn stirring. After Kaelan put the batter in the pans, Jackson licked the bowl clean! He declared it very delicious!!

Clean up time!! If you make a mess, you clean it up!

It looked great and tasted even better.....Now it's all gone!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

ThanksgIving Funny

While our focus at Thanksgiving shouldn't be on the meal, but on our blessings, I thought this was funny enough to pass on to others. I have to admit that I am looking forward to a turkey sandwich!!

Twas the night of Thanksgiving
But I just couldn't sleep,
I tried counting backwards
I tried counting sheep ...
The leftovers beckoned
The dark meat and white,
But I fought the temptation
With all of my might ...
Tossing and turning with anticipation
The thought of a snack became infatuation
So, I raced to the kitchen, flung open the door
And gazed at the fridge, full of goodies galore
Gobbled up turkey and buttered potatoes
Pickles and carrots, beans and tomatoes
I felt myself swelling so plump and so round
'Til all of a sudden, I rose off the ground!
I crashed through the ceiling, Floating into the sky
With a mouthful of pudding, And a handful of pie
But I managed to yell as I soared past the trees
Happy eating to all! Pass the cranberries, Please!
May your stuffing be tasty, May your turkey be plump
May your potatoes 'n Gravy, Have nary a lump
May your yams be delicious, May your pies take the prize
May your thanksgiving dinner stay off of your thighs!
May your Thanksgiving Be Blessed!

Menu Monday

Monday--breakfast--blueberry muffins and cereal
lunch--red beans and rice with sausage, cornbread
dinner--spaghetti, salad and cheesy breadsticks
Tuesday--breakfast--quiche, bacon and muffins
lunch--leftovers or sandwiches
dinner--chicken chimichangas, soft tacos, refried beans, Mexican rice
Wednesday--breakfast--make-your-own waffles
dinner--stirfry chicken and veggies, rice, egg drop soup
Thursday--breakfast--toast and cereal
Thanksgiving dinner at Grandmother's house
dinner--taco soup, chicken tortilla soup and salad
Friday--breakfast--make-your-own waffles, quiche, and fruit
lunch--sandwiches, chips and fruit
dinner--roasted pork loin with root veggies, green beans
Saturday--breakfast--biscuits, bacon, sausage, eggs and grits
lunch ----raw fruits and veggies, hummus and homemade flatbreads
dinner---turkey breast, dressing, squash casserole, sweet potatoes and broccoli
Sunday---breakfast--cinnamon rolls
dinner--refrigerator cleanout

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Surprise Visitor

Several of the children have been sick with a stomach virus the last few days, so we stayed home from church today. Aaron was walking to the road to get the paper when he noticed a small buck stuck in the fence on the side of our property. Yesterday we noticed something white out there, but I assumed it was a shopping bag that had blown against the fence.

Aaron quietly got Jeff and Jordan. He didn't want Jackson and Kaelan running out and frightening the deer any more than he was. They bundled up and tried to get the deer untangled from the fence. After several minutes, they were successful but the deer was hurt. Its leg had been cut down to the bone and appeared to be broken. Jordan carried the deer up to the house and everyone was able to get a close-up look.

The girls thought Jeff should try to bandage the leg or call the vet. Jackson thought, "Yeah!! I have a pet!" Jeff was thinking he would have to shoot it to put it out of its misery. Finally, they took it out to the barn to see how it would do. Later, the deer left, hobbling on 3 legs. Who knows how it will survive.

My children are getting alot of experience taking care of sick or injured animals lately. Our "old gray mare" has some sort of cyst that looks horrible and the pony has to have her ears doctored daily. The vet has been out here looking them both over and giving Jeff directions as to their care. I don't think we are meant to have animals. After the deer left, Kaelan told her daddy that the deer would probably have tasted good salted and smoked. She is all heart!!

How Caedmon Got His Name

How do parents choose a name for their new baby? Do you choose something trendy, Biblical, a family name or just a plain old-fashioned name? What is the meaning of the name? For us the naming of a child takes a lot of thought --especially when you have many children. I am very particular about names...Jeff may suggest a name and I rule it out because 1. I have a cousin with that name (I have many cousins) or 2. I knew someone with that name and didn't like them. Not good reasons, I know, but good enough for me. The meaning of the name is also very important to us.

Our other children's names are:

Lauren Hollingsworth--Lauren means victorious and Hollingsworth was my mamaw's maiden name

Devin Elise--Devin means poet and Elise is a form of Elizabeth which means consecrated by God...put them together and you have a poet consecrated by God (she did write some poetry in her elementary years!)

Andrew Jordan--Andrew was Jeff's Big Daddy's name; it means manly and Jordan means descendent. (I liked the name Jordan---the meaning didn't matter as much)

Aaron Jeffrey--Aaron means bringer of light and Jeffrey (God's peace) for his daddy

Kaelan Elizabeth--Kaelan is a combination of the other girls'--Kaelan means victorious and Elizabeth means consecrated by God

Thomas Jonathan Jackson--We had been doing a long study on the War Between the States and Devin had done a lot of study on Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson....He was a great military leader, husband and Christian man worthy of emulating. So, we named our 6th child for this great American hero. Jackson was also Jeff's grandfather's middle name.

Now we come to Caedmon's name! If you notice, there is a pattern to my children's names: 2 syllables all ending in "n". Do you know you can search online for names to fit that pattern? That is what I did. I came across the name Caedmon doing an online search, but it stuck with me because we had come across a Caedmon in our history reading of the middle ages. I liked it, but what about Jeff and what about those people who thought we were saying "caveman"? We liked the meaning of the name and the Caedmon we read about in our studies was really after several weeks we finally commited to the name Caedmon Alexander for our seventh child. Alexander was one of my great-grandfather's names. The two names together mean "wise warrior defending men".

If that were not enough for a young man to live up to, how about reading the short version of the historical Caedmon (I know, this is already a long post, but these are my children!!)

I found this book about Caedmon on Greenleaf Press's website before Caedmon was born. The first time I read the book--Caedmon's Song by Ruth Ashby-- I cried. This is the story of Caedmon from the 7th century taken from the book's flyleaf.

"Long ago, when hardly anyone knew how to read or write, people recited stories by heart. They sat around the hearth at night, telling of heroes and monsters, great battles fought, and fortunes made and lost. On feast days, they passed the harp around the room so that everyone could sing a poem. But when the harp reached Caedmon, his thoughts dried up. The words died on his tongue. He opened his mouth, and nothing at all came out. It was embarrassing. No wonder he hated poetry.

A quiet man who loved tending his cows, Caedmon couldn't recite poetry because he thought he had no stories to tell. Then after one especially upsetting experience, Caedmon stormed home, fell asleep in the barn, and began to dream. That night, everything changed for Caedmon...

Caedmon dreamed and in his dream a young man came to him and told him to sing him a song. Caedmon replied that he had nothing to sing about. The man told him to sing about what he knew. So Caedmon thought about what he knew...the warm breath of the cows on a frosty morning, cool green dawns and fiery red sunsets, meadows sparkling the dew and hawks circling the sky....he thought about the stars. And he opened his mouth and sang:

Praise we now the Keeper of heaven's kingdom,
The mind of the mighty Maker,
The Glorious Father who made
The world and all its wonders;
How first he created the roof of heaven
For us, the children of men;
Then the holy Creator, the eternal Lord,
Gave the earth to people,
This middle earth to be our home."

Caedmon was now a poet. He told stories and sang of the creation of the world, of Noah and the flood, of Moses and the Promised Land.. He sang about David and he sang of Jesus. Caedmon was soon known throughout the land. Children memorized his hymn of praise and when the people gathered on feast days they no longer sang of bloody battles and monsters. They sang Caedmon's songs and poems instead.

That Caedmon changed his world in the seventh century! My prayer is that my precious baby Caedmon will one day change his world in the twenty-first century!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What's in a Name?

Last night we were trying to think of a clever title for this new blog. I was leaning toward alliteration like many of you have.... so, Chamblee Shenanigans was my choice until I looked up shenanigan in the dictionary and realized that it had more meanings than I realized...I was thinking it was another word for activity, but it means treacherous or deceitful activity....not what we have going on here! Jeff was leaning toward a more religious theme...Chamblee Shoots, as in olive shoots around our table (of which we have many....and our shoots are having shoots!), but it wasn't that obvious and there are only so many words with the "sh" sound, so that idea died a natural death.

Trying to think of what goes on here on a daily basis, I came up with Busy Hands, Busy Minds. We are all busy using our hands all day and hopefully our minds as well. The title also reminds me of a Michael Card song from his CD of lullabies called Come to the Cradle. We have had Card's lullaby CD's for over 16 years--the other title is Sleep Sound in Jesus. Precious music. Here are the words to Busy Hands, Busy Feet.

Busy hands
Busy feet
Busy mind
Go to sleep
Now let go
Of your fight
Say hello
To the night

Close your eyes
Go to bed
Give it up
Sleepy head
Teary eyes
Shaky chin
It's a fight
You can't win

Busy hands
Busy feet
Busy mind
Go to sleep
Now let go
Of your fight
Say hello
To the night

Don't you worry
Don't you fret
In your sleep
You'll forget
That the work
Of the day
Is the business
Of play

Jumping In

Peer pressure has pushed me to try blogging. I have been intrigued and addicted to several friends' blogs for the last few months and have even been following blogs of people I don't even know! I am hoping to post about our life as a busy homeschooling family--keeping friends and family up-to-date on our studies, projects and life in general. This will definitely be a learning adventure....I am not one to sit down at the computer and delve into the vast oceans of resources available.. I like to stick with what I know which is basically email and word perfect. Sad, I know, but I think my brain can only handle so much info and then it shuts down. Hopefully, Devin and Jordan can walk me through some of the intricacies of this world. I feel like I am jumping into the vast unknown.
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