Monday, November 29, 2004

Great Modern Novels

I should say up front that if I could get away with calling Jane Austen a modern novelist (as opposed to ancient...maybe) I would certainly choose Pride and Prejudice as the novel I would never tire of reading.

As an English major, I was forced to read many "modern" novels that conflicted with my religious beliefs, morals, and manners. The result was that I developed an aversion for reading novels that many consider great literature.

Novels that I read more than once are driven by characters who have a moral compass, characters who are loyal to faith and family, and characters who are likeable.

Here's what I enjoy reading:

Ann B. Ross - Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind series

With razor-sharp wit and perfect "Steel Magnolia" poise, Miss Julia speaks her mind indeed-about a robbery, a kidnapping, and the other disgraceful events precipitated by her husband's death. Fast-paced and charming, with a sure sense of comic drama, a cast of crazy characters, and a strong Southern cadence, Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind will delight readers from first page to last. ( description)

Jan Karon - At Home in Mitford series

Set in the charming village of Mitford, this book will delight listeners as it draws them into the life of Father Tim, an Episcopal rector who finds himself running on empty and longing for change. His bachelor existence is changed and enriched by a lovable cast of characters, including a stray dog, a lonely boy, and a comely neighbor. ( description)

Phillip Gulley - Home to Harmony series

Thousands of readers have fallen in love with acclaimed Quaker writer Philip Gulley's Home to Harmony, a charming novel of a small town with a kindly spirit whose endearing and eccentric residents are like old friends. In this new edition with a bonus chapter from its sequel, Just Shy of Harmony, readers will ponder the mysteries and miracles that make Harmony a place worth visiting again and again. ( description)

UPDATE: Sistersophist is beginning a thread about great children's books.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Surviving Thanksgiving

We have just returned from my mother's house where we celebrated a lovely Thanksgiving holiday with Sistersophist and family. There are seven children in our family, but only the Sister and I were able to make it home with families this year. As we have aged, grown, and scattered, it has become increasingly difficult to get everyone home for the holiday.

Nonetheless, my mom cooked as if the usual mob would be descending. The 21lb. turkey finally finished cooking at around 3:00 (as Daddypundit accurately predicted.) The casseroles took an additional hour to had been up at 4:30 making the traditional rolls. We were finally seated around 4:00 for our Thanksgiving "lunch." I should note that the Sister and I each made a Jello-salad...I think our age is showing:)

All said, however, the day was a major family arguments, no calls to the police department, no one got shot...hate to stereotype Southerners, but that's who we are. The only crime committed this year was that of Sistersophist's dog, Daisy, who helped herself to the remains of the German chocolate cake. I was glad I had gotten my piece first.

See this for a family who didn't fare so well.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Re-Writing Thanksgiving History

I read today on Michelle Malkin's blog about how students across Maryland are taught about the Thanksgiving holiday with a prohibition against thanking God.

"We teach about Thanksgiving from a purely historical perspective, not from a religious perspective," said Charles Ridgell, St. Mary's County Public Schools curriculum and instruction director.

If this is true, how do the educators in Maryland explain the Pilgrim's decision to leave England...a three-hour-tour gone awry like Gilligan and company?

How do they explain Bradford's original Thanksgiving proclamation, Maryland's own day of Thanksgiving in 1634 (a mass held in St. Mary's County), George Washington's declaration of Thanksgiving in 1789, and Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving proclamation of 1863?

Lincoln said in his proclamation,

"No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People."

By excluding God from their Thanksgiving lesson plans, educators aren't just being politically correct, they're rewriting history.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

President Bush--Secret Service Scuffle

Check out The Daily Recyler to see the footage of President Bush reaching into a scuffle to retrieve his bodyguard.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Group Seeks to Recall Schoolboard

Remember the post last week about the Montgomery County MD school board...condoms and cucumbers? Well it seems that a group of citizens has decided that they won't take this lying down (minds out of the gutter, folks).

The group has decided to begin discussing the possible recall of the board. I would recommend that you read their message board. Parents, grandparents, teachers, and concerned citizens are fired up and they're ready to do something.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

Thursday, November 11, 2004

O.K. to Bash Christians?

It appears that tolerance is available to just about everyone except people of faith.

We can speak of tolerating the viewpoint of witches, while a member of the EU is asked to step down because he thinks homosexuality is a sin.

Sistersophist has an interesting post on the Born-Again Bashing that has followed the high turnout of evangelical voters.

She says of one pundit's comments on Christian voters, "His obvious derision made me think, 'This man would never have referred to the African-American vote, or the Jewish vote, or even the Communist vote in that disparaging way.' No, but Born Agains are fair game, perhaps the last group that it's acceptable to bash."

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Why We Homeschool

LaShawn Barber has written a post on an unfortunate curriculum decision made by the Montgomery County, MD school system. Over the objections of parents, the adopted curriculum includes films which show condoms being placed on cucumbers. The board is discussing adding another film in which students would learn the wonders of food-flavored condoms.

The story goes on to say that parents objected to the apparent endorsement of homosexuality in the program. One parent had to immediately defend her deeply held religious beliefs against what she knew would be an attack on her as a homophobe. (Apparently any worldview is acceptable as long as it is not based on one's faith.)

So...why do we homeschool? One of the primary reasons is based on this issue of worldview. We have two children who are avid readers, eager students, and curious learners. We feel that everything they learn should be viewed through the prism of God's Word.

A friend recently wanted to review the family-life education material to be taught in her daughter's elementary school. She was told that the material would be available for a two-hour period on a Tuesday evening. Unable to attend that meeting due to prior commitments, my friend called the school board office to find an alternate time to view the material. She was told that it would only be available during the advertised time frame.

So ultimately the question is "Do parents have any say-so over the ideals that are being promoted to their children?" Our answer--homeschoolers do.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Thomas, the Next Chief Justice?

Just yesterday we were discussing the plan for succession for Chief Justice Rehnquist departure which seems imminent. (We have some unusual kitchen-table conversations.) Daddypundit and I were discussing the options...Scalia? O'Connor? it seemed obvious to us that Thomas was the most natural choice for the post.

President Bush will have as his legacy...the first African-American Secretary of State, Secretary of Education, and National Security Advisor. Thomas' appointment as Chief Justice would be the fourth major historical appointment for a President who was called "the most anti-civil rights president in 50 years," by Jesse Jackson.

More than race, however, the President has made these choices based on the caliber of the individuals it should be. Powell, Paige, and Rice were all named to their positions because of the President's commitment to excellence,"What my cabinet shows is that I am not afraid to surround myself with strong and competent people...a good executive is one that understands how to recruit people and how to delegate authority and responsibility."

Earlier this year, The Washington Times had an article called "Thomas Eyed For Chief Justice" in which Thomas says that "he isn't interested" in the post, "but he could find it hard to turn down an opportunity to be the first black man to lead the Supreme Court."

An article written last month by author Ken Foskett ends with this about Thomas, "His message to Americans of all colors, I believe, is that you can be whatever you want to be if you ignore society’s expectations and have the strength to follow your own."

Thomas would be an excellent choice for the post. A strict constructionist, Thomas would be an antidote to the brand of judicial activism that has run amok in this country.

The "Healing" Pot Pie

Now that the election is over and we're all focused on healing, I thought I would share this easy pot pie recipe. A friend makes this to take to the sick as well as to funerals. It's real comfort food. Hope you enjoy!

2 Refrigerated Pie Crusts
1 can Veg-All drained
1 can cream of potato soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
10 oz. cooked chicken or turkey
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/2 c. milk

Line pie plate with one crust. Combine other ingredients. Fill pie shell and top with second crust. Crimp edges together. Cut slits in top crust to vent.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Talk is Cheap

I heard Harold Ford, Jr. (Rep. D-TN) on FoxNews this morning. He was discussing what the Democrats could do to better reach the electorate.

I've searched for a transcript, but can't find one. To the best of my recollection, he said that the Left needed to start talking about their faith and how their faith guides them. I wish I could quote him, because the impression I got was that he was saying that faith is in vogue; therefore, lawmakers from the Left needed to talk about their faith more. I thought it sounded like they were going to try on faith as if it were low-rise jeans, because that was the current style.

Voters are looking for substance. We don't want to hear legislators talk about their faith. We want to see them vote their faith. The talk ain't diddly without the walk.

Has Terry McAuliffe become the DNC's Norma Desmond?

"I am big. It's the pictures that got small." Posted by Hello
Terry McAuliffe said this today "This party is stronger than its ever been. We're in the best financial shape," he says. "We now have, unlike four years ago, millions and millions of new supporters of this party."
Norma Desmond refused to see that she was washed up as an actress. It appears that Terry McAuliffe is living in the same kind of confusion. You can almost hear him say, "Alright, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close up."

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

It's Time for More Sense than Sensibility

Miss Dashwood Reflects on the Election Posted by Hello

Elinor Dashwood over at Mommentary says this:

This brings up a thing I've been thinking about for a while. I've been coming to the conclusion that it's not only important to defeat pro-abortion candidates at the polls. It's also necessary to refuse to play along with the Left's implicit claim that they're quite respectable citizens. It isn't respectable to want it to be legal to tear babies apart.

The elder Miss Dashwood makes a fine point here. It is not at all respectable to want a procedure like partial-birth abortion to be legal. It is not at all respectable to vote for candidates who defend such a procedure....badly done, badly done.

What amazes me is that our district voted overwhelmingly for President Bush with 59% of the vote and the same district elected ultra-liberal Rick Boucher with 59% of the vote. I realize this is somewhat redundant with an earlier post, but I am all astonishment that people could have voted for two men who are polar opposites on important issues like abortion and security. Boucher's record on abortion is disasterous for our nation.

I can only assume that the people of this district continue to vote for Boucher out of habit or possibly that they are ignorant of his record. If you live in Virginia's 9th, please begin now informing your neighbors...we cannot allow this travesty to continue.

(Mommypundit promises that I will not revert to Jane Austen in future posts unless it is absolutely warranted.)

Virginia's 9th Remains Purple

It's hard to reconcile that voters who would choose President Bush could also pull the lever for ultra-liberal Congressman Rick Boucher. Nonetheless, these conservative Bible-belters have re-elected a man who voted SEVEN times for partial birth abortion.

Tonight, we were at the local Holiday Inn tonight when Republican challenger, Kevin Triplett, conceded the election with great dignity. As he conceded the election, Kevin reminded us that we were not to concede the fight. The stakes are too high. We can no longer allow our congressman to get a free pass to vote however he chooses in Washington while deceiving his constituents. We will be watching, and commenting, and writing letters to editors...for two more years...when, hopefully, we can replace the incumbent.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Mommies Get Out to Vote

Remember us? Women who don't have real jobs? We do vote...

Daddypundit and I took the girls to vote this a.m. --better than the VA History lesson we had planned, but we did complete our other schoolwork later.

Another mommy who got out to vote was Michelle Malkin. See her post and picture of her beautiful daughter here.

Sistersophist was an early voter.

Another early riser was Lorie Byrd.

I'd love to hear from other mommies who went to vote today.

Election 2004

Noticed at our polling place...

Daddypundit just phoned from our polling place where he is handing out sample ballots. He says that the Democrats haven't had anyone outside handing out info since noon. When we arrived home from voting, Zogby's on-line polled showed VA tied. I thought that was ludricous since any part of VA where we've lived is dark red.

Daddypundit suspects that they decided to stop wasting their time at our polling place.

Will try to update throughout the evening.

UPDATE: We hear that the Dems have abandoned three other polling places as well.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Are they "fair game," too?

Now the DNC is using the President's daughters to hammer his ability as a father.