"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

29 August 2011

County Fair

My children seem set to take home a bundle (by kid standards) from the county fair. We went by today and saw all the blue ribbons on the 4H projects (mostly for lack of competition... 4H has a lot of ribbons and not always a lot of kids) and entered the usual photography for the youth open. Littlest guy entered a pumpkin. We'll see how he does, but he's the only one that did any garden weeding anyway, so I say he's the only one who has rights to enter the one thing that's ready in our garden... a almost ripe pie pumpkin.

And middle boy will be showing a rabbit on Wednesday.

There's a lot that a kid can learn from the 4H skill of showing a rabbit: how to talk to adults while handling a sqirmy little animal, how to make eye contact and enunciate, remembering to ask if there are any questions. And then there are the random facts about the animal, breed, variety, length of gestation, common diseases. He's learned a little bit about compassion (as rabbits can be fragile little fuzzy creatures) and firmness (as they try to get away when you turn them onto their backs). He now has one of his rabbits well trained to tolerate being handled and he's much more confident in the handling.

Which makes me think that county fairs are just plain good for kids. Not the hoorah and glitz of the evening, with its rides and games and noise, but the day to day goings on, judgind (winning and losing), a sense of accomplishment and presenting a product, performance, and skill.

I have to haul my bunny boy out to the fair grounds every day this week to feed that rabbit, but its worth it. He'll be cleaning the cage, and making sure the bunny is comfy and well cared for, but its mostly worth it because in the end, he's gotten to grow a bit this summer. I never knew a rabbit could help a boy become a man, but for a certain red headed nine year old, the rabbit has helped him take a step or two in that direction this year.

And one must wonder what next year will bring.

For those who want to come on out, the Big Knob Fair runs from now until Saturday. Rabbit show is Wednesday at 6:30. The kids and the bunnies are all impressive.

23 August 2011

Serenity Prayer for Meyers Briggs Types

INFP: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to sing in the shower if there's someone else in the house, and the wisdom to, oh forget that last bit, okay, God?"

INTP: “God grant me the serenity to think of a viable plan for how to solve these problems, the courage to get the ball rolling, and the wisdom to remember what we were talking about in the first place.”

ESFP: “God, oh, hi God!  How are you today?  I was wondering, God, if you’re not too busy and all, there’s a lot of stuff in my life right now that gives me some anxiety and makes me kind of nervous about the future and there’s nothing I can do about it and all, so if you could just help me have, I don’t know, some sense of being not so worried or something.   And maybe help to stand up to some problems that, oh look a puppy! and um, what were we talking about again?  Sorry, I lost track.”

INTJ: “God, the prayer says I’m supposed to ask you to grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference, so could you do that for me?  Thanks.”

I started this in a conversation with a friend, it seemed like a fun idea to blog them out.  But being an Intuitive Perceiver, I’m feel no deep personal need to finish all sixteen types, so I’ll leave it for the reader to add on.  I think I like the first two best… but since I’m borderline between INFP and INTP, they’re the types I know best.  Write what you know, right?

21 August 2011

Lastly, a truly famous sijo kidnapped from the vast expanse of internet


Though I die, and die again; though I die one hundred times,

Long after my bones have turned to dust, whether my soul remains or not,

Ever loyal to my Lord, how can this one red heart of mine ever fade away?--

Sijo by Jeong Mong-ju ...

Sijo on today’s gospel

Who do men say that I am, he asked. Prophet, teacher, king?

Elijah, Jeremiah,  scoundrel, or scam?  Crucified risen? Absurd!

How can this be?  He who answers holds the keys to heaven’s gate.

20 August 2011

Sijo on Sijo, for Dave

Korean poetry in three short lines; rhyme and meter be damned.

Fourteen syllables, maybe sixteen, a single line is formed.

Forty-four, five or six, syllables summed; the deacon needs a hobby.

19 August 2011

Sijo: In honor of a new school year


Pencils’ scent of fresh cut wood.  Papers unwritten stacked neatly by.

History, poetry, beauty and art.  Awaiting children’s eyes.

Softly the cool of autumn, unfolding a new school year.

15 August 2011

Sijo: Korean Poetry


On blogging

Thoughts vanish into the wind, let the gentle reader understand.

Who shall read them?  Who shall hear?  The voice of a writer unseen.

A penny for your thoughts; the reader is greatly overcharged.

14 August 2011

Little Mysteries

My mother-in-law is moving to a smaller house.  In the process of clearing out the extra stuff, she gave me a picture I’ve always liked.  Its an obviously aged black and white image of a grist mill, framed quite simply, which hung in her living room for years.  Taken off the wall, the back of the picture reveals that it was framed with parts of a box as a backing (much in the fashion my grandfather used to “frame” things with bits of box and electrician’s tape… in fact their marriage license was framed like that, the electrician’s tape being the frame part) and a few very old nails holding it in.

There was a spot on the picture where it looked like the image had been eaten away to reveal the other side of the box parts, and so, when I got it home, I decided to take the whole thing apart to see if i could manage a little conservation work and keep the image from further degrading.  Funny, I had never noticed that damaged portion before, but there it was.

Nail by nail, I removed the backing, gently as I wanted to keep the original cardboard look when I was finished.  I slowly lifted the box portions out to find a thinner box advertising a fur coat.  I gently lifted the fur  box, expecting a fragile image beneath.  That’s where I got my surprise.

First, the image was quite thoroughly cemented to the fur box; I don’t know how or why.  But when it was away from the matting, the top and bottom of the image were revealed.  It turns out that the picture was actually a page from a newspaper.  The section heading and date were hidden by the matting. 


The section which seemed to be worn through was actually an attribution or explanation of some sort for the picture itself, not underlying text showing through the page.  The attribution is mostly illegible, though.

So now I’m left with questions.  Whose picture was this?  Why did someone feel the need to frame a page from the newspaper? Was the framer also the photographer or maybe the owner of the grist mill?  Or maybe it was somebody’s proud mother who framed this page. 

I’ve learned that the Springfield Union- Springfield Republican was a newspaper in Springfield MA.  I wonder how that image made its way from Springfield to Norris, TN before coming to Pennsylvania to hang behind my sofa. 

Anyway, I now know why the picture seemed to hover in its own little world between photography and drawing, why it is aged and yellowed and why I had a sense that if I took it apart I’d find something thin and fragile underneath.  But why someone framed it in the first place, I have no idea. 

13 August 2011

Norris With Adult Eyes

Of course we took it all for granted. Growing up way out in the country, Norris was the Mecca of places to see and be seen... by other kids of course. All the cool kids lived in Norris, hung out together, walked to each other's houses, didn't ride the hideous school bus. Norris was where the kids were.

This week was the first week of school in Norris and as I came back into my old hometown with my own kids in tow, it seemed really weird that the streets were empty of kids. Probably, when the middle school let out, there were plenty of kids at the old-fashioned soda fountain, kind of Mayberry style, buying chocolate malted drinks and whatever sugary thing they could afford with their pocket money. But in the late morning when I went in for a cup of coffee, only my own were spinning on the stools.

We drove past Norris Elementary School yesterday and my husband casually remarked that he never went to school there. I did, even though it wasn't our district. I was there from first grade through fifth, before moving across the Commons to Norris Middle.

Homeschoolers are we, so off we went to the old Norris Grist Mill. Its kind of iconic, timeless, the destination of at least half a dozen school field trips in as many years that I was in Norris Elementary. My husband notes that he'd never been in the nearby museum. "That's because you didn't go to Norris Elementary," I replied. He notes that he'd never been inside the grist mill building. "That's becasue you didn't go to Norris Elementary."

I can't say I'm all that nostalgic about Norris Elementary, and my thoughts on the Midddle School are far from warm and fuzzy. (Still, Norris Middle School was in 1960 Norris High School, from which my father graduated, and he had fonder memories, I suppose.) Still, its interesting how the places and experiences of our childhoods shape us. Part of me expected to be able to walk right into those schools and still find the same teachers, and the only one to have aged would be me. But now its my friends' children who grace those halls, and some of my friends, the former students of those schools, are back as teachers. And most, though not all, of those teachers I knew are now retired. The ones that aren't retired turned out to have been surprisingly young when they were my teachers, tenured and experienced teachers who we thought had been there since the dawn of time but were really closer to the age I am now.

My husband remarked that maybe you can't go home again; but I don't think its that. You can go back to the places and see some of the same people and intuitively know how to find what you need to find. And it is the sameness that strikes you as pleasantly out of place, not the difference. The man who lived next to my grandmother still lives next to her old house, why is he still there? My same cousin still teaches at the elementary school; her great-grandson is going to be graduating from there this year, will she finally retire?

Its kind of cool how time marches in uneven phases, how some things zip ahead and some get left behind. Admittedly disturbing, but still, kind of cool.

06 August 2011

Why It Pays to Talk to the Locals

Today we took the boys swimming at Raccoon Creek State Park.  Admittedly, that was not our first plan of action.  We had intended to rent a people-powered boat, but since there were five of us and the bigger boats were not available, we couldn’t get a boat we’d all fit in unless we got a motor-boat.  No thanks.  But we had a nice chat with the boathouse guy, about this and that, mostly about how boats have to have certain weight ratings and how those ratings have changed to account for so many obese people in the world. 

In the course of our not renting a boat the guy, whose name I don’t even know, said “keep your eyes open, not a day this week has gone by that that bald eagle hasn’t been by.”  He seemed pretty serious, not like he was trying to talk us into a boat, but that he was just saying what he’d seen.

We gave up on the boat and went down to the swimming hole so the kids could splash about some.  And I had no sooner stepped foot in the water than this big old bird of prey comes circling around the swimming area, diving first to the right of the swim area, then circling about and diving on the left.   I probably wouldn’t have paid it much mind, if it weren’t for the guy at the boathouse. 

I looked closer, and I thought I saw a flash of white as it went across the swimming area to dive in the fishing waters on the other side.  Again, it crossed, and my husband confirmed my identification.  For twenty minutes the eagle swooped and hunted fish just yards from where we stood watching.  I have never seen an eagle hunting in its natural habitat!  I may never see it again.  (Gosh, I wish I had my camera!!)  My kids stood and watched.  Several people in the swimming hole stood and watched.  But most folks missed it, or thought it was a hawk.   They hadn’t talked to the boathouse guy, I guess.

04 August 2011

Little Girls Everlasting

Admittedly, my friend Ann is old enough to be my mother. Her son and I were born the same year. She doesn't seem to mind, and neither do I, that we're part of different generations. She thinks like an Xer, at least in the ways that are commendable.

She likes to swim, and when it suits, she will treat us to a day at the pool in her town. Its an hour's drive up, a little more than that because I take the back roads and enjoy the scenery (and inevitably get caught behind an Amish buggy along the way). I could take the interstate, but it would only save about ten or fifteen minutes. Instead, I take the way that winds past the old train station turned country store turned private home, a few farms, a state park, a train museum (with real train cars), and more cows than I care to count. My youngest moos dutiffuly at them as we pass.

We got to the water today, and we visited the kiddie pool first. In it is a giant mushroom shaped waterfall, which was turned off as we arrived. I stood under it and then realized that if it came on I was in for a dousing. My southern blood wasn't sure I wanted to be in a pool today anyway, as it wasn't agonizingly hot out, so I figured I'd best step out from under the mushroom. Not so my friend, she sought her shade under the 'shroom, and when the water came on, there she was. She dashed in and out of the water with my kids, just as delighted as they were. As I sat on the side of the pool and watched, I was sure I could see a glimpse of my friend as a ten year old girl, delighted with the water, playful and small.

My husband's grandmother once had an embroidered pillow (I don't know if it was really hers or not, as things were always coming and going for her antiques store) that said "grandmothers are antique little girls." The same grandmother had a liking for teddy bears and a sense of whimsy that defied age.

And I guess that's what I saw today. We carry our little selves with us as we grow, and if we are wise the things that delighted us then can delight us again, and let our little child emerge. And if we watch carefully we might just see that delighted child in the eyes of our adult friends. It is like a window into an inner world.

Some where in all of us is a ten year old child.