Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Great Game Plan

I wrote a play for the younger homeschoolers a couple years ago called "The Great Game Plan".  I still don't care for the title, but I loved the play.  It was about a girl named Teagan (played by my daughter -- but that's not why I loved the play) who dreams that the game pieces from all her games come alive and she joins them in an effort to capture the mischievous Mouse Trap mice.  In the process, she learns that all the characters she meets -- Cavity Sam from the Operation game, Lord Licorice from Candyland, the Hungry-Hungry-Hippos, and many others -- are created by their maker (e.g. Milton Bradley) to accomplish a certain purpose, and when they accomplish that purpose, they feel fulfilled.  And Teagan also was created by her Maker to do certain things.  She, in fact, is a synthesizer; she puts things together in new ways to do new things . . . which is how she helps them catch the mice.
The Mouse Trap diver (one of our lead characters):
"When I jump in buckets, I feel . . . complete!"

This has become kind of a theme in my life.  Because I believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful, loving and purposeful God, I also believe that we are all specially designed and placed to accomplish certain things, and if we do those things, not only do we feel fulfilled, but the world around us functions more smoothly.

Paul, in scripture, uses a body analogy.  We are all one body but each a different part.  The eyes were made to see -- the feet were made to walk -- the lungs were made to get oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide.  One part can't do another part's job, and if any part isn't working right, the body as a whole suffers.

I read something a while back that applied that idea to the secular world as well (duh -- as if there's a "secular world" not also made by God):

“Food pantries are important, but they’re not the reason far fewer of us go hungry today than ever before.  Most of us have jobs in which we never hand food to anyone.  And, strange as it may sound, that’s exactly why so many more people have plenty to eat.  Fewer go hungry today because some of us lend money to farmers so they can buy new tractors.  Fewer go hungry today because some of us design even better tractors, or tinker in workshops to keep the old ones running.  Fewer go hungry today because some of us look at spreadsheets to figure out how companies could spend less money on tractors and produce even more food. 
“Jesus told us to feed the hungry.  That’s what bankers, engineers, mechanics, and consultants do every day.  They’re table servers.”
In other words, figure out what you're created to do, what you're gifted at, what you have a passion for . . . and do it with intelligence, with integrity and for the glory of God, whatever it is . . . and you will be a part of God bringing justice and righteousness to his fallen world.  You may not be the hand giving the bread to the poor, but the hand needs eyes to see the need, blood to provide the energy, a heart to move the blood, and feet to get it to the place of need. 
Just be you.  An excellent you.  God is has the Great Game Plan and makes it all work together for good.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Define "Overweight"

I am 5’ 6”.  I have what one would call a “medium frame”.  According to a typical online healthy height-weight chart, I should weigh between 130 and 144 pounds.  But I weigh more than that.  In fact, at my lowest weight in the last ten years, I still weighed more than that.

I bring this up because of this article I recently read.  It said that two-thirds of Americans adults are “overweight” or “obese”.  But it also said that recent studies indicate that “people in the government’s ‘overweight’ category actually have a lower chance of dying prematurely than those of normal weight.”  And other studies are coming in with similar findings.  The article closes with the thought that it might be time to adjust the labels.  If “overweight” is supposed to mean that you need to lose some weight to be more healthy, the labels may not be very accurate.

Ve-e-errry interesting.
I know I’m not the only one who has walked through an art museum and noticed that the standard for physical beauty in women has changed dramatically over the centuries.  Most of those lovely nudes in those old Renaissance paintings are downright FAT by today’s standards.  They would be lucky to even be considered as a model for plus-sizes.  It seems our expectations of what a beautiful body looks like have changed over the years, and probably not for the better.
Not that I’m saying we don’t have a fat problem in America.  We do.  There is no doubt about it.  I have a fat problem.  But I also think we need to be realistic about the goals we set.  And perhaps weight needs to not be the focus here.  I find that when I’m worried about my weight, I get nowhere.  When I’m worried about being healthy, then I lose the weight, too.
The holistic doctor I saw a while back about my sleep problems taught his patients that 50% of the food they eat at any meal should be fruits or vegetables.  Oh, yeah.  That would do it.  Let’s get a veggie obsession, everyone.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Scoffers and Mockers

The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.  (Prov. 14:6)

The Bible has a lot to say about mockers and scoffers, particularly in the book of Proverbs.

The devising of foolishness is sin, and the mocker is an abomination to men. (Prov. 24:9)

Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise.  (Prov. 15:12)

He who begets a scoffer does so to his sorrow.  (Prov. 17:21)

The proud and arrogant person -- "Mocker" is his name -- behaves with insolent fury.  (Prov. 21:24)

However, mockery and scoffing has become standard communication these days.  Political pundits are the first that come to mind -- and I'll name those on my own side: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, etc.  But the rancor is just as ridiculous online: facebook posts, blogs . . . why are we surprised at the division and contention in our society?

The fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.  (Prov. 29:9)

Scoffers set a city aflame, but wise men turn away wrath.  (Prov. 29:8)

Mocking leads to contempt, and contempt leads to anger.  Fortunately, the Bible also tells us what to do about the problem.

Blessed is the one who does not . . . sit in the company of mockers.  (Psalm 1:1)

Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave; yes, strife and reproach will cease.  (Prov. 22:10)

Walk away.  Turn them off.  Have nothing to do with them.  And control your own tongue and attitude.  The consequences are not small.

Now stop your mocking, or your chains will become heavier; the Lord, the Lord Almighty, has told me of the destruction decreed against the whole land.  (Isaiah 28:22)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Humility Lessons from an Old Saint

In her autobiography, St. Therese of Lisieux (there are various accents over the e's in her name, but I don't do French) describes a minor incident in her life with major life lessons.  She and some fellow sisters are sewing and are told that the first to have her sewing put away can participate in some other special activity, one that Therese wants very much to do.

But she knows that the sister sitting next to her wants very much to do it also.  And so, she intentionally dawdles, allowing the other to gain the honor of the coveted reward.  For this thoughtfulness and self-sacrifice, she is scolded by her superior and thought less of by everyone present, because "the whole community thought this slowness was natural."  She tried to be nice, and now everyone thinks she's lazy.

Her reaction to this?  She is reminded to be gracious in her thoughts toward others.  "What seems a fault to me may very well be an act of virtue because of the intention behind it."

More than that . . . the incident also served to teach her humility and an accurate view of herself.  "It still stops my having any feeling of pride when people think well of what I do, for I say to myself:  Since any small good deed I do can be mistaken for a fault, the mistake of calling a fault a virtue can be made just as easily."


I know I've experienced that.  I don't remember the incident, but I remember the feeling.  That feeling when I'm being praised effusively for something I've done and deep down, I know that if they knew the whole story, they'd actually be ashamed of me.  Usually ashamed of my pride -- my selfishness -- yes, this may look like a gift I'm giving to the world, but in my heart, I know I'm actually doing this for me.

I've experienced the other also -- being judged and criticized for good that I've done.  In fact, I've recently had occasion to remember some significant incidents of this in my life, and I've been stewing over them.  No coincidence, I'm sure, that this book landed in my hands right now.

"Think of yourself with sober judgment," Paul tells us.  And I add for myself, no matter what anyone else thinks.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Hubby and I recently had a profound conversation (snicker) about ancient Israel and the Law and the Old Covenant and the New Covenant and so forth . . . because we’re all religious and intellectual like that.
I remarked on how frustrated I get at many Christians pulling out stuff from the Old Testament and God’s relationship to Israel and applying that to America today.  Ancient Israel was a theocracy.  God lived in the tabernacle, God gave them the laws, God spoke and judged through the prophets.  In fact, it was the only genuine theocracy ever, probably – that is, direct rule by God. 
The United States is NOT a theocracy.   It is a democratic republic.  Applying the practices of a theocracy to a democratic republic just doesn’t work.
But this brought us to an interesting question:  what if we had to live in a theocracy?  What if the only nations that existed were all ruled by the heads of religion?  I would love to ask my non-religious friends, what religious theocracy would you choose to live under if you had to live under one?  Do you want the Pope for your Emperor?  Or a Muslim imam?  The Dalai Lama? 
Considering that Christianity is probably the most familiar religious system to most Americans and would perhaps feel the most comfortable, I kind of bet most of my friends would say they’d choose a Christian nation . . . IF that nation was actually legitimately run on actual Christian principles, on the genuine teachings of the Bible and not on the selfish, arrogant Pharisaic rules of sinful men pronounced in the name of Christ.
And there’s the problem with a theocracy, any theocracy.  Apart from that brief moment in history when God lived in a tabernacle among his chosen people, theocracy on earth isn’t really “rule by God”; it is “rule by a bunch of fallible and sinful people who think they know what God wants”.  Even if they legitimately wanted to run a country based on Christian principles, they would be fallible and possibly mistaken in their interpretation of those principles . . . and they would be sinful and subject to being corrupted by their power and warping it all.
Which is why we have a democratic republic where religious freedom is protected.  Until the new heaven and new earth of revelation is here, and “the tabernacle of God is with men” once again, this is the best we can do.


Friday, February 15, 2013

On Training Future Warriors

Our eldest takes the ACT in a couple months.  We’re entering a stage of parenthood that makes me quite nervous.  She’s about to make some huge decisions in her life, and she has to make them by herself . . . with us, her parents, as only a potential source of wisdom.  Scary, scary, scary.
She’s been getting mail from colleges since she took the pre-ACT at school a year ago.  I believe it is all lying unopened in a pile in the cabinet.  She doesn’t know where she wants to go, and she doesn’t know what she wants to study.  Until recently, I wondered if she even wanted to go to college.  But yesterday, at parent-teacher conferences, she was deciding between classes based on what would look good on a college application.  So, apparently post-secondary education is in her vision for her future.
If she knew that what she wanted to do in life didn’t require a degree, I’d be fine with that.  Or if she thought she wanted to take a year or two and work and figure out some direction, that would be okay, too.  I actually think most kids would benefit from a gap year, if used well.  But, still, I'd like her to go to college.  I see tremendous value in “higher education”, of course.  And so does most of American society, it seems, because we believe our government should make it possible for everyone to go, if they want to, by loaning them the money to go – or just flat out giving it to them.
Interesting thing about those federal student loans and grants.  I just ran across a quote from Reagan’s education secretary William Bennett:
“There are a lot of things wrong with American higher education, but choice isn’t one of them.  You can take a guaranteed student loan or a Pell grant and study at a Baptist college your first year, a Catholic one your second, and Hindu and Jewish ones your third and fourth years.  You’ll be theologically confused, but you’ll be entirely within the Constitution because, when it comes to federal student aid for higher education, we don’t care where you take it.”
We worry a lot about public funds going to a Catholic elementary school through vouchers.  We worry about even allowing a possibly radical religious education through a homeschool whether we’re funding it or not.  But those concerns aren’t present in higher education.  And I’m wondering if there’s some kind of odd logic behind that, or if secular progressives concerned with separation of church and state just haven’t gotten to this battle yet.
You want to know my guess?  I’m guessing there’s no battle because there’s no real battleground.  I think most religious colleges just aren’t much of a threat to a secular agenda.  And that’s a shame.  The war of worldviews gets pretty lop-sided when only one side's warriors are adequately trained.
Then again, we're studying the American Revolution and how a bunch of homegrown passionate rebels defeated the most powerful army in the world.  There's hope.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Disputation, a la Dr. Franklin

The youngest and I are reading The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.   Fascinating man, Ben.  The writing program we use is based on Franklin's method of teaching himself how to write well.  But that's a story for another post . . .

Yesterday, we read about how Ben taught himself the art of "disputation" -- that is, arguing or debating.  (Most of Ben's knowledge and skills beyond the very basics were self-taught, interestingly enough.  He apparently hated school, but once he was out, he started to see the value of knowledge and skills and acquired them on his own .  LOVE THAT.)  He says he learned the basics of how to form an argument from reading some of his father's religious books.  This fondness for disputation, he found, "is apt to become a very bad habit, making people often extremely disagreeable in company . . . Persons of good sense, I have since observed, seldom fall into it, except lawyers, university men, and men of all sorts that have been bred at Edinborough."

His technique, however, changed dramatically when he was introduced to Socrates and the method of questioning your opponent into arguing against himself.  "I found this method safest for myself and very embarrassing to those against whom I used it; therefore I took a delight in it."  Yeah, I've known young people like that.

This served to develop in him the beneficial habit of avoiding words such as certainly, undoubtedly, "or any others that give the air of positiveness to an opinion," choosing instead to say things like, it appears to me, or if I am not mistaken.  "To speak, tho' sure, with seeming diffidence," he quotes Pope, sending the youngest and I to a dictionary to look up the fabulous word "diffidence".  (We also had to look up "perspecuity" -- a Bill O'Reilly word-of-the-day if I've ever heard one.  I'll leave those for you to look up as well.  We all need to brush up on our dictionary skills once in a while.)

The chief ends of conversations, Ben tells us, are to inform or to be informed, to please, or to persuade.  And a "positive and dogmatical manner in advancing your sentiments" only gets in the way of these goals, he contends.

Such wisdom.  I think I need to read good autobiographies more often -- I always seem to get a lot out of them.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Cost of Romance

Have you ever watched the TLC show “Say Yes to the Dress”?  It’s a reality show filmed in an expensive bridal shop in NYC.  They follow various brides as they go through the process of choosing their wedding dress.  And of course, there is always a lot of drama involved:  spoiled brat brides . . . ridiculous family members and friends making the process difficult . . . you know how reality TV goes.
I can’t help but watch this show and think, “What a waste.”  Thousands and thousands of dollars for a dress that you wear once.  I know the wedding day is important – I understand spending a lot on a dress.  But I don’t understand spending as much on your wedding dress as you would spend, say, on a brand new car.  A car has a big impact on the way you live your life; a dress makes you look beautiful for one day.  And no woman needs a several-thousand-dollar dress to look beautiful on their wedding day.
In my near decade as a Creative Memories consultant, I helped a lot of women preserve their wedding pictures in scrapbooks.  I saw a lot of lovely pictures, heard a lot of wonderful memories.  But one thing I never once heard anyone say is, “Gee, I wish we’d spent more money on our wedding.  I wish I had insisted on having the ultimate and the best of everything.”  But I heard many, many women say, “Man, I wish we’d spent less money.  I wish we’d taken some of that and put it on a down payment on our house – that would had much more impact on the rest of our lives together than those exclusively designed, hand-made hairpieces I special-ordered for my ten bridesmaids.”
I may just be too dang practical.  But I don’t think so.  I feel the same way about everyday romance.  I told my husband long ago that flowers are nice, but they aren’t my preference for a romantic gift.  Especially not roses.  Fifty bucks for a dozen flowers that will die in a week or so?  Silly.
Chocolates?  Okay, I’ll admit – I’m a chocolate fan.  (I also like those conversation hearts a lot.)  But again, they are gone in a week.  Okay, in a couple days.  Okay, maybe less.
If he’s going to spend that kind of money on me, I’d rather have a couple books that I take my time to read, that I can read over again, and that truly enrich my mind and heart for the long term.  Or even better, give me an experience rather than a thing:  take me to the theater, or out to a nice dinner, something like that.  I know that seems inconsistent – dinner doesn’t last as long as the flowers – but dinner includes conversation, interaction, connection.
Even better – a letter.  A really meaningful letter that I can read over and over.  Not a card with somebody else’s words.
And yes – ahem – it is merely a coincidence that I’m writing this shortly before Valentine’s Day . . .

Friday, February 8, 2013

Liberty's Kids

Watching a friend's two-year-old the other day and turning on Nick Jr. to find a bunch of shows I was completely unfamiliar with reminded me of how quickly kid's shows seem to come and go.  This means that there are probably scads of you that have never heard of "Liberty's Kids", and I decided I need to remedy that this morning.

"Liberty's Kids" was a PBS children's series that was on when I started homeschooling my eldest -- so, in the mid-2000s.  It has 42 episodes that cover the Revolutionary War period from the Boston Tea Party to Washington resigning his commission at the war's end (ending with a quick jump ahead to the Constitutional Convention).  I bought the DVD set when it went off the air and the youngest and I are viewing it this semester as the "spine" for our Revolutionary War study (because our history book is a world history book and has just one little section about the American Revolution -- and I want her to know more than that).

The story centers around three fictional teenagers who are living with Ben Franklin and helping him write stories about the conflict for the Pennsylvania Gazette.  One boy is a rabid patriot, one girl is a loyalist newly arrived from England . . . and the other boy is basically comic relief.  Because of their connections with Dr. Franklin and their roles as "journalists", they get a ring-side view of much of the action.

This is a great series -- I mean, really great.  It is a wonderful introduction to all the major events of the war and to life in the time period, but it also brings in lesser known figures like Phyllis Wheatley and Sybil Ludington.  It addresses tensions in the colonists' cause -- like the fact that they were fighting for freedom but still allowed slavery (another major character is Moses, a freed slave who works for Franklin and whose brother offers to fight for the British to earn his own freedom).

One of the things I love most, however, is that having the two main characters on opposite sides of the conflict means we hear the whole story.  We see the heroism of the colonists, but we also see the loyalists and the British as sympathetic characters with legitimate concerns.  Although Sarah, the loyalist young lady, does eventually become an American patriot, we see her process getting there and the reasons why.

And we also see times when the Americans were in the wrong.  One of my favorite episodes we just watched this week:  a British sailor is tarred and feathered by an angry mob cheered on by the patriot journalist James -- who later visits the victim and writes a story about the dangers of mob rule and the need for level heads.

This is a great series.  You can buy it at Amazon, I believe, or they have a website devoted to it here.  I highly recommend it to all my homeschool friends but also to anyone with children or anyone with a passion for our country.  Good, good stuff.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Whether Or Not You Believe

[BTW, please forgive the shifting fonts in this post.  Can't make blogspot cooperate today . . . ]

It seems like I've been picking on scientists a lot lately, and I want to make something clear.  I have friends who are scientists; I know there are some who humble and reasonable.  But I wonder at how they have such tolerance for (and even sometimes get swept up in) the rampant arrogance in their profession.

Case in point: a friend posted a meme on FB with a scientist saying, “The one good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”  Oh, my goodness -- don't you know I went off on that one.

The glasses through which
we view reality . . .
So, when science told us that blood-letting would cure our ailments, science was true whether or not anyone believed it.  When science said that the medieval Black Death was caused by "bad air", science was true whether or not anyone believed it.  Re-e-eally.

No, folks -- reality is true, whether or not people believe it.  Scientists only speak truth when they have a complete and accurate interpretation of reality.  And this is where I believe the arrogance of science rears its ugly head, because for scientists to have a complete and accurate interpretation of reality, it means a few things.

1) They have all the facts.  We know this isn't true.  Scientists are discovering new facts and debunking old facts all the time.  (Kinda gives new meaning to the word "fact".)

2) They are an objective observer of those facts.  It's very distressing to me how many scientists are so deceived about themselves as to believe that they are able to step back and view the world without the colored glasses of worldview that the rest of humanity wears.  NOBODY is completely objective.  EVERYBODY has a worldview that colors the way you view reality.

3) Science, by definition, is the study of the natural world.  It cannot deal with anything that might be in the realm of supernatural.  This means that someone who believes science can provide us with a complete and accurate interpretation of reality must believe that the supernatural doesn't exist -- or that if it does exist, it has no effect on our reality.  This, for all practical purposes, is a statement of religious belief.  And it automatically makes the believer an unobjective observer. To eliminate the possibility of supernatural influence on our world is to shut your eyes to a lot of what could actually be reality out there. 

And frankly, I suspect that this is why the majority of everyday scientists actually do claim a belief in some kind of God or Deity.  A humble and thorough examination of reality will reveal phenomena that simply have no natural explanation.  And an honest and unbiased observer will then concede the possibility of something that is beyond the natural.

That, my friends, is true . . . whether or not you believe in it.  ;)

Monday, February 4, 2013

First Subbing Gig

Thoughts while substituting in a special needs preschool class in small-town South Dakota:

- No security going in the front door.  I walk into the office and the secretary smiles sweetly. “You must be Gwendolyn!”  (Note: it always jolts me for a moment when people start off calling me Gwendolyn.)  She has me sign in and directs me to the preschool room on the other side of the commons.  No ID check or anything.  I could have been anybody.  I’m glad I was me and not an armed assailant.
- This building is cold.  I should have worn layers.
- OK, the preschool room is warm, as are the preschool teachers I’m assisting.  Two of them.  Sweet ladies.  But they need an assistant for seven kids?  That makes me wonder.
- The kids arrive and gather in the book area where I plop myself down and enjoy their regaling me with the stories they make up flipping through the picture books there.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  These kids are adorable. 
- Walking with one girl as she pulls a loaded wagon through the hallways to work off some of her energy so she can focus a little better (apparently, this is a frequent need for her).  She’s talking my ear off and I’m only catching about a third of what she’s telling me.  Too cute.
- The good morning song . . . the calendar song . . . the days of the week song . . . and the teacher uses a karaoke mic to get the kids to use their verbals skills and sing along.  Brilliant.
- T-boy has his ABCs down – even though he can hardly pronounce them.  The wagon girl . . . can’t tell if she’s got them because she’s looking at everything but the flashcards I’m showing her.
- A quick trip out of the room to help monitor 3rd grade recess.  Indoor recess, thank God – it’s freezing outside.  I don’t ever remember having indoor recess, but surely we did once in a while . . .
- Back to the preschool room.  I’m kind of surprised at how much time they spend sitting on their little colored squares and listening to the teacher, or trying to listen.  This is clearly a primary objective here – getting the kids ready to sit and listen to a teacher in a regular classroom soon, they hope. 
- The little downs syndrome boy is falling asleep on my lap.  He’s only three.  Oh, yeah.  I could stay here like this for a while.
- Lunch in the break room with some very nice ladies.  Somebody brought pumpkin spice cake and some kind of cherry dessert to share with everyone.  This is good.
- Now I’m helping monitor the kindergarteners in the lunchroom.  Lots of manpower used for crowd control here.  Layers – I MUST remember to wear layers next time.
- A little girl in a wheelchair (who I met earlier in a brief visit to her old stomping grounds in the preschool room) calls me over to tell me that the girls next to her just said something mean about her not being able to walk.  And I freeze, suddenly not sure what to do about this.  I don’t know any of these girls . . . I don’t know what words were said, what motivations were behind them . . . but another aide steps in and takes over with a conversation among them all.  She tells me later that this young lady has become self-conscious about her legs lately, and the question from the new girl about “how she got hurt” set her off.  So relieved.  I would have had no idea how to handle that.  Oh, the challenges of being the sub and not knowing the kids . . .
- Can’t believe how much food is going in that trash can . . .
- Nap time . . . more letter and number review . . . an art project . . . and wagon girl still can’t get herself very focused.  I’m sent with her to roam the halls again, this time with a tricycle for which her legs are not qui-i-ite long enough.  I understand now why they need three adults for seven kids.
- Would I mind doing curb duty while the teacher waits for two more moms to pick up their children?  That’s what I’m paid for, I guess.  More crowd control, just this time bundled up in the cold wind.
- And I sign my time card and am off.  Again, no confirmation of who I am at any time by anyone.  Not that I mind, but if my kids went to school here, I might worry a bit.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

"It’s so-o-o-o cold outside."  "How cold is it?"
"It’s so cold . . . even the Good Humor guy is in a bad mood."
Just an hour north of us in Sioux Falls, they cancelled school yesterday because the wind chills were, like, forty below.  Unbelievable.  If hubby ends up getting a job any further north than this, I may be crying all winter long.
"It’s so cold . . . I saw an Amish guy buy an electric blanket."
I've always said I'd rather be too cold than too hot, and I still say that (you can always put more on -- you can't always take enough off).  But if we must have the cold temperatures, we should at least get the pretty snow to go with it, yes?  Iowa winters are ridiculous.  Especially stretches of days like this when we never see the sun . . .

"It's so cold . . . I put the meat in the freezer to defrost."
"It's so cold . . . the fire hydrant is begging a dog to pee on it."
The disadvantage of the high ceilings and very open floor plan in our house -- we can't seem to contain the heat.  Every room is cold. Well, except for the main floor powder room and the music room, which have doors to shut.  I'm about to move all the significant furniture in there for the next month.
Ugh . . . another month of this . . .
"It's so cold . . . the rats are bribing the alley cats for a snuggle."
It occurred to me yesterday that this might be a good time to get out Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter and re-read it.  To hear about a frontier town with no electricity and no running water dealing with blizzard after blizzard every third day or so for a few months . . . running out of food . . . twisting "logs" of hay to burn every day because the firewood disappeared early on . . . howling wind and no sun for days on end . . . it might snap me out of this and remind me of how good I have it.  We are truly wimps.
"It’s so cold . . . even members of Congress couldn’t get into a heated argument."
< Snort! >  Okay, it's not that cold.