86-Ezra

The Action This Evening

*Gingersnap is calmly watching TV*

*a commercial for Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk appears*

Gingersnap: *gasp* “DUNKIRK! DUNKIRK! BOYS! GET IN HERE IT’S A DUNKIRK COMMERCIAL!”

*thuds and door slams from the back of the house*

*boys burst into the living room like that scene from The Sound of Music when the Von Trapp children first appear*

86-Ezra

Family Terms and Definitions

Over the years, our family has created euphemisms, phrases, and descriptions that are unique to us and our interests.  Such sayings appear in daily conversation (often gleefully repeated ad nauseam after something particularly funny is coined)–but unfortunately leaves the uninitiated with no idea of what we mean.  Hence, this dictionary.

Aged C  (n.“We’re taking the Aged to church.”  The erstwhile kids’ car.  One family quirk is naming our vehicular devices, and this car’s name was a variant of the Dickens character Aged Parent, or Aged P.  We decided that if we said to any young man: “Do you object to an Aged Car?  Because I have got one,” and he recognized the quote as one of Dickens’s–well, he might just be boyfriend material.  No young man ever recognized the line, but Uncle C. from church did.

Right before the car completely died, Enkie was afraid it would fall to pieces, Wilde E. Coyote style, the middle of an intersection, leaving her clutching the wheel amid a wreckage of auto parts.

Bangy-Bangy  (v.“Anybody mind if I bangy-bangy?”  Playing the piano, a term coined by Gingersnap.  Contrary to what the term implies, she plays very well.

Bookends, the  (n., pl.“The middle three kids are running errands, so it’s just the bookends here at home.”  Me and Emmet; I’m the eldest of the kids and he’s the youngest.  Dad coined this creative term during one of his homeschooling speeches.

Buckland  (n.“He’s the Buckland of the group.”  A really clueless and incompetent leader.  Named after first mate Buckland from the Horatio Hornblower episodes Mutiny and Retribution.  Buckland is a leader so clueless and incompetent you have to wonder how he rose to the rank of first mate at all.

Christine Stories  (n., pl.“Can you tell us a Christine story before bed?”  Stories from my childhood, imparted primarily to my brothers.  I am 10 years older than Chris and 14.5 years older than Emmet and have accumulated interesting anecdotes about family events, doings, mishaps that happened before they were born or while they were too young to remember.  Such anecdotes range in severity from tornado threats and terrible injuries to the amusing attempt at homemade candles or the escapade of jumping off the filing cabinet.  For fun.

Clueless Morgan  (n.“Sorry, I’m just a Clueless Morgan today.”  Borrowed from Muppet Treasure Island, this refers to someone who is, well, clueless.  Similar to the term “Buckland,” but with an undercurrent of dopiness.  Sometimes the terms are used together, e.g. “Clueless Buckland.”

Cup of Ambition  (n.“Let me get a cup of ambition, and then we’ll go.”  Coffee.  ‘Nuff said.

Don’t Be That Duck  (phrase)  From Sandra Boyton’s Happy Hippo, Angry Duck.  The book ends with “Except for the duck.  He’s always that way [angry].”  A between-siblings reminder to perk up and adjust a stinky attitude.

Dustfinger  (n.)  “Dustfinger is installing updates and taking his slow, sweet time about it.”  Gingersnap’s laptop.  We also name our technological devices: laptops, phones, the PC, sometimes even sewing machines.  Gingernsap’s previous laptop was Mo.

Early Bus, Late Bus  (n.)  “The Early Bus leaves at 8: 45, to whom it may concern.”  The vehicles that depart first and last for church.  The sisters have ministries that require us to leave before 9:00 a.m.; and trying to get all seven of us clothed and in our right minds at such an early hour would require a miracle from heaven.  Hence the departures in two cars and at different times.

Effie Mozart  (n.“Effie needs to be tuned; she sounds like a broken guitar.”  Our piano.  Named “Effie” because its color is mahogany, and “Mozart” because Emmet wanted specifically wanted that.

Falcon (Millennial, the)  (n.“Can’t take you to the library right now; Enkie has the Falcon.”  The current kid car, driven primarily by Enkie.  The Falcon is so named because “she doesn’t look like much, but she’s got it where it counts.”

Fluzzy (adj.)  “She’s such a sweet, fluzzy dog!!”  A mash-up of “fluffy” and “fuzzy,” used in adoration of our dog’s cuteness.

Fury, the  (n.“I’m leaving the keys to the Fury on the table.”  Dad’s car, which bears a suspicious resemblance to the black car Nick Fury drives in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  We have yet to discover, however, if its air conditioner can survive the apocalypse.

Fussy  (n.)  “Fussy locked up again!”  Enkie’s laptop.  So named because the thing malfunctions when most inconvenient.

Gloom, Doom, & Chitauri  (n.“They’re expecting strong storms, but not gloom, doom, and chitauri.”  Any approaching ominous event.  Used mostly of severe weather–and coined when the forecast held incredibly severe storms for our area–but this phrase also refers to political events, sickness, just anything severely disagreeable.

Liquid Motivation  (n.“Mom and I are going to get some liquid motivation before the meeting.”  Coffee.  See also Cup of Ambition

Locusts  (n., pl.“You’d better get some chips and ice cream before the locusts breeze through.”  Other family members, specifically in the context of said members consuming food.  Our family has been known to demolish a whole box of cereal, an entire bag of potato chips, a bag and a half of chocolate chips, and several pints of ice-cream — in one evening.

Martian Death Virus  (n.“We’re not available to babysit this week because half the family has the Martian Death Virus.”  Any nasty sickness, often one that flattens half the family simultaneously or else hits one person who then inadvertently passes the virus on so that each family member falls sick one by one like a row of dominoes.

Red Ink  (v.)  “Do you want me to red ink it?”  To edit a piece of writing.  Chris coined this term as I edited one of his response essays.

Sermonizing  (v.“Dad is out in the office sermonizing.”  Preparing a sermon.

Sibling Bonding Time  (n.)  “We’re going to watch Secret of Moonacre for sibling bonding time.”  Our excuse for watching lousy, cheesy — but fun — movies.

Sydney  (n.“Sydney is on, but asleep; don’t touch him.”  My laptop.  Named after (you guessed it) Sydney Carton.

Tolkien Chapters  (n., pl.)  “I won’t be going to bed for a while; this book has Tolkien chapters.”  Really, really long chapters.  Coined during a family read-aloud of Tolkien’s epic and after counting 22 pages in the first chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring.

Transformer, the  (n.)  “Everybody get in the Transformer; it’s time to go.”  Our SUV.  So named because its bulk is such that you expect it to unfold into something massively robotic when you least expect it.

We Three Kings (n., pl.“It’s just we three kings going to church this evening.”  The middle three kids: Enkie, Gingernsap, and Chris.  This term was coined when they were rehearsing the song “We Three Kings” as part of the Christmas special at church.

86-Ezra

One-Liners Around Our House

While watching Inception the other night:

Gingersnap: “I ship Arthur and Ariadne.”

Me: “Arthur shipped Arthur and Ariadne–Mr. ‘Kiss-me-well-it-was-worth-a-try!’ ”

 

Emmet jumped over the little table that had been pulled in front of his easy chair.  And then he remarked: “That was probably not the best way to exit that chair.”

 

Chris, relating an anecdote: “I unplugged my seat belt–”

Me: “Unplugged your seat belt?!?!? Millennial kid, good night!!”

Chris: “Hey, I’m entitled to talk like that.”

 

We were having baked potatoes for dinner one night.

Emmet: “Will someone help me squeeze the guts out of my potato?

Then, when I paused to write down that quote before helping him…

Emmet: “Um, Guts?  Potato?  Help?”

86-Ezra

Thanksgiving Tag!

I absolutely love blog tags and memes, and it made my day to see that Bella tagged me!  (Thanks, Bella!)  Go check out her tag; she gave some great answers.

What are you most Thankful for?

A lot…but this year, I was particularly grateful for:

  1. The freedom to elect our leaders. I fuss about how the federal government violates the Constitution (verbally, if not yet on the blog).  But the American people still have enormous legal and political freedom.  No, our leaders do not uphold the cornerstone of our laws.  But political control over the country could be a lot more restricting and dangerous.
  2. The blessings God has given our family, such as our house, a home in a safe neighborhood, our delicious Thanksgiving food, my laptop, my drawing supplies, our sweet fluffy dog, the list goes on.  🙂
  3. My health problems. I’ve struggled with a compromised immune system for years, and the number one symptom is fatigue.  Sometimes a task as simple as loading the dishwasher wears me out.  And I am a type A person, y’all, not to mention that I take all my responsibilities seriously.  And just can’t fulfill them consistently.  However, in the 10 or so years I’ve struggled with this, I’ve become more compassionate, which is not a trait I’ve had naturally.  The weakness has forced me to pray constantly, to rely on God for strength I do not have.  It’s taught me perseverance.  And it’s definitely given me a lot of writing material.  It was only recently that I matured to where I was truly thankful for those difficulties—but this year, I can see the blessings from them.
  4. Little things that make me happy, like a nice, tidy backyard, the way the sun falls on the trees, lunch heated up to just the right temperature, coffee in a pretty mug, and illustrations in my favorite books.

What is your main source of Happiness?

Definitely writing.  Also pondering God and His character and creation.  (Seriously, think for a while about how perfectly He designed the physical world and how its details fit together, and you’ll end up amazed and humbled.)  And watching my siblings talk and play together.

What are some dreams and goals to Aim for?

Let’s see…I’d like to (finally) finish writing a picture book that I started a couple of years ago.  If you thought a picture book was easy because it’s short, well, not necessarily.  And certainly not in my case; I think it’s because I’m so used to reading and thinking on complicated and multiple levels, that sticking to one plot (no subplots, aaarrgh!!!) and one point-of-view is a challenge.  But I’ll stick with the project and Lord willing, get it finished eventually.

I’d also like to continue singing lessons and learning how to use my voice.  And I always want to grow in Christ, grow closer to God and trust Him more and more.

Who is a Neighbor you are especially grateful for, or have recently found friendship with?

Going stretch this one a bit and apply it to friends (I don’t know the people in my neighborhood very well).  And one friend I’m very grateful for is Julia.  We met at the wedding shower of a mutual friend in February, and Julia and I started talking about our siblings.  I was impressed and pleased that she valued friendship with her siblings the way I valued friendship with mine; we both enjoyed spending time with our siblings and took seriously the fact that they copy our examples (we’re both the eldest in our families).  From there, we discovered that we’re both writers, avid readers, and history buffs–she’s studied the Revolutionary and Civil wars; I’ve studied the British political landscape of the 1830s.  We talked about literature, history, and classics; we swapped book recommendations and discussed favorite films and how well or poorly a book was adapted.  We exchanged email addresses that night and have been emailing ever since.

Another friend I’m thankful for is Bella.  We struck up an acquaintance over the Tale of Two Cities musical, and chatted via Pinterest messages about both the book and the musical.  We’ve also discussed other musicals (such as The Phantom of the Opera), and talked about music, writing, and storytelling.

And a third friend I’m thankful for is Treskie.  She has a fantastic art blog, and I look forward to her Picture Saturday posts every week.  We’ve discussed art as well, and critiqued each other’s artwork.

What are some acts of Kindness you will always remember or treasure?

Julia’s prayers during my recent fight with pneumonia.  I would often e-mail her to let her know what was going on and ask for prayer, and she always let me know she was praying and offered encouragement.  And on a similar note, Gingersnap’s friend Krista also prayed for my healing, which was sweet and special because Krista knows me through Gingersnap and not personally.

What are some Special Thanksgiving Memories or Traditions?

Honestly, the most cherished Thanksgiving memories and traditions are of just being with my family for the holidays.  Dad gets to stay home for a couple of days, which is really the highlight of the holiday (his work schedule is hectic the rest of the year).  We relax and chill for the holiday and have lively conversations around the Thanksgiving table and in the living room afterward.  Sometimes we play games as a family; sometimes we go out for a treat–last year, we went to see the Peanuts movie in theaters.

Now I get to tag someone else!  *rubs hands*  I tag Treskie, Julia, and all my siblings!

Happy Thanksgiving!

86-Ezra

Little Update: Sickness Takes Unexpected Turn

I mentioned in my “Insights from Three Roads to the Alamo” post that I might be getting sick.  And I did get sick again.  It didn’t seem too bad, just your typical cold/flu symptoms that settled in and stayed.  And stayed.  Though I rested, took copious amounts of vitamin C and natural supplements, as well as some synthetic medicine, I kept spiking fevers–the highest came close to 104 degrees.  And I developed this violent, hacking cough that wouldn’t fade and that kept me awake at night.  I spent the week pretty much like this:

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Did I mention I have a compromised immune system?  Makes sickness a little more threatening for me, and finally, Dad decided I needed to see a doctor.  (He made the decision because I was too sick to think straight.)  So I went on Wednesday.  I figured the doc would examine me, prescribe some antibiotics, and that would be it.

Instead, she examined me and sent me for a chest X-ray.  The verdict?  I had pneumonia.

I remember thinking, “Well, this will be interesting later.”  I also remember feeling too sick to adequately process the information; it was mostly a “Pneumonia?  Wow.  Okay,” reaction.  Fortunately, the doctor did not want to admit me to the hospital just yet (I’ve been to the hospital four times in the past ten years and had no wish to repeat the experiences) and she prescribed several home treatments.  She gave me one breathing treatment right there in the examining room, and that provided instant relief.

So I’ve taken all medications faithfully, and when I went back to the doctor yesterday, she saw some improvement.  She also said I needed to rest until this illness is completely gone.  This could take another one to two weeks.  On the one hand, I’ve been tired for a very long time and don’t mind the idea of rest, especially since it would provide reading and writing time.  On the other, it means I won’t be able to fulfill any obligations at church for a while, and won’t be able to do my share of the work around the house.  Which bugs me because I have an overdeveloped sense of duty and hate not being able to do my job.

Anyway, I’m feeling better now and definitely healing.  And after thinking about it, I really don’t mind taking it easy for a week or two.  🙂

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86-Ezra

“Writing the Song of my Destiny”

Today as I pulled up the Google home page, the tagline beneath the search engine informed me that today is World Teachers’ Day. I looked it up–and lo and behold, it is an actual holiday. Not the sort that would get you off work, but one apparently officially recognized.

So I’ll take the opportunity to pay tribute to my favorite teachers: Mom and Dad.

Mom has been a stay-at-home mom and a homeschooling mom for almost 25 years.  She’s put all her energy into running our home (meal plans, grocery shopping, potty-training her kids, cleaning the house, bookkeeping), and into helping Dad with his ministries (cleaning the house and cooking for Bible studies held in our house), and into teaching her kids (curriculum research, school planning, grading papers, walking us through lessons–this latter sometimes over and over and over.)  In addition to the staples of reading, writing, arithmetic, history, geography, spelling, grammar, &etc. she gave us books on logic and basic economics.  And she taught us to narrate a lesson or chapter we’d just read.  This was an exercise nearly all of us hated during our school years, but I’m thankful for it now.  Narrating helps me articulate and reiterate anything I learn.

Additionally, Mom taught us how to do chores–when we were ages 4–5, chores were as simple as emptying the little trash cans into the big trash can, making our beds, tidying our rooms, and cleaning up any blocks, dolls, tea sets, &etc. that we scattered across the living room carpet.  As we grew older, able to reach higher, work harder, and handle more responsibility, she taught us to sort and fold laundry, unload and re-load the dishwasher, dust the furniture, scrub the toilets and bathtubs, and so on.  She also taught us to cook–again, when we were little, it was as simple as cracking eggs and whisking them in a bowl for scrambled eggs, but as we grew older, Mom taught us to follow more complicated recipes, coordinate cooking times, and how to carefully use sharp knives and hot pans.

She taught us, basically, to take care of the home we live in, serve the family we live with, shoulder responsibility, and how to maintain our future homes someday.

While Mom taught the bulk of the book-work, Dad also did some of the teaching.  As far back as I can remember, he has led the whole family in devotions, in reading and learning from God’s word.  (Greek and Hebrew lessons were a valiant goal, but the attempts fell through.  :-))  Dad also notices “teachable moments”–unplanned moments that he uses to illustrate a lesson or principle.  While eating at a restaurant one afternoon, Dad asked us (little kids at the time): “What if we left without paying for our food?  What would that be called?  Stealing.  What does the Bible say about stealing?”  A few years later, we were driving home from church as fast as legally possible because were were all tired–when the van decided to cop an attitude and flatten a tire.  As Dad wrestled with the jack and the spare, he called us out of the car to show us how the gears of the tire worked.  And though serious when the situation requires, he has a great sense of humor and also taught us how to make puns.  🙂

Both Mom and Dad gave us a love of learning.  They read to us constantly–stories about varied time periods, cultures, and problems.  Some of our favorite picture books are A New Coat for Anna; A Pair of Red Clogs; Erandi’s Braids; I Love You the Purplest; Papa Piccolo; and Mirette on the High Wire.  As we grew older, we read the American Girls series and the Narnia books, Five Little Peppers and How They Grew; Girl of the Limberlost; Adam of the Road; A Door in the Wall (actually, that was an audio book we listened to in the car while running errands–proof that you can learn anywhere at any time).

Also, Mom and Dad encouraged our interests–they never told us a book was “too hard”, and if we became interested in pioneer life or turtles or sharks or art, they took us to the library to check out books and research those subjects further.  They patiently let us experiment with hands-on projects: making homemade butter and candles, cooking foods from different cultures and time periods, sewing doll dresses, and burying our dining room table in art paraphernalia, including, but not limited to, markers, paint, clay, beads, construction paper, glitter, glitter glue, dot art, Popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, tissue paper, and other supplies.

But the most important lesson my parents taught is godly behavior.  They have lived out the principles they believe in.  They’ve messed up and asked for our forgiveness and each other’s.  They’ve turned town jobs or opportunities that would take them away from their kids (and from each other).  They’ve kept God at the center of our home, and made family harmony the next highest priority.

 

Planting the seeds of love’s legacy

Passing her faithfulness right down to me

Writing the song of my destiny

I stand here because of her love’s legacy.

~ “Love’s Legacy” by Annie Moses Band

86-Ezra

Don’t Have One? Make One! (Autumn craft)

Yesterday, my siblings and I did our best to adorn the house with autumn decorations  The effort was valiant but unsatisfactory because we have a pitifully small collection of decorations:a few plastic pumpkins to scatter around, a couple of swags, one indoor wreath, one wall hanging, a glittery orange garland…and that’s about it.

So I decided to Do Something About It.  Since last autumn, I’ve collected items that could be turned into decorations.  One of these items was a round wooden bowl that nobody uses anymore.  And speaking of disuse…

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…this garland is about 193 years old, starting to fall apart, and hard to attach to the mantle piece in any case.  But the Styrofoam apples, berries, and leaves are still perfectly good (most of them).  And I found a bag of decorative Spanish moss lying around and began to envision what to make…

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I ripped off the apples, the berries, and the leaves.  Then I played around with the decor, creating different arrangements in the bowl and figuring out how I wanted the decoration to look.  Once I had a general idea of how to arrange everything, I squashed some foil into a 1/4″ thick pie into the bottom of the wooden bowl.  Then I crumpled more foil into the rough shape of a cone and stacked it on the flat foil.  The apples had wire fasteners attached, and so I speared the foil cone with a  letter opener, stuck the wires inside the foil, and fiddled with the apples until they rested in the positions I wanted.

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Oops, but that sandy, checkered wood pattern doesn’t match the earthy tone of the apples.  I decided to cover the bowl with earthy-toned fabric.  Gingersnap lent me some from her collection, and I ironed the cloth, measured the bowl’s height and circumference, and cut the fabric two inches longer and wider than that measurement.

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And then hemmed the sides and the bottom.

On a totally unrelated note, I’ve had that sewing box for years.  And yes, I hemmed the fabric by hand; this is honestly faster for me than dragging out and threading a sewing machine.

When the fabric was hemmed, I put in a running stitch at the bottom and one near the top.  Then I gathered the fabric as though on a drawstring and fitted it over the bowl.

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It took some tweaking and pulling and tugging to make it fit, and you can see I haven’t gathered the stitch near the bottom of the fabric yet.  I did sew the two ends of the fabric strip together, though.

Actually, the running stitch near the bottom of the fabric wasn’t near enough to the bottom, so I put in a second seam.

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And I gathered the fabric around the bottom of the bowl and tied off the thread after some more tugging and tweaking.  In hindsight, I should have hemmed all four sides of the fabric, but I figured that since one edge would be hidden, it wasn’t absolutely necessary.

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Now the fabric is nice and tight around the bowl, and the edges of the fabric look kinda like a pie crust.  Although the greenery will hide those those crimped edges.

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Then I carefully replaced the foil and the apples…

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…and tucked moss over the foil and under the apples…

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…covering most of the foil and those crimped fabric edges.

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Then I tucked berries into the moss and between the apples.  (The moss made a huge mess on the floor.)

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More berries here and there…

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…and the leaves.

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More leaves.  I really just stuck them into the moss, so if someone sneezes hard enough in the right direction, the whole display will fly apart.  🙂  If the family likes the centerpiece and doesn’t find it revolting, I’ll probably take all these elements apart and glue them in place.

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The finished product!  I put it on the dining room table.

 

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86-Ezra

Picture Saturday

First, a couple of notes–I’m still sick, but also making a slow recovery.  Which is why my blog has been a silent, bare place with cyber-tumbleweeds drifting here and there. This virus flattened my whole family except Mom, who has been Superwoman through checking on the sickies, administering medicine, going to Chick-Fil-A (again and again and again) to bring back soup, taking people and from the doctor, picking up prescriptions–oh, and coordinating the church potluck we were supposed to host as family (but now it’s down to just her and Gingersnap, who has also gotten better).  I am thankful Mama hasn’t gotten sick, that Enkie (my other sister) and Chris are getting better, and that Emmet and I got to see the doctor yesterday.

But before the virus hit so hard, I did get four pieces of artwork done…

52-Blue Punpkin

I saw a picture of a blue pumpkin on Pinterest.  Blue pumpkin?  Unusual, but neat.  So of course I had to draw it.  And it’s fitting because September is here!

53-Pumpkin on Hay Bale

I have always liked drawing pumpkins.

54-Pearl Necklace

Doodle of a pearl necklace.

And I might have drawn Sydney Carton again…

55-Sydney, wandering the streets

That’s all for now; hopefully, I’ll have more artwork next time!

 

 

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