Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Beautiful Tune

Lately, I've been enjoying this recording, which I found at  It's from Psalm 102, second version, and sung to the long-meter tune of Hereford.  I like the tune a lot, though it's too complicated for an amateur singer like me to sing at this speed; it would be nice if sung more slowly, I think.

23 My strength he weaken'd in the way,
My days of life he shortened.
24 My God, O take me not away 
In mid-time of my days, I said:

Thy years through out all ages last.
25 Of old thou hast established
The earth's foundation firm and fast;
Thy mighty hands the heav'ns have made.

26 They perish shall, as garments do,
But thou shalt evermore endure; 
As vestures, thou shalt change them so;
And they shall all be changed sure:

27 But from all changes thou art free;
Thy endless years do last for aye.
28 Thy servants, and their seed who be,
Establish'd shall before thee stay.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Still here...

I've been suffering from a block of sorts lately.  I'm still writing posts, so it's not writer's block; I just can't bring myself to publish them, so I guess you could call it publisher's block.  I have thirteen (thirteen!) posts sitting in my "drafts" folder that just aren't quite right.  I keep tweaking and editing and rewriting them.  One of these days I'll either delete them or publish them, I'm not sure which.

For the time being, I thought I would share this article about family worship by Dr. Beeke.  Our family practices family worship regularly, and it's a very important and dear tradition to me.  The starting point for reading about family worship, of course, is the Westminster Directory for Family Worship; but this article by Dr. Beeke is also quite interesting.  I especially enjoyed the part where the Beeke siblings thanked their father for his faithfulness in leading family worship.  I knew Dr. Beeke's father when I was a child.  He was a very godly man, and I can easily imagine him teaching his children with tears streaming down his face! 

Here's the link:
Family Worship

I'm not wholeheartedly endorsing everything that Dr. Beeke suggests--for instance, my preference would be for psalms only in family worship (I haven't gotten tired of them yet!), whereas he suggests including hymns as well. 

I also noted something perplexing: he suggests reading not only from the Bible, but from various other good books too; memorizing Scripture together; and singing not one, but several psalms and hymns--I don't see how the worship he describes could possibly fit within his suggested ten to twenty-five minute timeframe!  Perhaps he and his family sing very quickly!

In other news, I have added a blog roll on a separate page (see the tabs at the top).  This list will probably change as I remember important blogs that I have forgotten to include.  If your blog is listed and you don't want it there for any reason (perhaps privacy?), please let me know and I will remove it. :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Crepe Myrtle is Blooming

It's June in Houston, and crepe myrtle is blooming all over the place.  Isn't it pretty?

We didn't have crepe myrtle in Indiana, at least not that I'm aware of; but it seems to be the landscaping tree of choice in the Houston area.  It comes in all shades of white, pink, and purple.

These were some kind of rambly crepe myrtle trees that we found by the zoo.

I'm not sure if they are technically a tree or a shrub, but they are usually pruned to look like this.  (I found this last picture online--click for the source)

You know, I was aware that crepe was a type of fabric, but it wasn't until I looked closely at the crinkly little blossoms of the crepe myrtle tree that I realized which type of fabric it was.  And then I had an "aha" moment as I realized the meaning of the word "crepey" as used in books to describe an old person's skin.  I guess I always thought that the author had misspelled the word "creepy."  LOL

Monday, June 14, 2010

Learning About Bugs

This morning's harvest:

A nice lot of organic produce.  (Yes, I carried them in my skirt.) 

If you're my friend on Facebook, you may have seen me talking about the hornworms I was dealing with last week.  If you're not my Facebook friend, by the way, feel free to add me.  If we have mutual friends, or if I've at least heard of you, I'll probably accept your friend request.  As my Facebook friend, you would get to join in exciting discussions about hornworms.  Did you know that squished-up hornworm juice is an effective hornworm repellent?  That interesting little tip came from Nat.  Thanks, Nat. 

Anyway, hornworms can do a lot of damage.  They mostly ate leaves, but I did find one big guy who had eaten half a tomato.  I'm trying to avoid using pesticides (also trying to avoid spending money) so I manually removed the hornworms and dropped them into soapy water.  I did that every morning for three or four days, and that was it.  No more hornworms.

I did get some help from the wasps, actually.  Apparently, certain wasps like to eat hornworms.  Take a look at this specimen.
I know, he's hard to see, because he matches my tomato plants so well.  The red horn (upper end) and diagonal stripes indicate that he is a tobacco hornworm as opposed to a tomato hornworm.  But he still eats tomato plants.  See the white things all over his back?  Those are the cocoons of a tiny little wasp called the Cotesia wasp.  An adult wasp injects eggs into the hornworm.  The eggs hatch and the larva feed on the hornworm's insides.  When full grown, they emerge from the (now dead) hornworm and spin these cocoons on its back.  After a few days, they cut circular holes in the cocoons (you can see the holes above) and emerge as adult wasps, ready to lay eggs in more hornworms.

I like learning things, don't you?

Some of my tomatoes are sparkly.  I wonder why?  Maybe tomorrow I will learn about sparkly tomatoes.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Scottish Communion Season

This week is a communion season in our church.  I'm guessing that most of my readers know how a Scottish communion season works.  But in case you don't, here's a nice article by David Murray of the Free Church Continuing.

The Scottish Communion Season

A few things about our communion seasons differ from the article's description, but the pattern of services is basically the same.  One thing that the article doesn't mention is how people often travel to visit other congregations' communion seasons.  Communions are definitely a special time of fellowship.

I've only been through one Scottish-style communion season, liked it very much, and am looking forward to this one as well.  We will have Rev. Roddie Macleod here from Scotland to assist with the communion services.  He is the minister who married my brother and his wife.

The rest of this week will be busy, so goodbye until next week. :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

June Psalm Sing

Last week, we had another psalm sing.  First we had a dinner of pizza and snacks; then we all squeezed into the living room to work on our singing skills.  We had a few more singers this time, including Mom and Dad, who sang alto and tenor, respectively.  I enjoyed myself quite a bit and I hope that everyone else did too. :)

We recorded four psalms, but two of the recordings have a lot of kid chatter (some children were playing near the recorder) so I won't post those here.

Our recorder wasn't really designed for this sort of thing, so I apologize for the quality of these recordings.  With the extra singers this time around, our poor little recorder was a bit overwhelmed!  Maybe someday I'll get some proper recording equipment.

As with last month, if you'd like to download these recordings, they are available here.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Meemaw is here

Mom and Dad are here on a brief visit from Israel.  Look what Mom brought for the boys:


They are delighted with their flags.