Friday, August 27, 2010

Elijah Is Writing a Book

Elijah is writing a book.  While Elijah can read anything you put in front of him, he can not spell.  At all.  As you can imagine, this means that he requires quite a bit of assistance with writing a book.  When the scene below begins, we are halfway through the second chapter, which means I have been doing this for a. long. time.

Elijah: Mama, how do you spell "how"?
Me: H-O-W.
Elijah: what was that again?
Me: H-O-W.
Elijah: How do you spell "many"?
Me: M-A-N-Y.
Elijah: writes M-N-A-Y.
Me: Oh Elijah, that spells "mnay."  Erase the N and the A and switch them.
Elijah: Ohhhhhhhh.  *perplexed*  Why didn't you say so in the first place?
Me: *sigh*
Elijah: How do you spell "people"?
Me: P-E
Elijah *writes*: Okay, what else?
Me: O-P
Elijah: What else?  What else?
Me: *lost in thought*
Elijah: What else, Mama?  What else?
Me: What do you have so far again?
Elijah: P-E-O-P
Me: L-E.
Elijah: okay.  How do you spell "do"?
Me: D-O.
*a moment of blissful silence while Elijah spells "you" all by himself*
Elijah: How do you spell "want"?
Me: Um, how many chapters is this book going to have again?
Elijah: Four.
and this is the point where I start to think this is kind of funny, and head to the computer to write a blog post about it.  Which Elijah, of course, reads over my shoulder with a big grin on his face.  Oh, he wants me to tell you that the book's title is "Tass's Friend."  And both he and Noah are thrilled to see this picture on my computer screen:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lined Out Singing, Primitive Baptist Style

A few weeks ago, Jesh and I were looking at psalm singing videos online, and came across this video.  These are some Primitive Baptists singing the hymn Amazing Grace, a capella, lined out with a precentor.

The people in this video are walking around shaking hands and greeting one another as they sing, which is kind of distracting, but you get the idea anyway.  Watch for the precentor who comes into view about six minutes in.

I recognize that this video will be entertaining to those who are used to hearing lined-out singing done Gaelic style--and I can't blame you for smiling when they sing "warsh" instead of "wash."  :)  But in my personal opinion, it's also kind of beautiful.  I think that music is almost always beautiful, and stirring, when performed from the heart by humble, ordinary people.  Even more so, of course, when it's the Word of God that is being sung (i.e. the Psalms of David).

Our next psalm sing, or psalmody class, or whatever you would like to call it, is this Saturday.  Lunch at noon, singing to follow; I'm looking forward to seeing at least a few of you there. :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chewy Coconut Cookies

Usually, if I'm in the mood for cookies, I make chocolate chip cookies or molasses cookies or maybe oatmeal raisin cookies, or, if I'm feeling ambitious, chocolate crinkles.  But the other day I tried out this coconut cookie recipe, and they were so chewy and delicious that I will have to add them to my usual repertoire.

Chewy Coconut Cookies


2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 cups flaked coconut

*The recipe didn't specify whether the coconut should be sweetened or not, but I used unsweetened, and the cookies were plenty sweet.  I know that unsweetened coconut can be harder to find, but if you live near here, Froberg's farm store carries 1/2 pound bags of unsweetened coconut for $1.50.*

Directions: Cream together the butter and sugars.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fluffy.  Gradually beat in the flour, then finally, stir in the coconut.

I used a cookie scoop, sorry I don't know what size but the balls were about 1 inch in diameter.  Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 13 or 14 minutes.

I made the recipe as written and they were quite good, but next time I will use 1/2 whole wheat flour and maybe add a little flax seed meal or oats or something.  I find that using whole grains enables me to eat lots of cookies without getting that nasty too-much-sugar feeling. :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I like okra.  I like breaded-n-fried okra.  I like oven-roasted okra.  I like gumbo with okra.

And I really like growing okra in my garden.  I got off to a bad start when I let my okra seeds get moldy (long story).  I planted them anyway; half never sprouted, but the other half have been growing happily ever since, despite the fact that I totally ignore them.  It's 100 degrees outside and we haven't had much rain and our soil is like a brick, but the okra plants just soak up the sun and shake off the bugs and grow like weeds.

I love that I can run out to my little garden and come back with these

and I slice them with some onion and saute them with a little olive oil and end up with this


I wish I'd planted twice as much.  Or three times as much.  Maybe next year.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


You may have heard me complain, on my blog or off, about the amount of driving I do.  I grumble especially about being so far from church.  We are about twenty-five miles from church, which means a half-hour's drive each way, or two hours per Sabbath spent on the road.

So, I was humbled the other day when I read about a woman in Scotland, many years ago, who walked thirty miles, one way, to church.  Here is her story:
To one, at least, the Sabbath journey was nearly thirty miles...Leaving home about midnight on Saturday, she walked across the hills regularly in summer and often in winter...After the service on Sabbath she returned to her home, and was ready to join in the labour of the farm next morning.  On that condition alone would her father allow her to come to Killearnan [where services were held], being more anxious about the state of his croft than about the salvation of himself and of his family.
Now I've often thought that it would be nice to be able to walk to church, as a nice walk does wonders for clearing my mind and helping me to focus.  But my idea of a "nice walk" would be two or three miles, not thirty.

Another quote from the same book:
On Sabbath, they all meet in the house of God.  The Lord himself is in the midst of them; the word is rightly divided; hungry souls are fed with "the finest of the wheat;" some of "the whole" are wounded; and some of the wounded ones are healed.  The public service over, the people return to their homes; and by the way, they form into companies around some of the Lord's people, who are speaking of the sermon, and bringing again, before themselves and others, the precious lessons which it furnished. In the evening, district meetings are held...After prayer and praise, and the reading of a portion of Scripture, a certain number of the questions of the Shorter Catechism are asked and answered, and notes of the sermons heard during the day are repeated.  Time is allowed for family duties, and in many a household the incense of prayer and praise ascends from the family altar to God.  Such was an ordinary Ross-shire Sabbath in the good days of the Fathers.
The book, of course, is The Days of the Fathers in Ross-shire by Rev. John Kennedy.  You can read it online here.  I saw the second quote above on Mr. Myers' blog  and was inspired to hunt through our bookcases until I had found our own tattered volume of the book (printed in 1885).  It was excellent.

I had just finished reading a similar book which was also excellent (perhaps even better), Ministers and Men of the Far North by Rev. Alex Auld.  It is out of print, I'm afraid, though you might be able to get a copy through Mr. Reynolds' used book store, and you can read it online here.

I'm currently reading John G. Paton, Missionary to the New Hebrides, which I think I can safely recommend even though I'm only about halfway through it. :)  It's also available online, here.  Google Books is awesome.  Though I prefer to read from a real, live book rather than a screen, I do appreciate the fact that I can use Google Books to search within a book (it's how I re-located the two quotes above).

I like old biographies like the ones I've listed here.  Another one I'd like to read is The Life of John Kennedy, written by Rev. Alex Auld.  Do you have any others to recommend?