Thursday, January 31, 2008
Well, this was shocking
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Economics in One Lesson
The idea that has remained with me this week the most is this one from chapter 25:
"When they say that the way to national wealth is to pay out government subsidies, they are in effect saying that the way to national wealth is to increase taxes."
And I think of all the federal and state and local taxes we've paid (out of income) since I started working at age 14 and Steve started working at about the same age. I'm grateful for infrastructure (like roads and waterworks), the postal system, the library, and many other things those taxes have helped to make and keep running. But when I see everyone at the bank at the first of the month cashing their checks from the government, I wonder if they realize that we are the source of their "government" money, whether it's social security money for retired people, "crazy" money for families with children in school, or a "tax rebate" for someone who doesn't earn enough money to pay taxes.
Several times I've asked Steve if it wouldn't be better to work less, earn less, and pay less in taxes. I think we'd be about even with what our income is now. We might even have more money, because we'd get a tax rebate. Isn't that crazy?
On the other hand, since Jesus says we're to render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's (Matthew 22:21), we try to keep a good attitude about paying our taxes and not grumble about it. This is the world we live in, and we know this isn't our true home. So while we're here, we'll do as the Romans do regarding taxes, but remember that we are strangers and pilgrims on the earth, and continue in faith to seek that heavenly country and the city God has prepared for us (Hebrews 11:13-16).
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
I took this picture Sunday, right before Glenn and Amy left for Birmingham. Yesterday morning Amy dropped Glenn off at the airport and he flew back to Illinois. Next Tuesday he'll make the 15-hour flight to Korea.
Last night Amy said that she's busy enough in the daytime to ignore Glenn's absence, but the evening is more difficult. So she and I started watching "24." Last night we watched 4 episodes in a row between 8:00 p.m. and midnight. This morning we went and exercised, then walked around town getting various errands done. Amy said she slept soundly last night. That's good!
We'll just do each day as it comes, and not think about a year. Before she knows it, she'll have reached the half-way point. Then it's all downhill until Glenn returns. I think it may be harder for Glenn as he really misses the children when he's away, and Abbey and Mady are so young now. Hayley can at least talk on the phone in a meaningful conversation when he calls.
When you think of Glenn and Amy and the girls, please pray for them.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Economics in One Lesson
Mr. Hazlitt made these chapters very easy to understand, so I have nothing to add by way of explanation, but the final chapter on rent control and low-income housing made me think about what (if anything) I can do.
When we lived in Virginia we were part of a small church (maybe 70 or so families) located in a very expensive-to-live area. Rents and housing prices were enormous, often out of the reach of middle and low income families. In our church many families opened their homes to individuals and other families who could not afford places of their own. Rents charged were nominal, at best, and often the two families ate together and enjoyed recreation time together, too. These people did this not for a few weeks or months, but for years.
It amazed me (still does!). You see, I can open my home to family members for long, indefinite periods - we've done it in the past and are doing so now - to give them a place to stay without financial obligation, and without expecting anything of them. But I fear that I'm too selfish to do the same for a family or individual who is not related to me. That's Christianity lived out to a degree beyond where I am currently. But I want to get there. I pray that I'll get there. And perhaps, one day, God will show me how to do it, and walk me through it.
I can't change the world. I can't provide a cheap, safe, warm place to live for everyone in need of such a thing. But perhaps I can do it for one family. And if I do it, maybe another family will see and do the same, just as the families from my Virginia church did.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Egg Nests and Pig in a Blanket Pancakes
Sam and Hayley played in it until they were soaked through and frozen. Then the snow stopped falling and began melting.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Pintos and Pork Casserole
corn tortilla chips (we had half a bag)
pinto beans, cooked (we had about 5 to 6 cups of cooked beans leftover from Monday night)
pork roast, shredded (we had about 1/3 of a roast to use)
sour cream (there was 2/3 of a 16 oz. carton in the fridge)
2 cans Ro-tel tomatoes
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
a sprinkle of cayenne pepper
2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, grated (it may have been 1 1/2 c. - we had about 8 oz. of cheese open and needing to be eaten)
In a large rectangular casserole pan we layered corn chips, beans, and meat. Then in a bowl we mixed the tomatoes, sour cream, and spices, and spread the mixture on top of the meat. We cooked it in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes covered, then we took the foil off and cooked it for another 15 minutes. We topped it with the grated cheese, put it back in the oven for five more minutes to melt the cheese, then served it along with a salad and fruit. It fed all 12 of us (even with seconds) and there was enough leftover to make three people happy for lunch tomorrow.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
I liked it a lot, and I think she will enjoy it. Despite some of the creepy things, and some of the nasty characters, it was a good story that moved right along and didn't stop to linger on the "ick" stuff.
This is the story of Tom, a boy who lives with his widowed mother in an old house chained to the top of a mountain. One evening while floating (in the river at the base of the mountain) on a piece of foam packing that came in a refrigerator box, he is poured through a hole, down a waterfall, and into the bowels of the mountain. There he spends an indeterminate amount of time (more than hours, but less than weeks) trying to figure out how to get out and meets up with a dead body, a live dog, a trapped man, and treasure from an ancient civilization. In the meantime his mom is searching for him and she gets harrassed by a group of bad cavers (that was a new category of villains for me), and finds out what a piece of work her "boy friend" really is. Tom gets out of the mountain (with the dog and the trapped man) and there's a happy ending.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Economics in One Lesson
"It is the maxim of every prudent master of a family, never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy."
Mr. Hazlitt expands this idea in explaining tariffs, but it certainly bears weight in our family economy, too. As I explained to the children, this is why I don't make jams, jellies, and preserves at home. This is why I don't have sheep, goats, or chickens. For our family, it would cost more to run a home farm than it does to buy our food.
I do knit sweaters and socks for family members, but not to save money. Knitting is cheaper than spa days and vacations, so I knit for pleasure and relaxation. However, that doesn't mean I won't buy a sweater made in Vietnam or China from Wal-Mart or Target for $12.
I like Mr. Hazlitt's common sense approach to economics.
Monday, January 14, 2008
A Thousand Splendid Suns
I've read several reviews of Khaled Hosseini's book, A Thousand Splendid Suns at Semicolon and thought perhaps it should go on my list to read. Then Miss Betty offered to loan me her copy. I asked her if it was a good book, and she answered, "Not particularly, but you ought to read it anyway."
Not getting a warm, enthusiastic recommendation to read it, I wasn't setting aside time to really get into it. Last week I read about the first third of the book, and thought it was okay. Not riveting, but okay. Then last night before bed I picked it up and read until the last few pages. The story got better (not better as in "happy," but better as in "interesting"), and I didn't think I could bear to go to sleep without finishing it. But Steve had to go to sleep before I finished it, so I shut the book, turned off the light, and lay awake until 2:00 a.m. digesting what I'd read.
This afternoon I read the final few pages, and decided I liked it. Yes, it was pretty depressing, but the ending was hopeful. I would imagine that if I lived in Afghanistan during the time depicted in the book I would have to live in hope that the future would be better - otherwise it would be difficult to live each day as it came.
Friday, January 11, 2008
|You Are a Ham Sandwich|
Your best friend: The Turkey Sandwich
Your mortal enemy: The Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Anne, as a ham sandwich I am a best friend to your turkey sandwich. (Steve loves grilled cheese sandwiches...)
Home to Harmony
Thursday, January 10, 2008
What to do when your shower pan leaks
Now the shower is done and ready to be used. And just in time, because Glenn, Amy, and the girls arrive tonight!
Labels: home projects
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Dr. Pepper Biscuits
Dr. Pepper Biscuits
2 c. Bisquick mix
1/2 t. dried Italian seasoning
2/3 c. Dr. Pepper
Mix ingredients and form into a soft ball. Sprinkle a small amount of Bisquick onto work surface and knead dough. Roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with biscuit cutter into tea size biscuits. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Can be split and filled with meat for parties or served as bread for a meal. (Suitable for freezing.)
Okay. Here's what I did:
-substituted Coke for Dr. Pepper because it's what we had and I didn't feel like going up to the Piggly Wiggly.
-dropped the dough by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet because I didn't feel like kneading, rolling, and cutting dough, nor did I want to have the extra clean-up to do afterwards.
-baked them for 10 minutes exactly.
We ended up with 16 biscuits which were delicious served with pork roast, mashed potatoes, corn, and clementines.
Monday, January 07, 2008
Economics in One Lesson
Two things about this book appealed to me from the start - on the cover is this subtitle: "The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics," and on the back is this great plug from H.L. Mencken: "He is one of the few economists in human history who could really write."
I started reading this today and am wondering why I waited so long. This is a good book. And I think my children will enjoy it. At least they'll find it as understandable as books they've read by Thomas Sowell and by Walter Williams.
Two ideas in these first five chapters that are easy to understand, and that I want my children to know are these:
"...need is not demand."
"...the wanton destruction of anything of real value is always a net loss, a misfortune, or a disaster, and whatever the offsetting considerations in a particular instance, can never be, on net balance, a boon or a blessing."
Now go read Cindy and Dana and learn something.
I Am the Messenger
After reading The Book Thief and thinking it one of the best books I'd read last year, I had high hopes for Markus Zusak's book, I Am the Messenger.
It was very different, and I guess that's why I was disappointed. I did read it to the end thinking the mysteries would be solved and I'd learn "who" and "why," but ultimately it's a novel about the importance of good self-esteem. (Blech!) I'll probably pass on trying any more of Zusak's books for a while.
Saturday, January 05, 2008
French Onion Soup
Friday, January 04, 2008
See You in a Hundred Years: Four Seasons in Forgotten America
In this book, Ward tells how he, his wife, Heather, and his two-year-old son, Luther, moved from Manhattan to Swoope, Virginia in 2000 to live for one year as though it were 1900. They were inspired by several things: a feeling that they were missing something of value in their busy modern lives; a desire to grow closer together; an article about a PBS show in which an English family lived a 1900 life in a 1900-era house; books by Wendell Berry. Their rules were simple: if it didn't exist or had not been invented by 1900, they wouldn't use it.
So they bought their small farm and farmhouse and cooked and heated the house with a woodstove. They built an outhouse, and bathed in the livestock tank. They planted and grew their own food, had chickens for eggs, and two goats for milk. They ate food fresh from the garden through the summer, then canned and dried and cellared the produce of their garden for the winter and following spring. It sounds idyllic, until Mr. Ward details the everyday workload for them (and tells about the snakes and the mice). Basically they worked from before dawn until dusk through the spring, summer, and fall, then had lots of down-time in the winter.
They managed to have guests (and their guests enjoyed helping them work) and discovered a sense of community and learned to accept and offer hospitality. They grew closer together as a family, too. At the end of their year in 1900, they were pleased with the results - what they had learned, how they had lived.
This was a funny, honest, very enjoyable book!
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Happy New Year