Friday, August 29, 2008

The Orator

Last night was the first time I have heard Obama speak at length. And I must say: Wow. Excellent writing and excellent delivery. There were enough personal references to humanize him, enough stories of real people to show his heart, enough attributions to others on whose shoulders he stands, and just the right tone of confidence to salve any thoughts of ambiguity. No, he may not have enough experience, but who did you say Ronald Reagan was? He was an actor for goodness sake.

Pity the poor Republicans who now have to follow him and on a holiday too when no one will be watching. The staffer who chose the date must be waiting for his pink slip.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Leave it to the Women

I think both Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton hit home runs the last two nights. While men just drone the same old cliches, these women came up with some emotion to light the fires of voters.

I loved Clinton's reference to Harriet Tubman's wonderful quote to "keep going" and Obama's reference to the night her husband drove her and their new daughter home from the hospital--so humanizing and personable.

So, I say, let's vote for the ticket of Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton--it couldn't be any worse than the choices we have now. And at least it would be exciting and truly a change.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Harry T. Burn

Today is the day that Harry T. Burn voted in the Tennessee Legislature to ratify the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. It seemed as if the motion would fail when several votes ended up tied. However, Burn received a letter from his mother asking him to vote for it, and like "any good boy, obeyed his mother." Burn had previously voted against and was wearing the red rose symbolizing anti-suffragists as he voted. Burn was called a "mamma's boy" and was actually chased out of the Legislative Hall by the anti-suffragists.

The proclamation was signed into law by Bainbridge Colby on August 26, 1920. For all the years since the Constitution was ratified, women were not allowed to vote in this country which promised freedom and equality for everyone. We can scarcely imagine such treatment today.

Thank you, Tennessean Harry T. Burn. Now the question is: "For whom do I vote?"

Monday, August 25, 2008


I just got word from Scott Owings that we will be continuing Vespers at Otter on Wednesday nights. Scott left Otter recently to take a new job, and Vespers seemed hanging in the balance. But, praise the Lord, Scott has agreed to lead it again with the help of others.

Vespers is a very special program in the middle of the week where worries and anxieties slide off in the midst of the reading of scriptures, the singing of a Psalm, a short message, soothing music and glorious graphics and stations with art, crafts, and meditations. I am in charge of writing meditations on one of the three scriptures chosen for each night--the scriptures are chosen as part of the church calendar created by other denominations. We celebrate the divisions of the church calendar as well. We will begin with Common Time leading up to Advent.

I am so ready for it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Son of a gun

The news this week has been full of people with guns breaking into houses, robbing banks, shooting former employers, and other craziness.

Then yesterday, another shooting at a high school--in Knoxville in the school cafeteria. One student dead, another bullied and bedeviled student in jail.

I don't know what the answer is--maybe tougher laws or banning guns altogether except for those people who like to go out and shoot tiny animals in the forest.

I am from Texas and grew up with a cap gun and holster strapped to my waist as I played cowboys and Indians with my brothers--but I have never owned a real gun, nor do I intend to.
Texans (at least those I know in West Texas) rarely use guns on a dark street to kill a rival gang member or in other nefarious deeds. Those shotguns in the pickup windows were used to kill
predators of the furry variety.

It is time for the silly comments like "people, not guns kill people." And "you can't take away my constitutional rights to bear arms"--generally said by people who have no wish to go to Iraq, to stop. And it is time for everyone to look soberly at the bloodbath going on in our country of the brave and the free.

I just don't understand the ranting about freedoms when children are dying.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Obama's pay grade

I am still musing about Obama's flippant answer to the abortion question last weekend: That's above my pay grade.

Is this flippancy the real Obama? Where was his always carefully nuanced answer to a question he surely knew would come up? Or were he and his handlers so dumb as to not think it would come up?

It is a puzzlement.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Swing Vote

This current movie is good viewing before our November election. A very jaded look at all the behind the scenes contortions of political campaigns, the film was actually better than I thought it would be. The premise is that the Presidental election comes down to the vote of one man--a red-neck, beer-guzzling, sorry single parent played by Kevin Costner.

I am always uncomfortable with the depiction of parents being raised by their children--saw too much of that in my tenure as a teacher. Costner's daughter is, of course, bright, sunny and very into politics. It is actually she who cast the vote, but a voting machine glitch prevented the vote from culminating--and thus her father, whose name she forged in front of a sleeping voting judge, gets the chance to vote again. The bulk of the film shows the degree to which candidates and their handlers will go to affect the process.

With our current election headed toward being razor-close, it does give one pause for thought.
Set in the dying town of Texico, New Mexico (been through there), the movie is a good look at
our election process which is now on life-support.

My favorite "political" movie is Primary Colors--what is yours?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Today is Brandon and Sheryl's tenth wedding anniversary. Thinking about it has surfaced many happy memories:

I remember when I first realized she might be the one--when I saw then together at the old house at Otter Creek one Sunday night.

Getting to know Sheryl and her sweet personality and many gifts--singing, creating, mothering, and being my son's true helpmate who has stood with him through several trying circumstances

Knowing that she truly loves and honors Brandon, as the one I always prayed for as his wife

The day they told me that Maddie was on her way--what joy! And then Ella , and then Sam!! Joy after joy after joy.

Our trip to Maui together when Maddie was two. What other couple would take their mother on a trip to Hawaii????

Watching them parenting my grandchildren in many ways better than I was--ways that often seem almost magical.

And just the fulfilling joy of watching their family together--playing chase, cooking together, laughing, hugging, and worshipping God.

May their days be forever happy, blessed and may their marriage grow stronger every day.

Love, Mom

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

1st Day of School

From all accounts the first day of school was a huge success. The girls looked so cute, and so grown in their uniforms and backpacks.

Maddie was thrilled to have her own calendar of events to keep in a folder, and Ella was looking forward to the treats the students get for earning stars. Maddie is looking forward to going to the gym today (so unlike her grandmother!!!).

We celebrated at Toyoma last night--the kids ate fried rice and teriyaki chicken as if they were starving. And I know that they will not fight sleep either--some of the real benefits of a scheduled day at school.

Thank you God bright, curious, ready-to-learn grandchildren.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Yesterday was an especially good day at Otter.

First those children going in to first grade were given a very nice children's Bible. Then
since school was beginning on Monday, the children's minister called all the children of the congregation (I wish there was a warmer word for the assembly) who would attend school from pre-school to college up to the stage. Sitting on the front seat as I do, watching that was astounding. It looked like a flow of lava coming down the aisles. I believe there must have been at least 200 on the stage. (We do have a population of over 400 children!) Parents and teachers were also asked to stand in the audience; it seemed like most of us were standing.
After a sweet blessing, we sang "The Lord Bless You and Keep You." I did miss seeing my grandchildren up there.

Following, Nan Smith came forward and asked for a prayer for the new minister search, and Tim said she should go ahead and lead the prayer. It may have been the first time a woman has lead a prayer in the Sunday assembly--good move! Tim's "Regospeling" series is probably the strongest and most convicting of his tenure at Otter. What a way to go out!

I could see why education is such a big deal in our lives--and why so many of us build our days and hours around school.

Happy school days everybody! Pray for the teachers and administrators.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Things I like about the Olympics:

Bob Costas--he is so good!
The backstories on the athletes
Watching Pres. Bush cheer Michael on last night to our first gold medal. I am so glad our president decided to attend--it makes him and us more human.
Broadening my sport knowledge (that wouldn't take much)
The views of China offered--such an exotic country
Even the commercials seem better.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


The word "printables" was not even in my vocabulary until my grandchildren discovered the art of printing pictures off the Internet. They think that my printer is the greatest thing since ice cream, and we go through a lot of ink and paper each time they come.

As they spent the night last night, we watched some of the Olympics--we all enjoyed the spectacle and the parade. The kids especially enjoyed the drum sequence and seeing the little Chinese kids. We wanted to see the fireworks, but they were on too late.

Sam discovered an old ice bag in one of my drawers and was fascinated with it--what is this, what is it for? When I explained that when one had a headache or a bodyache of some sort, it would be filled with ice and placed on the sore spot. Sam had a "headache" for the remainder of his time here. I think he even slept with it.

Maddie and I did printables of Hannah, and the High School Musical Gang. Ella and I played restaurant--she loves taking the order, bringing the "food" and conversing with her tables.

So glad the Olympics has started. Now something good to watch each night. I like the swimming, diving....and I will watch one of our Tennesse girls compete in woman's basketball.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Woof! Woof!

As Phil Wilson notes in his blog, these are the dog-days of summer--those days which are hot and draining and which seem to lack any motivation for action. Those days which we would readily wish away if we could. Like him, I find very little to write about on my blog and very little happening in my brain.

However, many schools begin this time of year (why, why not wait until after Labor Day and be a little cooler???).

There are so many memories retired school teachers have this time of year--students, particular schools, and smells. Yes, smells.

Remember the smell of a new box of crayons? Or the smell of the pencil-sharpener "catcher" when you took it off to empty it? Or the smell of the school when you walked in on the first day--mostly soap, Pledge and wax. That smell when all the sweat, blood and tears of the former year are gone and the clean shiny halls promise a new, better tomorrow.

For a librarian, it was the smell of new books--all stacked in boxes and waiting to be put on the shelves for readers to enjoy. I do miss these new beginnings that come every year.