On public schools

John Piper quotes J. Gresham Machen (in 1933!):

The only way in which a state-controlled school can be kept even relatively healthy is through the absolutely free possibility of competition by private schools and church schools; if it once becomes monopolistic, it is the most effective engine of tyranny and intellectual stagnation that has yet been devised.

(J. Gresham Machen: Selected Shorter Writings, 167)


Finished at last

Over 10 years ago I got the idea that I'd make a quilt while my hubby was busy with night classes and homework for seminary. We didn't have children then, so I found myself with a lot of free time. And an antique Singer sewing machine that only did straight stitches. I had watched my mom sew things, so I figured it wouldn't be too hard to figure out.

I drew sketches, I rummaged for fabric. A library book I found said the "Shoo Fly" pattern ws a good beginning quilt pattern for young girls. Well, I wasn't exactly a 9-yr old, but simplicity was needed! I started cutting hundreds of squares and triangles one by one, tracing them onto fabric with a pen from a template I made from a cereal box. I even cut triangles while camping! I had not heard about rotary cutters...

The piecing went relatively smoothly, which meant I could dive in on the quilting. HAND quilting. On a KING size quilt. What was I thinking??

Well, after a lot of work, and lots of "rest" periods (some were years long) the quilt is finally finished! Here she is, in her rightful spot on our bed.
While I will probably not tackle a big quilt project like this again soon (at least the hand quilting), I do enjoy sewing and the creative problem solving that requires. The Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival is coming up this weekend... I can't wait to start planning my next project!


Room redos

Our dining room renovation is affecting other rooms. Here's our powder room, aka Chicken Bathroom, with ugly paneling.
The under-sink area is uhg-ly! We need to do something to cover the hole, yet retain access to water valves.
This is the beadboard pulled from our dining room ceiling. We'll reuse it in the bathroom to replace the paneling then give it a fresh coat of paint. That's Dad's job. Maybe Mom will peel the wallpaper off for me. I heard she's good at that. :)
Speaking of the dining room ceiling, thanks for the input on the tin panels. I'm going with a non-glossy finish to keep the "old" look. Here's the crown molding, just painted this afternoon.

Once it's dry, I age it with 150 grit sandpaper. Then a coat of matte poly to finish it off. Presto! Pics of the finished tin ceiling will come soon...
(the table underneath everything is the next refinishing project)


Romance redefined

My man knows me. I'm not easy to buy Valentine gifts for, but he nailed it this year.

I have a soft side. He bought me flowers. But he also knows I'm a dreamer yet practical, so he bought Stargazer Lilies which I can plant and (hopefully) keep alive for years to come.

I 'm a geek, and I love a good laugh. So a subscription to "Scientific American" shows up in the mailbox. Two issues at once! January's topic: "The Most Powerful Idea in Science: the Evolution of Evolution" (with a whiny article about Creationist trying to get their way in schools via legislature). February's features: "How eating meat contributes to global warming" and "Black holes may have even stranger siblings that violate known laws of physics."

Hmm. One month scientists can't deal with the idea of things happening outside the scope of purported scientific laws, and the next month they're intigued by them. The sacred temple of science looks more like a circus tent to me; pitch it where ever there's a crowd to pay admission.


Irreconcilable War

Calvin's Institutes
Book 1 - Knowledge of God the Creator
Chapter 14 - Even in Creation Scripture distinguishes the True God from false gods
Sections 13-19 - The devils in the purposes of God
Section 13 - Scripture forearms us against the adversary
by cautioning us of his power (2 Cor 4:4; John 12:31; Luke 11:21; Eph 2:2; 1 Pet 5:8).
to resist and fight him (1 Pet 5:9; Eph 6:12ff).

Section 14 - The realm of wickedness
We have legions of enemies.
Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2; Matt 12:43-45; Luke 8:30; Matt 25:41.

Section 15 - An irreconcilable struggle
Satan is our adversary and enemy.
"We must wage irreconcilable war with him."
He plots our ruin, and Christ's Kingdom with "consummate depravity."
Matt 13:28, 39; Matt 13:25; John 8:44; 1 John 3:8.

Section 16 - The devil is a degenerate creation of God
He was created good, and perverted himself.
John 8:44 hints that he was in the truth once.
The fall of demons isn't told in detail, "because this has nothing to do with us."
We are told only that they were judged for their sin (2 Pet 2:4; Jude 6; 1 Tim 5:21).

Section 17 - Satan stands under God's power
He can do nothing without God's permission - Job 1:6, 12; 2:1, 6; 2 Kings 22:20-22
Examples of his work: 1 Sam 16:14; 18:10; Ps 78:49; 2 Thess 2:9.
Even Satan's resistance to God depends on God's allowing it.
He doesn't want to obey God, but God reins and bridles him.


Tin Ceiling Project

Lately the knitting and sewing have been put aside to try something different:

We ordered some tin ceiling panels to redo our water-damaged ceiling. I love the look of time-worn tin, with the paint rubbed and cracked. You can buy panels already painted with this look for the cost of your arm, leg and firstborn. Since I like bipedal action and my children too much, I decided to do it myself. So 37 panels and yards of bright shiny tin crown molding arrived on my doorstep. I'm still figuring out my process, but there's lots of fun to be had in the process!

Which of the two panels do you like best? Dull and subtle details, or bright and high-contrast details?


Hell for the curious

I love it when I find a joke that I thought was modern in classic writers. Here Calvin quotes Augustine:

"When a shameless fellow mockingly asked a pious old man what God had done before the creation of the world, the latter aptly countered  that he had been building hell for the curious."


Romans 13:8 - Owe No One Anything?!

Question from a young lady at church: what does this verse mean???

Some take this verse to mean you can never have any debt. I do not take it that way.
It is connected to the verse before it, about paying taxes to the state. The point is, don't have long-standing obligations you don't meet. Make your payments on time. The only thing you should owe long term to anyone is to love them.


Craft update

Let's see how I did on my January goals:

finish Steve's birthday socks - 70 % done
finish Hemlock Ring cardigan -did nothing

flannel nightgown for daughter - fabric cut & ready to sew
flannel PJs for boys #2 & #3 - did nothing
canvas log carrier - 1st attempt was too small & turned into a tote bag, will try again
ironing board cover (not very inspiring, but much needed) DONE!
baby gift for new hobbit nephew (born on Tolkien's birthday, Jan 3) DONE! (knitted, not sewn)

Ugh. Not very good. But I did do a few things NOT on my list:
-sewed a jumper for my daughter
-knit fingerless mitts for myself

Here are the goals for February:

finish Steve's b-day socks
get body of Hemlock Cardigan done

sew flannel pjs for daughter
plan dresden plate quilt rescue
sew log carrier in final form
find fabric for spring jacket


Spring Sewing

I'm a Northern girl, and that means I have a lot of really warm winter coats. Lots. By time spring hits in the north, you've worn through two coats and are sale shopping for a third. But here in the steamy south, spring is knocking at our door already, and the winter coats are being retired.
I sadly put away my wool pea coat and realized I have no inbetweeners. I saw this 1966 pattern for sale and thought it'd make a great spring jacket. And HUGE pockets! What more could a mom want? And there's something about that Pepto-Bismol pink that's calling me...


Joy in the Morning

It is AMAZING, in the onslaught of church discipline to administer, divorce cases to counsel, and other church hassles, how much stress can disappear, how much gloom can vanish, how much discouragement can be dispelled, and how much joy and gladness can be bestowed, all in 2 hours of sweet fellowship with a loving wife. Thank you, dear.

See a poem here, that fits my thoughts to a T.


Aslan instead of Edmund

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Chapter 14 - The Triumph of the Witch

Aslan withdraws, without sharing His plans with the Witch. He teaches and trains Peter in how to lead His people, as Jesus did the disciples. Peter is thinking of military operations all the time, even when the main fight will take place on a different theater (Luke 22:38; John 18:10). Aslan's sadness parallel's Christ's affliction in Gethsemane (Matt 26:38). Peter is shocked that Aslan won't always be there.

The girls have an intuitive forboding about Aslan and follow Him into the wood. He lets them come a certain distance (Matt 26:37), but must go on alone after that. The faithfulness of the girls in not sleeping and being with Him in His deepest need, throws into more awful contrast the disciples sleeping in Gethsemane (Matt 26:40).

He goes to the Stone Table, where the forces of evil have gathered. They are rightly afraid, at first, but suppress it, claim victory, ridicule, bind and abuse Him (Matt 27:29-31), "cheering as if they had done something brave, though one of those paws could have been the death of them all [Matt 26:53]. But He made no noise" (Isa 53:7). The witch's cruelty comes out, again, as she has Him shaved first (Matt 27:35). They taunt Him as a pussy cat (Matt 27:41-43). But to the women looking on, He looks braver and more patient than ever (Matt 27:55-56).

Lewis makes the substitutionary death point real clear: the witch gets ready like "when it had been Edmund instead of Aslan." The knife itself is of stone, for the letters written on stone kill (2 Cor 3:3-6).

The witch believes she has won, that she can go back on her promise to take Aslan for Edmund, once Aslan is out of the way. But she makes two mistakes: 1. Thinking the Deep Magic (moral law) is to be "appeased," not fulfilled. 2. Thinking that death is the end - her indestructible trump card. But death itself can be overcome.