Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Miserables

Most of us have probably seen the play or movie, Les Miserables. If you are like me, thinking about reading the 1433 page book is a little bit daunting. I added Les Miserables to the senior reading list this year. Since they read 7-8 books per semester, I thought the 640 abridged version would be fine.

I read the first chapter a couple of weeks ago, and finished it up this weekend. I "neglected" my kids a little (I fed them, clothed them, protected them, but didn't play with them). But as I was reading a book filled with Parisian street urchins, it made my children seem like pampered royals.

I was up until 3am last night finishing the book.

I cried, I underlined passages, and I cheered. Please oh PLEASE don't underestimate the power of fiction to relay tender TRUTH. A few ladies and I are reading this. Anyone else want to join us?

Here's the passage that seems to have inspired the title (for you Greek philosophers out there notice the Socrates allusion):

"What! a mere wall separated him from these abandoned beings, who lived by groping in the night without the pale of the living. Undoubtedly they seemed very depraved, very corrupt, very vile, very hateful, even, but those are rare who fall without being degraded; there is a point, moreover, at which the unfortunate and the infamous are associated and confounded in a single word, a fatal word, les miserables; whose fault is it? And then, is it not when the fall is lowest that the charity ought to be the greatest?"

I won't tell you what happens to those behind "the wall." Les Mis does address the depravity of man and the appropriate reaction to our own weaknesses as well as the weaknesses of others (a.k.a. sin). It is poignant, it is important, and it is TRUE.

And I have the puffy eyes and tear-stained pages to prove it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

God and Singing Cats

It was a moment this evening that will live in my mind for eternity. There is one person, and one person only who constructs a sentence like this in order to practice her acting and enunciation skills:

"The cat walked downtown while singing a song about puberty."

Oh man, that Big Sis. You are your mother's daughter. (okay...There are two people.)

On another (not entirely unrelated) note, I accidentally caught a student listening to an iPod in class today. Luckily, I like this student oodles. I was talking to him about my accidental discovery (oops...someone forgot to tuck their headphones back into their shirt), and heard myself inadvertently saying:

"I think God is on MY side, don't you?"

I'm tired and I'm stressed, and I'm just saying right now that I'm not sure what is going to come out of my mouth tomorrow. It's 8:12. Big Sis and I better go to bed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I'm being eaten alive by essays, progymnasmata exercises, and presentations. Thanks to the Giving to the Breakitie-Brizake.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mrs. Fisher's Book Club

Behold, The list to end all lists. Does anyone want to be in Mrs. Fisher's book club? This does not replace your daily scripture reading! I'm looking for a great deal of silence in the comments section (that was a shameless attempt to try to get people on board while protecting myself from shame and disgrace when no one wants to be my book friend).

1.) The Knowledge of the Holy-Tozer
2.) The City of God-Augustine
3.) The Communist Manifesto-Marx
4.) The Twilight of the Idols-Nietzsche
5.) The God Who is There- Schaeffer
6.) The Essays–Francis Bacon
7.) The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare– Chesterton
8.) In Defense of Faith–VanTil
9.) God in the Wasteland–David Wells
10.) The Problem of Pain- C.S. Lewis
11.) Till We Have Faces-C.S. Lewis
12.) Essays on Criticism- Alexander Pope
13.) Phantastes-George McDonald
14.) 1776- McCullough
15.) The Irresistible Revolution- Claiborne
16.) The Red Tent- Diamant
17.) Crime and Punishment-Dostoevsky
18.) Fear and Trembling- Kierkegaard
19.) Enders Game-Card
20.) Slaughterhouse Five-Vonnegut
21.) Metarmorphoses-Ovid
22.) Plato’s Symposium
23.) Divine Comedy-Dante
24.) Angela’s Ashes-McCourt
25.) Ethan Frome-Wharton
26.) Brothers Karamazov-Dostoevsky
27.) The Pearl-Steinbeck
28.) For Whom the Bell Tolls-Hemingway
29.) Metamorphosis-Kafka
30.) Martian Chronicles-Bradbury

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I Promise Not to Get Too Wordy, Too Boring, or Too Preachy...


I’m feeling rather solemn. I just finished reading Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. I have to echo a student’s evaluation of the book and say:

“Those guys were AWESOME!!”

I learned so much about church history, the reformation, and the importance of the Word of God. There is so much to learn.

Friday, November 14, 2008

There is Cheap, and Then There is...ME.

I took the girls shopping. I made a B-Line for the sales rack. Big Sis was searching on my behalf. She held up an adorable shirt. "Never mind," she sighed. "It's TWELVE dollars."

I've trained her well. That's right. Nothing over $7.50 cuts the mustard. I WILL make the purchase, but not without an incredible amount of emotional pain. It's not that I CAN'T spend the money, it's just that I can't spend the money.

I long to be a pioneer. Three dresses. That is all I want. A Sunday dress, and two rotating daily frocks. Of course, I would need three or four aprons to cover my precious dresses.

With this attitude, I'll soon be wearing a "house dress" and slippers everywhere. Complete with my false eyelashes, rhinestone bracelet, orange hair, sun-damaged skin and man voice.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I'm IT...! 7 Random(ish) Things About Me.

  1. I’m Jealous of people w/ OCD tendencies. I’m the antithesis of OCD.

  2. I can’t spell and write on the blackboard at the same time. This reduces my ethos exponentionally (did I spell that right?). I CAN spell. I just have a hard time writing, teaching Socratically, listening, thinking to the next point, and SPELLING at the same time. It’s a weakness, and for some reason everyone expects the ENGLISH teacher to “spell correctly.”

  3. I’ve been told that I have an uncanny ability to survive in chaos. I’m pretty sure that’s a backhanded compliment. Someone once told me, “I wish I could let my kids eat toast in my bed like you do.” Yes…I’m awesome like that.

  4. People tell me on a regular basis “I didn’t think you liked me,” or “Do you like me?” I try to keep the response ambiguous, thereby lowering or eliminating any expectations. I’m sure that doesn’t assuage their fears. Just to clear the air, I LIKE YOU!!!!

  5. I make someone furiously mad at least once every year (I know that is SOOOO surprising). The only way I can avoid it is by staying home. Alone. But then someone thinks I “don’t like them” because I'm not socializing. Please...eliminate all expectations directed my way. Pretend I'm not here, and I'll just float in and surprise you once in a while like a forgotten but beloved specter.

  6. I’m deathly afraid of pickles (Just kidding).

  7. Ironically, in spite of my complete lack of OCD, I’m really no good at the “random” post. I always have an agenda.

And the game goes on... Auntie Beth, Little Dalene, and my comrade ChristyO, you're it!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Quixotic Hope?

There has been a paradigm shift in my life this week. I've cried THRICE.

  1. I was in the fetal position when McCain conceded. He was so classy, and he made me proud to be an American.
  2. I can't help it. A Tale of Two Cities makes me cry. If you didn't cry, I will have to have some other proof of your humanity.
  3. Several students recited the St. Crispan's Day Speech from Henry V in Rhetoric today. They did SUCH a great job. I was moved. I didn't go fetal, but I was misting.

Perhaps one must be a little MAD to feel the hope that I have today. But to tell you the truth, I'm very excited about the future. I'm so thrilled to know that FAMILY VALUES just became a little more important. Lackadaisical? Absolutely NOT. The ball is in MY court. That's just where it belongs.

Our futures are not established by our governments. Whether you were a Maverick supporter, or are a MoBama fan, the reality remains that the FIRST line of defense is... YOU. The family is the vanguard of our future. I'm so glad that God is sovereign and I'm excited to see his mysterious hand at work.

Quixotic? Perhaps. But then again, while Sancho is stuck in a hole, I prefer to see a grand adventure.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Drama of the Great Debate

Is there anything better than combining a great debate with a little bit of humor?? Maybe that's why America is fascinated by SNL right now. There's nothing like humor to lighten a situation and drive home a point simultaneously.

I can't help but feel that as we enter the future, there is a great need for logical minds, who know when and where to use their rhetoric. However, there are times when the best thing to do is to "take a chill pill" and laugh at ourselves.

It's sort-of sad that much of the rhetoric we see today is nothing but a theatrical, shameless appeal to pathos. I'm concerned about the dubious "tomorrow." Not just election day, but 20 years from now. I hope we are taking the time to train our children how to think, debate, and most importantly love their neighbors by finding common ground from which to persuade.

My friend Wilbur said it best. "I'z reely hopin that them thur yungins iz doin skool learnin on howtu be teachen the peoples about all the rites and rongs in the wearld. I'z sorta trubled about the future of this hear nation, who like fancy talkin but aint been taught howta do their own fancy talk. I wished I could do it."

I'm SO Grateful for so many friends (in the blogosphere and across the nation) who are being intentional in the training of their children. We are training the people who will be making decisions for us when we are in our rocking chairs!!! You all rock at what you do! I love reading the stories that you each post...to be honest, I'm totally intimidated by all of the rocking awesome moms out there. WE'll be rocking together at the nursing home some day. For now, I watch you in awe.

With the necessity for a new generation of leaders (and my gooberness), I can't tell you how grateful I am for the Speech and Debate team at ACS, where my daughter (with the help of two friends) just received two medals for Cross-Examination (3rd place), and Humorous Duet (2nd place). Poor Big Bub. If you want to win a medal, it helps to know your lines. Good lessons. Conversely, if you want to get a medal, you need to have a smokin funny partner and a mean old-lady impersonation.

Christy and I had a great day with our girls. With seven years of speech and debate impending on their high-school resumes, could we be training the next Sarah Palins??? (or Tina Feys????)