What Is Beauty?

Beauty waits until the patience and depth of a gaze are refined enough to engage and discover it. In this sense, beauty is not a quality externally present in something. It emerges at that threshold where reverence of mind engages the subtle presence of the other person, place, or object.

~ John O’ Donohue

Maksymilianna — Not just a beautiful child—but a beautiful name as well.

 

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What we call Nature’s beauty is simply a result of God using our (His) Earth as an artist’s palette.

 

The Flagship Niagara. An object. But a complex object—built by man—but created by God through the talent that He gave them. And certainly a beautiful thing to look upon.

 

 

***

 

Perhaps God uses people more than any other medium to exhibit absolute, heart-rending beauty—the kind that causes the breath to catch, the heart to skip a beat, and the eyes to tear.

Our souls long to absorb pure beauty so that it becomes a part of us; we ache because we cannot become a part of it.   We reach out for it with our minds, our souls … and we wonder—in frustration—why we cannot hold it.  Instead, we are allowed to glimpse upon only a portion; the rest will not come to us until we are with God in heaven.

For we must be pure in order to comprehend, absorb, fully appreciate, and become a part of something that is pure.

~ Eric Uhland

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From the book by Elisabeth Toll, SYSTRAR – Four Sisters the Last Day of March. When God creates beauty like this, we yearn in our souls for something more—though we don’t even know what it is.

Music—any kind of music that touches a person’s soul—can make the heart ache and the tears well up.

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s Free!

Its-free

by Andrew Malcolm (Investor’s Business Daily)

Some really big news coming from President Obama today: He’s got an idea of free community college for everyone for two years.

Like many exciting Obama ideas, it sounds too good to be true. Remember the $2,500 health insurance savings he promised on every family’s health insurance costs under ObamaCare?

But according to a video teaser POTUS taped sitting at — no, wait — sitting on his desk aboard Air Force One, Obama’s going to outline the plan today at Knoxville’s Pellissippi Community College as part of his State of the Union preview tour.

Then, as we described here earlier this week, he’s going to describe it again on national TV during his State of the Union address on Jan. 20.

“Put simply,” Obama explains, “what I’d like to do is see the first two years of community college free for everybody who’s willing to work for it.”

Free

Wait, there’s more!

“That’s right, free for everybody who is willing to work for it.”

If you’re one of the youth legions who fell for Obama in 2008, you might wonder why your hero waited on this sweet freebie until 75% of his two terms were gone and you’d accumulated in excess of $100,000 in student loans. But that’s your problem.

“Under President Obama’s new proposal,” his White House website excitedly touted, “students would be able to earn the first half of a bachelor’s degree, or earn the technical skills needed in the workforce — all at no cost to them.”

“Responsible students” would get free community college tuitions as long as they attended class at least half-time and maintained a 2.5 average during steady progress toward a degree. This would save each student about $3,800 a year, Obama said he figures.

Obama also figures all 1,100 community colleges in all his 57 states would want to participate.

imagesIt’s somewhat surprising that the Democrat would announce such a major giveaway on a Friday, a day usually reserved by his administration for document dumps of bad news timed to gather minimal attention. But he’s competing for media time and space with a new Congress that thinks it’s an equal branch of government.

The president’s cost totals are typically a little vague. But the federal government (meaning, you if you pay taxes) would fork over 75% of the tuition subsidy’s price tag and states would ante up the remaining 25%. Obama sees no problems there.

Like many Obama plans, this new spending idea equals a sum total exceeding the digits available on my calculator. But that doesn’t matter right now because none of this is ever going to happen.

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Wait! What’s that I see? Could it be? No; no commander-in-chief would ever flip his own country the bird! (I mean … he couldn’t. After all, he’s too busy carrying a coffee cup in one hand while dissing the Marines with the other.)

 

Remember Obama’s similarly-financed idea for universal pre-K back in 2013? That swell-sounding, $75 billion idea went nowhere in a Congress half-controlled by Democrats. Although, as planned, the proposal did help Obama control a few news cycles, a couple of Sunday talk-show segments and provided him a tasty, if hopeless, talking point ever since.

Today, Congress is totally controlled by budget-conscious Republicans. So are 31 governorships, two territories and most state legislative chambers.

Other than that though, President Obama’s generous plan for free college for everyone today is a clear Go.

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It WAS a wonderful life–before Osama .. Obama … Hussein … (whatever) was born.

 

 

That’s Not What America’s About

We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship in the United States.  … Imagine what they start doing when they see a documentary, or news reports, that they don’t like. Or even worse, imagine if producers and distributors and others start engaging in self-censorship because they don’t want to offend the sensibilities of someone whose sensibilities probably need to be offended.

That’s not who we are. That’s not what America’s about.

Can you guess who said that?

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Can you believe he said that?

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It Pleases Me

Love Those "Hands at Home"

working handsA folklorist, traveling in rural America, meets an elderly farmer. The old man is tired, from hard work with his herd and his land, yet works in the evening to make chairs he needs for his home.

The chairs he has crafted could be considered finished—they are strong and sound—but the old man continues, with weary hands, to carve flourishes and curlicues into the wood, to decorate his utilitarian creations.

The folklorist, a specialist in material culture, asks the man, “Why? Who do you take the time to decorate the chairs when they are perfectly serviceable?” The old man is silent, thinking, perhaps for the first time, about his motivation, his desire. And then he answers:

“Because it pleases me.”

I heard this story, told by folklorist Henry Glassie, many years ago as an undergraduate when Glassie came to visit my college. Since then, I have thought often of the…

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The Taste of Autumn, in a Muffin

Love Those "Hands at Home"

IMG_2761A girl cannot live by chocolate alone. Sometimes, frankly, she needs to remind herself that there’s a world beyond chocolate, where chocolate does not rule her every waking moment.

Sometimes, in the autumn, when the air is crisp with a hint of snow and the smell of wood smoke, when the geese party out in the bay and raucously plan their winter in warmer waters, and when the last leaf falls from the last tree, right then, a girl needs an apple cider doughnut.

What is it about an apple cider doughnut? The doughnuts are cake-style, not yeast, so they are more dense and crumby, but still tender and light. Their sweetness comes from the apple cider used in the batter.

And the perfect apple cider doughnut, the one this girl craves, is slathered with cinnamon and sugar. It’s that taste and the incomparable mouth feel, really, that sets these…

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We are UNhurried schoolers.

This blog is a wonderful testament to the benefits of homeschooling.
Read and enjoy.

(If I had kids they would never set foot in a government indoctrination center.)

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We are UNhurried schoolers. It’s a beautiful way to learn!

Yes, we’re homeschoolers.

Yes, we’re unschoolers.

Yes, we’re interest-led schoolers.

Yes, we’ve been public schoolers (many years.)

Yes, we’ve attended private schools (a couple years.)

Yes, we’re teaching our kids about survival, writing, reading, math, history, science, home economics, Bible, financial peace (with Dave Ramsey,) and much more.

But not all at the same time.

The best part about learning with my Homeschool Homies is that we are absolutely NOT in a hurry anymore.

We are learning. We are learning every day (even in the summer and on holidays.) And my kids LIKE it!

Today as I was teaching my 12 year old daughter how to use the sewing machine, I heard one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard in my whole life.

As we were not rushed… (because I do not believe true learning happens as quickly…

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Wrong Number

So I answer the phone, and this twelve-year-old girl wants to order a pizza.

“You have the wrong number,” I tell her. She apologizes, and that’s the end of it.

About a month later, it happens again. And I recognize the girl’s voice. I tell her, “Wrong number. Sorry.” Why am I apologizing? She made me get off the couch.

My phone is silent for many, many weeks. Until she calls again.  And this time (and I’m very proud of myself for my on-the-spot cleverness, because I did not plan this in advance) I say, “Okay, hold on a second,” while I reach for the order pad over by the pinball machine.  I’m going to put a stop to this.

“Okay, whattaya want?”

“A large pie (that’s what we call ’em in New York) with roasted peppers, mushrooms, and meatballs.”  (I love meatballs and mushrooms on a pizza.) 

IMGP7994 I’m at a loss for what to say; I’d never worked in a pizza place. “Uh huh …”

 “A Sicilian with pepperoni and anchovies …”  (I love anchovies on a pizza too.  Maybe I should move in with these people.)

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I write the order in the air so that I know how long it should take. “Uh huh …”

“Okay … uh … mushrooms …” I’m stuck again. Stage fright.

 And then I put myself in my shoes if I were ordering a pizza, and I say, “What’s the name?”

“Higgins.”

Then I forget for a moment where I work; suddenly I’m wearing my Chinese food shoes. “Okay, ten—fifteen min.”

“Huh?”

“Oh, uh … fifteen minutes.”

“Thanks.”

I jump back into my pizza shoes. “Yeah.”

Click.

I chuckle and think how I would give anything to be standing at the counter picking up my order when little Miss Higgins comes in for hers.

And then I forget about it.

***

A few days later, I’m in the paint/wallpaper/hardware store with my boss picking up supplies for our job that day. It’s taking awhile, so I go outside to wait. I start reading the matchbook covers on the ground, the 15-Minute Parking signs, the phone number in the window of the pizza place next door. The phone number … in the window … of the pizza place …

No, it’s not my phone number; it’s theirs. But the handwriting on the glass makes it look like mine. My number ends in 6778. But the pizza guy’s number ends in 6118, and the little hooks at the top of the ones could easily be mistaken for sevens. This is too delicious—one of those coincidences you read about only in fiction.

Later that day, my boss and I make it a point to go in there—instead of our favorite deli—for lunch. Because I just gotta know. And when Rico gives me my slices, I ask him, “So did Higgins come in here a few nights ago for an order and you guys didn’t have it ready?”

“Yeah. How’dja know?”

“Because I took their order.”

“What?”

“Yeah,” I said. “They kept calling me, and I got fed up with them getting the wrong number, so I took their order.”

“That was you?!” Rico screams.” “We were lookin’ all over the place trying to find their order! Nobody knew nuthin’ about it!”

I really couldn’t help bursting out, and I almost sprayed Coke all over the place. When I stopped laughing, I said, “Sorry.” And I meant it. I liked Rico. And he was okay with it.

And the Higgins girl? Well, I never heard from her again.