by Melanie Bettinelli on May 23, 2013
2. Bearing writes the post I was going to write, thereby saving me the trouble: The problem’s not that we sexualize breasts, but that we’ve lost the sense that sexuality is ordered towards self-gift.
3. Never say never, and other thoughts on having more kids by Jennifer Fulwiler
For a variety of reasons, we’re always tempted to freak out and get all fearful when it comes to new life, much more so than in other areas of life. A mother setting out to climb a famous mountain as a personal self-fulfillment project would be congratulated and encouraged, whereas another mother being open to pregnancy despite concerning health conditions would be chided and discouraged, even if the risk to both women’s health from their respective activities were the same.
So, especially when it comes to the question of more children, we need to look very carefully at the question, “How big is the risk?” There are times when we’ll take a closer look and find that the risk is real and huge and deeply concerning; but other times we might just find that the risk isn’t all that much greater than it would be with plenty of other “normal” activities, and that the doom and gloom predictions about future pregnancy were fueled as much by our culture’s fear of life than as by a reasonable analysis of risk.
We have this problem in our society of seeing new human lives as burdens. Instead of celebrating new people, too often we chalk them up to carbon footprints and mouths to feed. We deem others (always others, not people we know) to be “overpopulation.” And I’m not using “we” rhetorically: Seriously, I’m not immune to the mentality either.
The soundtrack to all of my pregnancies is the noise of my whining voice. I always forget about the life of the new son or daughter that I’m carrying, and talk about the huge burden that “the pregnancy” is placing on me. Maybe it’s all those years I spent immersed in secular culture, but I am naturally sympathetic to the frame of mind that wants to immediately shut down the pregnancy train as soon as the doctor says the word “risk.” Especially in the case of those of us who already have a lot of children, why not? After all, how many kids does one person need?
But children are more than a number in the family birth order, and each human life is infinitely valuable. Think of someone you love: When you consider the worth of his or her life, it makes you view the pregnancy that brought him or her into existence differently. It makes you willing to accept higher levels of risk to add a person like that to the world.
4. Raising concerns about the Common Core. I’m very skeptical about the whole Common Core phenomenon, but it’s hard to find articles that critique it that don’t sound paranoid or hysterical and all conspiracy theorist. This one, about the Common Core and the GED is about the most levelheaded I’ve found so far and even it has some rather breathless passages.
5. An oldie but goodie, this article by Father Fessio on The Mass of Vatican II.
I especially love this section on uncovering the history of Gregorian Chant:
Now, just a little footnote on the Gregorian Chant. In reflecting on these things about Church music, I began to think about the Psalms a few years back. And a very obvious idea suddenly struck me. Why it didn’t come earlier I don’t know, but the fact is that the Psalms are songs. Every one of the 150 Psalms is meant to be sung; and was sung by the Jews. When this thought came to me, I immediately called a friend, a rabbi in San Francisco who runs the Hebrew School, and I asked, “Do you sing the Psalms at your synagogue?” “Well, no, we recite them,” he said. “Do you know what they sounded like when they were sung in the Old Testament times and the time of Jesus and the Apostles?” I asked. He said, “No, but why don’t you call this company in Upstate New York. They publish Hebrew music, and they may know.”
So, I called the company and they said, “We don’t know; call 1-800-JUDAISM.” So I did. And I got an information center for Jewish traditions, and they didn’t know either. But they said, “You call this music teacher in Manhattan. He will know.” So, I called this wonderful rabbi in Manhattan and we had a long conversation. At the end, I said, “I want to bring some focus to this, can you give me any idea what it sounded like when Jesus and his Apostles sang the Psalms?” He said, “Of course, Father. It sounded like Gregorian Chant. You got it from us.”
I was amazed. I called Professor William Mart, a Professor of Music at Stanford University and a friend. I said, “Bill, is this true?” He said, “Yes. The Psalm tones have their roots in ancient Jewish hymnody and psalmody.” So, you know something? If you sing the Psalms at Mass with the Gregorian tones, you are as close as you can get to praying with Jesus and Mary. They sang the Psalms in tones that have come down to us today in Gregorian Chant.
So, the Council isn’t calling us back to some medieval practice, those “horrible” medieval times, the “terrible” Middle Ages, when they knew so little about liturgy that all they could do was build a Chartres Cathedral. (When I see cathedrals and churches built that have a tenth of the beauty of Notre Dame de Paris, then I will say that the liturgists have the right to speak. Until then, they have no right to speak about beauty in the liturgy.) But my point is that at the time of Notre Dame de Paris in the 13th century, the Psalms tones were already over a thousand years old. They are called Gregorian after Pope Gregory I, who reigned from 590 to 604. But they were already a thousand years old when he reigned. He didn’t invent Gregorian chant; he reorganized and codified it and helped to establish musical schools to sing it and teach it. It was a reform; it wasn’t an invention. Thus, the Council really calls us back to an unbroken tradition of truly sacred music and gives such music pride of place.
6. And an interesting follow-up to that conversation: Is Chant Like Folk Music?
Maybe people forget that Gregorian chant is premodern in its origin. It was not somehow invented in the age of winged collars, top hats, and mutton chops. It arose from the world of the first millennium—before there were universities, conservatories, cathedrals, or individually owned books. Chant arose among people poorer than is even imaginable to us today. The singers were from the lowest class. The composers too were monks drawn from every strata of society. They did not write their music down because no one had figured out how to write music. That only began to happen in a coherent way about the 11th century. The work of the chant composers continued for many centuries and the results have been handed on to us today.
This is why chant is what it is today. And if you look closely, you can discover that first-millennium sense about it. The more you sing it, the more you discover its humane qualities—written and sung by people just like us.
At the same time, it is a window into a world we do not know. The sensibility of chant is spontaneous. It tells stories in the folk vein. It emerged out of a culture of sharing. It wasn’t about musical theory and technique. In those days, people couldn’t write music. Mostly, the people who heard it couldn’t read either. There was no point because books were exceptionally rare and only available to a tiny group. Chant came about within this world to be the most compelling way to express the faith in a worship context.
7. Jen at As Cozy as Spring has a nice post with a lot of links related to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter.
by Melanie Bettinelli on May 23, 2013
While I’m dragging my feet on publishing my follow-up post about the second half of Forming Intentional Disciples, I’d like to draw your attention to CatholicMom.com’s Summer Reading “Lawn Chair Catechism” program:
We’ll be using Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus by Sherry Weddell as our basis for this discussion.
Every Wednesday morning this summer, from May 29 to August 28, we’ll post a series of discussion questions from our team here at CatholicMom.com. We’ll also have a link-sharing at the end, so others can participate.
Reading and posting schedule:
May 29 – Introduction
June 5 – Chapter 1: God Has No Grandchildren
June 12 – Chapter 2: We Don’t Know What Normal Is
June 19 – Chapter 3: The Fruit of Discipleship
June 26 – Chapter 4: Grace and the Great Quest
July 3 – Chapter 5: Thresholds of Conversion: Can I Trust You?
July 10 – Chapter 6: The Second Threshold: Curiosity
July 17 – Chapter 7: The Third Threshold: Openness
July 24 – Chapter 8: Thresholds of Conversion: Seeking and Intentional Discipleship
July 31 – Chapter 9: Break the Silence
Aug 7 – Chapter 10: Do Tell: The Great Story of Jesus
Aug 14 – Chapter 11: Personally Encountering Jesus in His Church
Aug 21 – Chapter 12: Expect Conversion
Aug 28 – Conclusion
I’m definitely going to be jumping in on this discussion. I’m so glad CatholicMom is hosting it.
by Melanie Bettinelli on May 22, 2013
John Singer Sargent [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons”
Isabella Stewart Gardner by John Singer Sargent
Today we took a field trip to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Dom got a Living Social deal and we figured it was about time for our art loving Bella to visit the museum founded by her namesake.
Isabella Stewart was a New York heiress who married a Bostonian. They traveled extensively and she developed a taste for art, especially Renaissance Venetian art. When she inherited her father’s fortune she became a collector and after her husband died she built a gorgeous Italian style pallazzo on the Fenway to house her eclectic collection. The museum is rather a challenge for curators as Isabella’s will specified that the permanent collection cannot be substantially changed. The museum can neither add to or remove from the collection nor can they so much as move the objects and paintings around. In the Dutch room the empty frames of two stolen Rembrandts hang on the wall, stolen in 1990 in one of the most famous art heists in history.
I just love this museum. I love that it has so much personality, you can feel the presence of the woman whose vision it was. All the pieces, great and small that she collected. Here a bunch of vestments, there a collection of little glass bottles. Here a table set with golden cups and fine china, there a glass case full of lace. Chinese and Egyptian pieces, Greek and Roman, Medieval and Renaissance and Impressionist pieces jostle together with reliquaries, sketches, and furniture. There is a room full of tapestries with a gigantic fireplace, the intricately carved mantle is from France. A portrait of Mary Tudor, a self portrait of Rembrandt, a beautiful sedan chair, choir stalls, sarcophagi….
My favorite part of the museum is the central courtyard atrium. A fountain plays, orchids and hydrangeas bloom around a mosaic floor with a central medallion of Medusa’s head, the whole surrounded by beautiful cloisters filled with statues and objects d’arts. The glass roof is four stories above you and you feel like you are outside. I kept thinking: that’s is what I need in my house, a space where the kids can run and play in all weather but feel they are outside. Yes, I really wish I could live in the museum. I could get used to waking up in a room where I could look out on that courtyard full of flowers and green. It really is a little slice of heaven.
I wish I had photographs, but no cameras are allowed in the museum and no cell phone activity either. You’ll just have to click through and explore the museum’s site, which does let you browse their collections both by rooms and by genres and has a nice Explore feature as well.
Bella, Sophie, and Ben all loved it. Though as usual when going with children, we can’t stay very long. We arrived not long after the museum opened at 11, wandered over the first floor until 12. Then went out to have a picnic in the park across the street while watching the geese, squirrels, sparrows, and passing art students. The children amused themselves throwing sandwich crumbs and cheerios to the sparrows. At bedtime Bella told me that was her favorite part of the day. But she loved the art too. I know we will be back to this special place many times. (And as an Isabella she will get in free for life, though that doesn’t matter now as all children under 18 are free in accordance with the museum’s mission to teach art appreciation.)
After lunch we spent another hour or so wandering the second and third floors. Our exploration of the third floor was rather rushed since it was well past Anthony’s nap time and even Bella, Ben, and Sophie were fading. One rule of visiting museums with little people is to remember that you can’t see everything. You have to plan to give them enough to whet their appetites, trusting that some day you will return to drink more deeply. But it would take many days even for enthusiastic adults to begin to scratch the surface of this remarkable museum.
I did let each of the big kids get a print at the museum gift card since our Living Social deal included fifty dollars to spend there. Sophie got a beautiful picture of chrysanthemums, Bella got a portrait by John Singer Sargent of a woman holding a wine glass, Ben got a Spanish St Michael. I figure letting them each have a piece of art which is theirs is a great way of helping them to make connections, to feel that the art is theirs and the museum is theirs. Now I just need to go get some frames…. We also have some prints they got at Christmas and some I found on great sale last year. Once they are all framed the kids’ rooms are going to be little art galleries. How fun is that?
Oh and Lucia? How did she make out, you ask. She slept the whole time in the sling. Didn’t even wake up for lunch.
You can also read more about the museum and the famous theft at the museum’s Wikipedia page.
by Melanie Bettinelli on May 20, 2013
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
I liked this so much better than any other Holocaust book I’ve read with the possible exception of Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. I wish I had read this at school instead of Anne Frank. But I suspect The Hiding Place is too Christian a book to make it to most school reading lists. And that’s what makes it so very amazing.
The Hiding Place of the title refers not only to the little hidden room at the top of the house in Haarlem where Corrie and her family hid their various Jewish refugees, but even more importantly to the image from the Psalms, God is really the hiding place.
I’ve been hearing about this book for a long time. First, from my former roommate, Niamh. It was one of her favorites. But later from various other sources. Still, it was a quote Niamh posted on Facebook that made me decide it was time to finally check it out:
“He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case off the floor and set it on the floor.
Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?” he said.
I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.
It’s too heavy,” I said.
Yes,” he said, “and it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger, you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.
And I was satisfied. More than satisfied—wonderfully at peace. There were answers to this and all my hard questions—for now I was content to leave them in my father’s keeping.”
That was definitely one of my favorite moments in the book. Corrie’s father seems like such a wise man.
There is another passage a little later where he displays the same kind of wisdom that moved me even more, though. Corrie is disturbed by her first encounter with death, the baby of a poor family her mother has adopted.
At last we heard Father’s footsteps winding up the stairs. It was the best moment in every day, when he came up to tuck us in. We never fell asleep until he had arranged the blankets in his special way and laid his hand for a moment on each head. Then we tried not to move even a toe.
But that night as he stepped through the door I burst into tears “I need you!” I sobbed. “You can’t die! You can’t!”
Beside me on the bed Nollie sat up. “We went to see Mrs. Hoeg,” she explained, “Corrie didn’t eat her super or anything.”
Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed. “Corrie,” he began gently, “when you and I go to Amsterdam—when do I give you your ticket?”
I sniffled a few times, considering this.
“Why, just before we get on the train.”
“Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things, too. Don’t run ahead of him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need—just in time.”
And of course Father is proved right:
In front of us the proud face crumpled; Tante Jans put her hands over her eyes and began to cry. “Empty, empty! she choked at last through her tears. “How can we bring anything to God? What does He care for our little tricks and trinkets?”
And then as we listened in disbelief she lowered her hands and with tears still coursing down her face whispered, “Dear Jesus, I thank You that we must come with empty hands. I thank You that You have done all—all—on the Cross, and that all we need in life or death is to be sure of this.”
Mama threw her arms around her and they clung together. But I stood rooted to the spot, knowing I had seen a mystery.
It was Father’s train ticket, given at the moment itself.
This book was a treasure house of riches. I definitely need to buy a copy to read again and again. I also love Father’s wisdom when Corrie has her heart broken. I love Corrie sister Betsie and how she sees the good in everything and can find a light in any darkness, even in the most brutal of the SS guards. One of my favorite scenes is when they give thanks for the fleas.
Oh if you haven’t read this one, you really, really should.
by Melanie Bettinelli on May 20, 2013
The morning of her seventh birthday Bella exclaimed: Oh I just love books! It’s a good thing since they were the bulk of her presents. Because I love to read and to share book lists, here’s what she got:
2. The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen illustrated by Thomas Aquinas Maguire
No idea where I saw this one, but it’s more of a work of art than a children’s book. It comes in a nice box, necessary because the “book” is one long accordion pleated page. Yes. All one picture. It’s just gorgeous and we’re going to have fun exploring it. But it’s also something I’m going to want to keep safe from little hands.
3. Forest Has a Song: Poems by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater (another Melissa Wiley recommendation, actually a Rilla recommendation.)
Bella was rather skeptical at first when I grabbed this book and offered to read it this morning. As I started to read her posture was very distant, leaning away from me at the corner of the couch. As I read she crept closer and closer until she was leaning over the book and then finally she took off and began wandering about the room, orbiting the coffee table and returning to glance at the pictures every once in a while. Speculating aloud about who was speaking the poems. She loved the Fiddleheads poem both because we love to eat fiddleheads in season but also because she’s been observing the ferns sprouting at the back of the house. Oh I can tell this book is going to be a favorite. Tonight at bedtime she brought it to me, carrying it in her arms like a treasure. Oh I just love this book, she sighed. When I gently teased her about he initial unfavorable impression, she said she thought it was just going to be a story about a girl who goes for a walk. She conceded that she’d been wrong.
4. St. Jerome and the Lion“St Jerome and the Lion by Margaret Hodges
We love several Margaret Hodges books and I thought this would be a nice addition to our collection. I’m always looking for good picture books about the saints. This fanciful story of the lion was a big hit. Sophie kept wondering aloud: “Where did the donkey go?”
4. Hansel and Gretel by Lisbeth Zwerger
I love Lisbeth Zwerger’s soft, fanciful illustrations, but this story might have been a miscalculation. Perhaps it is a bit too scary for my sensitive girls. As I read it Bella got the shivers and Sophie retreated to listen from the other room. Oh she listened bu at a safe distance. I had always thought the witch was the scary part. And the girls certainly seemed to think so. But this time through it was the stepmother that really chilled me. Oh I do think it important to stress that the children overcome evil. My girls already do know that evil exists. To know that it can be conquered by the week and small of the world is a good lesson. But I suspect this book is not going to be requested very often. Not until it’s needed, which who knows maybe someday it will be.
5. The Story of Icons by Mary P. Hallick
We haven’t read this yet, but a glance through it showed beautiful color plates. The text looks elevated but still aimed at older children rather than adults. Bella has responded well to the other icon book we have. This looks a bit more advanced. I really want my children to appreciate icons as more than just a form of art, but as a means of knowing God. Bella is my artist, my sensitive one, who loves to draw pictures of the crucifixion and of the tomb. She already uses art to meditate on the Gospel. Perhaps one day she will learn to write icons.
by Melanie Bettinelli on May 18, 2013
For her seventh birthday breakfast Dom made chocolate chip pancakes and bacon.
On the way to the farmer’s market Bella exclaimed “Everything looks different today.” Indeed everything does. I can’t believe it’s been seven years since my little wide-eyed wondering child entered the world. Everyone who visited us in the hospital commented on how alert she was. So alert and eager to take everything in. And she’s still the same, wide-eyed, eager girl, exploring the world. In the last year she’s come out of her shyness and is now quite eager to talk to anyone and everyone. But she’s definitely an introvert. She likes to retreat to her room, shut the door, seek quiet to recharge when she gets overwhelmed, much to poor Sophie’s dismay.
Last week Dom went on a walk with her and came home marveling: “I see an unkempt lawn full of dandelions,” he says, “But she exclaims how happy the people who live there must be to have so many beautiful flowers. I see a house that needs attention, she exclaims how beautiful the color blue is. I see a seedy empty lot, she sees a wonderland.” She pays attention to rocks and sticks and flowers and bushes. She has a favorite house on the block, the one with the beautiful garden, a bit unkempt and overgrown but full of flowers. She tells him the names of plants.
Bella picks radishes while Sophie watches. We were all enchanted by the red, red, redness of them.
She got seven dollars from Grandma Virgina and determined to spend them at the farmer’s market. She saw some vegetables she wanted to buy last week. When we got there she asked for some bagels and rolls at the bakery booth. Then she went for the radishes, a big pile of glowing red globes. She also eyed the baby bok choy: “That looks delicious! I want to try it.” And, “Yummy kale!” she exclaimed. Her money was spent on the radishes and a watermelon ice.
Those little dots on the left are me and the kids.
After the market treasures were safely stowed, we walked down to the beach. We discovered a jellyfish, some crabs, beautiful rocks and mussel shells, clams and bricks. A couple of tide pools were an invitation to wonder and Bella crouched to poke and prod while I tried to dissuade the boys from throwing stones into the pool and muddying the water.
Lunch was mac-n-cheese at Chili’s at her request, a nostalgic reprise of her first birthday. This time there was a lot more noise and jostling with four other kids at the table.
When we got home she launched into a complicated game with Ben and Sophie. So lovely to see the three of them playing together so nicely.
Dinner was steaks on the grill. With asparagus and sauteed radish greens and a salad—farmer’s market bounty. Turns out Bella just wanted to cut the radishes and serve them to us. She didn’t really like eating them. Oh well.
I made a lemon cake from scratch with a rather runny cream cheese frosting. Too much lemon juice in it, I think. But Bella liked it.
She told me right before it was time to open her presents that she likes books best of all. Good. I got her some.
She loved the wrapping paper. It was the filler paper from a box of something, maybe from King Arthur Flour or maybe Penzey’s. She was very excited that I’d drawn her a little picture on each package.
Sophie has a hard time when other people get presents. She wants all the shiny things. Bella was sweet and let her hold the new queen whenever Bella had to do something else. Sophie was mollified. I was very proud of Bella’s generous heart.
It’s hard to believe my little baby girl has grown into this great tall lanky girl, all arms and legs and gap teeth.
This morning I was so proud to hear her say that something was not this nor that. “Nor. She said nor.” Yes, my little girl talks like a character from a book much of the time. She’s hovering right on that threshold of reading. She can spell her own name: I S A B E L L A. She can write it too.
Bella was upset after a frustrating reading lesson and drew this frowny figure. She then made it into a scary witch surrounded by spiders, a ghost, bats, a wolf, a bear. She was delighting in scaring Sophie with ever grimmer figures in a Halloween motif.
I am so very, very blessed to have this amazing little girl in my life.
Updated. Just for fun:
by Melanie Bettinelli on May 16, 2013
HE SUFFERED DEATH
He was a man of suffering. Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, While we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. Like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers…he was cut off from the land of the living, and smitten for the sin of his people. (Isaiah 53:3-4, 7-8)
He suffered death. What does this mean? How can God suffer? How can God die?
He suffered death, was buried and resurrected in fulfillment of the scriptures. He had to do this for the salvation of the world. The corrected translation stating “He suffered DEATH” instead of, “He suffered, died..” makes it clear to us believers what He suffered. He suffered death. Many of us have an intimate knowledge what death looks like. A person can rage against the dying of the light or just slip away, but the result is that our loved one is no longer there. Jesus, our savior and God-man, is the ultimate example for us.
We do not have a God who cannot sympathize with our weakness. Jesus suffered the pain of the cross for all mankind. His gentle mother had to stand and watch it happen to her son:
The crucifixion began.Jesus was quickly thrown backward, with His shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire felt for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drove a heavy, square wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly, he moved to the other side and repeated the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The patibulum was then lifted into place at the top of the stipes, and the titulus reading “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” was nailed into place.
The left foot was pressed backward against the right foot. With both feet extended, toes down, a nail was driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed. The victim was now crucified.
As Jesus slowly sagged down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shot along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain. The nails in the wrists were putting pressure on the median nerve, large nerve trunks which traverse the mid-wrist and hand. As He pushed himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, He placed His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there was searing agony as the nail tore through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of this feet.
At this point, another phenomenon occurred. As the arms fatigued, great waves of cramps swept over the muscles, knotting them in deep relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps came the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by the arm, the pectoral muscles, the large muscles of the chest, were paralyzed and the intercostal muscles, the small muscles between the ribs, were unable to act. Air could be drawn into the lungs, but could not be exhaled. Jesus fought to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, the carbon dioxide level increased in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the cramps partially subsided.
Dr Truman Davis, published at OurCatholicFaith.org
He suffered death. Jesus, who fed the multitudes and raised Lazarus, permitted this outrageous, horrible death to happen to Himself. Even while they taunted Him, He asked the Father to forgive them. We believers do not know the eternal fate of the sinners there excepting the repentant thief. No matter what happened to those who said ‘Crucify Him!’ the days he suffered death, was buried and rose from the dead made it possible for heaven to be opened for us.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour: that, through the grace of God, he might taste death for all. Hebrews 2: 9
What are your thoughts? What else can we learn from “he suffered death”?
Priest’s Wife blogs at Fear Not Little Flock where she shares her experience of being a Byzantine Catholic priest’s wife in a country that does not expect and sometimes does not accept a married man as a Catholic priest.
Read all the entries in the Blog Series: Credo: Professing the Creed for the Year of Faith.
by Melanie Bettinelli on May 14, 2013
And I’m in complete solidarity with Mrs. D. When I’m pregnant I read an awful lot of juvenile fiction. I’ll have to keep this list for future reference. Just in case, you know. Not that we’re planning to have another child anytime soon. I can’t believe how few of these I’ve read. I kind of want to just take a few months and start reading.
Have not read, but have heard of (includes “I don’t really know much about this book, but I’ve seen it on the library shelves enough times to notice and remember it.”)
Have on my shelves **
2013: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
2012: Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos (Farrar Straus Giroux)
2011: Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool (Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books)
2010: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books)**
2009: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, illus. by Dave McKean (HarperCollins)
2008: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz (Candlewick)
2007: The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, illus. by Matt Phelan (Simon & Schuster/Richard Jackson)
2006: Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins)
2005: Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)
2004: The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press)**
2003: Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi (Hyperion Books for Children)
2002: A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park(Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin)
2001: A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck (Dial)
2000: Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (Delacorte)
1999: Holes by Louis Sachar (Frances Foster)
1998: Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (Scholastic)
1997: The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg (Jean Karl/Atheneum)
1996: The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman (Clarion)
1995: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (HarperCollins)
1994: The Giver by Lois Lowry (Houghton)
1993: Missing May by Cynthia Rylant (Jackson/Orchard)
1992: Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Atheneum)
1991: Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (Little, Brown)
1990: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (Houghton)
1989: Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman (Harper)
1988: Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman (Clarion)
1987: The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman (Greenwillow)**
1986: Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (Harper)
1985: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley (Greenwillow)
1984: Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary (Morrow)
1983: Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt (Atheneum)
1982: A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Willard (Harcourt)
1981: Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson (Crowell)
1980: A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl’s Journal, 1830-1832 by Joan W. Blos (Scribner)
1979: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (Dutton)
1978: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (Crowell)
1977: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (Dial)
1976: The Grey King by Susan Cooper (McElderry/Atheneum)
1975: M. C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton (Macmillan)
1974: The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox (Bradbury)
1973: Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George (Harper)
1972: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien (Atheneum)
1971: Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars (Viking) at least I think I read it
1970: Sounder by William H. Armstrong (Harper)
1969: The High King by Lloyd Alexander (Holt)
1968: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (Atheneum)
1967: Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt (Follett)
1966: I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino (Farrar)
1965: Shadow of a Bull by Maia Wojciechowska (Atheneum)
1964: It’s Like This, Cat by Emily Neville (Harper)
1963: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (Farrar)**
1962: The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare (Houghton)
1961: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell (Houghton)
1960: Onion John by Joseph Krumgold (Crowell)
1959: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (Houghton)
1958: Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith (Crowell)
1957: Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen (Harcourt)
1956: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham (Houghton)**
1955: The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong (Harper)
1954: ...And Now Miguel by Joseph Krumgold (Crowell)
1953: Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark (Viking)
1952: Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes (Harcourt)
1951: Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates (Dutton)
1950: The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli (Doubleday) pretty sure I read this one
1949: King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry (Rand McNally)
1948: The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois (Viking) pretty sure I owned and read this as a child.
1947: Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey (Viking)
1946: Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski (Lippincott)
1945: Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson (Viking)
1944: Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (Houghton)
1943: Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray (Viking)**
1942: The Matchlock Gun by Walter Edmonds (Dodd)
1941: Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry (Macmillan)
1940: Daniel Boone by James Daugherty (Viking)
1939: Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright (Rinehart)
1938: The White Stag by Kate Seredy (Viking)
1937: Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer (Viking)
1936: Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink (Macmillan)
1935: Dobry by Monica Shannon (Viking)
1934: Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women by Cornelia Meigs (Little, Brown)
1933: Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Lewis (Winston)
1932: Waterless Mountain by Laura Adams Armer (Longmans)
1931: The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth (Macmillan)
1930: Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field (Macmillan)
1929: The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly (Macmillan)
1928: Gay Neck, the Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji (Dutton)
1927: Smoky, the Cowhorse by Will James (Scribner)
1926: Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman (Dutton)
1925: Tales from Silver Lands by Charles Finger (Doubleday)
1924: The Dark Frigate by Charles Hawes (Little, Brown)
1923: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting (Stokes)
1922: The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon (Liveright) **
by Melanie Bettinelli on May 13, 2013
All Things Bright and Beautiful by Cecil Frances Alexander and illustrated by Bruce Whatley
This week Anthony has discovered this picture book and has been requesting it every day at naptime. “Sing,” he commands me.
This is an illustrated version of the hymn. It follows a girl as she goes about a day on the farm from putting on her boots in the morning, doing chores, feeding the animals, to singing with her family in the evening and ends with her in bed looking out the window at the night sky. Beautiful, beautiful pictures with lots of animals, sure to please the toddler set. Horses, birds, cats, dogs, ducks, etc.
If you get it, you’ll need to learn how to sing it. A video helps:
by Melanie Bettinelli on May 11, 2013
Sophie wants to learn French. Actually, to hear her tell it, she already is: “I’m learning French,” she declares boldly. Five year-old boldness. To that end I got her a couple of French first word books for her birthday. We have a few French picture books floating around the house too, Green Eggs and Ham, The Princess and the Pea, etc.
So I was looking for an app that might help her to learn. It would obviously have to be one that is audio only since she can’t yet read and write in English. I haven’t found it yet, but I haven’t been looking very hard. While I was looking about I got sidetracked by an app that is clearly not going to work for her but which I found very fun and I think will be useful for me to refresh my very rusty French. (I once knew enough to work my way through a novel in French with the help of a dictionary, but have never had much in the way of conversational French.)
This free online program is Duolingo and I’m really loving it. I’m not sure how much I’d like it as my primary method of instruction, but as a refresher or for drill for a beginning learner, it’s really great. I love the way it switches rapidly back and forth between listening and reading and speaking, between asking me to provide the French translation for the English phrase and then the English from either the written French along with the audio or from just the audio, which I find much, much harder. It uses the computer’s microphone to evaluate my pronunciation as well. It has a lot of repetition, but not so much that I ever got bored with a lesson. Instead, it moved pretty quickly from one new word or phrase to the next, drilling and repeating any time I made a mistake, but letting me advance when I performed well. I’m definitely going to stick with this for a while.
And maybe later I’ll try out the Italian—I know a little bit from my semester in Rome, but I never studied it formally except for that one semester.
Building a Castle
Speaking of French, though not actually related as steps in the rabbit trail. The other day I stumbled across this article about how the jobs of the future don’t require a college degree. It was a short piece, not an in-depth article, but it prompted an interesting discussion on Facebook. But what was even better it contained a link to this site about the future castle of Guédelon. This is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a long time. A team of fifty artisans are building a castle in Burgundy, France using the same techniques and materials used in the Middle Ages. All the trades associated with castle-building - quarrymen, stonemasons, woodcutters, carpenters, blacksmiths, tile makers, basket makers, rope makers, carters and their horses - are all working together to complete the castle. It’s like David Macauley’s Castle come delightfully to life. I have a new life goal: to get to France and visit this site while they are still building it. Bringing the kids with me, naturally.
It seems I do have some time. Work on the site began in 1997 and is scheduled to take 25 years to complete.
Guédelon is a field of experimental archaeology - a kind of open-air laboratory.
The aim is to recreate the site organization and the construction processes that might have existed on an early 13th century building site. Unlike traditional archaeology, which is concerned with cataloguing, excavating and analysing an existing structure, experimental archaeology puts this process into reverse. A structure is built from start to finish in order to obtain, following experiments and observations, a set of conclusive results.
Guédelon is a back-to-front archaeological dig.
“My normal work consists of carrying out research on existing ruins…In fact we mentally deconstruct the wall that we are studying. This can take us so far, but it remains an intellectual activity. Today, Guédelon is helping us to put ideas and research to the test. ” (Anne Baud - Archaeologist and Senior Lecturer at Lyon University)
I love this caveat posted on the site:
Guédelon is a genuine building site and not a staged performance. We do not programme demonstrations at set times. The order in which work takes place on the site is determined by the real demands of the construction process itself. Each task, each piece of work is undertaken strictly according to what needs to be done on site at a given moment.
Furthermore, due to its ever-changing character, activity on site differs from day-to-day. For this reason, it is quite possible that on each of your visits, you will see different tasks being carried out.
There are some short trailers and teaser videos on the site and I found a few more on You Tube. Also, there is a longer feature on the building of the vaulted ceiling in one of the towers that you can watch for $3 on Vimeo. I’m putting that on my to do list for the near future.
With delightful specificity, the castle’s imaginary history has it being built during the reign of King Louis of France, the saint. Our family feels especially close to him not only because I grew up in St Louis parish, but also because his younger sister Isabella is one of my Bella’s patron saints.
The historical context
Guédelon has adopted a specific historical timeframe. The start date for the castle’s construction is taken as 1229. Louis IX, the future Saint Louis, was crowned in Reims three years earlier in 1226; too young to rule, his mother, Blanche of Castile, acted as Regent until 1235.
Locally, Puisaye is under the control of Jean de Toucy. To the south-east lies the county of Auxerre-Nevers, controlled by Mahaut de Courtenay; in the north, the Capetian lands of Gâtinais. On the eve of the sixth crusade, Puisaye is enjoying a period of relative peace and stability.
The architectural context:
The future castle of Guédelon is an entirely new construction; there are no vestiges of a former castle in or around the site. The castle’s design is based on the architectural canons laid down by Philip Augustus in the 12th and 13th centuries.
Philip II Augustus, King of France from 1180-1223, is attributed with standardising the military architecture of castles in the French kingdom. Examples of this standard plan include the Louvre in Paris, Yévre-le-Châtel castle in Loiret, or more locally, the castles of Ratilly or Druyes-les-Belles-Fontaines in Yonne.
Castles built to this standard plan have the following characteristics: a polygonal ground plan; high stone curtain walls, often built on battered plinths; a dry ditch; round flanking towers pierced with single embrasured arrow loops, the position of which is staggered on each floor of the tower; one corner tower, higher and larger than the rest: the tour maîtresse; twin drum tower protect the gate.