Monday, April 25, 2016

Black Rayon Shorts for Me-Butterick 5358

Years ago I needed new shorts so last May I finally determined to figure out a shorts pattern that I actually like and sew some shorts to wear from one of the many fabrics that had been sitting in the stash. I used to have a shorts pattern I liked a lot from the 80's. It merely opened at the side where the pocket is, and secured with hooks or a button in the waistband. They were the best fit that I have ever worn. However silly me tossed them in the garbage because in the 90's I was thinking they were old fashioned and I had to use a new style pattern. So the 80's pattern was tossed. None of the 90's patterns that I bought worked well for me. Since them I have decided to ignore "the rules" and sew fro my heart.

A few years I bought some old patterns at an antique store in Vermont. McCalls 7005 is one of them, and I *think* that the pattern works like my old 80's pattern. After all, the style of McCalls 7005 is quite similar to the 80's. However this photo is not about McCalls 7005. It was actually my "look at all my fabric for shorts that have been sitting in the stash and might possibly work with these 2 shorts patterns that I want to try" photo. However I will be able to feature that one soon because I've already used the pattern and it does indeed work the way my old favorites did once upon a time.

134_2192

Butterick 5358 was purchased when I dug around a pattern bin. I wondered what was in the "empty" bins and I found discontinued patterns...many of which I purchased! I love this pattern. However it is too large for me. Actually the McCalls pattern is a size too small for me and the Butterick pattern is a size too large. Two patterns I love but what a challenge either way I go. Of course silly me did not make a muslin first. Instead I dug into the black rayon fabric, which has gorgeous softness and drape, and cut Butterick 5358 in the smallest size that I could. My resulting shorts were HUGE! (Now that I know I've gained a bit of weight this year, this pattern might now be perfect. I tend to creep up and then creep down in weight, so options are good.) These patterns are  keepers!

134_1410

I loved the fabric so much, that I agonizingly and oh so carefully ripped out all the seams...then I oh so carefully cut them down to a smaller size. I left them attached at the crotch. These shorts have an elastic waistband. (By the way, this fabric was also used for the bow in my black and white polka dot 1940's dress.)


134_2196

This was the result! My blouse that I had purchased on clearance from Dress Barn a few years ago had been hanging in my closet unworn, but finally it had a  mate so that I could wear it last summer. 

May 24 Arlington

x

Monday, April 18, 2016

Black Linen Skirt with Turquoise Embroidery for Me-McCalls 6879

A few years ago I found a gorgeous black linen fabric with turquoise embroidered flowers at Hancock. I bought a few yards not knowing what to sew with the fabric. Finally two years ago I pulled out this pattern, McCalls 6879, to make skirt view A.

101_2369

I finally took pictures after having worn it and mending a rip in the back (how embarrassing but I don't think anyone noticed. Thankful for black slips!) Front view...

101_2309

While mending the rip, I reinforced the back seam with my triple stitch on my Pfaff.

101_2310

Inside details:

This linen ravels prodigiously so I definitely used a zigzag stitch to overcast the exposed edges.


101_2313

I made tiny handstitches to secure the waistband. Also shown are darts in the waistband from the inside.

101_2312

It doesn't look like it but I think I handpicked this zipper. I'll have to double check that and report back. Update...those are indeed basting stitches. I never noticed that before I saw this picture. I have picked them out and made tiny pick stitches instead. However I recently read an article from Threads magazine by the famous Claire Shaeffer who teaches and writes about couture sewing. It's about the myths of sewing and one of them is about a handpicked zipper. She says it should actually be done with a running stitch. Hmm...not sure I understand that. The handpicked zippers have worked well for me so far and I've been doing them for 27 years.

I also made a thread loop for the hook.
101_2311

Last Mother's Day my daughter and I had our photo taken for Me Made May with us wearing our matching skirts (her idea!).

May 10 Mother's Day

While I was cutting out my skirt my daughter walked by and started drooling over my fabric. I laughed and told her I had enough for a skirt for her...so that's how I solved the excess fabric dilemma! I used a different pattern for hers. More on that tomorrow.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Tropical Flower Dress-Simplicity 5496

I used to live in Hawaii when I was a toddler. I have a few memories...playing at the beach near the azure blue water...the sugar cane burning...the crowds at Waikiki...the hula dancers...and my mother's floral Hawaiian dress. It was burgundy, almost a sheath dress, and she wore a creamy colored lei. It was for a special anniversary date with my dad. He had a matching shirt. Those fancy dates didn't happen often because we were quite poor and Hawaii is quite expensive. I wanted a dress like that. I did get a shorter version, a simpler one for a little girl, from the same fabric. Mine had a floral trim between the bodice and skirt. I remember I used to wear cream colored costume jewelry with it a lot when I played. I think I was trying to look like my mom did on that date with the lei. I have always wanted a lei. Mom's was full and lush. I lived in Hawaii. Well we were poor. But this gal who loves flowers...maybe someday! =)   
I have  another memory of an emerald green sheath-like dress my mom wore. Again I remember her with flowers. Leis? My mom might laugh. My memory isn't always accurate. But both dresses I'm remembering were long and fitted instead of big and loose. Well, even if they have only existed in my imagination, wouldn't they be lovely? How I wanted a dress exactly like them.
Thus when I grew up my sewing list included a Hawaiian floral dress of some sort. When I lived in San Antonio I found this pattern at JoAnn Fabrics (copyright 2003). This definitely made it easy to  imagine a Hawaiian styled dress!

101_2366

I also found a floral fabric at JoAnn that I loved! It has a lovely hand and drape. I think it's rayon.

101_2325

It was so easy to put together.

101_2326

There were no fitting issues, which was rare for me at this point in my life, after having 2 children and becoming pear shaped. I was about to give up sewing until I sewed this dress. No adjustments necessary. My kind of sewing!

It's hard to tell with the busy pattern, but this is the bow tie back and zipper enclosure. Even though I already knew how to hand pick a zipper (my preferred method which I had learned when I graduated from college) I machine sewed this zipper. I wish I had hand picked it even though my machine work did come out evenly for once and that definitely makes me happy! However I've come to enjoy not seeing all that thread.     

101_2327

101_2328

Inside work. (So, only 1 couture sewing journey points on this dress since I did not handpick the zipper. My one point is for finishing off my seams.)

101_2329

Although I wore this quite often, I never had photos taken of me wearing it until I started blogging about my sewing. I wanted the perfect spot...which had to be near water. Hmmm, where to find water in Northern Virginia? Our anniversary was coming, we decided to try a new venue to celebrate. I suggested the National Harbor. We used to drive by all the time when we were house hunting and I determined to have a date there. Finally this was the moment! Photos at this link.

Then last year I participated in Me Made May so I had these shots taken when my daughter graduated from junior college. This was next to the Carrabbas where we celebrated.

134_2238

My son took close-ups for me.

May 17 Graduation

134_2242

I'm thinking about participating in Me Made May again this year, so I decided to catch up on all my sewing posts. I've never really developed the posts and I think it will make the participating more fun this year. Today I dug deeply into my closet (and my daughter's) to pull out everything I've ever sewn for daily wear. Wow! I was surprised at everything I found. I've already updated a few old posts.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Joshua Generation or the Moses Generation?

One of my favorite books that built my motivation for homeschooling was published in 2005: The Joshua Generation: Restoring the Heritage of Christian Leadership by Michael Farris. Farris speaks to many concepts that were already rooted in my soul about the reasons why I homeschooled my children. It's always great to find a book where the author is on the same page as the reader, a kindred spirit as Anne of Green Gables would say. I knew in my heart what was important and what my goals were, but Farris builds on that with history and current events in such a way that helped me to see more fully and clearly what I was working for. As homeschoolers, the better we understand why we do something, the better our stamina will be to endure the race.     

101_2308

The defining moment for me was in chapter 1 on building vision where he compares what he calls the Moses Generation to the Joshua Generation. Suddenly the title of the book has weight for those who know the history of the Israelites. As worthy as it is for us to homeschool a Moses generation, our purpose becomes deeper and perhaps more meaningful when we raise our children as the Joshua generation.  This clarity alone defined what I had been seeking all along. Now that I had a name and direction, I had a better focus.   

The remaining pages detail why we need a Joshua Generation by looking at current events in this world of postmodernism. To further understand how postmodernism can hinder our course, there are two other books that would make great companion books to this one. I have already blogged about them. One is called The Universe Next Door by James Sire, which I blogged about at the link. Another is Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture by Gene Edward Veith

In the forthcoming pages is a detailed analysis of the goals of ivy league schools today. The facts are not pretty.   

"College is far more about philosophy and worldview than it is about the transmission of factoids. And that is the way it should be. However, unlike facts, philosophy is never neutral. Philosophy takes sides and promotes a larger agenda that we often call a 'worldview.'" (The Joshua Generation, p23-24)

This is why I taught worldview to my children when we homeschooled. That is why I've done two posts so far on worldview (linked above). It's rather complex for me to give a fully detailed analysis, so I thought I'd leave it to the experts, who are well respected authors that we all know. But I am most happy to point the way (towards great resources). Furthermore, I'll be alluding to worldviews in future posts.

My son attends Patrick Henry College, which Michael Farris founded. The college is rooted in the facts of primary source documents. They study deeply and aggressively. They read real books. Not textbooks.

On the other hand, my daughter attends a state college. We'd have loved for her to attend PHC. However she has struggled with many learning delays which she overcomes more and more each year. She can do the work on a smaller scale at a slower speed, but not to the rigor of PHC. And sadly, when I reread The Joshua Generation a few months ago, I saw evidence of many of the postmodernism details in the colleges she has attended (junior and four year colleges). Sadly, she had to explain to her English 101 instructor the correct definition of primary sources. The instructor didn't agree. My daughter came home and printed out a definition from a university to show her instructor. The instructor still didn't believe her. My daughter finally went to the dean who said she'd talk to the instructor and that worked. Then the next week there'd by another basic concept the instructor would misteach and my daughter would start all over again trying to prove established facts.  The basic concept of postmodernism is that truth is relative and that definitions change from person to person.  I share one example, but we could write a book on the postmodernism my daughter has endured in college. It irks me, as a parent, that I pay money for these errors to be taught. I'm thankful though that my daughter has been well rooted in historical fact, morality, and her faith. A lot of her friends like to hang with her because they think like her. (So all is not lost!)

I think my favorite chapter is chapter 5, "From John Adams to Alan Dershowitz: The Devolution of Legal Education." Well, anyone who knows me knows why I like this chapter so much! Farris goes into a bit of 18th century history! I feel so at home in the 18th century whereas I feel quite lost in the 21st century. Our Founding Fathers lived in an era where education was not only important, but based on facts and morality as defined by God. Many of our Founding Fathers were lawyers. Farris goes into great detail comparing the lawyers of the 18th century to the lawyers of the 21st century. It's quite a contrast!

Chapter 6 details journalism...to media bias. Enough said on my end. For all the scoop, read The Joshua Generation!

Chapter 7 is another favorite of mine, "The Patriarchs of American Education: Colleges in the Early Republic."   I have spent a lot of time hanging out with 18th century and early 19th century gents who were vastly educated in the classical method. I've had deep discourse with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and James Madison. (You can too at Colonial Williamsburg where actor interpreters who are actually historians deeply study and memorize primary source documents that their personas wrote!)

I am a  teacher by trade. I still have  my teacher's license from Texas. When I was in college taking education classes, I learned about the history of education. However I have learned so much more from all of my time-travel jaunts to Colonial Williamsburg, talking to 18th century gents and by reading the books they have recommended for me. I'll share more details in posts to come, but this chapter is a great starting point for anyone who wants to understand the education system of yore and how it compares to today!

Farris closes the book with chapters on leadership, a strong work ethic, and wisdom v. knowledge. Wow! How could I not be encouraged, motivated, and strengthened?!!

There are even Joshua Generation clubs throughout America who are politically involved in their communities!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Thomas Jefferson Style Garden Journal Progress

Reading prodigiously about Thomas Jefferson inspired me to organize my miscellaneous collections of plant tags...

101_2176
...and magazine clippings about plants into a gardening journal. I have collecting many, many pages of gardening notes over the years from various publications, mostly from one of my favorite magazines, Southern Living. My accumulation of clippings have been kept in this yellow file folder. They will now find a home in my journal. The copy of Southern Living shown here is actually an anniversary issue of archived articles on gardening. I think I'll keep this copy intact!

101_2307

The My goal is to put all of my gardening information into one place and personalize it like Mr. Jefferson would! He was quite particular and consistent in jotting notes about his surroundings day by day...from temperature to weather conditions to growing conditions for his plants. There is so much to be learned by working the soil, and each bit of property is different enough from the general information collected from plant tags, magazine clippings, and even Mr. Jefferson's notes,  that I wanted a place to record my personal data and compare information.


As I debated on what to specifically use for my garden journal, I stumbled upon this old notebook that held literature notes when I homeschooled. I'm sure Mr. Jefferson would approve! The contents had been emptied long ago but the scrapbook papers I had inserted in the cover had remained and were perfect. The front cover has an 18th century pattern with a bit of contemporary flair.
101_2285
Gingham is 18th century (and contemporary) as well!
101_2286
And dots are always in fashion! I love the texture. And of course the green is perfect!
101_2287
The inside cover has a wildflower commonly found along the shady runs (or creeks) in the spring... bluebells. Since it isn't in my garden, yet good plant information, I thought I'd save this spot for this type of information. I thought it was fun that this article shares where to take a great Bluebell hike within 30  minutes from my house! 

Now for the dividers. These are also salvaged from homeschool days and they still have their old labels. I will probably have them properly labeled the next time I share progress on my journal. This section is about flowers. I have a little catalog from my favorite rose supplier, The Antique Rose Emporium in Texas. I love antique roses! I have collected a few in my Texas garden, and now I have 2 different ones, courtesy of Mr. Jefferson himself, here in my Virginia garden! (These were purchased at Monticello!)
101_2289
On the other side of that tab is where I have stored all my plant tags that are too large to put on the individual sheets of information.


Another tab is set aside for fruit. Here is the catalog I got from Edible Landscaping's lead gardener, Michael McConkey, whom I met at the Thomas Jefferson for Historical Plants last October! I had taken notes at his presentation in my colonial day book, which I hope to transcribe here.  
101_2292
And here is all my information about our figs!
101_2293
This section is about vegetables. I even jot notes on the magazine clippings! I did that back when I lived in Texas! A lot of my magazine clippings have information on the front and back, so I'll probably keep them in the pockets.

I have this garlic growing in my garden now. I've never grown garlic before, but that is a whole new story. I'll share more in a few weeks.

I even have an interactive page! I have a plant tag shows what hydrangeas look like depending on whether they are planted in alkaline or acidic soil by flipping the top! I stapled it in in such a way that I could still flip it to read how to amend the soil accordingly to get whatever color I desire.


The back section contains misc notes like how to prep the garden, a map of hardiness zones, etc. I'm not sure how I want to organize that yet. Also I have extra plant tags for plants that I'm not sure we have anymore. We've had some harsh winters and I can't remember where everything is. These are a work-in-progress.


In future posts I'll share where the misc ended up and a close-up of my personal gardening notes. Also I'll share examples of Thomas Jefferson's garden journals, by linking to the original websites!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Martha Dandridge Custis Washington: From Fashion to Family

In all of my busy-ness I've been reading lots of books. Last winter I chose one book from my bookcase that I had purchased years ago when I lived in Texas. I decided it was time for me to read Martha Washington: An American Life by Patricia Brady. It seemed to be a good choice since I had been on a roll reading several other books about her and her famous husband, George Washington, and their lovely home of Mount Vernon. This book though is the single-most volume I've found to focus so greatly on this esteemed first lady. A lady who was the first in so many ways.

IMG_0154

One of the reasons why there aren't a lot of great books full of information on Martha Washington is because she understandably led a private life. She burned most of her letters from her husband. (A couple have survived. In fact, in one of our family homeschool history presentations I portrayed Martha Washington, receiving this letter. It was quite moving. I could identify with her greatly. Click the previous link to read the beautiful love letter from George Washington.) However Patricia Brady took lots of facts that were known about Martha Washington and wove those into her story, using the facts of Virginia society and the early Republic.

The book opens, of course with Martha's birth, or more specifically the backstory to her birth. We learn how her parents and their parents settled the early wilderness of Virginia. That alone makes this a fascinating read. It's a peak into how Virginia used to be and how it grew. The Virginia we know now is not the Virginia of the 17th and 18th century. Martha's background and the background of those she knew and loved, in many ways, paved their way.

Many assumptions can be made about Martha because we do know that the training of deportment was important in Virginia society. We also know that Martha was esteemed highly throughout her life. Thus is is reasonable to assume that she learned proper manners, or deportment. She may not have had French, art, or music lessons like girls her age from wealthier homes. However we can be certain that she learned at least the basics. Thus by piecing together all the details that were definitely known of Martha, like her growing up on a small plantation, the author made long lists and descriptions of what we can assume about her.

As I was reading this book, I saw how invaluable it would be for any interpreter to put together a proper persona. In fact, I had to laugh that a few days after I had finished reading this book, one of Colonial Williamsburg's interpreters who portrays the Martha Washington of the early years of marriage to George Washington wrote a blog about her journey. She used this very same book and the one detail that spoke volumes to her was discovering a saddle for Martha in the inventory. (Um, I think that was the detail. I've read the article linked above slowly the first time when it was first published. I thought that is where I read it. I keep skimming tonight but I don't see the horse details anywhere. But the actress did get excited about the horse details in her interpretation formation. I'm not sure if it was the discovery of the saddle or the riding habit that excited her the most.)  Since the actress rides horses in her free time, she now had a historical reason to portray Martha Washington while riding a horse.

We not only learn that Martha learned her social graces, how to run a household, and that she was an excellent horsewoman, but that she also used her strength of wisdom and wit to convince a stodgy old man  that she was the one who should marry his son, Daniel Custis. By the way, Daniel Custis had already been courting her but his father, John, was a bit of a troublemaker and initially stood in the way of marriage. Incidentally it is John Custis' house that you see in Colonial Williamsburg, on the Duke of Gloucester Street at the end of the Palace Green, near the colonial nursery. The home is known today as the Custis Tenement and he has a grand garden. My children and I posed for pictures in front of it one May. He was renown for testing seeds and plantings and such in his garden in the  early days of Virginia.

IMG_0154

I also love how this book describes the mercantilism which was the economy of Virginia while under British rule. (You can see our research on mercantilism in Colonial Williamsburg here.) Much detail was put into fashion in the 18th century, from fashioning the home to fashioning the body. Specific details from the Custis inventories are revealed. Again details were easily pulled from inventories and such documentation that was popular in the day to allow us a glimpse into Martha's life in every facet of Virginia society.   

Never extreme in her dress, Patsy (Martha) liked elegant fabrics, bright colors, and fashionable, but not exaggerated styles. Daniel had to learn her taste; early in their marriage, he started to order satin for a ball gown, only to scratch it out and amend it to her favorite blue. Patsy took pleasure in the luxury of buying a dozen pairs of kid gloves at a time or an ivory fan in the latest London fashion. Every year when the tobacco ships arrived, she unpacked her purchases from their chests-silk stockings for her slim legs, a black satin hat, white or flowered calico for a summer dress, purple and crimson pumps, a quilted crimson petticoat against winter's drafts, a scarlet riding habit. (Martha Washington: An American Life by Patricia Brady, p37) 

Before long, the family began to grow. Four children were born. Two of them died.

No doubt it was during this afflicting period that Patsy Custis developed her life long anxiety about her children, which went hand in hand with her intense love for them. She delighted in their company but was always fearful of illness, accident or death. Losing her firstborn son-she always favored boys-forever made her an overanxious mama. (46) 
Then her husband died.

Patsy had little time to express her grief, other than in action. A local seamstress was called in to alter a gown and make mourning dresses for her; a tailor came to make black mourning suits for Jacky and the male house servants. In Daniel's account book, the date of his last memorandum was 1757, shortly before he died. Turning the page, the reader suddenly sees Patsy Custis 's neat and well-formed handwriting as she took up her husband's responsibilities two weeks after his death, listing the items the plantations needed from England. She plunged straight in, ordering two seines, or large nets for shad fishing in the Pamunkey. Her description of the desired nets is carefully detailed...She went on to other mundane items such as starch, cotton for the slaves' clothing, pins, thread, and castile soap.
Then she turned to "One handsome Tombstone of the best durable Marble to cost about 100 pounds (very expensive)-with the following Inscription and the Arms sent in a Piece of Paper on it, to wit 'Here Lies the Body of Daniel Parke Custis Esquire who was born the 15th day of Oct. of 1711 & departed this Life the 8th Day of July 1757. Age 45 years.'" In her letter to Robert Cary, her English factor, she included two locks of hair for the  jeweler, probably in a separate sealed piece of paper. She ordered two gold mourning rings in honor of Daniel and little Fanny, their tresses to be covered in clear crystal. (50-51)
 Soon she met George Washington, whom we all know married her and took her and her children home to Mount Vernon. He wrote,"I am now I believe fixd at this Seat with an agreeable Consort for Life and hope to find more happiness in retirement than I ever experienced amidst a wide and bustling World." (73)

And thus we know most of the rest of the story. Yet the details have been discovered or logically assumed by the author, never created. By using the frequent cataloguing that the 18th century was so happy to do (and we are happy to have) and correspondences and writings of family, friends and acquaintances, we have a more full detail at her life with her beloved family.

Of Martha's two children that were alive when she married George Washington, both died. In her bereavement, she raised two grandchildren and became close friends with her daughter-in-law. The grandchildren grew up and married. More children were born. Cousins and nieces came to visit and live and keep Martha company. She always surrounded herself with love.

It is truly quite a complexity to keep up with all the family members, that I am not going to make sense of all that in this already lengthy blog post. However I will share that reading this book, after having read all the other Washington books in my personal library, drove me to attempt a family tree. There are family trees at the front of the book, but I wanted to know how many more greats and grands were born to the children of the children. Then I started stumbling upon their various homes after Mount Vernon. Martha's grandchildren adored their step-grandfather and loved Mount Vernon. However, none of them inherited their beloved home when George and Martha passed away. Instead the home went to George Washington's nephews. (More on that in a future post.)

Where did Martha's grandchildren go to live? I started investigating and tracking all the homes and made some surprising discoveries. For one, one of the grand homes is now a famous airport! Some homes are still standing. Some of those are in excellent condition, while others are in need of repair. Yet others are now in ruins. This summer for part of our stay-cation, we not only went mansion hunting but we also went 18th century ruins hunting!  It was truly quite interesting and gave us a fuller sense of the past. Stay tuned for photos and descriptions of this journey!


PS This book covers so much more than just fashion and family. Those are just two themes I chose for  my blog post. This is a most worthy book for all!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Vocation for Government

I'm always on the look out for great books to read. I especially enjoy non-fiction, because I love to learn. I've amassed quite a collection which I have purposed to actually read and make a decision on this year. A few I have read and sadly laid in the used book store pile, but others have grabbed my attention. These books are the keepers. They have to grab me in the first few pages and hold me in their grip with solid content that is well-researched and detailed. Why I find such a book I have to share since I know other homeschoolers looking for great books to read.
Another great homeschool resource I have stumbled upon is God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in all of Life by Gene Edward Veith, Jr. I first became aware of this book at my son's college, Patrick Henry College. A copy was found in my son's information packet on one of our campus visits in his senior year of homeschool.
I read the book a few months ago and was glad to find its uniqueness in content in regards to our calling as Christians. Most of it was review to me. Having internalized these concepts in school, church and from those I knew while growing up in Texas, I taught those same ideas in my own homeschool with my kids. Dr. Veith covers topics such as how God works through Christians, and the purpose of vocation. Then he details our vocations in our jobs, in our family, as a citizen, and in our church. All of that is followed with ethics and Christianity.
My favorite chapter was about our vocation as a citizen because I think this is perhaps the least understood as our Christian duties and opportunities. What a wonderful opportunity we have as Americans to live in a country where as citizens we get to be active in government. Our forefathers came to this country for this opportunity. I have never seen this topic written about so thoroughly before. Veith does a  masterful job of laying out history and Scripture to help us understand our calling to actively be involved in government, in various ways from voting to speaking and standing with truth and supporting the Constitution. Why supporting the Constitution? Because our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution based on God's moral law. He also discourses on the uniqueness of our calling as Americans. This is the best treatise I have ever read detailing the duty of the Christian and government. I highly recommend it!

101_2140

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Living Anne of Green Gables Style

Today as I meandered through my facebook pages I stumbled upon an Anne of Green Gables neighborhood in Kansas! Streets named after places in the book. Gabled roofs. Gingerbread trim. Are there any currants growing for the making of wine? I thought I'd share.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Unity Summit-The Constitution, the Founders, and Shakespeare

The last two days I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in The Unity Summit at Patrick Henry College!

101_2270

One might think that I attended partly so that I could have lunch with my son. We did do lunch! When he heard I was coming for the summit he invited me to join him for lunch both days in the campus dining hall. Yesterday I had the added bonus of eating with his buddies too! That is always fun as we talk about the types of things that all college boys discuss with College Mom...the Constitution, political history, and internships! I always have fun visiting and doing lunch with my son and his friends. Today we had a later lunch which meant it was a bit quieter, just the two of us. That was fun too, to talk about all kinds of details about the summit.

One of this morning's speakers also talked to all the students at chapel this morning so we shared notes on that. This speaker is someone you might know. He is Rice Broock, the author of God's Not Dead, on which the  movies are based. When I saw his name I couldn't help but think of Rice University in Houston, Texas. Well...when he talked to us he happened to mention that a distant uncle of his founded  Rice University!

I have to confess, I haven't seen any of his movies yet. I'm not really big into going to the movie theater to see movies, although a few entice me. Well...my daughter recently received a gift card from her boss to a movie theater for her birthday. As hinted at we rarely do movie theaters, so we had absolutely no idea what was playing. When she mentioned the gift card to my dad when they were talking on the phone for her birthday, he immediately suggested God is Not Dead. When she told me that I was surprised. My dad is not the type  to do movie theaters either. Today I saw the trailer for God is Not Dead 2. When I saw all the courtroom scenes, I knew immediately why my dad suggested this movie. He always watches television shows and movies like that, especially Law and Order. After watching the trailer, I was hooked, so I plan to catch up on Broock's movies, and even read his books.

There were a lot of other great speakers too, most of whom were lawyers. (I'm looking forward to reading their books too.) Most of us who attended were not lawyers. In fact, some of the attendees were kids. They attentively listened. If I were still homeschooling my kids, I'd have  brought them. What a great class to add to their government studies. Some may be amazed to learn that the lawyers spoke all about the Constitution, law, court cases and current events. They didn't water anything down. There was lots of technical language. They didn't do any theatrics. They didn't have us vote for anything on our cell phones about various aspects of their talk (like they do at the state university my daughter attends). Yet we all listened. Even the kids. We all understood. We all learned.We were all inspired...because the Constitution continues to be relevant! Because of the Constitution, America was set apart from every other country in the world.This is what brought many of our forefathers to our country as immigrants...for freedom. Freedoms that we were inspired to help protect.

I'm excited to share bits of pieces of what I've learned in context of what I've learned over the years about the 18th century and our Founding Fathers. Worldviews were different in the 18th century compared to how society thinks today. As Dr. Michael Farris shared yesterday morning, some terminology from the past is different from today. This is easily seen in the famous balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, where Juliet says: "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?" She is not looking for Romeo. In Shakespeare's day (1592), "wherefore" meant "why?" She is frustrated. She is asking *why* are they from two different families? The bitter feud between their families threatens their hope at love. Thinking about it that way puts the next few lines into better context:

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet. (Act 2 Scene 2 Lines 33-36)  

Likewise, it's easy to misunderstand writings from the 18th century (like the Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers, Bill of Rights and Constitution). One reason for this is that our Founding Fathers (and Shakespeare) were educated differently than we were. A few years ago I  wrote this post that touches on the classical education of our Founding Fathers', inspired by how Shakespeare's grammar level education was different from any education we receive today. I have been deeply researching the history of classical education, so that I can share a bigger picture of what the education of the Founding Fathers looked like. Stay tuned for that and lots of other great stuff, as I hope to share historical connections to help us better  understand our founding documents and how the Constitution is relevant today.

So...all of this leads in to what Dr. Farris was really talking about...the need for an Article V Convention of States! The Supreme Court is veering away from the Constitution that our Founders wrote. The modern "constitution" which the federal government is writing is over 2000 pages thick! Why? Because they don't understand original intent. Well, this is why I have signed the petition at www.conventionofstates.com I've even signed up to become a volunteer! I did this back in February after I heard Dr. Farris speak with Jenna Ellis in Colorado. I'm a bit scared to do this, but this is important. I've always talked about this kind of stuff. Time for me to become a little bit of a Patrick Henry!