Friday, August 28, 2015

Family Camp Photos

Every year, the First OPC faithful and friends gather in central Oregon for Family Camp. There are educational speakers, fun activities for all ages, a lot of starchy food, a Talent Show (some say it should be called a "variety show" - see previous post), and a Bananathon.  Tertia really, really, loves the game called "carpetball" and I managed to snap the picture at just the right time to capture her gleeful expresson.

Both of these large but bedraggled moths were at the base of a light pole one morning, in various stages of what looked to be a hangover or perhaps something more serious.
 The highlight for some is the waterslide.  Some just watch.
 Some look forward to it all year long, but shriek with terror all the way down.
 Some create a splash larger than they are, obscuring my dedicated effort to capture them for their grandmother.
 And some go back repeatedly for as many times as they can fit in.
 I managed to capture a dragonfly in flight.
There are, of course, a lot of dishes to be done.
 I had a child on each team for the Bananathon. Quarta's team eventually won.
 Tertia's team placed second.
 Well, when you want to go left, you have to paddle on the right side of the boat.
A whistle shows all the tasks have been completed and the banana has been eaten. And that wraps it up for another year.  Some of us come back from Family Camp more exhausted than we were when we left.  But ironically, we aren't the ones who have been doing the high-intensity activities.  It is a mystery.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I am the Very Model of a Modern Presbyterian (The Family Camp poem)

I am the very model of a modern Presbyterian.
In erudition, I surpass the average seminarian;
I know theology, both redemptive and historical--
My library is organized in order categorical.
I’m very well acquainted too with all the views millennial,
I understand the sequence of the councils ecumenical,
I have profound insights concerning hymnody and psalmody,
With many harsh invectives on that “modern worship” comedy.

I write extensively on apologetics VanTilian,
And would never stoop to sing in a venue vaudevillian,
In Hebrew, Greek, and Latin I’m an expert grammarian –
I am the very model of a modern Presbyterian.

I’m “semper reformanda” in all matters theological,
With a gentle fondness for the classical and pedagogical.
I reserve particular disdain for the dispensational ,
Because it promotes everything emotive and sensational.
In ecclesiology my views are credal and confessional,
Eschewing all those trendy terms like “emergent” and “missional”
I’m sure I never will be accused of being remotely relevant –
Or may I be stomped upon by a rampaging elephant!

I’ve got at least five strong arguments to counter the Arminians,
I can “posse” and “peccare” with the wisest Augustinians.
I know the ins and outs of all the spheres Kuyperian—
I am the very model of a modern Presbyterian!

My views on orthodoxy derive from deep antiquity;
I renounce and calumniate all workers of iniquity;
I spend my time reviewing the Westminster Shorter Catechism
And never would take a part in any sort of fanaticism.
And so I came to Wamic to participate in Family Camp
(A more convivial experience than my final Koine Greek exam!)
I cheered for all the youthful contestants in the Bananathon,
And, to wrap it all up, here I am, singing this silly song.

Our worship has simplicity and also authenticity,
I acknowledge, even so, our undeniable eccentricity,
In short, from all eternity, I am pre-destinarian –
I am the very model of a modern Presbyterian!

August, 2015

(first performance, graciously recited by Dan Dillard, 8-21-15 at the OPC Family Camp talent show, Camp Morrow, Wamic, OR)

Katherine Chapman

Thursday, August 13, 2015


In medical terminology, disarticulation is the separation of two bones at their joint, either naturally by way of injury or by a surgeon during amputation.

I find myself very disarticulate lately, not in the medical but the verbal sense, having been compelled by my own sense of -- what? Justice? Outrage? -- to watch the long versions of all the videos so far released by the Center for Medical Progress, exposing the criminality, the barbarity of Planned Parenthood's sale of tissue from aborted fetuses. There I witnessed the disarticulate (medical) state of an 18-week child, torn limb from limb, and displayed for the hidden camera as if for sale at a grotesque market: orbits (eyeballs), limbs, brain, liver and possibly the elusive thymus, whatever that is. (Of course the intact specimens are more valuable than the disarticulated ones, and for the right price, Planned Parenthood doctors will be happy to try to procure some of those for you, even if that means illegally altering abortion techniques). There are no words adequate for the horror, but those of us who feel it deeply are still compelled to try. If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine the millions upon millions of words that must inevitably flow forth as each frame of video triggers an infinite trauma.

I am fortunate; I have no direct experience of abortion to trigger PTSD if I watch these videos. But even so, I am experiencing this as a very real, sickening, terribly depressing ordeal. I believe this is the fundamental moral issue of our lifetime, and we have arrived somehow, this very summer, at a turning point in history.

I don't usually go in for melodrama, but when I learned of the experiments being done with this tissue -- humanized mouse models? -- my immediate thought was that, surely, our civilization is doomed. And not in the distant future, either. God has never withheld judgement for long on those civilizations that practice child sacrifice, and we have the other side blithely articulating the utilitarian argument -- it will cure cancer, HIV, Parkinsons; you must be anti-science -- with no regard for the tiny fetal flutterings of a quickening conscience, because they have long since aborted it.

I have been haunted recently by the short story "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas," by Ursula K. Leguin, which posits a sophisticated, utopian civilization which depends upon the abuse and enslavement of just one undesirable imbecile child. What if all our advanced medicine, all our vast wealth, is really dependent on this barbaric trade? I prefer the optimistic view that there are ethical alternatives, and decent people can work hard to create a better world without cannibalizing unborn infants. But what if this filthy practice is so deeply embedded, through networks of graft and backroom deals and kickbacks that stretch to the highest levels of government and academia, that it is like an inoperable parasite stuck to the very spine of our nation? The latest video, although it contains no graphic footage, lists researchers at Harvard, Stanford, U. Mass, Oregon Health Sciences University who receive tissue from Stem Express, the trafficking company that connects Planned Parenthood with supposedly legitimate researchers. These are institutions I would like to think well of, that have all added in some significant way to human health. What if their work is all dependent on the trafficking of infant human spare parts? How many of us would have the courage to walk away? To tell the truth about the abusers? To insist on full informed consent?

Watch if you can, and then read some more articulate than I can be.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Randomday (Monday Edition)

Miss Tertia has new glasses.  They are a stronger prescription than before (which was pretty strong already).  Glad for the friendly people at America's Best who made sure she got the best frames for the weight she needs and fitted them nicely.  She tried on two or three, but went right for the pink ones.  It was much easier than the 4-hour round trip to the ophthalmologist office in Tigard, but they were awfully friendly too, considering how late we were with the traffic.  I may or may not have taken a solemn vow never to drive to Tigard again, but it was better after a Burgerville blackberry milkshake.
This is exactly how I feel this summer.  Sleeping in a sunny but precarious spot is really all I aspire to.  Actually, I have been busy with things not many other people really care about... working on a volunteer unofficial Latin for Duolingo course, and now putting it on Memrise.  For a break, I try to solve at least 20 cryptograms every day.  I feel compelled to watch or at least listen to the entire long versions of the Planned Parenthood expose videos, which tends to make me feel depressed and lethargic.  As does the thought of back-to-school (though in a totally different way).  Yep, the eccentric, somewhat antisocial, lazy cat metaphor is pretty much me all over.
 There was a really pretty full moon a week or so ago.  This was my attempt to capture it.
Plum season is over.  I picked this birds' nest off of one of the broken branches, with the plum in it already.  I don't think the birds were actively using it but it was on the part of the tree that is going to have to be cut back anyway.  Grapes are now just beginning but they are still a bit tart.

Quarta had to be driven to camp this morning.  Fortunately it was not in Montana this time, but it was in Oregon and I may or may not have gotten somewhat lost while Quarta was becoming quite carsick in the twisty roads above the Gorge.  I ended up calling Steve when I figured we were not on the road I wanted to be on (the "shooting prohibited" signs were a huge clue) and he was able to help me figure out I wasn't as lost as I thought I was, and the camp was really just a mile away.  This may be the adventure that convinces me a smart phone would be okay.  As a side note, we discovered that Quarta has no time to think about being carsick when she is talking on the flip phone to Daddy.

On the way back I took Tertia shopping at Cascade Station and we found a clearance pair of Ecco shoes in her size (4.5) at DSW.  So I signed up for a customer rewards card, since the Famous Footwear that used to be so convenient to us is now closed.  Tertia was willing to look a little in one more store, Ross, but when we came out and I offered her the choice of what store to go to next, she said she wanted to go home.  So I said, "I guess you aren't the shop till you drop kind, are you?" and a sweet lady who was going out at the same time overheard and said, "You are blessed! It's expensive!" I guess we are.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Mother/Daughter Washi Dress

I stumbled across someone's version of the Washi Dress while browsing Pinterest a month or two ago, and thought it might be a good pattern for Tertia, whose short stature makes it difficult to find adult sizes and styles that fit and are appropriate, yet who is too large for girls' sizes anymore.  The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea, so I ordered the pattern.  We had a wedding to attend last weekend, and while it was an easy matter to find a store-bought dress that Quarta likes and that fits her, I had been looking for months on and off for Tertia with no success.  So I made this up out of some pretty floral quilting yardage I had been saving.  I made the Medium size, but I cut off about 6 inches of length, and raised the position of the pockets by 2 inches; no other adjustments.  This pattern is supposed to have a pretty high waist, but as you can see it is on the low side for high-waisted.  If I make it again for her, I will take it in more at the shoulders, because it tends to gap at the neckline and the neckline is just a bit lower on her than I'm comfortable with.  I might even grade the bodice from a size S at top to M at bottom, while keeping the other adjustments I made.  I was worried 6 inches was too much to cut off, but not really... it still hits her at the knee.
I then made another size M dress for myself, but since I'm shaped differently from Tertia I needed to do something called a "full bust adjustment" (I debated about the propriety of discussing my dress size online, but I figure the Chinese hackers have already got most everything else available about our family through the OPM data breach, so they can eat their hearts out with the knowledge that there is about a 5" differential between my high bust and full bust measurements).  I also followed the instruction videos for putting in a partial lining, and I love the simplicity of this much better than the facing instructions that are included in the pattern.  It does require you to do some origami-like rolling and stitching things into a tube, but it worked so well with the fabric I used.  It is one of my vintage sheets, so fun!  If I make this again for myself (and I hope to), I will probably grade it from a M at the top to L at the middle, and do a smaller full bust adjustment.  And I will add a bit of length to the upper bodice, because those darts were just a wee bit too high the first time.  However the neckline fit me perfectly.  I didn't try the U-shaped cutout this time, but I would like to try it when I make it again.
I like this pattern for a host of reasons:

  • it has excellent support on the designer's webpage, so that a confident beginner/ intermediate seamstress can attempt even the intimidating process of altering a pattern to custom fit.
  • it also is one of those viral patterns online, so there are a lot of other people who have made it and blogged about it, which I think 
  • it has that high-waist, figure-forgiving line.
  • it works really well to flatter a teenage girl with the unique figure challenges of Down syndrome.
  • it also has a tunic-length version, which would also flatter said teenage girl and could be made in a variety of fabrics that she would really enjoy.
  • the designer has made 3/4 length sleeves available, which translate to long sleeves for said girl, and make it a pattern that works for other months besides summer.
  • it's sweet without being juvenile
  • it has NO ZIPPER to put in! (or buttons or other closures)
  • therefore it sews up pretty quickly.
  • it has pockets!
  • the shirring at the back, done with elastic thread in the bobbin, is kind of fun to do, and it's fun to give it a shot of steam from the iron when you're done and see it pull in.
  • there are a lot of different variations of this dress that I want to make, both for Tertia and for me. A Little Black Dress, maybe (for me).  A wardrobe of dressy casual tunics, for Tertia. At least one more dress for Tertia, for dances or parties in the wintertime.
It was a lovely wedding, with a garden reception.  Tertia and I enjoyed our Washi Dresses.  I'm really glad I found this pattern, and grateful to Rae for designing it and giving such good support and encouragement to make it turn out well.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Drip... Drip... Drip

Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi, sed saepe cadendo.  --Ovid
A drop of water hollows a stone, not by force, but by falling often.
A week ago, when I first wrote about the undercover video scandal that is hollowing out the Planned Parenthood empire (Silence of the Lambs), I didn't really think a movement to de-fund the world's largest and most politically powerful abortion provider would gain traction.  After all, I went to my first March for Life in 1979, and many more after that when I lived in the eastern half of the country.  I was involved in pro-life work in college and full-time for more than three years after that.  Through all this I developed an intense interest in how the life issues are covered in the news, and it has never been a fair fight.  It's almost as if the major media outlets and the Democratic machine have been colluding in secret for more than 40 years to ensure only favorable or neutral coverage of the abortion industry, and only negative or at best neutral coverage of the pro-life movement. But now, in the age of YouTube and Facebook, we have a little more access to the full story.  The average Joanna, and all those of us who are gifted with insatiable curiousity, can view the whole story for ourselves.  Momentum does seem to be building at the grassroots level to demand a removal of federal funds from Planned Parenthood (currently more than half a billion dollars annually).  My intent today is to provide the essential links to coverage of this developing story, if you are investigating this on your own.

The Center for Medical Progress has all its videos up here.  The most recent one, released this morning, I will embed here, with a strong caution: It is very disturbing and contains footage of aborted baby parts being prepped for shipment to researchers. DO NOT watch if you are highly sensitive to graphic images.  Now, if you saw the slide shows that were going around evangelical churches in the 1970's and 80's, these images are much the same.  But the mainstream news media have, so to speak, crushed above and below any attempt to get a wider circulation of pictures that would undermine their preferred pro-abortion narrative.  Again, watch this video only with great discretion... the graphic footage starts around the 8 minute mark.

To summarize if you didn't watch it, it interviews a young woman, a phlebotomist (blood draw technician) who did a search for jobs and wound up hired by a middleman tissue procurement company, Stem Express, without any information about her actual job responsibilities.  She passed out in shock her first day on the job, collecting specimens at a Planned Parenthood clinic, and was told that some people "don't ever get used to it."  Screen shots of Stem Express' website show a program of partnership with abortion clinics that "fiscally rewards clinics" for contributing tissue for research.  This is a keynote of the case that CMP is building, because it is illegal for abortion providers to be compensated any more than "cost" for tissue donations.  And then there are scenes of the back room of the clinic, where prospective buyers list the organs they want from what is available on the glass dish: liver, thymus, brain and spinal cord... and we learn that the clinic directors like to price these per item, not per each abortion, so "we can see what we get out of it."  This is Episode 1 of "Human Capital", and CMP has been releasing videos every Tuesday.  So we can wait for the next drop of water in the cascade.

  • I'm not the only one who feels the mainstream media is not adequately covering this scandal: Ideas for Reporters.
  • But Democrats are calling for a Department of Justice investigation of the Center for Medical Progress.  Because corrupt human traffickers hate nothing more than a whistleblower.
  • And Planned Parenthood is sending out threatening notices to potential media outlets.
  • The always eloquent Charles Krauthammer has this to say on the price of fetal parts.  We know what abortion does to the human fetus, but what does it do to us?
  • Today in over 50 cities across the U.S. there were "women betrayed" rallies calling for the de-funding of PP.  As always, I have to love the grassroots of the pro-life movement. This came together with very little advance notice, and all on a volunteer basis.
  • Kirsten Powers calls for defunding of PP.
  • Here's something I was not aware of until yesterday: Abby Johnson, the woman behind "And Then There Were None" outreach for clinic workers needing a fresh start, reveals that PP's claim of abortion services making up a miniscule portion of their business is supported by strategically and dishonestly "bundling" or "unbundling" the way they bill their services. So if you go to one appointment and leave with a prescription for 12 months of birth control plus a few tests done at the appointment, it may actually be billed as 12 or more separate services.  But an abortion, no matter how many visits are required, will only be counted as one service.
  • For a better understanding, check out this video on how exactly they cook abortion statistics to make it look like they don't do that many.  If I could manipulate numbers that well, I'd be quite rich by now... but I guess that's the idea.
  • Maria Gallagher on how PP's soundbites are not working so well anymore.

I also took one for the team and watched/listened to the entire footage of the long versions of the first two videos.  I learned more than any sane person should want to know about fetal tissue procurement and the personalities behind Planned Parenthood.  Here are my observations... and they are just my observations, and I'm sure others who did this would have different things jump out.

In the first video, I learned that Dr. Nucatola, the young abortionist, entered her profession after discarding several legitimate medical specialties: orthopedic surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics... it's a sad story, really, because she had to perform an emergency hysterectomy on a woman who was dying from a botched abortion; and after losing that patient, she decided to become an abortionist because she was skilled at the D&E technique and wanted to make sure skilled doctors were providing that "service."  And she's proud of the work she does, but knows that she has to be cautious in talking to strangers.  It makes me amazed that anyone, no matter how carefully constructed the cover story, would be able to gain her trust, but I guess it speaks to the need for human connection that even the most inhumane people must have.  And this goes for all the PP staff I've seen... they really do believe they are the good guys.  Or maybe they're just comfortable where they are because they are making a good salary.

Also from the first video, and just in passing, I caught that certain conditions such as sickle-cell anemia and Down syndrome sometimes come on the market, but apparently there isn't much demand for Down syndrome tissue.  (I have a daughter with DS).  This corresponds with what I know about the relative lack of well-funded research in Down syndrome... you really need to follow the money to find the trending research, and Down syndrome is not trending in that way.  I also have a hunch, and I sincerely hope it's true, that most DS researchers are more ethical than those who would put in orders for aborted tissue.  After all, it is a condition that is being targeted and gradually eliminated by prenatal testing and abortion.  Why bother to research treatments?

In both videos, PP executives speak about the "volume" of abortions done at various clinics, and encourage the prospective buyers to seek out and enter into relationships with clinics that do not yet have a designated procurer to send their baby parts.  High-volume clinics would be better for sourcing tissue, I suppose, but it hardly supports the narrative of abortion as "safe, legal, and rare."

I could stay up much later and try to write more, but it's already a very long blog post.  More is most likely to come.  I hope if you've read this far you are inspired to demand accountability for the people who have been profiting from abortion, and particularly, the de-funding of Planned Parenthood and at the very least, a restriction on abortion after the age when an unborn child can feel pain. For the sake of our common humanity, this is something all sides in politics ought to be able to agree on.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


The plum tree is in full-on production mode.  Yesterday and today I made a batch of Pflaumenmus (plum butter), cooking it down in the crockpot.  It made almost 8 half-pint jars.

We have so many plums!  We can't possibly give them all away or use them all, I don't think.  Although we do seem to have friends who will take as many gallons as they or we can pick, so it's not going to waste yet.  Daniel started some plum-blackberry wine today.

Yesterday evening I went to the Salmon Creek trail to pick blackberries.  I had a fun time finding the biggest and juiciest ones, saw a heron preening himself in the setting sun, and heard what I think were two beavers calling to each other from opposite sides of the pond.  I also picked more than a gallon of berries, some of which were frozen, and some of which were added to the aforementioned wine.  It was almost a perfect evening, until a bug flew into my eye while I was walking back with my bucket of berries.  I went home, washed the eye out, showered, washed it out again, and lived with the irritation while we stayed up late watching "How to Steal a Million" with Peter O'Toole and Audrey Hepburn (great movie!)  And then, as I was trying to go to sleep around midnight, the bug finally shifted around to the point where I could remove it with a q-tip.  I think my eye may recover but it's been very gradual today, getting rid of the irritation.  And the creepy feeling that it might have left a leg in there...ew!  Visine is supposed to be good for pollen, dust, etc., but it lists nothing about insect residue... but I tried it anyway.

Tertia's Washi dress for the wedding is finished and I'm happy with it, but don't have pictures ready yet.  I started today on one for myself, using a vintage sheet from my collection.  It will either look charming or weird.  Pictures to follow, eventually.

Quarta has texted from camp a few times, borrowing her friend's phone.  It seems very odd to be able to get texts from kids at camp.  She had a bit of a run-in with some barbed wire but she says the nurse cleaned her up.  Peter also texted from his "camp," just before they took his phone away.  Let's hope he gets phone privileges back sooner than in Basic last summer, or we may be waiting a few weeks. to hear from him.

Tonight we got Panda Express, and played Uno, which is probably Tertia's favorite game ever.  She took great offense when Daniel, Steve and I started talking in French.  Then we looked out in front of the house and what looked like a drug bust was going on right there.  Not sure exactly what was going on, but I think they took at least one person away, and a car belonging to another person was parked a long time with blinking lights on before driving away.  So we may be a quiet house, but a lot goes on around us.