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January 31, 2009

Eleanor of Castile, Queen Consort of England, had 16 children

...and ten of them died by the age of ten. 

The four boys lived one day, and five, six and ten years. Of the six girls, the first was stillborn, and the others lasted 1 day, 3 mos, 4 mos, 8 mos, and 2 yrs.

Can you imagine as a mother living through that? This was between 1255 and 1290 AD, in England (and Palestine and France). Her 16th and final child was the only son to survive to adulthood, and he became King Edward II of England about 17 years after his mother died.

I am so glad we live in this day and age of actual medical care based on scientific research.

I was trying to wrap my mind around the timeline of the births and deaths of all these kids, and so I made myself a colorful spreadsheet which I cannot figure out how to make appear in all its glory here on the page (I'm sure Jon Reid will come to my aid, though, because he has a history of knowing about this kind of stuff and charitably rescuing poor clueless souls): Download EleanorEdwardProgeny My chart shows that for a period of 21 consecutive years, there were only five years during which Eleanor didn't either give birth or see one of her children die. There were six calendar years with both at least one birth and one death in the same year, and two years with a birth and two deaths. The graph also shows another thing I was curious about: out of the 16 children, the maximum number ever alive simultaneously was seven - for four whole months after his birth, Edward I had a brother, and then his older brother died at age 10, and he was left only with five older sisters, making him the heir to the throne as the oldest surviving son.

By the way, Edward I and Eleanor of England, who are thought (unlike most monarchs in history) to have been faithful to each other and had all these kids together, are not to be confused with another such fertile, loyal, royal, English couple I posted about in April 2008: King George III and Queen Charlotte (in the 1700s they had 15 kids, the first 12 of which lived between 52 and 81 years each! Quite a different story).

My source: Wikipedia's info on the Progeny of Edward I and Eleanor of England

P.S. Why am I telling you this? My son and I watched Braveheart today, in which Edward I and Edward II of England figure prominently. The movie is rife with completely fabricated events and relationships, but they did get right that Eleanor would have been dead by the time of the events (she did not appear in the movie, but Edward II's wife did, which was wrong because in real life they did not marry until the year after Edward I died; and she made a big difference to the movie tale).

January 31, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

I'm Thinking Maybe My Blog is Dead

Or maybe just dormant? Hibernating for the winter?

The muse seems to have left or been anaesthetized. She only comes up with one-sentence snippets suitable for Facebook status updates.

I'll give you a few links here to add some content to this post:

God's Pharmacy - a kind of cool description of how some foods resemble the bodily organs they help with their specific nutrients. And this is apparently a version with some scientific corrections and references.

Very cool idea of a sports team to bless another.

Don't Waste Your Cancer: ten ideas of John Piper's. I hope I never have to put these ideas into practice - but since both my dad and my husband's dad died of cancer in their 50s, it's not beyond imagining. Interesting, profound thoughts.

While I'm not blogging, I am living life. I am enjoying God. I am enjoying my husband. I am enjoying my children. I am learning German (slowly). I am liking being in Switzerland. I even like the long, cold, freezing, icy, snowy, cloudy, foggy, gray winter here. It feels right. I know spring will come, and it will be all the more glorious for the prolonged suspense and the contrast. So spring flowers came in February when we lived in California - whenever they surface here, it will have been worth the wait. In the meantime, I am super-thankful for a heated house.

I am cherishing God's Words to me between the covers of my Bible daily, thanks to accountability with ladies from our church. I am delighting in conversing with Him in (brief) daily, dedicated, focused prayer times for the first time in many years (thanks to new accountability this year via a small private Facebook group). I am getting my feet wet in some leadership roles (merely because I want the groups to exist). Life is chugging along and I am so thankful for so many blessings.

Maybe this is why I don't have much to write about lately - I am savoring the daily, the regular, the personal. I am immersed in waters that don't feel right to share just yet - waters of prayer, of insecure but thus-far functional leadership (I sweat when I have the floor), and of waiting patiently for spring.

January 31, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 26, 2009

Enjoying with the Eyes

I drank in with my eyes the gorgeous flowers in the grocery store as I passed today. And had to whip my camera out:
TulipsCoop LilyCoop RosesCoop

January 26, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Cat and Crystals

ClimberCatFoxyThis neighbour cat is quite a climber. This was his perch today, briefly. I think this might be a Forsythia bush - we'll find out 'round about March I guess.
IceCrystalsBranchesThe crystalline formations of ice on the trees were spectacular on the 14th of January here in our village.

January 26, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Swiss Sunrise

Different settings on my camera produced quite different colors of this sunrise seen from our house last weekend:

Sunrise1 Sunrise3 Sunrise2 Sunrise4

January 26, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 24, 2009

Thawed River, Reappearing Cub, 10th Grade Skiing, Etc.

A few headlines from the past week or two:

* The Sihl river along our school commute route froze over earlier this month. Then it thawed out again recently. It was beautiful while it lasted, with artistic swirls in the icy surface, and snow covering all the rocky outcroppings.

* Our friendly neighbourhood cat, whom Emily has named Cub, disappeared for a day or two, and I was surprised by my sadness. Then she (?) reappeared and got some more serious petting from the kids and me. Now we are used to her bouts of disappearance, typically on rainy days. So she must have another home somewhere. I am happy to share her. None of the neighbourhood cats seem to have any collars.

* Jason went on the 10th grade ski trip to Wengen (Swiss alps, about 2 hours from home) this week and came home safely (this praying mama was thankful). I don't think I have yet mentioned on here that Jason finished December in 9th Grade, and started January in 10th Grade. That was exciting. Sort of like an Australian school year? It just fit the level of classes for him better. Now he is in a more fitting French class, with an actual mother tongue French teacher (this was a long time in coming, oh, yes). His mother is happy about that. His math and German classes didn't change. He went back to the drama class that he started the year in. So it wasn't as dramatic as it sounds (ha ha). And the lady who orchestrated the switch for him is now his English teacher, so it helps that she knows his situation well. She's also the Assistant Principal. And a wonderful woman.

* David was sick with a bad cold for 5 days (3 days off work). No one else seemed to get it, although this morning Emily was coughing.

* Emily has been loving her drama class in a neighbouring town, with kids from other schools (none from hers), and part of that is making new friends. She said she wished it were twice as often. Today she has a first playdate scheduled with one of them whom she declared from the first meeting to be a soulmate. We'll see how the afternoon goes!

* The newly launched daytime Ladies' Bible/Prayer group from our church has survived its first two weekly meetings with me leading - we are reading through over half the Bible this year in daily personal readings, and then coming together once a week to discuss and pray over what we've read. It's a new format for all of us. We are reading from a different section of the Bible each day of the week, so we'll be in them all, all year long. I like it. It's pared down from the schedule for the whole Bible that I used last year.

* My office is holding the cleanliness from the anniversary overhaul I did earlier this month (wow, that was over two weeks ago), and yesterday I performed an eight-hour internet fast (by turning off my wireless connection, the only way) in order to get through the stack of action items yielded by the great re-org. Not that I actually DID them, but I at least looked through them, typed stuff off all the little sticky notes into a digitized list, and executed a few choice tasks. Now at least I know what's in the pile. I am gearing up to make my annual Christmas stamp collage, and to make our 2008 photo album, God willing. I don't have a lot of traditions, but those are two special ones.

* I obviously haven't been inspired to do much blogging lately, and now that I am doing some anyway, I come up with this long list of boring stuff - but oh well, my mom will like it anyway (hi Mom), and it's a record for the future. I should back up my blog offline somewhere...maybe check out those services that will turn your blog into a book...for my grandchildren or something...this year I will come upon my 5-year blogiversary (in May), so maybe that's be a good point at which to print Volume One...in case we run out of electricity globally or whatever. Or maybe I should just get it on a CD.

January 24, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 21, 2009

The Firmness of Water

An hour fresh-cut in a glass of cool water does wonders for droopy celery.

The Firmness of Water

The Firmness of Water

January 21, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 20, 2009

First post from iPhone

Just figuring out other neat things I can do with my new iPhone, like take a photo of it (in the bright pink case my man got me) in the rear view mirror while parked waiting to pick up Emily, and "moblog" (mobile blog) by posting it directly from my phone. I had already worked out how to post directly to Facebook, but hadn't thought of it for Typepad (my blog hosting service) until I noticed a photo someone else had posted remotely on their blog. Typing is sure a lot slower on my iPhone than on my laptop! Here comes Emily now!First post from iPhone

January 20, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 13, 2009

Frosty Blue Day in Zürich

CIMG5798 CIMG5806 Posted some more lovely blue 'n white photos over on Picasaweb (which works so nicely with iPhoto), with the trees completely outlined in frosty white, and brilliant blue sky beyond.

Contrary to how the landscape looks, it hasn't snowed here for about 15 days as near as I remember. It's just been so cold it hasn't melted in all that time. So the roads are nice and clear, but we get this beautiful landscape to enjoy every day.

What a generous Artist-Creator You are. Thank you.

January 13, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Cub, the Outdoor Cat we Don't Own

Cub We are merely giving this poor lost cat a more comfortable winter, with enough to eat and drink and a warmer place to sleep (outside but out of the reach of the wind and elements, in our winter garden on a bed of cardboard and old towels, with a roof and free access to the outside). It's so cold out! (-9°C or so this morning = 15 °F) And he's SO beautiful, soft, friendly, clean, and polite. And he purrs so loudly when stroked! We just wash our hands immediately after petting him (outside), since we have two allergy sufferers in the household. He seems delighted with his new luxury abode.

See Cub's beautiful photos here (with a few more details on his accommodation).

January 13, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack