Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Day Farming

Let's hear it for the hard-working folks (cows, family and friends alike) that keep this country fed!

Caleb's Eleven!

The youngest among us turned eleven today, in the bliss of new Legos and homemade cake!
Speaking of homemade food, it turns out that Sean is quite the Italian cook and he has been treating the family to Italian feasts! Isaac and Hannah volunteered to help, and completed their style with aprons!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Power of A Good Question

Today was the last day of instruction in what was probably the best science class that I have ever taken. I am pretty sure that I gained more understanding of physics in the last six weeks than I did in a whole year of undergraduate college physics.

The fascinating thing is that during the last six weeks, not one of my ten or so instructors ever told me anything! They just asked me questions - hundreds upon hundreds of questions. Sometimes I asked the instructors questions, and then, just maybe, they would tell me something. Most of the time they would, instead, just ask me another question. For someone who likes to talk and who loves attention, this is the most amazing educational set-up ever.

But as I walked the mile back to my dorm today, reflecting on the learning that I have done through the last six weeks, the most incredible thing for me to notice was how much I own my current understandings.

I discovered the basic principles of special relativity! They are my principles, and it may as well be said that Sarah Angell discovered special relativity, because, indeed, no one ever told her what special relativity was. These brilliant instructors just asked me questions until the only option was to discover the theory myself. Space-time dilation is not just some crazy idea in Einstein's head; it is now a crazy idea in my head. It is a crazy idea in my head that makes me so excited that I am even willing to fall asleep thinking about physics!

What a brilliant system of education! For me to think that I discovered special relativity is about as crazy as me thinking that I, not Columbus, "discovered" America. But the craziness hasn't stopped me from thinking of my discovery as any less important than Einstein's.

At this point I can hear Mr. Gilbreth from Cheaper By the Dozen telling his children that this post topic is not of general interest. But perhaps he would have spoken too soon.
  • Regardless of how I feel about special relativity, how many times, when I pause to think about it, have I learned the most about myself in the context of relationship, when someone has simply asked me a question that was tailored perfectly to me?

  • How clarifying has it been for me, when a friend who knows me really well, asks just the question that I need to work through a particularly challenging decision?
  • How I often do I find myself strikingly aware of my love for God when I put myself in Peter's shoes as he is questioned by the resurrected Christ, "Sarah, do you love me?"?

Oh, the power of ownership!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Jazz Hands!

Meet the fun teachers from all over the country that I get to be with at least three times a year! We just spent the weekend together in Philadelphia and, among learning practices that will hopefully improve our teaching, we received an invitation to do research at the South Pole for three weeks! We all decided that our classrooms sounded more appealing.

(My "Jazz Hands" are more like, "Praise God Hands!" Oh, well.)

And What Should I Do?

John said, "The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."
"What should we do then?" the crowd asked.
John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same."
Tax collectors also came to be baptized. "Teacher," they asked, "what should we do?"
"Don't collect any more than you are required to," he told them.
Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?"
He replied, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely—be content with your pay."

(Luke 3:9-14)

I love this passage, because I could so easily see the next stanza reading, "And then a chemistry teacher came to John and asked him, "And what should I do?"

In the liberality of my imagination, the answer that John gives is perhaps the most obvious answer that exists. His answer tells me to do what I intuitively know that I should do, but also that which I find hardest to do.

"Don't treat your students as machines, or numbers en masse. Value the intellect of even the slow and distracted pupils. Patiently reveal the hidden and beautiful secrets of a particle world that cannot be seen."

Faithfulness in the moment of my calling. There, that's it. Nothing fancy. Nothing exotic. Be faithful. That's what I should do.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bentley's Teacup Meets Tea Island!

This year's annual trip to Tea Island on Lake George was made very special because our own rowboat with its 1950 outboard motor, Bentley's Teacup, traveled north with the family and Jake and Sean. Thanks to Trip and Sally for the fabulous annual memories!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Knowles Science Teaching Foundation

"Increasing the quantity of high-quality science and math teachers...KSTF." There are over one-hundred teaching fellows at our annual meeting this year in Philadelphia! This foundation is growing so quickly. My cohort of twelve is now just one of thirteen cohorts. Wow! (Notice the cool ice sculpture from this evening's dinner.)

Galletta Family's Sour Cream Blueberry Pie

Thunderstorms and air travel don't mix too well, but who can complain about cross-country travel when the pioneers did it with covered wagons and beasts? Anyhow, I'll have some posts from the City of Brotherly Love soon, but in the meantime, Hannah sent me the recipe for the most amazing blueberry pie ever. I'll soon archive some good recipes. In the meantime, enjoy!

For the pie crust -- (Or, better yet, use your favorite pie crust recipe, this crust isn't anything spectacular.)

1 3/4 cups - flour
1/4 cup - sugar
1 teaspoon - cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon - salt
11 teaspoons - butter
apple cider or water

Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in the butter or blend with fingertips to consistency of coarse meal. Add apple cider, one tablespoon to start, then a teaspoonful at a time, just until evenly moistened (two tablespoons average). Press dough into a ball. Roll on lightly floured board. Fit into a deep 9 or 10-in. pie pan. Crimp extra dough around edge of crust for a thick, raised rim. Heat oven to 450 F.

For the filling --

1/4 cup - flour
1 cup - sour cream
3 ounces - cream cheese
1 large egg
3/4 cup - brown sugar
1 teaspoon - vanilla extract
1 egg white, beaten
2 pints - blueberries

Beat sour cream, cream cheese, egg, brown sugar, flour and vanilla smooth. Brush pastry shell with egg white; fill with blueberries. Pour sour cream mixture over berries, filling shell. Bake 10 minutes at 450 F. Reduce to 350 F and bake 35 to 40 minutes more until set. Remove. Add walnut streusel topping evenly over pie. Bake 10 or 15 minutes more. (If not using nut topping, bake 10 minutes more.) Let cool on rack before slicing. If desired, add whipped cream and raspberries or strawberries wedges as garnish. Makes 8 servings.

Walnut Streusel Topping

1 cup - chopped walnuts
1/2 cup - butter, cut up
1/2 cup - flour
1/3 cup - sugar
1/3 cup - brown sugar
1 tablespoon - cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon - salt

Mix all of the ingredients in the blender. Pulse to a coarse crumble.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Yankees vs. Twins, 12-4

The first professional league baseball game that my siblings and I ever saw was at the Minnesota Twins Stadium (I must have been about eight).

The Minnesota Twins came to New York last night to play the Yankees and of course we could not miss the game! The Yankees won 12-4, with A-Rod hitting a two-run home run in the first inning of the game.

Allie, Chris, Andy, Tsheko, Landon, Alex, Sean and Jake joined the family for the game. What a big crowd in an already crowded stadium!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Life on the Farm

Though Clarence has announced his plans to sell his dairy herd, work at Middlevale Farm has not ceased. Katie (from Princeton) and Landon (from Cornell) joined the family and Jake and Sean over the weekend to share in the daily labors of hay storage.

The weekend concluded with a trip to Times Square Church in New York City where David Wilkerson spoke about the ever-increasing demands of faith in a time where despair about economics is particularly prevelant.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

You Will Call Me "My Husband"

"In that day," declares the Lord,
"you will call me 'my husband';
you will no longer call me 'my master.'"

I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.

I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the Lord.

"I will show my love to the one I called
'Not my loved one.'

I will say to those called 'Not my people,'
'You are my people';
and they will say, 'You are my God.'"

(Hosea 2:16-23)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Olympic National Park

My national park palette was whetted today with a trip to Olympic. What a huge park! It boasts of scenic and rocky coastal lines, rain forests, mountains (with snow in July), lakes and natural hot springs. I did not do Olympic National Park justice, by any means, today. I barely brushed acquaintance with a few of its pearls.

Olympic would be the perfect national park for a week-long camping trip where much time was reserved for looking, for depth of "acquaintanceship." There is much in the park to behold, much too much for just one day.

The pictures, in order, show the Hoh Rain Forest, the Hoh River, windy Rialto Beach (on the Pacific shoreline) and Lake Crescent.

Its Own Place

The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of heav'n.

- John Milton, Pardise Lost

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tears and the Holy Spirit

I knew from my work in the church how important a role tears play in making a man whole. I think I could almost put it down as a rule that the touch of God is marked by tears. When finally we let the Holy Spirit into our innermost sanctuary, the reaction is to cry. I have seen it happen again and again. Deep soul-shaking tears, weeping rather than crying. It comes when the last barrier is down and you surrender yourself to health and to wholeness.

And when it does come, it ushers forth such a new personality that, from the days of Christ on, the experience has been spoken of as a birth. "you must be born again, " said Jesus. And the paradox is this: at the heart of this newborn personality is joy; yet the joy is ushered in by tears.

- David Wilkerson, The Cross and the Switchblade (A very highly recommended read for anyone longing - I think we all are - for something completely and utterly real. Religious platitudes, theological disputes, and unbelief are wholly suspended as we are told the true story of one praying person who steps out in faith to witness the transforming message of the gospel to New York City's heart-hardened gang members. To read a narrative of a country preacher who watches the Holy Spirit transform the lives of violent teenagers on the 1960 streets of New York City is to be reintroduced to the mighty power of God. "Christ's love is a love without angles: a love that asks nothing in return. It is a love that wants only the best for these boys and girls. It is a love that redeems.")

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Never a Dull Moment (East or West)

This is Sean who is working on his amazing
painting in the backyard.

Lawrence, Luke and Nate worked on installing
a new window in the upstairs bathroom yesterday.

Back to the Hudson for another dinner concert!

Hungry men!

I enjoyed a wonderful walk around Green Lake with my new friend,Trillian,
and her one-year-old daughter, Athena.

If you click on this picture of Green Lake, you will see some of Seattle's best wildlife:
a blue heron and some sun-bathing turtles.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Mid-Summer Night's Dream

If June, July and August constitute the summer months, I suppose it could be said that the summer has now bestowed half of her seasonal glories upon us. So much life gets packed into the summer months. The land is fertile, the sun shines for long hours and the projects that hibernated through the frozen winter months thaw and demand much attention.

Isaac arrived home at the end of June after spending a month working at a huge farm up in Tompkins County. His arrival back home was a little earlier than expected when we found out that Clarence, who so faithfully farms the neighboring land, was going on bed-rest. Clarence is one of the types that never gets sick, never leaves town and is as scheduled as a clock itself. Bed-rest was a new chapter in Clarence's book. Isaac is now writing a new chapter in his book, too, since Clarence's bed-rest has demanded that Isaac start running Middlevale Farm in the height of the busiest part of the farming season. Needless to say, Isaac has been getting so little sleep; he has had to wake every morning at 3:25am to milk cows and then each day he faces a hefty workload of mowing, raking, baling and unloading. Farmers work so hard.

In the meantime, Nate returned home from studying geology in Montana. His friend, Sean, from Princeton, came to live with the family for a little over a month. All at Bentley report that his presence has been such an encouragement. Sean is an amazing artist and has been quite successful at marketing his artwork. I hear that he is doing very well as he tries his hand at farming.

Jake has been getting his share of summer baling callouses while throwing around heavy hay bales. He has been doing a lot of grass mowing and maintenance. Recently, he has been thrilled to get trained to drive some of the big tractors. Jake's dream is to become a large equipment operator, so he is thrilled to get the practice. He has a good sense of humor and provides comic relief for the family in the midst of all the work.

Hannah turned seventeen yesterday. I absolutely cannot believe that. Wow, how graphically I remember that day that my eight-year old self was so, so excited to finally have a baby sister. And now my baby sister is seventeen and getting ready to apply to Cornell (as a junior!) to study business management. Hannah celebrated her birthday by shopping and dining in Albany with her friend, Allie. She didn't want any gifts this year, but she requested a lunch date with Grandma, Mom and Rebecca at the local Double-O-Grill. She assured me that I would have been invited, too, if I were not in Washington.

After Luke completed a huge landscaping project at the home, he started taking General Biology II throughout the day at Dutchess. His life has become pretty consumed with studying as he is also excited to soon apply to Cornell as a pre-med student.

Mom and Dad have been busy hosting dinners and parties. On Saturday they had more than thirty people at the house for an evening of food, baseball and square dancing. (The adorable girls at right were counted among the guests.)

Life in Seattle has been full of both energy and rest. I have been working on a major portfolio that is due by the time of the summer meeting for my teaching fellowship (my cohort pictured below). During the days I have been enjoying studying methods in teaching physics. We've been working with a lot of materials in kinematics and we just started a new and extremely interesting unit on general and special relativity. The evenings have held much time to explore all of the recreational opportunities that Seattle has to offer. I have found a wonderful 3-mile running trail around beautiful Green Lake. The Burke-Gilman trail is also such an asset to city life and long bike rides on the trail have been just so refreshing. Especially meaningful have been my times with North Seattle Friends; we watched a fascinating (and recommended) documentary on Friday - Maxed Out - which was a much needed commentary on the state of our nation's private and public financial affairs.

So, yes, we are all relishing these long summer days, be we on the East Coast or the West. These days are busy days, but such good and refreshing days. They go by as a dream, yes, as a mid-summer night's dream.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Your Neighbor is the Holiest Object Presented to Your Senses

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously - no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner - no mere tolerance or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat - the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden. - C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory


Nate spent the last month in a geology field camp where he apparently received training for his engineering degree. Most geology field camps are in Montana, so to Montana Nate went! The pictures make me think that I should become a geologist.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Storing Dried Grass

It's amazing how much work it takes to preserve the fertility of summer for the barrenness of winter.

Residing the South Side

Improvements continue to be called for following last year's huge construction project. The landscaping is getting done and attention is now turning to the residing of the house. We decided to take one side at a time and started with the south side.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Childhood and Castles

Childhood is the most wonderful season of life for dreaming.

Distanced from true responsibility, not yet calloused by failed expectations, optimistic concerning the potential of the human spirit, and free to spend liberal amounts of times reading of other lands and peoples and times, childhood ideally concocts the most fertile ground for the growth of a dream.

Dreams are irreplaceable. Childhood dreams of what life should be, what it could be, what it will be, give hope to the adult human spirit and carry it through times of skepticism where it seems that life can never change.

Childhood dreams stand as a reminder of the potential of a life, of all of the wonderful possibilities that ninety short years on this Earth could allow. Castles built in the mind of a child inspire hope and bestow perseverance through the paths of adulthood.

May we not forget the dreams of our childhood when difficulty besets in the journey to fulfillment. As Wendell Berry has well stated, "The maintenance of a continuity, a vital connection, between childhood vision and adult experience is part of the obligation of a moral man." (Photo:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Yay! Domain Transfers Work!

So, from now on,, and should all bring you to one and the same page.

I'm still fixing some of the archives and "More from Bentley" links. Hannah says she has an amazing blueberry pie recipe to post in our coming recipe section that ought to be mighty fine!

In the meantime, I am simply excited that this domain transfer worked because, well, it turned out to be quite complicated!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

For Everything Else, There's Mastercard

Google's expected annual day care bill for employees with two kids: $ 57,000

Having a mom: Absolutely Priceless

There are some things in life that money can't buy...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Tender Mercy of God

The tender mercy of God
has come to us from Heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death
to guide our feet into the path of peace. (Parts of Luke 1:78-79)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

A Kenyan Prayer

We pray for our children, for they have a long way to go.
We pray for our elders, for they have come a long way.
We pray for those in between, for they are doing the work.

Shared in North Seattle Friends Church by Grace Kuto who spoke with her sister, Elizabeth Bwayo, who is a genuine living testament to forgiveness and love in the face of extreme violence. (Elizabeth and her husband were hijacked and shot a year and a half ago in Kenya, leaving Elizabeth severely wounded and widowed.)

Friday, July 04, 2008

Haying at Middlevale Farm

Clarence has taken ill and so the family is in full swing trying to keep up with the work that one man did largely independently. What would summer be without haying?

And Back Again

When I left blogger in June of 2006, I was disappointed with my lack of control over template design. Blogger has vastly improved (I think) in the last two years - enough so that I am willing to give it a try again. The site that I built using will probably still be active for a little while, at least until I can transfer my entries back onto blogger's server again.

I am planning on sticking with the address, although, from now on, both and should bring you to this site.

If you have an iGoogle homepage, it is very easy to add RSS feed from this blog, so that you can be aware of when a new post has been made without having to type in the full url.

In order to activate this feature, click "Add stuff" on the right side of the iGoogle page. When you are redirected click "Add feed or gadget" at the bottom left side of the page and simply type in: and then press the "Add" button. If you go back to your iGoogle page, the most recent posts from this blog should show up.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Silence of Mind (Revised)

I have thought a bit recently about "simplicity of mind," or as William Penn said, "silence of mind." There are so many ways and areas of life where simplicity may be practiced, yet the hidden life of the mind seems to get overlooked.

Silence of mind does not try to comprehend all mysteries.

It knows the limits of human comprehension.

Silence of mind does not perseverate in the past.

Silence of mind does not agonize over the future.

Silence of mind simply knows that the heart has found a resting place in the Word of Truth, the Lord Jesus.

Silence of mind trusts that the love of God toward me is perfect.

Silence of mind provides a restful heart to which the words of Christ may be spoken and discerned.

Silence of mind patiently understands that the work of God transforms first the inner and unseen being and then the outer being.

Silence of mind is to choose contentment of mind.

Silence of mind recognizes that the day of preparation is just as important as the day of action.

Silence of mind is a condition of love because the inner struggle with self is being mastered.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Christened By the Northwest

I was biking today along Lake Washington and was about five miles from my dorm when rain started to pour from the sky. When I am warm and dry and inside, looking out my window at a dripping wet girl on a bike makes me feel pity.

But when I am that dripping wet girl on a bike with five miles left to travel, oh, I feel so wonderful. Biking in the rain is about as glorious as my four-year-old self found jumping in puddles.