Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Everything I Own

by Dave Peightal, as recorded by Jason Gray.

What would I give to be pure in heart
To be pure in flesh and bone
What would I give to be pure in heart
I'd give everything that I own
I'd rid my whole house of my demons of lust
And open the windows of trust
And out of those windows all fear will have flown
I'd give everything that I own

What would I give for the words of God
To come tumbling from the throne
What would I give for the words of God
I'd give everything that I own
I'd open my head and they'd roll right in
When I opened my mouth they'd roll out again
And uproot the weeds of the deeds I have sown
I'd give everything I own

Now what would I give for my children's strength
On the day that they stand alone
I mean what would I give for their strength to stand firm
I'd give everything that I own
I've wasted my life in accomplishing things
Ignoring the Giver of wings
So Lord teach them to fly to the foot of your throne
I'd give everything I own

All I've accomplished, the titles I hold
My passions, positions,possessions and gold
To God they must look like a thimble of foam
And it's everything that I own
Dirty rags are all that I own

So I stand before God with my stubble and hay
He just laughs, but says there is still a way
Because "Father, Forgive" are the words Jesus moaned
When He gave everything He owned

So what would I give to be pure in heart
For the known to be made unknown
What would I give to be born again?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Winter Reading Challenge Update #1

Well, here is my first review/update.

I finished reading Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality by Donald Miller. My reason for reading the book was that I kept running across this title in blogs and articles I was reading, and running into people who either loved or hated it (very few were lukewarm in its regard.) After the daughter of a dear friend posted that it was her favorite book, I decided I should not go by reviews, but give it a read for myself. So I have, and I attempted to be as fair in my appraisal as I could, given that one can never read something without bringing ones own presuppositions and assumptions to that reading.

My first challenge in reading Mr. Miller in any "fair" way was to get over his rambling, stream-of-consciousness, non-grammatical style. He writes like people text message: whatever enters the brain comes on the page. Sometimes this makes for a startling, stark statement. Most of the time I find it irritating. But I did try to overlook the style to a certain degree so I could appreciate the content.

My second challenge was the content: specifically, the adoration Mr. Miller has for the "cool", the non-traditional, and for his own generation of seekers, who apparently are the only generation to have found "authentic" Christianity. Perhaps this is too broad. Let me explain my impression of a couple of these areas.

Mr. Miller is constantly mentioning that things are "cool", and seems driven by what is "cool". Reed College is cool, Latin is cool, his friend, the beat poet, is cool. He doesn't define this, so I am only guessing when he uses this term what he means by it (which I guess is appealing, contemporary, and perceived as relevant.) I, on the other hand, am distinctly "uncool", and see "cool" as a worldly affectation that we as believers should avoid. "Cool" is how the world defines what it wants to look like. I prefer to strive for Christ-likeness. So this didn't earn Mr. Miller any points with me. But maybe I am just old and grumpy.

It is also obvious that Mr. Miller grew up in a culturally-Christian church that de-emphasized a personal relationship with Christ and personal holiness. He is constantly picturing all of traditional Christianity as shallow, superficial and legalistic, and contrasting this to non-Christian, non-traditional, politically liberal people that are far more loving and beautiful than anything he encountered in the church. While I must grant the point that much of traditional (read mainline, and perhaps even evangelical) Christianity in the US today is, indeed, superficial, legalistic and shallow, I have to admit feeling rather aggravated that it has never entered Mr. Miller's mind that there may be more traditional Christians somewhere who can be traditional and conservative, and yet actually love Christ in an authentic way and live a life of community and service and accountability with others in their church family. Mr. Miller bandies about the word "authentic" as if the only authentic Christians are young, Urban, and left-leaning. I found this condescending and ignorant. It seems to imply a kind of immature conceit that at one and the same time wants to accuse those who paint with too broad and stereotypical a brush, but them manages to do just that.

That said, there are some positive things in Mr. Miller's book. I believe he is an earnest follower of Christ. Through the course of the book there are moving accounts at times, and references to people or readings that I encourage others to listen to or read. In the end, it appears Mr. Miller is moving in the right way, towards solid, orthodox belief, even if it takes the whole book to wend his way there. And even though that way was often strewn with politically correct jargon or ideas (such as, all Republicans are non-compassionate to the poor, etc.)

I must say I didn't like this book. I found it irritating mostly. And what I find troubling is the way this book has been touted as "deep", or "meaningful", or "the only Christian book you can give non-Christian friends without being ashamed." (And yes, that last is from some of Miller's promotional material!) Mr. Miller is definitely trying to ride the wave of "cool", post-modern responses to the traditional church. I wouldn't say it was a waste of time to read, particularly because I can now respond to those who speak about it as "deep" or "poignant" with a greater first- hand understanding of the content. But I do not recommend this as a good way to spend precious reading time.

I also completed Terry Pratchett's novel, Going Postal. This is in the sci-fi/fantasy genre, taking place in Discworld. Pratchett is exrtemely humorous, and this is a very strange little novel, full of twists and turns, word-play, and just plain non-sense. This is the only reading I have done from this series, and I'm not sure I'll delve much farther, but it was a nice change of pace. If you want something light and fluffy, silly, funny, and rather interesting, you might give Pratchett a try.

And on another note, I am adding two titles to my Winter Reading Challenge List, mostly because they were thrust upon me in one way or another over that last couple of weeks:

The Mother-in_Law Dance: Can Two Women Love the Same Man and Still Get Along by Annie Chapman. This book was loaned to me by a lady who works out with me at Curves. She overheard me talking about marrying off a son, and having just done the same and just read this book, she brought it the next day to loan to me. It is pretty interesting and full of wisdom from what I've seen so far!

The White Witch by Elizabeth Goudge: This story of the English Civil War was being read by Dave on our recent trip, but after I finished Going Postal, I needed something else to read, and swapped with him.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Blog readability test

Thanks to Kathleen, I found this little engine that will grade your blog reading level. My blogs rate...drum roll please...

cash advance

Cash Advance Loans

I have no idea why...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Power of Adoption

What a blessing to be reminded this morning, as I read this article in Touchstone, that the power of God's transaction with His Son, which resulted in my adoption, is strong enough to give me identity, heritage and a future hope. Amen and Amen!

And while we're on the topic, watch the latest YouTube from Bethany Christian Services if you need a little lift...

Winter readng challenge

Kathleen posted an invitation on my classical home educator's list for a winter reading challenge, and I've decided to join in. Now, for me, this is a courageous step. I am wading in with the big girls, who read fast, read lots, and are a whole lot smarter than me... but here is my humble list...

In the category of needing to finish, and hoping this will help me do it:

Resurrection by Tolstoy. I am listening to this in audio format: it is my folding laundry reading... and so far, is pretty typically Tolstoy, and keeps giving my flashbacks to Dickens' Bleak House.

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett. This was recommended by my son and his friend Josh. It is very funny, and very strange, and quite a change of pace for me.

A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin. I have been reading little chunks of this for a year, but I keep getting interrupted. I NEED to finish it...

Life at the Bottom by Theodore Dalrymple. I read the first 2/3 of this a year ago, and had to set it aside for a while. He writes in an interesting and compelling way about a depressing subject, but it is excellent, and I need to finish off the last few essays.

Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. Almost finished with this one, too.

And in the category of on the near-future list, and hoping to read by the end of February:

Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card. We recently enjoyed the first book in this series as an audio book on a family trip (Ender's Game), and were taken by the sparse style and interesting plot of this science fiction/fantasy book (recommended by ds Ben). So on to the next in the series.

The Writer's Workshop by Gregory L. Roper. I am hoping this newly published ISI book will get me excited about teaching composition next year.

Bonfire of the Humanities by Hanson, Heath and Thornton. To feed my passion for classical education.

That will be a challenging list for me. Here we go!

December Give-away

December Giveaway

Friday, November 30, 2007

Thomas Boston on Assurance

“Assurance is the believer’s ark where he sits, Noah-like, quiet and still in the midst of all distractions and destructions, commotions and confusions. . . . [However] most Christians live between fears and hopes, and hang, as it were, between heaven and hell. Sometimes they hope that their state is good, at other times they fear that their state is bad: now they hope that all is well, and that it shall go well with them for ever; [then] they fear that they shall perish by the hand of such a corruption, or by the prevalency of such or such a temptation. . . . They are like a ship in a storm, tossed here and there”

~Thomas Boston, Heaven on Earth

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Jesus: Adam in reverse

I was intrigued this week, in reading a wonderful commentary by Sinclair Ferguson on the book of Philippians, to see his claim that Jesus is "Adam in reverse". He outlines his case this way, comparing Philippians 2:5-8 with Romans 5:12-21 and John 13:3-5:

1. That Jesus, being in the form of God but not grasping after that glory, reminds us of how Adam, also made in the likeness of God, was a grasping man.

2. Jesus emptied himself, making himself a servant, while Adam refused to serve God.

3. Jesus was obedient unto death: a death brought about by Adam's disobedience.

The first thing that struck me in this comparison is how much I feel like Adam when I read this. No big surprise, I guess, for someone who has held the doctrine of total depravity for almost 30 years. Yet we can bask so long in the place of favor with the Lord that we forget the reasons we have to be humble. This is a good reminder.

The second thing that happens as I reflect on these truths is worship. What a contrast between what that first Adam, and I, his daughter, have been, and what Christ was by grace for me and all like me. As Ferguson says, "No wonder such theology produced poetry!"

Monday, November 26, 2007

Augustine on Rhetoric

Now, the art of rhetoric being available for the enforcing either of truth or falsehood, who will dare to say that truth in the person of its defenders is to take its stand unarmed against falsehood? For example that those who are trying to persuade men of what is false are to know how to introduce their subject, so as to put the hearer into a friendly, or attentive, or teachable frame of mind, while the defenders of the truth shall be ignorant of that art? That the former are to tell their falsehoods briefly, clearly, and plausibly, while the latter shall tell the truth in such a way that it is tedious to listen to, hard to understand, and... not easy to believe it? ... That the former, while imbuing the minds of their hearers with erroneous opinions, are by their power of speech to awe, to melt, to enliven, and to rouse them, while the latter shall in defense of the truth be sluggish, and frigid...? Who is such a fool as to think this wisdom?

- Augustine, "On Christian Doctrine"

Sunday, November 25, 2007

An introduction to the progymnasmata

As the old Monty Python guys used to say, "And now for something completely different..."

It has been some time since I wrote about classical education or homeschooling, likely because I am on sabbatical: that is, because I have two weddings coming (one this December, and one next September) I decided not to teach any classes to the home schoolers in our town this year. Except for chorus, of course.. but that hardly counts. At any rate, while I enjoy choosing music and approaching chorus from a Christian and classical perspective, I've already written about that. And chorus doesn't tend to spawn any deep thoughts on the nature of education or anything.

I have been asked, however, to prepare a little talk on the progymnasmata for Monday evening's classical home school support group. It is a very basic beginner's group, and so I am trying to give a very basic introduction to these classical writing exercises. I am printing the text of my notes below, in case anyone wants to know what the progymnasmata are, and why they are an excellent training ground for the craft of writing.

Introduction to the progymnasmata:

In classical education, writing is about learning a craft. It is a set of tools put in the toolbox of the apprentice that he will be trained in using, and will one day use in growing measure on his own. In Christian education, writing is about dying to self and learning to communicate to others. So in classical Christian education, we want to train our children in the craft of writing well to enable them to communicate that which is good, true and beautiful to a lost and broken world that needs that truth, beauty and goodness.

Rhetoric and Poetics:

All writing is either persuasive or imaginative, and these are the two main divisions of classical upper-level writing instruction. Rhetoric focuses on persuasion, and is really not simply writing instruction, but the end result of good writing, good analysis, good reading and good logic. It is the practical application of both reading and logic.

Rhetoric itself is traditionally organized into 5 canons: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. In the current day, because we use largely written communication, memory and delivery are less emphasized. Basically:

· Invention: what ideas are we going to talk about

· Arrangement: how we arrange those ideas

· Style: how we word our ideas


These are writing exercises that prepare the student for rhetoric. Different teachers present the exercises in different order, but most contain these exercises:

· Narrative: story telling. Includes:

o Condensing

o Expanding

o Changing voice/point of view

o Differing modes of narration (direct declarative, indirect declarative, interrogative, and comparative)

o Narrative elements: action, agent, time, place, manner, cause (what, who, when, where, how, why)

o Attributes of an excellent narrative are brevity, clarity and credibility

· Description: the verbal representation of people. Places and things that exist in time and space.

o Learn how to detail persons, places, actions, things, and time

o Learn to order the details by special, temporal or order of impressions

o The attributes of an excellent description are clarity and vividness.

· Fable: a fictional illustration,

o Primary purpose of a fable is to illustrate a point in order to give advice. This lends emotional impact to an argument.

o In a fable, there is a single incident that illustrates the point at hand, and can be summed up in a pithy statement.

o We retell, condense, expand and invent fables.

o We write moral tags for fables

o We adapt the structure of a fable by introducing it with its moral tag, then telling the fable itself, then drawing an analogy from the fable to real life. We can turn that order around, too. Then we are ready to use a fable in the midst of a longer piece of persuasive writing.

· The Proverb: a short, pithy saying that is true from common experience

o 3 kinds of proverbs:

§ those that exhort to action

§ those that dissuade from action

§ those that instruct or enlighten moral understanding

o We learn how to amplify proverbs or write a fable for them as an illustration

o We learn a pattern for writing a deliberative essay around the proverb (Cite the saying; praise its wisdom; define its key terms; paraphrase or explain its meaning; give reasons to support it; draw a conclusion)

· The Anecdote: a wise saying or short exposition that gives moral instruction

o This is also known as chreia.

o There are verbal anecdotes (similar to the proverb), or action anecdotes, where the short account of an action speaks for itself, or a combination of these.

o We amplify anecdotes, and practice fitting them into larger deliberative essays (Introduction, Narration, proposition, confirmation, refutation, conclusion)

· Refutation/Confirmation: supporting or attacking a position

o This prepares writers to meet public controversy with persuasion.

o We identify the type of question being raised: is it a question of:

§ Fact (conjecture)

§ Definition

§ Qualitative (value, quality or nature)

§ Jurisdiction (who decides)

o We use some of the sub-topics of invention to help us discover ways to refute or confirm our topic:

§ Is it probable/improbable?

§ Is it clear /obscure?

§ Is it possible or impossible?

§ Is it consistent or inconsistent?

· The Commonplace: an amplification of a good or evil that is self-evident.

o This is directed against a deed (as opposed to a person)

o The sub-topics of invention that can be used well to amplify a commonplace are:

§ Contrast (e.g. a good act with a wrongful one)

§ Comparison (a wrong with something worse)

§ Intention (accidental or intentional)

§ Past life of person (how personal background affected the act)

§ Rejection or appeal to pity

§ Question of legality

§ Question of expediency

§ Question of honorableness

§ Question of practicality

§ Question of immediate result

· Praising/Blaming: an amplification of the virtues or vices of a person

o This is also known as encomium and invective

o Again, we will use some of the sub-topics of Invention to discover ideas for our amplification:

§ Background

§ Education

§ Virtues/Vices

§ Achievements/Crimes

· The Comparison: a double composition of praising and/or blaming.

o We will talk about two persons or things in one of the following relationships:

§ Similar things: the good beside the excellent/the mean beside the base

§ Different things: the good and the evil

§ Greater and lesser things

o We’ll use the same sub-topics of invention we used when we talked about encomium and invective (background, education, virtues, achievements) and compare and contrast them in the two things being compared.

o We’ll practice different patterns of arrangement we can use in presenting these comparisons.

· The Speech-in-Character: the imitation of a person’s character, habits and feelings.

o The student here is asked to put him/herself into someone else’s place and express that person’s thoughts and feelings.

o This is related to both soliloquy (a speech in which a character talks to him or herself as though alone) and monologue (a speech in which a character speaks to an implied or real audience).

o We talk about these speeches as being either pathetic (depicting the emotions and feelings) or ethical (depicting the moral character) or both.

o The character can be a specific, definite person (like Hamlet), or an indefinite one who has the features of a class of people (like a soldier).

o Often the arrangement of this exercise involves structuring around time: a statement from the character about the present, followed by one about the past, and ending with one about the future.

· The Thesis: a reasoned inquiry into a yes-or-no proposition.

o The purpose of the thesis is to deliberate on practical and philosophical questions, and the exercise is structured to provide experience arguing both sides of an issue.

o The thesis seeks to persuade or dissuade an audience concerning the advantage or disadvantage of something for the future.

o The topics of a thesis can be dividing into:

§ The definite (specific time/place) or indefinite

§ The practical (political or social) or theoretical (philosophical or speculative)

o The sub-topics of invention we will use for thesis are:

§ Necessary/unnecessary

§ Possible/impossible

§ Advantageous/disadvantageous

§ Easy/hard

§ Fitting/unfitting

§ Lawful/unlawful

§ Customary/uncustomary

§ Just/unjust

o We will again practice this in a specified deliberative essay arrangement (Introduction, narrative, proposition, confirmation/refutation, conclusion) and in others, such as an alternating confirmation/refutation pattern.)

· For and Against Laws: the exercise in legislation.

o This exercise focuses on enabling students to argue for and against laws, ordinances, regulations and rules. It gives them practice again in arguing both sides of topic.

o We will practice using the same topics we used in the thesis to help us discover ideas, and arrange our ideas in the same deliberative essay arrangement.

By the time we have worked through these exercises, you can see that many tools needed for every kind of persuasive essay has been practiced. By the time we are arguing for or against a law, we are narrating, describing, using fables, anecdotes or proverbs, making comparisons, praising or blaming, etc.

As each exercise is introduced, I recommend using imitation and analysis from the ancient and great authors as a starting place. Copy and analyze what they have done. Then imitate it. Write and rewrite. You can see how I have applied this to high school students in my composition classes in my notebooks: feel free to take a look at them.

Some suggested resources:

· Books for the teacher:

o Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student, E.P.J. Corbett and R.J. Connors, Oxford University Press

o Composition in the Classical Tradition, F. J. D’Angelo, Allyn and Bacon

o Imitation and Analysis (aka Model English I) & Model English II & Persuasive Speech by Francis P. Donnelly (out of print, Allyn and Bacon)

· Internet Resources:

o {A great rhetoric resource}

o {A translation of THE early medieval text for teaching the progymnasmata by Aphthonius)

o {a .pdf document of Francis Donnelly’s out of print masterpiece, Imitation and Analysis}

o {Writing Assesment Services, a variety of online writing services by classical educator and homeschooler Cindy Marsch, including her progymnasmata tutorials}

o {a good beginner’s reference on the progymnasmata)

Some thoughts on marriage and courtship-- mostly not mine...

As a mom of two sons, both of whom will be getting married, D.V., in the next year, I have been thinking a lot about this subject lately. I have been thinking about it for a long time as the dh and I tried over the past 23 years or so to raise boys to be godly men in this culture. For a time we followed down the expected courtship route of every "good" homeschooling family, but as our young men entered this phase of life, reality hit the fan, so to speak, and got splattered all over all of us!

Now, as my dear friend Cindy has said in her wise and clever way, she hesitates to post about courtship because people have such strong ideas about courtship, and the younger your children are, the stronger your opinions tend to be. So, instead of saying much, I just thought I would share the first part of what should be a series of articles. I read the first part this morning, written by David Bayly. I think he is hitting on something important when he says,

"Scripture tells us that a king should count the cost before sending his army into battle. In the same way a young man should count the cost and weigh the odds before entering the lists of romantic battle. It’s not an easy course. Rewarding, pleasurable, wonderful, yes, but pitched conflict fraught with danger as well...."

And in speaking of the modern "courtship" movement, he makes this point:

The obvious problem with such an approach is that it doesn’t eradicate danger, it merely delays the necessary battles of courtship and wooing until after marriage—when the stakes are even higher and the costs of failure even greater."

I think there is a lot of wisdom there, and look forward to reading future installments. I hope you'll take the time to read his entire presentation. It is well worth your effort.

He shares his blog space with his brother, Tim (who pastors the church of one of my ds), and I grow in appreciation of them both as I read their writings.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A good thing to be thankful for...

Thanks to Terry at New Lumps for the following wonderful gem from Matthew Henry. It's a good one to contemplate, and much material to lead us into thankfulness.

Besides the heavenly inheritance prepared for the saints, there is a present inheritance in the saints; for grace is glory begun, and holiness is happiness in the bud.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

November Give-Away at

November Giveaway


Dave and I attended the movie "Bella" yesterday afternoon (I am currently on travel with Dave in Las Vegas, and they have it showing in several places here.) If you want to find out more about the movie, look here:

This is a lovely movie. It has a beautiful message, without preaching or telling, but by showing how beautiful life can be. It contrasts the idea of grief and pain with the joy of being that can only be known through the eyes of a child. And it did all this without downplaying the grief and pain.

Add to that the fact that we sat in a large, "brand name" theatre and watched a film with pro-life film. That was perhaps the only time we have had the privilege of doing that.

I highly recommend you search around for a viewing of "Bella" in your area. It is worth the time and the effort to support this endeavor!

Sunday, November 04, 2007


This morning in worship, as we were preparing for communion, our pastor shared a wonderful quote from a Puritan author:

"There is more mercy in Christ than there is sin in us."
~R. Sibbes, A Bruised Reed

Wow. I don't know about you, but the hugeness and seeming endlessness of my sin seems awfully big to me most of the time. To contrast that with the greater vastness of Christ's mercy really got my attention today. I think my acting and unspoken assumption was that my sin was the most vast of things. But I am wrong-- God's mercy is more vast. Hallelujah! Now that is something to be ever thankful about!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Fall Apple Recipe

I just had to type up a recipe to send to my parents, and thought, why not share? Everyone needs a good apple recipe this time of year! Well, here is one we enjoy, and so do my parents!

Apple Bread

2 C peeled, cubed apples
1 egg
1 C sugar
1/4 C oil
1/4 t cinnamon
1 t baking soda (adjust to 3/4 for altitude)
1/2 t salt
1 C flour
nuts (optional- I never use them, though they would be good)

Put cubed apples into large bowl; stir in egg. Add sugar and oil and mix by hand. Add dry ingredients; stir. Add nuts if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes in a lightly sprayed loaf pan, or 9" pie or cake rounds.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Deathly Hallows

I have just completed Harry's final adventure. Without giving any spoilers for those still wishing to be surprised, I will just say that it *did* hold some fun twists and turns, and I enjoyed the book thoroughly. Rowlings continues to write something short of great literature, but to excel as a compelling story-teller. I could hardly put it down during the last 100 pages, and I am a slow reader, so it meant a LOT of time this week devoted to Harry and his band of warriors. It is, in the end, a redemptive tale, and well worth the time invested over the years!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

What kind of accent do you have?

We are beginning a new year of study in the Women's Fellowship at BAPCA ( in the book of Phillipians, using a commentary by Sinclair Ferguson entitled Let's Study Philippians. I may try to post thoughts here from that study, from time to time, as an aid to formulating my ideas somehow.

As Dr. Ferguson discusses the first two verses of Philippians, he says...
"...They are at Philippi...But notice what is implied: the Christian lives in two different orders of reality at the same time. We belong to Christ. As Paul will later say, 'our citizenship is in heaven', not here on the earth. Yet for the moment we live in a sinful environment, 'at Philippi", or London or Atlanta. Here we are called to live as alien residents. Our emphases, accents, and lifestyle make others ask, 'Now, where do you belong?' That is effective Christian witness." {Ferguson, Let's Study Philippians, p.3}

So, I wonder what others can tell by my accent? Can they tell I am from somewhere else? That I belong elsewhere, to a distant kingdom, whose King is the Lord? That is something worth pondering as I do my laundry today...

Harry Potter

OK- so I have been re-reading the Potter books prior reading the final one. I was a Potter dismisser for many years: it wasn't good literature, the "hero" was childish, the author was simplistic, and had ripped-off several good books. Well, at the urging of eldest ds, I finally did begin reading the books. They are still not great literature, but I have grown to appreciate Rowlings as an excellent story-teller. I have enjoyed watching the writing style mature with the protagonist, and seeing the depth of writing and plot growing as Harry does. As the books get darker and more complex, I am hoping Rowlings stays true to the redemptive quest she seems to have started. I really enjoyed re-reading these, and have already jumped in to the Deathly Hallows, which means I will be wandering around, tired and bleary-eyed, until that adventure is complete!

October Give-away

October Giveaway

Interested? Click above for a chance to win, and by clicking here, you give me an extra chance as well!


I don't think anyone ever reads this part of my blog-- not that many read the other one-- but it's a nice way of recording things! So, I think I will try to post about the books I've read here, even if it is not "classical" in nature. So the first one is a distinctly non-classical: this last weekend I read Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. It was a creative and compelling story, complete with lots of fodder for future books... Card has managed to create a futuristic world that has many twists on our expectations, many reflections of harsh reality, and many lovely ideas.

I honestly can't remember the last time I read science fiction, perhaps many years ago when rereading Lewis' Space trilogy, but this was well worth the dip into the genre again. We listened to this on a trip, in the audio version, and in an interview at the end of the book, Card made the interesting distinction that the difference between science fiction and fantasy (a genre I feel much more at home in somehow) is that on the cover of fantasy novels there will be trees and woodsy-elvish things. On a science-fiction cover, however, there will be rivets of some kind. LOL!

Well, if you want a little dip into an interesting, "riveting" world, I recommend Ender's Game, and I intend to do some more reading by Card.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

You gotta love a give-away

I know I do! So, for those of you who love free chances at great stuff, click on the banner below. When you do, you will go to a web site I was referred to by a friend of mine. The give-aways are happening there. If you go there by clicking on the banner below, I get an extra chance to win these interesting commentaries :-)

sept Giveaway

Friday, August 31, 2007

That Jephthah Thing

In my quiet time the other day, I was reading about Jephthah (if you don't know the story, you can read all about it in the Bible, in Judges Chapter 11.) Here, in the midst of a time when God's people are running around helter-skelter, each following their own way, God raises up Jephthah. He is a "mighty man of valor", and the Lord pretty much empowers him to gather the folks of Gilead together (a pretty amazing feat in itself) and defeat the Ammonites, Moabites and Edomites (a more amazing feat!) But what Jephthah did when the Lord blessed him with the first adrenaline rush of success, is make a wild and rash vow: if the Lord continued giving victory, Jephthah would sacrifice the first thing that came out of his house when he went home. Jephthah thought he was being faithful. But in reality, Jephthah was taking on the presuppositions of the neighboring peoples. their gods were the ones who loved human sacrifice. It was abhorrent to the true God.

So, God continues to care for His people, and brings victory to Jephthah, and then he returns home, and what comes out of his house first, but his daughter. And this mighty man of valor allows his pride to refuse to admit the error of his vow, and he does the abominable.

Our pastor preached last Sunday from 1 Corinthians 3, and made the statement that the way we often deceive our own hearts is by justifying our actions as godly when in fact they are anything but. How often have I done the abominable? How often am I so embroiled in the world, or in MY world (the Cosmos of Chris, where everything revolves around me) that I don't even see that I am worshiping like the pagans, with human sacrifices left and right so that my comfort, my joy, my pleasure may be full?

I am trying to learn that I need to die to self on the Lord's altar, and stop sacrificing others, and fooling myself.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Spring sprang...

... as evidenced by the apple blossoms, tulips and pansies around our little homestead.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Update on reading

I don't think anyone ever reads this blog. I barely write on it. But there is something fascinating about knowing I am recording something somewhere. In October I said I was reading the following books. If you want to know what kind of a reader I really am, the answer is slow... Here is my update:

_Jayber Crow_ by Wendell Berry: completed, but not completely satisfying to me. Berry *does* give one a sense of longing for place and a sense of what belonging must mean. His writing is simple, but somehow profound. But this book failed to move me on the whole. I may give _Hannah Coulter_ a try and see if Mr. Berry's fiction grows on me...

_Peacemaking Women: Biblical Hope for Resolving Conflict_ by Tara Klena Barthel and Judy Dabler: Almost done studying through this with our Women's Fellowship at church. It is excellent, and I highly recommend it. I think it's weakest sections are the ones on marriage and family, but there is a plethora of good material on those topics, so I will excise that. The rest is challenging and biblical.

_Standing by and Making Do: Women of Wartime Los Alamos_ ed. by Jane S. Wilson and Charlotte Serber: this is not tremendously well written, but it is a fascinating look at my adopted "hometown". It is a little slice of what these women went through as Los Alamos was founded. I loved the descriptions of people waiting outside here in Los Alamos, looking southward, waiting for the first atomic test to be visible. Fascinating.

_The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment_ by Jeremiah Burroughs: I reread about half of this timeless classic, and have laid it aside for a time. Anyone who has not read this, ought to do so.

_A Soldier of the great War_ by Mark Helprin (though I'm only a few pages into this one, and not sure if I'll stick it out or not...): Well, I didn't stick it out, but I am rethinking. I am trying to talk my husband into reading it first, and telling me whether it is worth it or not...

And new on my nightstand:

_Life at the Bottom: The Worldview that Makes the Underclass_ by Theodore Dalrymple: Fascinating, sobering, and I think full of insight. Dr. Dalrymple, a psychoiatrist in England, discusses his discovery that poverty is not so much about lack of wealth, but about poverty of soul and ideas in the West. I can't read it at bedtime, because it gives me nightmares, and makes the people you see on the Jerry Springer Show seem real...

_Lord Peter: The Complete Lord Peter Winsey Short Stories_ by Dorothy L. Sayers: Just for fun :-)