Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Lord's Prayer

It's pretty amazing what you tell about the performance model by watching this sweet little girl! :-) Hope it makes you smile, as it did me! (Thanks to T.B. for the link)

Monday, April 28, 2008

And now for something completely different...


OK, music lovers...this was too good not to post. Someone has done a study of the most annoying elements of songs, and you can read about it, download it and listen to it here. And it IS definitely annoying! (thanks to T.C. for posting it)

And if you'd like another good laugh, check out this Youtube video of Laurie and Fry discussing the English language.

A New Journey

Dear all-

A journey of a different kind is beginning in my life... I have been diagnosed with breast cancer. On my home page (linked at right, and found here), which has become my family information spot for family and friends, I thought I would post my journey mileage, so to speak. So by going to that blog and by clicking on that term "Cancer Journey" in the "Labels" in the side bar, you should be able to pull up whatever I (or Dave) has recently posted.

Here, I will still blog my other musings, thoughts, and contemplations. But the new category of "Cancer Journey" will be added here as well. I covet your prayers and desire to know my God in a deeper way along this road.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Something silly for Saturday

I was first introduced to Brian Regan by my sons, who told me he was hilarious, and they were right! (Thanks to JT for posting this clip.) Here he is on the experience of flying...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Whate'er My God Ordains Is Right


I woke up this morning thinking of this old hymn... and since I do not have it memorized, had to look up the words in my old Trinity Hymnal. They are glorious words! And by a Providential turn, Mark Altrogge posted about this very hymn on his blog this morning, and I downloaded his contemporary rewrite of it, and hope to teach it eventually to our evening fellowship group. What great words to meditate upon!

Whate'er My God Ordains Is Right by Samuel Rodigast, trans. Catherine Winkworth

Whate'er my God ordains is right: holy his will abideth.
I will be still whate'er He doth, and follow where He guideth.
He is my God. Though dark the road, He holds me that I shall not fall:
Wherefore to Him I leave it all.

Whate'er my God ordains is right: He never will deceive me.
He leads me by the proper path; I know He will not leave me.
I take, content, what He hath sent; His hand can turn my griefs away.
And patiently I wait His day.

Whate'er my God ordains is right: Though now this cup, in drinking,
May bitter seem to my faint heart, I take it, all unshrinking.
My God is true; Each morn anew sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart,
And pain and sorrow shall depart.

Whate'er my God ordains is right: here shall my stand be taken.
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine, yet I am not forsaken;
My Father's care is round me there; He holds me that I shall not fall:
And so to Him I leave my all.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Grace upon grace....


Through the Precious Blood by Mark Altrogge

You have ordained every breath we take
In pleasure or pain there is no mistake.
Gladness and grief, both are in your hands,
and sufferings brief carry out Your plan.
And our fleeting sorrows will yield an endless prize
when some bright tomorrow we'll see you with our eyes.

And grace upon grace flows down, flows down.
And grace upon grace flows down, flows down
through the precious blood of Christ.

Father of lights, giver of all grace,
your mercies crown our lives all our days.
River of life, quench our thirsty souls,
for no true delight does Your love withhold.
And in every season we are satisfied
for just one reason, Christ was crucified.

And grace upon grace flows down, flows down.
And grace upon grace flows down, flows down
through the precious blood of Christ.

All good gifts, every good thing comes to us freely, so freely.
All good gifts, every good thing comes to us freely, so freely
through the precious blood, through the precious blood...

And grace upon grace flows down, flows down.
And grace upon grace flows down, flows down
through the precious blood of Christ.

Wednesday Without Words



Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Some thoughts on children in church

I was recently prompted by a post at 22 Words to recall what we did about incorporating our children into corporate worship. I hadn't really thought about it for some time, but was reminded what a great idea it is to have our children with us in worship.

In Scripture, whenever the Word of God is read in the Old Testament, the families are all present. We are training up our little ones into the covenant family of God, even as we train plants in a garden to grow on a trellis, pruning them, feeding them, giving them nutrients and a sunny spot, and rich earth. This process of training is work for them and us, but so worth it when they follow after God and see the importance of being in the covenant family. My eldest ds, recently married and almost finished with a Master's degree, recently joined a church along with his wife. They are plugging in to the family there. I must say that outside of taking communion with my children for the first time, this is a highlight for me in parenting: watching the next generation enter into the promises of the covenant! It actually makes me weep to think of being in eternity with the Lord, and my children being beside me!

I wrote a comment at the post linked above if you want to see some specifics ideas for what we did to bring our little ones into worship. It has been a joy to watch others do the same. And I really appreciate that when we have a particularly noisy morning as children are learning to come along in the worship of God by his people, our pastor will stop, and remind everyone that those noises are the noises of the covenant, the sound of God's family, and a source of rich blessing. That has settled the heart of many an embarrassed parent!

I believe it is a uniquely American idea that when we worship God, it ought to be a time to concentrate on our own encouragement and peace, free from "distraction". Worship was never intended to be so self-centered! Worship is about God: who He is, what He has done, what He deserves from us. It is our "service" to him. And part of that service is the training up of our children to know Him rightly.
Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.
~Proverbs 22:6

Monday, April 21, 2008

I Have a Shelter

I Have a Shelter by Steve and Vikki Cook and Bob Kauflin

I have a shelter in the storm,
when troubles pour upon me.
Though fears are rising like a flood,
my soul can rest securely.
O Jesus, I will hide in You,
my place of peace and solace.
No trial is deeper than your love
that comforts all my sorrows.

I have a shelter in the storm,
when all my sins accuse me.
Though justice charges me with guilt,
Your grace will not refuse me.
O Jesus, I will hide in you,
who bore my condemnation.
I find my refuge in Your wounds,
for there I find salvation.

I have a shelter in the storm,
when constant winds would break me.
For in my weakness I have learned
Your strength will not forsake me.
O Jesus, I will hide in You,
the One who bears my burdens.
With faithful hands that cannot fail,
You'll bring me home to heaven.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fun stuff for Friday

After most of a week of fairly serious subjects for blogging, how about some fun for the weekend? Here are a few things I've collected this week:
  • Martin Cothran from Memoria Press has a fun article in their recent catalog/magazine on the Harry Potter books, entitled, "Harry Potter and the Attack of the Critics". Cothran claims:
"To a child who is not well-read, Harry potter is dangerous--and so is any other book he or she may read. But the best defense against one idea is not fewer ideas, but more of them; and the best defense against one book is a whole host of them. Being widely read, in other words, is the best inoculation agaihnst the dangers of literature. Being widely read enables a person to not only see an idea, but, as Chesterton put it, to see through it.

"Literature is dangerous--except when taken in large doses."
I went hunting for a link, but the current issue is not online yet. It is published as their catalog, along with several other interesting articles. The articles in this issue are by Joe Paterno on how his love of Latin affected his view of football, another article by Cothran on what makes a "great book" great, an article by Andrew Campbell entitled, "Ordering Knowledge to the Child's Nature", and an article by Cheryl Lowe on why read the Iliad. The catalog is worth it just for the article! You can get a free subscription here.
  • I thought I was a pretty virtuous homeschooling mom when we mummified a chicken with our study of ancient Egypt (one was named King Cluck...), and when we did all of life science and biology dissections in my kitchen. But check out what GeekDad did for his study of anatomy! Hats off to you, GeekDad, and all those other inspiring teachers who labor with their own children at home.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

It Is Not Death to Die

It Is Not Death to Die Original words by H. A. Malan, trans. by G. W. Bethune, alt. by Bob Kauflin

It is not Death to die, to leave this weary road,
and join the saints who dwell on high,
who've found their home with God.
It is not death to close the eyes long dimmed by tears,
and wake in joy before your throne,
delivered from our fears.

O Jesus, conquering the grave,
your precious blood has power to save.
Those who trust in you will in your mercy find
that it is not death to die.

It is not death to fling aside this earthly dust,
and rise with strong and noble wing
to live among the just.
It is not death to hear the key unlock the door
that sets us free from mortal years
to praise forever more.

O Jesus, conquering the grave,
your precious blood has power to save.
Those who trust in you will in your mercy find
that it is not death to die.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hide away in the love of Jesus


Hide Away in the Love of Jesus

Come weary saints, though tired and weak
Hide away in the love of Jesus
Your strength will return by His quiet streams
Hide away in the love of Jesus

Come wand’ring souls, and find your home
Hide away in the love of Jesus
He offers the rest that you yearn to know
Hide away in the love of Jesus

Hear Him calling your name
See the depths of His love
in the wounds of His grace
Hide away

Come guilty ones, weighed down with sin
Hide away in the love of Jesus
The freedom you long for is found in Him
Hide away in the love of Jesus

Hear Him calling your name
See the depths of His love
in the wounds of His grace
Hide away

Come hopeless hearts, do not despair
Hide away in the love of Jesus
For ten thousand joys await you there
Hide away in the love of Jesus

Written By Steve and Vikki Cook

Babies that God named

Every year, about this time, I think about the two babies I’ll never meet this side of eternity. I think what brings them to mind is that there are two little boys in my church that would be about the same age as the second baby: this year they turned 9.

When I lost the first of those two babies, I had a lot to learn.

I had been praying that that the Lord would not bring a baby if we were going to have another return of my husband’s cancer. I miscarried that baby at about 10 weeks, and I grieved the loss of that little life. I grieved that I didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl, and didn’t know how to name him or her. Holding me as I cried one night, my dear Dave said, “We don’t have to name that baby: God has given that baby a name.”

Two months later, Dave’s cancer returned. So I also grieved that somehow I had prayed all wrong. If only my faith had been stronger, and I had prayed for the strength to have a baby AND deal with cancer, maybe God would have allowed that little one to live. But slowly, and increasingly, day-by-day, I came to realize that no matter how I said it, God knew what was best. My faulty prayer was not more powerful than my loving Lord. That baby, the tiny one with the full-sized soul, was God’s before he or she was ever mine. And God’s love was so deep and high and long and full for that baby and for me that this difficult death was best for that baby and for me, and was meant to bring glory to God, too. It was a hard comfort, a throbbing sort of help, and left me afraid for a time to pray for God’s will to be done. After all, he was not a tame God, but an almighty one. He was not predictable, but holy and powerful. Slowly, his perfection dawned upon my grief, and I learned to trust him again, in a deeper and higher and longer and fuller way.

By the time the second little one that God named came along nine years ago, I had been through that first loss, and had looked Dave’s cancer in the face, and walked with him and the Lord on a journey of faith that was dark and frightening. But again, as always, God was sufficient for our needs—and more than sufficient, his grace proved to be abundant and overflowing. This time, I experienced the physical pain of an ectopic pregnancy that left me for one long hospital-night wondering if I would, indeed, head for heaven. My faith was rattled and shaken in a whole new way, but I knew experientially that God would be sufficient. And he was. So as we grieved that second loss, we grieved, but not as those who had no hope.

Before either of those losses came along, God had placed two blessings in my arms: two wonderful sons. Having them in hand didn’t alleviate my grief, but oh, what joy God has brought me through them, and how difficult it was to become too self-focused in my grief when they were near. God knew I would need those boys.

So, this spring, as I thank God for my two boys on this side of eternity, who now have wives or fiancĂ©es and the hope of children of their own in the near future, I again, quietly, remember those two other babies that I hope to recognize in eternity. And my arms, so full now of God’s abundant blessings to me, ache just a little to hold them.

Monday, April 14, 2008

In the darkest night of the soul....


In the darkest night of the soul, Christians have something to hold onto that Job never knew--we know Christ crucified. Christians have learned that when there seems to be no other evidence of God's love, they cannot escape the cross. "He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all--how will not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)...When we suffer there will be mystery. Will there also be faith? Yes. If our attention is focused more on the cross and on the God of the cross than on the suffering itself.

~D. A. Carson, How long, O Lord?

Monday Miscellany


Saturday's snow has given way to Monday's freshness and beauty! The daffodils are none the worse for the wear...

If you're looking for a fun diversion, check out this paper airplane simulator. (Thanks to J.W. for the link!)

I have an ongoing giggle with my eldest ds over the amazing marketing of Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life...I believe it started when he stopped attending a church whose pastor was basing a sermon series on this book, and has included me sending him Purpose Driven Life articles and greeting cards from time to time. Now, I must share this wonderful satire from Tominthebox News Network. Make sure you peruse the site for other gems. I especially like the "Reformed Theology and Calvinism" section...

And if you need something uplifting in your week, may I recommend Come Weary Saints, the new release from Sovereign Grace Music? I got it as a free download from the Sovereign Grace Music Fan site on Facebook over the weekend, and it is beautiful music with biblical, encouraging words. I highly recommend it for lifting your eyes to where they should be this week!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Sunday Song


















O Great God
by Bob Kauflin, based on prayers in the Valley of Vision

O great God of highest heaven
Occupy my lowly heart
Own it all and reign supreme
Conquer every rebel power
Let no vice or sin remain
That resists Your holy war
You have loved and purchased me
Make me Yours forevermore

I was blinded by my sin
Had no ears to hear Your voice
Did not know Your love within
Had no taste for heaven’s joys
Then Your Spirit gave me life
Opened up Your Word to me
Through the gospel of Your Son
Gave me endless hope and peace

Help me now to live a life
That’s dependent on Your grace
Keep my heart and guard my soul
From the evils that I face
You are worthy to be praised
With my every thought and deed
O great God of highest heaven
Glorify Your Name through me

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Some days I feel like I imagine my daffodils felt this morning (if they were sentient beings): immersed in a shocking surprise of cold, covered with something they didn't really anticipate. But the truth is, Spring storms come every year, and the freezing temperature is something daffodils should be accustomed to. And I, by this time in life, should be accustomed to finding myself immersed and covered over by unpleasant surprises in this world.

One of the most amazing and astounding things that covers me, however, is not unpleasant at all. Indeed, it is the most lovely and remarkable of all things: the love of God to someone like me (the chief of sinners, if I may borrow Paul's self-epithet). God's mercy for me is whelming-- it sweeps over me, carries me with its power, and I am borne about by it. His love for me makes me buoyant in this heavy world, which would drag me down in its undercurrent of self-pity and pride. I am left an undeserving recipient of a grace so great I cannot comprehend it.

“Suffering for enemies speaks louder than suffering for friends. God would be no less loving had he died for good people, but when he went to the cross for the wicked, for his enemies, for those deserving wrath not love, his goodness erupted with infinite beauty. The sinfulness and unworthiness of those for whom he died revealed the depth of his awesome love….Our sin does not make the love of God greater. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. It is perfect and always will be. However, humanity’s sin enhances our power to discern a love that would otherwise be hidden from us.”

~William Farley, Outrageous Mercy






Thursday, April 10, 2008

No room for cowards...


"The world has no room for cowards. We must all be ready somehow to toil, to suffer, to die. And yours is not the less noble because no drum beats before you when you go out into your daily battlefields, and no crowds shout about your coming when you return from your daily victory or defeat."

~Robert Lewis Stevenson

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Miscellany


I had a lovely talk yesterday with a young homeschooling mom who is pursuing a classical Christian education for her family. How delightful! It has made me think it would be beneficial to write thoughts/inspiration/reflections about my homeschooling journey here from time to time. If any of you who read this blog are aspiring homeschoolers or classical educators, what topics would you find interesting or helpful? Leave a comment or drop me an e-mail.

In the meantime, remember that you can always search the "labels" in the sidebar at the right under Classical Education or Homeschooling and find what I have already posted.

And now for some things completely different...

  • There is a fun post here on "Seven Deadly Words for Book Reviews", and I'm afraidf I'm guilty of most, if not all of them! If you don't believe me, just read some of my "Books" posts, and you will see the proof...
  • I was privileged this week to listen to a series of interviews between C. J. Mahaney and Sinclair Ferguson found here. They men discuss legalism, the cross of Christ, and golfing, among other things. I found the discussion to be challenging and uplifting (I listened while quilting, and so made double-good use of my time!)
  • I was reminded by a post at The Blazing Center about a wonderful little work by C. H. Spurgeon on prayer (you can find it online here.) My pastor gave it to me many years ago, when we were dealing with some literal life-and-death issues, and it really changed the way I pray. If you've not read it, take a few minutes and do so!
  • And this post at Between Two Worlds, with the accompanying music video, made me laugh, but it may just be my sick sense of humor. The author refers to the inane words to a Point of Grace song that they have been playing lately on the local Christian radio station, and I have wondered myself what they thought they were writing... so if you feel like a little jaunt into the spiritual mumbo-jumbo department, head over to the post entitled "Why Should Conservative Evangelicals Have All The Bad Music?"

Monday, April 07, 2008

Spring and life


With the gradual blooming of Spring, I am again moved by the awe of life: whether it be the tulips and violas at the Albuquerque zoo (at left), or the house finches mating and flirting and flitting at my bird feeder and in my trees, I am struck by what a promise Spring is. It is God's promise to continue providing for the world, for the seasons to continue changing, for the sun to continue in its course. What a precious promise!

Whenever I contemplate life, I cannot help but be saddened by the culture of death around us. I have seen several manifestations of this recently:
  • Read about presidential candidate Barak Obama's record on life issues in this Washington post OpEd piece by Michael Gerson.
  • There is an excellent post from a former pro-choice feminists at the Radical Womanhood blog, detailing her journey and posting a Youtube video to the original pro-life video, "Silent Scream".
  • From a slightly different approach, here is an excellent post about the role tax policies play in undermining the strength of the family (with lots of good links included).
  • Here is an excellent editorial from the Washington Times regarding the abortion industry as a big corporation.
  • And here is a piece from the Christian Post about legislation aimed at the practice of aborting the disabled.
All sober food for thought on this beautiful spring day... May I ever be grateful for Spring by praising the God from whom all these blessings flow. And may I never dismiss or belittle His good gift of life!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sabbath Sentiments

"To be skilled in the mystery of Christian contentment is the duty, glory and excellence of the Christian. It is an art which must be learned. Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition."

~ Jeremiah Burroughs,


The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

A Sunday Song



Be unto Your Name by Lynn Deshano and Gary Sadler

We are a moment, You are forever

Lord of the Ages, God before time

We are a vapor, You are eternal
Love everlasting, reigning on high


We are the broken, You are the healer

Jesus, Redeemer, mighty to save

You are the love song we'll sing forever

Bowing before You, blessing Your name


Holy, holy, Lord God Almighty

Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain

Highest praises, honor and glory

Be unto Your name, Be unto Your name

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Feeding our souls...

In the Spring issue of the Intercollegiate Review, Peter Leithart offers an interesting historical perspective on the "new" classical schooling movement in America. On beginning the article, I was afraid Dr. leithart might be overly colored in his assessment by his close proximity and work with Rev. Doug Wilson and the Logos School folks in Moscow, ID, but found the article to be very well balanced, and at least mention many of the strains coloring the Christian classical schooling movement that I have encountered.

He says many significant things in the article, including some history of the current movement, the desire to return to some sense of tradition as well as to rediscover true humanism, and the success of CCE (Christian Classical Education) to produce outstanding students. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:
... Liberal education is "above all else, and education in imagination, an initiation into the art of this conversation in which we learn to recognize the voices, to distinguish the different modes of utterance, to acquire the intellectual and moral habits appropriate to this conversational relationship, and thus to make our...distinguishing mark of a human being"...True education is an intiation into our full humanity...

...In the end, however, classical education is more radical than reactionary-- radical, that is, in its original sense, describing something that goes to the roots. Classical educators advocate not a reversion to the imagined certainties and calm of the 1950s but a root-and-branch reform of American education that finds inspiration in medieval, Renaissance, and early American education...

...In a recent essay on "Eating Books", Callihan talks about the virtues of slow reading, reading for more than the "gist": "We in the modern world have too little time, and the same pressure that drives us to to gobble fast-food meals on the run causes us also to read veerything, even our Bibles, mush too fast." Callihan captures the vision of classical education in his Oakeshottian conclusion: "We starve our souls and our minds and wonder why there is so little wisdom in the world."
You can read the whole article here.

And if you are unfamiliar with the Intercollegiate Review, let me give you a little plug. The thought-provoking articles this issue cover classical Christian education, the new Agrarian movement, what makes a great composer of music and can such a genius exist in the contemporary world, and the meaning of the classical movement in architecture. It provides a great return on it's modest subscription price!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Wednesday Without Words

Weddings


Chris and Dave Finnegan, 1980


Jack and Shirley Hanson, 1959


George and Marilyn Finnegan, 1946


Joe and Marie Hanson


Rose and Ed Postel

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April Fools (and every other month, too.)

April has come. Where did February and March go, I wonder? It's true what they say about time flying by with increasing speed as one ages.

This April 1st, I find myself pondering some of the foolish things we do as members of the human race. For instance...

We live our lives in a world full of intricate design and amazing beauty, and yet stick stubbornly to the notion that it is all here by chance, and man is truly the measure of all things. There is an interesting article here from a few weeks ago in the Washington Post that reviews Tim Keller's book entitled, Reasons to Believe. (Thanks to T.C. for pointing it out.)

We, as women, have been uniquely designed to carry and care for children, and it is a beautiful thing. But in our culture of death, we destroy whatever inconveniences us, causes us to bear the consequences of our actions, or seems to burden us. There is an excellent post at Radical Womanhood that describes one woman's journey from the culture of death to the world of life. And there is a disturbing article here that shows just how confused we have become, and how graspingly we seek to control our world so it conform to our desires. (Thanks to T.B., I guess, for a link to the disturbing article...)

We are so smug in our view of life and the world that we actually think it is our place to scoff at the misery of others (see this article from the LA Times on the disturbing notion of prison rape, and the resources here at Prison Fellowship). I had no idea that this was a matter of humor. I guess I live a very sheltered life... (thanks to JT for the links)

I could go on and on regarding our foolishness, which can be summed up in Psalm 14:1:

The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
there is none who does good.

But the good news is that there is a God who reaches down and grabs hold of us out of such a miserable estate. Psalm 73 sums it up very well. And I will leave you with that hope...

1Truly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
3 For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4For they have no pangs until death;
their bodies are fat and sleek.
5They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
6Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.
7Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
8They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
9They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.
10Therefore his people turn back to them,
and find no fault in them.
11And they say, "How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?"
12Behold, these are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches.
13All in vain have I kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
14For all the day long I have been stricken
and rebuked every morning.
15If I had said, "I will speak thus,"
I would have betrayed the generation of your children.

16But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
17until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.

18Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.
19How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!
20Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.
21When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
22I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.

23Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

27For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who isunfaithful to you.
28But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.