Thursday, December 10, 2009

Swiss Cheese

My spouse wondered why I eat it.

My comment was that it made me feel holey.

His comment was that it makes him feel neutral.


I find it revolting to look through the coupons from the Sunday paper, find one that looks really yummy, then discover that


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Finished: Me and Mr. Darcy

Just a waste of time book. Why do I bother? Because I'm exhausted and need something to keep me awake. Don't read it.

The premise is that every woman wants a Mr. Darcy. Then the book sets out to show why that isn't so.

Me and Mr. Darcy, Alexandra Potter

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Not So Fun

It just isn't as much fun Christmas shopping when on the way there, you get a ticket for turning the wrong way, and the cost of the ticket is how much you were planning on spending.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Finished: The English Patient

So I can see why this would be chosen to be made into a movie, although I have no desire to see it. The text leaves you a bit muddled as to who is speaking and who is listening. But all in all, a rather compelling saga about putting life back together (or not) after wartime.

The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje

Homeless. Hungry!

I was driving home from an appointment this afternoon. I passed a man sitting on the side of the road holding a sign.

Homeless. Hungry! Please help.

My initial reaction was to lock the doors. Then my heart softened, and I remembered that I had a container of crackers in my bag. (I carry crackers wherever I go these days.)

I rolled down my window, eager to offer something to a hungry man.

"I have crackers. Do you want crackers?"

"I can't take the salt," he refused.

I can't take the salt.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Finished: The Worthing Saga

I find it revealing of the compelling nature of the Word of God that people can't help but use it in their own "creation" of society.

The Worthing Saga, Orson Scott Card

Friday, November 20, 2009

Go Fish

My kids have a Golden Book Go Fish game. In this game, you have to get four of a kind of the characters from certain Golden Books. My son and my daughter have two entirely different strategies on how to play this game.

My son plays to win. If you drop a card, and he sees it, there is no mercy. He asks for it the next time around. He strategizes, asks for different cards, remembers who had what the last time he went. He alternates players to ask on different turns. As a result, he ends up with a lot of matches.

My daughter, on the other hand, has only one goal: to get all four cards of the Poky Little Puppy. If she's got one in her hand, she asks for them every time. She'll ask you again, and again, and again. She does not stop until she gets all four. Subsequently, the number of matches that she gets are few, and she is devastated if someone asks her for the Poky Little Puppy, and they are removed from her domain.

There's something about that single-minded devotion to a particular thing that resonates within me. It's not the right way to play. Or is it?

"And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever." 1 Chronicles 28:9

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Because You Need To Know

One ostrich egg is equal to 22 chicken eggs.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Finished: Overdose of Death

On a Hercule Poirot kick. He's not my favorite, but then again, I don't know French.

Overdose of Death, Agatha Christie

Finished: Curtain

Agatha, Agatha, Agatha. You surprised me this time.

Curtain, Agatha Christie

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Finished: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM

It didn't seem to matter how endearing and resourceful Mrs. Frisby was. When I heard the scurry under the stove, I hightailed it upstairs and spent the rest of the night there.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Children's Literature

Here's an interesting insight from Al Mohler, and a caution to know what the books and movies our children read and watch are about.
My complaint about Harry Potter falls exactly into this category: the boy is disobedient and often doesn't get disciplined as he ought because he's "the one". As if our children's brilliance and talents supercede our parental authority! Likewise with the Goofy Movie. Such disrespect Max has for his Dad!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Amazing Grace

Click on it. I'm ready for being there ten thousand years, just like that, but better!


**NOTE: I don't know who these men are, but I can worship while they sing, even if they aren't worshiping (which I don't know if they are or not, so I'm just sayin'...) That's why the ten thousand years will be better.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I've Got To Stop Posting Before 7 AM

This is just getting out of hand. But I just got this error message when I was posting a comment on a blog:

"You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down."

The Vowel

This is a sentence to explore the usage of vowels:

His immanence was imminent.

The Bottom Line

So, the bottom line is that you're just the same as everyone else, it just manifests itself differently. So quit being so critical.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Finished: The Umbrella Man and other stories

I know understand why I didn't like James and the Giant Peach. It is because Roald Dahl was meant to write short stories...this is his forte.

I absolutely and thoroughly enjoyed every single short story in this collection. (You can disregard the fact that I like most short stories in general...there's just something about that genre.)

At any rate, this collection did not disappoint me. At first when I saw who it was by, I thought to myself, "I've had enough of him". Glad I read the "and other stories" part on the cover, and decided to read it.

The Umbrella Man and other stories, Roald Dahl

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Learn It, Live It

A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11

He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9

I'm going to try to let it go, now. Lord, help me live it.

Finished: Nemesis

Halfway through, I figured it out. Wa-hoo. Hopefully, that wahoo is not an indication that familiarity breeds contempt.

Nemesis, Agatha Christie

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Finished: Dances With Wolves

Kevin Costner ruined this book for me. I could have forgotten, because I don't think I ever saw the movie, but his face is plastered on the cover of the book. And every time he thought or spoke, all I could think of was whiny-nasal-monotone-voice-man, Kevin Costner.

There is a gem hidden within the custom of naming people. The names given to the Comanche people are all meaningful, based on what they have done or what their personalities display. Stands With a Fist, Kicking Bird, Wind in His Hair, Smiles a Lot, Dances With Wolves...

It causes me to consider my family: From Trial Comes Joy, Reads Forever, Deer Legs and Cheer-giver.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Why is it that Jack gets to be the star of all of the nursery rhymes?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Link It: The Pharmaceutical Umbrella

Vely Vely Intelesting.

An insightful line: Take away the profit motive, as government-run medicine often does by forcing drug companies to sell at discounted prices, and innovation will dry up.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Making Old Age Happy

Tim Challies has a beautiful excerpt up on his site reflecting on how to make our old age happy.

The important practical question is, How can we so live that our old age, when it comes, shall be beautiful and happy? It will not do to adjourn this question until the evening shadows are upon us. It will be too late then to consider it. Consciously or unconsciously, we are every day helping to settle the question whether our old age shall be sweet and peaceful or bitter and wretched. It is worth our while, then, to think a little how to make sure of a happy old age.

It's worth the read.

Finished: Crooked House

Another Agatha Christie completed. These books are great to read just before bed. They're interesting enough that you don't fall asleep on them, but not so interesting that you read until the wee hours of the morning just to see who done it. This one had an interesting psychology to it as well.

Crooked House, Agatha Christie

Monday, September 21, 2009

Excerpt: Speaking Truth In Love

I had read this some time ago, and was reminded of it in reading RB's blog. (I'd link you there, but if you're not one of the "in" folk, you'd just come up empty.) I thought an excerpt of what I had read would be timely.

From David Powlison, Speaking Truth in Love, Suffering and Psalm 119

How do you handle a sleepless night? You're lying awake; where do you go in your mind? How do you feel? It just so happens that Psalm 119 mentions being awake at night four times.

I remember your name in the night and keep your law....At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to you because of your righteous ordinances....I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for your words. My eyes anticipate the night watches, that I may meditate on your word. (vv.55, 62, 147-148)

A sleepless night is not the harshest form of suffering. It brings you down by slow erosion, not devastating landslide. Sleeplessness is tiresome and tiring. That much is obvious.

Now to the less obvious. What do you think about when you lie awake at night? Does your mind run to tomorrow? Do you pre-solve every problem that might arise? Does your mind run to yesterday, brooding over your own failures? Do you replay the hurtful videotape of what someone else did or said?

Do you just run away, turning to escapist, feel-good fantasies? Do you lie awash in your hobbies, immorality, athletic dreams or vacation plans?

Or in the long night hours, do you cycle through anxieties: money, kids, terrorists, singleness, church problems, sickness, loneliness, and lots more? Do you sink into a pool of depressed resignation? Or do you attach all your hopes to some promise of sleep? If you pray, is the focus solely on your desire for sleep, based on Psalm 127:2?

Does Psalm 119 have anything to say about these parking places for the heart? It changes every one. Whether the hours are marked by tedium or swept into some dark frenzy, those hours are largely God-less. Psalm 119 describes hours full of God. It doesn't promise sleep (though rest is a good gift); it promises to change sleeplessness.

Still More Closely To Him Cling

I was trying to brush my daughter's hair. "It hurts!" she cries. She wraps her arms around my waist, shoving her face into my belly.

It's really hard to brush hair in that posture.

Not so with God. The more tightly we cling to Him, the more He can accomplish through us.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Finished: Going To Ground

Amy Blackmarr reflects quite poetically in this series of essays. Her stream-of-consciousness-like manner carries the mood of the essays well, and she has a pleasant manner of writing that is rather moving.

I had won this book, and was unsure of what was in store for me. It is a book that I would pick up again to soften me into a more thoughtful mood about what is going on around me. Her writing took me to a once upon a time vacation in Maine.

Going To Ground, Amy Blackmarr

Monday, September 14, 2009

Finished: Middlemarch

I really had to discipline myself to get through the first half of this book. I found not a character in it had that all-redeeming quality that I enjoy in a good read: honor.

By the second half, all of the dishonorable characters had been established and introduced, and what was left was to sort out what miserable strains they all needed to follow to bring the book to it's climax and end.

Now I have the DVD to watch, and it's one of those rare times that I'm hoping it's nothing like the book.

Middlemarch, George Eliot

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Finished: George Washington Carver: The Man Who Overcame

Quite by accident, this book came into my hands. It wasn't on my list. In fact, I didn't even know it existed. But one day, while a friend stopped by to pick up a book to read, he just happened to have this in the front seat of his van. "Would you like to read it?" But of course!

George Washington Carver truly was the man who overcame. This book, in a very easy manner, relates his life story. His life made me cry. His life made me laugh. His life made me marvel at the way God can use even the weakest among us to do amazing things. I was moved by the humility of this man. I am so glad I learned more about his life.

George Washington Carver: The Man Who Overcame, Lawrence Elliot

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Best Breakfasts

Imagine this breakfast...
A tall glass of cold milk, a bowl of fruit, bacon, eggs, and toast.

Now here's what I really had...
A peach milkshake and a Chick-fil-a chicken sandwich.

Pretty close, isn't it? I just can't explain that crucial pickle...

Friday, August 21, 2009

God is amazing.

Did you get that? His ways are not our ways.

luggage lost on a flight located after 3 weeks

In man's eyes, this luggage was gone. Military uniforms, medals, items of sentimental value were all considered lost forever. After all, who has ever actually gotten their bag located after this long? The airline pays their value of it, and that's that. But God had other things in mind to reveal His glory.

an insurance company raised their allowances on medical services, providing additional income to a struggling practice

Insurance companies aren't in the business of reevaluating random claims and paying out more to doctors. This just doesn't happen. Audits request money back, they don't give out more. But God had other things in mind to reveal His glory.

godly wisdom and strength given to a man exactly when he needed it

When the rubber meets the road, our advice tends to be what the other person wants to hear. But God had other things in mind to reveal His glory.

God, you are glorious. I am so thankful that Your ways are not our ways.

There are no other explanations for these answers to prayer. They cannot be coincidences, they must be providential.

All power, wisdom and knowledge belongs to You.

May the recipients of these answered prayers worship you as a result of this display of your glory.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tomatoes and the Glory of God

Normally when we think of good fruit, we associate it with the requirement of a healthy root. I am experiencing something a bit different on the corner of my porch.

My tomato plant looks pathetic. From the beginning, it has appeared weak and fragile. I have taken off many yellowed branches, in the hopes that energy would not be put into dead parts, but be transferred to the parts that were healthy to encourage them to grow.

Despite the gangly appearance, the plant continues to bear fruit - and good fruit at that. I can only explain this by the existence of a healthy root.
But the appearance of the plant encourages me, that God might use a weak and unassuming vessel to bear fruit for His kingdom.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Finished: Henry Huggins and Henry and the Paper Route

I'm still counting book screenings! Secretly, I just like reading juvenile fiction.

OK. That's not a secret anymore.

Here's my trouble with Henry...does my son need suggestions on what to do with his spare time? Do I want him coming home with a kitten or ripping apart a golf ball just to see what's inside. Is reading this going to make him start that?

But I do love that this book is all boy. It's a simple and curious boy and dog story. And I actually read the introduction, and was delighted to see that this was Beverly Cleary's first book - one that she struggled with writing because she thought women were supposed to write about girls. She had worked with boys who were bored because all of the juvenile books were about girly things, and was so inspired to introduce Henry.

There still are a lot of girly books out there, but this one's a gem for a boy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Finished: Danny Dunn and the Fossil Cave

Hey! I figure if I read it, it counts. It doesn't matter that I'm screening a library book for my 2nd grader.

Cave exploration, geology terms...good boy stuff.

Danny Dunn and the Fossil Cave, Jay Williams and Raymond Abrashkin

Friday, August 14, 2009

Prayer Pieces

I ask and I want, and I ask with a selfish desire for all things to be right...but this is my desire...looking forward to that day when all things will be made new.

Things are not new. They are not right.

There is pain and sadness.

There is depression and despair.

You make things right.

You've promised, and I wait in eager anticipation for that day. And I know it will come.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Peer to Peer

The following is some peer-to-peer Q & A/Instruction that I overheard in the 1st and 2nd grade Sunday School class:

How do you get it that loud?

You just....

Any idea what they were talking about?

Job Titles

Is there an official job title of "removes dead animals from roadways"?

And who decides who gets to drive the giant road sweeper?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

You Speak, I Listen

And did you notice that the kitchen is actually clean?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Finished: Caddie Woodlawn

Spunky chick who doesn't want to act like a lady. I look forward to reading this to daughter-dearie, and hope that she is eager to learn the lesson at the end - that now is a good time to grow up and be a lady.

Caddie Woodlawn, Carol Ryrie Brink

Break It To Me Gently

Please, leave an anonymous (or not) comment. Do I need to change the color of my kitchen walls?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

It's True

The Duponts and the Rockefellers get junk mail, too.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Finished: Dombey and Son

Another Charles Dickens...

This one took me longer to get through than the other ones, and it doesn't have one of the delights of Dickens, which is the twisted plot that brings all relationships together in the end.

Dombey and Son contains more of an in depth study on the hardness of a proud man and the steadyness of constant faithfulness.

Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

On-line Grandma

My grandmother just sent me an e-mail. For some, that's strange enough. But what delighted me most was that she said in it, and I quote, "more power to him". You go, girl!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Chick Flicks and the Glory of God

Here's another great link from Tim Challie's blog. This article, entitled "You've Got Lies" expresses (far better than I could) the essence of what I struggle with regarding 'chick flicks' and Jane Austen.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Why I Don't Practice:

Music to a music teacher's ears?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Got A Fixin' To Be Fixed With The Right Fix

Our sliding screen door has problem. Or does it?

Actually, I determined that the problem is the frame of the door. I came to the conclusion that the top of the frame was bowed, so that the screen door would come off of the track when it was closed. This has happened many times over the past 7 years. We've gone through 3 screen doors. I have tried many things to compensate for this bowed upper frame. None of them have worked.

But then along came Dad. He determined the cause to be different. He determined that the problem was caused by the bowing of the frame at the bottom, not at the top. This explains why all of my efforts to compensate for the gap at the top didn't work. I was so close. I had the general idea of where the problem was coming from, but without an accurate assessment of the situation, all of the energy kept going to fix the wrong area ... which was a temporary, at best, fix.

My solutions would keep the door on the track for a few openings and closings, then it would fall off, and I'd have to replace, retighten, and repeat: replace, retighten, repeat...

This reminds me of my efforts to fix my own problems. For instance: I have a temper when it comes to people infringing on my agenda. Usually, these "people" are my children. I could begin a discipline where I count to 10 and take a deep breath before I speak to them. But I'll tell you right now, that screen door's just gonna come off the track again.

The point here: you've gotta be fixin' to be fixin' with the right fix or it ain't gonna be fixed.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


When the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ occurs, hope becomes irrelevant.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Breakfast Eggs

What are you saying? A Cadbury Cream Egg isn't a breakfast food?

It's an egg!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Banana Splits

I don't like bananas.

The following is amazing information I recently learned about that which I do not like (thanks, G.S.)

A banana divides into three equal parts, lengthwise.

I don't like bananas.

I have been tearing apart bananas with my bare hands just to experience this phenomenon.

And I don't even like bananas!

(Did I mention that I don't like bananas?)

My Friend(?)'s Insights

My friend Megan has a new post up on WorldMagBlog today. I say my friend, because she has, at times, responded to my comments on her personal blog with en e-mail, and so I consider her my friend. We could dispute that...after all, I visit her blog regularly and know her family by what she posts, but she knows absolutely nothing about mine...

Regardless, her insights were appreciated today.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Finished: Mark Twain In Hawaii: Roughing it in the Sandwich Islands, Hawaii in the 1860's

If you want a description of Hawaii in the late 1800's mixed with caustic wit and a good dose of wry humor, then this is what you'll want to read.

If you're not into that type of thing, don't bother reading it.

Mark Twain In Hawaii: Roughing it in the Sandwich Islands, Hawaii in the 1860's

Now, I'm Not Complaining, But...

Think back for a moment over your conversations of today.

Is it just me, or is there a whole lot of complaining going on in the world?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Finished: James and the Giant Peach

I was disappointed with this, by "the world's most scrumdiddlyumptious storyteller", whereby the boy James is charged "Marvelous things will start happening to you...and you will never be miserable again in your life."

I am a huge fan of imagination, of which this book overflows. The story unravels well, and the adventures encountered during the grand peach flight are real in an incredible sort of way. But I was dismayed from the onset, and perhaps this tainted my view of the book.

I think it a true test of an author's imagination to create a story where the plot does not involve killing off the parents, bringing misery into a young boy's life and having him be raised by 2 mean old ugly aunts who beat him and make him work all the day while they indulge themselves in selfish pursuits...and the peach rescues him.

Start the story with imagination, and I'm a fan. Maybe I'll rewrite the beginning, just to enjoy the rest of the story...

James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl

Monday, May 11, 2009

Aboutface Facebook

I'm not on Facebook. I'd never make it there. There's just way too much sin involved.

I went "on" Facebook Saturday evening.

Mind you, I wasn't on Facebook, I was just "on" Facebook. And you know what started it? Someone commented to me about how an old friend looks now, and I thought I'd see for myself. STUPID!

I was compelled to click on people whose names I knew, just to see what theylooked like now, what they were interested in, were there anymore "friends" on there pages to link to...

Here's what happened: a foray into my brain... "Does he really look like that? I wonder if that picture is her daughter. She got married? Why did she do that to her hair? She looks happy, finally! Is that what he's doing now? Oh, look at the politicians listed under 'favorites'. Go figure."

YUCK! I don't want to be like that. Facebook does that to me.

No, I guess I do that to me.

But if that's what Facebook brings out in me, I'm not going there. My motivation is all wrong. I know it. And I'm cutting the right hand off. It's just not for me. I made a brief entrance and discovered a me I didn't like...a gossippy self-absorbed coveting mess of being. I know that's there without Facebook, but I'm not going to encourage it. I can't handle it.

No, Facebook's not for me.

At least, not until I can approach it with the right motivation: a compassion and desire for people's good.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Finished: Tales From the Other Side

This book was written by my cousin's wife's father. (I felt the need to really get the exact relationship there.) As 'tales' go, it is an interesting the manner of Lord of the Rings, but lighter. There were a lot of characters to be introduced to in this, the first book. Fairies, elves, trolls, ogres, gargoyles, gryphons.

The premise of the book is that there is another side of our universe, the imaginary realm...where God is worshiped.

One of the things I appreciated was that the troll characters were written as subservient to whomever their master was...and their masters changed all of the time. These creatures were slaves by nature, but the gospel message was offered to some, eagerly accepted. I liked the way the concept of being a willing slave to Christ was portrayed.

Tales From the Other Side, Matt McGrath

Excerpt: Mark Twain in Hawaii

"The natives still keep up an old custom of theirs which cannot be comforting to an invalid. When they think a sick friend is going to die, a couple of dozen neighbors surround his hut and keep up a deafening wailing night and day till he either dies or gets well. No doubt this arrangement has helped many a subject to a shroud before his appointed time.

They surround a hut and wail in the same heart-broken way when its occupant returns from a journey. This is their dismal idea of a welcome. A very little of it would go a great way with most of us."

Mark Twain In Hawaii: Roughing it in the Sandwich Islands, Hawaii in the 1860's, chapter VI

Thursday, May 7, 2009

We Really Are Helping Him

Tim Challies' blog this morning resonated with me. In it he quoted an excerpt from Gorden Cheng’s Encouragement: How Words Change Lives (published by Matthias Media). The entire blog post is worth the read, and if the amount of text is intimidating, skip to the last paragraph, but the quote is below:

When the entire family decides to plant baby lettuce on a Saturday afternoon in the backyard, certain realities apply and certain home truths about family dynamics and gardening knowledge must be taken into account. My wife is extremely well aware of these realities; the rest of us are somewhat aware in a descending order that begins with me, and gradually drops down to our seven-year-old (who, truth be known, is starting to get quite good and is beginning to ask question about my ability in this area), down to our four-year-old and finally to our three-year-old. The latter two contribute enthusiasm and a certain degree of, let’s say, unrestrained passion about how things ought to be done and who ought to do them first. As a direct result of this scenario, it is fair to suggest that every single task that needs to be completed in the garden takes three to five times longer than if Fiona (my wife) were to do it herself. Digging a furrow takes longer. Putting plants into the furrow takes longer. It is an activity fraught with risk both to the baby lettuce and to the dogs underfoot. At least one adult is employed for the entire gardening period keeping an eye on the most recent location of the pitchfork, and helping recover small plants from under a layer of newly thrown mulch. Snails, as the oldest of us have now realized, are not potential pets—but we haven’t yet had the heart to tell the two youngest, and so the location of their mollusc collection has also turned out to be one of those things that just has to be carefully monitored.

But for all the slow, distracting and sometimes dangerous things that happen in our garden, there is no doubt that all of us really are gardening. Every single one of the children’s mistakes, and a good number of mine as well, will be overruled by grace. The good things we do really are good things. In the kindness and providence of God, the children (and I) are becoming better gardeners than when we first began. When we stand in the garden in the summer sunshine we will be happy because we really did it.

And that is how it is with God and us, his fellow workers, in his church. We really are helping him. Those who see our efforts may laugh at what we do. We ourselves may become frustrated and upset by mistakes and lack of competence. We may become dimly aware, from time to time, that what we thought was useful and helpful was, unfortunately, nothing of the sort. But provided that we keep our focus on what God says in his word, and continue to speak that same truth in love, the gospel we speak will continue to transform our own lives and the lives of others. And that gospel work will result in a growth that bears fruit into eternity.

Ten Years Ago!

Remember the photograph taken of the small hand reaching out of the womb during a surgery to correct spina bifida? That picture was taken ten years ago. Fox News has a great article about the boy and the photo here. The boy's mother sums up the controversy around the photo well:

"So if he reached out, I don't know. If Dr. Bruner reached out, I don't know. The fact of the matter is it's a child with a hand, with a life, and that's meaningful enough."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Finished: Hank the Cowdog Books 1-4

I would be remiss if I did not include in my record of reading John Erickson's fully boy meanderings detailing days in a cowdog's life. These are definitely boy books, and while I would not put them in the class of edifying, or even remotely edifying, they are a fun read. Some topics a bit mature for a 6-year-old, but since I've read them, I'm prepared...

Hank believes himself to be "all that". There just isn't a cowdog better prepared to handle all that may go wrong on the ranch. And my son believes him. In fact, he was really upset when Hank got injured in a dogfight and couldn't get up for days. But Hank always recovers and saves the day, even though the day would have been much safer without him.

John Erickson, Hank the Cowdog series

Finished: Hard Times

Harder than some, but not as hard as might be. Trials find themselves to be tempered by the constancy of a friend, who allows Fact to not rule, but persists in Hope.

Charles Dickens, Hard Times

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Excerpt: Hard Times

"If it hadn't been mercifully brought about that I was to have you to speak to," pursued Rachael, "Times are when I think my mind would not have kept right. But I get hope and strength through you..."

Book the Third, Chapter V, Hard Times, Charles Dickens

Moses in the Know, Moses in the Glow

Exodus 33:11 "The LORD would speak with Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend."

Exodus 34:29 "...he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord."

Exodus 34:35 "...they saw that his face was radiant."

Moses had a good sort of problem. His conversations with God rubbed off on him, so that he took on (albeit to a much lesser degree) the quality of God in His radiance. It was enough to be noticeable. Not easily hidden. Somewhat distracting.

What do you look like after you've spoken with the LORD?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Diagnosing Squirrels

So, squirrels.

I am wondering if these creatures have adrenaline.

When they run out in front of your car and you find yourself looking in the rear-view mirror to confirm they made it through alive because they really didn't give you a chance to stop...or even swerve...does the adrenaline kick in? If so, squirrels really have a corner in the adrenaline rush market.

According my research, excessive amounts of adrenaline can cause tinnitus. So now I am wondering, are there a bunch of squirrels out there with ringing in their ears?

But excessive amounts of adrenaline have also been linked to ADHD.

So I'm guessing the answer to my original wondering is that yes, they do have adrenaline. Case closed.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Finished: The Deerslayer

I discovered this book in on my husband's bookshelves - where normally nary a fiction work is to be found. I had evidently begun to read it at one of my bookmarks was in it. In retrospect, after having finished reading it a week ago, I have no idea why I didn't complete it the first time. It was marvelous.

There is something for me in literature that makes honor so, well, honorable. If I had to make an argument about honor, I would say that it is best displayed when up against the grotesquely dishonorable. But The Deerslayer refutes that idea. I would say that there are no grotesquely dishonorable "creeturs" in this book. Sinners, yes. Men with messed up ideas about how to live, yes. But Cooper has managed to paint a redeeming value into each character.

The fascinating part about this approach, to me, is that I didn't walk away from the book with a feeling that the author thought everyone is right, and that each person has a right to his own worldview and there is no truth. The question for me is, what was the author's intent? Did he want me to walk away knowing that the Deerslayer has the most honor, and the other characters pale in comparison? Or did he want me to think, as the Deerslayer does that each man has his own gifts according to his nature, and honor must be viewed in light of that nature?

I guess this wouldn't pass for an essay test. I didn't answer any questions, I just came up with my own.

James Fenimore Cooper, The Deerslayer

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Diverging Cars, Diverging Thoughts

Many people use their car to advertise. Not just business advertisements, but people choose to proclaim something about themselves through their car. I'm not just talking about the make, model and color. I'm talking about the information we plaster to the back.

Two cars diverged on two-lane road.

The one had Hebrews 11:6 written on the back. "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

The other had a skull with the words FEAR THIS.

There is no middle ground.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Delighted in Crusts

I was eating toast at the kitchen table, and my 1 year old son sat on the floor beneath me. He was delighted by the crusts that I was handing to him.

As I watched his delight, I immediately thought of Matthew 15, when the Syrophoenician woman claimed her right to delight in the mercies of God by saying "even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their master's table".

Delight today, in the mercy of God.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Have A Watch

It's a Bulova watch. It's been missing for a long time.

Let me describe it to you. It is white and yellow gold. It has a face without numbers. It probably wouldn't fit around most people's wrists...I had a lot of links taken out of it. It says water resistant on the back.

That last part was really important.

Because I just found it.

At the bottom of the washing machine.

Friday, April 10, 2009

It's True

I've just got to say: I've had no random thoughts of late.

They've all been orderly and scholarly, with a little bit of bakingly for good measure.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Got Bloat?

For my own delightful personal reference (and anyone else who cares), here is a link to a photo-documentary on foods that relieve bloating.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Such Is My Custom

I was driving behind a Comcast van this morning. At stop lights, I really have nothing better to do than to read the propaganda plastered to the rear of vehicles. Such is my custom.

This van had a warning on it. "Caution: Vehicle Makes"

How is that helpful?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mr. DeLuxe and His Testimony

So I was driving with my windows down the other day. In the lane next to me was a DeLuxe Travelling Motorcycle (I'm pretty sure that's not the offical name). It was a fancy, non-Harley type with packing cases on the back, well-taken care of, clean and shiny dark metallic red.

It's rider was perhaps in his early 50's. A salt and pepper mustache. A responsible looking fellow, with a friendly face.

As we came to a stop side by side at a light, I heard it.

Country music (mellow, not twangy).

Not only could I hear the music from the speakers, I could also hear the man singing. He was right on key, singing with emotion, meaning every word that he said and not at all abashed that I and everyone else could hear him.

It occurs to me that I should be equally unashamed to talk of my Saviour.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

It Bears My Name

I grapple with Thomas' demand.

"Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of the nails..." John 20:25

The Christ replies to Thomas, "Reach here your finger, and see My hands." John 20:27

And God replies to me, "Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands." Isaiah 49:16

Could that be what the Christ was saying to Thomas? "Here are My hands. Your unbelief is there. Now believe."

That is what the gory hole in Christ's hand is about. The nail hole bears my name.

It was my sin that held Him there, until it was accomplished. His dying breath has brought me life. I know that it is finished.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Excerpt: The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog

Coyotes don't speak the same language as dogs, don't you see. Some of the words are similar and some aren't. Modern Doglish and the coyote dialect both come from the same linguistic root, which was the ancient language spoken by our common ancestors many years ago before the species split into Dogus Domesticus and Dogus Coyotus.

This is pretty technical stuff, and I don't want to bore anyone, but it's important that the reader understand these things.

The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog, John R. Erickson, chapter 7

Thy Savior Knows It All

Look up, the clouds are breaking,
The storm will soon be o'er
And thou shall reach the haven,
Where sorrows are no more
Look up, be not discouraged;
Trust on, whate'er befall
Remember, O remember,
Thy Savior knows it all.

Fanny Crosby, Hymn verse 3, O Heart Bereaved and Lonely

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I have found myself giving my children my credentials.

  • I've been around a lot longer than you.
  • I finished the first grade.
  • I'm your mother.
  • I can read.
  • I have worn sweatpants for over 30 years, and I know what they look like.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What's That Van Thinking?

I'm currently driving around a rental car. There is a button in it that I am afraid to push. It reads, "ESP OFF".

Friday, March 20, 2009

A McFree Meal

Permit me to wax eloquently for a few moments...

We're in a recession (so I've been told). Will McDonalds survive? Does anyone care about McDonalds?

First, the disclaimers:
I do not prefer to eat at McDonalds.
Sausage McMuffins with egg are not good for you.

Neither of those are the point, so let's move on.

I had a coupon for a free breakfast sandwich, with the purchase of a breakfast sandwich. I was hungry, and decided on my way to work, I could eat 2 Sausage McMuffins with egg.

I pulled up to the pay window, and handed the woman my credit card to pay the $2.75 for my breakfast. She informed me that the credit card machine was broken, and wanted to know if I had any cash. I checked my change purse, and informed her that I had 75 cents. She told me to pull up to the next window.

As I waited, I searched my purse for more change. I came up with a total of $1.08 worth of change in my purse. The manager came to the window with my credit card. I offered him my measly $1.08 - less than half of the suggested value of the meal (which was really a quarter, since I was getting one free). He informed me that I could take my meal for free, and to tell my friends. Then he clarified...don't tell them our machine isn't working, tell them we're...and I interrupted and said, "gracious".

I suppose it may have simply been a good business practice. But in a recession, do good business practices count? He could have turned me away.

So will McDonalds survive? That I cannot predict. But I do know that a man who treats his customers fairly is wise.

And so I'll tell you: the manager at the McDonalds by the mall is a fair and reasonable man, who runs his business well, at least in my opinion.

P.S. (I enjoyed my breakfast. Thanks for asking.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Name Changing

It will no longer be said to you, "Forsaken," nor to your land will it any longer be said, "Desolate"; but you will be called, "My delight is in her," and your land, "Married".
Isaiah 62:4

And they will call them, "The holy people, the redeemed of the LORD"; and you will be called, "sought out, a city not forsaken".
Isaiah 62:12

No longer do I call you slaves; for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give it to you.
John 15:15-16

In summation: from forsaken to delighted in, from desolate to sought after, from slaves to friends.

A Protest

With regard to the store name Superfresh: I believe thou dost protest too much.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Flossie: She Was In The Bobbsey Twins, Right?

Just in case you weren't aware:

flossing is a discipline.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Oaks of Righteousness

"They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor." Isaiah 61:3b

The oaks of righteousness describe the brokenhearted that Christ has bound up, the captives to whom he has proclaimed freedom, the ones who mourned that he comforted, those that were grieving that he provided for, those upon whom he has bestowed a crown of beauty and annointed with the oil of gladness, and those for whom he lifted the spirit of despair and put in its place a garment of praise.

And when you find yourself in that, know that God has done it for the display of His splendor.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Here's To Being Pretty Sharp

I believe my cooking skills directly correlate to the sharpness of my knives.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Excuse Me.

Now here's something you don't hear about every day...burping worms.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Etymological Flow Chart

Let me just introduce you to my new favorite word (thanks, S.F.): smarmy.

The definition of smarmy is as delightful as the word itself.

Smarmy: unctuously flattering

and the origin of the word, oh, the delight...
"variant of colloquial smalm, smawm (1847) "to smear, bedaub" (the hair, with pomade)"

And of course, the word pomade makes me think of hairnets on men and toads.

Which leads me to the justification of this very random thought:

"It's a fool that looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Praise the Savior

Besides the great name, Venantius Fortunatus was given the gift of penning (or quilling?)marvelous words to the praise of our Lord:

Man's work faileth, Christ's availeth; He is all our righteousness;
He, our Savior, has forever set us free from dire distress.
Through His merit we inherit light and peace and happiness.

For His favor, praise forever unto God the Father sing;
Praise the Savior, praise Him ever, Son of God, our Lord and King.
Praise the Spirit; Through Christ's merit He doth us salvation bring.


When you have your hands on the wrong keys and type blogger, it comes out as gloffer.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Who Wouldn't Love A Job Writing Descriptions on Boxes?

So That You May Know

In the chapters of Exodus that detail the interchanges between Moses and Pharaoh, a common refrain is found.

"So that you may know that I am the LORD".

Remembering this line in prayer has been helpful. It "allows" God to work His perfect will to bring glory to Himself. And that's a whole lot better than the plan I had, anyway!

Bowling on the What?

So, if I called my grandmother and told her my son was "bowling on the Wii", would that make any sense at all?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jewish Ethics and Ambulances

I was listening to a radio interview of Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, who was talking about his new book, A Code of Jewish Ethics Volume 2: Love Your Neighbor As Yourself. The interview (and the callers) moved to the idea of praying for the person in distress when you pass an ambulance. A caller stated she had learned this from a nun in grade school, and the rabbi agreed it was a proper way to love your neighbor.

That said, I passed an ambulance today.

I took the opportunity to pray for the person, and I was dissatisfied with my quick prayer for healing. What I really wanted was for the person in the ambulance was to experience God in a real and meaningful way, and so, be healed.

And that, I believe, is loving your neighbor as yourself.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Excerpt: Ashamed of the Gospel

[We need] not an unfriendly church, but a vibrant, loving, honest, committed, worshiping fellowship of believers who minister to one another like the church in Acts chapter 4 -- but who eschew sin, keep one another accountable, and boldly proclaim the full truth of Scripture. People who have no love for the things of God may not find such a place very user-friendly. But God's blessing will be on the fellowship of true believers, because that is what He ordained the church to be like. And He will add to the church, as He promised.

Ashamed of the Gospel, John MacArthur, chapter 2

Monday, February 23, 2009

That's In Europe?

Either I wasn't listening in geography or they added a whole bunch of new countries to Europe. Play the map game for Europe. Beat my pitiful score of 76%.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Open Eyes

2 Kings 6 details the miraculous deliverance of Elisha at Dothan. There is a phrase in the midst of the passage, in verse 17 that resonates with me.

..."O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes...

Would that we be uttering this prayer more, knowing that indeed, the LORD will hear!


I am of the opinion that polyester was invented by a manufacturer of anti-perspirant.

My spouse believes it was invented by 2 women.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Burden-Bearer

Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried...

He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities...

These two lines from Isaiah 53 are very familiar. They are also very different in content. Later in the chapter it is revealed that the LORD was pleased to crush Him. It was in God's plan for Christ to both bear our griefs and be pierced for our transgressions.

The beauty in these lines is that not only did Christ die for our sins. Although surely, that in and of itself is beautiful. But

He came to bear for us grief and sorrow.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dancing with the Star Wars Stars

This is just crazy.

And so is this.

As Said by Psalty

"We don't need to trust God to get to the top of the mountain. We only need to trust Him to take the next step."

Kids' Praise V, as said by Psalty the Singing Songbook

The Discipline of Desire

It took 2 weeks, Phil, but it just clicked for me.

"It" is this: the discipline of desire.

When I say discipline, I am speaking NOT of punishment, but of accustoming to regular and systematic action; to bring under control so as to act systematically.

And so, the desire for God results in a disciplined life. If I desire God, I get in the Word, I go to church, I fellowship with His people.

"Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteouness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." Psalm 37:3-6

Summer Wardrobe

When you meet someone in winter, you have no idea what their summer wardrobe looks like.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Finished: The Collected Tales of Nurse Matilda

Ugh. I actually did not want to finish reading the collected tales. These are the stories that the movie Nanny McPhee (starring Emma Thompson) was based on. Never saw it. Not sure I ever will.

If you desire repetition and nastiness, then this book is for you! The premise is this: There are very bad kids doing things not even possible for bad kids to do. There is an ugly nurse that comes to take care of them. She alters their behavior my means of a large black stick which she bangs on the floor. This stick-striking causes the children to remain in their state of mis-behavior for a very long time, until they are sick of that particular behavior and desire to be rid of it. Thus they learn never to do it again. But there is always an again. As the children's behavior gets better, so do Matilda's looks. When she is beautiful, she goes away. Until she comes back again in the next tale, ugly as ever.

Boring. Boring. Boring. Not well written. And in case you can't tell, I really didn't like this book.

On a positive note, the author has a pretty name.
Nanny McPhee: The Collected Tales of Nurse Matilda, Christianna Brand

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dolly Levi Theology

One of my all-time favorite musicals, Hello Dolly!, has one of my all-time favorite lines in it:

"Money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It's not worth a thing unless it's spread around, encouraging young things to grow."

And herein lies the theology behind that quote:

Luke 16:9-10 Make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails, they may receive you into the eternal dwellings. One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much...

1 Timothy 6:17-19 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Some Counsel About Hair Dryers

Note to self: de-dust the intake prior to the motor burning out. Cleaning it afterwards is no good.

If You Haven't Yet Read Jan Brett

We've been on a Jan Brett kick lately. Right now, we're reading The Umbrella. Here is a link to Jan Brett's website, with all sorts of free downloads. We're going to be making the umbrella mural today.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Kind of Kind

A man came up to me in the grocery store today, and said, "Are you going to spend more than $30 today? Here's a coupon for $2.50 off."

I thought to myself, "How kind! I think I'll go home and post a blog about him."

So I did.

Then I thought, "Hmmm...can anyone go home today and post a blog about a kindness that I rendered?"

"She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." Proverbs 31:26

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

State Game

Try this out! Then tell me how you did! I got a 94%, with an everage error of 10 miles in 359 seconds. Thank you Mrs. Constance Andrews, third grade teacher. I still have my button that says "I know my states and capitals".

Monday, February 9, 2009

Finished: The Trumpet of the Swan

My daughter and I enjoyed sitting together and experience the adventures of Louis together. This book made me want to go discover a pond all by myself deep in the woods and develop a friendship with a wild swan! But then, I thought...that may be a little too Thoreau-ish, so perhaps I'll just stick to nature walks and wildlife refuges.

I did, however, just sign up to become a member of the National Audubon Society. I was suckered into it! The free address labels that they sent me had Trumpeter Swans on them, and I get a magazine full of nature photos and a free windbreaker. And it's tax deductible. Ahhh...junk mail. For once, at the right place at the right time.

P.S. For those concerned: I am aware that this society is a little, well, not exactly where I am on the political spectrum. I think I'm ok with that.

The Trumpet of the Swan, E.B. White

Goat Milk Drugs

I ran across this article on a new pharmaceutical that is derived from genetically engineered goats. I am particularly interested in the fact that these goats are breeded solely for the purpose using their milk for pharmaceutical use. To quote a line from the article, "if more drug is needed, the herd can be expanded." To read more, you can click here.

If you have an opinion, I'm interested in hearing it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Excerpt: The Trumpet of the Swan

This quote follows a discussion of what worthy cause to donate money to. It has been decided that the money should be given to the Audubon Society because they are kind to birds, and that some birds face extinction. A boy involved in the conversation speaks up,

"What's extinction?" asked Al(fred) Gore. "Does it mean they stink?"

I found that extremely funny. Borderline hilarious. I added the parenthesis.

The Trumpet of the Swan, E.B. White, chapter 20

Friday, February 6, 2009

Shampoo Wonderings

I wonder what happens when you use shampoo that is not the right "hair type".

For example: you use shampoo for permed hair, and you don't have a perm.

Or: you use shampoo for normal hair, and your hair is anything but.

Or: you use a shampoo called "beautiful lengths" and you're a guy named Al.

Raja's Cup and John's

Some time ago, our friend, John M. was over. It was late. We wanted coffee, but we didn't have any decaf. Looking in the pantry, I discovered a box of Raja's Cup. This highly sought after tea was a cast-off of an office Christmas party. "Here, Michelle. I don't want this gift that Dr. D gave me. Do you want it? Take the peach chutney, too."

It was free.

It is touted on the Maharishi website that "in a blind taste test, coffee drinkers didn’t notice when they were served Raja’s Cup instead of decaffeinated coffee!" Of course, John knew he was going to be drinking Raja's Cup.

The ingredients are four: Clearing Nut, Kasmard, Licorice and Winter Cherry.

It was John's opinion that the Raja could keep his cup.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Finished: Peace Like A River

This book is marvelous. The writing is poetry, the text is moving and the characters are ordinary. That is, if you believe in the miraculous as ordinary. But the miraculous scripted into this novel is beautiful and believable, not mushy.

My favorite chapter is "Be Jubilant, My Feet". It came at a perfect time, when pondering the rapture of Heaven, and includes this, "I tell you there is no one who compels as does the master of that country -- although badly as I wanted to see him, Dad must've wanted to more, for he shot ahead like a man who sees all that pleases him most stacked beside the finish."

Read, and read again.

Peace Like A River, Leif Enger

Excerpts: The Trumpet of the Swan

--she would have to remain in Philadelphia the rest of her life, a horrible fate.

The Trumpet of the Swan, E.B. White, chapter 18

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Excerpt: Peace Like a River

Let me say something about that word: miracle. For too long it's been used to characterize things or events that, though pleasant, are entirely normal. Peeping chicks at Easter time, spring generally, a clear sunrise after an overcast week -- a miracle, people say, as if they've been educated from greeting cards. I'm sorry, but nope. Such things are worth our notice every day of the week, but to call them miracles evaporates the strength of the word.

Real miracles bother people, like strange sudden pains unknown in medical literature. It's true: They rebut every rule all we good citizens take comfort in. Lazarus obeying orders and climbing up out of the grave -- now there's a miracle, and you can bet it upset a lot of folks who were standing around at the time. When a person dies, the earth is generally unwilling to cough him back up. A miracle contradicts the will of earth.

Peace Like A River, Leif Enger, Clay

Monday, February 2, 2009


"But in the LORD all the descendants of Israel will be found righteous and
will exult."

Hear the Word of the Lord in Isaiah 45:25.

We will exult! We will exult!

The Rapture of It All

I came across a line in The Trumpet of the Swan that stirred desire within me. And is this worship in all of life: to be transported from reading a children's book to my daughter to eager anticipation of seeing the Lord?

The line was this: "I think love is like the rapture of the deep". It got me to thinking about the meaning of the word rapture.

I've heard of "the Rapture" all of my life. It is a theological term, not found in Scriptures, and highly debated. But one thing is clear and undisputable.

When our Lord Jesus Christ comes again, it will be rapture for His people.

Finished: Mary Poppins

I must say, I do like the movie better. I think Disney did a good job of "cleaning up" this one. But maybe my opinion is jaded by the fact that I have seen the movie lots of times and I love Julie Andrews, coupled by the fact that it has only been recently that I've known the book has existed.

I have a few book warnings:

There is a creepy scene in the gingerbread shop where an old lady breaks off her fingers to give to twin babies. The fingers turn into a tasty treat, and they do grown back immediately onto the old women, but still. Babies eating other people's fingers? That wigs me out.

There is also a weird Eastern chanting like scene in the Zoo where Mary's birthday is being celebrated by the animals. It is rather mystical and has a Secret-Garden-Broadway-versionish quality about it. (I just love hyphens.)

There a few delightful scenes as well, though:

John and Barbara are twin babies, and there is a chapter devoted to them. Evidently, all under-ones can understand the language of animals. It is a comical chapter of them speaking rather properly back and forth, understood by Mary and a Starling that has come for a visit, but completely misunderstood by their own mother, for whom they stop crying simply because they love her, not because she actually even knows why they are crying. (I think my own babies can relate to this!) I was saddened at the end of the chapter, though. John and Barbara were adamant in their ability to retain their communicative abilities past the age of one. But their birthday comes, and all they can say is "Be-lah-belah-belah" and "Ba-loo -- ba-loo -- ba-loo".

The chapter about the bird woman is also delightful. Her language ability is very limited. I'll have to try her methods. She can only say "Feed the birds" and "Tuppence a bag". So when Jane and Michael say good-bye, the interchange is this: "Good-bye," said Michael to the Bird Woman. "Feed the Birds," she replied, smiling. "Good-bye," said Jane. "Tuppence a Bag!" said the Bird Woman and waved her hand. Come to think of it, I would probably drive my children crazy if I tried her methods. But then again, I drive them crazy anyway, so what's one more way?

I particularly enjoyed P.L. Travers' manner of writing and turning common nouns into proper ones. I think that I could probably write in that Manner, but I do enjoy Hyphens more, so I'll stick to hyphenation as my Schtick.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Excerpt: The Conversations of Jesus

"Scripture translations in this book are the author's own"

Oh, to know Greek.

copywrite page, The Conversations of Jesus, Simon Kistemaker

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Honk, Honk, Beep, Beep

Did you ever honk your horn accidentally and wonder, "Who's honking at me?"

Friday, January 30, 2009

Finished: A Murder Is Announced

Here, finally, an Agatha Christie mystery that includes clues so that it is possible to figure out the murderer as you read. My previous experience with her writing is that she throws in something in the last chapter, to explain all. But not so in this one!

Once I got past the four typographical errors (Blocklock rather than Blacklock, could feet rather than cold feet, etc), the book was a joy to read. I will enjoy even more seeing a bunch of high school girls waddling around rheumatic in the coming days.

Excerpt: A Murder Is Announced

Miss Marple thought that as the secretary of a big financier Miss Blacklock might be presumed to know the world, too. But probably what Dora Bunner meant was that Letty Blacklock had always been comfortably off, and that the comfortably off do not know the deeper abysses of human nature.

A Murder is Announced, Agatha Christie, chaper 13

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Majestic Sweetness

"Majestic sweetness sits enthroned upon the Saviour's brow."

This hymn line penned by Samuel Stennett in 1787 has a curiousness about it. Christ's glorious and merciful nature has been captured in the words "majestic sweetness".

We have a Saviour who has all the pomp that accompanies a King: riches, honor, glory, majesty. We have a Saviour who has all the compassion of a Shepherd: gentle, kind, loving, merciful.

Who better to guard and to guide than One who carries this mysterious nature within Him, and cannot act contrary to it?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

His Promise From Time Past

"I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring, And My blessing on your descendants; And they will spring up among the grass Like poplars by streams of water." Isaiah 44:3-4

Here is a promise to a wicked and rebellious people. God is promising that He will not visit their sins upon their sons, but rather, will pour out His Spirit upon them.

I found this to be a prophetic utterance of the fulfillment of the Great Commission, and had a beautiful vision in my mind:

A wasteland, dry and dead. Unwelcoming. No hope. No future.


The Spirit of the Lord came upon it. There was one blade of bright green grass unfurled. Then another. Then another. The unfurling green was joined by splashing drops of rain, breathing life into death.

Surely, the wasteland transforms into a meadow of vitality. Verdant and full of expectancy.

God's Spirit dwells among His people.

It is His promise from time past.

"I will pour out My Spirit."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Excerpts: Mr. Tickle

"Just think. Maybe he's around at this very moment while you're reading this book.

Maybe that extraordinary long arm of his is already creeping up to the door of this room.

Maybe it's opening the door now and coming into the room."

This is not a horror story. This is a children's story by Roger Hargreaves called Mr. Tickle. And it makes my 4 year old giggle, so I guess it's not that bad.


I've always found the idea of powdered water fascinating.

Just add water.

Monday, January 26, 2009

He Has and He Will

"He turned away from them and began to weep." Genesis 42:24

"He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him." Genesis 45:2

"Come close to me." Genesis 45:4

"Do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves." Genesis 45:5

"And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them" Genesis 45:15

"I will provide for you and your children" And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. Genesis 50: 21

Does this sound like the natural response that a man would have toward men who threw him in a pit to die? Who sold him as a slave? Who hated him so much they could not speak a kind word to him? Whose actions resulted in years of being in prison?

And we have trouble being nice to someone who has caused a momentary offense!

Surely God works in the hearts of His people. He has and He will.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Finished: Seasons of the Moose

In all seriousness, I wonder why I even read this book. It was sitting on the floor...a gift for the kids bought by a friend for 50 cents, purchased for it's moose photos. But as I glanced through looking at the photos, I discovered an interesting script of one woman's journey through a year of the moose.

While the book certainly isn't an all-inclusive documentary on the life of the moose, it held my interest throughout, and was enjoyable to read. It starts out in autumn...rutting season for the moose. Interesting, anyway...

Seasons of the Moose, Jennie Promack

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Who's It All About?

There was a brief phrase in our Bible Study this morning that captured my attention. It is found in the midst of Isaiah 43:7 and it is this: "whom I created for my glory".

You know that quirky person that sits a few pews back from you in church? God says that he is "whom I created for my glory".

You know that Christian woman who wants to talk to you all the time? God says that she is "whom I created for my glory".

You know that other person who does such and so that drives you crazy? God says that person is "whom I created for my glory".

Do you treat people as though God created them for His glory? Or is it all about you?

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Kind Word

While preparing for a Sunday School lesson, I came across this verse: When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. (Genesis 37:4) This, of course, is referencing Joseph. While I may be able to justify the brothers' anger (after all, Joseph seems to have been a bit, well, shall we say, braggy?), I cannot get past the environment that Joseph lived in. His brothers could not speak a kind word to him.

This text urges me to check my voice, my speech, my attitude in my household. Am I being kind? Will my children grow up and reflect that "not a kind word was said"? May it not be!

"Live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:1b-2

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Finished: Home

Julie Andrews is a different woman than you would expect. She is not Mary Poppins, nor is she Maria. She remembers the scenery of her life in vivid detail, and her autobiography of her early years is enjoyable to read. Often, she will recall certain flowers in bloom, or scents on the wind, or weather conditions. Her ability to weave these moments into her life makes her writing rather poetic.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Abide With Me

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless.
Ills have no weight, tears lose their bitterness.
Where is thy sting death? Where grave they victory?
I triumph still, abide with me.

Abide with Me, Henry Lyte, vv 1,3,4

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Finished: 1984

I really don't have anything to say about this except: disturbing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Excerpt: 1984

I have discovered proof that when my friend's son was three, he was reading literature in the middle of the night. Here's the proof:

In a discussion with his mother, she asked him, "What do you hear when I talk to you?" (The question was prompted by a lack of response when she was instructing him.)

His reply: quack, quack, quack.

There is only one place he could have gotten this answer. George Orwell's 1984. And I quote,

As he watched the eyeless face with the jaw moving rapidly up and down, Winston had a curious feeling that this was not a real human being but some kind of dummy. It was not the man's brain that was speaking; it was his larynx. The stuff that was coming out of him consisted of words, but it was not speech in the true sense: it was noise uttered in unconsciousness, like the quacking of a duck.

Syme had fallen silent for a moment, and with the handle of his spoon was tracing patterns in the puddle of stew. The voice from the other table quacked rapidly on, easily audible in spite of the surrounding din.

"There is a word in Newspeak," said Syme. "I don't know whether you know it: duckspeak, to quack like a duck. It is one of those interesting words that have two contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it is abuse; applied to someone you agree with, it is praise."

George Orwell, 1984, chapter 1 section V

The Spiritualized Itch

It has occurred to me that much self-control is required when dealing with an itch. Once you begin "the Scratch" it is really hard to stop. You may say to yourself, "I'll just do 'the Scratch' once. But you can't. You've got to keep 'the Scratch' going. And going. So you just need to not even start 'the Scratch'. It's the only way.

Sin is like that.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Driving Too Fast

As I was driving along this afternoon, passing cars here and there, going above the speed limit and trying to reach my destination in a timely manner, cars kept slowing down or cutting me off, or putting their brakes and turn signals on. I thought to myself, "Everyone is against me!"

It is good to remember that God uses other drivers to keep me safe.

Excerpts: The Trumpet of the Swan

"My dear," said her husband, the cob, one afternoon, "do you never find your duties onerous or irksome? Do you never tire of sitting in one place and in one position, covering the eggs, with no diversions, no pleasures, no escapades, or capers? Do you never suffer from boredom?"

"No," replied his wife. "Not really."

"Isn't it uncomfortable to sit on eggs?"

"Yes, it is," replied the wife. "But I can put up with a certain amount of discomfort for the sake of bringing young swans into the world."

"Do you know how many more days you must sit?" he asked.

"Haven't any idea," she said. "But I notice that the ducks at the other end of the pond have hatched their young ones; I notice that the Red-winged Blackbirds have hatched theirs, and the other evening I saw a Striped Skunk hunting along the shore, and she had four little skunks with her. So I think I must be getting near the end of my time. With any luck, we will soon be able to see our children."

The Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White, chapter 3

Monday, January 12, 2009

How I Know I'm Praying How I'm Supposed to Pray

This brief list from John Piper is helpful in directing prayer, "praying in sync with the way God works".


I am a multi-tasker. I am a very good multi-tasker. It has occurred to me that the ability to multi-task is a blessing. It is also a non-blessing.

Let me clarify: I am on hold with the insurance company while drinking my morning coffee while waiting for a report to print for work while checking e-mail while saying, "come away" to the 1-year-old and putting Lego heads on and off for the 4-year-old while writing my to-do-list for the week and remembering Jessica, just in from South Africa, in prayer. Oh, and the laundry is in the dryer. This is how I function. This is what I am like. All the time.

But I forget that there are things that I should do at times while not multi-tasking. I need to remember:

"Devote yourselves to prayer." Colossians 4:2

While I can and do and should pray without ceasing, (and this in and of itself implies a type of multi-tasking), the very word devote implies there is also a time when prayer should be done when wholly devoted. Devoted without distraction. Having prayer included in my multi-tasking is not devotion without distraction. It is good, but it is not all there is.

Wholly-devoted-prayer-time kind of time doesn't just happen by chance. It is sought for with jealousy, with fervor, with intention. I have a hard time finding that kind of time. But I know it exists. And while I pray while multi-tasking, I am confident that God will give it to me. It is His desire that I give Him that kind of prayer.

Make it so, Lord Jesus.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Lego Firehouse

OK. I still play with my Legos. And I let my son play with them, too. But this is too good to be true. I have discovered the assembly directions to the fire station that I used to have. I need to go build now. 1983 has just become a very good year.

Activity Planning Around Pressure Systems

I just discovered that there exists a weather forecast for the arthritic. There is a day arthritis index and a night arthritis index. (Going camping? There is also a mosquito index. Working outdoors...a UV index. Have asthma index, Fearful of the flu...flu index, getting married? There's even one for you...a frizz advisory!). This really is fascinating stuff. Check it out here. The details of the arthritis index explain that it is well documented that arthritis sufferers can predict the weather based on the severity of their symptoms. Changing pressure systems, temperature, and humidity are all things that have been known to effect the symptoms of the arthritic. The part that interested me was the following: "arthritis sufferers can have advanced notice of when they are most likely to have increased pain, allowing them to take appropriate medication and to better plan activities".

Friday, January 9, 2009

Finished: The Glass Menagerie

I read Tennessee Williams' play "The Glass Menagerie" again. I think I last read it in high school. I've got one word: Depressing. In a bad way. I like depressing literature...all those people in Dickens that die, give me a Russian novel, and I'm happy as a clam. But this was bad depressing. Note to self: don't read this again. I read through some suggested essay questions to wrap my brain around what it was about. They didn't make it any more pleasant.

There was one thing I did like, though. Mr. Williams wrote this as a memory play - it was to be understood as a piece of someone's memory of what happened. Intermixed with the actual text of the play (as is most playwrights' customs), were the scripting and lighting recommendations. I enjoyed reading this through those eyes, seeing the set as described, and the lighting fade or focus. Sometimes reading instructions like that makes it a clearer visual.