Friday, April 30, 2010


I have not disappeared.  I could say things have been crazy... but then everyone says that... and I just did, too... and then, it's probably a basic fact of life for most of us Western World Dwellers.  Craziness of some sort, that is.

Anyways, I just wanted to say hey!  And to share a great homemaking quote from an amazing book.  This is part of the reason I value homemaking as a high and noble calling, which I am grateful to be able to pursue:

Through the whole panorama of Scripture (and through most of history), we see the home and family as woman’s context. Home was not woman’s prison — it was her base of operations, from which she engaged in commerce, ministry, charity, medicine, the arts, and more. The family, though, was always her priority.

-Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, from their book So Much More-

"The family, though, was always her priority."  Good reminder to not get so caught up in the "stuff" of homemaking that I forget to love the people I'm doing those things for!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Quotes from "The Princess and Curdie"

"A mountain is a strange and awful thing.  In old times, without knowing so much of their strangeness and awfulness as we do, people were yet more afraid of mountains.  But then somehow they had not come to see how beautiful they are as well as awful, and they hated them - and what people hate they must fear.  Now that we have learned to look at them with admiration, perhaps we do not feel quite awe enough of them.  To me they are beautiful terrors."

"Nothing that could be got from the heart of the earth could have been put to better purpose than the silver the king's miners got for him.  There were people in the country who, when it came into their hands, degraded it by locking it up in a chest, and then it grew diseased and was called mammon, and bred all sorts of quarrels; but when first it left the king's hands it never made any but friends, and the air of the world kept it clean."

"He might have been a captain, they did believe!  The good kind people did not reflect that the road to the next duty is the only straight one, or that, for their fancied good, we should never wish our children or friends to do what we would not do ourselves if we were in their position.  We must accept righteous sacrifices as well as make them." 

~from Chapter One of The Princess and Curdie~
 by George MacDonald

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Study, Random, and a Goose Egg

When was the last time I challenged myself to find out if a long-held belief or way of doing things was actually Scriptural?

When was the last time I dove into some serious Bible study, taking notes, making lots of observations, seeing what is there instead of what I want to see?

When was the last time I was able to flip open a Bible and humbly explain a concept or principle, without fear of having taken anything out of context or of making it say what it didn't?

Too long ago, that's when.

Well, I plan on doing some deep digging in the following days.  I might even post some of my findings here as part of the process.  And hopefully at the end I'll be able to explain with Scripture, clear thinking, and personal conviction why I believe some of the "odd" things I do. :-)  And if my views change in the process, so much the better!  What better to change me than Scripture?  

In other news, I've been:
  • spending time with my dear dad, who visited this weekend - I love you Daddy!
  • lunch at my grandparents after church
  • good conversations with my friend Erik :-)
  • drinking some lovely white and herbal tea I got for Christmas
  • writing book reviews 
  • learning to write press releases 
  • picking early flowers from our garden and putting them in a teacup
  • eating chocolate 
  • cooking 
  • watching Arsenic and Old Lace with two sweet friends (I hope I didn't scar them for life, hehe!)
  • admiring my brother Zach's muscles (he's getting ready for the Marines)
  • listening to barbershop quartets while my mom cuts Bob's hair
  • thinking about the blessing of children, homeschooling, and media discernment
  • helping my mom carry little seedlings inside every night, and outside in the morning
  • taking my Puppy to AWANA for Stuffed Animal Night
  • listening to Adventures in Odyssey
  • fiddling with piano and irish whistle
  • not wanting to buy anything else from China
  • pondering the amazing beginning of the sentence "But God..."
  • walking with a mom, her little girl, and their dog
  • drinking in wisdom from an elder
  • chatting with my Thinkling friends on Google chat
  • getting on Blogger too often without actually posting anything ;-)
  • looking at my goose egg I painted and scribbled on 
  • taking too many pictures with my webcam
Well, I don't have anything else to say, and it's getting late, so adios from the West Texas hobbit hole!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Book Review - The Last Thing I Remember

The Last Thing I Remember
By Andrew Klavan

This was a totally engrossing, action/suspense packed, honest and wholesome adventure.  When my mom was telling me about it, I thought it sounded like a modern-day Christian take on Hardy Boys.  After reading it, I'd say not quite.  There's more meat to it.  More suspense and tension, and a bit more violence, but also more inner-struggles and heroic choices that were soo refreshing to find in such a "cool" modern yarn!  It also struck me as a great book for guys, though I enjoyed it very much as well.

Charlie West was just a normal kid.  Good grades, decent at karate, with a slightly-distant dad, a over-anxious mom, and a silly older sister.  He has his loyal friends, a teacher who likes to harass Charlie for his faith and patriotism, and a kindhearted girl who scares him more than anything.  Life wasn't perfect, but neither was it impressive.

There was nothing in it, in fact, to explain how Charlie wakes up to find himself captured by Islamic terrorist planning his demise.  

As he attempts to escape and find out what has happened since he went to sleep at the end of that normal day, Charlie begins a journey of discovering many things.  Who he is.  What's actually important in life.  What it means to never give up when you know you're right.  The joys of home and family and peace and justice, so little appreciated by most people until they're gone.

It was this last point that stuck out to me the most.  So many teen adventure, and novels in general, encourage us to wish for escape, to be discontent with our humdrum lives.  I know.  I've felt it.  It's a temptation to escape for a while, to live on the wild and dangerous side, to have the thrilling life of adventure we see in so many stories.

But I  believe that the mark of a truely healthy, edifying, and great book is that it doesn't simply provide temporary escape from which we're reluctant to return.  Instead, they send us back to real life with a new appreciation and greatfulness for what we've been given, for the people and blessings and trials of our own.  Really good books encourage us to love the humdrum life in all it's everyday glory.  Because it is glorious, if we will only see it as an invaluable gift, a precious blessing we must sometimes fight to preserve. 

The sequel, The Long Way Home, was also good.  I can't wait until the other two books in The Homelander Series come out!

(The only warning I would give to parents is a very mild and clean romance and more intensity and violence than Hardy Boys.  Consider reading  it yourself first.  You just might have a hard time putting it down!)

Posted for the March of Books on YLCF

Book Review - The Great Divorce

The Great Divorce
By C. S. Lewis

I've now read this little book twice in less than a year, and I'm sure I'll be dipping back into it for decades to come.    What a gem!  It's a fairly quick read, but since it's Lewis, you might want to go slow with a pencil to mark all the great quotes.

The premise is this:  a busload of people from a dull and dreary town are taken to a wonderful land and given the choice to stay or go back to their self-centered lives. Tragically, few actually choose to stay.  Convictingly, their reasons are often all too familiar and close to home.

I had the amazing opportunity to read this for the first time last summer for one of my Next Step Discipleship classes.  For one week we broke into discussion groups, taking turns reading passages aloud, and talking about the book.  In my group was Ian Campbell, a tall Scotsman with an amazing accent.

Well, at some point in the book, George MacDonald shows up.  He's an old Scottish preacher whose writing greatly influenced Lewis.  And his parts were read by the only natural person in our group - Ian from Scotland.

Let me tell you, that's a memory I won't soon forget.  :-) 

'There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done."

~ C. S. Lewis ~

Posted for the March of Books on YLCF

Book Review - The Heavenly Man

The Heavenly Man
By Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway

I don't read enough Christian biographies.  Maybe one a year.  The last one was A Severe Mercy (which my mom's reading right now), and that one was glorious.  But partly its enjoyment came from the magical writing.  Whether the writing is engrossing or not, I know there is a wealth of wisdom and insight waiting to be gleaned from the lives of saints who have gone before.

This book has been sitting on our shelf for years, but what finally drove me to take it down and dive in was a newly-wakened desire to get into the mind of the house church Christians in China.  And let me tell you, it was eye-opening!  Not amazing writing, but definitely an amazing tale.

Brother Yun's story covers his conversion as a young boy in a poor village, his frequent persecution, torture, and imprisonment, and his ministry to everyone from house church members to prison guards.    It is a testimony of God's faithfulness and the joy he offers to those who embrace persecution (Matthew 5:10

"I didn't suffer for Jesus in prison.  No!  I was with Jesus and I experienced His very real presence, joy, and peace every day.  It's not those in prison for the sake of the gospel who suffer.  The person who suffers is he who never experiences God's intimate presence."

~Brother Yun~

Posted for the March of Books on YLCF.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Hope Comes Galloping

I long to see him face-to-face. I long to put my hand in his side, and touch the scars. I want to thank him and to worship him without this confounded veil between us. Just fighting to believe can make you weary, and faith is hard to hold. 

But we are given moments of reprieve. Easter comes around and the pews are full of every-Sunday sinners and once-in-a-blue-moon saints. The ice melts. The daffodils glow like little suns. We remember the earth-shaking fact of the resurrection of Jesus, and hope comes galloping in from the east, trumpeting the tune of victory.

~ Andrew Peterson ~

Read the rest, and listen to an achingly lovely song, here:
Easter Song of the Day: "Risen Indeed"

He is risen!