Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

The Rabbit Room is a site that I have visited several times over the last few years but have not been a regular reader, but today I found something special linked there. A delight, to be sure. Without further ado...

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore from Moonbot Studios on Vimeo.

David McCullough

This is the first of a four-part series on author and historian David McCullough whose books I am familiar with but have not read. I devoured these video clips and sighed when the end came. The old fashioned word that has come to mind is enchanting. His life story told by himself and at times, his wife, is engaging and yes, enchanting. This short biographic HBO movie is included on the John Adams dvd listed on Amazon, so it can be enjoyed apart from the YouTube clips. I highly recommend that you take the time to watch all four parts and I hope that you find it as enriching and enchanting as I did.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bonhoeffer biographies

Last week, I posted a quote from the Wikipedia entry on Dietrich Bonhoeffer that made my head swim and my heart swell as I was reading it. My renewed interest in Bonhoeffer came from his Letters and Papers from Prison that I had been browsing the night before just as I was ready to go to bed. It contains some very memorable and striking thoughts. This one I have found quite insightful:

As we were all lying in the floor yesterday[during a airstrike], someone muttered "O God, O God"--he is normally a frivolous sort of chap--but I couldn't bring myself to offer him any Christian encouragement or comfort. All I did was to glance at my watch and say: "It won't last any more than ten minutes now." There was nothing premeditated about it; it came quite automatically, though perhaps I had a feeling that it was wrong to force religion down his throat just then. Incidentally, Jesus himself did not try to convert the two thieves on the cross; one of them turned to him.

There are two biographies of Dietrich Bonhoeffer that have caught my eye. This is the more recent one which seems to be on everyone's current reading list:

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

And this one which is written by Bonhoeffer's good friend and colleague, Eberhard Bethge, who is also the editor of the Letters and Papers from Prison.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Biography

the Piano Guys

Sometime last year, this video was my first introduction into these guys. I have since watched other videos they have made, but this is still one of my favorites.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

renewing the heavens and the earth

Last May, I posted a link to this post by Tullian Tchividjian but this weekend I have been re-visiting the ideas presented there.

There are many people who believe that God will destroy this present world—all of it—and start over, creating a new world from scratch. As I’ve talked to people who believe this, most base their conclusion on 2 Peter 3, where the apostle Peter says, “The heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly” (verse 7). He goes on to say, “The earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed” (verse 10).

In the King James Version this verse reads, “The earth . . . and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” The same “burned up” phrase appears in some modern English versions rooted in the King James tradition. New Testament scholar Thomas Schreiner points out that, indeed, “some Greek manuscripts have this wording (Greek kataka setai),” but that “the earliest and most reliable manuscripts” have a different Greek phrase, heureth setai, carrying the idea of being “found” or “found out.” This is what’s represented in other English versions, such as these examples:

• “The earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” (ESV)

• “The earth and everything in it will be laid bare.” (NIV)

These translations indicate, not the obliteration of the earth, but rather a type of purging. Notice, too, that the earthly destruction mentioned in 2 Peter 3:6 (from the flood in Noah’s day) is cleansing rather than annihilating.

I commend to you to the full reading of that article.
He must remain in heaven until the times comes for God to restore everything as He promised long ago through His holy prophets. Acts 3:21

Friday, January 27, 2012

the beginning of life

This is the end- for me the beginning of life.

~Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one week before his execution*.

A most important thought to think upon and remember: dying is just the beginning of real life for God's people.

The life to come will be filled with joy, contentment and purpose unmarred by sin. All our work will be done completely and wholly in perfection and enjoyment. That is living, not this surviving, which by comparison, seems to be what we do now.
May my life now, this existence be like a lighthouse beam, designed to keep the light burning so that others will see the way of the Real and True Life to come.
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that Your Son may glorify You.
For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him. Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.
John 17:1-3

*This may have been a quote from the day before he was executed as sources seem to vary on the timing.

a worthy goal

Sally Clarkson from Accomplished, Intentional, Exceptional Women Feed the Souls of Others

Of course one of the attributes that has arisen from studying and interviewing these women, is that all of them are great readers. They have invested many hours in engaging their minds in scripture, with great thinkers, biographies and when I talk to them, I know I will be stimulated to greater thoughts and ideas because what is in their soul is worthy for me to come into contact with. A woman cannot give out greatness of mind if she has not invested her mind in great thoughts.

Now I am not talking about formal education. As a matter of fact, I learned so little of what I know from college, or public school. Most of what I know has been in my own personal pursuit, my own hunger to know as well as my desire to pass on great thoughts and ideas to my children. Being accountable to them, being a steward of their minds and thoughts has created an environment of learning for me. Any child who has a mother who loves to learn, will be blessed.

All women who are made in God’s image, and who want to pursue excellence of mind, must intentionally cultivate their ability to think, to understand theology (the knowledge of God), and to follow paths of wisdom. Great women think well and pursue the virtue of a mind that can suitably worship God by its great thoughts.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I've had some discouraging times in the last few weeks that collectively have weighed down my spirit and caused me to want to draw back into that which is comforting and known, which for me is my home, my routines, and my reading.
The light brings its glow to whatever it reaches; may my life be lived in His light, the light of His Word.
Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
~Ps. 115:105

Friday, January 20, 2012


I enjoyed this classic story but did feel a little like the last few chapters were sped up in order to bring the inevitable ending together. But I certainly don't hold that against this wonderful story of an innocent and thankful little girl-soul bringing joy to those around her. Pollyanna learned gratitude from her father, a poor missionary pastor who clearly spent time nurturing his daughter's character and leading by example.
She ends up with a distant aunt who sees her care of Pollyanna as a duty not to be neglected but certainly not to be enjoyed. Transformation comes through Pollyanna's innocent acts of kindness and love but at a certain cost even unknown to her.
Pollyanna Grows Up tells the rest of her story and is next in line for me to read.

nursing days

The littlest of my patients:

Double eye infection from her sister and a terrible cough from her brother and sister.
Don't tell her I'm plotting to get rid of her soother soon; I'm long overdue. We'll save that news for a healthier day.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Phoenix and the Carpet

Any book that starts off with a scene of four British siblings deciding to test their small supply of Guy Fawkes fireworks so that they are not shamed in front of their neighborhood peers with fizzled fireworks should tell you what kind of story you are about to read.
It will be the kind of story written long before children's play was all about safety and security. Of course, being a mother myself, I can understand that children need to be kept safe but if the resurgence in the popularity of books like The Dangerous Book for Boys and The Daring Book for Girls says anything, than maybe we have gone too far in protecting children from adventure.
That said, once the magic carpet and the phoenix show up, the story becomes one hair-raising adventure after another and even the children recognize at some point that perhaps a break in their magic-carpeting sprees would be in order.
This book is a sequel to the Five Children and It and as I have not read that yet, I can imagine that that story prepares you for the hazards present in this story.
As is the case of any British story, I find myself longing for tea cakes and seaside holidays, shillings and drawing room fires.
Railway Children is still my favorite Nesbit novel, but I could be convinced to read this again with little difficulty.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

By faith...

I am crafting Bible story reminders for next Sunday's review lesson. These are for the Call of Abraham which we studied before the Christmas break.
I got the idea from Hebrews 11:8,9:
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.

Every five lessons or so I try to make a take-home lesson kit which consists of small, easily stored reminders of each OT lesson studied in previous weeks. I forgot to take pictures of the first review kit so I will do it for this one. The items need to be simple for two-four year olds to understand and be able to be stored flat in a folder without being ruined.
I think the story of Noah will be a pipecleaner rainbow, but I'm stalled on the Tower of Babel. I was thinking something with popsicle sticks but no inspiration has come yet. Meanwhile I still have at least five more tents to make. And what would be tents without camels? Hmmm...

Saturday, January 14, 2012


In my previous post, I ended by commending obedience to the complete Law of the Lord just as Jesus fully sought(and did)to obey it. And since I was raised to disregard the laws in the old covenant in favor of the new covenant, I now find myself unaware of how to correctly understand and obey all of God's commands.
Thankfully men like John Calvin and others have given themselves to the study of God's law and have written books and commentaries for us to read and discover its intended meaning. My responsibility is to avail myself of these studies and grow in understanding, the very thing I am excited to do.

Here are a few links to get you started thinking about this issue if you are new to this study.

What is General Equity
The general equity advocates the idea that the husk of the Old Testament civil law is discarded but the kernel of the matter remains. So, in the classic example, the requirement of fences being built around roof tops in the OT finds the husk of the requirement expired while the kernel of protecting your neighbor remains in a law, for example, that insists on building a fence around your pool.

A Conversation on the Law
The proper analogy is our own Constitution. There is the Constitution proper and then there is the case law that exemplifies what the Constitution means in concrete situations.

honor upon the Scripture

I was reading a chapter to Seth this past week from the Genesis volume of Nancy Ganz's Herein is Love series(highly recommended here) in which she is writing about Eve's temptation. And by way of contrast, she loosely quoted from Matthew 4:4 of Jesus' own temptation encounter with Satan.
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

And for the first time, it occurred to me that Jesus made it very clear in his quotation of the Mosaic Law(Deut. 8:3) that He intended to obey that Law and His example is for our imitation.
By every word not only implies the Old Testament and the Law contained therein, but at the time of Jesus' words, that was the only written Word of God that had been given thus far. So instead of denying it was no longer applicable now that the New Covenant was being inaugurated, Jesus reinforced the biblical position of the Law of God as the eternal Word of God, necessary to resisting the lure of sin. (Is. 40:8)

Matthew Henry writes it more clearly:
He answered and said, It is written. This is observable, that Christ answered and baffled all the temptations of Satan with, It is written. He is himself the eternal Word, and could have produced the mind of God without having recourse to the writings of Moses; but he put honour upon the scripture, and, to set us an example, he appealed to what was written in the law; and he says this to Satan, taking it for granted that he knew well enough what was written.

Later Paul also, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gives honor upon the Scripture by writing in 2 Timothy 3 encouragement to Timothy with these words:
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Not only does he tell Timothy that the childhood training in the Law of God and the rest of the holy old covenant Scriptures is able to make you wise for salvation, but he reiterates the usefulness of all Scripture(including the OT) in equipping completely God's people to do His good works.

If you have been taught like I once was, to set aside the commands of the Old Testament in favor of the New, I encourage you to follow Christ's example set out for us and see it as the life-giving eternal Word of God equipping you to serve faithfully and wisely in the kingdom of God.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Joy of Cooking, revised edition

Yesterday, Seth wandered into the kitchen where I was busy working(very hard, I'm sure) and I heard him read, "The Joke of Cooking". As I encouraged him to re-read the cover, I chuckled to myself, "Some days, that is exactly what it feels like.

excellent history on dvd

Last fall, as we began to study The Middle Ages, I wondered if there were any dvds that would help Seth remember the Ancient History civilizations that we had studied in previous months. I wanted something from a Christian worldview but also with good quality historical content.
And...I found something that is even better than what I had hoped to find.
Drumroll, please!

Drive Thru History with Dave Stotts by Coldwater Media

I bought the extended version of Ancient History which covers Greece, Rome, Asia Minor and Turkey. It is so very good, I cannot recommend it enough. The intertwining of biblical accounts with other historical accounts is seamless and genuine. Shane and I like to watch it as well and makes for great family viewing and discussion.

You can watch previews on their website to give you a taste of how the material is presented. We love it! (Is that too much excitement?) Well, we do. :) Go see.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

needed words

Sally Clarkson on We All Sin and Fall Short
We all want God to be patient when it comes to our own lives, but we are quick to point fingers of judgment at others as though their fragility and flaws are somehow worse than ours.
The older I get, the more I give grace and have compassion because I see my own selfish, sinful heart more clearly and so am more grateful for God’s grace than ever before. Seeing your own self in the light of God’s holiness humbles you.

Ann Voskamp on Because Saying Thank-You Can Change the World
And on a hot day in Guatemala City in September 2010, Pastor Saul finds words in the waters, the wet eyes seeking… “I do all this because he who has been loved much… serves much.”

Saturday, January 07, 2012

a very eloquent snowman

Once there was a snowman
Stood outside the door
Thought he'd like to come inside
And run around the floor;
Thought he'd like to warm himself
By the firelight red;
Thought he'd like to climb up
On that big white bed.

So he called the North Wind,
"Help me now, I pray.
I'm completely frozen, standing here all day."
So the North Wind came along
And blew him in the door
And now there's nothing left of him
But a puddle on the floor!


A certain someone has been waiting weeks for the snow to be "packy" to make such a man.

And if you don't own this movie, you need to! :)

The English Air

I think I found this lovely older British novel on the front lawn of someone's yard sale late last summer. I had recognized the Scottish author, D.E. Stevenson from Lanier's lovely summer post. (Btw, her site is one of the most beautiful places on the web. If you want to learn how to cultivate beauty, go, read and do likewise. smile.)

I started to read The English Air on Sunday, New Year's Day afternoon and read it at every chance until I was done sometime on Tuesday. It was written in 1940 and it takes place starting one year before that which was, of course the official beginning of World War 2. I checked the publisher's date after I finished the book and I was struck by how insightful her writing seemed since the war had only just begun. The novel is about a half-German, half-English young man who comes to England to visit family friends of his deceased English mother. And without sounding too cliche, nothing is what it really seems. The characters come across very shallow and trivial, but as the story progresses, they are given depth and interest. I have not read a novel in a long time that held my attention and captured my thoughts even after I was finished reading it. It was a great way to start my new reading year.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Epiphany 2012

As I wrote earlier this week, I am planning on celebrating the liturgical calendar with my family this year and hopefully in the years to come. I also wrote about the reading I had done leading up to this plan. So with Epiphany looming, I struggled to find some inspiration in the execution department. What do Protestant families do to celebrate this occasion? After dismissing various craft activities and king cake ideas that do not suit us, I wasn't left with much other than singing. What follows are some blurry photos that show our first family celebration of Epiphany.
Lots of candelight and fancy table settings were easy to do. Decorating with the wise men adoring King Jesus and some tangible representations of their gifts seemed in order. (The homemade gifts perhaps need some tweaking, but it was what I had on hand this week to work with. Golden wrapped box, glittery cologne bottle, and a sachet filled with incense items of orange, cinnamon and cloves.) We dressed up a bit for our celebratory feast and dined on chicken, rice pilaf and almond green beans which was simply an easy and popular meal for our family. Shane had to miss as he had already committed to another activity with his brother.
We took turns reading the portion from Matthew 2 and then sang We Three Kings and As With Gladness Men Of Old. I have copied the hymns and attached them to fancy cardstock to use in future years. Then Seth requested that we sing Psalm 103D which was a great addition to our celebration. We talked about the importance of the Magi being Gentiles and how God would bless the nations through Jesus Christ, a promise He had made to Abraham. Seth closed us with a prayer and we tried to get a photo of the four of us before the evening turned into clean-up, pajamas and bedtime routines.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

singing and worship

I've posted about Psalm singing before and how nice it is to sing the words of God, especially together with other believers. Here are two more articles in praise of singing the Psalms.

Psalm Singing by Douglas Wilson. In the comments of the post are links to some videos of his church singing. Turn the volume way up and enjoy the sounds.
While we sing other hymns as well, we do want our dedication to psalms to be overt and evident. Psalms provide the backbone of our musical worship. Why is this?

Psalm Singing by Bret McAtee
The troops that carried those Psalms with them into battle were men who had been so shaped by the Psalms that it was natural for them to carry those songs with them as they were wading into a conflict that could very well find them meeting their Creator and Redeemer. What better way to meet God then to be fighting His battles singing His songs?

Just to be clear, neither of these two pastors and their respective churches sing the Psalms exclusively, but they see the value in singing them regularly.

And although this isn't about singing the Psalms, this clip does discuss other elements of a Sunday service. Also a good example of why the Lord's Supper can be celebrated once a week! Good thoughts all around. (btw, this is Pastor Doug Wilson answering questions, in case you're not familiar with him!)

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

jumbled together

Although not a homeschooling blog I read regularly, but this post did capture my mind today as I read through it. I was impressed with the wide variety of knowledge that is being read and discussed in that household. Knowledge that comes first from having a fear of the Lord and all His creation and works. To take time to be thinking and talking about all these things without school getting in the way. That seems to be true learning.
Read the post here: Can You Guess?

In other news, here is some snow footage taken over the last two weeks. Laura loves being out in the snow. She has cried at least two times over being brought in after extended play times in the snow.
And yes, the pathway in front of our house is currently the only part which is not a sheet of ice, all due to Shane's fastidious shoveling efforts every time it snowed or pelted ice. It has been hairy watching our neighbors traverse this icy path. It is currently snowing, so the ice is now hidden under fresh flakes. It's horrible, really. How it will be resolved is yet to be determined.

celebrating redemptive history

My ideas and inspiration for beginning to celebrate the liturgical calendar this year and onward all started with this post Sacred Times and Seasons linked by Brandy at Afterthoughts.

I read and read and read some more. (And as a small aside, all of the following authors are writing from a Protestant perspective.)

Halfway through the article, I came into these paragraphs:
Advent, the season we are celebrating now, reminds us that our forefathers waited in faith for the promised Messiah, even as we are now waiting for Christ’s second coming. Advent culminates in the season of Christmas, which celebrates the incarnation, that great event in which God became man. After Christmas comes the season of Epiphany, which recalls the coming of the Magi and the revelation of Christ to the Gentiles. During Lent the church remembers Christ’s sufferings, both in the wilderness and finally on the cross. Lent culminates in Easter when Christ rises from the dead, defeating death once and for all. Finally, Pentecost remembers the coming of the Holy Spirit, recalls the way that the new covenant fulfills the law and, with Epiphany, it celebrates the coming of the Gentiles into covenant relationship with Israel’s God.

These holidays, each of which is rich with Biblical symbolism, remain a tangible way for Christians to live through the story of redemption every year. Sadly, however, the rhythm of the church year is unfamiliar to many American Protestants, who think of Easter as a single day rather than as a season, who assume that Christmas ends rather than begins on December 25, who consider Lent to be ‘something that Catholics do’ and may not have even heard of Epiphany. As for Pentecost, the holiday often brings to mind little more than speaking in tongues.

And it was this sentence that made me come fully awake:
These holidays, each of which is rich with Biblical symbolism, remain a tangible way for Christians to live through the story of redemption every year.

That is how I want to spend my years on this earth, living through the story of redemption every year.

And then there was Part 2.

Because human beings are inescapably liturgical and religious, we invariably organize the year into rhythmic structures that reflect our priorities. As I pointed out in my blog post Church Calendar if our priorities are not the great feasts of the church, then by default our year will probably end up being structured around secular holidays that tell the story of political redemption or else holidays that pay homage to the god of hedonism, such as vacation time. The issue is not that we have civic landmarks or vacation time: the problem arises when these become the fundamental structuring devices by which we order time.

By getting rid of the church year and all Christian holidays, the Puritans and their descendants left a vacuum that would ultimately has been filled by the non-religious ordering of time. Such non-religious ordering has helped to reinforce the idea that there exists a secular world that functions separately from spiritual categories. By rejecting the church year as one legitimate way to tell the story of redemption, the Puritans and their descendants inadvertently underscored the sense of religion being disembodied, detached from the space-time continuum. This would ultimately reinforce a duality in North American culture that emerged under the Puritan’s canopy, including a false dichotomy between the sacred and the secular. Moreover, the vacuum created by the evacuation of the church year would eventually be filled with the type of civil religion described by Amy Sullivan. This can be felt strongest in those American holidays that celebrate civic regeneration, integrating Americans around the liturgies of their common political life.

The author goes on to say:
The secular imagination tends to view history on an axis of what Walter Benjamin called “empty and homogeneous time”, a linear and uniform sequence of cause and effect, measurable by the clock and calendar. By contrast, the story that the church has historically told through its six seasons, like the story the Hebrews told through the Old Testament feasts, understands time in the present through its proximity with events that are typologically significant within the Divine Plan. Such proximity operated on what we might call a different axis to that of ‘ordinary time’ (though to call it ‘ordinary’ is already to reveal our modern presuppositions), one closer to eternity.

He concludes with this historically optimistic view of the world:

It is a way to proclaim that the purely secular ordering of events is being swallowed up by the church’s higher understanding of time, even as the kingdoms of the earth are being swallowed up by the kingdom of the Christ-child (Revelation 11:15).

And then this from another writer who says:
I love how the church calendar gives us seasons of celebration and repentance, seasons of special days and regular days. It is cyclical just as the seasons are and gives a balance to our lives. If we follow the calendar we walk through the life of Jesus and the church on a yearly basis... Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Ordinary Time, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, Ordinary Time, and so on and so on.

My researching also found this helpful article entitled Calendar Memories where the writer explains more about Ordinary Time.

I like comparing the Church Calendar to a wheel, with Christ as the hub. Christmas is the first of several celebrations of the Christian life that are in the circle of the Church Year. In many churches, once Epiphany is passed, the church calendar moves into a segment of days entitled Ordinary Time for the rest of January and February. In almost all churches that celebrate the church year, the period after the Easter season is called Ordinary Time. The word ordinary here refers to ordinal, meaning number, rather than “mudane or common place.” This is because the Sundays and weeks in this time period are numbered. Even though the phrase Ordinary Time has this meaning, I have often reflected on the fact that this is the time when we focus on God working in our lives in wonderful ways in the ordinary days between the great Christian celebrations of the year: Easter and Christmas. Thus in a year, there is the increase of elation associated with the special days, and the calmness of “ordinary” days.

And finally this in my reading of Angels in the Architecture, Douglas Jones writes in Chapter 7, Worshiping With Body: Feasting on Food and Marriage
We so often lead lives forgetful of the fact that our God is very shocking. Admist all our fragile piety and devouring busyness, we have a Lord who steps in and commands us such things as,
Deuteronomy 14:22-26:
22. Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.
23. Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the LORD your God always.
24. But if that place is too distant and you have been blessed by the LORD your God and cannot carry your tithe (because the place where the LORD will choose to put his Name is so far away)
25. then exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place the LORD your God will choose.
26. Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice.
(note: I have included more verses for context. He just quoted the bolded verse.)
Such unthriftiness. Such waste. Such gluttony. Such winebibbing. Such is a command of our holy God.
For some reason foreign to our modern ears, God tells us that celebration is central to pleasing Him; it is central to leading a good life. Modern American life has no time for serious celebrations as did life in centuries past. We've got work to do; projects and deadlines press us. And yet for all our industrial-strength pragmatism, few if any truly important things get accomplished. We have forgotten that celebration isn't just an option; it's a call to full Christian living.
Celebration is worshiping God with our bodies, withe the material creation He has set up around us. Celebrating--whether in feasts, ceremonies, holidays, formal worship, or lovemaking--are all part of obeying God's command to :love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength"(Deut. 6:5, Mark 12:30). We are to show our love for God not just with one portion of our being(the spiritual aspect); we are to love God with our whole body, heart and strength and legs and lips.
Complaint is the flag of ingratitude, and it waves above the center of unbelieving hearts--"when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful" (Romans 1:21). Yet by grace, God's redemption and creation ought to keep us in a perpetual state of thanks which bursts out in celebration at every opportunity.

When we take time to remember and celebrate redemptive history, we are in a sense slipping into Eternity, God's time, a higher time, one where we will be remembering these acts forever.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

new year, new thoughts

(wonderful little calendar can be found here)

Happy New Year of our Lord, 2012!
Or as we have learned in Latin this year: Anno Domini 2012. (AD 2012)
In the Year of Our Lord.

We had a very relaxing Christmas holiday with my husband home from work until this morning. But since that routine cannot last forever, I am glad to be back into our normal weekday routine. I accomplished many household projects in the last week and rid ourselves of extra items that we no longer(ever?)needed. I moved books around and re-organized some shelves to better suit our needs. I have been studying and planning our history lessons as we continue to cover the Middle Ages this year.
And I have hired a math and science tutor for the rest of this year. He is known to our family...as Daddy! Yes, I asked Shane to teach Seth some lessons before he leaves for work each morning. Today was the first day and I am hoping this works out well for us as it lightens my load and allows me to focus on areas I felt were being a bit neglected. Shane is a math and science genius and I am not. I see my limitations very clearly. So here's hoping we can make this new schedule work.

For the first time ever, I am planning to celebrate the liturgical calendar beginning with Epiphany in our home this Friday, January the sixth.
I was struck by an article I was reading prior to Christmas and that has led me to do lots of online research and reading. I am working on putting all those links together in one post so you can see what I have been reading.

(Apparently one of the Magi was led off course by one of the well-meaning local urchins. I think he had a lovely time. )

At this point, I simply plan to mark Epiphany with a nice candlelit dinner and use the Magi from my nativity set to decorate the table. I do not want to give anymore gifts at this time, so I am trying to come up with something meaningful that will highlight this part of the Christmas story for us as a family. Friends gave my girls a little wooden chest that I am currently staining and lining with felt to make it seem regal and rich. I was mulling over making mini replicas of the gifts brought by the Magi, but I'm not sure what to do with them exactly, other than look at them together as a family. I admit that I am a bit at-sea, but I would like to start and learn as I go then forget about it all together.
We as Christians, have a very full and rich heritage of celebrating God's Redemptive work in history and I want to pass this celebration on to our children in a way that helps them see themselves as part of the whole Church, not just our local body.

I also want to do better at posting books that I read throughout this year as I barely wrote about titles I read in 2011 and besides, how else am I going to keep my mind from forgetting what is on all these shelves in our home?!

Lastly, I wanted to say that I am looking forward to writing here for another year, Lord willing and to say thank you for all the kind comments that all of you have sent over the past year and more. And since I often read online without commenting myself, I appreciate the effort those notes required. :)