Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 book reading list

For some reason, completely unknown to me, I have never bothered to keep track of what I have during any given year. Let this post be the year I change that habit. I have not included books that I have read in order to prepare our history lessons. I also don't remember all of the books I read from the library and I am too lazy to go track some of them down. I'm also too lazy to bother posting links to each title. But with one or two exceptions, the list is all titles I own and have worked my way through this year. This afternoon I moved most of these down to our basement shelves and moved all the unread titles up to our room so that I have tons of books to work through this coming year. I'm not ashamed to admit that many of them are fiction titles written for children. They are all wonderful stories and deserve to be read by anyone, with one notable exception being Mary Poppins, which I found quite surprisingly boring.


In the Company of Others: A Father Tim Novel by Jan Karon
The Complete Anne of Green Gables Series (8 titles) by L.M. Montgomery
Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott
Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott
Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer
The Apple and the Arrow by Mary and Conrad Buff
All Alone by Claire Huchet Bishop
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit
Hans Brinker by Mary Mapes Dodges
The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davies
Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (read aloud with my son)
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (read aloud with my son)
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
various Miss Read titles
Poetry for Young People: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow by Frances Schoonmaker


Predestination by Gordon Clark
Paeida of God by Douglas Wilson
To a Thousand Generations by Douglas Wilson
Heaven Misplaced by Douglas Wilson
The Forgotten Heavens by Douglas Wilson
Raising Real Men by Hal and Melanie Young
If I Perish by Esther Ahn Kim
Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic
The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson
The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education by Leigh Bortins
Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum by Laura Berquist
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? by "Uncle Eric" aka Richard Maybury
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
Sebastian Bach, The Boy from Thuringia by Opal Wheeler and Sybil Deucher

Almost Finished:

Son of Charlemagne by Barbara Willard
The Phoenix and the Carpet by E. Nesbit
Angels in the Architecture by Douglas Wilson
The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson

Books attempted but gave up(for now?):

Island of the World by Micahel O'Brien(library request)
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Passage to India by E.M. Forster
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Light

All quotes taken from Douglas Wilson's book, Heaven Misplaced, which I have mentioned before.

From the chapter What the Angels Said:

This vision of historical optimism* is not all that common in the Christian world, and so it can get pretty lonely sometimes. But fortunately, once a year the entire nation appears to come around to our way of thinking. You might be shopping in Target for last minute stocking stuffers and not be at all surprised to hear the loudspeakers reminding you that "He comes to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found." Think of this book as a small effort to get Christians to believe their Christmas carols year-round.

* historical optimism: the conviction that history will end in glorious victory and not catastrophe.
I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. (Revelation 22:16)

The sun rises slowly. At first, you don't know that anything has happened. It may be just as dark as it was a moment ago, but maybe not. And some time later, you notice that the eastern sky is not what it was. There is some kind of light there. The stars that were visible all night begin to disappear. Soon there is just one day left--the morning star, the planet Venus, the last indication day is coming. The next event is for the sun to actually rise, for the day to come. Christ was born at night, and His birth was the arrival of the morning star.
Note John's language again. Christ is the root and offspring of David, and He is the morning star. He is the one who was born at night, and His birth was the arrival of the morning star. It is important for us to allow Scriptures to tell us what time it is. If you did not already know, you could not tell the difference between a pre-dawn darkness and a twilight gloaming. Is the sun going down or coming up? The Bible tells us.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended(overcame)it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. John 1:4-9

We ought not to think that when men are converted, they each become a little lamp, and if enough of them get converted, they will be able to form a consortium and pool their lamps to try to make a sun. The vision of the coming noontime glory does not depend at all on us trying to get some momentum up. The sun has risen, and it will continue to do what rising suns do. Of course, individual response is important, but it is equally important to note what we are responding to. The sun has risen. Christ has come. He is the king. The light covers the world. A return to heathen midnight is an impossibility. Those who walk in darkness now are doing so in a world suffused with light.

Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.
1 John 2:8

The good news of "sunrise" does not mean that there is no such thing as spiritual darkness, or a final judgment on that darkness. But it does mean that the light overcomes the darkness (John 1:5)...Think again of Herod and the little boys he slaughtered. But think also about how ineffectual it was. Did he stop the morning star from rising? Did he stop the day from coming? In the same way, we must know that the message of Christmas is not that we have to persuade anybody of anything. The message is far more good news declaration than it is argumentation.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

another kind of birthday celebration

Growing up, our family had two December birthdays to celebrate before the Christmas celebrations officially came. My older sister Beth was first and then ten days later, my younger brother Tim had his turn. My mom has always been fastidious about keeping them separate from Christmas time. Making sure the gift wrap and desserts were birthday themed and that each one enjoyed their day as their own celebration. Although, since we have a December baby too, I know that it is special to remember a child born close to Christmas.

I have heard it said many times, in different ways at this time of year, that Jesus was born to die. But really, that's true of every person that God has ever given life to, from the unborn to the aged. We are all created to die, that's part of the Fall. But Jesus was born, not to just die, but to give His life as a ransom for many(Matthew 20:28), which no other person can say about their own death. His birth was not just the beginning of His life on earth, but the actualization of God's plan to give life to His people chosen before the foundation of the world.(Ephesians 1:4)

It is against this backdrop of life-giving celebration -- Christmas, that our friends and family remember the life of my brother Tim as we come to his birthday yet another year. With a full heart...

*Adding a link entitled Death at Christmas which helps put grief in perspective especially during this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

by His own Hand

Kate's next attempts at walking! Isn't He so good to us?!

confident prayer

Some context:
My ambitious, confident prayer back in January was for Kate to walk by the end of this year.

The current situation:
I have no video proof so you'll just have to take my word for it, but with less than eleven days to go in this current year, Kate, yesterday evening, spontaneously took TWO steps unaided by anything.

Technically, my prayer has been answered, although even more technically-speaking, our prayers are always answered, right?

Still I keep praying because I know no other Way. If you know Him, would you please continue to lift her up in prayer, especially in this area, but also for better chewing and eating skills. It means so much to know that God's people remember her and us.

As I was sitting here getting ready to hit publish and I look up and Kate is taking more steps! I have proof!

By His own Hand

the Judge of the whole earth

Unbelievers can smell accommodation, and when someone like Christopher meets someone who actually believes all the articles in the Creed, including that part about Jesus coming back from the dead, it delights him. Here is someone actually willing to defend what is being attacked.

Earlier this year, our pastor asked us to pray for two Muslim physicians who he was meeting with regularly to discuss Christianity. He explained that one of them had actually thanked him for speaking truthfully when he asked our pastor if he, a practicing Muslim, would be punished in hell for not believing in Jesus Christ. The Muslim doctor said that he knows that the Bible teaches that unbelievers will go to hell and that he knew he could trust our pastor because he affirmed that teaching. It was strangely heartwarming to know that a Muslim was encouraged by our pastor's willingness to tell him the truth of his condition outside of Christ.

Many others have linked to the post by Douglas Wilson so you probably have already read it, but in case you have not, please take the time. I confess that I finished the last two lines with a lump in my throat.

Christopher Hitchens Has Died, Doug Wilson Reflects

*You can read Doug Wilson regularly at his own site Blog and Mablog
**Only in God's kingdom can a converted Jew(our pastor)be speaking about the truthfulness of Christianity to two Muslim men. :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

our girl

Happy 4th Birthday, Kate! You are a joy to us. We love you little girl!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

poems for the season

I Heard a Bird Sing

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember:
"We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,"
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

~Oliver Herford

Long, Long Ago

Winds through the olive trees
Softly did blow,
Round little Bethlehem
Long, long ago.

Sheep on a hillside lay
Whiter than snow;
Shepherds were watching them,
Long, long ago.

Then from the happy sky,
Angels bent low
Singing their songs of joy,
Long, long ago.

For in a manger bed
Cradled we know,
Christ came to Bethlehem,
Long, long ago.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

a magi and two sheep

One of the magi waiting for the play to start.

Two sheep posing with their Daddy.

A little sheep before she threw her ears on the floor.

Retrieving said ears from the stage floor.

Little sister sheep discovers big brother magi.

Big sister sheep waits for little sister sheep to come back to the manger scene.

The three magi bearing gifts, although one looks more like a UPS package. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Friday, December 09, 2011

What the Face Tells

What the Face Tells from Music Talks With Children by Thomas Trapper

"And the light dwelleth with him." Daniel II:22.

Once a master said to a child:

"If thou wilt study diligently, learn, and do good unto others, thy
face shall be filled with light."

So the child studied busily, learned, and sought how she could do good
unto others. And every little while she ran to the glass to see if the
light was coming. But at each time she was disappointed. No light was
there. Try as faithfully as she would, and look as often as she would,
it was always the same.

I do not know if she doubted the master or not; but it is certain she
did not know what to make of it. She grieved, and day after day her
disappointment grew. At length she could bear it no longer, so she
went to the master and said:

"Dear master, I have been so diligent! I have tried to learn and to do
good unto others. Yet every time I have sought in my face the light
which you promised, it has not been there. No, not a single time."

Now the master listened intently, and watching her face as she spoke,
he said:

"Thou poor little one, in this moment, as thou hast spoken to me, thy
face has been so filled with light that thou wouldst not believe. And
dost thou know why? It is because every word thou hast spoken in this
moment has come from thy heart.

"Thou must learn in the first days this lesson: When the thought and
the deed are in the heart, then the light is in the face, always, and
it is there at no other time. It could not be. And what is in thy
heart when thou art before the glass? In that moment hast thou turned
away from diligence, and from learning, and from the love of doing
good unto others and in thy heart there is left only the poor
curiosity to see the light which can never shine when it is sought.
Thou canst never see the light of thy own face. For thee that light is
forever within, and it will not prosper thy way to want to look upon
it. It is only as thou art faithful that this is added unto thee."

Sorrowing yet more than before the little child said:

"Master, I do not understand what thou hast said, yet I believe thee;
but the wish is yet within me to see the light of my face, if only for
once. Thou who art wise, tell me why it is denied me."

And the master made answer:

"It is denied to us all. No one may see the light of his own face.
Therefore thou shalt labor daily with diligence that thy light shall
shine before others. And if thou wouldst see the light thou shalt
cause it to shine in another. That is the greatest of all--to bring
forth the light. And to do this, thou shalt of thyself be faithful in
all things. By what thou art thou must show diligence, the love for
learning, and the desire to do good unto others, even as these things
have been taught thee."

*My note:
The verse quoted above is found in the full prayer of Daniel:
Then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said:

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are His.
He changes times and seasons;
He deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
He knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with Him.
I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
You have given me wisdom and power,
You have made known to me what we asked of you,
You have made known to us the dream of the king.”
~ Daniel 2:19-23

Tuesday, December 06, 2011