Saturday, January 30, 2010

Five Cities That Ruled the World

Thomas Nelson Publishing

In picking out books from Thomas
Nelson Publishers to review, I saw
this one and loved its cover. In the
homeschool world, the author is
well know. Douglas Wilson's ( check
out his son N.D. Wilson's new
children's fiction) book is an excellent
historical overview of each city's legacy.
Here is in one reading why the cities are
loved. That love flows out into culture as
we think of " Sidewalks of New York"
or Shelley's "Ozymandius" ( which my
literature students memorize) or " London
Bridge is Falling Down." History is linear.
It is going somewhere. Wilson quotes David
Hegeman : " Culturative history is God's unfolding
purpose for man, in which mankind plays
a chief role in the development of the earth from
garden-paradise to the glorious city of God."

I would use this book as I have with
"How Should We Then Live" by Francis
Schaeffer for a worldview and historical
learning tool. I loved the maps and the cover.
That is important to me for a book to feel
good and have aesthetic qualities.
George Grant put this book on his
10 Best of Non-Fiction in 2009.
I would definitely recommend this to the
traveller: Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London,
and New York.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Snow forecast does reschedule

Thankfully I can go on this
third time of scheduling
Lauren Winner. It is now
a few Saturdays from today.

"The inflections of community are important because they get at the very meanings of marriage. Marriage is a gift God gives the church. He does not simply give it to the married people of the church, but to the whole church, just as marriage is designed not only for the benefit of the married couple. It is designed to tell a story to the entire church, a story about God’s own love and fidelity to us"
Lauren Winner

How to Forecast the Weather

Another farmer poet ( the other
one being Wendell Berry), Ted
Kooser, recent US Poet Laureate
has written a poem about
forecasting the weather. I thought
of this poem as I wrote the next
blog about waiting on the weather.
Listen here to him reading.
You know how special it is to
hear a poet read their own work.
Imagine hearing Shakespeare
or Donne or Keats reading theirs.
Imagine that beauty. Use it in
Nature Notebooks or copy books
if you homeschool.

From Ted:
There's a lot of folklore about the weather. I made this poem out of snatches of folklore that I've picked up over the years.


Rain always follow the cattle
sniffing the air and huddling
in fields with their heads to the lee.
You will know that the weather is changing
when your sheep leave the pasture
too slowly, and your dogs lie about
and look tired; when the cat
turns her back to the fire,
washing her face, and the pigs
wallow in litter; cocks will be crowing
at unusual hours, flapping their wings;
hens will chant; when your ducks
and your geese are too noisy,
and the pigeons are washing themselves;
when the peacocks squall loudly
from the tops of the trees,
when the guinea fowl grates;
when sparrows chip loudly
and fuss in the roadway, and when swallows
fly low, skimming the earth;
when the carrion crow
croaks to himself, and wild fowl
dip and wash, and when moles
throw up hills with great fervor;
when toads creep out in numbers;
when frogs croak; when bats
enter the houses; when birds
begin to seek shelter,
and the robin approaches your house;
when the swan flies at the wind,
and your bees leave the hive;
when ants carry their eggs to and fro,
and flies bite, and the earthworm
is seen on the surface of things.

Waiting on the weather

Scripture says to

Psalm 27:4
Wait on the Lord.
Be strong and let
your heart take
courage. Yes,
wait for the Lord.

Maybe in the waiting
is the faith that we all need to see God.
Ann Voscamp talks about that faith today.

Lauren Winner teache sat Duke University.
That is not far away from here. She
was sick the first Saturday she was to come to teach
a Writer's Workshop. Will the Lord again have
it moved to another Saturday? Wait for the Lord
this Psalm of King David says.

NOW on day before the postponed date:
snow in the forecast. Real

Funny her other book: Real Sex : The Truth
of Chastity has that word in it too: Real.
It is what faith helps us to live, real lives.
So waiting to see with the sun peeking
through clouds, if she will come for
tomorrow's workshop.
Excellent memoir , by the way.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This is where I was this morning

Breakfast ( not) at Tiffany's

(blue sweater in the back of one of the photos)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thanks for Julia!

We celebrated
back in May
with Brad
at his graduation.
Last night we celebrated
his first day at the
Police Academy.
I think my husband is jealous of the
adventure that is in store for this son.
Quite a rigorous training in the next months.

Then we celebrated last night with Tournedos
Saute aux Champignons ( Steak with mushrooms
and wine ). ...Yes, Julia Child. Yes, excellent.
As I got to the meat section on my day of
Gratitude , I was so thankful to find the
steaks marked down. We made brussels sprouts,
Emma's mashed potatoes and ice cream.
All were too stuffed to have dessert. That
is a good sign of a good dinner with these
guys well over 6 feet ......and thanks to

Bon Appetit!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mulititude Monday

Queen Victoria and Prince

On Friday, there seemed to be a presence of
beauty as we ate a bowl of soup at the Habitat
Store. There among the rows of books was a
Kings and Queens book of England. That was
God's doing for my friend. For me, there was
a hardback of "Girl Meets God" by Lauren
Winner. I'm going to a Writer's Workshop she
is teaching at our church this Saturday . I had
a pile of paperbacks for my daughter-in-law's
classroom. 8th grade English class. Good ones
that are Newberry and Caldicott winners ,
even a Jane Austen.

Then to top it off, I told the cashier that I was
going to hear this author as I pointed to
"Girl Meets God." Well, to my surprise and
delight to a perfect stranger, she said, " I
am too! A friend had her at Duke and another
friend teaches at Covenant Day School."
Now, isn't that amazing. Who could not
believe when such things happen as we go
along our days. I have a story for Lauren too,
about the book!

I am full of gratitude, full of praise for the Lord
giving beauty in the details. Total grace.
I did nothing but see His hand in his good gifts
that He gives. Then to the stunning movie
"Young Victoria" .....and the strengthening of
what beauty brings to the soul.

Today, also, is the start of the Police Academy
by our second son. Lots of prayer for this day.
To this we are thankful. To this we will celebrate
tonight. Maybe a Julia Child!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Young Victoria

I've spent two afternoons being swept away
by this romance: Queen Victoria and Prince

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Almost 70 Degrees

She had
on today
jeans rolled up
and a tshirt
maybe toe nails
need to be painted!

Emma's foot last September.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Last two Evenings by Spurgeon
have been on opening Scripture
in understanding.

He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”

Luke 24:27

What did Jesus say to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus?

The Lord Jesus condescended to become a preacher of the gospel, and he was not ashamed to exercise his calling before an audience of two persons, neither does he now refuse to become the teacher of even one.

I had not thought that NOW in His glorified state, he is not
a preacher of the Gospel.

The favoured pair were led to consider the best of subjects, for Jesus spake of Jesus, and expounded the things concerning himself.

Wouldn't we all like to know?!


“Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures.

Luke 24:45

but the Lord alone can prepare the mind to receive the Scriptures.
but he instructs the heart.
but he imparts an inward taste for the truth.
the Lord Jesus by his Holy Spirit unfolds the mysteries of the kingdom .

Monday, January 18, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Quite warm today, this
Gratitude Monday, so here

I'm thankful for time to do a
bit of Spring cleaning in
January and to hang out
a load of laundry. That reminds
me of Quotidian Mysteries by
Kathleen Norris.

I'm thankful for singing. I can
hear my daughter singing upstairs.
Another son sings in the shower.
He's not here as I write this.

I'm thankful for Stone Crossing,
the book of L.L. Barkat.
Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden what Ann Voscamp
wrote of the book. I started reading
it again , out loud to my husband!

I'm thankful for a full house.
My nephew is here for about 3
months while in an internship.
I'm having fun planning meals!

And you? What are you full of
gratitude for in your life?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Stone Crossings

My giveaway book came from
L.L. Barkat
( The Soul Tells A Story
by Vinita Hampton Wright)

and Laura's book: Stone Crossings:
Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden
Places arrived ON the same day
in the mail from two different places. Hmmm.......
one of those exact timing things of
God. Something to perk up my ears
like Oreo does when something
rustles. I started her book last night
and just couldn't keep my eyes open
as it was late. This morning,
I awoke to read another
chapter. Her story brings beauty to
an abusive childhood and I felt like I
was in an ethereal bath of light by
her words. I love those times when
I gaze on Christ's beauty ..what King
David asked of the Lord in Psalm 27.

4. One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thinking about Joy

It is almost the end of the week and
here today I connected some thoughts
about the Lord. He is yearning to pour
His joy upon us. Joy that is mingled with
grace and love. So in prayer , we are to
expect Him to love us deeply in the answer.
Within that answer is a deep view of the
Gospel covering all of life, never wasting
anything and always screaming as though
the stones would cry out
They will.

Luke 19:37-40

37As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, 38shouting:
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples."

40But Jesus answered, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Midweek Gratitude

This is Wednesday and I have
not forgotten about Gratitude
Monday. It is just that Monday was
an amazing answer to prayer.
We have prayed alot.
Alot for one son who continues to
drown in long work weeks,
CPA exam to pass
and is newly married.

God doesn't waste anything. He
is able to bring together someone
you knew to help you years later.
That is what happened as our son
had lunch with a coworker who was
a dad of a fellow basketball player
in high school. Lunch with someone
pretty high up in the Accounting firm
he works for. He didn't know that
this son had hit a wall on Sunday but
God knew last week when the lunch
had been set . I do remember last week
my son asking me if I remembered
this family at basketball games and that he was
so and so at his employer.
That was 8 years ago, so this old
brain had to think!
Lunch with someone God sent
to say "It is all about Christ,
all about relationships." This and more
is what happened as God answered that
prayer to send someone to help.
The words my son heard finally helped
his longing to see believers in corporate
America walk the talk:
I have a mentor now . One
who is Christian.

And do you know what? This man is going
to check back to see if my son is doing
what he told him to do: like say Proverbs
3:5-6 everyday plus some other things.
Here it is for this day:

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

I am full of gratitude with tears.

Monday, January 11, 2010

From one of Lauren Winner's books

Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity  -              By: Lauren F. Winner

I have extra time to finish
this book which is excellent.
A quote right where I am in
the book at this very moment:

"The choices we make every day--
where we shop, what we do with
our bodies, how we pass our time--
form us. They shape the type of
Christian we become.
What we do matters--not because
good behavior gets us into heaven,
but because behavior , good and bad,
creates certain expectations in us,
teaches us certain lessons. This is one
reason we are taught to pray, even
when we don't feel like it -- because
regular praying will establish in us
the demeanor and the stance of praising

Wendell Berry has noted that ' a
purposeless virture is a contradiction
in terms....If a virtue has been thought
a virtue long enough, it must be assumed
to have practical justification.'"

Yes, Wendell Berry's writing is referred to
in this book on sex. She says he provides a
good starting point for thinking about
sex and community. We are not isolated
even though we moderns conceive ourselves
to be like isolated atoms.We even in the
church. Our culture glorifies achievements
of independence. At the heart of Berry's vision ,
throughout his works, is the
idea of household.

I live in one. You do too. It is a home but more.
A shared work, It is part of a neighborhood and
concentric circles to a the outer part being the
nation. There's a start to some of her wonderful

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Postponed: Lauren Winner

I loved this book and didn't
want to stop listening to Lauren
Winner when it ended. So I got
Mudhouse Sabbath and Real
Sex : the Truth about Chastity.
Excellent writer. She was to come
today from Durham ( Duke Univ)
for a Writers Workshop but she's
sick.Today's workshop was postponed
at our church.

We'll see how God brings the new
date to those attending because it
had a limited registration.
I was excited and still am.
Am finishing Real Sex this week-
end . It has come back into my house
from my sons. Christmas present
from this mom a few years ago.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sweet By and By.......Book Review

published by Thomas Nelson Publishers

Just finished this new book by Sara Evans
whom I do not know in the music industry.
Nor the coauthor Rachel Hauck.
It is a muligenerational story of digging
out the past deep wounds within a family.
It was a page turner. I found myself enjoying
the dialogue which is most of the book. It is
the story of Jade , an young antique dealer ,
as she is getting married. She believed in
forgetting the past and moving on. But she
learns that the past is what inhibits total
intimacy and covering up the past negates the
trust she yearns for.

I am a child of divorce from a large family .
The authors know the pain within that can
lay dormant in a locked room within the heart.
Only Jesus brings that freedom. For me and for
Jade. I was surprised to have tears this morning
towards the end of the book. The words went
deep into my soul and I found myself
before the Lord in worship.
He has set me free.

I recommend this book for a story that will
bring some tough real issues to the surface for
deep discussion in a book club. There is a good
Reading Group Guide at the back to facilitate
that. I like that right there at the end.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Two new books by Wendell Berry

While I'm waiting for L.L. Barkat's
giveaway book and her own "Stone
Crossings" to come in the mail, I
had ordered two very new books
by the farmer poet: Wendell Berry.
One came today: Imagination in Place.
It is a book of essays. His new poetry
book is called "Leaving." So my stack of
books is getting tall. That is not a bad
thing. Not bad at all.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The blessing of a Giveaway

I got L.L. Barkat's
new poetry book called
Inside Out right after Christmas
~~ her poems over
the year of spending "as long as
it takes to drink a cup of tea"
outside each day. Purposing to
hear and see the Lord in a quiet
place intrigued me. I'm looking
forward to her book "Stone Crossings:
Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden
Places" which is in the mail from
Amazon. Laura just had a giveaway
of a book on writing, which I won!
So another book is coming in the mail:

book cover

Here are Laura's books:

InsideOut Cover

A good review here at Hearts and
Minds Bookstore
of Stone Crossings:

Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places  -              By: L.L. Barkat

Thank you Laura!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Google today

If you haven't gone to Google
today for something or anything,
DO. It will give you a chuckle.
What happened today?

It has something to do with this;

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010


Fra Angelico: Angel with Tambourine

For the New Year of this decade:

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Celestial spirits enjoy communion with their Lord, and this is not denied to us; they rest in His love, and we have perfect peace in Him: they hymn His praise, and it is our privilege to bless Him too. We will this year gather celestial fruits on earthly ground, where faith and hope have made the desert like the garden of the Lord. Man did eat angels' food of old, and why not now? O for grace to feed on Jesus, and so to eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan this year!