Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Way to do a Book Character Sketch

My high school literature students
picked a Mark Twain book to
read over Spring Break :one they
had not read. One student had
already read his new autobiography
that was just published and gave a
"Book Talk" on it before break.

I borrowed this idea from my
wonderful daughter-in-law who is
an 8th grade English teacher .
It was fun yesterday. It especially
helped with so many reading
different books. It is a creative
narration of a Character.

1. Pick a character from your book .
2. Draw a body.
3. For the backbone: draw what drives the character.
4. For the mind: what the character thinks about.
5. For the heart: what the character loves.
6. For the eyes: what does the character focus on.
7. In the hands: put something that is associated with the character, what he does or makes you think of the character ( ex: a paintbrush for Tom Sawyer)
6. Put what the character is standing on: a foundation that is what he beliefs about life are.

Then from their Commonplace Book they picked out quotes to put around the body-character.

All done with the background soundtrack
of The King's Speech!

A lovely atmosphere that Charlotte Mason
defined " Education is an atmosphere, a discipline,
and a life."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thinking Thankfulness

Back from Spring Break so
to speak. Emma is in a
Vaudeville show that will
minister to Seniors this next
month of April. You know the
old songs: Button Up Your
Overcoat, etc..... with parasols
and hats and long Victorian
skirts! A little song and dance
to made the foot tap. JOY!

So thinking about all the
creative art ~~ I'm thankful.
to those who are so gifted to
take on a vocation to teach
students in the homeschool world.
It is huge to see someone who loves
what they were made to do DO IT in
front of my daughter!
Lots of practices
this week to prepare.

I saw Screwtape Letters yesterday
that was in town just for 2 days
from NY. Mac Mclean did an
outstanding performance of
Screwtape which he pronounced
with many syllables ! Live theater.
You know the place is Hell.
Really makes you
think about spiritual warfare.
You can watch the beginning here.
And if you want to watch a 5 minute
interview , click here.

Reading those letters:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

For GK Chesterton fans

Kevin Belmonte
has written an
absolutely won-
derful biography
on Chesterton
that includes how
his life work: writing~
impacted the culture.
Belmonte has given
the reader a wealth of
original reviews of Chester-
ton's books. Each chapter
on each GKC book gave me
the desire to READ the
ones I haven't read and reread
the ones I have.
It was very well researched!

Chesterton fought against the rising tide of
Modernity at the beginning of the 20th century.
He did it with his pen!
I had not even heard of Chesterton until
14 years ago when my children studied with
Dr. George Grant.
I should lament !
GKC lamented " modernity's tendency to cease to
wonder at the world and to worship solely at the
arid altar of science , a mind-set that is centered
on materialism ~~
cold, implacable,and impersonal~ a mind-set
that could not, and could never, explain
why humans possess souls. " ( pg. 195 )

Chesterton wrote the most compact , clear
sentences of paradox. A quote from the
chapter on Orthodoxy : " Chesterton
described his style as the representation
of familar things from unsuspected angles,
under new lights of the imagination, that
we might see them with innocence of surprise."

My appetite increased as Belmonte wrote
chapter after chapter on each of Chesterton's

I highly recommend this book and most of
all the man himself's writings: Gilbert
Keith Chesterton.

" The man was paradox personified.
He thought about all things backwards
to reach their beginnings ,
to penetrate their truth. "

Thomas Nelson Publishers
BookSneeze Review
( you can get free books to review

Friday, March 25, 2011


I finished Eugene Peterson's
book last night. The book
demanded me to read.
To think. To hear a man's
life story about his vocation.

I learned how he was asked to
"translate" the NT into The Message.
He has written a few of the
chapters in the NT in ordinary
language for his congregation.
Then after he retired from almost 30
years as pastor of the Presbyterian
Church in Maryland , he was asked
by someone at Nav Press who had
copies of those chapters. This guy
gave those copies to people so he
wanted Peterson to do the whole NT.

Eugene was going to
teach one class at a seminary
in Pittsburgh. Now he
had the time. He didn't really consider
it a translation but a way to under-
stand in the language of the
hearers. He wrote:

"When Paul of Tarsus wrote a letter, the people who received it understood it instantly, When the prophet Isaiah preached a sermon, I can't imagine that people went to the library to figure it out. That was the basic premise under which I worked. I began with the New Testament in the Greek --- a rough and jagged language, not so grammatically clean. I just typed out a page the way I thought it would have sounded to the Galatian"

Second son , Brad, is 25 today!
Heading out to celebrate tonight!
Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Still Stuck in a Book

Halfway done with Eugene
Peterson's memoir.

Back to page 12 which I put
in my journal : FOR BLOG
because he was stuck in a book.
A grand living book that nurtured
his imagination .
Sacred imagination.

"Several years later I came across
a book by the Scottish pastor,
George Adam Smith: The Histori-
cal Geography of the Holy Land.
He had spent several months on
horseback and mule crisscrossing
Palestine in the late 19th century,
describing what seemed to me from
his detailed reporting, every square
foot of that land. His vivid writing
put my feet on the ground where
Abraham walked, the fields where
David did battle, the garden in which
Jesus prayed. There were large,
fold-out maps that I studied in detail.
I lived in Smith's book.
I think I must have spent as many
months reading and rereading what
he wrote as he did writing it. After
those few months, my imagination
was furnished with a formidable
geographical bulwark against dis-
embodied truths, heaven disconnected
from earth. It became every bit as
significant to me as any text on theology
I was to read. The book confirmed for
me the emerging perception of " on
earth as it is in heaven, " a ladder , so
to speak. With Jacob, I knelt on this holy
ground , confessing with him that
"God was in this place , and I knew it not."

Charlotte Mason wrote this about the same
time as Sir George Adam Smith:
( vol. 6)

"At any rate he should go forth well furnished because
imagination has the property of magical expansion,
the more it holds the more it will hold."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Stuck in a New Book

" I have often had the occasion while
walking these hills or kayaking this
lake to reflect on how important
PLACE is in living the Christian faith.
As I let the biblical revelation form my
imagination , geography ~~
this specifically Montana, Flathead
Valley geography ~~ became as important
in orienting me in the "land of the living"
as theology and the Bible did. I was
becoming aware that every detail in the life
of salvation that I was becoming familiar
with in the scriptures took shape in named
places that, with a good map, I can still
locate : Ur and Haran, Bethel and Peniel....
I was learning that every detail in my life
of salvation was taking place ON and IN
a named place......Soil and stone, latitude
and longitude, lakes and mountains,
towns and cities keep a life of faith
grounded, rooted, in PLACE.
But wherever I went, I always ended up
here. This was the geography of my
imagination: the sighting of a pigmy
owl in feathered silence pouncing on a
field mouse on Blacktail Mountain, the
emergence through spring snow of the
first avalanche lilies in Jack's Meadow,
surprising a grizzly bear, the iconic
beast of these mountains, on the Garden
Wall trail. Holy ground, sacred space."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Two poets speaking

Emily Dickinson radiate
in many ways yesterday.
Here at Tonia's blog,
in the book I'm reading
A Summer of Hummingbirds,
and then in a movie that I
watched last night.

Emily Dickinson's 1870 remark to Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823-1911):

“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me,
I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off,
I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?

" Emily knew the liquid modernity of where you land~ a time of ocean or wave , moving in the eye of the storm, THIS liminal space are the dashes to consider these moments of pauses. They are essential to humanity. They are the battle against the pragmatic world so value these dashes . We try to edit them out. Stitch them together a fragment of humanity. ( Luke 18) " notes at IAM: Makoto Fujimura on Emily's dashes

I was moved just like Emily's
definition by "Self Help for
Refugees" by Li-Young Lee.
It stirred me to well up with
tears as compassion and metaphor
mixed in my heart and mind.
You can listen here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thomas Chalmers born on St. Pat's Day

Another great man of the faith to celebrate today:

The great Scottish pastor, social reformer, educator, author, and scientist Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) was born on St. Patrick's Day 1780 at Anstruther on the Fife coast.
( continued here)

“Every man is a missionary, now and forever, for good or for evil, whether he intends or designs it or not. He may be a blot radiating his dark influence outward to the very circumference of society, or he may be a blessing spreading benediction over the length and breadth of the world.”

Moved by a poet

I just got Li-Young
Lee's newest poetry book
from the library. It sold
out at the IAM conference.
It would have been wonderful
to have it signed. I did that
with another book.

This morning I found a CD
at the back.
Li-Young reading all the poems.

I cried when I heard his reading.
Something moved me deeply.

Maybe it was his voice.
I know it was the words.

Here is a line that reminds me
of Ann Voskamp's One Thousand
Gifts from his poem: My Favorite

My favorite door opens two ways:
receiving and receiving. My heart

swings between the ways, from thanksgiving
to thanksgiving, a thousand times a day,

Can you think of a poem or poet
who moves you to tears?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Makoto on Japan

From IAM on
Japan ( 20 minutes
long) ....

"Still Point - Evening" 2003

For Japan

"Death - so - the Hyphen of the Sea" Emily Dickinson #1454

Sunday, March 13, 2011

John Stott

Interview link to hear Rev.
Earl Palmer on Rev.
John Stott's life, books,
and his classic book:
Basic Christianity.
The book is 50 years
old! Good interview by
Derek Thomas at
Reformation 21.

We don't use that title
Reverend in our church.
I did growing up.
There is something holy
about that title.

I love that John Stott
was an avid birdwatcher.
Wonderful book:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Journal lovers

Take a look at where
I went a week ago.
The Morgan Library:
The Diaries Exhibit

Lots online to read and
here as you click deeper
in to the site. Great for
book lovers and author


Thoreau's journals
Hawthornes journals
Sir Walter Scott's journals
Augustine's Confessions

Diary of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne (1809–1871), 1862. Gift of Lorenz Reich, Jr., 1980.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sheep in the City

Missed this by a day!
Have to ask my neighbor
who was in Manhattan
until yesterday if she saw

Handmade paper "Counting Sheep" displayed in NY 02-Mar-2011


A woman kisses a piece of a sculpture consisting of 24 handmade paper sheep titled "Counting Sheep" by Brooklyn Artist Kyu Seok Oh in Times Square, New York, the United States, March 1, 2011. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Back in Town

I feel full.
When you are full,
you have to wait to
get hungry. I think
it will take awhile.
There were new writers
and poets
and dinner with
this author-poet
( She posted a poem today
to me and Brooke
who joined us for Mexican)
and even a wonderful
British actor who made
me laugh. I'll post podcast
links when The Kindling
posts them. This
funny actor made me
feel joy in new ways.
He made me look
at God's love deeply when
he said : I know that I am
loved. ( in his purple pumas!)
He said that over and over
again. God does too. All over

Here is a podcast with Nigel
and Dick Staub on CS Lewis
Quotes that Shaped Me.

Do you have any which
shaped you?

Makoto on Emily Dickinson
was similar to his words in A
Letter to an Artist:

Growth comes by understanding how limited you are. Learning to use your wings means learning the discipline as a means to grace. Give yourself boundaries and goals; start with small things, like having a small table dedicated to your poems. Emily Dickinson wrote her poems on a small 18 inch by 18 inch desk in her room in Amherst. Do not put anything other than your poems, though, on that area. Guard against the world invading your boundaries. Learning to paint, play the piano, or dance has much to do with keeping your self-set boundaries, otherwise you will not own your craft. We are each given unique wings with unique particulars of how to use our wings; no one else can fly for you. You have to jump off the edge, and spread your wings.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I'm very thankful..... IAM

I felt like I sprouted
wings last friday as
something landed in
my lap : a trip to NY
for the IAM Encounters

Just got an email with
what I am to bring:

Bring Your Own Art, or , The Suitcase Art Project
International Arts Movement invites you to participate in a group art project by bringing a piece of your original artwork - a poem, a painting, a recording of a song, etc. - in a suitcase. Why the suitcase, you ask?

Because Makoto Fujimura
went on a missions trip at the
beginning of IAM to the
Phillipines and carried donated
artwork and the clothes on his

He believed then, as he does now, that in order to be fully human and fully alive, people need not only food, clothing, and shelter, but also art and beauty.

on a Tuesday because of those wings