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31 December 2008

2008 in review



Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20

"Exceedingly abundantly" is how I would sum up 2008.
Here are my favorite shots from the year.

Book List

The final edition of the 2008 booklist.

It started stronger than it finished. But in general, I'm not disappointed.
And, this morning, I finished the Bible in a year, beginning to end, though I confess, I doubled the readings this last week to be able to finish. I'm convicted this reading, with a purposeful plan, is a daily must for me- so I'm starting again tomorrow.

For 2009, I'm considering participating in this challenge, and reading a big book, a thick ol' classic, with a friend. Stay tuned.

To keep track of what I've read (including reading through the Bible) in 2008, a list, updated monthly:

January:
CultureShock! China by Angela Eagan and Rebecca Weiner
Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon
Genesis
If by Amy Carmichael
A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliot
Exodus

February:
Devotional Classics edited by Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
These Strange Ashes by Elisabeth Elliot
Leviticus
The Practice of the Presence Of God by Brother Lawrence
Numbers
End of the Spear by Steve Saint

March:
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
Deuteronomy
The Pursuit of God by AW Tozer
Joshua
Judges
Ruth
Grow in Grace by Sinclair B. Ferguson

April:
Sold by Patricia McCormick
1 & 2 Samuel
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
A Walk with Jane Austen by Lori Smith
Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen
Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges

May:
1 & 2 Kings
The Mitford Bedside Companion by Jan Karon
Suffering and the Sovereignty of God edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor
1 & 2 Chronicles
Four-tenths of an Acre by Laurie Lisle
Crooked Little Heart by Anne Lamott

June:
Ezra
Nehemiah
Job
A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller
My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok

July:
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Chosen by Chaim Potok
Good-Bye Mr. Chips by James Hilton
Isaiah
When You Rise Up by R.C. Sproul, Jr.
Psalms
Village School by Miss Read

August:
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Jeremiah
Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life by John Calvin
Lamentations
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
Ezekiel
Proverbs
Instructing a Child's Heart by Tedd and Margy Tripp

September:
Ecclesiastes
Song of Solomon
Daniel
Hosea
Joel
Amos
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Habakuk
Zehphaniah
Love Has A Price Tag by Elisabeth Elliot
Haggai
Zechariah
Malachi

October:
Matthew
Mark
Luke
John
The Believer's School of Prayer by Andrew Murray
Spiritual Mothering by Susan Hunt
By Design by Susan Hunt

November:
Acts
Romans
1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

December:
Galatians
Ephesians
Phillipians
Colossians
1&2 Thessalonians
1&2 Timothy
Titus
Philemon
Hebrews
James
1&2 Peter
1, 2, & 3 John
Jude
Revelation
Home by Marilynne Robinson

29 December 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

We ventured down to the Film Streams theaters last night to see the highly acclaimed Slumdog Millionaire. (click there for a trailer clip!)

If, like us, you haven't seen any other Academy Award contender this year, go see Slumdog. The film tells the tale of Jamal Malik, a kid growing up on the streets of Mumbai, India, who finds himself in the hot seat of the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and inexplicably winning beyond reason. When accused of cheating, the movie weaves the story of how Jamal's life experiences have provided the answers to the Millionaire questions.

This is a tough movie- the scenes of the reality of street life are difficult to watch. But the script is rich and the actors, especially the kids, are terrific. The ending- will he win or not?- is a delight. And, there's a fun Bollywood dance scene that runs during the credits, besides.

Hands down, the best movie we saw this year.

there are worse things...


I finished Home by Marilynne Robinson yesterday. It's the follow novel to Gilead, not a sequel, exactly, but with a familiar overlap in characters and setting. Oh Robinson's writing flows smooth, delighting the eyes and teasing the imagination. A passage that caused me to grin...

He laughed. "Good girl. We might even be able to work up a disagreement, one of those ideological differences I read about in the news from time to time. Shouting and arm waving. In the heat of it all I might come up with a conviction or two."

"That sounds wonderful," she said, "except we'd better forget the shouting, for Papa's sake. But we could still do the arm waving."

He shook his head. "That would be so-- Presbyterian, somehow."

"There are worse things."

28 December 2008

Worthy

"Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created."
Revelation 4:11

"All true believers wholly ascribe their redemption and conversion, their present privileges and future hopes, to the eternal and most holy God. Thus rise the forever harmonious, thankful songs of the redeemed in heaven.
Would we on earth do like them, let our praises be constant, not interrupted;
united, not divided;
thankful, not cold and formal;
humble, not self-confident."
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible

(art credit to Makoto Fujimura, Golden Fire)

awfully familiar...

life with a teenage boy...

(if this is too small to see, go here...)

27 December 2008

diego rivera

We ventured over to the Joslyn today to see the Diego Rivera exhibit before it leaves town.

I so enjoy the work of Diego Rivera.
His love life and his politics- messy.
His art- fascinating.

Segadores is one of 36 works shown in the Rivera exhibition at the Joslyn. All 36, collectively known as "the Diegos," are on loan from the Museum of Art of the State of Veracruz. This is not my favorite piece from the exhibition, but it's my favorite of the ones I can find to put here in the blog...

Once again, kudos to the Joslyn for a great show of art.

(art credit: Diego Rivera (Mexican, 1886–1957), Segadores (Harvesters) (detail), 1956, dibujo al carb√≥n y acuarela (charcoal and watercolor), Collection of The Governor of the State of Veracruz, the Veracruz Institute of Culture, and the Museum of Art of the State of Veracruz)

26 December 2008

Mosaic Meme

Way back in the summer, Megan did this Mosaic MeMe. I tried it, and after working on it for a good while, lost it, and gave up.

But now we're watching a movie (which I adore, but have seen multiple times, so I can do both of these things at once...), and I'm trying again.

And I still did it wrong, because I didn't save the html links, so I didn't give good credit to the photographers. Forgive me! I just added my answers next to the questions...

Here’s how it works:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker. Choose 3 columns with 4 rows.

The Questions:
1. What is your first name? Kristy
2. What is your favorite food? Tamales
3. What high school did you go to? (or, What year did you graduate high school?) Eldorado
4. What is your favorite color? Cobalt
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Wall-E
6. Favorite drink? Limeade
7. Dream vacation? Mexican beach
8. Favorite dessert? hot fudge sundae
9. What you want to be when you grow up? wise
10. What do you love most in life? family
11. One Word to describe you. content
12. Your flickr name. (kid version: favorite animal?) lion (my flickr name had nothing!)

Try it! It's fun, even if it does take a while...
(but hopefully not 6 months for you...)

25 December 2008

With great joy

Here
and
here
and
here

and here-

After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:9-11

We rejoice exceedingly with great joy, as well.

24 December 2008

Job History

Thanks to Anne at PalmTreePundit for some blogging inspiration, a Job History MeMe:

“It’s simple. Just list all the jobs you’ve had in your life, in order. Don’t bust your brain: no durations or details are necessary, and feel free to omit anything that you feel might tend to incriminate you. I’m just curious. And when you’re done, tag another five bloggers you’re curious about.”

Baskin Robbins ice cream scooper
Oral surgery assistant and front desk helper
Book store customer service
Book store accounting
Substitute teacher
Ski shop sales
Volunteer coordinator, American Red Cross
Court advocate for those filing spousal abuse charges

how 'bout you?
Tag yourself, but let me know!

Wordful Wednesday- Christmas Past

It's Wednesday, and a Christmas eve Wednesday at that, so for this week's Wordful Wednesday, we're going back in the archives...

Last year, my sister gave me a great gift- scanned images of the slides my grandparents collected over the years...

I'm guessing this photo dates to, oh, 1970, 1971?
The boots are a great clue. :-)

I know that this photo was taken at my grandparents' house in Albuquerque. I recognize the blue carpet, and the table in the background. When cleared off, that table was great for sitting and spinning on.

I recognize our stockings hanging in the background- for my sister and me. My mom made those stockings herself, and I still have mine. Mine is red felt, with my name and little ornaments in sequins. That was a faithful stocking for many many years.

But the funniest thing about this picture is the outfit, because even if you are only a little bit acquainted with me, you will know there is nothing about this outfit that I would wear today. Not a short plaid skirt. Not shiny white boots. I don't even care for turtlenecks all that much. Certainly not a bow in my hair.

But I bet it was working for me in 1970...

Visit SevenClownCircus for more WordfulWednesday posts!
:-)

22 December 2008

Local conditions...

at 6am.
top number, outside.
bottom number, inside.
(but it's probably not quite that cold inside- the thermometer is right next to our 1920's window...)

nonetheless...

brrrrrr.

21 December 2008

Thou Who Was Rich...

We sang Thou Who Was Rich Beyond All Splendor as part of worship today. I found one commentary complaining of Christmas carol lyrics that make Jesus that whom He was not. (note: a couple of my family members didn't appreciate the commentary, because they happen to be partial to the hymn the author is criticizing. You decide for yourself.) In celebrating Christmas, it is crucial to remember that little baby of the carols was a real, living, breathing, crying, all-human baby; the Son became man. In that commentary Gordon Cheng wrote, "The reality is that the Lord Jesus, though he was as rich as the Lord of the Universe can be, for our sake, became poor—and his poverty came in that he entered the world as a real, live human being who came to die on the cross for our sins."

And that is what this hymn so richly describes.

Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love's sake becamest poor;
Thrones for a manger didst surrender,
Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.
Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love's sake becamest poor.

Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love's sake becamest man;
Stooping so low, but sinners raising
Heavenwards by thine eternal plan.
Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love's sake becamest man.

Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship thee.
Emmanuel, within us dwelling,
Make us what thou wouldst have us be.
Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship thee.

(Frank Houghton, 1894-1972)
(art credit to Gail)

17 December 2008

Justice without mercy

"Mercy without justice is unthinkable. But justice without mercy is unbearable."

Zoe Sandvig, The Point, 15 December 2008

Sometimes doesn't it seem as certain words and ideas show up, in your reading and disussion and thoughts, more frequently than others? "Justice" and "mercy" have been two of those words for me, recently. I taught on Philippians 4:8 last week, and later, was challenged by a friend by some thoughts, and then came across this blog post.

I'm still learning.
And I'm grateful that both justice and mercy are perfected in the work of Christ.

16 December 2008

View from the front door


Free shipping today...

I just received email that this is on sale, 40% off, and is "eligible for FREE shipping today," besides.
I did refrain from hitting the "add to cart" button.

It's just a little bit over the independent purchase limit T and I agreed to...

:-)

22 Word Challenge

I am constantly amazed by Abraham Piper, who writes, day after day, good stuff, in 22 word bursts.
He's challenging his readers in this contest- and let me tell you, writing 22 sensical words is harder than it looks!

My attempt:

After noticing that her sister had put too many pants on one wire hanger, my daughter told me, “Yep, it went vertical.”

15 December 2008

Christmas Tree Day

Saturday was Christmas Tree Day. My kids and our "adopted" Saturday kids, journeyed out west to the family-owned tree farm we always go to ("always," except when it's late in the day and dark and cold, and we don't plan ahead, and I really don't want to put the ritual off one more day, like happened last year- and the children would not allow me to forget that breach in tradition for the entire year! Everytime we passed Lowe's, I promise, one child or another would say, "we're not going there again for a Christmas tree THIS year, right?" "Right," I would promise...)

We tromped down to the field and began the search. My goal- not too big. We have a smallish living room. One year when we went on the search for the tree, it was freezing cold and it was raining sleet and we were desperate and we picked the first tree that seemed reasonably acceptable. You know, the trees look much smaller out in the field than in the smallish living room! We laughed about that tree all season, except when I was worrying that it's branches were much too close to the fireplace.

We debated height and fullness and bare spots and brown needles. Everyone saw a new favorite. One daughter was particularly adamant in her affinity for pine, not fir. She acquiesed in the end. We found a tree that would be just fine. The chainsaw guy came around and snapped our photo and buzzed that tree down. They shook the bejeebers out of it (and needles still manage to fall off in the car, and in the living room...), and netted it up. We stuffed it into the car, drove it home, dragged it to the porch, trimmed the bottom branches, lifted it into the stand, strung the lights (miracle on miracle- they worked the first time, and continue to work!), and turned it to the best angle.

And we decorated. For the first time, the children did nearly all the hanging of the ornaments. I sat back and watched. No squabbles over who was hanging what. No broken ornaments. No branches weighed down with 30 ornaments in a 4 inch row. A beautifully adorned tree with a pretty and shiny star on top. It took 15 years to get to this moment in time.

Now that we're here... I'm just a little bit sentimental and nostalgic. Time moves on. We're moving past the chaos of babies and toddlers and young kids, at least until the grands arrive. But I'm grateful, because now more than ever, we understand grace and peace, and His grace and perfect Peace and love beyond understanding that came when God sent His only Son into the world for us. And these children, too, are growing in knowledge and love and understanding of what the birth of this Christ child meant, and means, even today, even in their own life.

And those are just some of the many reasons I am thankful for this season!

"Your Delieverance Draws Nigh!"

"Advent is a time of anticipation not for the harmless baby surrounded by lights and presents, but for the dynamic savior who is born into our midst in a way that must forever change us. "Do you want to be delivered?" asked Dietrich Bonhoeffer in an Advent sermon more than 70 years ago. "That is the only really important and decisive question which Advent poses for us. Does there burn within us some lingering longing to know what deliverance really means? If not, what would Advent then mean to us? A bit of sentimentality. A little lifting of the spirit within us? A little kinder mood? But if there is something in this word Advent which we have not yet known, that strangely warms our heart; if we suspect that it could, once more, once more, mean a turning point in our life, a turning to God, to Christ--why then are we not simply obedient, listening and hearing in our ears the clear call: Your deliverance draws nigh!"(2)

In this season of Advent we remember a strange and drastic story. We anticipate nothing less than the Lion of Judah wrapped in swaddling cloths. We anticipate the coming of a Savior unhindered. Indeed, our deliverance draws nigh."

by Jill Carattini, managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(2) Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Christmas Sermons Edwin Robertson Ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), 93.

Thanks to the ladies at WhoCares for this great piece!

13 December 2008

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree...



... how lovely are your branches.

09 December 2008

7 Random Things

I'm thankful for my friend, Michelle, One Crafty Mama. She is an ever-flowing, never-ceasing fountain of bloggy ideas for me. Go visit her and leave her a comment and tell her hi! She loves comments!!

Today she has inspired me with the Seven Random Things tag.
7 random things about me, that is...


1. My dad made me learn how to drive stick shift and display proficiency in parallel parking and starting and stopping on hills before I could get my driver's license. At the time, it was terribly painful. Now, I am beyond grateful. I can even parallel park the monster van with confidence!


2. Speaking of that van, it recently got me a free meal at Arby's for being the "bus driver" of K and the 8 girls on her volleyball team!


3. Every time I took a vocational aptitude test in high school, it said I should be a physical therapist. Every time! I'm not.


4. I have visited 48 states. I'm only missing Maine and Kentucky. Go figure.


5. The first biography I ever read was about Henry Ford. I then read every biography of Henry Ford in the school library. Honest.


6. I've never read Gone with the Wind. I don't feel too bad about that.


7. When I was in college I worked on Capitol Hill one year and I ran into Senator Ted Kennedy. Literally. Smacked right into him. I quickly apologized, and then noted that he didn't look so good. That was in 1987.
(my daughter just commented that NO ONE looked good in 1987. Snort. good one.)


And if those aren't random, I don't know what is!

To follow Him beyond the limits...

Q: How do we become brave?
First we have to recognize fear as the problem. Fear is embarrassing, so we tend to want to believe that something else is holding us back. Then, once we're able to recognize our fears for what they are, we have to choose not to be safe. We need to bring our gifts, passions, and strengths beyond places of safety and control, and into a sphere where we actually need God. God dignifies our existence with choices—and one of those is whether we will choose to follow Him beyond the limits of our own small fears and interests. And when we make this choice, we see God show up. This then builds our confidence in Him, and we find the true basis for being brave.

From an interview with Gary A. Haugen, President/CEO of International Justice Mission, World Magazine, December 13/20, 2008

08 December 2008

O Come O Come

I so appreciate the many prophetic Old Testament references in O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

The title from Isaiah 7:14. The "rod of Jesse" from Isaiah 11:1. The "key of David" from Isaiah 22:22. The "wisdom from on high" from Isaiah 11:2. The "Day spring" from Zacharias' prophecy at the end of Luke.

In the pulpit teaching yesterday, we were reminded that "in the fullness of time, God sent forth His son..." (Galatians 4:4, but look at 1-7), and that "God does not look upon us because of what we do; God looks upon us because of what Christ has done." I am exceedingly grateful for that this advent week.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Refrain
Rejoice! Rejoice!Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.

Refrain

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.

Refrain

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Refrain

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

Refrain

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.

Refrain

O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.

Refrain

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Refrain

06 December 2008

Friday Five- Dear Santa...

Dear Santa...
I know this list is a day late. I know it's titled "Friday Five" and now it's actually Satuday. Sorry 'bout that.
I've tried to be good this year, really, I have.
Love keeps no record of wrongs, right?
Here's five things that I really enjoy!


This photo shows two of my all-time favorites- raspberries and blue, Raspberries on Blue Table.







I love how clean this Do You See What I See? ceramic ornament is, and it has a line from one of my favorite Christmas songs. I did not know that it was written in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Go figure!







There is perhaps no poster more appropriate for my home than Keep Calm and Carry On ...











This Faith and Culture Devotional received a terrific review on The Point.











If you consider the sweaters that I've looked at and NOT bought this fall, the price tag on the Luxe Cardigan isn't SOOOO bad, right... :-)

Say hi to the Mrs. and the elves.
Blessings,
k.

01 December 2008

FavoRite R's

My friend Michelle over at OneCraftyMama is playing a fun game, and I'm joining in!

The instructions are easy. Make a list of ten of your favorite things. But there is a little catch. Everything on the list has to start with a specific letter of the alphabet. That letter is randomly assigned by the blogger who you are playing with!

I was given "R".

1. Raspberries- my favorite fruit. When we lived in Washington, I planted a bunch of raspberry plants, and then we moved the year that they were sure to really bear fruit. alas.

2. Road trips- I took my first road trip when I was in high school- drove from Albuquerque to Phoenix with my buddy Leigh to visit her grandma. Oh we laughed! Thelma and Louise with a much better ending!! That was just the beginning. How can someone who has moved across the country 4 times, and doesn't live within 600 miles of any family members NOT like road trips?

3 Reading- I'll read anything. I read the newspaper with breakfast. I read magazines while I dry my hair. My favorite is non-fiction. I'm always reading something.

4. Ruby- my not yet 3 year old buddy. She's my Rubita. I'm her "Hollalay".

5. Rest- Especially on Sunday.

6. "Run with endurance the race set out before us."- Hebrews 12:1

7. Rellenos- Stuffed chiles. mmmmmm.

8. Rodgers and Hammerstein- Who wouldn't count My Favorite Things as one of their favorite things?

9. Red velvet cake- red velvety goodness.

10. Ramona Quimby- She lives on Klickitat Street. She's Beezus' little sister. She annoys Henry Huggins and Ribsy. She's one of the all-time spunkiest characters in children's lit history.

Favorite R's.
That was really fun!
Thanks Michelle!

Advent

We worshipped away from home yesterday, at Christ Church, PCA and celebrated the first Sunday of Advent.
The promise of Advent, literally, the coming, the arrival of something important or awaited.

The first hymn we sang communicates just that anticipation.
We rejoice.

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.

written by Charles Wesley (1744)

26 November 2008

Over the river(s)...

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the LORD is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 100:4-5

We're heading east.
Road trip!
Tunes.
Cracker Barrel.
Steak and Shake.
License plate game.
Alphabet game.
"We'll get there when we get there!"
Family.

We are abundantly blessed. How do you number that? (hmmm... maybe we should try...)

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

On prayer

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.
- Mark 1:35

Prayer is an attitude toward life that sees everything as ultimately sacred, everything as potentially life-changing, everything as revelatory of life’s meaning. It is our link between dailiness and eternity.
- Joan Chittister

(from Sojourners Verse and Voice, November 25, 2008)

25 November 2008

Tapestry

The more time I spend in the Word, the more I am in awe of how it has been woven together, of the connectiveness between Old and New, of beginning and end and everything in between.

This graphic shows that. And I stare at it in wonder.

For the scientific explanation (and there is one!), click here.

(thanks to The Point for the reference)

24 November 2008

ESL Thanksgiving

I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to You among the nations.
For Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens
And Your truth to the clouds.
Psalm 57:9-10

Absolutely and without hesitation, one of the most delightful things I do in the week is participate in the English as a Second Language (ESL) ministry at my church. Once a week, folks originally from points all around the globe, from Africa and Asia and North America and South America (no Europeans right now...) gather, here in the middle of the United States, in our basement classrooms to learn English, and hopefully, make friends and hear the good news of the Gospel while they are doing it. And each week, I'm willing to wager that the staff is more blessed than the students!

Tonight was no exception, as we welcomed the nations through our door again, this time to celebrate the distinctly American holiday tradition of Thanksgiving. We served a traditional Thanksgiving meal, turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberries, and apple pie. We had to explain the food to some. How do you explain what a cranberry tastes like? Tart, but in sauce, sweet... We learned that dressing, or stuffing, does not even translate in Chinese or in Spanish. Definitely distinctly American- "bread that goes inside the bird." :-)

What pleasure, to be part of the many cultures and tongues, enjoying one another! What joy, to serve the nations that God has brought to our own neighborhood!
Enjoy some photos of our gathering!

Sunday morning

Sunday Morning

Eyes open
Warm bed
Cold floor
Quiet house
Coffee brewed
Word pursued
Prayers lifted
Comfort received

Breakfast baked
Clothes ironed
Hair styled
Books gathered
Passengers collected
Pew selected
Family seated
Comfort received

Praises lifted
Harmony blends
Confession uttered
Grace covers
Voices singing
Word ringing
Peace, Be Still
Comfort received

Familiar faces
Bespeckled hugs
Tears flowing
Laughter ringing
Thoughts pursued
Word anew
Press on
Comfort received

23 November 2008

New every morning

The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

(photo credit: Sunrise at Bantam Lake, Litchfield, CT, by Patricia Wilcox)

(I may have used this verse and I may have used this photo before. I can't remember. But, it's my blog and I can do that! :-) This is what speaks to me this morning! Blessed Sabbath to you and yours.)

21 November 2008

Why Walk When You Can Fly

So as part of the Alison Krauss mix last week, and as part of the Emmylou Harris mix this week, Pandora shuffled up this little gem of a song by Mary Chapin Carpenter that I really enjoy...


In this world there's a whole lot of trouble, baby
In this world there's a whole lot of pain
In this world there's a whole lot of trouble
But a whole lot of ground to gain
Why take when you could be giving, why watch as the world goes by
It's a hard enough life to be living, why walk when you can fly

In this world there's a whole lot of sorrow
In this world there's a whole lot of shame
In this world there's a whole lot of sorrow
And a whole lotta ground to gain
When you spend your whole life wishing, wanting and wondering why
It's a long enough life to be living, why walk when you can fly

In this world there's a whole lot of cold
In this world there's a whole lot of blame
In this world you've a soul for a compass
And a heart for a pair of wings
There's a star on the far horizon, rising bright in an azure sky
For the rest of the time that you're given, why walk when you can fly

Pandora Radio

During the summer a friend introduced me to Pandora Radio and I've been enjoying it ever since. Pandora is the result product of the Music Genome Project, where musicians and technology guys figured out the "genetic code" of music, and matched up like with like. The practical application is that I can type in an artist I like, and Pandora comes up with a "radio station" for me. Lately in the evenings, I've been in an Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, James Taylor kind of mood, and my wish is Pandora's command. Tomorrow is cleaning day around here- and I have a feeling that it will be more of a U2, Feist, and Paul Simon kin of day. Pandora will even mix it up for you. I love it!

19 November 2008

Wordful Wednesday- Creativity

I was away from the house yesterday afternoon for a while, at a meeting, driving kids. Even so, I had a pretty good idea of what was going on in my absence- several calls from home, AND a photo record of sorts.

I arrived home to find that, after completing, ahem- most, of her schoolwork, my youngest went to work creating this mask.

Cool, I told her.
Why a mask?
Oh, I saw a mask in a book and I haven't made one in a while.

Ok.
Good enough for me.

My mask-maker- she's one creative girl. Give that girl a box of crayons, a few pipe cleaners and a roll of tape, and watch out. (Adhesives are key. Tape and glue are coveted in this house. If I really want to keep them, I hide them from creative girl!)

On my camera there were photos of the mask being created and photos of the mask complete, but flat. It takes on much more character upright and worn properly.

There was also a photo of a shoe stepping on the mask. Hmmm... perhaps NOT a photo of domestic tranquility. Photo evidence. But that, perhaps is better left for another Wordful Wednesday.

Thanks to 7ClownCircus- be sure to visit and check out what else is Wordful this Wednesday!

16 November 2008

The Lord's Day

O Lord My Lord,
this is thy day,
the heavenly ordinance of rest,
the open door of worship,
the record of Jesus' resurrection,
the seal of the sabbath to come,
the day when saints militant and triumphant unite in endless song.

I bless thee for the throne of grace,
that here free favour reigns;
that open access to it is through the blood of Jesus;
that the veil is torn aside and I can enter the holiest and find thee ready to hear,
waiting to be gracious,
inviting me to pour out my needs,
encouragaging my desires,
promising to give more than I ask or think.

But while I bless thee, shame and confusion are mine:
I remember my past misuse of sacred things,
my irreverent worship,
my base ingratitude,
my cold, dull praise.

Sprinkle all my past sabbaths with the cleansing blood of Jesus,
and my this day witness deep improvement in me.
Give me rich abundance
the blessings the Lord's Day was designed to impart;
May my heart be fast bound against worldly thoughts or cares;
Flood my mind with peace beyond understanding;
may my meditations be sweet,
my acts of worship life, liberty, joy,
my drink the streams that flow from thy throne,
my food the precious Word,
my defense the shield of faith,
and may my heart be more knit to Jesus.

from The Valley of Vision, ed. by Arthur Bennett
(with apologies, as it is evidently impossible to add idents in HTML. At least impossible for me! We lose the flow of the format, but still, the content is rich.)

13 November 2008

Writer's Workshop- Haiku

Over at Mama's Losin' It, Kat hosts Thursday's Writer's Workshop.
One of today's five prompts-

Write a haiku about what you see out the window.

Looking out the dining room window to the backyard:

Skeleton branches,
Dry leaves barely hanging on,
Fall turns to winter.




















Looking out a dining room window to the side yard:

Evergreen pine branch,
Soggy leaves on muddy ground,
Thorns and orange berries.


This was such a fun assignment! My younger girls are working on poetry this week, also- writing a definition poem, a limerick, an example of hyperbole, and a diamante. Poetry prompts us to think and express ourselves in a new and different way. Try it!

12 November 2008

Wordful Wednesday- Wandering Son

If it's Wednesday it's time for Wordful Wednesday, that weekly photo carnival hosted by SevenClownCircus.

My contribution this week- this photo of my family at Hubbard Glacier in the waters of Alaska this summer, my husband, my four girls, and my... WAIT! Everyone EXCEPT my son! And hence, a Wordful Wednesday story...

True to the blog title, many in my family are prone to wander. On this day, my family was headed to one of the observation decks to go outside to, well, glacier watch. (you just never know when glaciers will get exciting. They can break, calf, at any moment, you know...) I went to fetch youngest daughter from an activity and left the others headed topside. (hmmm... that might be submarine, not cruise-line, lingo...)
So while I'm away, our son hops on the elevator and no one else joins him. Did he jump off? No. Did my husband stop him? No. Did my husband shout words of advice like, "Stay on the elevator!" No. In fact, the family witness gives testimony that he actually waved as the elevator doors closed and said "Goodbye." And then, my only son was gone.

Now the good news and the reality of being on a cruise ship is that there's not far to wander and you certainly won't starve. Once back in our room to hear messages, we had periodic posts from wandering son, the likes of "Hi, this is your abandonned son. I'm on the Lido Deck at the Taco Bar..." and "Hi, again, this is your abandonned son. I'm in the restaurant with a slice of pizza." Apparently glacier watching wasn't high on his priorities.

We did eventually find said son, in less than an hour, and we did marvel at the wonder of the glacier. And we did get that family photo, my husband, my four girls, and my son...

Don't forget to head over to SevenClownCircus to enjoy more Wordful Wednesday contributions.

11 November 2008

A Book MeMe

Inspired by Palm Tree Pundit...

* Grab the nearest book.*
* Open it to page 56.*
* Find the fifth sentence.*
* Post the text of the sentence on your blog with these instructions.*
Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.

Across from me, on the coffee table, is The Adventures of Tom Sawyer-

"This comes of playing hooky and doing everything a feller's told not to do."

Tom and Huck. :-)
Love our reading list this year!

On Veteran's Day

This column by Tom Purcell appeared in our local op/ed section today, and I find that it sums up exactly why we commemorate Veteran's Day.

Even in Hurricane, Sentinels Lovingly Guard Tomb of the Unknowns

Hurricane Isabel struck Wash­ington, D.C., hard that night. It was Sept. 18, 2003. I lived in Alex­andria, Va., at the time. I rode out the storm read­ing a book and enjoying a glass of wine.

At Arlington National Ceme­tery, a few miles away, the sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknowns were having an entirely differ­ent experience.

The Tomb of the Unknowns was established in 1921. Three of its chambers contain the remains of unknown soldiers from World War I, World War II and Korea. (A fourth had held the remains of an unknown soldier from the Vi­etnam War until DNA technology determined his identity.)

Only the finest soldiers are se­lected to guard the tomb. The sentinels are specially trained soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (“The Old Guard”). They watch over the tomb 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As each solitary guard paces be­fore the tomb, his movements are precise, his dress impeccable.

Each guard’s dedication is made clear by the Sentinel’s Creed:
My dedication to this sacred duty is total and wholehearted.
In the responsibility bestowed on me, never will I falter.
And with dignity and persever­ance, my standard will remain perfection.
Through the years of diligence and praise and the discomfort of the elements, I will walk my tour in humble reverence to the best of my abil­ity.
It is he who commands the re­spect I protect.
His bravery that made us so proud.
Surrounded by well-meaning crowds by day, alone in the thoughtful peace of night, this soldier will in honored glory rest under my eternal vigilance.

By guarding the tomb with eternal vigilance, the sentinel validates the words of the sol­dier’s prayer: “It is the soldier who has given us our freedoms. It’s the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It’s the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It’s the soldier, not the campus or­ganizer, who has given us the freedom to object. It’s the sol­dier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.”

Which brings us back to Hurri­cane Isabel. For the first time in the tomb’s history, in prepara­tion of a potentially dangerous storm, the commanding officers established a contingency plan.

The sentinels were free to withdraw to safer positions un­der the Memorial Amphitheater arches or inside the trophy room should conditions become life­threatening — positions from which they still could maintain their mission watching over the tomb. None would leave.

But as Hurricane Isabel struck — 24 trees would be up­rooted across the cemetery and three headstones would be crushed — each sentinel took turns standing his ground.

There really was no other op­tion. How could a sentinel retreat to safer ground in the midst of a dinky hurricane when so many others gave so much more?

We’ve just come through a wrenching political season. Some folks are jubilant at the re­sults, whereas others are de­flated and even worried. But de­spite the disagreement over policies and politics, I’m confi­dent that America will do the right thing over the long haul.

Honor, sacrifice and duty are still alive and well. If you don’t believe me, pay a visit to Arling­ton National Cemetery and stop by the Tomb of the Unknowns. It is one place where American sacrifice, duty and honor are on full display 24 hours a day, every day of the week.

■ Contact the writer: http://www.TomPurcell.com

10 November 2008

Hope is the thing


"Hope" is the thing
with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune
without the words –
And never stops at all.

- Emily Dickinson
(poetry credit to Sojourners Verse and Voice; art credit to Geninne's Art Blog)

08 November 2008

National Home School Volleyball Tournament

If you have any doubt that home educated students can participate in activities equivalent to those offered in a traditional school setting, here is example #1 for today- the National Home School Volleyball Tournament. This is not backyard volleyball as you remember it from a lazy summer picnic. These are varsity level athletes from around the United States, and they give us spectators an exciting weekend of volleyball. We're particularly excited that our team is competing for the championship in the Gold bracket today!
Go Warriors!

(photo credit from the NHSVBT 2007 archives)

05 November 2008

... while the sun shines

If it's Wednesday, it's time to visit SevenClownCircus again! This week's Wordful Wednesday shows a shot of my kids, taken last week on our outing to find pumpkins. An outing that almost turned much more expensive than I planned.

It's a fall tradition for me and my kids to head to the local farm stand and enjoy the traditions of fall and buy a few pumpkins. We've been doing it since my oldest two were toddlers. (except Hawaii... not many pumpkin farms in Hawaii...) For the last few years, we've journeyed a short ways from home, but time got away from us this year, and it was practically the end of pumpkin season before we journeyed mere minutes to a nearby pumpkin patch.

On October weekends, I guess this small family owned farm has a lot going on, tractor rides and pumpkin painting and all that. But on this Wednesday afternoon, it was just me and my kids, and a small group of preschoolers. We wandered around the barn, a lady asked us if we needed help, and I told her no. We kept wandering. We meandered outside. We tramped through corn stalks, formerly known as a maze, but now pretty much trampled and thin. We hopped over a few bales of hay. We climbed over an old tractor. And then we went back to the barn to pick out our pumpkins.

We strolled back into the barn and the lady looks at us and asks, "Were you in the playground?" "Playground?," I asked. Apparently we had crossed over into the entertainment zone and now owed $5 each. $5 times 6 people. ouch. The pumpkin budget is diminishing quickly.

I dug out the checkbook and got ready to write, when suddenly, the lady had mercy on us.
"Well, I'll let it go this time, but next time you'll have to pay,"she told me, sternly.
"I understand, and thank you so much," I told her gratefully, when I was really thinking, "There will be no next time, but lets buy some pumpkins and get out of here!"
We bought 4 nice pumpkins, both because I didn't want to completely stiff her and because that's why we were there in the first place, and such was the adventure until next year.

Make hay while the sun shines!
And have a great Wordful Wednesday!

My Country, My President

As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.
Barak Obama, Victory Speech, Chicago, IL, November 4, 2008

I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president. And I call on all Americans, as I have often in this campaign, to not despair of our present difficulties, but to believe, always, in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here.
John McCain, Concession Speech, Phoenix, AZ, November 4, 2008

04 November 2008

Bipartisan offenders

Last night, among the five telemarketing calls we received, the only one to leave a message was Lee Terry, US Representative for the 2nd District of Nebraska, who told me, (I am NOT making this up...) "I was just calling seniors in the District tonight to talk about Social Security..."

Seniors? Social security? Sure, the grays are coming out, but SENIOR?

A few minutes ago, a few folks, in their "Vote November 4th" t-shirts, toting Obama signs, looking quite perky and ready to sway the 'hood, parked in front of my house, stood on my freshly repaved sidewalk, looked at their sheaf of papers, looked at my door, and then... split to walk in different directions.

Don'tcha want to talk to ME? Tell ME to vote? Tell ME about change we can believe in?

But, that's ok. I already voted. We're off to seek free donuts and coffee...

I Hear America Singing!

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics , each one singing as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else...

-Walt Whitman, "I Hear America Singing," from Leaves of Grass, 1855
(Art credit: Jolly Flatboatmen in Port, George Caleb Bingham, 1857, Saint Louis Art Museum permanent collection)

03 November 2008

"because we've never had a savior on Capitol Hill"

"We don't live for politics. We don't base our confidence about the future on whoever gets elected." John Piper, on Election 2008

I recently heard this song by Derek Webb in concert. It's, perhaps, a little bit more cynical than I really am. I do believe that it's important to vote. I do believe that it's important to be informed and know what your stand on the issues are, and I do believe that it is important to vote those prinicples.

But, I do agree with Piper and with Webb, no elected official is going to be the solution to all of our problems. I'm holding onto the promise of eternity for that.




Here's the lyrics in case you don't catch them and you really want to know...