Saturday, November 29, 2014

Wisdom and Joy in Trials (from James 1:2-6)

Lord Father in heaven, I try to be joyful, even when I am tempted.
I try to remember that when my faith is tried, I'm developing patience.
But many times I get upset, thinking it is a punishment to have to go through trials and temptations.
I am not like Psyche in _Til We Have Faces_. She faced her trials with calm curiosity and industry.
I want to be like that, Lord.  Help me be like that?
Give me wisdom, Lord. You are a God who loves to be asked.  I am asking for wisdom.  I need lots and lots of it. I need action-oriented wisdom and wisdom that knows when not to act.
I believe You will give it to me.  The only doubt I have is regarding my accepting of it.  Lord, please help me to want what You want.  Help my desires to match Yours.  If You say it, I go along.  
What is better than being in the center of Your will?  
What is worse than being outside of it?  
Shout Your will to me; etch it in stone; carve it in my heart, so I cannot ignore it.
Make me strong for you, Lord.  Make me strong and patient and wise for You.
In Jesus's Name,

Friday, October 17, 2014

From Ephesians 4

Lord Father in Heaven, I pray that you would guide me and all of us to walk worthy of our vocation as your children.
Help us to deal patiently with troubling situations and people, to be restrained in our responses. I pray you would keep us all quiet, gentle and humble.
Let us each walk according to the gifts you have given us, and use them wisely. Help us to edify your children and glorify you with our gifts until we all agree in faith and understand true doctrine and grow more fully into Christ.
Lord, please forgive me for walking in my own vanity, for thinking I can figure everything out.
Open our hearts to your wisdom and help us to accept and act upon it. Save us from the temptations of this world, from perversions and unclean things. Save us from people who would tempt us to those things. Protect our hearts and minds from the things we see every day that would lead us into lust and greed.
I pray Lord that you would renew our minds and give us your new righteous and holy Spirit.
Give us peace and wisdom regarding financial things.
Help us be honest. Help us to be slow to anger and quick to forgive. Help us identify the devil and put him behind us. Show us useful work we can do to help ourselves and others, and give us gumption to do it. Control our tongues, that we only speak words that build up and edify the hearers. Keep from us bitterness, wrath, anger, confusion.
Lord, help us to please you and not to grieve you.
Help us to be like you who love us for your own Son's sake-- kind, tenderhearted, forgiving.
And Lord, please especially guide me today and every day, that I would not place a stumbling-block in front of any of your children.
In Jesus's Name,

Friday, June 20, 2014

Psalm 127

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Dormant (Latent) Appetite for Knowledge

I have read Volume 3 at least twice from cover to cover, but only today did I actually grasp the following delightful anecdote from Chapter 20, given to remind us to avoid drilling our children on their understanding of the things they read.  We are laying a foundation for future connections.

As a girl of twelve or so the writer browsed a good deal on Cowper's poems and somehow took an interest in Mrs. Montague's Feather Hangings. Only the other day did the ball to fit that socket arrive in the shape of an article in The Quarterly on 'The Queen of the Bluestockings.' Behold, there was Mrs. Montague with her feather hangings! The pleasure of meeting with her after all these years was extraordinary; for in no way is knowledge more enriching than in this of leaving behind it a, so to speak, dormant appetite for more of the kind. Vol. 3 pages 223-224

I think she means dormant in the sense of latent:  (of a bud, resting stage, etc.) lying dormant or hidden until circumstances are suitable for development or manifestation (Google)

Later she says:

Not what we have learned, but what we are waiting to know, is the delectable part of knowledge.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Daffodils (William Wordsworth)

I WANDERED lonely as a cloud 
 That floats on high o'er vales and hills, 
 When all at once I saw a crowd, 
 A host, of golden daffodils; 
 Beside the lake, beneath the trees, 
 Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. 

Continuous as the stars that shine 
 And twinkle on the milky way, 
 They stretched in never-ending line 
 Along the margin of a bay: 
 Ten thousand saw I at a glance, 
 Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. 

 The waves beside them danced; but they 
 Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: 
 A poet could not but be gay, 
 In such a jocund company: 
 I gazed--and gazed--but little thought 
 What wealth the show to me had brought: 

 For oft, when on my couch I lie 
 In vacant or in pensive mood, 
 They flash upon that inward eye 
 Which is the bliss of solitude; 
 And then my heart with pleasure fills, 
 And dances with the daffodils. 

Note:  the flowers in the above pictures are actually jonquils, but they look like tiny daffodils, don't they?  The little girl is Aravis, lo, these many years ago...

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Quotes on Understanding (or not)

Negative Capability:  when man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason (Keats, excerpted from a letter)

"A work of (whatever) art may be 'received' or 'used'.  When we 'receive' it we exert our senses and imagination and various other powers according to a pattern invented by the artist. When we 'use' it we treat it as assistance for our own activities."  --C.S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism (quoted in All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes, pages 89-90)

"It is not necessary to understand."  --one of the Three Wise Men to the Little Drummer Boy

I'm not sure how these fit together, but they keep bumping into each other in my mind, so I'm parking them here.

Narration: Colossians 1:9-15

9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

We are praying hard for you ever since we heard of your brotherly love in the Lord.  We are begging Him to make his will plainly and abundantly known to you from all sides, and to guide you spiritually;

10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

To help you to improve your walk with Him, to grow in your knowledge of Him and His ways, and please Him in everything you do;

 11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

And so you will feel confirmed by His soundness, authority, and might, which will make you steadfast, constant, and joyful in each and every situation; 

12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

Full of thanksgiving to Him who sacrificed His own Son that we might be a part of His family and receive the beginning of our inheritance here on Earth;

14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Blessed, beautiful Jesus, who redeemed us with His own blood and suffered for our sins as His own:

 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Who helps us to comprehend, to apprehend God here on Earth.  

Sara Groves-- Hello Lord

I don't doubt your sovereignty
I doubt my own ability to
Hear what you're saying
And to do the right thing
And I desperately want to do the right thing
But right now I don't hear so well
And I was wondering if you could speak up

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Why It Matters (Sara Groves)

I have listened to this song many times
without really processing the words.  
But they are profound and so important.  
This Youtube video highlights the lyrics of this song by Sara Groves.

What On Earth are We Missing?*

Last night I ran out to Walmart to pick up some coffee and milk for the morning.  We had been watching an old 60s movie with lots of driving in it.  As I drove home in the dark, I noticed in the vehicles coming toward me the unnatural glow of cell phones reflected into downturned faces.

(Thankfully, all these people were passengers. Although driving while texting is terribly, tragically common around here.  You show me a person driving down the highway twenty miles under the speed limit, and I'll show you a person texting while driving... or maybe a farmer from the north part of the county who lives at a slower pace than we suburban- and urban-ites, and perhaps we could learn something from him...  But that is a post for another day.)

Anyway, passengers with cell phones.

(I remember the first time we took a road trip with devices.  It was such a lonely experience for the driver, namely, me.  No one to visit or sing with.  I finally rebelled.  No one is happy when Mama ain't happy.  The family was surprised, but they humored me.  The next trip, my husband read aloud from The Count of Monte Cristo as we crossed California, Arizona, New Mexico.  That was much better.)

Evidently I have many blog posts to write on this and related topics.

But back to driving with cell phones.  I noticed on the 60s movie that drivers and passengers dressed nicely, sat up straight, and paid attention to one another.  Probably the driver of one of the cars wished that his backseat passenger-- a backseat driver, really-- had some kind of device to take her mind off criticizing him!  It was a movie and obviously not reality, but it got me thinking.  What else has changed that we don't even notice now?  How much are we missing because of our devices?  (Ironically, people check for updates because they are afraid of missing something in the virtual world.)

There have always been three worlds-- the physical, the mental, the spiritual.  Now we have a fourth-- the virtual world.  It increasingly disrupts activity in the physical world, sometimes with immediate and horrible results.  Is the virtual world part of the physical, mental or spiritual?  Or is it its own place?  And what are we missing by engaging in it?  What desires are we feeding by entering it?

(Yes, I see the irony of writing this in a blog post.)

I'm not sure where I am going with this, but I will go ahead and publish now.  I hope to continue thinking out loud on this topic later.

*Title taken from this book by Philip Yancey

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Adventures in Algebra*

"A fish starts at a depth of d feet below the surface of a pond.  While searching for food it ascends 4 feet, then descends 12 feet.  Its final depth is 15 feet below the surface.  
What was the fish's initial depth?"

Before we deal with d, let's draw a picture.
Wait, we need a shark.
Never mind that it is a pond and not the ocean.
"Fish are friends, not food."
At this point, I stopped taking pictures, because equations are serious business.  I assure you, the problem did get solved.  The fish's initial depth was -7 feet.

She wrote the algebraic equation after she figured out the answer.  She is an immensely practical person and sees no reason for a variable equation if she can figure out the answer in her head.  But she is learning that if she wants to move on to the next question, she has to show the work in algebra language.  

d + 4 - 12 = -15

*It is really pre-Algebra, but that wouldn't make a pretty alliteration.

Monday, March 31, 2014




Morning Walk

The trees are greening

Warm enough for flip-flops, cool enough for blankets
What are you, Mom, the paparazzi?
Yes, I am! One never knows how long these lovely everyday days will be around.
We'll pose, then.
"Now make a fist. Slowly ease it up underneath your chin...
this is looking really good."
Did I mention they also rescue stuck basketballs?

Daddy's home!
Actually, he is just leaving...
The Warrior Poet and his truck
And a beautiful baby tulip