Monday, December 31, 2007

A New Venture

I am beginning the next year with a whole new venture. Small, but fun! Stay tuned...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Some Days I Feel Like Odie...

...but most days my Garfield-like superiority complex takes over. Hey, I'm just being honest here.

I had a Garfield comic book when I was young, and this strip was in it. It's interesting how 25 years later I still remember this particular cartoon, but last night at the store, couldn't remember 7 items on my list.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

2007 Book Recap

This was a rather slow year for reading in my life. I am just now settling into a rhythm in the evenings that is more beneficial to spending time with the written word. Here is a mostly inclusive list from the past 12 months. I left out books that were total fluff, or that I didn't finish, or that were so bad that I couldn't recommend them at all. Although there are a couple on that list that I may end up reviewing just to have an excuse to rant. As if I need an excuse!

  • The Road to Reality (by KP Yohannan): My 3rd or 4th time through. I read this book when I need to be reminded of what my priorities should be.
  • The Last Days (by Joel Rosenberg): 2nd in a series...not as good as the first, but I'll probably keep going.
  • Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead (by Anne Morrow Lindbergh): read my most recent review here.
  • Miss Julia Strikes Back (by Ann B Ross): Light, but not fluffy, this is the 7th or 8th in the Miss Julia series. I like her character's practical outlook on life, and that fact that she is a woman "of a certain age", something lacking in much of today's fiction.
  • The Moonstone (by Wilkie Collins): My 2nd attempt...and I made it. Once I got into the story, I enjoyed it greatly.
  • The Remarkable Record of Job (by Henry Morris): A wonderful commentary on the book of Job, looking more at the marvels of creation and the power of God than on the suffering of Job.
  • Faith Undone (by Roger Oakland): Interesting book on the emerging church. Roger is not the best writer in the world, but he is very well researched and his content is important.
  • The Decoration of Houses (by Alexandra Stoddard): A textbook for decoration. I enjoyed it and was inspired by this book.
  • With Christ in the School of Prayer (by Andrew Murray): Read this for a discipleship/leadership class. I plan to go through it again this year with no agenda in mind. It's meant to be a 30 day book, and we had 2 weeks!
  • Friends, Lovers, and Chocolate (by Alexandar McCall Smith): #2 in a series. Loved it. I don't subscribe to the main character's worldview, but for fiction, I enjoyed the literary twists.
  • Mornings on Horseback (by David McCullough): Bio of Theodore Roosevelt. After visiting Medora, ND, I really enjoyed learning more about this man. Highly recommend this book.
  • The Last Jihad (by Joel Rosenberg): First in a series. Riveting.
  • The Bad Quarto (by Jill Paton Walsh): A mystery. Well written, and thought provoking.
    Living a Beautiful Life (by Alexandra Stoddard): read a few thoughts here.
  • Why Revival Tarries (by Leonard Ravenhill): Ouch. Excellent book. Very convicting. Ouch.
  • George Muller (by Basil Miller): Another read for our class. I dislike poorly written bios, but I love George Muller's faith.
  • The Soulwinner (by Charles Spurgeon): The first half of the book is excellent and conversational. The second half gets rather bogged down in the tedious. Overall, a worthwhile read.
  • The Sunday Philosophy Club (by Alexander McCall Smith): read my review here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Book Review: Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead

Anne Lindbergh was only 23 when she wrote the letters and diary entries found in Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead. I was impressed that, while she was still so youthful, she was also extremely literate. She writes to her family with amazing candor about "celebrity" and being followed by the media of the day. She touches upon her fears about motherhood, and in a section that is very poignent, she frets to her mother over the safety of her little son.

Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead is the second in a series of 5 books containing Anne Morrow Lindbergh's personal letters and diaries. I didn't realize that when I picked it up, but it stands alone, and was an enjoyable and thoughtful read. This book covers the period of 1929-1932, during which Anne married Charles Lindbergh, gave birth to their first child, and flew to the Orient with C.L.

But the Hour of Lead is the most riveting section, detailing the infamous "Lindbergh kidnapping" and the death of the Lindbergh's first son.

Anne was pregnant with her second son when little Charlie disappeared. As we know from history, after ten weeks of negotiations with kidnappers, the boy's body was found not far from their home. He had been killed the first day.

The book caused me to reflect upon my own grandparents, who also lost a child when my grandmother was carrying my mother. They never found out what happened to the boy that they lost, it is generally thought that he drowned, and I don't believe that either my Grandpa or Grandma really recovered from it.

Anne Lindbergh expressed her concerns that she would not be able to feel for the second child what she had for the first, that she would be always comparing the two. I wonder if this is how my grandmother felt. My grandmother's family was thousands of miles away in a time when travel was not easily available. Anne Lindbergh was blessed to have the close and loving support of her family, which greatly comforted her.

This book affected me in that it caused me to think about others, and to look at my grandmother (who was difficult, to say the least) with a different eye...perhaps a more sympathetic one.

Overall, a good read. I recommend it and am looking forward to reading North to the Orient, the chronicles of Anne and Charles Lindbergh's 1931 trip to Alaska, Russia, China, and Japan.

Quote of the Day: Matthew Henry

It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our final day.
~Matthew Henry

Amen, Mr. Henry. It's all about eternity...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Another Case of my Quotes Smacking Me Around A Bit...

This is why I need to pay attention to what I put on my blog...
I just wrote (and then deleted) a long, ranting, whining post about what I don't like about Christmas. Lest you think I am a total humbug, there are lots of things I do like...I am just in a self-pitying, self-absorbed, self-I-think-I-see-a-trend mood.
And then as I was posting it, I reread the quote from Spurgeon that I posted this morning. Interesting how the Lord uses things that I have said (or, in this case, quoted) to smack me upside the head.

Quote of the Day: Charles Spurgeon

If we cannot believe God when circumstances seem to be against us, we do not believe Him at all.
~Charles Spurgeon

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Quote of the Day: Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"I am reading Jane Austen to calm my nerves."
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh in a letter to her sister during a period of great busy-ness

That's the way I feel about Jane a cup of tea with my feet up at the end of a long day.

Now Here is a Promise You Don't Ever Hear About...

When was the last time you came upon this verse in your Bible Promise Book?

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12

But why isn't it among the greatly quoted promises?

Isn't it all about the results of the persectution and suffering? What happens in my life when I suffer? And what happens in other peoples' lives as a result of my suffering?

According to the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4: 17-18: For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

When we are suffering, when we are persecuted, the Lord is working out His purposes in our lives. Suffering leads to dependence upon Him, it leads to godly living, and it leads to opportunities to minister to others. Really, it's not about me. It's about my response to the Holy God in the middle of trials. It's about how He is transforming me into His image through my brokenness.

It is for His glory. Not mine.

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it;
For how should My name be profaned?
And I will not give My glory to another.
Isaiah 48:10-11

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Was Feeling Smug Until I Compared Myself to Someone Smarter

Hey, this is funny. You can type in your URL and this magically determines your "readability". Apparently it didn't take the cartoons and goofy attempts at humor on my website.

By the way, Poiema, you scored a "genius", and I am torn by being very impressed, or very envious at my obvious lack of intellectual achievement.

cash advance

Monday, December 17, 2007

Slightly Tacky Winter Humor

Thanks, Belinda...
I needed a laugh at work.
By the way, I always thought Frosty was a little "off"....

Christmas Q and A

I've had about a dozen people email me this list in one form or I am posting it here. Enjoy my self-indulgence as I assume you all wish to read about me.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Usually wrapping paper with my (now famous) recycled ribbons.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Tree...tree...I think we had one of those once. No room now. (I might be slightly bitter about that!)

3. When do you put up the tree? Read question #2.

4. When do you take the tree down? What's this?! More lemon juice on the papercut?!

5. Do you like egg nog? Oh, YES!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I did have a green and yellow Tonka truck that I remember loving!

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, the old and much loved one that I grew up with.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My stepdad...but I think I finally nailed it this year!

9. Easiest person to buy for? My mom...hands down!

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. Except for co-workers and local friends. They get an email...

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Oh, easy! My mom gave me her old waffle iron one year...I don't mind hand-me-down gifts, but this was the worst waffle maker ever. I remember it sticking everytime we used it when I was a kid. Worst of all, I hauled that thing around for years, never used it once, until Mom came to visit one time and said "let's make waffles" and I told her the sad truth. The waffle maker then hit the dumpster. And we still laugh about it. At least I do.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? "It's a Wonderful Life". And I cry at the end every time!

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I buy things when I see them, so I am usually done by December.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? (head hung in shame) Yes

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Turkey and the trimmings. And German Apple Pancake for Christmas breakfast!

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? What's with the tree again!? OK, if I had one...white.

17. Favorite Christmas song? This year I am enamoured with "What Child is This?"

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Oh, I'm flexible...

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeers? You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen, but do you recall...the most famous reindeer of all...Rudolph... (is it cheating that I just sang that at my computer?)

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Sigh...I give up...

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? One present Christmas Eve.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? People who don't work full-time telling me how busy they are.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I like color...lots of color!

24. What do you want for Christmas this year? A really, really good new digital camera and tripod and lenses.

Friday, December 7, 2007

On This Day in History: Pearl Harbor

The attack on Pearl Harbor, the event that got America off the fence regarding the "War in Europe", was 66 years ago today.
Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia: The attack wrecked two U.S. Navy battleships, one minelayer, and two destroyers beyond repair, and destroyed 188 aircraft; personnel losses were 2,333 killed and 1,139 wounded. Damaged warships included three cruisers, a destroyer, and six battleships (one deliberately grounded, later refloated and repaired; two sunk at their berths, later raised, repaired, and restored to Fleet service late in the war). Vital fuel storage, shipyards, and submarine facilities were not hit.

And here is an interesting (and somewhat surreal) photo perspective. This was taken from a Japanese plane early in the attacks:

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Grace and Peace

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in snctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
1 Peter 1:1-2

I am beginning yet another personal study of 1 Peter because a) I'm a slow learner and b) it just seems so relevant to my life. So I picked up another Elizabeth George fill-in-the-blank book as a basis. In the evenings, I prefer to do my own study, but I find that the mornings for me are not conducive to clear thinking, so it's better to have a guide.

So this morning I picked up the book to begin, and this is the question that stumped me: How does the "grace and peace" greeting encourage you?

So I skipped it (avoidance being another problem I have in the morning) and moved on to my Proverbs and Psalms reading.

And here was my Psalm for today:
Psalm 27:1-5
THE LORD is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.
One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

And it got me thinking...David wrote from experience of persecution and turmoil. Likewise, Peter wrote from that same perspective. He hadn't had an easy time in the years leading up to the writing of this letter, so he knew of what he spoke. And still, he was able to express the hope that God would bring grace to those who put their trust in Christ, and an inner peace that in spite of the outward persecution, God is in control.

Now that's encouraging!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Amazing Grace, Politics and other Ramblings

On Thanksgiving Day, I watched the movie, Amazing Grace, about William Wilberforce and his fight in the British Parliament to abolish the slave trade. Excellent movie, and I would highly recommend it, but one phrase kept coming back to mind as it relates to current events in Minot:
Mr. Wilberforce, we understand you're having problems choosing whether to do the work of God, or the work of a political activist.
We humbly suggest that you can do both.

Recently, on Main Street here in Minot, a strip club opened with the name of Sin: take a break from being good. Ironically, it was the name change that brought a huge community uproar...most people had no idea it had gone from being just a bar, to a "gentleman's club". So I am getting involved in the fight to move the clubs (there is another as well) to the industrial area of town, out of the sight of the families that patronize the downtown area. (Just a note: yes, I'd love to see them abolished altogether, but I believe that is the work of prayer and revival, rather than legislation).

Obviously, this is a big subject for me...for the obvious moral reasons...not to mention that I live on Main Street.

So here goes my first foray into political activism.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Psalm 75:1 We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near.

Psalm 136:26 Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever.

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

Monday, November 19, 2007

All I Want For Christmas... a kitty cat.

It's probably not going to happen, and yes, I am pouting as I type... How did you know?
Here are my favorites of my dad's two precious, spoiled babies. They are sweet kitties.
This is Brandy...she is such a piggy that when she lays on her back all her fat spreads out around her. Boy, if that doesn't keep me on my diet, I don't know what will! (Note to LLK and KM...please don't mention the M and M's on Saturday night.)

And this is Lady. She is aptly named and is the queen of the world. She was very annoyed that I wouldn't let her enjoy her nap in the sunshine...but she was in my guitar case, so I figured she owed me a bit.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Oh, No!

I never used to really understand Dilbert. Now I do...and it scares me. This was in yesterday's paper, and I laughed uproariously until reality set in and I realized..."Hey, that's me bogged down in the trivial!"

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I Love My Job

...I really do.

Have you ever worked for a boss that works so hard himself that you can see smoke rising off the top of his head? It's tough, since you can't really complain to the hardest worker around. So...he has decided that since he and I have similar personalities (and capacity for pain), that I can handle not only my regular job, but also the job of the FCC compliance clerk for the radio network. No sweat. Because he could do it, standing on his head, blindfolded, with one arm tied behind his back.

I saw a poll a while ago that 67% of people think they are smarter than their boss. I freely admit that I am not one of those 67%.

Here's what's really the kicker. I love my job, and will work my tail off to get the stuff done that I need to...and he knows it...and loves me for it (I think!).

Now, I am done with my 15 minute lunch and must get back to work while the office is quiet.

And I must try to remember the verse about doing everything without murmuring or complaining. I have never liked that verse, Lord!

Morning Musings

  • First snowfall of the year! It's sticking a bit now, and it is lovely... Remind me that I felt this way toward the end of January...when the blues set in.
  • Have you ever noticed that with your weight, the same number at which you were mortified on the way up, you rejoice at on the way down?
  • And today is my Prodigal Son's 16th birthday. Please pray for him. He is still my little monkey boy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Remedial Canning

For years, my friends have asked me to teach them to can. This will not be that lesson. What happened earlier this week is perhaps a better lesson in "how not to can".

We were blessed to have been given a large quantity of apples. Sweet, small, apples. I have run out of my world-famous and extremely convenient homemade canned apple pie filling, so what could be better? I'll just throw on my apron and whip up a batch after work! This fits in perfectly with my "Miss Mary Homemaker" persona and my budding frugality. Uh-huh.

I have always said that the keys to canning anything are organization, cleanliness, and preparedness. Fortunately, the kitchen was clean. Hey, one out of three is good...right?

Wrong. Turns out, for canning, you need things. Things like jars. Jars that I sold when we left Omaha. The recipe makes 6 quarts. Oh, for goodness sake, I had 3 empties in the cupboard. What follows is frantic scrambling through the apartment and emptying of my cute button collection. Crisis averted.

Next, I assembled the ingredients. Blessedly, I had everything on hand. So I began cooking the syrup. Mmmm. Syrup.

Then, I peeled, cored, and sliced the apples. Now, I would like to point out that I will never ever can apples without this device. It's the best invention ever. It does all the work. But it does spatter sticky stuff all over the counter (and the wall if you are too close). Don't can if you can't handle stickiness.
What follows is my "I-will-never-be-Martha" confession. In my wild discarding of all non-essential items before the move to Minot. I purged the screw on caps for my canning jars. Don't ask me why. Of course, by the time I realized this, the jars were full and waiting to be capped. Brilliant. The only caps I could find were some nasty, rusty ones that Martha Stewart would never have in her home. I am ashamed to own them.

But...through all the crises and hair-pulling and maniacal laughter (thank goodness I was home alone!)...I remember how much I enjoy the process of canning.

And the beauty of enjoying the fruits of my labors.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

One Thing I Have Learned So Far This Week... that the first rule of FCC legal compliance is that everything needed to be done last week, or yesterday at the very latest.
Pray for me!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mukilteo, WA

Beautiful Mukilteo, my hometown. What I didn't photograph is the unhampered growth and the traffic. Let's just focus on the positive...

The 1905 Mukilteo Lighthouse (with the Vashon in the background).

Couldn't resist the photos of the official Mukilteo city bird. If you haven't been hit from above by one of these fine seagulls, you really haven't lived.

I met a couple of the ladies who volunteer their time making the lighthouse grounds just gorgeous, even in late October. Nice job, ladies!

Here's Lady, enamoured with my guitar case. She's my little sweetie, and was kind enough to give me my kitty fix during my stay at her house. I am convinced that my dad is just a visitor, and it's really the cats that are in charge.

Friday, October 12, 2007

On this Day: the Death of Robert E Lee

Robert E. Lee, one of my favorite people in history, died on this day in 1870, at the age of 63. The son of a governor, he was a complex man who loved his country deeply. Here are some quotes which illustrate my regard for the man:

  • On his faith: My chief concern is to try to be an humble, earnest Christian.

  • On learning: The education of a man is never completed until he dies.

  • On Bill Clinton (okay, I made that part up): I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself.

  • On temptation: Whiskey - I like it, I always did, and that is the reason I never use it.

  • On the loss of the Civil War: We failed, but in the good providence of God apparent failure often proves a blessing.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Quotes of the Day

The years teach much which the days never knew. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunflowers that are young and lush are pleasing to the eye while they blossom in the fields...but in reality, they are virtually until they are dried up, almost dead flowers. That is when they really hit their stride.
We miss out on a lot by our societal neglect of the oldest generation.
The soul's dark cottage, battered and decayed,
Lets in new light through chinks that time hath made. ~Edmund Waller

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Non-Motivational Posters

I'm a child of the seventies, that great decade when we were all told that we could be whatever we wanted when we grew up. Oh, really?

The motivational poster was also birthed out of that line of thinking and was intended to reinforce those fantastic positive thoughts so that we could go out and achieve great things. Even as a child, I remember thinking that if we could all grow up to be president...that would be one heck of a fight during the election.

So I found these...a great remedy for the smarmy motivational poster. And further proof that I have a warped and twisted sense of humor. (It's my dad's fault.)

Because, let's face it, not everyone gets to be president.

Check out more of these "de-motivators" from

I have this one on my office wall. My co-workers all ignore it.

Anna Karenina Update

I seem to have made it over the hump, and can now pronounce all the characters names quickly in my head, and remember who they are. So now I am engrossed. It took me 120 pages to get that way...but now all else is put aside for the sake of knowing what happens to the faithless Anna.

Quote of the Day: Will Rogers

Live your life in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.

~Will Rogers 1879-1935

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Quote of the Day: Michael Douglas

Yes, really. Michael Douglas.

Many times people make more of an effort toward strangers than the people closest to them. ~from a recent interview

How often is that true in our lives? It is easy, especially in ministry, to get wrapped up in "outreach" and doing for others...and then neglecting our own. And let's face it, with strangers, you don't live and work day in-day out with the flaws.

Interesting thought.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Yesterday's Church Message

For Sunday service yesterday we had a guest speaker, Seth Wetter from Calvary Chapel Fargo. Thanks, Seth!

He brought up a couple of interesting points about grace...and how we try so hard not to receive it freely. It's funny how the Word speaks to people differently. Most of what I retained came out of Seth's introduction!

Ephesians 2:8 and 9...we all know, or have heard..."For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."

Grace is free...we know this.
Yet we often still strive to "work for God", to do great things for Him.
Liken this to when you receive a generous gift from someone to whom you would not usually bestow the same "cost" of gift upon.
Our flesh rises up and does one of a couple of things:
  • Oh, no...I can't possibly accept that!
  • I'll have to give something back that is equal or better to what I have been given.
...rather than just receiving with thankfulness. Oh, that's so hard.

How much was the gift that we have been given by the Father? It was everything...His Son.

So our actions in response to that should not be an attempt to earn the gift, but instead, just a natural response of love to the One who has given all for us.

Otherwise, it's just another works-based religion. And that only leads to discouragement, and ultimately, hell...because my "good" works are never going to be enough.

We cannot save ourselves, that's the work of the Father. And that's relationship.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Reality Check

Leave it to the Lord to give me a little dose of conviction this week...much deserved. The blog at posted an article yesterday entitled "Why Me, God" about the sovereignty of the Lord as it relates to suffering. A good read, with a video attached, and a reminder to me to quit complaining about my allergy-related sniffles. The ragweed was bloomin' in Omaha last week!

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Creator and Designer

Here's an interesting phrase that caught my eye in my Bible reading:

Job 26:13a By His Spirit He hath garnished the heavens

The NKJV uses the word "adorned" rather than "garnished", but it was the garnished that captured my imagination. Think of how a restaurant places a decoration on your plate; a garnish...not for any purpose other than to just give you a little visual pleasure. I thought of the Lord of Creation flinging the massive stars into space just so that when we look up, we have something lovely and intriguing to look at in the night sky.

Just a thought.

Great Things about the Upper Midwest

Last Saturday night on the regional evening news:
  • The native American PowWow was rained out
  • Minot Air Force Base sponsored it's annual airshow
  • and Minot's Downtown Fall Festival was enjoyed by all
Not one murder, rape, or assault. Boring, yes....but isn't that refreshing?

Friday, September 7, 2007

For the Beauty of the Earth

For the Beauty of the Earth
lyrics: Folliot Pierpoint

For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.

Refrain: Lord of all to Thee we raise, This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the wonder of each hour
Of the day and of the night
Hill and vale, and tree and flower
Sun and moon, and stars of light

For the joy of human love
Brother, sister, parent, child
Friends on earth and friends above
For all gentle thoughts and mild

For the church, that evermore
Lifteth holy hands above
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love

For Thyself, best Gift Divine
To our race so freely given
For that great, great love of Thine
Peace on earth and joy in Heaven

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dismal News About Reading

Did anyone else see this article last week? It claims that 1 in 4 American adults did not read a single book last year. Disturbing, yes...surprising, no. We live in a culture that is satisfied (I would use the term "sedated") into being force-fed ideas and opinions by the television producers, all in the name of entertainment and relaxation.

There...that was a relatively short rant, and I am done get off the computer and go to the library!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Deep Thoughts from Garfield

Garfield: circa 1979...back in the day. He expresses my thoughts on exercise pretty clearly, especially since the Boxer had me running "wind sprints" (read "painful asthma-inducing torture") yesterday during our workout. He'd better remember about my good 1-2 punch! Not that I can lift my arms!

Quote of the Day: Mark Twain

It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Textile Heaven

I love textiles...vintage tablecloths, embroidered pillowcases, bedspreads and quilts. Even my dishtowels are some from the 60's that I found on Ebay a couple of years back. I just enjoy the colors and the feel of them. So when the opportunity arose to make the 3-hour trek to Valley City, ND for a quilt show last Saturday, I jumped...took a shower, got dressed and packed lunch in 40 minutes flat. You have to jump on these opportunities when they arrive!

The Barnes County courthouse had 3 floors, including the hallways and the banisters, of quilts, quilts and more quilts. Incredible.
I especially liked the one above. It was all "Woodland Creatures" and had about 12 different animals, including a skunk!
And this one was wonderful because of the texture: the "stars" were all done in a striped chenille.

We then visited a little antique shop that we have found before, and entered again what I call "Textile Heaven", a little nook upstairs with a very low ceiling that is filled with tablecloths, doilies, bedspreads, pillowcases and blankets. I touched everything. And then found a white on white chenille "dots" bedspread for $6.25...without a stain on it!

Monday, August 6, 2007

North Dakota Beauty

The sunflowers are in full bloom in North Dakota. I went for a long drive this weekend. Gorgeous fields. I probably trespassed like crazy to get these pictures!

This was actually the view from the made me think that the sunflowers were ignoring me!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Housekeeping 101

I have been slowly working my way through Alexandra Stoddard's "Living a Beautiful Life", a book of encouragement for me regarding creating atmosphere in our homes. Implementing some of the practices over the last month has been a real joy! The front hall closet has actually been cleaned out and organized.

Benefits of living in a one-bedroom apartment: no storage space for "junk". Drawbacks to living in that one-bedroom apartment: no storage space for much else.

But as a little dose of reality, I came across this description of some women in Botswana in another of Alexander McCall Smith's books:

These were house-proud women, who kept the yard spotless, the sand brushed and raked everyday, the chicken manure cleared away and deposited on the melon patch; women who understood the importance of scouring your pans until the black was scraped away and the metal below was shining. These were not small things. These were the things which showed children growing up in the house how they should live their lives as clean, upright people.

Sometimes I read "homemaking" books and just roll my eyes in must be nice to be Martha Stewart...does she really expect us to believe that she does her own cooking, cleaning, and ironing?
But thinking of these "house proud" women in Botswana, what an make do with what we have, to take care of our homes, and to make them places that our children, and husbands, are influenced by...even though they may never realize it.

Anna Karenina: a pre-book review

This is a weighty tome, in more ways than one.

But I have a 3-hour car trip tomorrow to the campground, so I am going to dig in. And now I have announced it, therefore I am committed.

At 100 pages a week, I should have it done by mid-September.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Book Review: The Sunday Philosophy Club

I enjoy a book that occasionally sends me to the dictionary for a deeper definition of a word, or to a book of poetry to look up an author, so I really dug into this book by Alexander McCall Smith. My mom had introduced me to the joys of his "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series, starring the delightful Mma Precious Ramotwe, and I was eager to begin this series next.
Isabel Dahlousie is a single woman in her late 30's living in Edinburgh. The book begins when she is at the theater, listening to a lackluster performance, and witnesses a young man fall from the "gods" (the upper balcony). Having an inquisitive nature, she cannot let her suspicion go, and begins a convoluted quest to find out the truth.

In hindsight, the reason I connected to this character is because her thought processes seem to work like mine...not the thoughts themselves, since she is a humanist, and a student of philosophy...but the way her mind (and mine) often "rabbittrails" to other subjects, or music, or quotes relating to the issue at hand. And I appreciate the way that she is always looking at the motive for her actions, and for the actions and behaviors of those around her. In short, she's a thinker.

I loved this description of a book sent to her for review and editing: the "article was weighty, but largely unreadable, owing to the author's style. It appeared to be written in English, but it was a variety of English which Isabel felt occuured only in certain corners of academia, wher faux weightiness was a virtue. It was, she thought, as if the English had been translated from German; not that the verbs all migrated to the end, it was just that everything sounded so heavy, so utterly earnest."

I think I have read some books like that myself!
Toss in a housekeeper and friend who is witty enough to send a book entitled "One Hundred Things for a Teenage Boy to Do" to a friend's husband in the throes of a mid-life crisis, and you have a delightful read.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Quote of the Day: Charles Spurgeon

"The upright shall have good things in possession" (Proverbs 28:10).

We are accustomed to think of our good things as in reversion, but here we are told that we shall have them in possession.

Not all the malice and cunning of our enemies can work our destruction: they shall fall into the pit which they have digged. Our inheritance is so entailed upon us that we shall not be kept out of it, nor so turned out of the way as to miss it.

But what have we now?
  • We have a quiet conscience through the precious blood of Jesus.
  • We have the love of God set upon us beyond all change.
  • We have power with God in prayer in all time of need.
  • We have the providence of God to watch over us,
  • the angels of God to minister to us,
  • and, above all, the Spirit of God to dwell in us.

In fact, all things are ours. "Whether things present or things to come: all are yours." Jesus is ours. Yea, the divine Trinity in unity is ours. Hallelujah. Let us not pine and whine and stint and slave, since we have good things in possession. Let us live on our God and rejoice in Him all the day. Help us, 0 Holy Ghost!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Small Town 4th

Happy day after the fourth! We enjoyed at day at Roosevelt park, where there was music, a trip into the zoo, and the dedication of a visually unappealling, but otherwise moving memorial to honor North Dakota's Congressional Medal of Honor winners. The governor was there to speak at the dedication, as well as one of the medal recipients, whose acts of courage during the Vietnam war were nothing short of miraculous. Here is the article from the Minot Daily News.

One of the highlights of the day for me was a speech by a Theodore Roosevelt impersonator (below) who did a really great job, and presented one of Roosevelt's moving speeches.

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
~Theodore Roosevelt "Citizenship in a Republic,"Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910